Why Does My Leaf Blower Bog Down At Full Throttle?

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

It can get discouraging when you hit the throttle on the leaf blower, and it bogs down. When starting a job, you look forward to the result of a clean yard. There are a few things you can do to fix and prevent a leaf blower from stalling.

In mechanical terms, the leaf blower is choking when it is running at full capacity. Proper maintenance solves most of these problems before they start. So what causes these issues?

Your blower will bog down if you have a clogged air filter. If the air filter is partially plugged up, this can cause your engine to bog down and even die at full throttle. Your air filter accumulates dirt over time while it keeps debris from getting to the engine, which leads to a clog.

This article will explain each of the troubleshooting issues and how to repair them yourself. There are also some tips to share in making your life easier when blowing the leaves.

Can A Dirty Air Filter Stall Out A Leaf Blower?

Air filters are designed to keep the dirt and debris out of the motor and all the working chambers. If they get clogged up, there is no airflow circulating for the engine to breathe. The air filter is the first place to go when the motor bogs down with full throttle.

All gas-powered handheld machines like a leaf blower have an air-cooled, two-stroke engine. Notice we said, “air-cooled.” A clean air filter also allows the air to flow so that the motor runs efficiently and is cooler.

Another way to look at how a dirty air filter causes the leaf blower to stall is the combustion process. Air needs to flow freely into the engine, where the fuel ignites the engine. If there is not enough airflow, then there is not enough fuel going to the motor either with this process.

How Do You Trouble Shoot A Dirty Air Filter?

When cranking up the leaf blower and letting it idle, give it the gas by pressing the throttle. If it is full throttle, the engine will stall. About 80 percent of the time, cleaning or changing the air filter will solve the problem.

Steps To Change An Air Filter

  • Open the air filter cover. There will usually be three to four bolts holding down the cover. Take the Alan wrench which comes with the blower and unscrew them. Take off the cover and set it aside.
  • Remove the air filter. Take the air filter out of the chamber and inspect it for tears or cracks. If you see any, then replace it with a new one. They are not expensive and all under $10.
  • Wash the air filter. If you decide the filter is good enough to put back, you may want to wash it. Take some warm water and soap, wash it, and let it dry.
  • Clean out the chamber. While you are letting the air filter dry, you can continue with the maintenance process. Blow out and wipe out any dirt and debris from the air filter compartment. This will help the filter last a bit longer and keep everything from falling into the motor.
  • Replace the air filter. Ensure the air filter is completely dry before replacing it. Press it into the chamber and make sure it is firmly in place.
  • Replace the air filter cover. Once the air filter is in its proper place inside the chamber, put the cover back on. Take the bolts and tighten them with the Alan wrench.
  • Test run the leaf blower. When everything is back in place, give the blower a test run to see if it is running correctly. If it does not stall out, then you have solved the problem. Continue to troubleshoot if it still stalls when giving it the throttle.

Can You Apply Motor Oil To The Air Filter?

Some old-school mechanics do this with the air filter, which helps keep it from dry rotting. Take a tiny amount of motor oil and apply it to the air filter. DO NOT DRENCH IT.

It is only a tip to help save a few dollars, and you can keep using the same air filter. The filter should be slightly damp to the touch when replacing it. It will also help catch more debris, so check it often.

How Do You Trouble Shoot A Fuel Filter On The Leaf Blower?

All two-stroke engines have a fuel mixture ratio of gas to two-cycle oil. If the leaf blower sits for too long, the gas mixture will cake up and become sticky. It begins clogging the lines and the fuel filter.

Over a short time, the fuel filter will no longer remove trash from the gas mixture. When this happens, pressing the throttle all the way will bog the motor down and possibly shut off. If the fuel does not get through, it will be the same as if you run out of gas.

Where Is The Fuel Filter?

The fuel filter is located between the carburetor and the gas tank. It is designed to catch the debris from the fuel tank. A small amount of fuel may get through, which will cause a loss of horsepower.

If the fuel filter is clogged with debris or insufficient fuel, it is time to replace it. Prolong use can damage the engine if this is not done soon.

How To Replace A Fuel Filter On A Leaf Blower

When you noticed the loss of horsepower and change the air filter, change the fuel filter in this order.

  • Remove the old gas. Drain out the old fuel from the gas tank.
  • Get to the spark plug wiring. Take the spark plug wire off.
  • Find fuel line. Remove the fuel line from the gas tank.
  • Remove the old filter. 
  • Put the new fuel filter on. Be sure to put it in the right direction.
  • Check the position of wires and lines. Put back the lines and wires.
  • Put gas in. Refill the tank with a fresh gas mixture.
  • Check your blower. Start the blower and see if it resolved the issue.

Special Tips: Add changing the fuel filter annually. This will eliminate the problems during the season. You may want to use a commercial premixed fuel since the gas pumps have ethanol in them.

Check The Carbeurator On The Leaf Blower

The carburetor is where the air mixes with the fuel creating combustion that ignites with the spark plug’s timely sparks. That is why the air and the fuel filters are so important when it mixes up in the carburetor. If the carburetor has debris from the fuel or the air, the entire system will suffer.

As you can see, everything works together, and the carburetor can get damaged if maintenance is not a priority.

If the proper air to fuel ratio is not met in the carburetor, the motor will fail to provide horsepower. The carburetor is the next part of looking into if the air and fuel filter was not the culprit.

What Are The Most Common Issues With Carburetors?

These are what most people have to deal with when the carburetor goes bad and some possible solutions.

  • The carburetor is dirty. Leftover trashy fuel or debris from the air filter has gotten into the carburetor. Open the carburetor and spray carburetor cleaner in and around the component. Put everything back together, and it should work.
  • The carburetor is cracked. While cleaning the carburetor, you may find it has a crack in it. It will need a new replacement.
  • The carburetor needs adjustment. The carburetor may need to be fine-tuned and adjusted. Find the high and low levers for adjustment. You will have to calibrate them until the smoke is limited and the throttle can rev with no stalling.

Are Spark Arrestor Problems Typical With Leaf Blowers?

Spark arrestors are small screens that keep debris from flying out of the motor. If this is not put in place, ignited fuel can create exhaust particles that are a fire hazard. If one of the particles ends up on leaves, it can cause an out-of-control fire in the neighborhood.

A spark arrestor alone will cause a loss in the engine’s performance. If it is clogged, this could be your problem with the leaf blower bogging down. All you have to do is clean the screen, and everything should go back to normal.

Related Questions

How much does it cost for a leaf blower?

The price ranges from home users to commercial products. It can be as low as $60 or as high as $1600, usually a backpack blower.

What is the best handheld blower to own?

The best overall rated is the Dewalt DCBL720P120V Brushless Blower.

Should I purchase a leaf blower or a lawn vacuum?

It is at the owner’s discretion. A lawn vacuum will get the job done more efficiently. It will only pick up the leaves on the inside of the yard.In other words, it will not pick up the pile of leaves along the fence. In comparison, a blower will take it away from walls and corners.

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Upgraded Home Team
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We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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