STIHL Chainsaws 101 – How To Start Your Saw Like A Pro Every Time

Starting a chainsaw can be intimidating for first-time users. With its roar and vigorous shake, a sputtering chainsaw that won’t start can be frustrating. Even experienced loggers sometimes struggle to get their trusty STIHL saws ignited on the first pull.

But starting your STIHL chainsaw doesn’t have to be a battle. With proper technique and safety checks, you’ll have your chainsaw running smoothly every time.

Prerequisites – Safety Gear and Checks

Before starting your STIHL saw, it’s essential to wear protective equipment and inspect critical components. Skipping either of these steps risks injury or a saw that won’t start.

Protective Equipment

Chainsaws are powerful, dangerous tools. The right safety gear will shield your body from harm.

  • Helmet and goggles to protect your face and neck from flying debris.
  • Hearing protection like earplugs or muffs to prevent hearing loss from the loud noise.
  • Tight-fitting gloves that allow dexterity while also resisting cuts.
  • Chainsaw chaps made of cut-resistant material to cover your legs.

Never operate a chainsaw without wearing appropriate protective clothing from head to toe. Safety must come before all else.

Pre-Start Checks

Before starting the STIHL saw, inspect these key components:

  • Chain tension – Use the screw adjuster to ensure the chain has the proper tightness. The chain should have just a little give if you pull it by hand. If too loose, it can derail or stall the engine.
  • Chain condition – Look for any cracked, bent, or damaged links that need replacement. The cutting teeth should be sharp and at full length.
  • Chain brake – Test the brake by engaging and disengaging it. Ensure it stops the chain when applied.
  • Fuel and oil – Confirm there is adequate mixed fuel and chain bar oil in their respective tanks.
  • Air filter – Inspect the air filter to make sure it is clean and undamaged.
  • Spark plug – Check that the spark plug is not fouled or damaged. The electrode gap should be adjusted to the proper width.

Making these quick inspections helps diagnose issues before they prevent startup down the line. Now let’s get started!

Starting a Cold STIHL Chainsaw

If the chainsaw engine is cold, follow this procedure to ignite that first startup:

how to start a stihl chain saw

Opening the Choke

The choke restricts air intake to richen the fuel mixture. This extra fuel stabilizes combustion, allowing ignitions with a cold cylinder and piston.

Locate the choke lever or knob on your saw model. Pull or turn it to the full choke position marked “Closed.” This readies the enriched fuel blend needed for cold starting.

Priming the Engine

Pull the starter cord 5-6 times while the ignition is off. This primes the carburetor and fuel lines, sending gas into the cylinder.

It also helps clear any remaining combustible mixtures from previous use. Those extra pulls prevent premature ignitions as you start cranking the engine.

Other Steps

With fuel primed, take a few more preparatory steps:

  • Replace the air filter if dirty.
  • Install a fresh, properly gapped spark plug.
  • Connect the spark plug wire firmly onto the plug.

Your STIHL chainsaw is now ready to ignite!

Pulling the Starter Cord

With the choke still open, grab the starter cord handle firmly. Pull it out slowly until resistance is felt, then give it a strong, rapid tug.

Use your dominant hand for pulling, and press your other hand on the saw body for stability. Let the cord retract fully between attempts. After several hard pulls, the saw should roar to life!

If the engine won’t start, first check that the ignition is off. Also ensure the master control lever is in the choke closed position. Pulling the cord with the proper technique takes some practice.

Starting a Warm STIHL Chainsaw

If starting the STIHL saw within 5-10 minutes after use, the engine is still warm. Follow this quicker procedure:

Bypassing the Choke

An enriched fuel mixture isn’t necessary on a warm start. So leave the choke in the open, normal running position.

This will prevent engine flooding. Starting is much simpler without having to wait for the flooded mixture to clear after pulling the cord.

Pulling the Cord

The only step left is pulling the starter cord as done in a cold start. But a warm engine ignites much faster, typically starting in just 1-2 pulls.

Listen for the ignition to catch and let the cord retract. Then blip the throttle trigger to keep it running. Enjoy a smooth warm start!

Operating Safety

Once your STIHL chainsaw is running, safety remains paramount. Be alert and cautious while operating the saw to prevent accidents.

Kickback Hazards

Kickback occurs when the cutting chain near the saw tip catches on wood, rapidly jerking the bar back towards you.

This dangerous reaction can cause loss of saw control, serious injuries, and frightening falls. Always maintain a firm two-handed grip and be ready to override kickback.

Also avoid contact with the kickback danger zone while cutting. Make sure the safety chain brake is functioning properly before use.

Other Precautions

  • Keep bystanders and animals at least 30 feet away from the operating saw.
  • Properly secure logs before cutting and do not operate the saw above shoulder height.
  • Monitor chain oil level to maintain lubrication and prevent excessive wear.
  • Turn off the engine before transporting the saw or making any adjustments.

Remaining alert and avoiding complacency will keep you safe. And ensure your saw starts up reliably season after season.

Starting a STIHL chainsaw is easy with good preparatory habits. Safety checks, correct choke settings, and a few pulls of the cord are all it takes to bring your saw to life.

Practice starting before tackling real cutting work. And never neglect using personal protective equipment or other safe operating procedures.

Our guide has provided the techniques needed for flawless STIHL starting every time. Now get out there are put that saw to work!

Before starting the chainsaw, it’s essential to ensure that the fuel tank is filled with the appropriate fuel mixture. The fuel-to-oil ratio for a Stihl chainsaw is typically 16:1. Always make sure that the fuel-oil mixture is fresh and of the correct ratio. If the mixture is old or has been contaminated, it can cause the chainsaw to not start or to run poorly.

The chain tension on a Stihl chainsaw should be adjusted correctly before starting the saw. If the chain is too loose, it can cause the chainsaw to stall or not start. If the chain is too tight, it can cause the engine to overheat and damage the chainsaw. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for chain tension and adjust the chain accordingly.

A clogged air filter can also cause the chainsaw to not start or to run poorly. Before starting the chainsaw, make sure to inspect the air filter and replace it if dirty. A clean air filter allows proper airflow to the carburetor and engine for smooth starting.

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