I have been having trouble with my weed-trimmer. Over the last month it has been running terrible, hard to start or just stalling. It had got to the point where I was now pulling on the cord and growling #*@^*#! at it as loud as I could, but it didn’t seem to make any difference to the overall performance.
It would start and run then stop after a few seconds. I would prime, choke, pull, start and stall and I realized it would take hours to trim my yard this way. After two weeks of rain, the weeds were taking over and I could envision my Dad with his trusty scythe making smooth measured swaths in the long grass, stopping only occasionally to pull the stone from his back pocket and sharpen the blade.
I loaded the #*@^#! machine into my truck and went down to the lawnmower repair shop. I waited my turn and explained the problem to the lady behind the counter. She shrugged and said the carburetor was probably gummed up. They were busy and it would take a few days to get to it. A tune-up and carburetor overhaul was $120, but they had brand new weed-trimmers on sale for $149.95, so I was better off to just buy a new one. I was going to ask her how much a scythe was, but I saw none on display.
On principle, I was not going to pay $149.95 for a new weed-trimmer. I paid $100 for my first car and that number has become a lifelong benchmark for me. Any time something costs more than $100, I have to determine its value compared to a 1956 Plymouth four-door sedan. A new weed-trimmer did not meet the criteria.
I put the #*@^#! thing back in the truck and headed home. She had said it needed a tune-up and carb overhaul. I have never taken a shop class or night school course in air-cooled engines, but I am reasonably mechanical.
I have tools and I have Google which will teach you to do anything. In my shop I first took out the spark plug. I don’t know why, but guys always take out spark plugs first, clean them, gap them, and put them back. Then I noticed some fuel on the work bench.
I start wiping and checking the tank, the carburetor, the block and then I see a small crease in the plastic fuel line. Sure enough, when I fire it up fuel runs out before it gets to the carburetor. I seize my razor knife and my pliers, and with the skill of a heart surgeon I cut, slice, twist and remove the section of broken line, and reattach it to the engine.
I prime, choke, pull and it starts. I slowly squeeze the throttle and the engine speeds up. I press it all the way and that magnificent little machine, that marvel of landscaping innovation purrs then roars and keeps on spinning at maximum rpm. I have repaired my weed-trimmer at absolutely no cost.
I trimmed my yard and was thoroughly prepared to go the length of my street doing the neighbours’ yards as well. I was one with the machine.
It is said that victory is sweetest when you have known defeat. We should always celebrate the small victories in life. Yes, it was definitely a ‘coup de grass.’ At least that’s what McGregor says.