A string trimmer is a worthwhile tool to a homeowner who wants an easy way to keep the grass along walkways, foundations and other obstacles trimmed and neat. Able to get in close where a mower cannot fit, a trimmer makes short work of long grass and weeds. Some companies make identical string trimmer models and sell them under multiple names. The Echo Weed & Grass Trimmer GT-160A model, for example, was also marketed and sold under the name John Deere 100G String Trimmer.
The 160A was manufactured and marketed from 1982 to 1984. An almost identical model, the Echo GT-200B came with a larger, 21.2 cubic centimeter engine. Both Echo and John Deere consider these models obsolete, and parts are hard to come by.
The 160A string trimmer was a gas-powered, single head trimmer with a 16 cubic centimeter, piston-ported engine that held 13.6 fluid ounces of gasoline. It weighed 10.8 pounds without the cutter head, and came with a straight, 56.7-inch shaft and an automatic centrifugal clutch. It would cut a swath of 14 inches with its standard line, which rotated clockwise.
The first string trimmer was invented in 1971, and the 100G is an example of an early model of the power tool. It started with a pull rope and had a top speed of only 8,000 revolutions per minute. Its two-stroke, air-cooled engine required a mixture of gasoline and a special motor oil, which was mixed at a 32-1 ratio. There were no optional attachments made for the 160A, such as brushes and roto-tillers, which have extended the usefulness of newer models.
The nylon cutter head had a shield to protect the user and to cut the old nylon string away when new string loaded. Each time the bottom of the head was bumped onto the ground while the trimmer was running, 1 inch of string was advanced from the inner string coil. The standard length of the string for cutting was 6 inches. When all the string was used, the replacement string was manually wound into the cutter head.
Starting and Using
The engine had a choke setting for starting cold. The starter cord was pulled several times with a short pull, and when the engine first started the choke was reset to run. Echo recommended in the service manual that the trimmer run for several minutes before any work was attempted. A throttle controlled the engine speed, and there was a "stop" position on the ignition switch. Proper movement of the 100G trimmer was from the right to the left, keeping the head tilted slightly to the left.