How to Repair a Chainsaw

Anyone with a garden or who needs to cut branches on a regular basis understands the importance of owning a chainsaw. Different chainsaws are used for different purposes and in different environments. Just like any other equipment, the chainsaw requires good maintenance.

However, things do not always go as planned. The owner may face some problems in the course of handling the tool. The chainsaws come in different models and from different manufacturers. Therefore, there are different manual and guides for dealing with troublesome chainsaws. In case the original manual is missing, there may be a free and downloadable version on the website of the manufacturer.

Common Chainsaw Problems and How to Handle Them

1. Non –petrol powered chainsaws

They are very easy to maintain, unlike the petrol powered ones. However, they are less powerful making them less suitable for heavy duty tasks.

Users of petrol powered chainsaws face numerous problems. Here are a few DIY tips:

2. Sharpening chains

Some of the dangers associated with dull and improperly sharpened chains include difficulty while cutting and hazardous to use. It increases wear and tear on other parts.

It can be sharpened manually as long as the right tools are used. Always refer to the manufacturer’s manual. A file holder or filing gauge may be used to file.

It may be replaced with a matching rotary grindstone or chainsaw file.

The following guidelines apply to all chainsaws. However, refer to the manual for more details.

  • Use two or three file strokes
  • Hold the file at a right angle position to the guide bar
  • Rest the file holder at the depth gauge and top plate
  • Sharpen the chainsaw to adjust the depth gauge setting

3. Cleaning a clogged speak arrestor screen

The spark arrestor screen is attached to the modern chainsaws. It prevents sparks released from the chainsaw to escape and cause a fire. A dirty screen emits excessive smoke and prevents the tool from working effectively.
It is recommended that the screens are cleaned after every 60-90 hours of use. Before removing the screen, refer to the instructions in the manual. After removing, brush off the loose debris. Submerge the screen in a mixture of mild detergent and warm water. Carefully clean the screen till the holes are clear. Heavily carbonized and damaged screens should be replaced.

4. Cleaning a fouled spark plug

There are several factors that may affect the spark plug. They include:

  • Operating conditions
  • Fuel mixture
  • Carburetor

When the spark plug is dirty, the chainsaw may not start, it may not run smoothly while idle and it may lose power. Read the instructions on the manual on how to remove the spark plug. Use a wire brush to clean the spark plug.
In case the spark plug has wet carbon deposits at the firing ends, it is time to replace it. Most importantly, ensure the replaced plug matches the manufacturer’s recommendations.

5. Chainsaws that cut crooked or at an angle

Uneven sharpening and filing causes the chainsaw to cut at an angle. Refiling is an option. However, the user should be comfortable performing the task. The opinion of a professional can be sought too.

6. Cleaning the air filter

A dirty air filter causes engine power loss. Always refer to the manual before removing the chain. After removing, simply knock it using the hand, use a vacuum cleaner or compressed air blower to remove debris and dirt. Take care not to allow any dirt to enter the carburetor. For instructions on how to put back the chain once you are done cleaning the filter, see our guide here.

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