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New Stihl 261 Problem

Post in 'The Gear' started by Prof, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. Prof

    Prof Burning Hunk

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    So I just bought a new Stihl MS 261. I took it out and put about 2 tanks of gas through it. First tank I was cutting small hard maple, 6 inches and less--everything was fine. The second tank, I started working on the bigger part of the same tree, say 12-16 inches. The chain would stop about half way through the cut. The engine kept running. I'd pull the bar out, rev it up and finish the cut. Something worth mentioning is that I had the dealer swap the stock bar/chain for a 3/8 set up (I wanted to be able to swap bars/chains with my other saw). So my questions are these: Did I make a mistake by swapping the bar/chain? Could this just be related to the saw not being broken in yet, or could this be something else? Any guidance woud be appreciated.

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  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    When the chain stops is it pulling the engine RPM down with it?
  3. Prof

    Prof Burning Hunk

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    Yeah, the RPMs did seem to drop.
  4. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    If the RPM's are dropping to 30% or so of wide open throttle, that tells me the clutch is doing its job. Maybe your chain is too aggressive for the power head? A 3/8 full chisel chain on an 18" bar can suck up a lot of hp. That is my goto setup on my MS361 and I can stall it if I "push it".

    Are you letting the saw drop through the log, or are you putting effort into it? You might be trying to push it too hard.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  5. Boog

    Boog Minister of Fire

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    How long is the bar with the 3/8. I experimented with putting 3/8 bars on my two used 026 saws I picked up, they originally came with 18" .325. They seemed to cut ok with a 16" bar although I only cut stuff up to about 8-10". I tried them with a 20" bar too for cutting up small stuff on the ground (I'm 6'3"). That worked fine too as the stuff was just small limbs and such under 8". I did try and cut about a 14" pignut with the 20" on and immediately experienced the same symptoms as you. Didn't even try and go further and saved that one for the 036 "Pro" the next day.

    After trying out the 3/8, I switched them both back to the 18" .325. I know many folks here don't like that chain, but I don't see any problems with it, and it seems perfectly matched for the 026 at 18". I'm seriously thinking of converting one of them to 3/8 Picco .050, but have not found a large format bar longer than 16" yet. If I can find an 18 or 20" I'll set one of them up with that.
  6. Prof

    Prof Burning Hunk

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  7. Prof

    Prof Burning Hunk

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    Are you letting the saw drop through the log, or are you putting effort into it? You might be trying to push it too hard.[/quote]

    I'm letting the saw do the cutting--that's what had me thinking there was a problem.
  8. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    New chain or did somebody sharpen it for you (or did you). Raker depth could be aggressive, but the reality is, you are probably pulling that saw for all it is worth using that chain.
  9. mecreature

    mecreature Minister of Fire

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    You hear people say they are running 3/8s on 261 with no problems at all.
    Then the next guy says he would not do it for the world. I understand wanting
    to match up your stuff. It would be nice to try the 325 though.. just to see.
  10. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah mecreature - but I know folks that could screw up a bowling ball with a rubber mallet.;)
    Backwoods Savage and smokinj like this.
  11. Prof

    Prof Burning Hunk

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    Brand new chain--the more I look into this, I'm thinking that I may have to give up on the convenience of swapping out chains and go back to the stock set up.
    Nixon and Jags like this.
  12. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    260's take somewhat of a touch, but by any chance you dull that chain out? How good are you at sharpening?
  13. Prof

    Prof Burning Hunk

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    Chain still throws nice chips--basically cuts like a new chain should. I might touch it up just to see if that makes a difference.
  14. Stlshrk

    Stlshrk Member

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    Air filter clean? Revs up through RPM range when unloaded? Or is there hesitation?
  15. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Jags is right.....Or use a lighter pull when cutting. I can stall out an 880 at will so keep that in mind.
  16. Jack Fate

    Jack Fate Feeling the Heat

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    Pardon me but you don't know me well enough to talk about my wife that way .
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  17. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    I've never run a 261.....but it should have no problem pulling a 3/8" 18" from the reports I've read.
    smokinj likes this.
  18. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, I have also heard that she could screw up a crow bar in a sand pile, but that is just hearsay.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  19. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I never tire of hearing this.:p
  20. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Yea its hard to say. It could just be over pulling. On the other hand I didnt like my 260 with the 3/8 set-up either.
  21. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    How many teeth in the saw's drive sprocket?
  22. Prof

    Prof Burning Hunk

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    It doesn't have a standard sprocket--it has a disc instead.
  23. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    You mean it has a rim sprocket instead of a spur sprocket. How many "holes" in the rim?
  24. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    That would be a rim sprocket. Even better than a standard spur sprocket.

    Double check the following,

    Open up the oiler all the way. Verify that it is oiling properly and adequately. Should visibly "fling" oil off the nose. Check it by holding the saw WOT over a light-colored surface for about 3-5 seconds. Should get a nice straight oil mark.
    Chain tension is tight but not too tight. Should move freely with the brake released but also should not sag visibly from the bottom of the bar.
    That the bar and rim sprocket match the pitch of the chain you are running. (3/8"?) Specs are written on the parts somewhere.
    That saw should have a 7 pin rim sprocket on it for 3/8" chain. Should say 3/8" - 7 on the side of it somewhere. Might have to remove it to see it. All else fails, just count the slots. If you had the dealer swap bar&chain, good chance they didn't swap the rim sprocket as well?
    Does it seem like the sprocket in the bar nose is siezing up? Next time it stops, pull out of the cut and try to move the chain with a scrench or gloved hand (engine off please). If it's still bound up, then you have a mechanical problem with the cutting tackle somewhere, not a lack of power.

    MS261 should pull 3/8" chain just fine.
    Prof likes this.
  25. Prof

    Prof Burning Hunk

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    yep--rim sprocket--7 holes and has 3/8 stamped on it.

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