Stihl chainsaw clutch smoke

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New Member
Jan 3, 2021
HI all,

Brand new to chainsaws (other than an Echo pole pruner which I have been using, inconveniently, for chainsaw duty for a couple of years). Picked up a Stihl MS250 last week.

Please don't rub my nose in what I'm about to reveal, I know I made a dumbo mistake now. Live and learn.

Dealer gave me some info, but apparently I did not entirely understand how the chain brake worked. As such, I ran the saw and revved it a few times with the brake engaged, thinking it worked to just disengage the chain from the engine. Got some smoke from under the bar cover. Ran it total for about a minute like this on two occasions I would say.

Then I googled and found examples here and on other sites of just how bad this can be. Particularly on the plastic housing homeowner grade Stihls. Saw some pictures of the carnage others have inflicted doing the same and panicked.

So I took off the cover to see how much damage I did. I removed the sprocket/drum and examined the clutch. Thankfully nothing looks burnt up. There is a slight bit of bluing right on the edge of the shoes of the clutch and a mark (I wouldn't even call it scoring, can't feel it with the nail) inside the drum. The plastic is just fine. Didn't look underneath the clutch, but there is no sign anything burned or melted. Needle bearing is fine. Reassembled and saw seems to be working well, plenty of oil coming out on the blade.

Any advice on anything else I should look for in terms of potential damage as I hopefully put this behind me and break in my new saw on some logs?

Thanks in advance.


Moderate Moderator
Staff member
Aug 2, 2006
Northern IL
Sounds like you dodged the bullet. Run it. You may have shortened the life of the clutch a bit, but doesn't sound like you did any catastrophic damage.
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Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
West Michigan
You should be ok as mentioned. Be safe with your new saw.