Pros and cons of ported saws

WiscWoody Posted By WiscWoody, Nov 20, 2018 at 9:50 PM

  1. WiscWoody

    WiscWoody
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    i started a thread about some lacky saws I found at our rural dump here and it became somewhat of a debate on the pros and cons of porting a saw so I figured I’d make a new thread just for that debate. My 2 pro saws are both woods ported and I like them that way. One is a 390XP that I bought nearly new that was straight gassed by someone. I got the saw for $150 and I had a new piston and jug put on when I had it ported for $500. Then I bought a 562XP and had it ported also. I figure these 2 saws will last my lifetime with me being 56 now and will be all I will need to cut my firewood. Some are thinking that a porting a saw might hurt the engine...? I don’t know. Any thoughts?
     
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  2. SpaceBus

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    As with any engine it will now operate beyond its intended operating conditions. Now, how much additional stress, if any, is up for debate and you will probably get a million different opinions. Think about a race engine in a motocross bike, it tends to require a rebuild every season. Now, I doubt your saws were built quite like a motocross engine, but you get the point. I doubt more airflow into your cylinder is really going to put any additional strain on your piston, rings, and bearings. Furthermore I doubt that you will need to rebuild it in your lifetime, especially since you won't be using them all day every day.
     
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  3. DodgyNomad

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    No doubt it shortens the life a little bit, but if done right, and tuned right, well worth it imo. The time and effort you save is worth having a saw wear out 20% faster. I'm only guessing on the earlier demise and the percentage, but common sense tells me if you're using it harder and running it faster, putting more air and fuel through it in a given amount of time, it's going to wear stuff out faster, that's for sure.

    As long as it's done right and tuned, I feel it's well worth it every time you run it. The productivity more than makes up for a shortened lifespan imo.
     
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  4. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus
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    The tuning is crucial, but shouldn't be too tough for the right person. You are right though, more fuel and more air is a more energetic combustion. As long as the fueling is set up right the pistons shouldn't melt, crack the ring lands, or break the piston. I also assume the engine builder wouldn't build a 56 year old man who isn't a lumber jack a race engine saw.
     
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  5. woodhog73

    woodhog73
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    I have a ported Jonsered 2252. Built with a pop up piston, full port job, removed base gasket, muffler mod. No tuning required. It’s an Auto tune ( same as Stihls Mtronic ). You can’t tune these saws and they adjust for air fuel changes etc.

    Its a couple years old now and runs great. It’s got a lot of use on it since I ported it and is very reliable. I like it because I have a bad back and the 70cc saw is heavy to run all day. So I wanted as much power in as light of a saw I could get. At the time I bought it the saw was the lightest pro 50cc saw on the market. The revised stihl 261 that was updated in 2017 lost weight and is now the lightest powerhead. If this saw burns up I’ll buy whatever the lightest 50cc is at the time and have the works thrown at it for mods. Something real nice about a 4 plus Horsepower saw that only weigh 10lbs etc

    Saw runs like a 60cc. I run .325 18 inch but it would pull a 3/8 on a 20 inch if pressed to do so.

    Don’t think it matters how old you are or if you use a saw for a living, if you got the money to burn on a saw a builder will do it for you. Why not.
     
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  6. Todd67

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    I like this topic, but it's nearly impossible to compare the longevity of a properly ported and tuned saw to one that is OEM. You would need two new saws of the same make and model, and have one saw ported and tuned. Then you would need to use those two saws on identical logs/trees/wood in identical conditions for identical hours, with saw chains the exact sharpness, with exactly the same fuel and oil... It's just too difficult to run two saws in this manner.

    So we have to rely on opinions and theories, and personal experience from those who have a lot of experience with both OEM saws and ported and tuned saws. That's what will make this an interesting topic. Thanks to all of you who have that kind of knowledge and experience to share with the rest of us!
     
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  7. Ashful

    Ashful
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    The main issue I see is that, if you’re paying someone to do the porting work, you might as well have just bought a bigger OEM saw for similar money. That’s not saying anything about your 390XP, that was a smoking deal, but speaking about new saws that aren’t picked up for $150.
     
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  8. woodhog73

    woodhog73
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    I generally agree with this. 5 years ago I never ran a 50cc saw. I had one to clear trails and brush in the woods, etc. but my go to saw was always 70cc. Almost always. But then I hurt my back and I’ve come to appreciate the small saw. But a stock 50cc is not that powerful when your used to running big saws for many years.

    But I can’t argue with your logic. I’ve got $800 or something like that I’d have to go look at my cost but it wasn’t cheap into my 50cc saw. Most would say not worth it. I understand that. But it’s one heck of a fun saw to run
     
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  9. SpaceBus

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    Hell, my Husky 460 20" gets heavy after a few hours, but I also am fairly new to doing serious wood cutting. Maybe some day I can snag a nice 50 cc pro saw and get it ported. I can at least assemble the engine myself, but not so much the machine work. When I was first shopping for a nice "landowner" grade saw (just moved into a house with a wood burner as primary heat on 25 acres) I read about engine builds on saws, but one comment stood out to me. A guy said "a novice doesn't need a 10 lb saw with a dirt bike engine", it both made me laugh and realize that at my skill level, something with a bit of weight isn't necessarily a bad thing. Prior to this saw I've only used smaller electric saws and homeowner saws from box stores designed to cut some downed tree limbs once or twice a year.
     
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  10. woodhog73

    woodhog73
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    You can heat your house with a Husky 460 they are very capable saws. It just comes down to how fast and efficient you want to be.

    For example I’ve got an old ( mid 1970s) Stihl 031. It’s only 50cc and has absolutely NO high RPM. Nothing in the acceleration department best I can get is 10,500 with no load. 7500 rpm if I’m lucky in the cut. It’s slow to cut with. Very slooooooow. But it will cut firewood all day long with an 18 inch bar and regular 3/8 pitch chain buried to the tip in oak Just dont expect it to speed through the wood. Have I said It’s slow ? But plenty of people heated their house and cut hundreds upon hundreds of cords with 031s back in the 1970s. They were like the modern “ farm boss” of today.

    There are 2 reasons to get a larger more powerful saw. Either you need more bar length than what your current saw can handle, or you desire more speed from the bar length you already use.

    If you come to the conclusion you want faster cutting OR need more bar length etc and if you don’t need a light saw then forget porting a 50cc and jump right to a 70cc plus saw. A nice Stihl 460 or Husky 372 would do the trick just fine and cut extremely fast fitted with a sharp chain and 20inch bar. Or run a 24/25 inch bar with authority and even a 28 inch bar if needed with a skip chain. Great deals on Jonsered 2172s if you can still find one before they are all gone. But you can do the same work with the 460 and 20 inch bar it just take longer is all.
     
  11. SpaceBus

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    My property is mostly spruce with some maple and birch probably making up about ten percent. My husky flies through the spruce no problem. Even the Birch wasn't bad with a chain that had three hours of cutting time since the last sharpening. I've been learning how to use the weight of the saw to my advantage. I doubt there's anything on my property that the 20" 460 can't handle. Eventually I want to get a 90 cc, but for Milling lumber or especially difficult trees. I think the 460 with a 24" bar with a ripping chain on an Alaskan mill will be just fine until I build a stationary mill.
     
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  12. JimBear

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    It depends on your saw brand of choice,where you get it & who does the work. I can buy a new ported Dolmar for the same price as a new OEM Stihl (similar size saws) but I also wouldn’t have any shipping cost since it’s just a 45 min drive to my local Dolmar dealer/ porting shop. Buying used & then getting your saw ported is a crap shoot as I learned. :confused:.
     
  13. vtwoodheater

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    I am thinking the logic here is port what you already own, not buy a new saw and then pay for port work.
     
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  14. JRHAWK9

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    Are both of yours done by Scott? I'm pretty sure your 390XP was....?
     
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  15. JRHAWK9

    JRHAWK9
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    I sent a brand new in the box 390XP to be ported.
     
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  16. vtwoodheater

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    Still haven't pulled the trigger on sending my saw out. Would like to drive up and meet the guy. Haven't found time yet.
     
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  17. WiscWoody

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    Well... the saw needed some expensive work to get it running again though. I don’t know if you can get a OEM saw with the power my 390 has- I figure it has around 9hp now. And my 562 is a nice 20" mid-weight saw with around 6.25hp ported.

    Edit: I just remembered that I also had a better breathing carburetor installed on the 390XP to take better advantage of the porting job done to it. I can’t recall the make of the carb at the moment.... maybe I’ll take a look today.
     
  18. WiscWoody

    WiscWoody
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    Yes Scott Kunz ported both of my saws. You know him right? He knows what’s he’s doing.
     
  19. JRHAWK9

    JRHAWK9
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    yep, I know him. Both of my saws are done by him. He knows his stuff.
     
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  20. salecker

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    Having your saw worked on/ported by someone who knows what they are doing should lengthen the life of your saw,as apposed to running a saw that is stock and has had no work done to it.
    The reasoning behind this statement is...
    All new saws are coming from the manufacture as mandated by the EPA.The saws are leaving the factory set to pass EPA regulations.Some saws are run so lean to pass that they will not last long in the hands of someone that knows nothing about saws.Even if you know enough to re tune before using the saw it will still have issues.Like the restrictive exhausts,which will hold the heat internal to the engine.Heat and lean tune=scored piston/cylinder every time.
    just doing a muffler mod will help most chainsaws shed heat.Take it one step further and make the air pumping system more efficient,smoother passages,bigger ports,then more air will flow through the engine faster which will improve power and cooling.Making the engine more efficient to basically turn,which in turn puts less strain on bearings ect.
    Just don't send it to a guy that goes by JMS saws then you will end up with a wheel chock.
    Do your homework before you let anyone work on your stuffs.
    The biggest thing you can do yourself to make your saw cut better is learn how to properly sharpen your chains.
     
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  21. WiscWoody

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    I wander what the policy is for a manufacturers warranty on a new ported saw? I would hope that they’d cover something that’s not engine related ie. a throttle or similar but I’m sure they wouldn’t cover a blown engine if it’s been modified but I still had my 562XP ported when it was just a few months old.
     
  22. Matt93eg

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    None of my saws are ported. I have a homeowner grade Husky 450 that I only use in small wood and for brushing the top out of a tree. I mainly use my 390XP. It’s not ported, I have put an unlimited coil on it, did a muffler mod, and put bigger dogs on it. I run the 390 most of the time. I think the porting comes down to power to weight.

    What if I could take a smaller saw than the 390 that weights less, something like a 372 and make it perform just as good or better than the 390. I can then carry around a lighter saw.

    I think the other side of porting is the fact that we are men, and lets face it we like power. Most women don’t GET it. LOL
     
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  23. Ashful

    Ashful
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    Similar top end, sure. But when it bogs, there’s no replacement for displacement.
     
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  24. WiscWoody

    WiscWoody
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    I ran a friends 390 that bogged down. That never happens with my ported 390... take the rakers down a notch and it cuts a good sized log fast.
     
  25. Matt93eg

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    I have considered getting my 390 ported. Mostly just because I want to, not because I “need” to.

    Since you have ran a stock 390 and ported 390 can you tell me how the 390 is afterwards? The only mods I have done to mine is an unlimited coil and a muffler mod. I just finished the muffler mod up couple weeks ago then tuned the carb. I have not had the saw into any big wood since I did the muffler so I’m not sure how it will be. It does have better throttle response and I expect it to hold more RPMs in the cut but I’m just wondering how much difference porting made.

    I have heard the 390 really comes alive with porting.
     
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