Review on EBH341U Makita trimmer

I use Makita EBH341U trimmer (35cc 4-stroke engine), produced in 2014, to cut grass
and make hay 3 years since 2015, every year about 250 hours (25 hectares or about 50
acres), from end of May until beginning of October, so let me present you a review on
this tool. This review will not contain information about use of plastic strings as
cutting tools, because I don’t use them for “zero waste” ecology reasons. My cutting
height is about 10 cm above the ground to protect young rare plants, to avoid stones
and uneven ground and to exclude lower parts of plants in the hay. I was cutting
grass two seasons with 30 cm blade and one season with 35 cm blade. My climate is of
Baltic Sea Region, location – Latvia. Price of Makita ebh341u is up to 350 EUR.

Makita EBH431 trimmer has a standard use and a “lifehack” use, which significantly
improves it’s performance over users safety and canceling the warranty, which is not
valid for most important parts of the trimmer anyway. Standard use is 30 cm star
blade with blade guard. Lifehack use is removing the plastic blade guard, because
blade guard also serves as a mulching tool. Mulching requires extra power from your
trimmer, so if you remove blade guard, then this power is released, which means
trimmer cuts grass easier, with less engine rounds per minute and grass almost never
is stuck between the blade and the trimmer. More power and no blade guard means you
can afford a 35 cm blade (usually used on) to be installed instead of 30 cm blade.
Changing blades from 30 cm to 35 cm will double the work speed and increase power
that is applied towards grass, which is very important in beginning of autumn.

Trimmers with 4 stroke engines vs 2 stroke engines.
People say, that 4-stroke engines are more quiet compare to 2 stroke. I would rather
say that the noise of 4-stroke engine is of lower timbre than 2-stroke. But it is
still very loud and protective earphones are very necessary. 4-stroke engine of
course keeps the engine oil inside compare with 2-stroke, which is polluting the air,
therefore I must say that machines with 2-stroke engines should be given to museums
or to a scrap metal collectors. During these 3 years of very intensive use I never
experienced drop of oil level in the engine and that is a good indicator of quality.

Standard use (30 cm blade):
– inject gear grease after every 30 hours (3 hectares), run-in (first time when you
must discard engine oil, faster than usual) of engine is 5 hours.
– change motor oil 60 ml every 5 hectares.
– fuel consumption in July and August – 6 liters of gasoline per hectare.
– fuel tank 0,6 liters lasts from 45 minutes on high RPM up to 1 hour and 30 minutes
with low RPM, i.e. in the middle of June (northern hemisphere).

Lifehack use (35 cm blade and no blade guard)
– inject gear grease after every 30 hours (5 hectares),
– change motor oil 60 ml every 50 hours (10 hectares). I did not use 35 cm blade for
run-in of engine and maybe it is a good idea to use 30 cm blade with first 5 hours (5
or 6 fuel tanks) of work with trimmer.
– fuel consumption in June and July – 3 liters of gasoline per hectare.
– fuel tank 0,6 liters lasts from 45 minutes to 1 hour. 35 cm blade is heavier and
consumes more fuel even with small RPM.

Damages during 3 years that I had:
1. Hip guard is rubbing the shaft surface. I solved the problem by attaching used
rubber, i.e. bicycle tire inner tubes in places of rubbing. It is also nice now to
transport trimmer by bicycle, because rubber is helping to put trimmer on bicycle

2. Handle broke after two years of use, but it’s construction gives opportunity to
fix the problem on site. The cracked place had to be put right in the middle of the
fastening bolt. No replacement was necessary and I keep on using the same handle ever
since, though I am more careful and do not allow myself very sharp moves in the
massive grass.

3. Mice chewed on gasoline hose. One night I left the trimmer in bushes and next
morning I discovered that mice made a hole in one of the hoses. It was possible to
fix the issue by cutting away the hose and pulling it a bit out of the gas tank. It
did not affect the working time because the gasoline hose is long. No replacement was

4. Gear/head case should be inspected and cleaned from sand and grass. Otherwise sand
will ruin it and it will start to catch more and more grass until it will be
impossible to work. I had to order a new gear case for 70 EUR. I still use the old
one in June and July, when grass is soft and does not trend to wind around the gear
case. I also used the old gear case with the 20 cm saw blade to cut brush.

5.Star blade. If you plant to use trimmer also in August and September, you must
understand, that grass gets harder and harder with each day after summer solstice.
Usually cutting grass does not require sharpening the blade until the end of July
(northern hemisphere). Starting from August blade will require sharpening after every
4 engine tanks. I use 115 mm angle grinder to sharpen the blade. Instruction manual
says that you must do the sharpening at a specialized workshop – forget about it, it
is cheaper to sharpen yourself and get yourself a new blade as soon as it starts to
shrink in diameter. If you meet the big stone, see if you have vibrations afterwards
– if yes, then the blade is misshaped and needs to be replaced.

6. Strap belt hook got broken after 3 years of intensive use. I replaced it with a
usual medium size karabiner.

Other suggestions and notes:
I suggest you to own an extra new blade and compare it with the one that you use and
sharpen. As soon as the blade gets too small, then it will consume more time and fuel
to cut the grass. When I bought a trimmer, it was not supplied with 35 cm blade and
gear grease. Fortunately it was supplied with engine oil in 120 ml container, just
enough for run-in 5 hours and next 50 hours. So you might need extra engine oil. It
was not supplied with any ear and eye protection, so if you don’t have a helmet with
earphones and face net, then you will need it. These are things that you can order at
once together with Makita EBH341U trimmer. If you remove blade guard, splitters will
definitely fly at you, so you will need to put the trousers over the boots and wear
clothing that protects you from splitters and stones. Leather jacket will ease the
strap belt pressure on your shoulders. It is very important to regulate the strap
belt so that it is easy for you to swing the trimmer. For me keeping the straps as
tight as possible is the best solution. Spark plug is excellent – I still use the
original and never had to replace it during 3 years (750 hours). I am not the most
careful user and you must take into account that I met many objects with a blade,
even big unmovable stones, nevertheless trimmer still works fine. Vibrations – yes,
there are vibrations, especially I can feel them on the small rounds, and dotted
gloves help a bit.

In conclusion I must say that I am very happy to own Makita EBH341U trimmer and it is
a great helper in a small farm capable to replace a tractor. To be honest, it
actually saved my farm from bankruptcy. However I look forward to the new generation
of more ecological trimmers powered by electricity, not gasoline.


About Pavels Melnis

Independent ecology activist, family farmer, gardener and forestkeeper. Musician: violin, guitar, singing. Hobbies: traveling by bicycle, learning to play different music instruments - accordion, piano, recorder flute, harmonica, drums; languages, theology, prehistory, logbuilding, repairing and recycling. Religious. Ecological. Love all things ethnic and traditional.
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