As the title implies, this trimmer has the potential to be a GREAT trimmer if you apply a few minor tweaks. Some of the negative reviews posted here are genuine complaints and have their individual merits - which I won't argue. However, there are many complaints about issues that are user generated, specifically, the complaints about the starting problems, poor idle, etc. Having read nearly all of the reviews posted here and on two other sites related to this trimmer, I purchased one with a fairly good idea what to watch out for and what to do to avoid some of those issues. Straight out of the box and assembled, it lacks the QA afforded to higher priced trimmers. The screws aren't tightened to a given spec, the engine hasn't been run for any amount of time other than to verify that it starts, etc. Since the engine hasn't been brought up to operating temp, it hasn't been tuned for optimal performance. I'll come back to that in a moment. And lastly, the grease in the gear box where the shaft turns 90° toward the ground has a minimal amount of thick, sub-par, generic grease which causes the heat issue some reviewers have mentioned as well as inhibiting its ability to spin freely without any extra effort by the engine. First and foremost is the fuel. Buy the best gas you can buy. Get it at a "top tier" gas station. Don't buy a lot. Only buy and have on hand, as much as you will use in a month. Gas goes stale after sitting for any length of time. Mix the fuel exactly as indicated - no more, no less. Measure the amount of oil you're adding, don't eyeball it. Lastly, add 2 oz. of fuel stabilizer (Sea Foam, etc.) to each gallon of premix. This will help keep the fuel fresh as well as helping to boost the cleaning agents in the fuel to keep the internal parts of the trimmer clean. When starting the trimmer for the first time, FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS to the letter! Once started, let it idle for about 10 mins. then continue running it at full throttle for another 5-10 mins. Once the engine comes up to operating temp, your trimmer will probably run rough to some degree. That's because it hasn't been tuned properly as mentioned above. If it runs great at full throttle but horrible at idle and/or if it idles fine but bogs down and acts like it's going to die when you squeeze the trigger, the fuel/air ratio needs to be adjusted. There are numerous how-to videos on YouTube that take you step-by-step through this procedure. The grease in the gearbox should be replaced with a full synthetic, high-temp grease like Mobil1 or Valvoline. This will reduce the friction and decrease the heat created by the gears. The head will spin faster and easier as a result. There are also some complaints that are legit but unfortunately, there is no solution, i.e., the length of the shaft, the weight, the balance, the long grass getting tangled up... Overall, this trimmer is a great value. If you apply the tweaks mentioned in this review, you will have a workhorse of a machine that will last for years. If you're not real tall, you won't be trimming tall grass a lot and you have the strength to carry it around without exerting yourself too much, this thing will astound you if for no other reason the price alone. However, if you're wanting a trimmer that is nearly perfectly weight balanced and starts on the first pull straight out of the box, you would be better served spending more money - much more money, for a trimmer with this size engine and cutting path.
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