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Chain Saw-

All things that has a engine-motor, is OK, I presume?

My chain saw, chain is so tight against the bar that it kills the engine. However, I have properly (as I have always done) adjusted the chain where it very slightly hangs from the bar. Chain, after a few cuts, becomes way too loose to where it may jump the bar unless I readjust. IOW, I can’t seem to keep the proper tension.


Is the oiler working? is the sprocket in good condition?, remove the bar and make sure the groove the chain rides in is clean and the oil port is open and make sure something is not causing the chain brake to engage and make sure the cluch is working properly, if the engine quits there may be something wrong in the clutch a bad sprocket will cause the chain to bind up-Kevin

Make sure the safety brake is not engaged and, if the saw is fairly old and has a tool-less chain tension adjuster, make sure all parts for that are in good condition. Mine has a tool-less adjuster, and it doesn’t seem to hold the chain tension as well as other designs. I may have to adjust mine every three tankfuls or so.

I also agree with checking the oiling system. That will make a huge difference in the way the saw works.

Brand and model?
More things to check:

Is there a sprocket at the tip of the bar?
That needs to be greased periodically.

Make sure the inside tongues of the chain don’t have burrs.
Check the bar slot the chain rides in doesn’t have narrow spots.
Has the chain worn a groove into the bar?
Have you flipped the bar over (so the bottom part is on top) periodically?

I think I got the problem solved. Thanks for leads.

Last time used the saw, I gave the chain a put-away lube of WD40. The chain lube is gunked-up with wood stuff and not lubricating chain adequately. The air intake and filter are clogged.

What I think happened: WD40 gummed up links and bar guide, so when the chain warmed up, the chain loosened. A readjustment of the chain caused the chain to tighten when the bar and links cooled during the time I readjusted. So now I have a tightening chain on the next start. It very quickly starts to bind and because the air intake is clogged, the engine has no power and quickly dies from air starvation and a overly tight chain. I loosen the chain up which allow the engine to run which again heats gummed WD40 to where it starts to bind links and chain guide. Repeat.

Solutions: Reclean-oil chain with WD40, clean lube port and gunk around area. Open up air port and clean air filter. Heat up can of the correct chain lube over gas stove, to get propellent gas moving, so that I can use the lighter lube on the chain. Sharpen cutting teeth file down forward tooth to get bigger chips which have a lower propensidity to clog critical areas.

Of course I won’t use the stove but will need to soak chain in solvent and then use the proper lube .

I have an Echo 14" about 7-10 years old. Before that an Shindawa which lasted 20+ years. Didn’t know they have self tensioners. I was amazed to have the handles isolated with rubber bushings and rubber grips,

Sounds like lack of oil is making the chain run hot and bind up…Back in the day, all chainsaws had 2 chain oilers, the automatic one and a manual one you worked with your thumb…It was easy to keep the chain lubricated. Most saws today have eliminated the manual pump so if the automatic pump fails, things start heating up pretty quick…If the automatic oiler is working properly, you should be able to point the tip of the blade near a sheet of cardboard or wood and rev the saw a couple of times. You should see the oil mist coming off the chain and hitting the cardboard, leaving an oil stain…Step one is to remove the bar and clean out the oil port behind the bar on the bar mounting pad. Then clean out the port in the bar so oil can get to the chain…

An emergency workaround is to dip the nose of the bar in a bucket of drain-oil (or fresh oil) and goose the engine just enough to make the chain move through the oil…This is messy and you must repeat it every few minutes…

Yes, my old homelite had a manual oiler, I forget if the Shindawa had a manual oiler. and the useless electric saw has a manual. I don’t like to fill the oiler reservoir up because I only do light pruning now, and the chain lube does leak out. Yes, I have tried crankcase oil but its a mess, diesel and 30wt SAE works better and less messy. I used to have working orchard but now doing home orchard stuff, so the use of the saw is sporatic and typically only a partial gas tank.

I think the root cause is the WD40, I don’t like to use it but the lighter stuff is in a can without pressure.

wd 40 may be many things but a good lubricant its not,why is your chain so gunked up anyway? Why is your oiler leaking so much? anyways, maybe you should just rent a chainsaw when you need it ,if the use is that infrequent.My experience with chainsaws has been that if they are being used infrequenty,its best to prepare them for storage-Kevin

I would avoid WD-40 on the chain.
I drain out the oil on my saws (Husqvarna gas and Homelite electric) after each use.
I’ve used 90 weight gear oil in a pinch.

@kmccune, @ circuitsmith
I use the saw now, frequently, infrequent. The saw is gunked up for the usual reasons. The oiler really isn’t really leaking “that much”, it is just that I fill the oiler for a 10 minute job and then the saw sits for a month or so. And when I need the oiler to work, the gunk prevents the oil to flow freely unto the chain. I can barely remember when I didn’t have a chain saw, and it’s been longer than being married. :slight_smile:

All is good now, I need to sharpen teeth next time I use saw, but not today.

When tightening a chain on a saw, I never went by how much the chain sagged on the bar. I make sure the chain first, was getting plenty of oil and was taught on the bar. With a heavy pair of gloves, pull the chain in the direction of the cut and make sure it moves freely with out any or very little sag. IMO, as long as it moves freely while taught, it should remain tight enough as it heats up and sags slightly. Just use bar chain oil and nothing else other then greasing the end sprocket if you can. Keep it sharp and you should have few problems. Actually, the more dull a chain is, the less safe it is.

Lastly, in this day of really crappy ethanol lased gasoline, unless you can empty a tank with every use, use aviation fuel only or Tru-fuel with additives that give an easy shelf life up to three years. The fuel comes in either two stroke premixed or four stroke you can mix your self. That’s all I use with my saws and trimmer/brush cutter and gas hedge trimmer. The best bar cover? A cut off piece of fire hose, if you can find one. It’s flexible enough when not in use to not worry about, and sturdy enough to offer full protection when carrying and in storage.

Every saw I’ve owned (the current two, another Husky and a Homelite gas) over the last 20+ years have leaked oil if left unused for more than a couple of days.

Most of my use has always been shoulder to extended arm. --pruning. from the ground. Most of the danger has been not wearing googles, like this afternoon, when I thought I had them on until eyelid caught a chip. and not wearing a helmet and ear plugs, I catch a lot of grief from spouse which is probably why I forget the ear plugs. ;=)

Didn’t wear the steel-toe, but I wasn’ doing much (just a few near ground) ground cuts… I did make sure that I had a belt and cell phone with me.

Màndatory…when ever I work, I take the milk crate with hard hat, fuel, bar oil, all in one tool, rags, pulp hook etc. everything goes or nothing goes. Eye/ear protection working with power equipment are the best things you should include.

I’ve got an Echo too. Not the best but OK for a novice. You want to use bar oil for the chain though not WD 40. Also as long as you’re at it, those fuel filters should be replaced once in a while. I pretty much need to fill the oil for about every tank of gas so check to make sure the oiler is not clogged.

So why did I use WD40 the last time?

The saw was sitting in a tub of rain water that had frozen, The tub was to catch the remaining bar oil. So to remove the water from the links and coat the edges, the remedy of choice is WD40. I forget to remove the residual WD40 after the chain had dried of water. So now the chain links are gunked with dried WD40.

The fix-WD40. LOL. which of course has a solvent that dissolved the residual. Followed by a free flowing bar oil and a tank of gas. I then followed with a drench of orange oil/water mix. I’ll use the saw tomorrow to do some more pruning.

The Echo saw works for me and my needs. The Shindaiwa worked fine, pruned acres of trees and eventually cut them down and made fire logs. But after 20 years, even a mass retailed saw is better than the best early 80’s saw. Weight & balance is more important than hp when almost all the cuts will be overhead and less than 3" diameter. A 12" saw has too much engine and no as well balanced for pruning and a 16" is too heavy.

What amazes me is that I should have replaced the Shindaiwa sooner because the next generation of saws are so much better–Just like cars.

Just a suggestion. I used to work with separate helmet ( a must ) eye and hearing protection. Now, I have an all in one helmet with visor for vision and built in hearing protection. I use it for every one of my gas powered tools, especially the weed wacker which can really take out an eye. I only have vision in one eye left so that eye gets a double layer. Don’t mess with eye protection. You are right about the newer “plastic fantastics”. They are strong enough to replace steel at half the weight. Ethanol is the only “fly in the ointment”.

We have limb and tree debris after storms on our road regularly so saws are a must. Always have a spare that you know will start…like an electric. During the ice storm, I needed three saws, one for each car and one at home. The trees were falling so fast, for a week, you needed to be prepared to cut your way in and out at any time. Good saws are a life saver. Leaner’s and widow makers can be a real problem. Thankfully three out of the four of us who live together at the end of out road have tractors and other assorted toys to control the cutting when necessary. We are working on the wife of our fourth neighbor to convince her, every one NEEDS a tractor as much as a chain saw. The only restriction in buying chainsaws and tractors in our neighborhood is…they must be Orange !

So you like Allis-Chalmers and DaeDong tractors? Sorry I couldnt think of any more chainsaws that were orange outside of Husqvarnas(which I have currently) my little Husky is powerful and lightweight(does anybody know how to make the oiler put out a bit more on the Husky?)I had a bit of of a falling out with Stihls the 310 was the same weight as the" Farm Boss" but a fair amont more power and expense the 270 was a nice weight but again around $100 more expensive then the 290(the last 290 Super I had was used,but I just didnt like it) so I went shopping and compared weight and features and settled on the Husky,even though the Jonsered had an “Electrolux” motor ,it was hard to put your hands on one around here.That being said.basically all new saws are pretty nice BTW the Echo is supposed to have the most durable engine-Kevin

@kccune. ;=) funny.
Echo is a great saw and in professional grade, there are a lot of other fine saws. I have a freind who has been doing lumber jack shows for years and uses Echos. It’s a very competitive field out there. Stihl I believe, will have a battery powered saw out there. Don’t get me wrong, all I have had are Husky’s gas saws but I do have an electric back up I find myself using perhaps more then I should. If I have to travel, I wheel a little 3200 watt generator on to the back of the carryall tractor platform and go anywhere with electricity. If battery’s improve enough, electrics could potentially be difficult to beat.