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What to look for when buying a used saw

Post in 'The Gear' started by HittinSteel, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,587
    Loc:
    Northeastern Ohio
    This question comes up often. I had posted this a while ago in the middle of another thread where it got lost.

    The list below is not mine and was pirated from others. It is a good guide. I like to see compression around 150 though.

    Hope this helps some folks out and the title of the thread should make it easier to find when new members are looking for advice when checking out a used saw.


    A rusty muffler is generally a sign of wear
    Check for cracks in housing
    Check for damage to bar mounting studs
    Is the chain tensioner ok?
    Does the sprocket show signs of wear and tear?
    Look for mismatched fasterners and washes, indicating possible stripped threads
    Are all fly-wheel fins in place?
    Any broken or torn bits in suspension?

    FILTERS
    Check that fuel and air filters are in good shape. Lousy filters are a sign of poor maintenance

    IGNITION
    Take out the spark plug and check that there is a strong spark

    CRANK BEARINGS
    Remove the chain and check that the crank bearings do not have excessive play

    CYLINDER AND PISTON
    Remove muffler to inspect that piston/cylinder do not have scoring

    COMPRESSION
    If you can measure it, it should be 120 psi or better
    If not, hold the saw in the start handle to test compression
    Check compression also when warm

    TEST RUN
    Check that the clutch is not slipping
    Check that the chain does not spin at idle
    Check that the chain brake functions
    Check that the saw idles and accelerates well
    On idle, check that the crank seals/bearings are ok by shifting the saw to left and right side. The saw should not change rpm
    If possible, use it for two hour's hard cut
    PA Fire Bug and brokenknee like this.

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