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55 Rancher won't tighten chain anymore?

Post in 'The Gear' started by tulsamal, Mar 8, 2008.

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  1. tulsamal

    tulsamal New Member

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    OK, I know that title sounds like I don't know what I'm doing. (Guess it's possible I don't!) But I've been using this Husqvarna 55 Rancher for something like eight years now so I'm not a newbie. We live on 90 acres and we have a nice woodstove in the living room that helps a lot with our propane usage. This December we were part of the giant Oklahoma ice storm so there has been even more chainsawing this year than ever before. And I've still got a LOT of downed tree limbs to saw up.

    The saw came with an 18 inch bar. I later bought two other chains and another 18 inch bar. Last year I decided I needed more reach and got a 20 inch bar with chain for it. Seems like I was right because the saw had its best year last year. Everything working great. Worked great in December through February this year. But now somehow something is wrong or out of adjustment. I've tried all three bars just to make sure that wasn't the problem.

    I put a bar and chain on. I line everything up. Little pyramid shaped pusher in the hole so that I can tighten the chain. Insert screwdriver and start turning. Chain gets tighter and tighter. But it is still hanging down in the middle when I run out of adjustment. Go back, loosen the screw, line everything up again, try again, still just not enough adjustment range to get me tight. Try all three bars and several chains. Bars and chains that all worked before.

    It feels to me like there is just something I don't know! Like there is a way to adjust the range affected by the screw or something. But I don't see how. The two big bolts look like they are a part of the metal assembly where the screw adjustment lives.

    Is something really wrong or is there some simple adjustment I'm just too boneheaded to see? I've on the verge of taking it into a shop somewhere but I normally work on stuff myself. And I'll be really embarrassed if I take it in and it turns out to just be a simple adjustment!

    Thanks,

    Gregg

    Vinita, OK

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  2. MALogger

    MALogger New Member

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    If you are certain they are the correct bar & chains for the saw I would say your adjuster is stripped. With the bar, chain and side cover off move the adjuster to see if it has full range of motion and put some pressure against it to see if it is stripped. I haven't replaced that item on your model but have on other models of saws and it very easy.
    Take the saw with you to a local dealer after testing to get the parts and they should be able to explain how to swap it for you.

    Craig
  3. tulsamal

    tulsamal New Member

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    I'll try to look at it again today but I did look at it before. You can see the screw with the little adjuster that rides from one end to the other. And it sure looks like it is going all the way to one end. It is getting all the way to the end and that's still not enough to tighten the chain.

    I know, it doesn't make any sense to me either. If I only had one bar and one chain, I would think they were the wrong ones or had been damaged in some way. That's why I pulled out all the old stuff.

    There was a process that got me here. Which makes me think that something was wearing or coming out of adjustment. I was using the 20" bar. I went to tighten it and there was "just enough" to get it tight. Later it needed to be tightened again. That time there just wasn't enough "throw" to do it. In frustration, I pulled out one of the old 18" bars. It tightened right up. So I used it for a couple weeks. But now it won't make it all the way to the tight position either.

    I'll _really_ look at it close today just to be sure that there isn't some gunk in the screw that is keeping it from its last couple of revolutions. I've always thought it was weird that my adjustments fall at the very far end of the screw rather than more in the middle. There just isn't much room for wear or problems.

    Thanks,

    Gregg
  4. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Do you pinch your bar alot while cutting wood and work it back and forth till it comes out of the pinch . If so you are streching your chains which won't allow them to tighten.
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    And you can shorten the chain very easily too.
  6. My_3_Girls

    My_3_Girls Member

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    You beat me by about an hour.... If all else is good with the saw, take the chain in and have a link taken out of it. Any saw dealer / small engine repair place that says they sharpen should be able to shorten it up.
  7. tulsamal

    tulsamal New Member

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    I think this is the best answer. Yesterday I took the whole thing off the saw again. I cleaned out the little channel where the screw adjuster rides. Then tried a bar again. It isn't that the screw adjuster "runs into the end" of the adjustment scale. It is that the adjuster moves the bar further and further forward until the bar itself won't go any further forward. At that point, both the chains I was using a lot this winter are still loose. And it happens with both of my old 18" bars and my newer 20" bar. So I dug around in all my old stuff and found another 18" chain. I think it is the oldest one I own. Rusty and dull. Just too much of a pack rat to throw it out. And that chain would tighten! Even had some adjustment range to spare. So I cleaned it up and sharpened it and used it on the fallen branch in my yard. It worked but that chain really is worn out. That got me wondering if somehow the other chains could be shortened. So that answer seems like the right choice. I'll have to look around for somebody to do it. I normally sharpen my own chains so I don't have "a guy" that I routinely see.

    Thanks all!

    Gregg
  8. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Dennis,
    Personally if the chain is stretched that much then I would replace it.. I have a motorcycle and there is a gauge that tells you to replace it when it has stretched to a certain point.. It could be dangerous if that chain is that worn and it could break and rip you to shreds in the process... I would hate to see someone hurt for no good reason other than saving a few bucks...

    Ray
  9. ericjeeper

    ericjeeper New Member

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    central Indiana
    drive sprocket is likely worn. You do not throw a cutting chain away because it is stretched. Take a link out..
    and put a new drive sprocket on the saw.
  10. tulsamal

    tulsamal New Member

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    When I was looking at all the parts the other day, the only way I could see the chains being too long was if something on the saw had worn somehow. I was wondering if that part that drives the chain could have gotten worn. Is it normal wear? Can I buy that part somewhere?

    Gregg
  11. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Could be a stripped or damaged adjuster, and if you've had that many chains on it, the sprocket may well be worn, but I would tend to agree with most of the other posters that it is likely a stretched chain. The other possibility, but it seems very unlikely is excessive bar wear, but the fact that you are having the same problem with several bars suggests the problem is elsewhere. This is something a saw shop should be able to fix fairly easily, but I'd be a little nervous about it - If the chain was the right length to begin with, if it has stretched so much that it's out of adjustment you are likely pushing past the manufacturer's reccomended wear tolerances...

    A few things to try -

    1. Take a loop that will tighten, and compare the drive link counts with one that won't, see if you have an over-length bunch of chains

    2. Compare the stretched out length of the two loops, see if there is a difference

    3. Take a few links of the long chain and try pushing them together and pulling them apart in a straight line - very much perceptible play is a bad thing and would suggest the chain should be trashed, not shortenned.

    I'd also try to investigate WHY your chain was getting stretched - it is possibly due to mechanical abuse as mentioned by Lee's Wood, but I'd also take a look at your oiling - how much oil are you using? The right ratio is just less than one tank of oil to a tank of gas - when the saw runs out of gas, you should have just enough oil in the tank to be sure that you hadn't run out of oil first... Check the oil pump pickup screen, clean out the oil hole in the bar, etc. Make sure you don't have other oil leaks. While cutting check the oiling by holding the saw a few inches from a light colored branch or cut surface and revving the engine - you should see a trace of slung oil. What are you using for B&C;oil? Regular chain oil, or some home brew mix? (NEVER use crankcase drain oil!)

    I've seen mention on some of the Arboristsite threads that some Husky's were prone to oiling problems, I forget the details as I'm not a Husky owner, but it might be worth checking to make sure your oil pump is doing right.

    Gooserider
  12. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Hello Gooserider,
    I agree with your post and I also think that if your chain stretched and you must replace the chain then it's also a good idea to replace the drive sprocket so they wear together same as my motorcycle.. I would never take out a link on my bike chain for that reason or replace the chain and not the sprockets.. It's always a good idea to take the safe way when in doubt..

    Ray
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