String trimmer spool that won't keep "breaking"?

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I have a 3 year old Troy-bilt 4 cycle gas string trimmer that takes attachments ((either TB575SS or TB525CS--forget which and have the manual in front of me). The string on my trimmer keeps getting stuck inside the spool. It's a real pain to have this happen in the middle of a job.
Is there a replacement head, spool, or trimmer attachment that's less likely to break on me? I love the basic unit--starts fast, and I have the blower and tiller attachments.
Thanks.
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I have the same trimmer and I experienced the same problem until I got very tired of it.
I bought the Shakespear fast loader at Lowes and changed out the heads. This uses cut string sections. Replacing string is fast and easy. Takes about 2 seconds to replace a broken line. Buy a spool and cut your own this model needs a string about 1" longer than the precuts. The precuts are also a little pricey.
Also this particular model is one of the more difficult to install the head on and have a nice tight fit. I can write more about that if you choose to go for it since I plan to put an article on my site when I have time to write it. The directions that came with it were basically useless for this model trimmer but the product is well worth the time and effort to install. Even with the difficult install I would grade the product 4.5 Stars on a 1-5 scale. Everything I needed was in the package but I had to cut down the brass bushing.
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Colbyt
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On 5/8/2010 8:02 AM, mike wrote:

I got one of these for my Stihl.
http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?pQ146&cat=2,2160,40710
LdB
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LdB wrote:

Try a different brand of string, and watch how you wind it on the reel. I had one package of discount-store string that I threw away half-full, because after about 4 or 5 bump feeds, the string would get bound up on the reel, and break at the hole where it feeds out. Different brand, different color, probably slightly different diameter and cross-section, and the problem went away.
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aem sends...

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mike wrote:

SS is straight shaft and CS is curved shaft. That probably determines whether your arbor has RH or LH threads. A replacement head would need the matching thread direction, diameter, and pitch.
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Thanks to all. My trimmer is a Straight Shaft.
Colbyt, how long does a pre-cut string typically last? I imagine I'd need more than one per trimming, as I've typically needed more than one "bump" per trimming.
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Mine is this model-- but I suspect there is little variation between brands; Better Heads LLC 1101PTC PIVOTRIM Trimmer Head [$22 shipped] (Amazon.com product link shortened)
I bought the bundle of precuts for it last May when I replaced the third style of string head on my 6-7yo Poulan.
I usually went through 2 loads of string in a summer.
This gadget is still on the factory string & they show no sign of wear. It works as well or better than the regular heads I've used in the past.
Jim
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wrote:

Thanks to all. My trimmer is a Straight Shaft.
Colbyt, how long does a pre-cut string typically last? I imagine I'd need more than one per trimming, as I've typically needed more than one "bump" per trimming.
Mike, it depends on what you are trimming and your skill level at not hitting stuff. Each little string with this replacement head is cut to 8-9" so when it breaks shorter than 4" it is time to replace it.
I will use yesterday as an example. I went to a rental house I own which has chain link fence. The fence rows had not been trimmed in for a couple of years and the orchard grass was about a foot high, a few weeds and young Chinese honeysuckles mixed into the mess. While doing 2 sides of about 200 foot of fence I went through 30-40 strings because I kept hitting the damn fence. At bad as that sounds I was only there about an hour. Chain link fence is the worst thing in the world to weed eat around.
With the bump and go crap I would have been there all afternoon.
That was a bad day so I stopped at Lowes and bought a new roll, 155 feet for $8 before I went to the next house. That roll will make 206 precut strings.
I went to another house and did the whole back yard while never replacing a single string. Around my own yard I seldom break more than one or two per trimming session and that is usually when I am edging along the drive or walk. On pure grass the .095 string lasts a long time
Colbyt
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Colbyt wrote:

In the 1970s I bought the first string trimmer I saw. It was invaluable in maintaining an old cemetery with 250 headstones. In 1982 I began trimming half a mile of electric fence, perhaps weekly, using a similar lightweight trimmer. I couldn't stand straight using that trimmer, and bending that long was fatiguing.
So I got a 17-pound Hoffco from Troybuilt. It had a shoulder strap and two wide handlebars like a motorcycle. I could stand straight and cut for hours without fatigue. After 13 years of hard use, the carburetor quit working. I didn't fix it because an aunt gave me a Hoffco of the same model that she'd owned 11 years but now found too heavy. I've used that for 14 years and it still runs fine.
To me, two wide handlebars are important. I've tried models with only one wide handlebar or none, and I found them fatiguing and control poor. For heavy cutting such as a hillside covered with briers, it came with a head that holds 3 plastic blades or 3 doubled heavy lines. Most of the time, I use .095 line from the spool head.
The lines don't break because they exit between posts of aluminum tubing about 3/8" in diameter, with gives them a big radius to bend around. The head is a simple design. The spool is mashed between rubber washers. You snip off the frayed ends of the lines, loosen the screw cap, pull out the amount of line you want, and tighten.
This allows you to set the length to cut any size swath from 8 to 17". A bigger swath is more destructive due to higher tip speed, but a smaller swath allows better control and is less destructive to the line.
I trim a lot of chain-link fence. If I'm running my usual swath, I'll have to stop and snip split ends shortly after I start on the fence. Then I can probably do hundreds of feet of fence with no further splitting. The secret is to control tip speed by the use of the throttle and a smaller swath, perhaps 11".
I've read that Hoffco invented the string trimmer in the 1940s. I wish they still made them. A few months ago I downloaded a 2009 guide from Tulsa Small Engine Warehouse showing which of their 12 favorite trimmer heads they recommended for each of perhaps 1000 trimmer models. No Troybuilts are listed, but my antique Hoffco is.
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Thanks Colbyt and J Burns.
So, what are some good models available today at a Big Box store like Lowes or Home Depot? I'd be fine using my Troybilt with just the blower, edger, and tiller/cultivator attachments I already own. This is for home and not commercial use. Should I be looking at a commercial-grade model? If so, what model, where, and what should I expect to pay? Surely those who landscape for a living aren't using a model like mine--at least I hope not.
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All you need is a new fast loader type head for your SS Troybilt. That is exactly what I am using. Paid $15 and about 2 hours to install it differently than the package depicted. Taller guys might like there way of doing it but it did not suit me. Would be a 20 minute install if you own the pin ring pliers and want to do it their way.
This is what I bought: http://www.lowes.com/pd_79964-42694-16267_0_?newSearch=true&catalogId051&productId044053&Ntt=shakespeare+fast+loader&N=0&langId=-1&y=0&x=0&storeId151&Ntk=i_products&ddkey=http:SearchCatalogDisplay
Just in case that link does not work lowes.com and search for this item: Shakespeare Fast Loader Replacement String Trimmer Head Item #: 79964 | Model #: 16267
Colbyt
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Thanks Colbyt. I'll definitely take a look. Searching on Amazon.com, I found another, similar replacement head called the "Tanaka No Brainer." Has anyone here used that one? Seems to get high ratings. Saw another called a Grass Gator.
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Haven't used it-- but I'll note that it is only exposing 2 strings to your grass [my Pivotrim has 8] and it appears that the ones on the 'No Brainer' will suffer the same fate as a regular trimmer-- the wear point is where it goes through the head. The Pivotrim swivels.
Too many styles of Grass Gator to guess at which one you mean-- but I did try their brush blades once for about 10 minutes. They sucked.
Jim
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Depends a lot on your usage. I trim up agains the house a lot and it has a brick foundation. I go through a fair amount of string and the precuts would be a real pain as well as expensive.
How you wind the string on the trimmer has a lot to do with how well it feeds off. Try to put the string on with the same established turn that it comes out of the package with. Sometimes it helps to precut a long piece of it to make that easier.
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teeth advance gizmo should USE the damned things for a day to see how they DON'T bloody well work. I've had different string trimmers, mostly electric and one gas and none of them work worth a fiddler's damn. I will try some of the replacement gizmos this summer as there are about a half dozen or so on the market now. ==
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The pre-cuts would be of no use to me then, as I have a brick foundation. I suppose I could buy a second trimmer attachment to have ready to go when the string gets caught in the spool. Too bad no one's invented a bump head that works reliably. I still wonder what the "pros" use--landscapers who trim every day. Do they just carry spare trimmers around with them?
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Yea, I'm using a big head that feeds 2 strings as well. The bigger heads seem to work a bit better. Still not perfect but better.
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Thanks again for the replies. Any other thoughts?
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I had similar complaints with string trimmers over the years. The best result I ever had was to modify the head so I could insert piano wire instead of the monofilament. I'm sure it was dangerous as heck, but it worked and lasted quite a while before I'd have to replace it. Unlike most uses, my string trimmer was used to trim grass against a limestone wall, so there was terribly abrasive conditions for monofilament. I have also used aircraft cable, but the piano wire worked best.
If you try it, don't attempt to wind the wire onto the spool. Instead, cut pieces of piano wire to an inch or so longer than the recommended extended diameter of the monofilament, then heat it in the center and wrap it around a bolt held in a vice to place a loop in the middle. This then goes around the center bolt in the string trimmer's head when you reassemble it. I've tried this using just a single piece of piano wire and also two, placed at right angles, giving me 4 strings instead of 2. I couldn't tell any difference in lifetime or cutting.
Nonny
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== But when the piano wire breaks where do the pieces go? Will a lawn mower pick them up and throw them? This could be very dangerous for kids or pets or even the operator's legs if using a push power mower. The mono-filament line is relatively harmless IMHO. Would heavy fishing line work just as well?...some of that is quite strong. ==
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