Having Trouble Starting Your Chainsaw?

The ‘chainsaw technology’ has evolved from being a mode of helping doctors with symphysiotomy to a power tool designed to cut firewood, fell and prune trees, log, carve, and even to cut ice to make sculptures. Around 1780, two doctors were trying to create a device to help with a serious surgical problem namely symphysiotomy – a procedure where doctors remove bone and cartilage from the birth canal to widen it during problematic childbirths. This is how the chainsaw came into being.

Gradually with the experts’ strenuous efforts to ameliorate the ‘chainsaw discovery’, chainsaw became a mechanical saw that served numerous purposes including limbing, felling, pruning, bucking, cutting firebreaks in wild land fire suppression and harvesting of firewood. This portable tool has persevered to extend its multiple uses ever since.

There can be instances where the chainsaw user is faced with starting problems. Though these problems are minimal in the face of the number of advantages it provides, the troublesome starting process can be frustrating. The model of chainsaw hardly influences its ‘operating concept’; the common features which all models share include the dependence on an engine, a blade (that is made up of sharpened steel alloy) and a chain. Thus, the starting problems for all chainsaws reportedly occur due to cold engines due to prolonged storage periods or when the chainsaw requires tuning. Additionally, the users often complicate the starting process even for brand-new chainsaws where they fuel it up with an old gas/oil mixture; it is always advised by chainsaw manufacturers to use fresh non-ethanol gas after long storage or when filling a new chainsaw tank.

Maintenance is crucial to the proper functioning of a chainsaw; well-maintained chainsaws are unlikely to exhibit the starting problem. In order to avoid chainsaw starting problems, ensure fresh gas in the tank by replacing fuel frequently and adding a fuel stabilizer to the gas when refilling the tank to keep fuel fresh, check regularly for cracked fuel lines to forbid air from entering the carburetor, check if the carburetor needs repair or replacement and look for deposits or corrosion on the electrodes and replace the spark plug, if required. Also, check for compression; remove the spark plug, press your thumb over the opening and pull the starter cord. If you don’t feel air pushing from the cylinder, it’s likely that the piston rings need to be replaced.

However, if the chainsaw has remained in a store for a long period of time, it is ‘first-rate’ to pull on the starter cord of your chainsaw and test it beforehand, when for example, getting to the site where a tree is to be trimmed. The hard-to-start chainsaw needs gas, compression and spark to start roaring. The long-period storage can interfere with these three chainsaw’s needs.
To address the chainsaw starting dilemma, start off with the very basic. Check if the choke is set in the correct direction. Change the direction to see if the chainsaw seems to start off. Then, adjust the throttle to the next position and the chainsaw will likely to be ready to perform the activity.

The next culprit could be a flooded carburetor where the chainsaw fails to start through adjusting the choke. Flooding can be caused by applying an excessive amount of gas at the wrong time. With the chainsaw turned off, pull the engine’s cord 8 times. Then, restart the chainsaw with all the systems on – without priming and pull the engine cord several times through until the engine “pops” one time. Furthermore, for models with a primer bulb, press and release the bulb twice to prime the carburetor to clear air from the fuel lines and move fuel into the carburetor.
The above procedures are assured to kick-start the chainsaw. However, if the starting problem persists, the next step is to clean the spark plug and air filter. Try replacing these gadgets, if both or either of them looks damaged.

If the chainsaw still does not start after cleaning or replacing the filter and spark plug, the starting problem is likely to be caused by clogged screen in the muffler. The screen could get clogged with carbon deposits, especially on smaller saws with dirty air filters. The clogged filter accumulates excess fuel in the saw, resulting in unburned fuel and hence, carbon deposits. To avoid dealing with clogged screen, it is important to give the chainsaw a good run periodically.

The above techniques are used by technicians and they mostly get the chainsaw running. Moreover, it is important for beginners to learn the correct use of this power tool because the problem sometimes, lies with the manner of attempting to start the chainsaw. The steps involved in starting the chainsaw briefly includes placing it on a flat ground, activating chain brake, engaging the smart start decompression, pressing the fuel pump, pulling the starter rope and finally, pushing throttle at halfway and pulling the rope until the saw is running.

Note that some chainsaws are ‘stubborn starters’ and require more effort than usual to start functioning. For example, a bigger chainsaw engine will have a greater starter cord tension and will require extra force – though some chainsaws are equipped with an “Easy-to-Start system” that reduces cord tension. Also, cold weather turns the engine cold and hinders the proper starting of a chainsaw. It is, therefore, essential to try starting chainsaws several times before resorting to any repairing procedures. Give it a few tries at pulling the starter before you give in assuming something is wrong with the saw.

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