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New bar/chain on MS290

Post in 'The Gear' started by youngstr, Mar 16, 2007.

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  1. youngstr

    youngstr Guest

    I'm thing of upgrading my 16" bar and .325" chain to a 20" bar and 3/8" chain. Will I have issues with this on a Stihl MS290 ? Anyone have any thought's on what I might expect from making the change ?

    BTW I've been a lurker here for a long time but this is my first post. What a great site....

    Thanks,
    youngstr

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  2. Harley

    Harley Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Ashfield, MA
    I don't think you would have any big issues... a 20" bar is at about its limit, I think.... do you think you need that much extra length? Most likely that's going to be slightly underpowered if you run into some real big rounds. Personally, I'd probably go to 18", unless you really need that extra length.
  3. youngstr

    youngstr Guest

    Yeah, I pretty much need the length. Most of the time the 16" will be fine but I do need the 20" on a couple of trees....

    There's a tree out back that I've nearly ringed with the 16" bar and it's still laying there laughing at me. I suppose I could rip it into pieces but since I need a couple of chains anyway I was thinking about slowly migrating to 20". Other than the bar length, any idea if I would I see a performance increase/decrease with a different chain size?
  4. Harley

    Harley Minister of Fire

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    I don't think you'll see much, if any decrease. In fact, you may get a little bit longer in between sharpening (more teeth). Cutting the same stuff as what you do now with the 16"... I don't think you'll really notice a difference. Just don't be too disappointed when you cut some stuff with the full length of the longer bar... I think it will be a little "boggy"
  5. youngstr

    youngstr Guest

    Thanks Harley, that's what I was hoping to hear. I figured I might bog down a bit. At least I'll be able to go out back and get through that tree, even if I have to ease my way through it. Once I get the new bar/chain/sprocket I'll post how it works....if we don't get dumped on too bad this weekend.

    I like the idea of longer times between sharpenings. I'm in NH and the whole state is just a great big pile of rocks. Everytime I'm out bucking those rocks jump out of the bushes at my saw.....
  6. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    I have a MS310 with 3/8 20" bar and would rather have 16" 3/8 bar. I find the longer bar is a pain. The other thing is how $ is it to change.
  7. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Just jump the bar and chain to 20" and keep it .325 , The 3/8 is going to drag your saw more and unless you have the power for it its not going to do you any extra help.

    If you do go with a 3/8 from now running a .325 you'll have to also change the drive sprocket.

    When you upgrade made sure your rail size stays the same with the chain and the bar . ie: .050 gage , .058 gage ect...
  8. youngstr

    youngstr Guest

    Johnsopi, do you find your 310 drives the 20" bar 3/8" chain sufficiently? As Harley and Roospike indicated I'll be losing some power doing this...I might have to think about the 20" and .325, then at least I won't have to change the sprocket. I can't believe no one has tried this...isn't the 290 one of the Stihl big sellers....Anyone ?
  9. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    East Lansing, MI
    290 can pull a 20" bar OK. But you will be happiest with .325" pitch chain. I ran one for years and it worked well this way. I tried another 290 with 18" and 3/8", and it was much less lively than the .325" setup.

    This 290 with 20" and .325" runs circles around it's sibling, the 455 with an 18" and 3/8" chain:

    Attached Files:

  10. youngstr

    youngstr Guest

    Hey, here we go, some hands on experience. It sounds like I'd be smart going with the .325" in the 20" bar.

    Thanks to all for the info and insight. I'll let everyone know how the new bar/chain work once the weather breaks.
  11. Elderthewelder

    Elderthewelder Minister of Fire

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    I have the MS290 with the 20" bar . A couple months ago I took it to the Stihl dealer and told them I needed a chain for it, I just looked at the package it came in and researched it on the Stihl site and it is a 3/8 pitch .050 guage chain. p/n 33rsc3-72. It works fine for me, however I do not have alot of knowledge about chain saw's, let alone chains. This saw replaced my little McCullouch. Now after reading this thread I am thinking I should go get the .325 pitch chain. I will need to get the sprocket changed if I do this correct??
  12. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

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    347
    Loc:
    East Lansing, MI
    My understanding is that Stihl Northwest specs the 290 with 3/8" as the standard sprocket size for that saw, and that this is a good setup for the softwoods of the west coast. The west coast guys seem to think that the 290 and 260 are good with 3/8", even though that is something we'd probably not consider here in the midwest.

    If you decide to change, get a new clutch drum that accepts rim sprockets (if you don't already have one) so you can just swap rim sprockets back and forth to change pitch and number of teeth.
  13. youngstr

    youngstr Guest

    Well, I finally tried out the new chain/bar and I thought I'd give an update. I went to the store fully expecting to buy the 20" bar/.325 chain. The problem is, when I got there I started looking real hard at the 3/8" chain. I kinda fell into a trance, that bigger 3/8" chain was starting to make me feel inadequate with my little .325" chain. I started sweating and everything got blury. By the time I came to, I was sitting in my truck with a 20" bar and a couple of 3/8" chains(against my own better judgement).

    Well, I took yesterday off(thinking a bad day of cutting is better than a good day of work) and tried out the 16" bar/.325" chain as well as the 20" bar/ 3/8" chain. My observations on the MS290 were as follows;

    Whenever I was bucking, anything larger than 16" in diameter the 20" bar/ 3/8" chain would bog down(as compared with the 16" bar/ .325" chain).
    When I was limbing, the 20" bar/ 3/8" chain was noticably faster than the 16" bar/ .325" chain.
    The 3/8" chain hold's it's edge better than the .325" chain.

    All the above being said I'm really not dissapointed in my decision. At least now I'm able to get through all my wood. If I could go back in time I think I'd want a 16"/ 3/8" combo and a 20"/.325" combo if that makes any sense. Bottom line is that tree out back isn't laughing at me any more, the extra 4" of bar got me through it....

    Y
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