I am a warrenty repair man for ryobi in the uk these machines have 3 bolts at the base of the barrel they have a tendency to break the bolt the the machine is not air tight tighten the 3 bolts at the base of the barrel and the 4 bolts on the back of the engine check the gaskets aswell
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Ken it sounds like the shaft isn't going in to the spigot on the engine. Make sure that the head is on properly and that the shaft is in the spigot itself. If there has been any movement with the head creeping down slightly the shaft will no longer go into it. Try and straighten the shaft slightly to give a couple of millimeters more to the shaft.
This appears to be a model only sold in the UK but it looks like the standard, Ryobi,Homelite,Toro, trimmers we have in the states. You have to remove the 4 screws that hold the motor to the shaft to access the recoil starter. Once apart it will become evident how to remove the starter parts. Hope this helps.
Check the fuel lines for cracks/breaks. If they are o.k., then:
will need to disassemble the carburetor and spray
with carb.cleaner. Make sure the small screen is free of debris.
(Should be able to see daylight through it.) Use a Den Tek Brush, (http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=165357&catid=1152),
to clean the small portals in carb. These portals can
become blocked. Reassemble and start.
Hi! With the red know in one hand, push the spool down with th other to the female threaded shaft comes to the top. Then, hold the red know in the other hand with your index finger on the bolt in the middle, holding it down. Now start threading it onto the female shaft COUNTERCLOCKWISE! Once you get it, it get's easier. Good Luck!~Frank~