Stihl MS290 Hard to pull recoil

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bigealta

Feeling the Heat
May 22, 2010
349
Utah, NJ
Here is a short about dirty pull start and sticking piston rings.

 

WoodGirl

New Member
Oct 18, 2021
32
Virginia
Hello, I have been a bit under the weather lately. I returned to the saw this evening. I took the recoil off and I am able to turn the flywheel by hand, with the spark plug installed without any real difficulty. Therefore, I don't think it is a compression issue and that I am just too weak to pull the recoil. While I had the recoil off, I spray some lubricant in the areas that I thought would help. I put the recoil on and I could pull it several times normally. I then attempted to start the saw and it did the difficult pull thing; I couldn't start the saw. I took the plug out and it was wet but not overtly wet. I don't think the saw is hydro-locking at all. The more I played with the saw the more it felt like the recoil was kicking back on me. I took the recoil back off and decided to set the coil gap on the minimal setting of 0.15 mm. I tried it again and while it seemed different I couldn't start the saw. At that point I stopped as I wasn't feeling well and did not want to over exert myself. I could start throwing parts at it; a chinesium recoil is cheap.
 

bigealta

Feeling the Heat
May 22, 2010
349
Utah, NJ
I know the drop start is not usually recommended as it is dangerous for sure, but that's how i've always started my 029 super and every other saw. Brake is Off too. Truth be told this is how most people start their saws. It's just much easier.
 
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bigealta

Feeling the Heat
May 22, 2010
349
Utah, NJ
How many pulls did it used to take you to start the saw before you had this problem? The sthil's have a specific start procedure.
 

WoodGirl

New Member
Oct 18, 2021
32
Virginia
I know the drop start is not usually recommended as it is dangerous for sure, but that's how i've always started my 029 super and every other saw. Brake is Off too. Truth be told this is how most people start their saws. It's just much easier.
I always start the saw on the ground as it is safer and it is not that I can't pull and start the saw. If I was to attempt to drop start it, it would do the same and I would probably end up getting hurt.
 

WoodGirl

New Member
Oct 18, 2021
32
Virginia
How many pulls did it used to take you to start the saw before you had this problem? The sthil's have a specific start procedure.
This saw has always started great, both cold or hot. Normally I put it on full choke, pull a few times and it burps, then on the second position of the choke, pull a few times and the saw is running, take the brake off and apply throttle. It has always been a good saw; it gets a bit heavy on me after a few hours of work. I wouldn't want a heavier saw. I know the photo of the flywheel with the nut off doesn't show it has shifted but I am wondering if it could have and it just doesn't look as if it has. I don't have a flywheel puller for this application. This is one of those things where you really need to be pulling the rope. I need to make that video of me starting the saw.
 
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bigealta

Feeling the Heat
May 22, 2010
349
Utah, NJ
This saw has always started great, both cold or hot. Normally I put it on full choke, pull a few times and it burps, then on the second position of the choke, pull a few times and the saw is running, take the brake off and apply throttle. It has always been a good saw; it gets a bit heavy on me after a few hours of work. I wouldn't want a heavier saw. I know the photo of the flywheel with the nut off doesn't show it has shifted but I am wondering if it could have and it just doesn't look as if it has. I don't have a flywheel puller for this application. This is one of those things where you really need to be pulling the rope. I need to make that video of me starting the saw.
Clearly you know how to start the saw, that's Bang On as they say. Hopefully a starting video will show something to help figure out what's happening.
 

bigealta

Feeling the Heat
May 22, 2010
349
Utah, NJ
Any progress with starting the ms 290?
 

rwhite

Minister of Fire
Nov 8, 2011
1,831
North Central Idaho
Based on everything stated I am leaning towards a compression issue. I realize that is a really broad term so if it were mine here is what I would do:
1: pull plug and try it. You have done this and it turned over easy. Though not definite it is not likely bearings.
2. Clean the muffler and the exhaust port. Can't remember if you had done this. Can you easily blow through the muffler?
3. Check for proper spark. Part of the increase in compression can be due to it not firing at the right time and pushing the piston back down. I think you set the timing but check the ignition module as well.
4. Does starting with brake on or off make a difference?
5. Lastly I get a new jug and piston set. High compression can put stress on piston rods and other bearings. It can even cause piston rock at the top of the stroke which can cause rings to dig in. Might not be the answer but by the time I got to #5 I'm out of ideas.

You could try to put some carb cleaner in the cylinder and stroke it to the top. Put the plug in, turn it upside down and let it sit over night. Dump the cleaner and put a bit of oil in the cylinder and slowly turn it over to lube everything back up. Then try again.
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,638
Northern Canada
Based on everything stated I am leaning towards a compression issue. I realize that is a really broad term so if it were mine here is what I would do:
1: pull plug and try it. You have done this and it turned over easy. Though not definite it is not likely bearings.
2. Clean the muffler and the exhaust port. Can't remember if you had done this. Can you easily blow through the muffler?
3. Check for proper spark. Part of the increase in compression can be due to it not firing at the right time and pushing the piston back down. I think you set the timing but check the ignition module as well.
4. Does starting with brake on or off make a difference?
5. Lastly I get a new jug and piston set. High compression can put stress on piston rods and other bearings. It can even cause piston rock at the top of the stroke which can cause rings to dig in. Might not be the answer but by the time I got to #5 I'm out of ideas.

You could try to put some carb cleaner in the cylinder and stroke it to the top. Put the plug in, turn it upside down and let it sit over night. Dump the cleaner and put a bit of oil in the cylinder and slowly turn it over to lube everything back up. Then try again.
You missed the recoil...
#5 is pretty extreem for diagnosing a hard starting issue
 
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rwhite

Minister of Fire
Nov 8, 2011
1,831
North Central Idaho
You missed the recoil...
#5 is pretty extreem for diagnosing a hard starting issue
It is. Just trying to make a point that if I was that far in and it still wasn't right, I'd start tearing in deep. IIRC, an entire rebuild kit is around $100. Just to satisfy my curiosity as to why it is, I'd spend the money and time to do it. I still think there is something leading to the compression being to high.
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,638
Northern Canada
It is. Just trying to make a point that if I was that far in and it still wasn't right, I'd start tearing in deep. IIRC, an entire rebuild kit is around $100. Just to satisfy my curiosity as to why it is, I'd spend the money and time to do it. I still think there is something leading to the compression being to high.
That is a chineese rebuild kit,not OEM parts
It's a crap shoot as to what you get and how it will run.
This saw is a great running saw,in great shape from what the OP has put in the thread.
My money is on the recoil,as i have had a similar experience with a husky.
I assumed the squish was to tight and pulled it apart to add a gasket.The saw acted exactly the same after.Changed the recoil from another saw and it was fine.
I cut 8 cords of wood with it the previous year with no issues starting till i went to use it again.I had done a gasket delete without actually checking the squish,so i thought that was the issue.
 
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It might be what type of rope being used in the recoil ...
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,638
Northern Canada

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,638
Northern Canada
I would think an issue with the recoil or rope would be present regardless of whether the plug was in or out. Then again I am awaiting the resolution. Internet troubleshooting can be tough.
Some recoil issues will be there all the time
But in this case when the plug is in and you require to pull through the compression, whatever is the issue is compounded with the compression.
So say if to small of rope is used,when there is no resistance it pulls easy, when you put a load on it the small rope gets pulled down in the pulley because it is to small and jambs between the rope on the pulley and the pulley causing major resistance.
Or if by chance the replacemnt recoil wasn't exactly the same and center is off a bit or the bearing surface of the pulley has some major issues and binds when pressure is put on it
 
Or the replacement cord swells causing binding ...
 

wahoowad

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2005
1,656
Virginia
@WoodGirl - My MS251 is doing the exact same thing you describe. I understand completely what you mean when it is hard to pull at times and other times only takes normal effort to pull. It is very clear there are two different kinds of effort - normal effort which is what is used when it will start and that jerky, mechanical, hard way like something is bound up. For me the hard to pull times feels the whole engine has bound up an I'm manually turning it over in some unnatural mechanical way.

Today it did again after having sat for most of the year. I pulled the spark plug since it felt like it was compression locked, plug was dry so it hadn't flooded from my starting attempts, replaced the plug and then it spun with normal starting effort. Started up after a few pulls and ran fine.

I have had it 7 years and don't use it much, maybe bucking up a couple trees max a year, so can't imagine I have any worn out parts.