Stihl Chainsaw Troubleshooting Guide

&#171 Carburetor Settings for a Stihl Chainsaw

Stihl Chainsaw Carburetor Tuning Chart &#187

  1. Compression Test Can you lift the saw off the ground with the pull rope?
  2. Fuel Test Remove air filter and, spray premix into the carburetor and try to start. Use a 50:1 fuel mixture with premium fuel and Stihl oil
  3. Spark Test Remove spark plug clean with solvent & wire brush. Reconnect plug wire and let plug hang close to engine. Pull the starter rope and look for spark. Dim lighting makes it easier to see. If no spark replace plug and try again. Check off/on switch and wire coming from coil. If still no spark replace coil. (Older saws clean and adjust points first)
  4. If saw runs but, not on gas in tank, check gas tank for old gas. Empty old gas and, look for syrup in the bottom of the tank, if present clean thoroughly. Use carburetor cleaner, gas and a brush that can reach in and not melt. Try to start with fresh gas mix. If it doesn’t start check and replace fuel line and pick-up. If it still doesn’t start remove carburetor and check manifold boot (tube between carburetor and engine). Replace if needed and try to start. If it still doesn’t start remove carburetor,disassemble and clean thoroughly. You may have to soak in Simple-Green overnight. Try not to get solvent or carburetor cleaner on gaskets. Check gaskets. Diaphragm gasket should be smooth and puffy not wrinkled or wilted. If in doubt replace. Carburetor kits are around $8-$15 and include all gaskets, needle and spring. Reassemble (making sure all gaskets are positioned properly) and try to start. If it still doesn’t start replace carburetor.

This how-to works with a Husqvarna, Husky, Jonsered, Poulan, McCulloch, Craftsman, Homelite, Echo chainsaws as well as a Stihl 009, 009L,011, 011T,012, 017, 018, 018C, 019, 019T, 020, 020AV, 020T, 021, 023, 024, 025, 026, 026 PRO, 028, 029, 034, 036, 036 PRO, 036 QS II, 039, 044, 046M, 066M, 088M, MS170, MS180C, MS191T, MS192T, MS200, MS200T, MS210, MS250, MS260, MS260 PRO, MS270, MS280, MS290, MS310, MS360, MS360 PRO, MS360 QS II, MS361, MS390, MS440, MS460, MS660, MS880, HT100, HT101, HT70, HT75

  • Bpapenburg

    I have a MS260 about 5 years old. I was happily cutting wood yesterday. I turned it off via the master control lever as always. But now The master conlrol lever seems to be stuck in the off position. I did not want to force it . I had tries to use the trigger at various positions to try to unlock it.

    How can I un-jam it?

  • Tom

    I have a new Stihl MS250. I am trying to start it for the first time but it will not start. I am sure I have set everything correctly. What could I have missed?

  • marljon

    I have a stihl 029 super, it just started to make a whining noise IF I can get it to rev up. Is it the clutch?

  • Ruben

    I have a stihl 029 super, I need to know were the H and L need to be set. I installed a new carburator kit and the adjustments moved.

  • Jerkatrog

    tom try using carb cleaner . spray into carb and let it set for a sec.

  • Dave

    How can I replace gas line on Stihl 009L chainsaw?

  • Alan Sowell

    Mine does the same thing. Take off the cover for the air filter, and push the spring back so the lever will go past it.

  • Tcgrafix

    From lightly seated H = 3 turns out and L = 2 turns out

  • guest

    my saw got wet and wont start what shoud i do?

  • Art2936

    I have stihl ms 170 it was running normal and all the sudden starts to revs in high speed without pulling the trigger can you let me know what the problem please

  • Fozziemotoe

    011avt electronic air gap setting

  • Jamonson

    I have an 026. When I take the plug out I can pull over the saw easy and can feel suction so the rings are good. When the plug is in you can hardly pull the starting cord. Please give me a possible cause of this problem. This is the best saw I have ever owned. Thanks much.
    Skip Amonson

  • Joshua Brady45

    I just forced the lever and the plastic switch just broke off. I need a way to fix it myself really quickly…any suggestions of how to take the cover from that lever so I can try?

  • Sakip06

    I havve new MS 311 Chain saw. NO way I could start it. I’ll return this tomorrow.
    I know how the engine start, how it will go… NO mistakes.

  • Mick

    I have a 170 mini boss very only used twice, very happy. But cant get it started, have changed spark plug and fuel, i run the fuel out each time i finished with it to be stored away. If anyone has any handy hints that would be great, thanks very muck

  • RIC

    my stihl 024 cut for three hours on third tank of fuel it would not stay running. fresh fuel and new plug later still would start but nut run. dont want to take it to shop for repair what can i do?

  • mike nott

    my stihl 010av was always hard to start its over 20 yrs old put in new fuel and plug i have spark and tried starting fluid it will not fire any suggestions thanks

  • reggie

    I have a stihl ms260 starts and revs high then shuts down.

  • Anonymous

    Try cleaning out your carb

  • Anonymous

    First thing I’d do is slightly loosen the gas cap. Does it run properly when you do that? If so, your problem is most likely a plugged tank vent – the saw runs fine until it creates so much vacuum in the tank that it can’t suck fuel anymore. then change the gas filter on the end of suction hose in gas tank. You can fish it out with a piece of wire. If that doesn’t help, then check gas line and impulse hose closely for small cracks. Next take off the muffler check to see if the piston is scored from the starter fluid (bad idea use 50:1).

    If none of that helps, it has carb problems:debris in needle valve, harden diaphragm. I would rebuild the carburetor, the rubber diaphragm gets hard over time. Also replace the fuel hose, and impulse hose. disassemble the carb, and thoroughly clean it out, the inlet screen and the passage below the screen, you will have to remove the needle/lever from the other side to blow it out.Replace the diaphram.

  • Anonymous

    Check to see if it has spark when it does that again. Could be a faulty coil. Is the fuel in the tank hot? Boiling?

  • Anonymous

    Do you have spark? Does it start if you put fuel in spark plug hole?

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like a clogged muffler or a stuck reed valve.

  • Anonymous

    I just use a business card

  • Anonymous

    You need some long bent homostats

  • Anonymous

    How wet? dry off the ignition with a water displacer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mcelroy.drew Drew Mcelroy

    Ms 361 new spark plug, cleaned fillers, and fresh gas. it starts runs fast then dies?

  • Wes

    I have a 170 and it runs great until I get to 3/4 throttle then it bogs. I thought the chain may have been binding so I took off the blade and it does the same thing.

  • gary123

    why is my chain not getting oil

  • zackk

    check your impulse line comming from the back of the block to the gas tank. if the line isnt cracked check the intake boot.

  • Terry

    I 036 Stihl it starts but give it gas it dies out

  • mike

    My 440 won’t start, floods out, turn upside down to clear fuel from clyr and fuel runs out carb.

  • michael

    i have a stihl 26 pro saw how do i turn off the heated handle? any advie would be fantastic thanks

  • Tom R

    I have a ms170 when I start it with the choke on it should die the take off choke and start but it run’s with choke on and when I switch it over to run it dies.

  • Leah Miller

    I have a stihl ms250c chainsaw that when I pull the starter string the wheel attached to the engine just spins, but the pull string still winds up. A local repair shop said it might be the primary or secondary starter spring. How would I replace this on my own?

  • KJG 020 av

    Have av020.Starts on choke,runs low and high speed on98% choke. Dies out once unchoked. Will run on 98% choke for minutes .

  • R Bazner

    I have mod 021 starts great idles good,But as soo as i give it gas it stalls out.Changed plug,replaced fresh fuel mixture ,cleaned carb ,replaced fuel filter. Help

  • brandon

    i have an 036 stihl it runs great with out the bar and chain on, but when they are added to saw puts out. would that be a fuel delivery problem that would be fixed by a carb. kit

  • brandon

    i have an 036 stihl it runs great with out the bar and chain on, but when they are added to saw puts out. would that be a fuel delivery problem that would be fixed by a carb. kit

  • Ronnie stevens

    I have a STIHL MS 290,it will only run on full choke,,can u please tell me what I can do to repair my saw,,thank you

  • Ronnie stevens

    I have a STIHL MS 290,it will only run on full choke,,can u please tell me what I can do to repair my saw,,thank you

  • Bryan

    I have stihl 023. Was cutting some small trees and my clutch froze up, Tried to remove clutch, but its not budging.

  • Starrbock

    You may be flooding it, in the cold choked position. This is all the way down on the master control. Take spark plug out and pull cord a few times in with master control in off. It only takes one correctly pulled pull then up to second from bottom is to start engine and warm up a few seconds. Make sure your break is ON. Full throttle. Blip the throttle. To auto go into Runyon, then pull chain break off. Now start and stop in upper positioning of master control rest of your day. I rarely need to go to starting positions needing throttle pressed to get to, lowest two. Maybe second from bottom if engine gets cold, in very cold weather. From here, be careful in lowest master control possition, as smaller Stihl tend to not pop as larger ones and hard to tell the engine turning indicating switch up one.

  • Rjr

    I have a stihl chainsaw MS280C that I cant get a spark out of it. If I unplug the magnetventil solenold from the cab it will spark. what does the magnetventil do?

  • Eric

    I have A Stihl ms192 chainsaw. when I point the bar downwards it dies out but if I point it up it runs good. I dont know where to start looking.can some one help me please?

  • andy ice cream

    I have a stihl 026 that I replaced the coil in because of no spark. It now starts and runs fine but it is running hot. It melted the plastic above the muffler. It has a oregon power pitch plus bar on it. Any suggestion is that bar blocking the oiler? Thanks for the help.

  • redbeard45

    I have an 0-11AV. Sat for a long time and wouldn’t start. Replaced with new fuel, checked exhaust port and muffler – all good, replaced plug. Fired but died when throttle opened. Replaced fuel line, fuel and air filters and gasket under carby. Good spark. After assembly, fired briefly (I think on fuel used for cleaning around plastic mounting block for carb). Won’t fire at all now. Plug is dry. Doesn’t appear to have fuel in impulse line???

  • jrr1

    I have Stihl 029 that I made up new gas and cranked and ran. Wanted to die while cutting but would crank back.Seems to be pressure in gas tank. Ran out of gas and will not crank back. Suggestions?

  • bob

    I have a stihl 034 chainsaw, I bought it brand new, its about 15 years old, I have taken great care of it, it looks good, always run fresh mixed gas and never leave it stored with gas always run it out of fuel, I was running it and it just stopped running, so I put new pull rope on it, new plug, cleaned air filter, filled it up with mixed fuel a new mixed batch, replaced with new electric plug wire box, cleaned entire magneto with sandpaper, it has spark but doesn’t have a lot of kick on end of plug with finger when you turn it over, and it just wont start and run, any suggestions, I have been using and working on saws for 15 to 20 years and my dad has an old 044 or 045 and has been using and working on saws for 30 plus years, and we just cant get it running, I have talked to the guy I bought the saw from and he works on them and he doesn’t no whats wrong, does anyone have any suggestions, I even cleaned the filter in the fuel tank and the vent, also I tried with the brake on and off still nothing, I tried 3 plugs and then I put the plugs in a different saw and they run fine, don’t no what else it could be, I even tried fuel straight in carb and then a touch of starting fluid, also I even by passed the on off switch and tried with and without bar, took off the muffler and all is clean and good, hope you have a solution, thanks

  • Sledge

    I have a Stihl MS 290 that does exactly the same thing.

  • Brian C

    my stihl ms 210 just makes a clicking noise when I pull it. I replaced the pawls but still clicks

  • Gotone Gotoneofthesetoo

    Possibly the coil has gone tits-up. You can get new Chinese ones on eBay from seller Hutzl for $10-15 delivered

  • samantha ellington

    My chainsaw will start and when I let off of the gas it quits and I can’t get to start again. I have even changed the spark plug and the filter. And suggestions?!?!?!

  • Kengm

    MS170, Saw will start with help but then revs and shuts down. Installed new carb and reviewed Piston and Cylinder no signs of fuel issues. Also installed new plug and filters as well as added premium fuel and mix. Any suggestions???

  • Stephen H.

    Ethanol softened hose i get tank on two of my 170’s. Sucks hosd shut and dissolved particals in carb.

  • John Early

    I just bought a used Stihl ms170 at a pawn shop. I got a good deal on it but it wont start. I replaced the plug, air filter and fuel filter. It still didn’t start. I tried to find a carb rebuild kit but found out a whole new carb was only $35 so I bought it and replaced it and it still don’t start. I made sure it is getting spark and getting gas. I cleaned off the screen in the muffler also. I noticed at the top of this page it asks about picking the saw up with pull cord, well the cord comes out before I can get the saw off the ground. Does this mean the compression is bad?? Please help!

  • ty

    Have a stihl chainsaw older one has spark and getting gas just won’t start anyone please help

  • ty

    Have a stihl chainsaw older one has spark and getting gas just won’t start anyone please help

  • Dave

    I have an 044 stihl that starts but runs poorly it floods out and fuel runs out the exhaust l put another carb that l have off of another 044 l have but it still does the same thing

  • Dave

    I have an 044 stihl that starts but runs poorly it floods out and fuel runs out the exhaust l put another carb that l have off of another 044 l have but it still does the same thing

  • Scott

    Have MS 260, five years old is starting hard and has no power in the cut. Cleaned fuel, air filter,and bar and chain

  • DH

    I have a MS 280 and while making a normal cut the chain locked up like the chain break was set. I can’t “unlock” it even when I take the bar off. Seems like the chain break is locked or the motor is siezed up.

  • William Crawford

    I have a stihl ms440 I just can not get it to start ever time I try to pull the starter cord it is get rip out my hands it has a go spark I just do not no what to try

  • Coty Bailey

    I am in the process of turning an 029 into an 039, it’s a simple conversion, and I’m using 100% new parts, I just need to know which wires go where other than the kill switch wire, and the wiring diagrams dont seem to be helpful enough.

  • nasko

    i have stihl MS038 it waun”t start aftar replace the carb kit stil nothing any sajestions

  • peter

    I have a Stihl 025 and no oil is exiting the oil port at the chain/bar. Initial indication was a dry chain. Took clutch / cover off and found wire detached from worm gear that turns oil pump. Purchase a new one and reinstalled. Still no oil. Disassembled and found oil under clutch cover or in that area, but still not get to bar and chain. Pulled oil pump and blew out line to bar/chain with air and seemed clear. Pump appears to be functioning fine. Pump alignment to supply port looks good as well. Still no oil to chain. Purchased a new pump, installed – still no oil to chain. WT ? ? ? ? ?

  • Dude Mauldin

    I have a two year old MS290….from the beginning I have run 40/1 fuel….87 octane….it has worked well but after a couple hours of work, the gear that runs the chain will seize up……I loosen the chain, cool the saw and it rotates again…..however, it finally seized up and will not turn…I move the gear with a channel lock and it sounds like metal to metal inside? but it rotates….any ideas

  • ray

    I have a 036 pro and it runs wide open. we rebuilt carb and replaced rubber tube behind carb still run wild can you help

  • Wilson Wright

    I have a Sthl MS 170 chainsaw…It was starting hard and curtting poorly…While I had the chain bar off to get the chain sharpened, I took the cover off…I noted a black wire with a metal piece on the end that was loose and there seems to be no place to attach it. I also noted the spark plug was loose. I tightened it and the saw starts much better even tho the black wire isn’t attached to anything…But with the chain bar off, I note the motor seems to be smoking and running very hot. What would cause the motor to run hot and where does the little black wire go ?

  • Gary M

    I have an MS360 which stopped running and it and it jams very hard when I try to start it. I dissassembled and cleaned it thoroughly including the clutch and still it jams. I took out the plug and it pulls freely but under compression jams hard.
    Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated to what the cause might be

  • Rians40

    I have an MS250C for 2 years, when i was cutting today and tried to shut it off with the master switch, and it kept running in the off position. i then switched it to on and then back to the off position That didnt help it finally shut off when i engaged the chain brake. Do i need to have it looked at?

  • Judge1

    I have just got a second hand Stihl MS250, it starts fine but after about 10mins running it sounds like it running out of fuel (its not tank full) then cuts out? Any suggestions on possible fault will be appreciated.

  • http://Dizzydeanga.org Chris Landry

    I have an 028WB. Cranks on the first pull, will run for 5 mins then stall out and will not crank back up unless I let it sit for a day.

  • Dave Mundy

    I have a still 044 I just got used It will crank and run for a very short time even shorter if I try to use the throttle it dies immediately

  • Ron

    I have a still ms 250. Chain goes loose after 2 cuts. Small trees. I take cover off and re tighten. Same result. Loose chain right away. Any advice

  • outlaw

    Where is the tank vent on still chain saw

  • Confused

    Hi I have a stihl ms192T. It fires up but dies as soon as take the choke off. Carb and gas are good. new plug. the primer would stay stuck at time so I blew it out and it seems to respond properly but wheezes a bit but <i think thats natural. Weird! I just went almost afull tank trying to get it going. Ive set the H mid 3/4 (it is limited to a 3/4 turn adjustment. I set L at 1/2, 1, 1/4 etc but it won't even run long enough for to adjust.

  • jessejames

    I have a stihl ms271 around a year old I cut it off and sharpened the chain now it won’t crank back up I have a spark and I cleaned air filter and even changed the gas can anyone help me

  • Scott Kelley Holmes

    My ms 311 will start and run but when I try to go full throttle the engine stops even after letting it warm up sufficiently. I had it setup for higher altitude at my dealer when I bought it and have only used it at higher altitude. What can I do to correct the idle?

  • Whitford

    have Stihl 021 chainsaw. Runs but the chain doesn’t turn. Chain is not too tight. Suggestions?

  • davd

    I have a ms 200t its hard to start and when it dos go it somtimes revs on its own and if you put the chain brake on it cuts out any ideas whats up with it ?