The weed eater spark plug is a small engine component that can make a big difference in the way your weed eater performs. The spark plug is an essential part of your weed eater that is positioned on the engine housing. Without it, the engine would not start, and you would be left with a lawn full of weeds! Weed eater spark plugs are a common replacement part for your weed eater.After realizing a lot of gardeners have holes in their knowledge where tool maintenance is concerned, I’ve put together a guide to understanding a weed eater spark plug. Here are 10 things you should know about it.It should be noted only gas-powered trimmers need a spark plug. If you’ve got a battery-powered or electric weed eater, it’s just the battery and/or plug that needs maintaining.
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How To Know If Your Weed Eater Needs A New Spark Plug
Not all weed eaters need a spark plug. Battery and electric versions don’t contain liquid fuel, so they don’t need an igniter. But gas-powered tools depend on them. Without a working spark plug, your weed eater won’t start, or it will stop-start in a sputtering fashion. The good news is spark plugs are cheap, widely available and easy to replace.Here is a quick way to check if your weed eater’s spark plug is functional.First, remove the plastic covering to expose the spark plug. Remove the boot protector. Use a socket wrench to unscrew the spark plug. Carefully lift it out and look for the following signs:Black carbon deposits on the spark plug and/or plug terminalsAn overly wide gap between the terminals and spark plug gaugeAny visible corrosion or degradation of the spark plugAny of these signs can be a clue as to why your weed eater spark plug isn’t functioning correctly. I recommend dealing with them one by one until you find the right solution. If you address all three and the spark plug still doesn’t work correctly, you probably need a replacement.I’ll explore each of these issues and how to fix them a little later. For now, let’s familiarize ourselves with what a spark plug looks like and where to find it on your weed eater.
Do Weed Eaters Take Spark PlugsWe’ve established that gas-powered weed eaters need a spark plug to function. These components are pretty small, normally around 16mm in length. Their job is to generate an electrical spark to ignite the combustion that fuels the device. It’s not too different from a car engine. There’s got to be a spark to bring the machine to life.If the spark plug stops firing or struggles to fire, your weed eater won’t have enough energy to stay on. That’s the basic explanation. Now, if you’re feeling curious, let’s get technical.The spark plug produces a burst of electrical energy which jumps across the gaps in its firing end. If it’s not in good enough condition or it’s over-fouled, its voltage might be too weak to bridge the space.When an electrical spark reaches an ignition coil or magneto, electrons are released, and a voltage difference develops between the central and side electrodes. At first, the spark is impeded. No current can travel across the gap and connect the terminals because a combustible mixture of gas and air acts as a barrier.However, as the voltage increases, the structure of this barrier begins to change, and the gas becomes ionized. It is now a conductor, and the electrons start to flow freely between the terminals. This significantly increases the temperature of the spark channel.The sudden burst of thermal energy causes the ionized gas to expand much like a miniature explosion. Listen carefully and you can hear a ‘click’ sound when this happens.The result is an intense, contained flame that acts as an igniter and turns the weed eater on. Crucially, the spark plug is also capable of regulating thermal energy in the combustion container.It draws unwanted heat away from the combustible materials and channels it to the device’s cooling components to be neutralized. This is a really important function because, otherwise, your weed eater might heat up in summer or an overly hot garage and switch itself on.Think of the weed eater spark plug as the first domino in a chain. It launches the ignition process but it can only complete it if all the components are positioned correctly.If the spark plug is covered in carbon deposits or the gauge or terminals are misaligned, the chain is severed. Most spark plugs require a voltage of at least 20,000v to ignite efficiently.
How To Tell If A Weed Eater Spark Plug Is BadThe quickest way to tell if your weed eater’s spark plug is misfiring is to remove it and take a close look at it.So, you need to locate the crankcase first. The crankcase is a protective plate that conceals the spark plug. It should be easy to lift with a fingernail.1 – Use your fingernail to lift the cover and reveal the spark plug and spark plug wire.2 – Remove the boot protector. This is a small rubber cap that fits over the spark plug and protects it from debris and contaminants.3 – Give the area around the plug a quick wipe to remove any debris. Bits of dust, dirt and other materials mustn’t inside the weed eater’s fuel compartment.4 – Use a ratchet and a spark plug socket (normally a 5/8-inch socket) to remove the spark plug from the weed eater.5 – When I remove a spark plug from a device, I plug the hole it leaves with a clean rag. This prevents bits and pieces of debris from dropping into the combustion chamber and causing problems later. I recommend you also take this precaution.6 – Inspect the spark plug for black carbon deposits. While it’s normal for some degree of staining to accumulate over time, these deposits can build up and prevent a weed eater’s internal components from connecting and this may cause misfires. If the spark plug is heavily stained, the fuel is probably too rich.7 – To remove the carbon deposits, gently abrade them with an emery board taking care not to apply too much force. Take a close look at the spark plug’s terminals. If they have carbon deposits too, remove them by running the emery board across the surfaces where sparking occurs. Use a fingertip to identify any areas that are extra rough and built up with carbon.8 – Turn your attention to the space between the plug’s terminals. You’ll need a spark plug gauge or a similar-sized tool to measure the small gap. If it measures more or less than 0.030 inches, use fine-nosed pliers to adjust it.9 – Test whether these adjustments have improved your weed eater’s firing capabilities by putting the boot protector on and tapping the plug on a metal part of the engine. Pull the device’s starting cord as you do this. If it’s firing correctly, you should see a blue spark jump between the terminals every time the cord is pulled.10 – If you’re having trouble with the previous step, an alternative test is to wind a piece of 14-gauge copper wire around the plug’s threads. Tap the end of the wire on a metal part of the engine and watch for a blue spark.11 – A healthy spark is a clear blue color. If your spark is very pale or yellow, take another look at the gap between the terminals. This often happens when the gap has become too wide and needs some adjusting. The opposite is true – the gap between the terminals needs to be widened – if the spark doesn’t stay between the terminals but jumps to a different part of the spark plug’s head.12 – Repeat steps nine and/or ten to see if your adjustments have worked. If the gap between the terminals is now optimal but the spark continues to be weak or inconsistent, it’s time to get a new one. The spark plug should be replaced.
What Kind Of Spark Plug Do I Need For A Weed EaterIf your weed eater spark plug is not firing correctly and needs replacing, you have a lot of options.There are several leading brands to choose from including Husqvarna, Ryobi and Homelite. It’s up to you to decide whether the same brand or a completely different brand of spark plug is the best choice.
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Always check your weed eater’s specs before buying new components to guarantee compatibility.Some specialist machines will need a specific type of spark plug that is only available from one brand. The vast majority though are compatible with any brand provided a plug’s dimensions and heat range are suitable.There’s no reason you can’t replace a misfiring spark plug with a new one from a different brand. It’s not like your weed eater’s engine can tell the difference.Here are some weed eater and spark plug combos that I’ve tried and loved: