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Is this a good Stihl chainsaw purchase?

Post in 'The Gear' started by isipwater, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. isipwater

    isipwater Feeling the Heat

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    Hi, I am looking for my first chainsaw, want around a 60cc saw. What do you guys think of this deal?

    I Here are the details:

    Stihl 036 from a reputable guy on Arobistsite.
    Price is $400 for powerhead only.
    Condition I am being told is, "like new"
    It is original but has a muffler modification (enlarged opening). The seller also says, "There is a base gasket that comes at the bottom of the cylinder the top of the crankcase. Removing it increases compression- it's a very common mod. The paper gasket is replaced with liquid gasket- this is a common assembly technique in motorcycles.

    Here are some photos:

    036 two.jpg
    036 one.jpg

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  2. HatCityIAFF

    HatCityIAFF Burning Hunk

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    thats a very nice looking, well taken care of saw. I really don't know about any of the mods, but the 36 will tackle any and all of your cutting needs. I would think $400 is a little steep for that though. I would be expecting to pay that for a slightly used newer one. That saw might "look" good, but it is quite old, you stihl gurus help me out with the year range? Think if you get a 20" bar and chain for $50, and a 28" bar and chain for $90ish, your into the saw 540$. I'm thinking maybe $625 for a brand new 362? and with that you get full warrenty and dealer.. Just my .02.
    isipwater likes this.
  3. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    $400 is right at the top of the range for 036's. I'd pay that for one that clean, if he were willing to throw in a nice 20" ES bar and chain ($80 - $100 value). I think I'd pass at $400 for a power head only. It's a 15 - 25 year old saw, clean or not.

    As always, ask for a compression test and photo of the piston thru the muffler slot.
    isipwater and HatCityIAFF like this.
  4. isipwater

    isipwater Feeling the Heat

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    Ok, thanks for the feedback. Perhaps you know him, this is being sold by nmurph. Again, he says it is in almost new condition, but I guess I could ask him for a compression test, additonal photos and bar/cain.
  5. jeffesonm

    jeffesonm Feeling the Heat

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    Seems like that guy has a great reputation on AS so I would not hesitate to buy from him. I agree it's at the higher end of the price range, but the saw looks to be in excellent condition. See if you can get him to throw in any old bar and chain just to get you going and then you can look for a 20" in your spare time.
    isipwater and Clyde S. Dale like this.
  6. webie

    webie Minister of Fire

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    Hmm I think its a little steep . Also I wouldnt exactly say its original when he has modded the muf and removed the base gasket . I would want pics of the piston and rings for sure he can do that by removing the muffler . I say its steep because 5years ago I bought from a dealer a brand new ms 360 with a 20 inch B&C for 450 bucks and he was happy to sell it . I think I would put some bucks to it an buy new then but thats up to you .
    isipwater likes this.
  7. Osagebndr

    Osagebndr Feeling the Heat

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    I'd ask for a bar and chain. I bought an 039 few years back for $250 . And it came with three chains two were new. U can buy a brand new 291 for $425 and get a 20" b&c with it
    isipwater likes this.
  8. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Yes, I know of him. In that case, I'd be more comfortable skipping the photos of the piston, and guess he's probably already done a compression test (you can always ask). If he threw in a decent bar and chain or two, I'd go $400.

    It's not a steal, but it's a fair price. I've seen ones less clean than that go $400+ on ebay, from unknown sellers.

    Again, without bar and chain, figure you're going to spend another $100 to put one on it. Preferred bar is Stihl ES, or any equivalent solid (not laminated) roller nose.
    isipwater likes this.
  9. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    What's the shipping cost?
  10. isipwater

    isipwater Feeling the Heat

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    shipping included in $400
  11. isipwater

    isipwater Feeling the Heat

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    That is helpful. So, for $400 for the power base and another $100 for good bar and chain brings me to $500 for a gently used Stihl saw with no warranty (not that I expect to have any issues) that is over 15 years old and does not have the latest features such as reduced fuel consumption. Makes me think about buying new.
  12. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    036
    like new
    powerhead only (PHO)
    muff mod
    increased squish (increased compression from thinner base gasket)

    $400 - INCLUDING SHIPPING!.

    He had to take the P&C off to put that base gasket in, so he knows the condition of the P&C better than simply looking through the cylinder exhaust port. If it's a new or like new OEM P&C then it's not overpriced, IMO.

    If you aren't sure about what any of what I stated means, then get a saw from a local dealer who can provide support.
    Joful and isipwater like this.
  13. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    TreePointer has some good advice. Me? I'd definitely go $400 if he'd throw in a bar, or if I had another I could just install. As you already summed, $500 for a completed 036 is just too high, at least for me.

    edit: checking Bailey's, here's what they have for solid pro bars with sprocket nose:
    Woodland Timbermax $30 w/o chain, $40 w/chain
    Oregon Pro-Lite: $50
    Oregon Pro Tip: $60
    Carlton Speed Tip: $56 w/o chain, $66 w/chain

    I'm running a Windsor Speed Tip, which look s a heck of a lot like that Carlton. Did Carlton buy Windsor?

    I always hear Bailey's gets you on shipping, but this is definitely less than I paid locally for my 20" Windsor Speed Tip. Ebay also has some good deals on bars (Stihl pattern, .375 pitch x .050 gauge, 20").

    edit edit: Just found the receipt for my bar: $65. It was only over $100 because I picked up a few chain loops with the bar. Sorry for the bad numbers, but of course you're going to need chain with that bar!
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
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  14. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    I would leave the older saws to guys that like to play with them. If you do not have the ability to repair your self it is not a good match for you. Something much more current or new from a dealer ( not the box stores) likely would be a better match. As for a dealer ask them if they retune a new saw, if they say no go somewhere else. All the new saws are coming down the pipe line severely leaned out to meet EPA specs, as such running one hard can quickly toast the cylinder piston assembly even with the proper fuel/oil mix. So far from what I have read it has been a mixed bag on a fried saw warranty wise.
    isipwater, Joful and TreePointer like this.
  15. kingquad

    kingquad Minister of Fire

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    All I have to add is that nmurph is a very reputable guy. I have purchased from him in the past and was completely happy with the experience. If he says it's in "like new" condition, then it is.
    Clyde S. Dale likes this.
  16. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Second the fact that there are no qualms from purchasing from nmurph.

    Just wanted to add my thoughts. Last year I picked up an 038 super from a private seller with a 20" bar for $100 less.

    Now, the saw you are looking at is in better shape, and has to be shipped, and its newer than the one I have by a series. So if there is NOTHING near you, its not a bad deal, but its a little bit steep for a saw that old. Ill agree that if you like to play with your own saws, its probably not a bad deal.

    For this size range, I would look at the Echo 590... Brand new, 5 year warranty, comes with the bar and chain. Retail is $400.....
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
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  17. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    A lot of landscapers around here use Echo. My most reliable saw ever was an Echo 510EVL. It was not setting any records on power/weight ratio (HEAVY!), but it was as reliable as concrete.
  18. isipwater

    isipwater Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for pointing out the cost details on taking care of the bar and chain issues.
  19. isipwater

    isipwater Feeling the Heat

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    I have no experience in small engine repair but I am willing to learn. I think I will go with a new saw after all even though it seems like there are some nice and gently used ones out there. I usually prefer to buy most things gently used vs. new so I can avoid paying for depreciation. However, what I am learning is that good saws don't seem to depreciate that much.
    As for tuning issues, this is something I have not read much about. I wonder if tuning issues on new saws are limited to Auto Tune and M Tronic saws or the all new saws.
  20. isipwater

    isipwater Feeling the Heat

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    Yes, the Echo Timber Wolf does look tempting. Power, price and warranty hit the spot. However, I end up wondering why more people don't buy them then. It makes me wonder what the reason is.
  21. isipwater

    isipwater Feeling the Heat

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    In terms of what most folks here and Arborsite discuass about chainsaws, Echo seems like it is a very distant third behind Husky and Stihl. I understand that their power ratio is not good but the price, power, and warranty appear to be impressive.
  22. smokedragon

    smokedragon Minister of Fire

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    $730 at my local dealer
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  23. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Well, a high power to weight ratio facilitates faster work over a longer period of time. That's pretty significant for an aborist who spends a large fraction of every day running a saw. There's also the question of dealer support; it's problematic if the dealer who can fix your work tools is far away or takes a while to obtain parts. For us amateur firewood cutters, though, the pro saws are more fun than they are a necessity.
    blacktail and Joful like this.
  24. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Well, the Timber Wolf is a relatively recent release from Echo to complete price-wise with the other "Farm/Ranch" saws from Husky and Stihl. I think they are really just getting rolled out to the point where people are even aware they exist.

    Key really is going to be dealer support. I think Stihl and Husky are so well known because they have dealers everywhere. If you have an Echo guy nearby, go see if you can try a saw out, or if they will be having demo days or something soon. While a pro saw might last your lifetime, it might be more than us non-professionals really need.

    Do I have "pro" saws? Yes, but only because they were more than 20 years old when I bought them, and the reasoning was that there were a TON of spare parts out there. If I was buying a new saw today, I really dont know that I could justify it.
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  25. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    About the same, here.

    The guy I do 90% of my felling with carries two Echo's and two Stihl's. One of his Echo's is a top handle , the other a newer than mine CS510. They both work well. His CS510 was purchased new by a relative 10 years ago, but never used. It came from the dealer tuned rich. He left it that way for several weeks when he got it last year (proper break-in), eventually leaning it out proper. I'm not surprised to hear they're shipping them lean now, but breaking in a new saw on lean tuning does not sound like a recipe for long life!

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