Something is not quite right with your leaf blower. You can get it to start and run, but you have to keep your choke on or it just sputters and maybe dies. Find and fix the problem now before it develops into a bigger problem.
An ECHO leaf blower will only run with the choke on when it isn’t getting enough fuel or it is getting too much air. A plugged fuel filter, old gas, dirty carburetor, fuel line puncture, bad carburetor gasket, or a plugged fuel vent can cause an ECHO blower to run with the choke on.
Before performing repairs, shut the blower off and remove the spark plug wire. Make sure all parts have stopped and the engine has cooled down.
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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual prior to diagnosing, repairing, or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, or knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.
6 Reasons an ECHO Leaf Blower Only Runs With the Choke On
Old Gas in an ECHO Leaf Blower
Old gas is often the main cause of fuel restrictions due to the varnish and gummy deposits left in the fuel system. It can clog or degrade components so they no longer function correctly or restrict flow.
When your ECHO blower isn’t getting enough fuel, you may need to restrict airflow by running the choke at half choke. This is so the right ratio of fuel to air is mixed to keep the blower running.
Fresh fuel must be used and consumed rather quickly. This is because gas begins to break down as quickly as 30 days after purchase.
If you are unable to consume it within this timeframe, add a fuel additive like Sea Foam Motor Treatment to fresh fuel to stabilize it and make it last a little longer. Some 2-cycle oils include a fuel additive as well, but you need to confirm how long the additive is effective.
ECHO 2-cycle leaf blowers require a fuel mixture of gas and oil at a rate of 50:1. Use gasoline that has a minimum octane rating of 89 and a maximum ethanol content of 10%. Ethanol is not good to run in your ECHO so don’t use fuels with higher ethanol contents than this.
Use a premium 2-cycle oil like ECHO Power Blend or ECHO Red Armor. Read more about choosing and caring for fuel used in your blower at “This is the Type of Gas ECHO Leaf Blowers Use“.
SOLUTION: Remove old gasoline from your ECHO leaf blower. Add fresh fuel that includes an additive like Sea Foam or STA-BIL to stabilize the gas, clean the fuel system and reduce moisture.
Hole in the Fuel Line Causes an ECHO Leaf Blower to Run Only with the Choke On
When a fuel line is punctured, not securely attached, or has become dry and cracked it can suck air into the line. The choke must be used to compensate for the extra air that is introduced through the fuel system.
Inspect the fuel lines and look for a puncture or loose line that is drawing in air.
SOLUTION: Remove and replace any damaged or cracked fuel line. Make sure the fuel lines are securely attached.
Plugged Fuel Filter in an ECHO Leaf Blower
A fuel filter is used to keep dirt from entering the fuel system. It can restrict fuel flow when it isn’t changed regularly and becomes plugged with dirt and debris. I recommend replacing the filter annually to avoid running into this problem.
You will need to change it more often if you find your fuel is dirty. I highly advise against using old and dirty fuel. You may want to save a little money and not waste old fuel, however, in the long run, you may damage the carburetor or engine which costs you more money.
SOLUTION: Replace a plugged fuel filter. The filter is located inside the fuel tank. Wipe around the fuel tank cap before removing it to keep dirt from falling into the tank. Pull the filter out of the tank.
A clean bent wire works well to “fish” the filter out of the tank. Remove the old filter and attach a new fuel filter to the end of the fuel line and place it back inside the fuel tank.
Be careful and don’t lose the retaining right that is used to secure the fuel line to the filter. Reinstall the fuel cap.
Bad Carburetor Gasket in an ECHO Leaf Blower
The gasket that sits behind the ECHO carburetor can deteriorate and become worse over time. When this happens, it no longer seals properly allowing additional air into the system causing it to run lean.
Running lean is when there is a higher concentration of air and less fuel than required by the engine. The choke will need to be on to compensate for the extra air being pulled into the engine through a bad carburetor gasket.
SOLUTION: Gain access to the carburetor and carefully remove the linkages and bolts attaching the carburetor. Remove the carburetor and gasket.
Reinstall a new gasket and reattach the carburetor, bolt, and linkages. Determine if you need to clean the carburetor since you have it off of the leaf blower.
Dirty Carburetor in an ECHO Leaf Blower
The carburetor’s function is to regulate the amount of fuel that is mixed with air to form a combustion to start and keep your ECHO leaf blower running.
Old gas that’s been sitting in your blower can leave a buildup of varnish and deposits that can negatively affect your carburetor.
It can clog the fuel jet reducing the amount of gas released into the cylinder.
SOLUTION: Clean the carburetor by taking it apart and using carburetor cleaner to remove deposits left behind from old fuel. If the carburetor doesn’t work after cleaning, you may need to rebuild it or replace it with a new carburetor.
A small engine mechanic at your local ECHO dealership or local small engine shop can assist you with this if you don’t want to tackle the task.
Plugged Fuel Vent in an ECHO Leaf Blower
A plugged fuel tank vent can reduce or prevent fuel from flowing out of the fuel tank. This is because a fuel tank needs to vent to equalize the air pressure. If it can’t vent properly it forms a vacuum.
A good indication you may have a fuel tank vent problem is when your leaf blower runs for a few minutes and then shuts down or sputters and won’t start until you loosen or remove the fuel cap to allow air into the fuel tank.
The fuel tank valve on an ECHO leaf blower is a small part that runs off of a hose coming out of the fuel tank.
SOLUTION: Replace the fuel tank vent so air can flow into the fuel tank.
Still Experiencing Problems with Your ECHO Leaf Blower?
If you’ve gone through the list above and continue to have problems with your ECHO blower, check out my guide Common ECHO Leaf Blower Problems (Troubleshoot).
Here I provide charts with causes and solutions to the top common problems that develop in an ECHO blower. You will find links that explain the issue and solutions in more detail.
To reduce the problems developing the blower and extend its life, perform regular maintenance. This includes cleaning or replacing the air filter, replacing the fuel filter, replacing the sparking plug, and keeping it clean.
Check out How to Service an ECHO Leaf Blower for step-by-step instructions.