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Siempre Soluciones

Purchasing a weed wacker in David

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Ok, so I need the exercise more so I've decided to purchase a weed wacker and cut my own lawn from now on.

 

Per many recommendations here, it appears that the Stihl brand is the way to go.  I was all set to visit the Stihl dealer in David until I read reviews on their consumer line.  It appears that all of the models in their consumer line received bad reviews.  The prices on the consumer line models run up to $300 where as their commercial line models begin close to $500, I really don't want to spend that much.

 

Does anyone have any recommendations for the Homelite brand?  Who carries the Homelite brand in David?

 

Thanks in advance.

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Get one that can be repaired !   We bought one at DoIt years ago as a gift for our gardener.  When it broke not one of the repair places could fix it.  I forget the brand but I remember it wasn't cheap....like $300 or so.   He is now on his second Stihl .  The first one we bought him was a consumer style that broke.  We finally found a guy in Dolega at the feed store that is great at fixing those...and he has it up and running. 

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1 hour ago, Brundageba said:

Get one that can be repaired !   We bought one at DoIt years ago as a gift for our gardener.  When it broke not one of the repair places could fix it.  I forget the brand but I remember it wasn't cheap....like $300 or so.   He is now on his second Stihl .  The first one we bought him was a consumer style that broke.  We finally found a guy in Dolega at the feed store that is great at fixing those...and he has it up and running. 

 

Yes, serviceability is my primary concern.  Melo in Boquete used to sell Stihl, not any longer, they only carry some off brand manufactured in Italy.

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I'm reminded of the old saying that opinions are like butt holes -- everybody has one.  My opinion is that Stihl builds the only weed whackers that will survive the kind of heavy use required in Panama, and you can get factory authorized service and parts.  They are worth the premium cost.

The biggest downside of Stihls is that they are highly popular with thieves; a fact I know well.

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The Superiores agro store here in Boquete, south of the Terpel station and on the right before the big curve, has a Stihl sign, but they may only sell parts. There is a Stihl service place in David where I have taken mine. But it's been so long ago that I don't remember where it is. The following directions were supplied by Dianne Heidke back in 2013:

"The Stihl dealer is now on the road behind Super 99 and the San Mateo market...the road runs that parallel to Miguel Brenes.Go behind Super 99 and turn right on that road and keep going past the Mex restaurant on the left until you see it."

I've had my Stihl for years with only one small problem that required a trip to David. A cheaper one that I earlier had bought from Melo was nothing but trouble.

Edited by Bonnie

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If you go stihl, the Rouada store (feed store) in Dolega fixes them.  He did a good job on mine.  Not cheap, but stihl parts aren't.

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5 hours ago, JohnF13 said:

If you go stihl, the Rouada store (feed store) in Dolega fixes them.  He did a good job on mine.  Not cheap, but stihl parts aren't.

Yes...we've been there several times with gardener whackers and he's always fixed them .  Turn at the Y into Dolega and make an immediate right and go down about 2-3 blocks.  On the right is a feed store.  It's on a corner.  Repair guy has a shop in the left part of the store.

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It's always been my preference to hire a gardener who has his own equipment but that became inconvenient so I ended up buying an Italian knockoff of a Stihl one day.

The machine has needed a few servicings but for the most part it's been fine for handling the small area we're dealing with. The gardener tells me to purchase Stihl 2-Cycle Oil only, and he mixes it rich. He has a repair guy who comes by moto. Sorry, no info. on him.

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Ok, I hit a home run!

 

While visiting the Stihl store in David the other day there was a 30 minute wait since it was busy and apparently there was only one clerk on hand.  During my wait I chatted with a fellow expat who was getting parts for their Stihl chainsaw.  I asked him if he used a Stihl weed whacker and he replied no, he was using a Honda for seven years with no problems.  He provided me directions the Agro dealer that sells Honda products in David. 

 

A little background, about ten years ago in the states I did research as to why there were no four stroke weed whackers on the market.  The fundamental problem with using a four stroke engine on a weed whacker is that they are routinely turned at various angles which would prevent a conventional four stroke engine from lubricating property.  There was one manufactured by Honda which solved this problem with a clever crankcase design and by implementing a swivel shaft.  The problem being these were priced at over $1,000 and not a single Honda dealer carried one for fear that no one would pay that much.

 

Fast forward ten years and I'm thinking I'm going to have the opportunity to actually see a four stroke Honda weed whacker!  I definitely will have to evaluate the Honda after evaluating the Stihl.  After a 30 minute wait it was my turn so I tell the clerk "Yo necesito weed whacker."  And he begins to describe one of the models but at that point another customer entered with an emergency request.  I told him no problem, I'll wait.  After five minutes I told him "Regreso manana." and left since I was so eager to see the Honda.

 

The clerk at Agro, Alan, brought me to their equipment showroom out back and all they had in stock was the Honda Flex model pictured below.  He says let's go out back to the assembly/repair shop and sure enough they were assembling a standard model as pictured below.  We waited as the technician bolted the engine to the chassis, connected the throttle/ignition controls, added oil to the crank case, and filled the fuel tank.  Two pulls and it started right out of the box!  This model was around $100 more than the most expensive Stihl but I felt like Kevin Spacey in the movie American Beauty when he finally got his dream car, a 1970 Pontiac Firebird!  I had to have it!  Alan knocked a little off the price and I was out the door.

 

It operates like a dream plus it always starts with two pulls when cold and one pull when warm.  It's a bit on the heavy side at almost 19 pounds but it came with a double shoulder harness.  And it looks beautiful next to my Honda pressure washer :)

 

Thanks for all of the advice!

 

 

Honda DE435-FLEX_1.jpg

Honda DE435_1.jpg

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Keep us posted on how it works for you....   Do they do repairs at that location should you (God forbid) need repair some day?    Do you mind me asking how much you paid for it?

Where's that Agro store?

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Directions to Agro:  While traveling the PanAmerican highwa west from David (towards Costa Rica) you'll pass PriceSmart, Chiriqui Mall, and then a truck stop on the left.  The entrance to Agro is the gravel road just after the truck stop on the left.  Their complex sits behind an empty lot on the PanAmerican highway.  You will have to pass the gravel road since there's no cutout in the median to turn left so you'll have to make a u-turn.  All mentioned locations are annotated in the attached image.

 

Agro provides complete repair and maintenance services for Honda products as well as stocking parts.

 

As for price, I'd rather not comment online.

 

Additional notes:

 

Since the Honda uses a four stroke engine, it runs much quieter and requires much less RPMs than a two stroke due to the inherent nature of a four stroke engine having more torque. 

 

As for cold starting requiring two pulls, after reading the provided instruction manual it appears that Honda implemented a primer bowl on the carburetor as is customary on two stroke engines.  I don't think I've ever seen one on a four stroke engine.  Now it starts on the first pull when cold after priming.

 

The four stroke uses less then half the fuel and considerably less oil than a comparable two stroke model as indicated in the attached photo.

 

This Honda incorporates the Speed Feed Head which allows reloading of the trimmer line without any disassembly.  Check out the video below, very slick.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9utqbjghY30

 

Agro Map David JPEG .jpg

honda brush cutter fuel consumption.gif

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Siempre, great use of imagery to provide directions. What kind of tools did you use to create the annotated JPG? And where did you get the image (from Google?)?

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Bought mine 13 years ago in the US. It is the solid shift model. No problems and no parts other than 5 trimmer line heads. It did pay for itself. Panamanians have a saying " lo barrato sale carro" in other words buy cheap and you pay it the end.

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20 hours ago, Bud said:

Siempre, great use of imagery to provide directions. What kind of tools did you use to create the annotated JPG? And where did you get the image (from Google?)?

 

Yes, the image is from Google, Google Maps.

 

The annotations were made with Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac.  The only features I use are insert picture, shapes - block arrows, text box, and then save as a JPEG file.

 

 

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