6 Reasons Your Leaf Blower Won’t Idle

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Is your leaf blower stalling? Maybe it starts fine but suddenly stops? Not idling like before? There are many reasons why a leaf blower will not idle, but the good news is the solutions are almost always straightforward. Once you know the reason why, it is a matter of applying the right fix. To make things easier, here is a list of the most likely causes. Along are step by step guides on what to do.

A blocked fuel filter is the most common reason for a leaf blower that will not idle. This makes it impossible for gas to reach the carburetor. Under these conditions your leaf blower will stop idling and may not run at all.

There are many possible reasons why a leaf blower refuses to idle or stalls. The following are the most likely and should fix the issue. Usually it is just one thing that is causing the problem, but if you tried one and the issue persists, go through the other suggested fixes here.

Incorrect Engine Idle Timing Speed

There are many types of leaf blowers but they all have options to modify the idle speed. This is the first thing you should look at.

Leaf blowers have an idle adjustment speed setting, and changing it might solve the problem. If it is in the wrong configuration, your leaf blower will stall or stop intermittently.

How to Fix It\

This video shows how to adjust the idle speed. If you prefer to read written instructions, follow these steps.

The following is a general guideline only as your model might have a different configuration. It is important to remember that any adjustment has to be done incrementally. This is to avoid sudden changes in leaf blower performance.

Step 1. Turn your leaf blower off.

Step 2. Find the adjustment setting on the machine. This is usually on the carburetor but yours might be someplace else. The idle adjustment has two screws, one for mixture and another for idle.

Step 3. Rotate the mixture screw clockwise by one and half inches.

Step 4. Rotate the idle screw clockwise, also by one and half inches.

Step 5. Turn the leaf blower back on. Let it run for a few minutes and observe.

If the engine runs smoothly, you are done. If it stalls again, turn the mixture and idle screws again by an inch. Repeat until the idling becomes normal.

Clogged Fuel Filter

The fuel filter is designed to make leaf blowers such as the Echo 453 CFM PB-2520 run smoothly. But if the fiter is clogged, fuel will not reach the carburetor and prevent it from idling. Even if the motor starts it will shut down at some point.

How to Fix It

The first option is to clean it. If that does not work, you have to replace the fuel filter. To clean the filter, follow these steps.

Step 1. Find the filter. Usually it is in the fuel tank, but check your owner’s manual to be sure.

Step 2. Use a screwdriver to take the filter off the fuel line.

Step 3. Disconnect the spark plug if you have not done so. It is also a good idea to empty the fuel tank.

Step 4. Clean the fuel filter. This guide walks you through how to clean a leaf blower fuel filter.

Step 5. Once the filter has been cleaned, put it back in. Turn the leaf blower on and give it a try. Let it idle for a few minutes.

Cleaning the filter usually solves the problem. At some point though you may have to replace the filter. This can be after several weeks, months or years depending on how your leaf blower is used. If you find yourself having to clean the filter repeatedly, it is time to buy a new one. This video shows you how to replace the fuel filter.

Dirty Air Filter

The air filter gets grimy from prolonged exposure to dirt or when the leaf blower gets wet. Whatever the cause may be, the cleaning process is easy enough to do.

How to Fix It

Step 1. Take off the air filter cover.

Step 2. Remove the filter. Tap it lightly to remove dust and dirt.

Step 3. Use a brush to remove dirt that has stuck onto the filter. You can also use canned air.

Step 4. Put the filter and cover back on.

Step 5. Turn the machine back on. Let it idle for a few minutes and it should be running fine after a while.

Carburetor Needs Cleaning

The carburetor is what enables the engine in mowers like the LawnMaster NPTBL31AB to start. If it is dirty, air and fuel will have a hard time getting into the engine. If you have a carburetor powered leaf blower that will not idle, this is a good place to look.

How to Fix It

This guide is for a 2-cycle leaf blower. The mechanisms for your model may be different. This is a complicated process so if you are not comfortable with it, take the machine to an expert and let them clean the carburetor.

This video demonstrates how to clean a leaf blower carburetor. You can also follow the instructions below if you prefer to read them.

Step 1. Use a screwdriver to remove the air filter cover so you can get to the carburetor. Take note of the fuel lines and where they go to. When you are done cleaning, install them in the same location.

Step 2. Unscrew the metal cap on the diaphragm. Take off the pivot that keeps the needle in position.

Step 3. On the other side of the carburetor, unscrew the primer.

Step 4. Take off the high and low speed jets. Yours may only have one. These may also require a spline tool.

Step 5. Clean the carburetor. Use only a cleaning solution made for carburetors. Follow the instructions for the carburetor cleaner you bought.

Step 6. Put the carburetor back together and turn the leaf blower on. If the problem persists, the carburetor is damaged and you have to buy a new one.

This procedure is only for those who know the ins and outs of their leaf blower. This also does not apply to fuel injected models.

Clogged Spark Arrester

The muffler / spark arrestor get clogged over time. Just like a dirty filter, leaf blowers will have a hard time running unless it is cleaned. If you have tried the fixes given here and none works, this is the next step.

Step 1. Find the muffler. This is usually close to the exhaust line. Consult your owner’s manual if you are not sure.

Step 2. Brush any debris around the muffler edge. You can also use a towel or rag.

Step 3. Carefully remove the muffler. Refer to your manual for instructions. Use a carburetor cleaning solution to remove the dirt. Use an air duster for dirt stuck in the deep, hard to reach areas.

Step 4. If there is still dirt left, leave the muffler in a water and bleach solution for several hours. Make sure the bleach is heavily diluted. Use this only if dirt will not come off.\

Image source: Coolkasun

Fuel Line Problems

This is one area that is often overlooked, but it could be worth checking if idling problems persist. If thee fuel line is bent, clogged or damaged in some way, the engine cannot function properly.

Examine the fuel line not just for cracks but also any folding. Any of these will make it hard for the fuel to reach the carburetor. These bends and folds could eventually turn into cracks and cause the blower to shut down frequently.

Do not ignore this part as it directly relates to how the machine receives and uses fuel. Always ensure the fuel lines are working properly.

Tips and Reminders

If the motor does not idle, turn it off then turn it on again after a few minutes. Sometimes a restart is all the motor needs.

If you are using an electric leaf blower, check the connections thoroughly. Do not use the tool if you think there is a damaged electrical component somewhere. Have it fixed first.

If your leaf blower used to work but now has idling problems, it is likely due to a clogged filter or carburetor. However, not being able to run properly could be symptomatic of other problems. If none of the fixes above work, take your leaf blower to a repair service.

Not winterizing leaf blowers properly can cause idling issues. You should follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer on how to winterize it.