Turning Archive

Re: Chainsaw winter adjustments?

John K Jordan
I don't do anything different for my saws in the winter (I have three Stihl gasoline powered). I use the Stihl oil (with stabilizer) mixed 50:1 (I think) with hi-test pure gasoline only.

I'm assuming you use the starting procedure in the manual or it might even be difficult to get started. Once started I feather the trigger until it runs clean then run it wide open for at least 10 seconds. (I aim it at a clean board or something and use the wide open opportunity to watch for chain oil splatter to make sure the lube pump is working.) My saws do seem to run better after I began using this wide-open warmup. Maybe it blows something out.

If I have trouble I clean or replace the spark plug and make sure the air filter is clean.

If the fuel filter is clogged it could be starved for fuel.

If the saw sits for a long time a thin layer of "varnish" can build up on things inside the carburetor. I've taken many carbs apart and cleaned and reused the old parts successfully but never tried that on a chainsaw. If it has ever had gas with ethanol in it some rubber and plastic parts may be damaged and new fuel line and carb might be in order. I was told replacement carbs were available for not much money.

I have adjusted the low and high air mixture screws but I can't give good instructions. I do know that some of the newer saws (at the time I bought my last one) had plastic adjustment screw limiters that keep the saw running too lean, apparently to meet emissions regulations - some tree guys I know disable this and I did too on my biggest saw. (If the mixture is too lean the engine can't reach full power and can run hot and wear out quicker.) It's been a while so I can't remember what I did to disable the limiter but it should be obvious. The big saw did run better after this and some adjustment.


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