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Can I remove the debri guard from my trimmer?
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Author Topic: Can I remove the debri guard from my trimmer?  (Read 2206 times)
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« on: May 27, 2009, 00:31:50 »

Can I remove the debri guard from my trimmer?  I just want to trim more area.

The real reasons for not removing the debri guard are several:

1) The guard houses the trimmer string cutting blade which keeps the string at a standard length.  Too much string length increases the drag on the engine. 

What happens is it takes considerably more Horse Power to keep a longer string spinning at the same speed.  If you pay attention while you are trimming, when the string on your trimmer gets short, the engine runs faster.  Then you extend it, and the engine RPMs go back down to the speed where it was intended to operate.  Especially on smaller and lower quality trimmers using the proper length trimmer string serves as a governor of sorts, preventing your trimmer engine from running too fast all the time and potentially overheating and damaging the engine.  Now keep in mind the engine is not likely to overheat from just normal use as long as you don't trim EXTENDED periods of time with the engine "wrapped" at full RPM under no load.

2) Stress:  Longer string also places considerable extra torque on the engine and drive system.  I recall attending an update seminar for a popular higher end trimmer a number of years ago (over 10 years ago).  As they were discussing problems and recalls they mentioned that they had a problem with a certain trimmer's shaft breaking.  Now keep in mind, this is a straight shaft higher end trimmer with a solid machined steel shaft and with a full life time warranty on the shaft.  They only had problems with one particular customer's trimmer. 

After some research they found the customer had removed the guard to permit him to run a longer string.  He was running a LONG string which in turn placed considerably more stress on the shaft which after continuous hours of operation caused the shaft to fatigue and break or the splines shear off.  The manufacturer stated they did not mind the operator having removed the guard but for this customer the shaft was no longer considered under warranty since the customer had modified the product.  So keep this in mind if you choose to run a long string.

3) Personal Protection: There is little danger associated with not operating the trimmer with the guard attached, however, there is a slight danger.  The primary protective functions of the guard are,
a) Protect the operator from flying dangerous debri should your measly powered trimmer (most trimmers are less than 2 HP but operate at high RPMs) decide to grab items like rocks and sticks and throw them at you.  However, this is not that great of a concern when you consider that if it were a great concern the guard would likely be all the way around the front and sides of the string as well. 
b) Protect the operator from excessive flying grass and weeds. 
c) Another purpose for the guard is to keep the trimmer string at a length the manufacturer has deemed to be the maximum reasonable or suggested length for this trimmer.  This is not to say that your trimmer is not capable of operating successfully or acceptably with a string 2"-6" longer than the guard would allow, but it is not recommended to do so.

If you decide you want to run a longer string you would need to completely remove the guard.  The reason is if you only removed the blade the string would get too long and would get wrapped up in the guard, rendering the trimmer almost completely useless.  This is because as the string wraps around the guard it increases the resistance on the engine far beyond what several extra inches of free flying string would.  This in turn causes the engine to lose its power and RPMs.

Regarding other options to trim a wider path, friends may suggest a walk behind or "push" style trimmer.  This would likely take considerably longer to trim around a house, flower bed, etc, than a hand held.  For a home owner this would likely not be a big problem but for a contractor this could become a very time consuming problem.  The walk behind would definitely not be as versatile if you needed to reach around or behind an object.  However, if you are wanting to trim a large area or have an area where you can walk along side a building or a fenceline with a walk behind trimmer, this may be very effective.  Places where I have seen the walk behind trimmer (like the DR trimmer) being used is where the terrain is too rough for a regular push mower, the grass or weeds are too tall for a regular mower, or extended distances along fence lines. 

The problem with using a trimmer head with the pre-cut lengths of string is that you will not be getting a "bigger" cut area.  However, the string is much heavier normally, or at least these aftermarket heads will normally accept heavier string and thus permitting you to trim much longer without replacing the string.

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