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How to assess a used chainsaw? And what questions to ask about a used Stihl 026 pro

Post in 'The Gear' started by annette, Jan 3, 2008.

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  1. annette

    annette Member

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    Hi, all:

    I live pretty far away from my primary chainsaw source (aka "boyfriend") and I have good wood-scrounging opportunities around me. I'm still not sure if I should invest my money into getting my own chainsaw, or get an electric splitter instead. But I just saw this ad in Craig's list, and it's tempting:

    Stihl chain saw, O26 pro, professional series chain saw. Exc. cond. 16 bar. $150.

    That's all the ad says. I know Stihl is good, and that's what the BF has. He has a dealer nearby. Importantly to me, it's a pretty light saw. (~10lbs) I was recently looking into arborist saws, trying to find a really light chainsaw.

    From opinions that I've read here and on arboristsite.com, this is a good saw, especially if I'm not paying full price. My questions are:
    --Is there a way to determine just how old this one is, if the seller doesn't know?
    --When did they start calling them 260, and are the parts the same?
    --What should we look for in an inspection, to be pretty sure everything is ok?
    --What are we likely to miss, how much will replacing things cost? (My BF can do that, but let's see if he has the time!)
    --Overall, what condition would you expect a $150 stihl 026 to be in?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

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  2. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Ask if you call pull the muffler and see the piston/cylinder. That way you can see if the saw has any internal cylinder/piston damage.

    You might ask that question here and get a better response:

    http://www.arboristsite.com/forumdisplay.php?f=9
  3. LarryD

    LarryD Member

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    You may also want to take a look at the sprocket on the clutch. I believe the 026 had a floating star sprocket. Most non professional users never change the sprocket. I will try to find an old one and take a picture to show a well worn sprocket. This won't give an exact age but will give an indication of how heavily it was used. You may also take a look at the clutch shoes and check them for wear. I would be surprised if someone would let you take the muffler off of a $150 used saw to inspect the piston. But if they do, that will give you the best info. Be very careful buying used saws, looks can be decieving!

    Larry D
  4. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

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    If you can't pull the muffler, pull the spark plug and peer in the hole with a flash light and look for any vertical scoring TMonter mentioned. If you can post a picture of it or give me the serial number I can look the age up at work.
  5. sedanman

    sedanman New Member

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    Ask to hear it run. See how hard it is for the owner to start it. Let it idle. If it has been sitting a while without being run it may take a few extra pulls to get it to start. If the saw is not running in 5 pulls, leave it there. If the saw will not idle on its own with no help (after a minute or two of warm up ) leave it there. Finally, with the saw turnod off, put it on the floor and slowly pick up on the starter cord, the saw should be lifted off the ground before the cord pulls out completely (this works on my 100cc saws as well) If the pull cord comes all the way out before the saw is lifted off the ground, leave it there. If it passes all the tests, you should be fine.
  6. annette

    annette Member

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    I appreciate all the advice so far. I'll ask about those things when I call tomorrow.

    Sedanman, would the diagnostics that you described indicate the same problems/wear that posts above mentioned? Or would they rule out different problems?

    Thanks
  7. sedanman

    sedanman New Member

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    A saw with a scored piston might run but generally it will not idle or start easily. The pull cord test is a good test of compression but can't be used alone as a siezed saw will pass with flying colors. A bad saw WILL FAIL one or all of these tests. Some people get weird about taking their muffler off.
  8. ozarkjeep

    ozarkjeep New Member

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    If the saw LOOKS decent, no broken plastics, not beat to hell, AND it starts/runs/cuts/idles well, its a bargain at $150!

    I disagree with the folks telling you to pass it up if it doesnt pass any of those test, all of those are GOOD tests, but, if it doesnt pass, use that as negotiation fodder and buy it for CHEAP.

    a complete parts saw on ebay will get close to $150, if you took the time to remove the plastics, and place a few ads, you could probably even make money on it IF it turns out to be un-fixeable.

    they are simple saws though, and easy to get parts for, cheap to fix.
    there is a reason they are still common and sought after.

    I would buy one close to me for $150, if that tells you anything, and ive got a few stihls already.
  9. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    150 bucks is cheap for that saw. If it runs and effortlessly cuts through hardwood, then its a deal..

    The Echo CS-346 is the ultimate "chick" saw. Very light and easy to use, with decent power.
  10. Mmaul

    Mmaul Minister of Fire

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    I have used one of those saw a few time I really like it. You state that you live in the Indiana Rivera I live in east central Indiana if I could be of any assitance let me know.
  11. Jake

    Jake Member

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    I saw the same ad, but decided against calling the guy, no pics

    for 150 bucks, I'd expect almost nothing. nice used ones go for around 250
  12. annette

    annette Member

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    Well, I don't have to worry about its condition, the guy who bought it does! We called, and it was already sold. The seller also has a Stihl 009 for $100. This guy was a developer, and is selling off a lot of equipment. I don't think I'll pursue the 009--is it a homeowner saw, one site said so? But Sedanman has one. I'm confused. Most importantly, the BF has revealed that he has a Craftsman chainsaw that he was very happy with before he bought the bigger Stihl. He just needs to replace a screw, and do something to the carburetor so it starts better...I may be back here asking questions about finding replacement parts!

    But...what do you guys think of the 009?

    Hello, neighbors in Indiana and Chicago!

    Jake, I felt the same way, very suspicious about the lack of info and photo, but I thought it was worth looking into. Maybe you want to check out the 009?

    Sandor, I read about that Echo on arboristsite, and it sounded great. I couldn't find it for sale, new or used. Today I was volunteering with a land trust in my area, (I volunteer and help them out, it turns out they happen to have firewood they give away...) and brought up the chainsaw. Someone just heard that Stihl will be making/marketing a chainsaw aimed toward women. My little feminist self started getting irate with that idea, picturing something like those retarded pink tool sets that are sold at xmastime. What is Stihl's girlie saw? A light saw with an electronic start. Uh-oh, they got me! I HATE pull-cords! But if it's pink, with glitter and sequins, I'll set it on fire. Ok, hyperbole, If someone gave me one I'd just spraypaint it.

    Thanks again, everyone.
  13. sedanman

    sedanman New Member

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    The 009 is a red-headed stepchild among Stihl fans. It is an older design (reed valve vs. piston port for the tech savvy). The 009 is as reliable as gravity and repair parts will be available for the next million years due to numbers the saw was produced in. I know a few tree service guys who have used 009's in trees and some that still supply them to their groundmen. That said, the 009 would not be my first choice as an all around, do everything, only have one saw. Not everyone "needs" a pro saw anyway, I know a guy who makes a large portion of living cutting firewood, he gets 3 years out of a MS-390 and then goes and buys a new one, he cuts more than 200 cords a year (he's BUSY). I own the 009 because of its compact size, I keep it in its case in my minivan for scrounging, I have cut 23" oak with a 12" bar to get free wood.
  14. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

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    If I'm thinking of the right saw, I don't even think you can get many parts for an 009 anymore.
  15. sedanman

    sedanman New Member

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    I am among other things, a Stihl certified technician. The only thing hard to find is the reed assemble for the earlier (ORANGE) 009's. The saw was still being made until '06. Every Stihl dealer has a pile of parts saws at their disposal. The aftermarket even makes piston kits (though still available from Stihl). An 009 can be kept alive for as long as you wish.
  16. cmonSTART

    cmonSTART Minister of Fire

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    Ok, I'm thinking of a different saw.
  17. Jake

    Jake Member

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    I'm looking at 260's aND 280'S :)
  18. sedanman

    sedanman New Member

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    You were probably thinking of the 015. I have seen grown men cry when told there were no parts to anymore to keep their old saw running, like losing a good dog.
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