Chainsaw Won’t Start After Sitting: Why and How To Fix It. How to fix chainsaw

Chainsaw Won’t Start After Sitting: Why and How To Fix It

Chainsaws are commonly used tools, but sometimes they don’t get used for a long time. How do you fix a chainsaw that has been sitting and now won’t start?

If a chainsaw is not starting after it has sat unused for a long time, it may be caused by old gas, clogged carburetor, dirty air filter, old sparkplug, ignition coil, or very cold temperatures. Most of these things can be fixed after they have been identified.

Some issues that cause a chainsaw to not start can easily be fixed if you know how to do it correctly.

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Gas Inside Is Old

If the gas inside the chainsaw is old (which happens when you don’t use it for a long time), then your chainsaw will likely not start. Luckily, gas is easy to remove and replenish.

  • Take off the gas tank lid
  • Put a few BBs inside the gas tank
  • Put on the gas tank lid
  • Shake chainsaw vigorously
  • Take off the gas tank lid
  • Pour out BBs and old gas
  • Flush out gas tank with cleaner.

It may seem wrong to put BBs inside the gas tank of a machine, but the BBs will knock loose any debris inside the gas tank that may clog it later. You have to make sure that all of the BBs are out of the gas tank before you start the chainsaw. It’s a crazy hack but it works pretty well.

Pro Tip: When replacing that old gas, consider using ethanol-free. It has a longer shelf life and can save you a lot of frustration down the road when you avoid all of the issues that ethanol causes for small engines.

Clogged Carburetor

If your chainsaw won’t start after being unused for a long time, the carburetor may be clogged. As the fuel becomes old, it becomes sticky and can clog the carburetor.

If the carburetor is only slightly clogged, simply remove it and clean it before putting it back in the chainsaw after it has fully dried. If the carburetor is very clogged, then it will have to be replaced. Luckily, they can be found at any hardware store. Try to take the carburetor with you when you go to purchase a new one so you buy the correct type.


If the sparkplug is dirty, old, or damaged, then your chainsaw will not start. If the porcelain insulator is cracked, the electrode has burned away, or there is carbon buildup, then the spark plug will not work.

If the spark plug only has a slight amount of buildup, then you can try to clean it. However, spark plugs are cheap and easy to replace, and it is hard to remove carbon buildup. Where the spark plug is located and the process of removing it varies by chainsaw model.

Clogged Air Filter

If your chainsaw won’t start, the air filter may be dirty. If the air filter is dirty, the air-to-gas ratio may be affected and prevent the chainsaw from starting. Luckily, air filters are easy to replace.

  • Open the 3 latches on the cylinder cover of the chainsaw with a flathead screwdriver
  • Remove cylinder cover
  • Lift and release the metal latch holding the air filter in place
  • Put in a new air filter and toss out the old one
  • Put cylinder cover back on

Cold Temperatures

The climate may affect whether or not your chainsaw starts. If it is really cold outside, then your chainsaw may have trouble starting. Luckily, this is very easy to fix.

To warm up your chainsaw, simply bring it into a warm area and let it sit for a few hours. After it has warmed up, bring it outside and try to start it again. If it does not start, then it is probably caused by another issue.

Ignition Coil

The ignition coil is what sends voltage to the sparkplug and causes it to spark, which makes the chainsaw start. If the ignition coil is broken or faulty, then your chainsaw won’t start. However, ignition coils are complicated to replace.

Ignition coils are expensive and complicated to replace by yourself. We recommend taking it to a chainsaw repair shop and having one of their mechanics replace it. They can also identify whether or not the ignition coil is causing the chainsaw to not start, which may save you money in the long run.

Broken Rewind Spring

The rewind spring may be the cause of your chainsaw not starting. The rewind spring is the spring that rewinds the starter cord after it has been pulled. If the spring is broken, then the starter cord will not rewind and you will not be able to start the chainsaw.

With many chainsaw models, you have to replace the entire starter assembly after the rewind coil has been broken. If this is the case, then we recommend taking it to a chainsaw mechanic to replace it because they will have all of the necessary parts. If your chainsaw model allows you to only replace the rewind spring, you can find a replacement at most hardware stores.

Blocked or Clogged Spark Arrestor

If the spark arrestor has become clogged or blocked, then your chainsaw will not start because the exhaust is being trapped inside the motor with no exit path. Luckily, they are easy to clean.

Look at your chainsaw’s user manual to see how to get to the spark arrestor. Then, remove the spark arrestor and gently clean it. If you are unable to properly clean it, replace it. You can find them at most hardware stores.

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How to Fix a Chainsaw That Has No Spark

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If your chainsaw does not spark, it means there is an issue with the engine. Now engines have a lot of parts and figuring out which is the culprit can be daunting. This guide reveals the most likely reasons why you do not see a spark and how to fix it. As you will see, troubleshooting is straightforward.

A problem with the ignition system is the most likely reason why a chainsaw has no spark. The solution is to replace the spark plug or the ignition coil. If that does not work, replace the wires and clean the carburetor.

The ignition system is responsible for igniting the air fuel mixture. Without a spark there will not be any combustion. This will cause the engine to stall. Fortunately there is a way to test this and repair it.

First, wear chaps, gloves, eye protection, steel toe boots and protective clothing. Perform the test and troubleshooting outdoors. Follow all safety guidelines when dealing with chainsaw fuel and voltage.

How to Fix a Chainsaw That Has No Spark

Step 1

Turn your chainsaw off. Check your manual to find the spark plug. In most Proyama chainsaws it is below the chain brake handle on the engine.

Remove the engine cover. You might need a screwdriver here. If you still do not see the spark plug, lift the air filter cover off. The plug will be under it.

Step 2

Use a sock wrench to remove the spark plug. There are tools made specifically for this. You might have to rotate the wrench several times until the spark plug comes off.

When the spark plug is loose, take a good look at it. If there is a crack, the electrodes are worn out or any sign of damage, replace it with a new one. The new spark plug must have the exact specifications as the old one. Check your manual or the manufacturer site for details.

Step 3

Install the new spark plug. The gap has to be the right one for your chainsaw. If the spark plug is not damaged, cleaning might be enough. Use a wire brush to clean and put it back on. Put the air filter cover and the engine cover back on.

Step 4

Switch the ignition on and place the spark plug inside the connector. Look for the chain brake handle on the engine and pull it back. Doing so will disengage it.

Step 5

Hold the park plug and rubber plug about 0.4 to 0.7 inches (1-2 cm) from a metal part on the engine. The metal spot must not have any fuel residue so wipe first if needed.

Pull on the starter cord and watch for a spark on the spark plug. If there is no spark, check the wires and replace any frayed ones.

Clogged Carburetor

The mixing of air and fuel takes place in the carburetor. But if it is clogged with dirt or soot, this will not happen. This usually happens when fuel is left sitting there for months. It turns into a sticky residue and spreads all over the carburetor.

  • Drain the fuel.
  • Use a carburetor cannier to remove the oil sludge. Wipe clean.
  • Try the engine again. If the carburetor was not damaged the chainsaw should fire up. If it does not, the carburetor might be damaged already.

Carburetor Needs to be Replaced

If cleaning does not work, a replacement may be needed. To find out, pour a teaspoon of fuel in the carburetor. Pull the cord. If the chainsaw starts and stalls, the carburetor is the problem. The only solution is to replace it with one that is compatible with your chainsaw.

This video shows you how to replace a carburetor. If you are not comfortable with DIY, you can take your chainsaw to a service center and have a professional fix it for you.

How to Fix CRAFTSMAN Chainsaw Problems

When you buy a chainsaw, you expect it to last a long time, even more so when you buy a premium brand like CRAFTSMAN. Yet nothing on earth is perfect, and even CRAFTSMAN chainsaws may develop problems over time. Here are the most common problems you may encounter with your CRAFTSMAN chainsaw and how you can solve them.

The five most common problems you may encounter with your CRAFTSMAN chainsaw:

  • The chainsaw won’t start
  • The chainsaw stalls or runs rough
  • The chain doesn’t turn
  • The chain won’t stop turning
  • The chainsaw doesn’t cut

The Chainsaw Won’t Start

Sometimes a chainsaw simply won’t start, no matter how hard you try. This is especially common when the chainsaw is getting a bit old or when it’s been lying around for a while, especially if you left fuel inside. The fuel will start to evaporate and leave a sticky substance that can cause all kinds of damage. Other parts may also deteriorate with age, making it difficult for your chainsaw to start.

Solution 1: Check and Replace the Spark Plug

There are a few problems that can stop your chainsaw from starting. Some are easy to check and fix, and they are also the most common.

The first is the spark plug. Spark plugs are subject to wear and tear both when you’re using the chainsaw and when it’s not in use. Spark plugs can build up a lot of carbon on their contacts. They can also crack or burn; if the chainsaw lies around a lot, it can accumulate rust. These factors all affect how effective the spark plug is.

You can easily access the spark plug on your CRAFTSMAN chainsaw. Remove and inspect it; if you notice any potential problems, it’s time to replace the spark plug.

Solution 2: Clean or Repair the Carburetor

The carburetor is another common cause for your chainsaw not starting, primarily if you haven’t used it for a while but the chainsaw still has some fuel in it. Parts of the fuel will evaporate, leaving a sticky, oily substance inside the carburetor that can clog it.

chainsaw, start, sitting

It’s easy to fix this problem. The carburetor is close to the spark plug, so once you have access to it, you can spray some carburetor cleaner inside it. If this doesn’t work, you may have to rebuild or replace the carburetor entirely.

Solution 3: Replace the Ignition Coil

A third factor to consider, even though it’s less common than the spark plug and carburetor, is that there might be something wrong with the ignition coil. The ignition coil passes voltage to the spark plug while the chainsaw’s engine is running; without it, the spark plug wouldn’t fire. You can get an ignition coil tester to test it, and if it is faulty, replace the ignition coil.

Solution 4: Replace the Starter Pulley

The fourth and final possible cause is a problem with the recoil starter pulley. This is the rope that you pull to start the motor. These pulleys can get worn out over time, or they might stretch out too much, or even get stuck inside the mechanism.

It’s easy to spot a problem with the recoil starter pulley. The pulley must always have flexible resistance since the starter must automatically pull it back. If the pulley feels slack or doesn’t pull back entirely when you release it, it’s a dead giveaway.

Unfortunately, you can’t usually repair the recoil starter or the pulley. You will have to replace it. You can replace the pulley if that’s where the problem is or replace the entire recoil starter assembly.

The Chainsaw Stalls Or Runs Rough

Your CRAFTSMAN chainsaw is similar to a car in many ways. It has an internal combustion engine similar to a car in almost every way, just not as powerful. As such, most of the factors that can cause your car to stall will do the same to your chainsaw, and the solutions are similar, with some minor exceptions.

Solution 1: Clean the Spark Arrestor

The spark arrestor is the easiest thing to check (and fix) if your CRAFTSMAN chainsaw stalls. The spark arrestor is a shield that stops the engine from emitting sparks. Since chainsaws are made to do dusty work, the shield arrestor can often get clogged up with dust and carbon, which may cause the engine to build up gases instead of ventilating them properly.

The arrestor is near the front of the chainsaw, under the muffler cover. Loosen the nut that holds the cover in place, then carefully remove it. The spark arrestor is a small mesh object, and you can easily see if it’s dirty. You can clean the spark arrestor using carburetor cleaner and a wire brush. While you’re at it, cleaning the muffler cover is also a good idea.

Solution 2: Clean or Replace the Carburetor

The carburetor could also be a culprit in this case. As mentioned before, you can spray the carburetor with some carburetor cleaner, and if that doesn’t work, rebuild or replace the carburetor.

Solution 3: Replace the Fuel Filter

There are also two filters that you can check – the fuel filter and the air filter. The fuel filter removes dirt and impurities from the fuel. If it gets clogged, less fuel will pass through to the engine, causing it to stall. If that is the case, replacing the fuel filter is easy enough. It is attached to a fuel line near the front of the chainsaw.

Solution 4: Replace the Air Filter

Internal combustion engines don’t only need fuel; they also need oxygen to work correctly, so your chainsaw’s engine has some air inlet. The air must first pass through an air filter to eliminate impurities that could clog the engine. Once your air filter gets too dirty, insufficient oxygen will pass through it, and your chainsaw will begin to stall.

The air filter is under a cover at the top of your CRAFTSMAN chainsaw. When you open the cover, you should be able to see if the filter is clean or dirty. It is possible to clean a dirty air filter, but it is unadvisable except as a quick test. It’s always best to replace the air filter entirely. They are very affordable, anyway.

The Chain Doesn’t Turn

The entire point of a chainsaw is that the chain must turn. If the chain isn’t turning, there’s no point in having a chainsaw in the first place. If your chainsaw starts and runs but the chain isn’t turning, the cause is usually the clutch or the chain brake.

Solution 1: Force the Brake to Disengage

The easiest thing to check is if the chain brake is released correctly. Most CRAFTSMAN chainsaws have a brake or stop lever, usually at the top of the chainsaw near the handle. You must disengage the brake after starting the chainsaw so the chain can start moving.

Sometimes, the brake can get jammed, especially if the chainsaw is a bit older. You can usually force the chain brake to release by engaging and disengaging the brake lever a few times, especially if you do it with slightly more force than usual.

Solution 2: Replace the Clutch

The chain brake is also related to the clutch, which is a more complex problem to troubleshoot. If engaging and disengaging the brake doesn’t help, it’s time to inspect the clutch.

Similar to how a clutch works in a car, your CRAFTSMAN chainsaw has clutch pads. These pads engage the clutch drum, allowing the chain to rotate. The clutch pads wear out over time and might even accumulate rust or dirt, even when the chainsaw is idle. All of this can affect how well the clutch works.

Sadly, you cannot repair the clutch. You must replace the entire clutch unit. Modern CRAFTSMAN chainsaws come with a wrench specifically to open the clutch cover. The cover is on the front right side of the chainsaw, near the blade. Follow these steps to replace the clutch unit:

  • Ensure that the chainsaw is switched off and the engine has cooled down.
  • Disengage the chain brake, releasing the clutch and allowing the chain to move freely.
  • Use the wrench provided with the CRAFTSMAN chainsaw to open the clutch cover.
  • Remove the air filter cover, so you have access to the spark plug.
  • Remove the plug cable and boot from the spark plug.
  • Use the same wrench to loosen and remove the spark plug.
  • Push the piston to the down position using a screwdriver while turning the clutch, then insert a piece of string into the piston cylinder so that the piston cannot move.
  • Insert a flat screwdriver close to the edge of the clutch.
  • Gently hit the screwdriver with a hammer to loosen the clutch, turning it clockwise.
  • Unthread the clutch from the crankshaft. You must support the chainsaw’s blade with one hand while you’re doing this since it will start to hang freely.
  • Now fit the new clutch and turn it counter-clockwise to fasten it.
  • Tighten the clutch, again using a screwdriver and a hammer, but this time hitting it to spin counter-clockwise.
  • Now you can remove the string or cord from the cylinder.
  • Replace the spark plug and the plug cable, then close the air filter cover.
  • When you replace the clutch cover, you must insert the chain tensioner pin (which is on the clutch cover) into the hole in the chainsaw’s body. To do this, you may need to turn the tension adjustment screw counter-clockwise until the tensioner pin is aligned correctly (you will feel the clutch cover sliding into position when this happens).
  • Tighten the nuts on the clutch cover.
  • Now turn the tensioner screw clockwise until there is no more slack in the chain. It must be nice and tight.

Now your CRAFTSMAN chainsaw chain should turn perfectly again.

The Chain Won’t Stop Turning

So now we’ve looked at what to do if the chain won’t turn. But what about the opposite problem? What if your chainsaw’s chain won’t stop turning? This is a far more dangerous and even life-threatening problem; thankfully, it doesn’t happen all too often, but when it does, it’s always the clutch that causes it.

Solution 1: Engage the Brake

As mentioned, your chainsaw’s clutch has pads that engage the drum and allows the chain to rotate. But the clutch also has springs that should retract the drum, causing the chain to stop (this is also how the chain brake works). As these springs get worn out, they may be less effective at retracting the drum and stopping the chain from turning.

When this happens, your priority should be to stop the chain at all costs before it causes damage or injury. You can try to engage the chain brake. Sometimes, the force you use to engage the brake will cause the springs to release the drum and stop the chain.

Solution 2: Replace the Clutch

If that fails, turn off the chainsaw’s ignition. If the engine isn’t running, your chain shouldn’t be able to turn, and you can troubleshoot the problem safely.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t make sense only to replace the clutch springs. You cannot usually buy them separately from the clutch; even if you could, failing springs are a sure sign that your clutch will fail soon, so it’s best just to replace the entire clutch unit. You can follow the exact instructions as described under problem number 3.

The Chainsaw Doesn’t Cut

If your CRAFTSMAN chainsaw is running as it should, and the chain is turning, but it doesn’t cut, what could the problem be? There are four contenders for the position of the culprit: a blunt cutting edge, the chain’s tension, the chain bar, and the clutch.

Solution 1: Sharpen the Cutting Edge

The most apparent cause of a chainsaw not cutting is that the cutting edge is blunt. You should notice this happening gradually as your chainsaw will start cutting more and more slowly until it eventually stops cutting entirely.

You have two options to fix a blunt chainsaw. The first option is to sharpen the cutting edge. It is the least expensive option but also the one that requires the most effort.

You can buy a rotary grinder set that fits into a hand drill. These grinders will help grind your chainsaw’s blades back to optimal sharpness. Just be sure to get the right grinder size for your chainsaw’s teeth, and be careful as you grind them since you can just as easily make them even blunter.

Solution 2: Replace the Chain

The second option is replacing the chain. It is the safest option but also potentially the most expensive. It’s easy to replace the chain if you follow these steps:

  • Remove the clutch cover using the wrench provided with your chainsaw. This should also release the tension from the chain since the tension pin will pop out of its hole.
  • Remove the chain, starting at the front of the chain bar. You may have to gently turn the chain to release it from behind the clutch.
  • Place the new chain around the crankshaft behind the clutch, ensuring that the chain properly fits over the teeth.
  • Fit the chain around the chain bar, constantly checking that the chain is adequately oriented over the teeth. It’s okay if the chain hangs a bit at the bottom; we will adjust the tension soon.
  • Replace the clutch cover and hand-tighten the nuts. You will notice that the tension pin doesn’t fit back into its hole.
  • Turn the tension screw counter-clockwise while applying pressure to the clutch cover until the tension pin slips into its hole.
  • Tighten the nuts on the clutch cover.
  • Turn the tension screw clockwise to tighten the chain, careful not to overtighten it.

Solution 3: Adjust the Chain’s Tension

If your chain is okay, but your chainsaw is still not cutting, it might be something as simple as the chain’s tension. A chain that’s too loose won’t make proper contact with the wood, while a chain that’s too tight will turn more slowly than it should, negatively affecting how well it cuts.

You can adjust the chain’s tension by turning the tension screw counter-clockwise to loosen it or clockwise to tighten it.

The next possible problem is the chain bar, and three things could cause it:

  • The chain bar is bent. You will have to replace the chain bar by removing the clutch, as described earlier.
  • The chain bar is worn out. If the chain cannot make proper contact with the chain bar, the only option is to replace it.
  • The chain bar isn’t lubricated enough. Your chainsaw has an oil reservoir to lubricate the chain bar. If the reservoir isn’t full enough, your chain bar won’t get its much-needed lubrication, which means that your chainsaw won’t cut properly and will also cause further wear on the chain and chain bar, so check the oil level frequently.

Solution 4: Replace the Clutch

The last possibility is the clutch. Clutch pads approaching the end of their lives won’t exert enough force to keep the chain turning as fast as it should, which means your chainsaw won’t cut properly. You can’t replace only the pads, so you will have to replace the clutch assembly by following the steps mentioned in problem number 3.


My Chainsaw Chain Won’t Turn – How to Fix it

Chainsaws make our outdoor chores easier. Tasks like trimming low-hanging tree branches, felling small or larger trees, or simply cutting up some firewood much quicker and less laborious. If we didn’t have chainsaws or outdoor lives would be noticeably different and much harder. However, chainsaws are only helpful when in a proper operating condition. Sometimes a chainsaw will start properly and appear to be operating correctly and when you’re about to make the first cut you notice that your chain does not move when the throttle is engaged. Numerous things may cause the chain not to turn.

A chainsaw chain not turning can be caused by the chain brake being engaged, worn guide bar, damaged chain, non-functioning chain oiler, or worn out clutch.

The situation of a stuck chain can be incredibly frustrating for anybody. However, this is usually a very easy problem to correct with little knowledge, even for the novice chainsaw user. Below I will discuss each of these situations and how to fix them.

Chain Brake Engaged

You may be asking yourself what is a chain brake on a chainsaw. The chain brake is simply a safety measure installed on chainsaws to keep the operator safe. Chainsaws can be deadly if appropriate care is not taken. Chain brakes should be purposely used by the chainsaw operator when starting the chainsaw, walking to a new work area, or when in close proximity to other people. There are other situations where an operator would need to use a chain brake but these are when the chain brake is typically used.

If an operator has not been properly instructed on the chainsaw’s chain brake and how to engage and disengage the break it can be dangerous and frustrating. Not knowing that a chain brake exists and how to disengage it can make an operator think the saw is broken when in reality the brake just needs to be in the released state.

The chain brake will be located directly in front of the main chainsaw handle. In order to engage the chain brake the handle is simply pushed forward. To disengage the chain brake the handle needs to be pulled back.

Worn Guide Bar

The guide bar is the long bar that is holding the chain on the chainsaw. There are 3 primary ways a guide bar can prevent a chain from turning properly.

The first way would be a worn guide bar sprocket. The purpose of the guide bar sprocket is to help the chain to spin around the tip of the bar with as little friction as possible. If this sprocket cant turn then the chain won’t be able to turn as well. You can check this by removing the bar and chain from the saw. Once the bar and chain are removed from the saw then remove the chain off the guide bar. You should be able to now see the sprocket on the tip of the bar. If the sprocket will not turn then you know it’s locked up and time to replace the guide bar. If the sprocket is able to rotate and the chain is still not able to turn then the bar may be split at the sprocket. If this is the case the chain is more than likely getting wedged between the edge of the bar sprocket and the side of the bar and replacement will be necessary.

The second way a guide bar can prevent a chain from spinning is a pinch in the guide bar slot rail. If the slot rail has been pinched between some wood the chain will not have room to slide thru the rail slot. You can check this by removing the guide bar from the saw. Usually, the pinch will be easily spotted. If the bar is pinched it’s better to replace the bar than try to loosen the pinched area.

The third and final way a guide bar can prevent a chain from turning is if the guide bar is bent. If this is the case it will be obvious and the guide bar will need to be replaced.

Damaged Chain

The chainsaw chain is what does the actual cutting when the saw is operating properly. However, the chain can be damaged to the point where the chainsaw is not able to be turned by the chainsaw. This type of damage can not be seen without removing the chain from the guide bar.

Once the chain is removed inspect the pointy-looking bottom part of the chain. This part of the chain is known as the chain drag. The chain drag slides in the guide bar slot rail. If this part of the chain is damaged the chain can not slide properly around the guide bar causing the chain to get stuck. The damage likely will not appear on every chain drag. than likely the damage will be done to only a few of the chain drags. The damage is usually a burr (rough spot) and will be small but easily spotted. This damage is normally caused by running the chain without the proper amount of tension or from a worn sprocket. If the chain is damaged it will need to be replaced.

Non-Functioning Oiler

The function of an oiler on a chainsaw is to provide lubrication between the chainsaw chain and the guide bar. If the oiler is not functioning properly the chain and guide bar will overheat. Overheating can damage the guide bar and chain to the point of failure for either component and can cause the chain to not turn.

Oiler failure can be caused by the oil pump seizing from general wear and tear or getting plugged with debris. If the oil pump is seized you will more than likely need to take your saw to the dealer for repair.

There is also a chance that the actual oiler is functioning properly and the chain and guide bar are not receiving oil from the oiler. This is caused more than likely by a plugged oil port on either the chainsaw or guide bar. If either of these holes is plugged the oil will not be able to pass from the chain saw to the guide bar. If this is in fact the case the fix is to simply clean out the oil ports on the chainsaw and guide bar with compressed air. This will allow the oil to flow properly to the chain and guide bar solving your oiling problem

Worn Out Clutch

The clutch on a chainsaw is the component that transfers the power from the chainsaw’s engine to the sprocket which ultimately makes the chain turn to cut wood. Over time the clutch shoes can become worn and not able to transfer the saw’s power without slipping causing the chain to lose speed or stop completely. If your saws clutch is worn the replacement should probably be done by a servicing dealer. This repair is not that extensive and the dealer should be able to complete the repair in 30 minutes or less labor.

Wrapping Up

Chainsaws are a great tool when functioning properly. However, chainsaws do need occasional maintenance to keep them in top working order. If your chainsaw’s chain is not turning remember to check each of the items listed above and you should be able to either repair the problem yourself or tell your dealer what the problem is saving costly repair times.

Remember to always check your saws operator manual for the proper safety procedures for your particular chainsaw’s model. Be safe and take care.

I have been part of the chainsaw and outdoor power equipment business in one way or the other for over 35 years. There are not many things that I have not seen in the business. From repairs, sales, equipment operation, and safety I can help you with your questions.

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Why Chainsaw Chains Keeps Coming Off and How to Fix It

The secret to making the most of homesteading tools is ensuring they are always in great working condition. From routine maintenance, repair to replacing worn-out parts, chainsaws are many a woodworker’s tools that do lots of jobs on the farm and at home. For purposes of forest maintenance, especially when it comes to felling dry branches, a chainsaw chain should be intact with proper tension. Sometimes, however, you will be forced to stop working midway when a chainsaw chain comes off. A question then comes to mind. How do you fix the chainsaw chain that keeps coming off?

Why Chainsaw Chains Keeps Coming Off and How to Fix It:

Chainsaw chains come off the bar due to worn-out bars, worn-out sprockets, and wrongly set tension. You should also note that with continued use, chains lose their tension and hence are more likely to come off the bar when you least expect it. When it comes to fixing loose chainsaw chains, there are equally many approaches to getting your machine back to its optimal work output.

While fixing loose chains is something you can do within a few minutes then get back to sawing, let’s emphasize that it is not a long-term solution. Thus, the next question is, what if the problem persists hence the words ‘chains keep coming off’ become the order of the day? If that is the case, we would say the problem with your saw is more profound than you may have imagined hence the need for a long-lasting solution.

If you are a homesteader, a commercial woodworker or forest service personnel who uses chainsaws most of the time, this post is for you. While you can quickly snap back the chain into alignment with the cutting chain, the fact that it keeps coming off presents a trickier situation, especially to a novice who does not know much about this powerful machine. Dive in with us as we explore among other things, reasons why a chainsaw chain may keep coming off and how to fix it. Most importantly, you should become an expert DIYer at the end of this post, someone who can fix tools like chainsaws whenever glitches like loose chains become an everyday problem.

Why Is The Chainsaw Chain Coming Off?

Before we dig deeper, a question everyone should be asking at this point is what causes chainsaw chains to come off? You can also rephrase the question as follows: Why do chainsaw chains jump off the guiding bar? From our end of the bargain, we would say, it happens because of many reasons. We did some homework on these issues and found out the following:

Drive Sprocket Is Worn-Out

You may have put back the chainsaw chain into position but here is something we found out. The drive sprocket could be the likely culprit due to wear and tear hence causing the chain to come off, often. Because it is the drive sprocket that engineers propulsion of the chains on the chain, chances are high that they will soon become worn-out. Over time, worn-out drives sprockets in chainsaws can no longer maintain an ideal tensile strength of the chain, let alone holding the chain in position. With that, you should expect the blade to continuously throw the chain off the groove whenever you are out in the woods working.

Bar Heel May Be Worn-Out

While most people will quickly adjust the chain tension whenever it loses grip on the guiding blade, it is never a long-term solution. The issue could be more profound, requiring the involvement of a professional chainsaw service/repairer. When researching the problem of chainsaw chains that keep coming off, we also discovered that worn-out bar heel is a very likely culprit. But what is a bar heel, if anyone may ask? Well, the bar heel is a component of your chainsaw situated closest to the machine’s drive sprocket.

When the bar heel wears out, it lengthens the distance a chain travels because the grooves become less effective. With increased distance, you should expect the chain to start jumping off the guiding bar. We will, later on, look at how to fix some of these problems that cause blades to come off.

Wrongly Set Chain Tension

You may have probably thought that with more tension comes the excellent performance of a chainsaw, especially when ripping firewood at full throttle. However, it turns out that over-tightening a chainsaw blade is not the right thing to do; neither is having it too loose to establish an ideal grip on the guiding bar. The catch here is that if your chainsaw chain keeps coming off, you should check the chain tension and ask this question: Is it correctly or improperly set?

Let’s state that with the right chain tension, productivity, and lifespan of the bar, motor and chain increases. It is also noteworthy that if the chain has too much slack on it, chances are high that it will come off. So, we asked, what’s the next step if that is the case? Well, there are several ways of testing chain tension with the most suitable one being the dime method.

The Bar Rails May Be In Poor Condition

The problem with chains that keep coming off does not end with improper chain tension, worn-out drive sprocket, or bar heel. There is a real chance that the chainsaw blade keeps coming off because the bar rails are in poor condition. Let’s start by admitting that of all the components of your chainsaw, the bar rails take a serious beating throughout the productive lifespan of your machine, especially when you are out in the woods sawing. Among other things that threaten the lifespan of the bar rail is working at full-throttle, in which case the chain spins at very high speed. There is always a high possibility of accidentally cutting into earth.

Damaged bar rail heralds more trouble for your powerful wood cutting machine. The most notable outcome is that drive links of the chain will lose their smooth grip on the guiding bar. With that, you should expect chainsaw chains to come off the bar very often.

Based on the above possible reasons why the chainsaw blade keeps coming off, you should, therefore, fix the problem before proceeding with sawing wood. It is also noteworthy that there are many other causes of the problem. They include loose guide bar, improper application of chainsaw lubricant, and disengaged adjuster.

How Do You Tighten Loose Chainsaw Blade?

With a loose chainsaw blade that keeps coming off, a question that is even more important arises. How do you tighten loose chains? Well, apart from applying the dime method we mentioned earlier, there are other ways of fixing the glitch. The dime method involves putting a dime between the bar and the chain when adjusting tension. We researched how to fix loose blades and as a result, we discovered exciting ways of realizing a proper tension on the chain.

But before we can dig deeper, let’s state that when using your chainsaw, the chains will inevitably stretch, hence becoming loose after some time. We bet you don’t want to end up sawing wood with a loose chain because it often spells danger to a woodworker. You should, therefore, check the tension of the chain every often to determine if it needs a fix or not.

Most importantly, take note that you cannot make the right fix if you do not know anything about proper tension. Lack of knowledge on this vital aspect of your machine means you may end up with a chain that is too tight or too loose to do anything. At this point, let’s quickly walk you through chain tension and what a proper one looks like.

Bad/Improper tension

You can determine if a chain is loose by pulling it off the guide bar. A chain that comes off the bar easily needs tightening right away. You should also check the drive links. If they are disengaged, then it is time you adjusted the tension of the chain.

Good/proper tension

In the case of good or proper tension, pull the chain and take note of the drive links. If the drive links remain intact, everything is set and ready for sawing. In a layman’s language, when you pull off the chain from the guiding bar and notice a tiny gap in between, it is all good. However, you should take note the gap should not be too big as that would mean improper tension. Chains that are too tight to move will not rip wood effectively even if you power your machine at full-throttle. The danger of the chain snapping is always lurking.

Fixing Chainsaw Blade That Keeps Coming Off: Vital Steps to Follow

Properly tensioning the chain in your chainsaw means you must follow certain steps. If you do it correctly, only a minute or less is enough for you to get back working at full throttle. Take note that when setting the right chain tension, skipping a step would affect the proper functioning of your machine. To get started, therefore, you need a screw wrench and the good news is that most chainsaws come with one. You can also check local homesteading stores or shop online for the best chainsaw screw wrench.

Step one:

The first step is that you must loosen the chain and guide bar before properly adjusting them to the right tension. In cases where the chainsaw brake is attached to the two components on the side panel, start by unscrewing the brake before removing the side panel.

Step two:

Now, it is time to adjust the tension screw found on the side of the guiding bars. When you tighten it, the tension on the chain will increase. On the contrary, loosening the screw releases tension on the chain so that it becomes loose.

Step three:

The third and final step is tightening the guiding bar and nuts on the side panel. Most importantly, you should lift the chainsaw nose at this stage to ensure the chain has a uniform tension all around the bar. Any object between the chain and bar during this process will affect the desired chain tension.

If you follow the above steps to the letter, you should start working again without risking an accident. Your chainsaw chain will not come off again, not any time soon. However, if the problem persists, you may have to consider replacing the chain or the chain altogether. But first, check the grooves and the links to ascertain which one between them is worn-out.

When it becomes necessary that you must buy a replacement chainsaw chain, consider the length of the original one. You don’t want to end up with something shorter or longer than the original as it could mean you spend more money solving a problem that should cost only a few bucks. When we checked eCommerce stores for available chainsaw chains, our attention was particularly drawn to 8TEN 16-inches, Upstart 20-inches and Husqvarna 16-inches chain. The best chains are easy to find, especially if you look the right way.

What to Do If Chainsaw Chains Fails To Tighten

While fixing a chainsaw chain that keeps coming off should be easy, sometimes the problem could be more profound. It means you will have to dig deeper, diagnosing something that could be more than worn-on bar heels. Thus, another question that comes to mind at this point is what if despite fixing lose blades/chains, nothing works?

chainsaw, start, sitting

Well, after following all the above steps to the letter but the chain fails to move, diagnose your machine further for other mechanical hitches and glitches. Some possible reasons why the chain won’t tighten include:

  • Threads: There is a possibility that threads in the chainsaw case are stripped. The threads serve the purpose of holding a screw for adjusting tension in place. They cease to function if stripped.
  • Tension adjustment screws: If the tension adjustment screw keeps turning, chances are high that it is stripped. If that is the case, the best solution is replacing it with a new one. Here you can find Tension Adjustment Screws.
  • Guide bar: You should also check to ensure the right guiding bar is properly installed, especially if it is a new one. The catch here is that guiding bars come in different sizes and installing the wrong one will affect the tension of the chain. Here you can find Chainsaw Guide Bars.
  • Wrong chain: It is also possible that you may have installed a wrong chain. With chains in chainsaws, you should always install one with a proper length for your machine to avoid running into trouble. Here you can find Chainsaw Chains.

What Is The Solution For Chains That Won’t Tighten?

After troubleshooting your machine for the above problems, it is time to do the fixing. When a chainsaw chain won’t tighten to the right tension, despite coming off every often, we recommend doing the following:

Remove a chain link

When you tighten a chainsaw blade/chain but nothing happens, removing a link or more can solve the problem. However, it is not something you should do without prior knowledge of the master link. Most chainsaws have a master link to make it easy for you when removing other links. Using a screw with a flat head, open it then use a pair of pliers to remove the end link attached to the master link. While at it, and of course depending on how many links you intend to remove, keep testing the tension of the chain. Most importantly, stay safe.

Chainsaw Chain: Determining the Right Length for Your Machine

With a chainsaw chain that keeps coming off, you would also want to think beyond fixing the problem. Thus, a question of chainsaw chain length comes to mind. How do you determine the right length for the bar? Also, do manufacturers sell universal chains or they come in different sizes?

Well, let’s start by answering the second question. Chains are not universal. Depending on the type of chainsaw you have, length varies hence the need to measure one before fitting to your machine. However, you can buy a chain from a different manufacturer, say STHL and fit into your Honda chainsaw provided the length fits onto the bar.

Now, when it comes to finding the right chain length for your machine, it is imperative that a woodworker factor in the measurement of the bar. However, that is not the only way of going about it. There are other ways of determining the right fit for your chainsaw and they include:

  • Drive links: You can also determine the ideal chain length you need for your machine by stretching the loose chain on a flat surface. You should then locate drive links/lungs, usually on the inner side of the chain. With the number of drive links a chainsaw has at the back of your mind, you should comfortably buy a replacement/new chain without worrying about the right fit.
  • The distance between casing and tip of the chainsaw: Using a tape measure, wrap it around the chain from the point it enters the casing of your machine to the tip. You should always round up the figure to an ever number nearest the measurement you take. Usually, the most common measurements for the guide measure are 20, 16, and 18 inches. The bigger the figure, the longer the chain you will need.
  • Chain length: Another way of determining chain length is by counting pitch numbers and drive links. Adding the two values should give you the correct chain length, hence making it easier to order for a replacement even without going to a nearby homesteading store to shop for one.
  • Chain pitch: Another method of determining the right length of a chain that would fit the guide bar on your machine is by considering the distance between rivets. Rivets serve the purpose of holding the chain together and any measurement between three consecutive rivets should give you an ideal chain length determination. Now, the right pitch is taken by dividing your measurement by two.

Now that you know how to measure chain length, it goes that anyone can come up with an accurate measurement even without using a tape measure. Most importantly, having this information means you will not run the risk of purchasing something that will not fit onto the bar. Because lose chains pose danger to a woodworker or anyone who uses a chainsaw, you must always take the right precautionary measures.

Fix a Husqvarna chainsaw that won’t start

In any case, we implore you to seek help from a professional service center, especially if you are a novice in using these tools. over, ensure the spark plug is off when handling a chainsaw. Accidental starts are not isolated cases when using saws. You risk becoming a victim of chainsaw accidents if you do not follow instructions on product labels. It is equally important to take precautionary measures when using chainsaws or when they are idling.

Precautionary Measures to Take When Chainsaw Chains Keeps Coming Off

First off, every woodworker using a chainsaw whose blade keeps coming off should worry about their safety. It is because there is a real risk of losing your hand or even leg should the chain snap or come off unexpectedly. Being aware of the problem, therefore, puts you ahead of it and the easier it becomes to seek a lasting solution. Another question then arises. Apart from replacing or fixing a loose chain, how can one stay out of danger?

Well, several rules should govern your conduct when using these powerful machines. The rules apply whether you have a gasoline-powered or electric chainsaw. Always take note of the following:

  • Keep it firmly: You should always remain focused when sawing by ensuring your eyes are on the bar and both hands firmly on the saw.
  • Plan the cut: We recommend planning a cut so that the bar does not exit the endpoint catching you unawares. There is a real danger when a chainsaw bar exits the endpoint because it could end up cutting your foot or leg.
  • Kickback: Take note of the kickback zone so that you don’t dig the chainsaw bar into it.
  • Protective gear: We always emphasize the importance of wearing protective gear and clothing. From gloves, chaps, goggles, ear muffs to boots, no part of your body should remain exposed when using these machines. Things could get worse if the blade keeps coming off.
  • Reduced kickback: For a novice woodworker, you would rather use chainsaws with reduced kickbacks to minimize the risk of harm. While you will have to bear with their slow cutting action, you would rather be safe than sorry.
  • Cutting action: Always take note of the cutting action of your saw, especially when cutting from the top and bottom. When sawing wood from the bottom, a pull action should not catch you unawares. Sawing from the top always triggers a push action, and the more you are aware of it, the better it is for your safety.
  • Posture: Assume the right posture when sawing. If you are right-handed, the best and stable stance is having your left foot in front, usually at 45 degrees. Your right foot should be slightly behind. Your feet should be parted to match the width of your shoulder (boxer stance) with the knees slightly bent.

Should The Chain Move In A Specific Direction?

If you choose to replace a chain that keeps coming off the bar, a question then arises. Does it have to move in a specific direction? The truth is that chains must move in a specified direction for your saw to function. Apart from the machine being ineffective in cases where the chain takes the opposite direction, the risk of getting hurt lurks. To determine if it is rotating as desired, check it from the top, from the front, sides, and bottom. Usually, chainsaws should rotate in a clockwise direction. However, take note that viewing the rotation from the top is not the same as looking at it from the bottom. The latter is always the opposite hence should not be a cause for alarm.

Final Thoughts

Thus far, having a chainsaw is one thing but making sure it functions properly is something different. While professional woodworkers will always find it easy fixing problems such as loose chains and blades that keep coming off the guide bar, a novice woodworker runs the risk of causing further damage. It means if you are not sure of how to fix the problem at home, seek help from a service center. In some cases, the best option would be contacting the seller of your saw and ask for a replacement. It should be a cheaper option if your machine’s lifespan is still within the warranty period.

You have also learned that when it comes to fixing chains that keep coming off, stay out of danger. While removing a chain link should be a quick fix, a question you must ask is, do you end up with the right tension? Also, does your saw function optimally after fixing the problem? In a nutshell, when the chain on your chainsaw comes off every often, straightaway diagnose the bar rails and bar heels for wear and tear. Also, check the chain sprocket and chain tension to ascertain there are working optimally before figuring out the right fix.

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