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: Stihl FS90R Review


MrGiggles
05-26-2010, 07:08 PM
This is going to be a review of a Stihl FS90R trimmer. On 6/6/06 (I kid you not) I purchased a Troy Bilt 4 stroke string trimmer that gave me 3 years of faithful service until the plating literally fell off of the cylinder. This is the main comparison to my Stihl since it's the only trimmer I've really had many hours on.

I walked into my local dealer (Stihl, Echo, Shindaiwa, Honda are all carried) and started looking for my next trimmer. I ended up making my mind on the Stihl, the Honda was next but it was a 100.00 more and had a smaller engine. I was out around 300.00 for the trimmer and some oil. It is equipped with the 4-MIX engine, a D handle, and the stihl Autocut 2 string head. I used the Stihl line at first, then used some Shakespeare stuff from walmart which I bought for the Troy.

The First Run:
Well, I had the silliest grin on my face from the sheer power this had over the Troy Bilt. It's a beast. The FS90 has a 28cc engine, where as the Troy was 25. It clears overgrown grass with ease, tears through weeds, but you can still trim around objects nimbly and easily. It starts easily (1-3 pulls every time), and the automatic decompression valve makes it effortless so anyone can do it. I also can not forget about the lovely sound. It has one sweet engine note. Most weedwhackers have a sound that I don't really care for, this has a deep sound that is like no other. It's noise level is comparable to other 2 stroke trimmers. The guard is also worlds better than the Troy's, it would cover me from head to to with grass, the Stihl, although still messy, keeps the grass off of me and where it should be. It is much more fuel efficient then my Troy Bilt as well.

1 year later:
I use this trimmer very often and have had zero issues with it. It still starts easily, and cuts better than it did new.


Summary:

Pros:
Fuel efficient, 4MIX engine has gobs of power and torque and is clean for the environment, trimmer head is easy to rewind, easy to start, reliable, and it has a great variety of attachments.

Cons:
It's heavy, but even with the cheap harness that's included it is manageable. I imagine with a decent harness it would be much more comfortable to use.

Due to it's construction, it is vulnerable to carbon buildup from poor fuel ratios. It is recommended that you use Stihl Ultra oil at 50:1 ratio. Due to my local dealer wanting ridiculous prices for it, I have been using Shindaiwa One oil at 50:1 with no issues, and I will be switching to Husqvarna XP oil when I run out. I would only use JASO/ISO rated oils and ONLY at 50:1 to keep the engine running clean. If you run a good mix you can expect a very good lifespan out of this engine.

The only other problem is not major but is a minor annoyance. It is the goofy flippy-caps that new Stihl OPE all come with. It seems if you don't get these things on the first try they take more tries to get them right. Sometimes they look they are fastened but are not and you lose all of your fuel on the ground. Leave it to the Germans to over engineer the screw in cap. :fing32:

johndeere
05-26-2010, 08:34 PM
Good review writing.I have a Stihl KM-90 Kombi system.Basically the same thing but a split shaft.I have the trimmer attachment and the pole saw attachment.I know what you mean about the fuel cap.I did not know about the ultra Stihl oil recomendation?I use the orange bottle Stihl oil and have only ran a few tanks through the KM-90 but I use it in all my other Stihl products with good luck.

I also have a Stihl FS-80 that I use most of the time as my trimmer.Works just like new and has been used heavily.Stihl is all I will buy.

rscurtis
05-26-2010, 09:36 PM
Stihl spent $40 million to develop that engine. I sold many of them when I was a dealer with very few issues. The cost of the ultra oil is incidental when you consider the amount of fuel you can burn over a period of time. Next time you visit a dealer, look for Stihl's comparison test of various oils. If you still (NPI) find the cost of the oil that unbearable, Amsoil 100:1 is another option, I use it at 64:1 in a number of two cycle engines, as well as my KM90 with no issues at all. I do agree with you on the new fuel cap design, it is possible to latch it in the wrong position.

MrGiggles
05-26-2010, 11:58 PM
Stihl spent $40 million to develop that engine. I sold many of them when I was a dealer with very few issues. The cost of the ultra oil is incidental when you consider the amount of fuel you can burn over a period of time. Next time you visit a dealer, look for Stihl's comparison test of various oils. If you still (NPI) find the cost of the oil that unbearable, Amsoil 100:1 is another option, I use it at 64:1 in a number of two cycle engines, as well as my KM90 with no issues at all. I do agree with you on the new fuel cap design, it is possible to latch it in the wrong position.

I'm pretty sure the bigger local dealer wants 8.00 for a 6 pack of orange bottle oil (1 gal mixes). I'm not about to pay that when I can get the Husqvarna oil for 6.00 for a six pack. There's no doubt the ultra is good oil, I just don't want to pay the price for that when I can get similar for cheaper.

Good review writing.I have a Stihl KM-90 Kombi system.Basically the same thing but a split shaft.I have the trimmer attachment and the pole saw attachment.I know what you mean about the fuel cap.I did not know about the ultra Stihl oil recomendation?I use the orange bottle Stihl oil and have only ran a few tanks through the KM-90 but I use it in all my other Stihl products with good luck.

I also have a Stihl FS-80 that I use most of the time as my trimmer.Works just like new and has been used heavily.Stihl is all I will buy.

I've just heard that the most common common problem with these was early coil problems and running poor oil mixes because it gums up the works.

Here is a thread with some good info and some nudes.
http://new.arboristsite.com/showthread.php?t=127264

johndeere
05-27-2010, 12:16 AM
$8.00 for a 6 pack and thats 6 gallons of mix.Thats almost a 2 year supply for me.Thats also 4 pieces of Stihl equipment that it covers The Kombimotor and the FS-80 a BG-85 blower and a MS-250 Chainsaw.I feel its well worth the $8.00.

slkpk
05-27-2010, 07:09 AM
$8.00 for a 6 pack and thats 6 gallons of mix.Thats almost a 2 year supply for me.Thats also 4 pieces of Stihl equipment that it covers The Kombimotor and the FS-80 a BG-85 blower and a MS-250 Chainsaw.I feel its well worth the $8.00.

:ditto: :ditto: I wouldn't trade my Kombi system for anything. slkpk

MrGiggles
05-27-2010, 10:27 AM
:ditto: :ditto: I wouldn't trade my Kombi system for anything. slkpk

$8.00 for a 6 pack and thats 6 gallons of mix.Thats almost a 2 year supply for me.Thats also 4 pieces of Stihl equipment that it covers The Kombimotor and the FS-80 a BG-85 blower and a MS-250 Chainsaw.I feel its well worth the $8.00.

Normally a 6 pack lasts me about 6 months, I use more in the winter months because I cut a lot more wood.

That is for orange bottle Stihl as well, I just don't want to pay more for the same product. I haven't even asked about Ultra, they would probably have to carry me out of there.

rscurtis
05-27-2010, 11:17 AM
The Ultra is relatively expensive, but visit a local dealer and look at Stihl's test results compared to other oils, even their own. It's much better for the equipment despite the fact it's almost twice the cost of the cheaper oil.

MrGiggles
05-27-2010, 11:53 AM
The Ultra is relatively expensive, but visit a local dealer and look at Stihl's test results compared to other oils, even their own. It's much better for the equipment despite the fact it's almost twice the cost of the cheaper oil.

Is it really that much better? I don't know, I really don't want to burn up equipment, but my **** cheapness gets in the way.

saskman49
05-28-2010, 09:29 AM
Good review,

I am starting year 3 with our FS90r and it still amazes me how good it is. Fired on the 2nd pull this year and I love the sound it makes and power.. well that is never an issue with these units. Just purchased the KM130r Kombi unit with some attachments for our business based on the sucess with the FS90, I know I will never go back to 2 strokes except for chain saws and blowers. As to the oil, I only use the Stihl oil as recommended by the dealer as it doubled the warranty on the units we have purchased and I feel it is at least partially responsible for the way these units start after sitting for extended periods, I have an 017 saw and a BG86C-E and an MS260 is on the way and use the oil in them as well. I figure I buy synthetic oil for my truck and all my other 4 stroke engines as well as synthetic gear lubes and tranny fluid so the few bux extra I pay for the Stihl oil is just cheap insurance. I need to look into that Stihl ultra stuff though.

rscurtis
05-28-2010, 11:31 AM
Is it really that much better? I don't know, I really don't want to burn up equipment, but my **** cheapness gets in the way.

I know they don't call it the "show me" state for nothing, but your dealer should have a pictorial of the results of different oil tests. What did you ever do with your Mercedes?

MrGiggles
05-29-2010, 12:01 AM
I know they don't call it the "show me" state for nothing, but your dealer should have a pictorial of the results of different oil tests. What did you ever do with your Mercedes?

Lol, I'm not originally from here. I've been here for about 4 years, originally from Minnesota.

Mercedes? How did you know about that? Well, after some contemplating and realizing the amount money I would have put in it would be about equal to what it's worth, plus it was in pretty poor shape. I parted it out, came out 200.00 ahead, and scrapped what was left last weekend. :(

MTD snow plow
05-29-2010, 12:12 AM
:thThumbsU I just bought a Stihl FS-45 trimmer and I will only use the Stihl orange bottle Oil because I dont want to go cheap or pay for the synthetic stuff. I love this trimmer!!! I will Always buy a stihl for all my needs from now on.

firefighter5143
06-02-2010, 11:04 AM
I have owned my fs90 for 3 years now. Homeowner use of course. I have always used opti2 in it since day one and also on my bg85. Before the Stihl I used a shindaiwa and a lawnboy for 10 years and same thing ran nothing but opti2.

c5rulz
06-02-2010, 08:45 PM
I love Stihl products with the exception of those gas caps. They are bonafide junk.:banghead3 I can't believe a screw in cap with no issues whatsoever had to be re-done.

johndeere
06-02-2010, 09:15 PM
I love Stihl products with the exception of those gas caps. They are bonafide junk.:banghead3 I can't believe a screw in cap with no issues whatsoever had to be re-done.

The gas cap on my KM-90 is stubborn and so is the one one the polesaw attachment I have for it.But I think its a learning curve to getting it started right?I just got a MS-150 Chainsaw however and neither the gas cap or bar oil cap gives me any trouble getting it started.So maybe I have caught on to the trick?

canuckian
06-04-2010, 12:31 AM
I pick up my KM 90r kombi-system tomorrow. :bannana: my $89 6 year old weed-eater started dying this season so I decided to upgrade. Looking forward to seeing what this thing can do! The bonus is the maintenance crew at my work has all (yes, all) the kombi attachments and have offered to loan them to me whenever I need them :fing32: They were the ones who actually recommended Stihl to me - and they USE their equipment!! As well as the engine I'm getting the straight shaft trimmer and brush blade as it'll mostly be used for that kind of thing.

I just hope I have the same kind of positive experience that a lot of others have had. I'm sure I will as it seems like a well built unit.

johndeere
06-04-2010, 01:20 AM
I pick up my KM 90r kombi-system tomorrow. :bannana: my $89 6 year old weed-eater started dying this season so I decided to upgrade. Looking forward to seeing what this thing can do! The bonus is the maintenance crew at my work has all (yes, all) the kombi attachments and have offered to loan them to me whenever I need them :fing32: They were the ones who actually recommended Stihl to me - and they USE their equipment!! As well as the engine I'm getting the straight shaft trimmer and brush blade as it'll mostly be used for that kind of thing.

I just hope I have the same kind of positive experience that a lot of others have had. I'm sure I will as it seems like a well built unit.

Your going to like it im sure.Wow that would be nice to be able to try out all the attachments.Do me a favor and give the power sythe a try.I have a road side bridge imbackment basically darn near straight up.I let the broam grass grow tall and seed out.I cut this area once a year.But after cutting it can get weeds growing.If I was able to cut this area down and leave it full length as a cover would prevent the weed growth.Perhaps you could ask if they have used the power sythe in conditions of very tall grass like that?If it was to cut much like a sickle bar would be nice.The attachment is a little pricey to purchase to discover it would not work as I would hope.

canuckian
06-04-2010, 10:37 PM
Picked it up after work today and tried the string trimmer as soon as I got home...holy crap what a nice machine!! powerful, comfortable, smooth power and the 4 stroke has a nice tone to it. Never thought I'd be impressed by the sound of a trimmer but this sounds kinda hot rod-ish. Hard to explain. Anyways, VERY nice unit.
johndeere - I'll definately ask the guys at work about the power sythe (I'm guessing you're talking about what Stihl refers to as a scrub cutter?). I don't have any real use for it on my property so me trying it wouldn't help much but these guys will tell me what it's good for and what its capabilities/limitations are.

.....off to search for long grass to trim

rust
01-16-2013, 07:20 PM
Thanks for the review, I recently purchased a FS90 bicycle handles, double shoulder harness and brush blade, first I ever heard of a 4 stroke that used mixed gas. Anyway, I have only started it at the dealership, and reveeded it up, and shut it off- I was hooked. Looking forward to spring and using it.
I had a Stihl FS80 for many, many years until the cylinder became scared ... it just wore out, it still idles- but runs rough when reeved up, STILH technician tore it down it needs a cylinder and cylinder jug. I got my money worth, if anyone needs parts......
Stilh-great products.:trink39:

wizzo
01-30-2013, 10:37 PM
I doubt that you'll be disappointed with your new FS90. Easy to start and lots of torque even at less than full throttle. Stick with the Stihl Ultra oil and you'll love the trimmer.

DocJL
09-12-2013, 06:41 AM
Hi,
last summer I bought a FS 90 with bicycle bars and steel blade.
Just like the OP, I am not impressed with the harness, but everything else rocks! I use it once or twice a year on a wild overgrown part of my lawn that is severely sloped. I have about a 100 feet wide by 60 feet long area, with a 30 degrees slope.

With the STIHL, the whole job requires between 3.5 and 5 hours of work.
Before buying the STHIL, I used a MTD straight shaft & that one took me closer to 20-25 hrs to do the same job.

After over 15 hrs of use, my steel blade is completely dull; it will still easily knock off the hardest stuff, but plain overgrown grass is not an efficient task.
I will probably go to the store and get a spare blade, & I might also get a spool line.

STIHL also has a huge advantage with respect to the head design; cut stuff will NOT get tangled up around the shaft (between head and guard); this is a priceless feature, as my former MTD would constantly wrap stuff around until it wouldn't turn anymore, so I had to carry a utility knife along to cut out the mess, slowing me further down.

All in all, I give my FS 90 a well deserved 9.5/10.

DocJL
11-03-2013, 12:50 PM
I own the FS-90 with bicycle bars; I keep reading about the goofy fuel cap and wonder if us Canadian folks get a different model.
Gas cap is simple screw design, albeit sometime you need a little muscle to unscrew it (caused from negative fuel pressure or heat, I dunno)

MrGiggles
02-17-2014, 11:33 AM
Since I can't edit my OP, I figured I would give a 5 year update on the FS90R. I can't hardly believe this thread has 24,000 views.

It is still running great, although we have moved, so it's use has decreased slightly. However this last summer it was used heavily at work. Sometimes for 4+ hours a day in the 90* weather. I much prefer to use the FS90 over the FS70 that my employer has. Although the FS70 has the same size engine, the FS90 has an broader power curve and more "usable" power. You don't have to rev it out to get any torque. I have also had to clean the spark screen and do some plug work to the FS70 (it gets abused more); and it has a "clamshell" design that is difficult to work with. Basically you pull a handful of screws, and you have a top half and a bottom half, with the shaft and engine sandwiched between. Whereas the FS90 has a single plastic cover over the top of the engine, that when removed allows almost all of the maintenance you need to do.

I have had to do a couple of the things to the FS90R. I replaced the primer bulb last year, it had dry rotted and developed a crack. 3 dollar, 10 minute fix. Stihl had a recall on the flippy caps so I replaced that, and I had to adjust the idle a little to fix a stalling issue. I had to turn the speed up a little, and tweak the idle mixture a bit.

The rest has just been maintenance. Every few weeks I pump some grease into the gearbox. I also put a spark plug in it last summer, and checked the valves but they were still in spec.

I have also purchased a brush-blade for it. It will cut through 3" trees if I am careful. The hardware from my Stihl dealer (the blade cup, washer, and locknut) was about 13 bucks. The blade itself was around 20. I used a Husqvarna 22 tooth blade. You can resharpen it with a chainsaw file. I have used the 3-tooth brush knife and it doesn't work well with thick saplings (like the hedge and cedar that grow like grass here.) Stihl does not recommend using a blade without a special shield and bike handles, however I have not had a control issue. I have to go pretty slow.

Alldiesel_1
02-22-2014, 11:15 PM
I bought a FS90R a couple years ago. Like it very well so far. I use it with a 9" steel blade to get the heavier brush that my FS55R does'nt get as well. I also use it with a tiller attachment I bought for it. Plenty of power for what I use it for. Never any problems with it. I do use only premium non-alc gas with the stihl grey bottle synthetic 2 stroke mix in it.

Probably not highly advised, but I just use old table saw blades with 1" arbor. They can "kick" and grab but I sharpen them to a less aggressive hook to where it's less dangerous and still cuts well.

Onan18
02-23-2014, 11:14 AM
I have a FS 80 kombi and it has been great. When I worked for the Stihl dealer I sold a bunch of 90's and 130's, the two most popular models around here. I even bought my best friend a new KM90R powerhead and FS-KM line trimmer attachment for Christmas the year she bought her house. (Isn't this screwed up, I build myself an old 80 out of the trash pile and buy someone else a brand new one, can you say SUCKER!) The neighborhood she bough in wound up having a homeowner association that has a contract with a landscaping company, and an individual cannot exempt out of it. So she "loaned" the trimmer to her dad and he has used it unmercifully for the last two years now at his house, work, and deer camp without so much as a hiccup.

Joe

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