October 17

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How To Start An Old Chainsaw WITHOUT Trouble(With 2-3 Pulls)

It is not ​the same to start an old chainsaw compared to a running or new chainsaw.

No matter how properly you store your chainsaw (if you did not store, situation would be worse), 

​...some internal parts such as spark plug,ignition coil or recoil starter may be worn a bit over time...

...​and will not work as ​intended

If your old saw has fuel in it, this will add a new problem.

All these things make it hard to start an old chainsaw.

Nothing to worry...

Being an owner of 3 old chainsaw, I know a thing or two about how to start an old gas chainsaw without much trouble.

These are the exact methods I used to start 20-year old my dad's Stihl chainsaw (after he passed away).

​I also used the same method on a friend's Mcculloch 250 chainsaw(it came out of storage).

It took only 2-3 pulls of cord to start these old chainsaws.

​And today I’m going to show you how I did it
…and how you can do the same thing.

​Due to ethanol and ​fuel, you may sometime have problem starting an old chainsaw.

First, ​follow the normal saw starting process. If the saw does not get started, try to find the possible problems and their solutions below​.

​Corroded Plugs

It is most likely for plugs to corrode inside ​old chainsaws due to wear and tear. The plugs are very important in the engine ignition. They produce sparks which are used to initiate combustion within the cylinder. 

You can check whether the plug can still produce a spark by removing it. Use the plug wire to make contact with the metallic section of the plug to check if it will give a spark.

If it does not give a spark, then you can clean it using a steel brush. Rub the steel brush gently on the area to remove the rusts and corrosion. Check again for the spark.

You can replace the plug with a new one if there is no spark.

​Damaged ignition coil

The ignition coil plays a very pivotal role in the chainsaw mechanical system. It transfers voltage to the plug while the chainsaw engine is on the operation.

The ignition coil should be suspected if your chainsaw fails to start after you have cleaned your plug or replaced it with a new one. Your ignition coil may have been damaged, so you should use the ignition coil tester to check.

Go ahead and replace the ignition coil if it is damaged.

​Faulty recoil starter

A collection of elements can deter your engine from starting. The recoil starter, rewind spring, and starter pulley can all combine to stop your engine from working. Fault to any of the elements can also stop the engine ignition.

For example, the chainsaw rope will not be able to recoil for the engine to start if the recoil starter is faulty.

You can solve this problem by buying a new recoil starter assembly.

​Bad fuel or empty tank

Checking the fuel tank is usually the first action by virtually everyone whenever their engines fail to start. You have to follow the rule.

Simply check your fuel tank to ascertain if there is enough fuel therein. The fuel may have dried after a long while of ''no use''. Refill the tank with fuel if it is empty.

In some cases, the fuel therein may have spoiled due to degradation. Go ahead and pour them out and refill the tank with fresh fuel.

​Clogging of the carburetor

Your chainsaw is old, so it's likely that the fuel may have remained for too long in the tank. The carburetor will clog as a result of this.

This is because the lighter part of the fuel will evaporate after some time leaving thick and foggy substances. Clogging of the carburetor is caused by the thick residue.

You have to clean the Carburetor using the recommended cleaner. If the engine fails to work after cleaning, then you should consider buying a new carb​ kit.

About the author

Chris Ross

My name is Chris Ross. I'm an arborist by profession & a blogger by passion.Currently I live in Austin, United States. Being in the cutting services for more than 10 years, I know a thing or two about chainsaw. I love to write about chainsaw for homeowners and professionals. I hope my epic guides will help you to choose,buy and maintain chainsaw.


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