DIY Homelite / Ryobi Carburetor adjustment pac-man tool

Posted by on April 14, 2012

I recently purchased a Homelite leaf blower, it seems to work fine except for the carburetor requiring some tuneup, so I decided to take a look at the needle screws just to find out they used a proprietary screw everyone calls “pac-man”, the tool costs $20 usd shipped from eBay and similar sources, the fun (or sad) thing is that the whole unit cost me about $100 usd — It’s not really an option to get the tool unless you do this for a living.

So I decided to make my own, first I tried to make a mould of the carb using oil and hotglue (the oil prevents the plastic from sticking to the metal) — The cast was fine, but it wasn’t deep enough, on hindsight I should’ve pre-heated the carburetor so the plastic would’ve run hot for a longer period of time, thus filling up the cavities of the adjustment section. The idea was to cast the tool out of 2 part epoxy, it may have worked if only I could’ve got a proper cast…


Since that was a complete failure, I went for plan b: I got a random piece of brass tubing. I filed it down to size and then I used a phillips screwdriver on a vise as the template for the pac-man groove, then I whacked it with an old chisel to leave the imprint. To further strengthen the groove I decided to use regular leaded solder (60/40) to cover up the groove from the outside. I also covered up the bottom portion of the tube (capped it) and I added a handle made out of wooden dowel.


What can I say, it simply works for what it is. I may not get tons of cycles out of it but as long as I can adjust the carb a few times, I’ll be happy.

Certainly worth the half an hour I spent doing this. Too bad it looks like crap!


In case you don’t like the idea of making your own tool, the other option is to simply grab the Dremel tool with a cutoff disk and just cut the slits on each screw, this will damage the carb as well though, I’m not too crazy about this option and certainly not crazy enough to spend 20 bucks on the real tool (which by the way I think its too long for this particular homelite product)


Either way, you don’t really have to bend over to Homelite! — Take that corporations and governments!



11 Comments on DIY Homelite / Ryobi Carburetor adjustment pac-man tool

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  1. dannycraft says:

    The easy way is to take the carb off and using a hack saw blade cut a slot in the screw head going through casing and all . Works great.

    • GuShH says:

      You are entirely right, in fact I considered it but seeing how the unit is brand new, I don’t want to start hacking it away. It would however provide for a more reliable way to tune the carby. All in all I don’t like Homelite engines, the mighty lite series don’t even have an air filter… what’s up with that?

    • Reech says:

      Cutting through the housing and screws worked like a charm, great solution there, Danny !

  2. Brian Richards says:

    I solved the problem of adjusting the PAC-man screws with the nozzle off a tube of bathroom sealant. Cut the tapered end of the nozzle to provide a snug fit when you push it onto the PAC-man screw and it enables you to make the adjustment.

    • GuShH says:

      Great idea! — Although I wonder how long it’ll last, it seems most quick solutions will only last for a few adjustments before the “tool” is rendered useless. I still don’t understand why they think they have to use proprietary screws for a carburetor, they are meant to be adjusted by the user. Specially because during winter the required mix is different than in summer.

  3. G-Dad says:

    Same problem as everyone else. PacMan screw but no PacMan tool. I liked the idea of cutting the slot, but I didn’t want to cut the housing that surrounds the screws. While looking for a solution, I came across a crimp style wire connector (see photo) with an OD of 0.22″ and the ID of 0.18″. This fits snug as a bug! I was able to loosen the screws, clean them and then with a dremel tool, cut the needed slots. Yes, I could have just used the connector, but I’d loose it and with my luck, I wouldn’t have another. A flat blade screwdriver is always close by!

    • GuShH says:

      Great solution!, thanks for sharing. In the end anything that fits snug will do for removing the needle screws. It’s also a good excuse to clean the needles in the process. After the adjustment both my 26cc homelite engines have been running great, they simply came way too lean.

    • Neil Lundberg says:

      Thanks. You guys inspired me to look into my box of old electrical connectors. Found one with “wings” that form most of a tube, crimped one end to form the indentor to fit into the “Pacman” slot, and with 3 tries I got the screws out. Am charging my dremel tool now to cut slots, should be good to go without buying the special tool.

      • GuShH says:

        Another Pacman bites the dust!. They’re nice little engines once they’re tuned properly. To think most new carbs have fixed needles and it actually contributes to excessive emissions after a certain while… It’s all a lie they come up with to fine people and charge more for less as always.

  4. SanoJ says:

    thaanks for the tip, i tried with the cap and it was the right size but i didnt get it to work,, so i looked around some more,,,, one easy thing that worked was to take a penzil,, remove the ink from the cartridge “perfect fit” then take a screwdriver “star” and push into the endbof the catridge then use a — mminus screwdriver and a hammer and u got that mark inside.. this was for pacman screws on a ryobi rbl26 bpt blower