Craftsman Weedwacker®, also known as string trimmers or weed trimmers, are available in both gas-powered and electric-powered formats. The gas trimmers propel their cutting lines using two-stroke or four-stroke engines, generating considerable power. In contrast, Craftsman electric trimmers are corded and rely on electric motors. While the electric trimmers are less powerful and less portable than gas trimmers, they don't guzzle gas and tend to have fewer problems.
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A debris shield is a curved panel of material -- usually plastic -- that wraps around the back, bottom portion of a line trimmer's head and line-assembly. The purpose of the shield is to prevent flying debris, like grass, weeds and twigs, from coming in contact with an operator's exposed skin, specifically around the ankle areas. Unfortunately, as Popular Mechanics notes, at least two of Craftsman's gas Weedwacker® models -- the 316.791880 and the 358.796121 -- do not have adequately-designed debris shields. According to the reference, both the 34-cc, four-stroke 316.791880 trimmer and the 32-cc, two-stroke 358.796121 trimmer produce clippings that are too "explosive" for their debris shields to block.
If you are trying to produce clean, straight edges with a Craftsman weed trimmer, such as along the border between a patch of lawn and a patch of mulch, vibrations may be an issue. As Popular Mechanic notes, both the 32-cc and 34-cc Craftsman models may produce vibrations during operation. While the 32-cc Weedwacker® produces vibrations primarily during low rotations per minute (RPM), usage, such as when operating the trimmer at a low speed; the 34-cc produces vibrations during low to mid-level RPM usage, such as when operating the trimmer at a low to mid-level speed.
Start or ignition problems can occur with both gas and electric Craftsman trimmer models. For the gas models, rusty or otherwise damaged spark plugs -- or spark plug arresters -- can be to blame. While spark plugs are responsible for igniting the fuel within Craftsman trimmer engines, arresters fit into and help regulate the movement of the plugs. Flooded engines can also prevent gas-powered Craftsman trimmers from starting. A flooded engine occurs when too much fuel enters into an engine, and spark plugs are unable to start ignition. By repeatedly pulling on a Craftsman gas trimmer's starter cord, you can evacuate the excess fuel and restore flooded engines.
With electric Craftsman Weedwackers®, there are fewer mechanical components that can potentially fail and disrupt ignition. However, start problems can occur as a result of faulty or damaged power cords, electrical sockets and breaker boxes. Debris becoming lodged in the head of an electric Craftsman trimmer can also cause problems with starting.
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