**Item: **Tanaka 30.8cc 2-Cycle Dual-Handle Brush Cutter
Shipping Options: $5 Standard
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A handful of good reviews (4.2 out of 5.0) over at amazon
Here is a Parts Manual
I bought the Tanaka TCG31EBSP 30.8cc Commercial Grade Brush Cutter by Tanaka Power Equipment from Amazon subsidiary Woot in May 2013 for $179 - claimed 51% off. It arrived apparently unused. It was fully assembled except for the blade, guard ,and handle which were easy to install with the provided tools and screws according to the broken and misspelled English instruction booklet. (includes French and Spanish instructions)
I was surprised to find the included warranty statement specifically excluded this brush cutter from the Amazon claimed “2 year commercial use warranty”.
The remaining “7 year” warranty for “home” use is apparently severely limited to from 90 days to 5 years for much of the machine.
The included broken English portion of the manual is somewhat understandable except for important instructions which are described only by illustrations - such as “STARTING” with the same illustration as “STOPPING” - with an arrow pointing in the same direction for both switch functions.
The manual has an exploded diagram of most of the components, but no replacement part numbers, names, or descriptions. I was unable to find these online nor were they emailed to me as promised by subsequent repeated contact person Michelle.
There are no diagrams or part numbers for the 4" cutting string head (779106) - which itself EXPLODED into pieces 5 minutes after I began using it.
The contact phone number on the warranty statement is inoperative.
I had some difficulty finding an appropriate contact telephone number or email address under “tanaka”.“Tanaka TCG31EBSP”, “Tanaka brush cutter”, “Tanaka review”, “Tanaka Brush cutter manual”, etc do not yield any useful information. Finally I found under “Tanaka Power Equipment” a seemingly appropriate (unfinished?) website, but nowhere was this product “Tanaka TCG31EBSP 30.8cc Commercial Grade Brush Cutter” listed under “Products” or “Discontinued Products”. I clicked on the small “warranty” link for a different product and in the middle of even more dense statements, found a functional phone number. (I never was able to find a contact email address on the internet.)
With the new-found toll free phone number, after 10 minutes on hold, I quickly described my problem to Michelle for the broken cutter string head and was immediately dispatched to hold for “technical support”
After another 5 minute hold, Gary in technical answered and quickly transferred me to customer service for a warranty replacement head.
After holding again, Michelle answered and argued strongly that “technical service had to evaluate the machine to insure the problem was not caused by me and fell under the limited 7 year warranty”. I explained it was not my duty to resolve this “catch 22” in their company and requested to escalate the problem to someone who could resolve it.
That person was in a meeting and so I was promised a callback or email, which quickly resulted in Michelle sending me a replacement part under warranty and promising to provide part numbers and names apparently available to her but not online or in my manual. She also referred me to “Triple A Tools” for future parts.
I tried to see if there was any way get the part sooner than the 4 day promised in-house processing and subsequent FedEx ground speed from Georgia to California but was told local dealers don’t usually carry this part and “this is really fast delivery”.
In the 20 feet of weeds I cut before the string head malfunctioned, I was surprised and pleased at the balance, power and cutting speed compared to my old consumer grade Riobi weed eater.
The “improved” replacement string head arrived in 5 business days from East Coast, but it took 2 emails and 4 days to get shipping confirmation.
After 10 hours of use the string head broke again. The tabs holding the bump head cracked and the head came loose with resultant loose string wrapping around spinning shaft.
Instead of just replacing the head or taking to local dealer for repair, per warranty, Customer service wants me to ship the entire brush cutter to East Coast ($80+? and weeks of missed cutting, CA fine for too little fire clearance) so they can find out what is wrong besides cheap quality string heads noted in other reviews.
This company’s corporate customer service is horrible, so I’m asking Amazon’s Woot to take this back. I can’t take any more frustration!
If you’re thinking of buying this, I’d recommend reading the comments from the May 31 woot that lichme linked to above. Too many worthwhile comments to copy over to today.
Comments on previous review:
I am a pretty handy guy with good mechanical abilities and spatial relations. I really struggled with the quality of the directions that were provided with the unit. They sucked! I don’t know about the other owners but I actually read all of the directions before starting. I found most steps were already done at the factory. This was nice but it was very confusing and frustrating. Figuring out how to put the harness on and hook up the trimmer was quite the adventure too. I could not find any guidance in the manual at all on this.
As far as the string head, I made it a tad further than 20 feet but I didn’t make 50 feet. The string got caught on a small (maybe 3/8") branch and splayed the string out of the head. Back to the shop and read the directions on this. They sucked too! I redid the head and haven’t used it again. The unit ran great, started right up. A little tuning of the carb and I was ready to go. All in all would I purchase this unit again? Yes but only from a dealer that would set it up and be responsible to fix the head when (not if) it breaks.
I purchased this last time around.
Overall, a good product. The unit is powerful, starts easy, and runs well. The thing to note about the unit is the engine. Tanaka is widely believed to have one of the best engines on the market for Weed Eaters. It really is low emission.
The head though is complete garbage and broke on my first outing. BUT, most factory bump heads are garbage anyway. I had prepurchased an Oregon replacement head from Amazon when i bought this. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001SCIE3Y/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Reviews consistently report the heads are garbage, plan on buying a new head, and you will have a great unit.
I bought this one the last time around. Based on comments about the string head, I bought a Tanaka No Brainer string head for it before it even arrived. I didn’t even try to use the head that came with it. The No Brainer head is pretty much indestructible. The trimmer itself was easy to put together. The harness is very comfy and the machine is very well balanced. It starts on the second pull. My guys have used this thing pretty heavily for my small lawn care service and its been a great machine. I’d highly recommend it with the caveat about the string head.
I bought one last time around and have been very pleased with it.
FedEx delivered it at the end of the day (after 5PM) and I had it put together in about 20 minutes, working on my living room floor (my wife loved that).
I’ve used it about 5 times so far, because we’re in the rainy summer season here in Florida the grass just grows and grows. I am mowing and trimming every 4 days. It’s a joy to use compared to my old trimmer.
The original head has not given me any trouble, but since I am not a big fan of bump-style trimmer heads I purchased this to upgrade my trimmer:
I’ll put it on when a) the original head breaks, or b) it runs out of line.
If you need a new trimmer or just want a new trimmer, buy this.
This is an easy one. JUNK!
Portabello, do you have one of these? I’m interested in all opinions, good and bad, of owners.
Does anyone know if you can use attachments with the trimmer? Seems to be a fixed shaft from the picture, but can’t find confirmation.
Bought this one last round and it’s been great. A little overkill but great.
I had the exact same experience: Cutter head popped inside 2 minutes of light use.
However rather then deal with customer service I went to the local box retailer and got a replacement head.
We all have to remember this is a ~350 $ machine being sold at 50 % off. **Just buy a 20 $ replacement head! **
For the price and cost of a replacement head this machine is a steal! I would buy again without question.
Be very, very careful with this unit. It is big and powerful. Unfortunately it can cause a lot of damage.
My son, experienced with landscaping and landscaping tools took a misstep when some vines got in his way and had to be rushed to the ER.
He is now the proud owner of a large scar created by a very deep cut to his leg.
As with others who have posted here the instruction are lacking and diagrams are poor with not all the parts shown and/or labelled.
It cut well for the short time it was in use, but will most likely sit idle now.
I read all the reviews from the last time and decided to buy this unit. The head worked fine for me in the 5 hours of heavy use that I put it through. I already have a replacement for it based on reviews, but have yet to install it. This is a powerful tool to be respected, it is professional grade. The engine is a beast, the harness takes some fiddling to get right …but when you do it is so well balanced and as much fun as my chain saw.
I bought this the first time out. I’ll link to my first post, then address some of the complaints made thus far:
I do still like this trimmer. Yes, the manual sucks, but so do the manuals for many other consumer goods. I’ll stick by my initial position: read it all the way through, then take your time with assembly. Second, yes the string head isn’t very good. That is NOT why you are going to buy this. You buy this because it is a $400 landscaper grade tool available for 179. What you are paying for is the engine. This is a much higher quality product that you can buy in a big box store for nearly that much.
My advice: buy this one, and spend the extra 20 bucks for a better string head. Note that pros seem not to like the auto feeding heads, but to with the ones that use pre cut lengths of line.
Im sorry to hear that, It is good he was not hurt worse!
Was he wearing appropriate PPE (long pants and ankle high boots) for brush cutting? Was he using the string or saw blade attachement?
This is going to make me think twice the next time I fire up mine.
In for one, and just in time too since I got the last one! Sounds like this should be a solid unit, and hopefully I’ll get lucky with the trimmer head. I will report back with a review after I have it up and going.