Monday, September 1, 2014

Maruyama-US Returns To The North Coast

Over the past 15 years living on the North Coast of California, I haven worn out or destroyed close to a dozen weed wackers or brush cutters. I have used Homelite, Weed Eater, Ryobi, Craftsman,and Dr.

All of these worked fine when they were new although many of them had their limitations being that they were all normal consumer models. When  you see the professionals out there that have to use these things for a living you will see other brands like Husqvarna, Echo, Stihl, Maruyama and Redmax.

For the most part, consumer models are only warranted for up to 2 years by these manufacturers. Husqvarna and Redmax do extend their warranties for consumers but there is a catch. You have to buy their 2 stroke oil and premix gas. You have to do this when you purchase the product and include the receipts with your warranty registration card. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It turns out that
all 2 stroke oil and gasoline is not the same. This is important to know. For years I had been  using the cheapest 2 stroke oil from Craftsman and or Ace. Neither of these oils are rated and both come in a 3.2 oz. bottle when many of the weed wackers need a mix from a 2.6 ox. bottle. The idea behind the Craftsman and Ace size is that you can use it for either the 50:1 mix or the 40:1 mix. The problem is getting the measurements right. If you use the whole bottle 3.2 oz. for 1 gallon of gas, you are at a 40:1 mix and most of these machines want a 50:1 mix.

Another problem is the gas. These days ethanol is included with most of the gas we buy. This is to supposedly reduce air pollution. It is also a bonus to big agra that likes to grow acres and acres of one kind of genetically modified corn which is manufactured into the ethanol that is then added to our gasoline. While this does stretch the gasoline supply in our country, it also burns hotter and goes bad faster. When gas goes bad it gums up the carburetor and causes all sorts of problems. When using gasoline with ethanol most manufacturers recommend using a mix no stronger than E15 which is 15 % ethanol added to the gasoline. E10 which is a mixture at 10% would be better. Also the octane should not be lower than 85 in any case.

Gas with ethanol should not be stored for longer than 30 days, so if you are not using your equipment at a rate to use up the entire gallon of mixed fuel, a fuel stabilizer should be added to the fuel or you can purchase premixed fuel like TruFuel at your favorite outdoor equipment, hardware or auto parts store. This premixed fuel comes in 1 quart jugs and already has the perfect mix for your machine plus it has special lubricants and stabilizers already added. It's a little more expensive than mixing your own but if you are not going through more than a gallon a month, it might be the best choice for your needs. Where I live we can get unleaded gasoline at a few locations that does not contain ethanol and if you are doing your own gas mix, I would recommend looking for this. It is illegal to use in cars but at almost twice the price of the gas at the pump with ethanol, it is baffling to me that anyone would use it in their car anyway.

Had I known more about the information above 15 years ago, my weed trimming and wacking experiences may have been more positive. Who likes to continually yank on the starter rope before you even start to work? Weed wacking can be enough of a chore for most of us so unnecessary rope pulling exercises should and can be avoided with a little knowledge about your machine.

Below is a future project. To find the old parts car that I parked in my back yard a couple of years ago. I can still see one of it's headlights sticking out of the mass of blackberry brambles that have just about strangled the poor little Samurai.

While I now have the information to get a couple of my old weed wackers back up an running properly, I am much more excited about the one that just got delivered to me by Maruyama-US. This Japanese built trimmer is a super lightweight consumer model from the company that still warrants their bigger models for use by professionals.

This is a BT23L. While I could have gotten a bigger unit to try out, I asked for something comparable with what I had used before and a size the average home owner might purchase. That's right, I am trying this out. Maruyama provided this little blackberry bramble killer free of charge for me to assess and write about. So for those of you that have followed my blog over the years, this is my first paid endorsement. Not so much paid but heck, I got a free weed wacker for the summer.

Based on the safety requirements in the manual, I will probably need one of their brush cutters to get to the old parts car as some of these blackberry brambles are bigger in diameter than my thumb. This unit works great on smaller blackberries but  A simple trimmer isn't going to get through this stuff. Maruyama does make brush cutters with
special attachments
for their heads that can get this job done though. One of them looks like a small round circular saw blade attachment. This thing looks a bit scary but it also looks like what you need when you get into serious brush and brambles.

We'll just see if they will let me try one of these out later. For now I'm going with this light weight, super charged ( lots of horse power), well balanced, consumer model weed trimmer.

The first thing you notice when you fire it up is the lack of shaking or excess vibration. I don't know if it's just a lack of  bearings in other models or just poor design but some of them will shake and vibrate you so hard that you are worn out before you get half the job done. Not this baby. It is well balanced and feels like a precision instrument designed for extracting exactly what you want from your yard and nothing else.



The first time I ran out of trimmer line I went to the manual to see the proper way to add more line. Oops, there is nothing in the manual that shows this. Maybe Maruyama-US will add a one page supplement to the information that comes with the trimmer that could include a couple of simple diagrams of how this is properly done. For professionals, this isn't a problem but for people using one of these for the first time, it can be a bit of a challenge. I produced a short youtube video to show you the basics of this which you can see below.

http://youtu.be/sW4Qe8OLIFQ

Just as with any precision tool or instrument, when used properly, it just makes the job that much easier. If you would like to use discretion in what gets wacked and what doesn't, you need precision and this machine delivers that along with ample power to get the job done. 

So, all in all I love this little trimmer and I think you will too. If you follow the instructions in the manual and use a good premix fuel and store the unit properly when not in use, I would suspect you would get many years out of this well designed and superbly constructed machine. Get yours here!

Disclaimer: Maruyama-US has allowed me to use this weed trimmer at no cost to me for my opinion.
They do not necessarily agree with or condone any of my past blogging or opinions. In fact they may not even agree with everything that I have shared with you up to this point on this post.  I did furnish my own fuel and will be returning the used equipment to Maruyama upon their request this fall. I hope that they will consider allowing me to test other quality products on my Northern California property. Specifically, something to uncover that Samuari that has been eaten by large blackberry brambles. Maybe something with a solid blade on it.

Either way they say they offer the industry's longest and strongest commercial warranty at 5 years.
That means they don't make disposable stuff, they're in it for the long haul just like you and me.
Stay tuned, Maruyama says we will be hearing a lot more from them in the near future on the North Coast. 



5 comments:

  1. Just a couple pointers, in case you didn't know:

    As far as fuel/oil mixes go, while different manufacturers recommend various ratios for their equipment- anywhere from 25:1 to 50:1- 50:1 can be used in all two cycle machines. The reverse isn't true. Thus, it's best to just buy the common commercial mixes formulated as 50:1 as they can be used in anything.

    A side note: For a while I got in the habit of buying the fuel mix from Ace Hardware as they were close by my house and it seemed less expensive. Had a problem with one of my machines years ago. Took it in to RazrSharp in Eureka and the mechanic suggested not buying Ace Hardware mix. He recommended any of the commercial 50:1 mixes. He seemed to think Ace and the other cheaper mixes were sub- par. I went back to using the commercial mixes sold at either Western Chain Saw or RazrSharp.

    Not all string trimmers can handle the blades, as you alluded to. The main thing isn't so much the machine's power, but the working end of the drive shaft. Most drive shafts have fine gears (not sure what word to use) on the end that fit into the gear box that mounts the blade. Those get a lot of stress on them and many can't handle the various blades.

    I used to have a couple Shindawa trimmers that were great for the most part, but didn't last a minute when I put a saw blade on them. Had to replace the drive shaft more than once on them. The Stihl trimmer I use for blades now doesn't have gears, per se, just a square cut end that would be near impossible to break or wear down.

    For clearing berry bushes, the saw blades are my favorite. Dangerous, and somewhat fragile, they're great once you get used to them.

    That "3 tooth blade" is also called a brush knife. Good for high grass mostly, but you can cut smaller vines with them. I also find them useful for cutting stuff near the ground such as ivy since you don't really have to worry much about dulling the blades on them.

    I've had a "4 tooth blade" for over 20 years but never use it. Pretty much worthless when the saw blade or brush knife do the same thing better. The guy that sold it to me recommended it as the blade for berry bushes. As far as I'm concerned he didn't know what he was talking about.

    Never used an 8 tooth. I suppose it might be a substitute for the saw blade if a saw blade wasn't available. I suspect it would be a bit rougher to handle, though.

    Oh, and as far as those nylon line spools that often come with sting trimmers, I don't know of any commercial users that use those nowadays. I stopped using one within six months of getting into the business. As you wrote, it can be a hassle putting new line on the spool. What I really hated was running out of line towards the end of a large property and having to walk all the way back to the truck to put more line on the spool.

    Most of us use the trimmer head where you just run a precut piece of nylon line through a couple holes. When it gets worn out, just insert another section of line.

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  2. Thanks for the info Fred. I hope Maruyama lets me try out one of their brush cutters next. Perhaps I can see which blade works the best for me and in which situation. Also thanks for expanding on the importance of the right fuel mix. I never tried one before this test but even at the price for Truefuel, I don't think I'll ever mix again. Do you know of a mix that works as well with 92 octane that has a better price?

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  3. Not really, but I'm not sure about octane content. Years ago I was reading the manuals for at least a couple two cycle machines I use. They recommended using the highest octane content gasoline. I forget the percentage but it's sold as Premium gas.

    I bought that at the extra price for quite a while until someone told me the octane content didn't matter. I forget who that was but he was someone who had looked into it. I switched back to the lower grade, Regular gas and never had a problem with the regular grade.

    I don't believe the mixes I use- either Stihl or the stuff I get at RazrSharp- require or even suggest using any specific gas. I've never read the find print on the label, though.

    And just something weird to throw out: I believe it was the guy at RazrSharp that told me not to buy the cheaper Ace Hardware fuel mix also told me the good fuel mixes already come with stabilizer added so you don't have to add extra stabilizer. That's a bit hard for me to swallow. Never heard that before. Can that be true?

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  4. The Truefuel premix is 92 octane and says it does not degrade/oxidize like typical gasoline. It also says it meets or exceeds the warranty requirements for Sthl, Husqvarna, Echo, Shindaiwa, Roybi and Maruyama. It also passed all test requirements for JASO FD, ISO-L-EDG, and API TC what ever those are.

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  5. By using best weed wacker weed cutting is now very easy work. Ago i was cutting weed one day in two week but now i cutting weed after three days. I am feeling very much comfort when i use weed eater.

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