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Blower - replacement and its replacement


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Old 06-25-2011, 09:26 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Default Blower - replacement and its replacement

Out with the old and in with the new, then out with the new and in with the new again...

Wait. What?


LOL! I started having "reliability issues" with my Craftsman handheld blower (it was a crapshoot if it would start from one job to the next), so I replaced it with a Stihl BG 55. Although it's from their "Homescaper" line, the dealer said it's a popular blower and has been pretty reliable - especially for one with a price tag of $149.

Here it is (was?) sitting next to the Craftsman...



It's really light (9lb I believe) and "compact". Very straightforward blower - not a lot of "features" aside from the button to lock the throttle in the "on" position. It has a pretty high MPH/CFM rating for such an affordable blower and I was initially very pleased with it.






Then I noted it would change "speeds" as I worked - it would increase and decrease for no apparent reason. It was also a bit fussy about how it wanted to be started. Choke on? Choke off? First pull? Seventh pull? How many times will it take this time? It was really random in how it started up and the starter cord wasn't anywhere near as easy to pull as the one on my Craftsman - I had to practically stand on the Stihl to keep it from coming up at me when I was starting it.

Anyway, I stopped in at my dealer the following week and as I guessed, it just needed adjusted to stop the "speed changes". Great - off I went.

Well, a week more of the unreliable starts, and I took it back.
Don't get me wrong - it started every time, but it rarely started easily - you know, like after you've run equipment for a while and turn it of, and it starts right back up? Well, this thing didn't work like that.

He said he'd be happy to give me another one, but I asked about the Echo blowers. There was one in an advertisement for $159 - just ten dollars more than what I paid for the Stihl - "Would that be a decent alternative?", I asked.
He went and grabbed one for me to take a look at. It was heavier(by .9 lbs), and a bit more "bulky", but I was willing to try it.

Turns out he didn't bring me out the $159 model, it was the $169 PB 251.
"Don't worry about the price difference - I'll do an even trade", he said.

Here it is...







I was also told not to be afraid to return it "if I'm not happy with it". Great customer service!

I've only used it for a day, but so far, I'm "mostly" pleased.
It doesn't have the same blowing force as the Stihl, and the plastic feels "cheap". Also, whoever designed a "seam" right along the length of the handle should be beaten to death. I mean, the thing should be comfortable to hold.

That said, it starts - easily.
It's also rather quiet and it has a variable speed "cruise control" for the throttle.
Another "plus" is that although the guard on the "intake" side sticks out a bit, it allows it to continue to function normally even if it comes in contact with your pant leg, whereas on the Stihl, if it "sucked up" against my leg, I could hear a change in the pitch of the blower since there wasn't enough air being allowed into the unit.

I'll see how it goes. It's not going to be any good for digging out wet leaves, but for blowing sidewalks free of clippings, it's just fine.

Crossing my fingers that I don't have to replace the replacement for the replacement.

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  #2  
Old 06-25-2011, 09:36 PM
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Yep. I've had the same issue with every Stihl I've touched. Junk that doesn't run after the first few days. Echo works for me every time and they last forever. I'm planning to get a PB-770T next month.

Those little handheld deals aren't really good for blowing leaves, they're more for the minor jobs. You may want to look into a backpack if you've got leaves or want to blow out rain gutters.

Last edited by mark123; 06-25-2011 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 06-25-2011, 11:37 PM
Johnny_boy02 Johnny_boy02 is offline
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Funny, without going out to the garage to look I believe we have the exact same blowers, the Craftsman and the Stihl.

I stopped using the Craftsman because it would not fit in the mount I bought, I went to buy a "professional" grade Stihl and my dealer told me to buy the slightly smaller unit, it is the old design so no "4 mix" BS.

Once in awhile I hear it changing RPM's like you mentioned but it doesn't change performance for me.

I have not had any starting issues with any of my Stihl products. Sorry you had issues.
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Old 06-26-2011, 12:00 AM
calebmoss calebmoss is offline
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i have that same stihl and mine starts and works great every time
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Old 06-26-2011, 03:33 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark123 View Post
Yep. I've had the same issue with every Stihl I've touched. Junk that doesn't run after the first few days. Echo works for me every time and they last forever. I'm planning to get a PB-770T next month.

Those little handheld deals aren't really good for blowing leaves, they're more for the minor jobs. You may want to look into a backpack if you've got leaves or want to blow out rain gutters.
Who knows... my Stihl trimmer (FS90R) starts on the first pull 95% of the time without even needing to move the choke. Maybe I just had a bad blower.

I was looking at the PB-770T as well. Fall isn't too far off.
I was asking my dealer about backpack blowers a few weeks ago and he was suggesting an Echo or Shindiawa - less problems than the Stihl blowers he said.
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgemaster View Post
Who knows... my Stihl trimmer (FS90R) starts on the first pull 95% of the time without even needing to move the choke. Maybe I just had a bad blower.

I was looking at the PB-770T as well. Fall isn't too far off.
I was asking my dealer about backpack blowers a few weeks ago and he was suggesting an Echo or Shindiawa - less problems than the Stihl blowers he said.
Echo is Shindiawa, I would also recommend Redmax, you will find a lot of your better dealers stock them and they are great quality. I sell them and have yet to have one come back with a complaint. Rarely do I ever see one for repair for at least 5 years.
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:29 PM
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My old Echo PB-60HT started to get really hard to start so I took it in to get serviced and I was going to pickup a PB-770T backpack but instead of spending $500, I remembered this thread and figured I'd try a PB-250 hand-held instead. It's pretty dang nice and was only $160. I only need it for grass and when my back pack gets fixed I'll have that for leaves.

The hand-held is much easier to fit in the truck, too.
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:10 PM
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Funny that this thread was bumped, as I was going to post an update tonight.

Since swapping for the Echo, I couldn't be happier, Well, if the echo blew as hard as the Stihl, I would be happier, but it works fine for its intended purpose of blowing sidewalks clear of clippings. It is also sufficient for dispersing "trails" of clippings in the lawn if the grass is a bit long/wet when you cut.

Starting? OMG does this thing start easily! I think a five year old could start it.
The only time it has given me problems is when I forget to slide the on/off switch to "start". LOL!

EASY pull... and 99.9% of the time it starts on the first pull - most times without even needing to move the choke to the "start" position. After the first start of the day, I don't even need to push the primer. Pick it up, slide the switch to "on" and give it an easy pull... that's it - you're in business.

It's pretty quiet too. I don't have a lot of experience with different units, but compared to my Craftsman and the Stihl, this Echo is notably less "AAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!"

I'm not 100% certain, but I think it uses less fuel than the Stihl too.


Overall, I'm happy with the Echo.
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