Motorised garden tools: Changing the petrol filter

I wanted to use our Ikra brushcutter again after a two-year break. Well, no way! First of all it was time for troubleshooting! 🙁


The thing wouldn’t start for the life of me. Okay, structured troubleshooting. What does a combustion engine need to run?

  1. Fuel
  2. Air
  3. Ignition spark

It’s not that complicated, right? Fresh fuel is in the tank. I can’t see anything in the primer of the pump, it’s yellowed. The same goes for the hoses. So I disconnected the return hose from the pump and pumped. Crap, nothing comes out.

Hmm, pulled off the inlet hose and blew into it. Wow! It’s completely closed! So I also pulled off the rubber cap on the tank together with the hoses and looked at the petrol filter. It must be made of some kind of ceramic? Or a hard, porous plastic? Or is it just pressed paper?

In any case, the thing is completely closed.

Benzinfilter Gartengerät
Petrol filter garden tool

Plastics and ceramics for petrol filters should not actually be hygroscopic. But paper filters are. The petrol tank of the brush cutter was completely empty — and had been for two years. The moisture certainly caused the filter to swell, rendering it unusable.

When I tried to clean it with brake cleaner, I realised that I could scrape off the surface with my fingernail, but the material underneath was completely dirty. So you can forget about cleaning it.

Emergency solution

Amazon has a universal filter set for ten Euro. Delivery time with Prime: two days! But I wanted to use the brushcutter now! NOW! I’m stubborn about that!

So I broke the filter with pliers so that the metal frame remained and attached a piece of fabric to it with a cable tie. If the fabric swells up in the tank, the cable tie holds all the better.

Benzinfilter, Notlösung
Petrol filter, emergency solution

I removed the second, lower cable tie, which is useless. I reassembled everything, pumped the petrol four times and pulled the starter. Ikra’s faithful soul started up immediately and I was able to work my way through the tall grass and nettles at the edges.

Fitting a new filter

The petrol filter set from Amazon was delivered two days later. It contains five pre-assembled hose sets, five additional seals for the tank and five primer pump diaphragms. Why ten seals for the tank are included is a mystery to me.

The yellow pipes are for the return line. When you can no longer see any bubbles when pumping, you can start the engine.

Remove old hoses

Firstly, we need to remove the old hoses from the pump and then lever the seal out of the tank using a wide screwdriver.

Now you can pull the hose set and filter out of the tank. I was curious to see how my temporary filter performed.

Wirksamkeit provisorischer Filter
Effectiveness of the temporary filter

Yes, tasty is different. But it worked perfectly, because I mowed until the tank was emptied to the last drop. So it had also sucked up the sediment. The cable tie didn’t dissolve, it’s solvent-proof.

But a look into the tank left me astonished. So far, the brush cutter had cleaned out maybe five or six tank loads. Why is there so much caked-on grime in there? So I cleaned it. With water, a denture cleaning tablet and a bottle brush.

Yes, denture cleaning tablets are perfect for cleaning Sodastream and other drinking bottles. And also for petrol tanks of garden tools. You have to let the tank dry thoroughly, of course.

Where might the dirt come from? From the return flow of the carburettor? Or from old petrol residue? Never mind, now the tank is clean again.

Replace primer pump

The set includes a new primer diaphragm. Of course I replaced it straight away, as the old one was already completely yellow. I also removed the air filter housing to make it easier to access the pump.

None of this is rocket science:

  1. Undo four screws
  2. Pull off the pump
  3. Change the diaphragm
  4. Screw the pump back on

Install hose set

The hose was attached to the old filter with a clip, the new filters are firmly crimped. Hmm, yes, okay. There is only a small metal part in the new filter, which is supposed to ensure that the filter is always at the lowest point of the tank. The old filter was certainly four times heavier. But what if it works?

Here is the procedure. Also very easy and quick to do:

  1. Push the filter into the tank
  2. Push on the tank seal with lubricant or force
  3. Push the yellow hose onto the pump return line
  4. Push the black hose onto the flow pipe

In my case, the tank seals supplied were too large for the opening in the tank. Well, okay, no problem, I put the new hoses into the old seal. It fits.

The hoses have different inside diameters so that they cannot be connected incorrectly by mistake. The return hose is narrower.

Test run

It was already after 8 p.m., but of course I wanted to know if I had succeeded. I had to pump a few times until the return hose was free of bubbles. Then I accelerated twice, switched on the ignition and pulled the starter: BOOM! The engine immediately came to life!

Motor läuft
Engine running

Unfortunately(?) you can’t see any exhaust fumes here, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that the engine is running. 🙂

Ikra? Satisfied?

Yes, our brushcutter, an Ikra IBF 31-4, is a good machine for domestic use. My wife ordered it on Amazon without involving me. So this is her personal brushcutter. So she can do what she wants with it. Consequently, it has spent the last two years outside under a canopy. 🙂

At only around EUR 135, it’s not terribly expensive, but it really does have a lot of power. The volume doesn’t bother me, so it’s not particularly loud. Sure, that’s subjective, but I’m actually sensitive to noise. The ergonomics with the carrying strap are okay, the workmanship is more functional than fine, the performance is clear. Working with it is satisfactory. We are satisfied.

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