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Depending on what type of string head you have. If it's a "tap and go" style head, just rev it up full throttle and tap it on the ground. It should feed the string out and the blade on the shield will cut off the string to the correct length.
You can find some string heads and string head parts for your machine at Home Depot. They have a universal type head and heads made especially for Ryobis and Homelites (I think). Otherwise, several online vendors sell parts for your machine (but you have to pay shipping).
Your string head is part number 26 in the diagram. Home Depot's Garden department has a wide variety of parts including universal string heads and heads for Homelite, Ryobi, etc. and possibly one that will fit your machine. A lot of these trimmers have Poulan engine and trimmer head parts. See if you can get the complete assembly off the trimmer (if you haven't already) and take it with you to the HD and match it with a new one. The price of parts from an online supplier plus shipping will be almost as much as a complete replacement head. If you shop Ebay, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of weed trimmer parts on there and some good deals to boot.
Great question! You can always go to the Home Depot and purchase a "universal-type" retro head and if it doesn't fit correctly, just return it for a refund or go on a site like Ebay and buy a genuine Troy Bilt retro type string head. I bet they will fit.
Replace the line with a star-shaped .065" line (I use Rino-Tuff from Home Depot online). I have the GH700 (2 line) model and it fixed the problem for me. Other people have fixed the problem with different shaped lines - apparently there is one at Walmart that works well on electric trimmers. Just don't use the smooth round line. I tried the manual advice and it was bunk.
I've never had any luck with those stupid bump heads. Every time I would refill them, the string would get caught up. They bind up. I finally replaced the bump head with a string head that you place short pieces of string in. They're not perfect either. You have to pre-cut the string to about 9-12 inches in length, and just replace the piece when it's time.