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Chainsaw First Use -- Ten Questions

Post in 'The Gear' started by WarmGuy, Apr 29, 2007.

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  1. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

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    Today I fired up my 40 cc Craftsman 18" chainsaw that I got for $100 (it's new -- someone had bought this for his brother, who turned out to have one already). Worked great. This is the first time I've used a gas chainsaw since many years ago:

    Here are some questions:

    1. To test the inertial chain brake, the manual says to hold it 13" above a stump and let the tip fall. For me the brake engages (clicks on) only if I hold it more like 20" above the stump. I'm assuming that it is working properly, yes?

    2. Stupid question, but I assume that the choke should be pushed in as soon as the saw has been started and you start cutting. It doesn't say this explicitly in the manual, but the choke tends to pop in by itself as soon as you rev the engine, and you're hand tends to push it in when you grab the rear handle. Push it in?

    3. After 10 minutes of use, I had a problem with it dying as soon as I applied the throttle. This problem went away, and I think it was caused by letting the saw idle for a long period (I had left it idling on the ground while I moved some logs -- I realize now that that wasn't a good idea). Agree?

    4. For safety reasons, the manual recommends never leaving the saw idling while on the ground. I was cutting a bunch of smaller logs, and for each I'd make a cut, then move the log on the saw buck or get the next log. To do this, I was essentially making one cut, turning off the saw, putting it down, adjusting log, starting saw, making next cut. Apart from efficiency issues, is this kind of on/off stuff OK for the saw?

    5. After working for 30-40 minutes I was done. I let the engine cool, then opened the fuel tank and poured the remaining gas/oil mixture into the gas can. I then started it up and ran it until it ran out of gas. Proper procedure?

    6. I tightened up the chain, cleaned off the saw and put it away (will use it again in a few days). Anything else I should do?

    7. The manual says, just before the chain tightening section, "Always unplug the spark plug before performing any maintenance. That involves removing a few screws and popping off the top. Do you do that?? I'm guessing the answer is "no."

    9. It's OK to leave the bar oil tank full, yes?

    10. If I have left over gas/oil mixture that I won't need for a while, I assume it's OK to pour it into the car's gas tank, yes?

    Thanks for your help!

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  2. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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  3. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    just saw Sandors post after I submitted mine...I agree with his comments....


    sounds in the ballpark. NOTE: only 9 responses here because you misnumbered them and you only really had 9 questions.....


    my Husky 345 stalls if I don't push it in so push it in after it starts....

    the legal weenies will say do what the manual says.....I let mine idle for the few seconds it takes me to position the next log. Gotta watch out though because if the chain doesn't stop but moves a bit, the saw will "walk" along the ground and try to move......

    see my response to #2, above

    don't know...I let mine sit in the saw if I'm going to use it in the next few weeks and I've never had any problems with it.....


    that's what I do..sometimes I use the air compressor to blow out the sawdust from the clutch/chain brake area

    as in # 3 above, the legal weenies will say to do as the manual says.....I don't unless I'm pulling the chain along it's track in which case I do....pulling on the chain is like rotating a lawn-mowers blade which moves the piston and compresses air/gas and could theoretically combust the air/gas and cause the engine to start

    I do


    no......oil may foul engine component's such as the O2 sensor and foul the cat converter.........I put a drop of Stabil in it and store it for later use in the chain saw.......
  4. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Pretty much push it in when the saw starts, but it depends on the "nature of the beast" some will like you to leave it out longer than others. If the saw stalls when you push it in, you are pushing it in to soon. The idea is to let the saw warm for a moment and check the throttle response - you want the saw to rev up and return to idle smoothly with the choke all the way in before you start cutting.

    True, especially on hard ground. Soggy ground will act like a vibration damper and the saw will stay pretty well put. OTOH on a really hard surface like a stump or a pickup tailgate the saw will walk all over the place even at idle... Best to turn it off if you put the saw down, but at best keep an eye on it.

    You need to do a better planning job, make multiple cuts at a time. One tactic is to make cuts, at the appropriate distances, part way through the log (use the saw itself as a measuring guide) down it's entire length, then roll the log over and finish all the cuts. You will find it easier and faster to set up for say 10 cuts, make them, then stop the saw while you set up for another 10, rather than making one cut at a time.

    I don't like leaving my saw with gas or oil in it, I seem to have a slow leak - not enough to be a problem when using the saw, but makes a mess when it sits. My usual drill is to run the saw out while I'm working - so I quit at the end of a tank, If needed I might pour the gas and oil back into the can, but I wouldn't bother running the engine dry.

    Will continue..
  5. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    continued
    DO NOT tighten the chain when it is hot, or it will be to tight when the saw cools. Adjust the chain tension as part of your startup drill when going for the next cutting session. I don't bother with blowing the crud out, but it doesn't do any harm. I just find the crud builds up to a certain level and stays that way, blowing stuff out just amounts to "chainging the crud"

    MAJOR disagreement here CI - you are right about the legal weenies :p but you can NOT turn the engine over by moving the chain on a gas saw - if you do then take it to the shop cause it's majorly broken! (an electric saw is different) Your gas chainsaw has a centrifugal clutch, the only way it can engage is if the ENGINE is spinning over fast enough to throw the clutch weights out so they engage the drive drum. You can spin the chain (and the drum) fast enough to melt things and the clutch will not engage... However, just to be paranoid I do try to turn the ignition switch to "OFF" before futzing with the chain - just in case Sandor sneaks up on me and pulls the start rope :lol:

    See my comment earlier about leaks, but if you don't leak then it's not a problem as such. Of course if you've run the saw dry, then there probably isn't much in the oil tank either.

    Agreed, don't run premix through a modern emissions car engine. You might get away with running it through your lawn mower or other 4-stroke small engine, but you shouldn't need to... What I do is only mix 1 gallon of premix at a time, in a dedicated CLEARLY MARKED can. I use the little "one shot" bottles of pre-mix oil, they are a bit more expensive, but IMHO not enough to matter with the amount of gas a typical user will go through, and it is worth the convenience and ease of use. READ THE LABELS - many of the one shot bottles come with fuel stabilizers mixed in, but not all. Get the ones that clearly say they have stabilizer, and they will keep a gallon of fuel good for six months to a year at least...

    Gooserider
  6. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    Goose...agree...forgot about the clutch..........but at least I errored on the right side thinking worst case and still thinking there's little risk...LOL.....

    Also, on the "crud issue"......you're right it does seem to build up to a point and get no worse...the crud is sawdust mixed with chain oil that adheres to the saw but I don't like it so I blow it off at the end of the day.....
  7. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    OK, how so? I'm curious as I move the chain on my electric Makita to sharpen it? I did it sunday but the chain was unplugged as I did it on my picnic table and not near my cutting area so I unplugged it anyway...

    Jay
  8. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    It comes down to the difference between an electric motor and a gas engine Jay. An electric motor puts out pretty much full power from 0 RPMs to full speed, so they normally couple the chain drive directly to the motor (possibly going through a gear box). A gas engine produces minimal torque while idling, so they need to use a centrifugal clutch so the engine can get up to a reasonably high speed before trying to drive the chain.

    If you were to look closely, you would see that you were turning the motor in you electric saw while you were pulling the chain around. On a gas saw, the clutch is disengaged below a very fast idle, so you don't turn anything but the clutch drum. The nature of a centrifugal clutch is that it can only engage if the inner core (attached to the engine) is spinning fast enough, spinning the drum won't do it (thus you can't "bump start" a chainsaw) If the clutch is engaging with the engine off, it is broken.

    You are correct to unplug your electric chainsaw when working on it, that is the ONLY way to make it "safe" against accidental starts (if it's a cordless saw, remove the battery)

    Gooserider
  9. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for all the good answers.

    I'd like to come back to the issue of running it until it runs out of gas, which you don't recommend, Sandor. I figure this can't be too bad for the engine, since I'm sure that it's rare that someone refills the tank before the engine runs out of gas. That is, if you cut three tanks worth of trees in the forest, you're probably going to run out of gas twice.

    My concern is leaving gas in the parts of the engine itself. If I just dump out the gas in the tank, there's still going to be some in the internal lines, etc. And those are the places where it would cause a problem if it turns to lacquer because I forgot to use the saw for a while. Just dumping the gas out of the tank isn't going to do anything about that.

    Thoughts?
  10. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    If real concerned about gas left in feul bowl ans lines take out the spark plug take off the air cleaner and load it up with wd40 pull the rope a few times. this does a couple of thinge the wd lubricates the piston and flushes out the gas left in the lines and fuel bowl. the down side o for a minute or so you will see more smoke till the wd40 is burned off some use a cap full of oil aother use mystry oil this proceedure is best for longer time idle or storage..

    If no leakage bar oil should not go bad so leave it but I ususlly sbabil every gas take in the gas container that way I can be nmore forgetfull and get away with it
  11. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I tend to disagree with Sandor on the running out of gas question, especially if you are doing it under use conditions. I'm less comfortable with running the engine dry by prolonged idling. The oil in a two-stroke engine is partly separated from the gas as it is pumped through the engine during the combustion cycle, (basically by "inertia" as the fuel air mix gets sucked in at high speeds the heavier oil drops can't make the bends as easily, sort of like the old fashioned "labrynth" air cleaners) it lubes the moving bits then gets sucked into the combustion chamber and (mostly) burned. When under load the engine will pretty much die as soon as the mix starts getting lean, so the oil will last longer than the gas does. At idle I'm not as sure about running out of gas first since you can run a long time on "fumes" at idle - though it's probably OK. I do know that I've almost always run my homeowner grade Poulan out in use (I quit when it starts getting late and I run out of gas...) and it hasn't been a problem in about 20 cords worth of wood so far.

    As far as fuel degradation is concerned, as long as you use fuel stablizer in your mix, either as a separate add in, or more conveniently by using a pre-mix oil that has stabilizer in it (most do these days) it's pretty much a non issue. Even with non-stabilized fuel, it will take several months of storage before fuel degradation would be an issue. Back when I was growing up, I did a lot of messing with outboard boats, and to some extent I see the same thing today with motorcycles (though those are almost all 4-strokes), where the advice is not to worry about running the carb out EXCEPT when putting the engine away for the winter season, or anticipating a 6 month or longer storage, and this is WITHOUT using stabilizer. IMHO, while it is good that you are concerned, I think you are worrying far more than is merited, and that you'd be better off putting your attention elsewhere, like making sure you have the right PPE, or the like.

    Gooserider
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