Simple ? chainsaw air filter maintenance

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,927
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Sorry to have to ask this and I worry I may have been doing this wrong for decades but I have a dolmar/makita 6421 with the fleece looking standard air filter. Kind of yellow and was never see-through. I keep a sharp chain so the saw makes big chips and not so much dust. I want to be sure the air filter is properly maintained. It has what looks like caked on yellow papery fuzz. I've just been blowing it off for years without "cleaning" it. Nothing can be swept off or blown off but should I wash this thing? Like soap and water and let it dry? I've honestly never even split it in half which is looks like you're supposed to do!

It's a great saw. I cut another 5 cords with it three weekends ago, total of ten this summer and put it to bed for this year. Drained fuel, sharp chain, clean and ready except for that filter.
 

Deets

Member
Sep 7, 2020
129
Northern IL
Should wash em every so often. When they start to deteriorate, then it’s time for new.
Or you could just upgrade to the HD filter which has more surface area.
 
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Montanalocal

Feeling the Heat
Dec 22, 2014
403
Helena MT
Sprayed mine with starting fluid from the back side and then blew with compressed air.
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Sprayed mine with starting fluid from the back side and then blew with compressed air.
Plus 1 for me. I blow them from the backside and use brake cleaner on them. Saws don't really ingest much dust. Mostly sawdust.
 

John Galt

Member
Oct 22, 2019
63
W Montana
I just scraped off the thick layer of sawdust from the outside for about five years. I finally realized they could be split in half so I blew air from the inside and I could finally see light through it.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,927
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I just scraped off the thick layer of sawdust from the outside for about five years. I finally realized they could be split in half so I blew air from the inside and I could finally see light through it.
You're supposed to be able to see through them!?!?

Gasoline rinse sounds effective, is the "Fleece" stuff supposed to look like short velvet when you're done or more like a dried up paper spitwad. I can sort of scrub it in gas until the fleece opens up.

New filters are about 20$ and the HD kit that looks kind of silly is like 80$. I don't need increased preformance yet, just proper maintenance.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,927
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
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Okay so I washed the thing in warm water, dawn dish soap, no scrubbing but shaking around in the water, 5 minutes soak. Then rinsed from inside out with clean water.

Then used 20 psi air to blow it out per the owners manual again from the inside out. No holes or fleece damage but the filter isn’t yellow anymore.

I also shop vacuumed from outside! Did everything but use gasoline or carb cleaner.

Then I greased the horn of the filter and popped it in. What do you think?
 
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Grizzerbear

Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2019
670
SW Missoura
That's basically what I do except with gas. I got a folgers can that I pour a little in and then drop the filter in and just shake it lightly. I just set it aside for a few minutes and it dries pretty quick by itself. My stihl filter was never see through. Kinda of yellow and yea looks like short velvet kind of.
 
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Deets

Member
Sep 7, 2020
129
Northern IL
I’ve heard of lots of guys using gas, I personally think it’s too harsh and degrades the filters faster. But that’s just my opinion, warm water and dish soap works just fine.
 
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John Galt

Member
Oct 22, 2019
63
W Montana
You're supposed to be able to see through them!?!?
See through them, no. See an area lighter than the surrounding area, yes. This "might" have been the reason my carb got clogged and needed to be replaced.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,927
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
The fleece spitwad stuff is an odd filter media. I hope that within that fleece mat is the same very tight screen that they use for the “wet weather” filter.

On these dolmars, the plastic hood that covers the air filter chamber has only one air inlet to the filter chamber which is covered with a see through super fine filter screen. Sort of a pre filter.
 

DodgyNomad

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
599
West Michigan
View attachment 265171 View attachment 265171 View attachment 265172 Okay so I washed the thing in warm water, dawn dish soap, no scrubbing but shaking around in the water, 5 minutes soak. Then rinsed from inside out with clean water.

Then used 20 psi air to blow it out per the owners manual again from the inside out. No holes or fleece damage but the filter isn’t yellow anymore.

I also shop vacuumed from outside! Did everything but use gasoline or carb cleaner.

Then I greased the horn of the filter and popped it in. What do you think?
Looks good. Get cutting!
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,927
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Looks good. Get cutting!
Cutting is all done for the year. I tend to maintain things after I use them so they're ready for next time.

This cleanup was from cutting 5 cords in about a day. Lots of smaller stems so it really sucked up the fuel and chains. It's much faster and easier to cut large diameter stuff.
 

DodgyNomad

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
599
West Michigan
The blue Dolmar's are pretty good saws
 
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Nealm66

Member
Sep 25, 2020
226
Western Washington
We ( tree cutters)call them flock filters. I only use gas if it’s necessary on a job. I try to use soap and water but it’s not the best in a sink, best outside and just exactly like you did by blowing out. Some of the stihl saws don’t have a very good air system and clog pretty quick. Cleaning is every day at the end of day with gas and slap what you can get out. Usually replace a saw every 6 months and filter is still useable
 
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