Echo Products Hard to Start!

12 years ago

After reading good reviews on the web about "easy starting" Echo string edgers, I bought one at HD. I could not start it. Brought it back to HD and their service guy could not start it. Said "usually these start right up." Gave me a new one. It also take 5 to 10 pulls to start. I just live with it.

I just bought a new "quiet" Echo model PB-251 hand held blower. It took about 15- 20 pulls to start out of the box. I used new gasoline and the Echo oil. I did not take it back because I thought I probably flooded the engine. Now several weeks later, with new gasoline mixture, the blower won't start even with 30 pulls. I am so frustrated. I see comments comparing power between makes but much more important to me is one that just STARTS. The quiet Echo has so much power I can't see needing even more power - at least in Phoenix where everything is always hot and dried up (easy to blow).

I pulled the spark plug and cranked to check for spark. How do you do that?!! It is all plastic and there is no place to ground the S/plug while cranking. I made a jumper to ground the plug but could only find a metal bracket on the carb which may not have been grounded.

Is it just me that has trouble starting these Echo products?

My Stihl chainsaw starts pretty easy if it has good gas.

I rented a lawnmower and it started on 1st pull everytime. When emptying the grass catcher you had to shut off the engine. I was amazed how it always started on the 1st pull. How come they can't make these smaller engines to start like that?

Comments (28)

  • yungman
    12 years ago

    They are a little tricky. When I got my HC151, I have a hack of a time starting it until I find a fomular.

    1) Prime the bulb at least 5 or 6 time till the gas going back into the tank from the second tube.
    2) Close the choke all the way, make sure the switch is on!!( Don't laugh, happen to the best of us!!!)
    3) Pull until it turn over and want to start.
    4) Very quickly open the choke all the way and pull again. If it started with full choke, quickly open the choke.

    Now My HC151 start at 3 to 4 pull max. all the time. If you do it wrong and it won't start after 10 pull or so, you might be flooding it already. Then you might want to hold the throtle open and pull start with choke open.

    Hope this will give you a good starting point. I use this method on all my stuff and I have very good luck with it.

  • canguy
    12 years ago

    Multiple pulls out of the box is normal, the fuel system needs to be fully primed. The big problem is not the manufacturer, they need to set the carb overly lean to comply with emission regulations. This can make starting more difficult. My older Echo GT2000 is very easy to start but I was able to adjust it properly.

  • eriocaulon
    12 years ago

    My two echo's usually take about 5-6 pulls each. Then again, my craftsman blower usually takes 7-8 pulls.

  • weed_cutter
    12 years ago

    Yungman is on it. You may have to play around with it to get the best routine for your equipment. Generally for me I close the choke, 2 limp pulls not even trying to start it, open the choke and a pull to start.

    The first pulls with the choke are to charge the crankcase with fuel, too many pulls with the choke just flood me out.

    If it's cold out I give 2 pulls full choke, open the choke 1/4 and a pull to start.

    Funny, I'd tell anybody the stuff starts on the first pull 'cause I don't count the practice yanks.

  • ladylake
    12 years ago

    As mentioned many are set to lean and need to be set a little richer to start and run right. Steve

  • yungman
    12 years ago

    To Ladylake

    Problem is a lot of the newer CARB stuff don't have air fuel adjustment. My Honda don't. I know Redmax don't have. I think that's the reason there are so much more complains on RM lately. I looked at Maruyama CER230 engine and Tanaka 2530 trimmer engine, don't have hi-speed needle either.

    You pretty much get what you get. I bought Shindaiwa M242 mainly because it is not cold nature and it does have the adjustment and the most important it is not STRATO technology like Redmax, Tanaka, Kawasaki and Maruyama.

  • fruitjarfla
    12 years ago

    Ladylake, your tale is typical of most gasoline trimmers and edgers, with some easier than others. I live in a neighborhood where nearly everyone has their yards done by commercial cutters. Even with the better equipment, they carry spares, and must yank their arms off trying to start the things. In this case, modern technology is the same as it was 10 - 15 years ago but with a tiny improvement. My Echo SRM 210 that gets proper maintenance is not terribly difficult to start but requires numerous hard pulls and if the 210 doesn't start within several, it gets flooded.

  • den69rs96
    12 years ago

    One reason I prefer Stihl products. From my experience, they are really easy to start. My ms250 requires two pulls with the choke on, then move it to half on and usually in one pull it fires up. Same with my BR550 blower. Prime the bulb about 3 times, full choke one maybe two pulls, move it to the middle and it fires right up. I just bought my dad a stihl handheld blower for fathers day. Just as easy to start.

  • yungman
    12 years ago

    Anything under 3 to 4 pulls really don't make much different. My Honda trimmer always start with one pull 100% of the time. Sure don't mean much when the carb crap out after only 10 months!!!

  • ladylake
    12 years ago

    If I had a engine without adjusters and it started hard or ran lean I'd take the carb apart and bore out the jet a little. Has to do that on a 6 hp Briggs that wanted to die every time the governor opened up. bored the jet a little and it runs great now. Or get a older carb that is adjustable Steve

  • ray_okla
    12 years ago

    I have a CS306, PB251 and an SRM210. They are all easy to start and all start the same way. Do not pump the primer bulb unless the equipment has not been used for a month or so. Lock the throttle wide open or hold it wide open if it doesn't lock. Put the choke on full and pull 2 or 3 times until the engine sputters. Set on half choke and pull once and it starts. An Echo product is easy to flood and that is why its necessary to have the throttle wide open. I like them all and think they are the best homeowner grade products made.

  • ladylake
    12 years ago

    Ray I think those are a little older models before the Epa leaned things out and I wouldn't call anything Echo homeowner, everyone that I have is built a lot better than homeowner Husky and Stihl. Steve

  • yungman
    12 years ago

    I think people call some Echo homeowner because they sell in HD. No Echo is homeowner. Stihl Home Scaper is pretty good too even they are cheap. It is the same engine used in YardBoss and the commercial hand held blowers. I actually bought that engine on ebay and play with it. It is a two ring, full crank, big size bearing. In fact I like the way of the construction. the two half of the crankcase is top and bottom, not front and back. It make changing stuff a lot easier. Only thing I notice is the connecting rod is very thin in the middle. But so far nobody claimed to have connecting rod broken yet, so it must be good enough.

  • rcmoser
    12 years ago

    I don't like pulling on anything! I use carb cleaner to prime for the hard to start models. Carb cleaner evaporated quickly and DOES NOT HURT the ENGINE IMO when used as a primer or cleaner as directed on the can. naturally we would NOT want to fill the tank up with it and use no oil, but for the few seconds it take to prime an engine it don't hurt a bit IMO, done it for years and have NEVER had and engine failure. A one second blast down the carb throat usually it all it takes.

  • yungman
    12 years ago

    Do you just fill a little so it can suck into the primer bulb when push and try starting it? Does it even start?

  • flyingwoo
    11 years ago

    I don't know why you guys insist on buying from the Mass Merchant. If you bought that product from my shop (Scotty's Lawnmower in Scottsdale), I would gas it up and show you how to start and use it. If it didn't start easily, you wouldn't even buy it. We assemble everything, review safety features, and we make sure we sell you the right machine for the job. And FYI-independent dealers can usually beat HD's price on Echo equip. by 10-20 dollars.

    Here is a link that might be useful: scotty's lawnmower home page

  • rustyj14
    11 years ago

    Haven't you fellers figured out why those things are hard to start??
    Well, it all has to do with the emissions programs.
    The emission gurus finally got it all figured out--make something that is extremely hard-starting! A person who buys the product will try and try, to start it, but finally give up--tossing the machine in the scrap, and the machine will no longer be a polluting device! Just think, if none of the new machines would start--no more pollution!

  • ppsi_bellsouth_net
    10 years ago

    I have an Echo PB-251 that is giving me fits. When I try and start it it floods to the point that fuel comes out of the muffler. I have rebuilt the carburetor twice and checked all the settings etc. I have a lot of experience repairing small engines and I have set this unit aside until I can deal with the frustration again. I think the Zama rotary throttle carburetors are garbage. There are no adjustment screws and the throttle "valve" is subject to wear by IMO a poor design.
    They are also expensive to replace at $60.00+ delivery included.
    I will try and start the unit at full throttle but "Joe Homeowner" must have fits with these finicky engines.

  • homegrown55
    9 years ago

    Your Echo PB 251 does have a High speed mixture needle concealed by the little black plastic cap on the side just under the fuel outlet and inlet of the primer base. There is also a black plastic cap on top of the carb that covers the side of the H needle. The needle actually threads thru that cap. Insert a small self tap screw into the cap on the side and pull it off. Under it is the slot head High speed needle. It can be adjusted to a point, then the brass sleeve is in the way. Run a small thread tap into that and it will easily pull out with the tap itself or a small machine screw. Now remove the mixture needle. You can now clean the jet orifice. When reinstalling it, you can set it to be "richer" than before you removed it and your machine should start easier and run better. You may need to experiment with the setting for it. No need for the plastic cap or the brass sleeve to be reinstalled. You can check the factory setting on it by counting how many turns you go turn it in before it seats. Note that, and then adjust accordingly after reinstallment. It is part no. 10 in this diagram.

  • robertz6
    9 years ago

    Rusty-- on your tongue in cheek answer--

    My Echo weedwacker, was laying on a garbage can one trash day. I took it home and got it going in twenty minutes, with my modest mechanical skills.

    So making them them hard to start doesn't help with emissions, I'm sure the tosser bought another one! Now there are two instead of just one (as I'm too cheap to buy one!).

  • ewalk
    9 years ago

    Rob: Rusty's response was almost a year ago and what he described was logical then as it is today . Small engines either lawnmowers or chainsaws or trimmers etc. are all dealing with Epa restrictions !

  • Ryan C
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    After reading the posts here, and thinking I had tried it all to get the Echo PB250LN running out of the box, I thought I had given up after a day of cranking on the pull cord. Today I went back at it for a few pulls then decided to get creative. The spark plug was sparking, the engine was "on," the fuel mixture was right, but still the engine didn't want to give any signs of life. I even pulled my faithful Echo edger out and it fired right up (the #1 reason I bought an Echo blower). It gave me the idea that fuel wasn't getting to the engine, or it was not getting air required. So, I unscrewed the filter off the back (which I had done before, but hadn't cranked the pull cord). It was moderately wet with fuel. This time I decided to leave the filter completely off and crank the engine without it on. I did it on choke for a couple of pulls and it sounded moderately different. So, I flipped it down to on, and cranked and within 3 cranks it was on and humming. I let it run for approximately 1-2 minutes stationary without the filter on to let the engine run through. I then put the filter back on and it sputtered for a mere second then was back humming. I used it all day today for yard work and it worked wonders.

    Resolution - start up for the first time with back filter off. Re-apply filter and screw on before using for yard work, but let engine cycle for 1-2 minutes first to get lubricated.

  • crobertsfpc
    6 years ago

    I have Echo, Stihl, and Dolmar equipment. Echos don't start any worse or better than the others.

  • loger_gw
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Very Good Info! You have to learn "The Little Needs” of your equipment. I find it sequencing with season changes, running out of gas (as today) and Etc. On a mower that has fires 1st pull (6 yrs) or I missed something (priming, cleaning air filter or plug). Maintenance of Good Air, Fuel and Fire is needed. Total Routine Maintenance is a key to Equipment Working/Lasting.

    Checking cleaning the air filter and primer’s squirt I knew I was good (vs running out of gas breaking the flow’s timing). It fired/ran w/o the filter when I saw a prime squirt. I knew I was ready! I knew running out was not good but forgot but d/n forget the Oil Check. I have learned I can cut twice on a tank of gas and checking the oil is routine w/o any known problems. I d/n calculate the slow cutting with extra grass with our North TX Rain.

  • Northwester
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I've been fighting my PB-500T Echo backpack blower for a month now. I know exactly what's wrong with it - the high speed needle is set too lean. You can thank Al Gore for that one! Fortunately the machine comes with a five-year warranty, so I need to drive 60 miles round trip (paying bridge tolls) to the nearest HD repair center store, then wait while they check with Echo, then find out what they will cover and what they'll try to talk me out of. If I leave it, I'll have to make the round trip all over again to pick it up. Makes a lot of sense and save a lot of petro-pollution making me drive 120 miles, right?

    So, first thing to check is your warranty. If it's too late for that, you can buy a jet adjusting tool from vendors on eBay. Check carefully with a jeweler's loupe to see what shape the recessed jets have. Watch videos on Youtube to figure out what the jets look like and their location on your carburetor. Usual tuning sequence is (after you get it started) set the high speed jet so the machine runs as fast as possible at full throttle, then screw it out a bit. Remember your model airplane engines? Then bring it back to idle and adjust the slow (L) speed jet for the fastest idle. Lastly, set your idle screw to give a good, reliable idle. I usually go through the sequence twice, as the jets can interact a bit. Good Luck!

    EDIT: I took my Echo leaf blower to the HD repair center today. They kept it (the tech was off today) and will try to fix it in-house, rather than ship it back to Echo. The counter guy told me the tools for an Echo carb are not available on eBay. It takes three tools to access this carburetor - not one.

  • reubenhekmat
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Here's how you get your Echo trimmer going. Worked for me.

    Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response. If this issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may reopen it within the next 14 days. Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you. To access your question from our support site, click here.

    New Unit Wont Start

    Response By Email (Dianna) (08/07/2015 02:12 PM)
    Good Afternoon,

    Thank you for your call to ECHO Incorporated! I am sorry to hear of the unfortunate difficulties you are experiencing. Per your e-mail, the problem seems to be caused by a flooded engine. Following the starting procedure listed below will prevent the unit from flooding out with excess fuel. Try these steps to un-flood the engine.

    1. Check on / off switch. Switch should be in the run position, not in the stop position.
    2. Choke lever must be put in the run position (choke open position). Choke must not be in the cold start or closed position.
    3. Depress the purge bulb until fuel enters the bulb and the fuel returns back to the fuel tank through the clear line.
    4. With the unit resting on the ground squeeze the throttle trigger to wide open throttle or fast position and at the same time the trigger is depressed pull the starter rope several times until the engine starts. A flooded engine will usually take 6 to 8 pulls to get engine started. This procedure should get your unit started. If you let off of the trigger when the engine started and the engine dies out, squeeze the trigger again and restart the unit. Keep trigger squeezed until the engine clears the extra fuel that has not burned in the engine or until the engine continues to run at idle and visible smoke from the exhaust has been reduced.

    ECHO engines are designed to start very easily. If you leave the choke on and the starter rope was pulled more than three times and the engine does not start, the engine will flood. If you do not hear the pop within 3 to 5 pulls, place choke to run position and pull starter rope 2 to 3 times and the engine should start. If neither of the above situations help the unit start, the unit would need to be brought to an Authorized ECHO dealer. To locate the nearest Authorized ECHO Servicing Dealer, please contact our dealer referral line at 800-432-3246 (ECHO), or visit our web site at

    If you have any other questions, please update your incident and we will be happy to assist you. Our representatives are available Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Central Standard Time.

    ECHO Consumer Support Dept.

    Question Reference # 150807-000118
    Date Created: 08/07/2015 02:06 PM
    Date Last Updated: 08/07/2015 02:12 PM
    Status: Solved

  • Nicolas Roman
    2 months ago

    My pb580t broke after about 6 months..used about 5 times for 15 min. Each time..sent to home depot who sent it to echo. They "fixed" a valve..6 months later same problem . Now theyre saying its not covered under warranty? Its less than 2 years old. Never again will i biy an echo blower. Will go with stihl. Thet honor their warranties.