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11 Reasons an ECHO String Trimmer Starts, Stalls & Dies (Find & Fix)

Nothing gives you that finished manicured look to your lawn like a string trimmer. It’s a great tool to cut grass near water elements, around landscaping, in narrow spots, and around fence posts. Let’s find and fix your trimmer’s dying problem so you can get back to trimming your lawn.

An ECHO string trimmer may start, stall and then die when the engine isn’t getting sufficient air, fuel, and spark for combustion.

This may be due to a plugged air filter, clogged spark arrestor screen, plugging cooling system, incorrect choke setting, plugged fuel filter, clogged fuel line, dirty carburetor, bad spark plug, or old fuel.

Before working on your string trimmer, remove the spark plug wire, wait for the engine to cool, and allow all parts to stop moving. Follow all safety guidelines listed in your ECHO operators manual.

ECHO string trimmer starts, stalls & dies

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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual before 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.

11 Reasons Your ECHO String Trimmer Starts Then Dies

1. Incorrect Choke Setting

You will find a choke lever on your ECHO string trimmer. This lever is used to engage the choke to restrict airflow. Less air and more fuel are required to start a cold engine so the choke must be placed in the on/closed position.

Once the engine gets warm, the lever must be adjusted to the off/open position to allow sufficient air for the engine to continue to run. If the choke isn’t adjusted, the ECHO trimmer will begin to sputter and die.

2. Plugged Air Filter

The air filter should be replaced at least once a year and more often if you use it more than the average homeowner. Your air filter maintenance doesn’t stop there, you must regularly check and clean it.

If you don’t perform maintenance on your air filter, it can become plugged with dirt and debris restricting airflow. When the engine isn’t getting enough air, your ECHO will quit running.

When you find your air filter is very dirty, damaged, or wet, you should replace it with a new one. NEVER remove your filter and run the trimmer without one even if it’s just to finish a job.

Doing so can cause dirt to contaminate the engine causing permanent damage.

Clean an ECHO string trimmer felt air filter:

  • Remove the air filter cover and remove the air filter.
  • Wipe any dirt or debris remaining in the air filter cover or housing.
  • Brush the dirt off the air filter.
  • Install the clean filter.
  • Reattach the air filter cover.

Clean an ECHO foam pre-cleaner filter (if your model uses one):

The pre-cleaner can be cleaned with water and a mild detergent solution. Rinse clean and squeeze to remove all water. Allow drying before installing. DO NOT ADD OIL to the pre-filter.

Because there are so many different types of filters used which varies from model to model, refer to the operator’s manual for steps to clean the type of air filter used in your ECHO string trimmer.

3. Plugged Cooling System

When the engine gets too hot, the trimmer can shut down. To keep the ECHO engine cool, it requires air to circulate around the engine.

Remove all grass clippings, dirt, and debris from around the air intakes and cooling fins that may be preventing air circulation. To do this, first, remove the spark plug and wait for the engine to cool.

Remove the engine cover and remove debris from the cover and around the outside of the cylinder. Clean the cylinder fins and reinstall the engine cover. Continue cleaning the trimmer to make sure cool air can circulate around the engine.

4. Old or Bad Fuel

ECHO string trimmers require a fresh gas and oil mixture to operate at their best. Mistakenly using the wrong type of fuel or the wrong fuel mix, or allowing gas to sit in the trimmer for a long time can cause significant problems in the carburetor and engine.

ECHO string trimmers require gasoline and oil mixed at a ratio of 50:1. Mix unleaded gasoline of a minimum octane rating of 89 and a maximum ethanol content of 10% with a premium 2-cycle oil that is ISO-L-EGD and JASO M345 FD certified.

ECHO offers Power Blend and Red Armor 2-cycle engine oil.

Running a gas with a high ethanol content or not getting the gas-to-oil mixture correct can result in your trimmer quitting on you. High ethanol contents are bad for the small engine on your ECHO string trimmer.

Always use fuel with an ethanol content of 10% or less. Non-ethanol fuel is best, but it’s the more expensive choice.

Using the wrong type of oil or the wrong amount of oil can result in engine damage. Never run straight gas through your ECHO string trimmer. This is a sure way to ruin the trimmer and have to purchase a new one.

Because gas can begin breaking down as soon as 30 days after purchase. Add a fuel stabilizer to fresh fuel to make it last a little longer without breaking down. A fuel stabilizer can help minimize fuel issues from running old gas.

Keep in mind some 2-cycle oils include a fuel stabilizer. Even though the bottle of oil states it includes a stabilizer, read the fine print to see how long the additive will keep the fuel stable.

You will find it will keep it stable anywhere between 30 days and 2 years. ECHO’s Red Armor oil provides fuel stabilizers good for up to two years.

Read more about choosing the right gas and how to care for it in This is the Gas and Oil Fuel Mix ECHO String Trimmers Use.

5. Plugged Fuel Filter

To keep dirt and debris from entering the fuel system, you will find a small filter located inside the fuel tank. It is attached to the end of the fuel line. The filter can become plugged when it isn’t replaced regularly.

The fuel restriction caused by the plugged filter can keep your ECHO from running. I recommend changing the fuel filter annually or more often when needed.

You may have to replace it as much as every 3 months when using it for commercial purposes.

Replace an ECHO fuel filter:

  • Wipe around the fuel cap to remove dirt and debris so they don’t fall into the tank.
  • Remove the cap.
  • Pull the fuel filter out of the fuel tank. A clean bent wire works well to retrieve the filter.
  • Once the filter is out of the tank, remove it from the fuel line. Be careful not to lose the retaining ring. Keep the ring on the fuel line.
  • Attach the new fuel filter by inserting the male end into the fuel line and securing the line to the filter using the retaining ring.
  • Place the fuel filter back inside the fuel tank.
  • Install the fuel cap.

6. Clogged Fuel Lines

The deposit left behind by old fuel can cause a buildup in the fuel lines that will prevent a good flow of fuel from running through them.

When you find a clogged fuel line, remove the line and try to remove the restriction using carburetor cleaner to loosen the clog and compressed air to remove the clog.

If the fuel line is dry, cracked, or damaged, you should replace it with a new fuel line.

7. Plugged Fuel Tank Vent

The ECHO fuel tank must be able to vent to allow air to pass through it. When the vent gets clogged, the fuel tank will form a vacuum. The vacuum prevents fuel from flowing out of the tank. Insufficient fuel will cause the trimmer to die.

If you are not getting fuel to the carburetor, but you are running a good filter and you don’t have any clogs in the fuel lines, you may have a clogged fuel vent. You can test this by placing your ECHO string trimmer on a level surface.

Loosen the fuel cap to allow air into the tank and start the trimmer. Don’t allow gas to spill out of the fuel tank. When the trimmer starts and runs, replace the fuel cap with the trimmer still running.

Continue to let it run for a while to try to replicate the problem. If it sputters and dies with the cap on and then starts and runs once the cap is removed, you most likely have a problem with the fuel tank vent.

Replace the vent with a new fuel tank vent. This is a small part that is found coming off a line out of the fuel tank.

8. Dirty Carburetor

The carburetor mixes the correct proportion of air and fuel required for your ECHO string trimmer to run. The passageways can become clogged and the small components can fail to function correctly.

This can cause an insufficient amount of fuel mixed with air resulting in a rough running string trimmer that may just quit. You may be able to clean your carburetor to get it working again.

You may end up having to rebuild it (if rebuild kits are available for your carburetor) or replace the carburetor if cleaning doesn’t help.

Before replacing a carburetor, I recommend comparing the cost of the carburetor and labor expense to the cost of a new ECHO string trimmer.

Depending on the model, cost, and age of your string trimmer, you may be better off purchasing a new one.

9. Dirty or Bad Spark Plug

When the spark plug is worn or becomes dirty, it may provide an intermittent spark that may cause the engine to die. Remove the spark plug and inspect its condition.

If you find the tip is very dark in color, the electrode is burnt or the porcelain is cracked, it’s time to replace the spark plug. If it’s just a little dirty, you can try to clean it with a wire brush.

Check the electrode gap and make sure it meets ECHO’s specifications. Once you have confirmed the spark plug is good and the gap is correct, reinstall the spark plug. Wait to attach the spark plug wire until you have completed all repairs.

10. Bad Ignition Coil

The winding on the ignition coil can separate and short out. When this happens, the spark plug won’t get the voltage required to create a spark. This will cause your ECHO trimmer to die after it’s been running.

Identify a bad ignition coil using an ohmmeter to check for a break in continuity. Replace the ignition coil if you find a break.

11. Plugged Spark Arrestor

You will find a small metal screen installed on the muffler of your ECHO trimmer. This is installed to keep hot exhaust material from shooting out of the trimmer and causing injury or starting a fire.

Carbon can build up on the screen restricting airflow. This will make your string trimmer run sluggish and quit.

Disconnect the spark plug wire. On most ECHO models, you will remove the engine cover and the engine exhaust cover to access the spark arrestor screen. Carefully remove the spark arrestor screen and clean it with a wire brush

If the screen isn’t able to be sufficiently cleaned or you find it is damaged or has a hole in it, replace it with a new spark arrestor screen.

Contact your local ECHO dealer if you are having trouble locating the spark arrestor screen or if you are continuing to experience problems with your ECHO string trimmer.