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#549139 - 12/14/09 12:40 PM Stihl Chainsaw only runs when choke is on
Woodie Offline
Torquemada
Member

Registered: 09/17/04
Posts: 2166
Loc: Central+Eastern CT, USA
Title pretty much sums it up. This is a small, home-owner model. Has been running fine for the last couple of weeks. Then, one day I go to use it, and it just won't idle unless I push the choke on.

Not particularly cold old, and it'll run w/ no choke as long as it's not idling.

So, I'm thinking it's bad/old cruddy gas which has clogged a port in the carb. I've never taken apart an engine/carb for one of these before.

Can I just put some SeaFoam or similar in the gas and try and run it through?
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#549148 - 12/14/09 12:53 PM Re: Stihl Chainsaw only runs when choke is on [Re: Woodie]
smiller Offline
Member

Registered: 03/27/04
Posts: 12173
Loc: Asheville, NC
Requiring the choke to run would indicate that the mixture is too lean. The first thing I'd check for is something like a leaking base gasket or anything else that would admit air into the intake behind the carburetor. If that's all OK then you may have a clogged passage and you might try cleaning the carb, but the idle passages are very tiny in small engines and can be tricky to clear.

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#549152 - 12/14/09 12:59 PM Re: Stihl Chainsaw only runs when choke is on [Re: Woodie]
David Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 25813
Loc: Nipper's Corner, TN
There should be 4 (unless it's an old one). Then trying this sequence, starting with no. 2 and then 3 and then 4. If it doesn't start at each detente in that number, it's flooded or there's a mechanical/plugging issue or bad fuel.

1. off

2. once warm, start without throttle

3. move up one slot, which is no choke and a little throttle, and keep pulling until it starts

4. lowest, full choke, and pull four times or until it starts
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#549154 - 12/14/09 01:00 PM Re: Stihl Chainsaw only runs when choke is on [Re: smiller]
JayW Offline
Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 2487
Loc: Western NC
I cannot add much to the above, by I can vouch for Stihl chain saws, which are arguably the best you can buy. I have been using mine regularly for over 10 years. They are very durable and well-made. It is worth the trouble to get yours fixed.

Jay

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#549157 - 12/14/09 01:07 PM Re: Stihl Chainsaw only runs when choke is on [Re: Woodie]
smiller Offline
Member

Registered: 03/27/04
Posts: 12173
Loc: Asheville, NC
Just FWIW I believe Stihl uses the usual Walbro carburetors and you can get rebuild kits on Ebay for under $10 or an entire brand new replacement for under $40. Last time I had this issue I fussed with the carb for a while and then decided my time was worth enough to throw the $40 at it, bolt it on (worked perfectly after that), and do something else with my time. wink If a simple repair doesn't fix it then just do a search on Ebay with 'carburetor' and your model number and you'll see plenty of options.


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#549160 - 12/14/09 01:12 PM Re: Stihl Chainsaw only runs when choke is on [Re: smiller]
tallman Offline
Picture Perfect Humorist
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Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 17195
Loc: Tallahassee, Florida
My last Stihl tool that died did the sameish.
New carb was @$45ish and then shipping etc.
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#549173 - 12/14/09 01:33 PM Re: Stihl Chainsaw only runs when choke is on [Re: JayW]
AviP Offline
Member

Registered: 12/01/04
Posts: 1335
Loc: New Canaan, CT
I have 2 Stihl saws and both had minor problems. One's chain saw nut was loose and the chain saw end just fell off while cutting. The other gave me a hard time starting this winter but it was more me than the saw.

In both cases my local Stihl dealer gave me free advise and even a free nut.

It would be easier if you gave us a model# but here's some general recommendations. I think points 3 and 6 will solve your problem.

1. Set the chain saw for winter operation. Each saw is setup differently but check your product manual to see how this is done. What this does is prevents carburetor icing.

2. Check your air filter and clean it out if necessary. A dirty air filter could cause the engine to shut down at lower speeds.

3. Check your spark plug. It sounds like it might be dirty or the gap is bad.

4. Check the oil/gas mix. If it is old, then mix thoroughly before using or discard (in an environmentally correct way of course!) OR start a new mix.

5. If you have a spark arrestor in the muffler (unlikely), clean it out.

6. Check out the high speed, low speed and idle speed adjustment screws on your chain saw's carburetor. Check your product manual to see how to adjust them. Most likely you will need to adjust just the idle and/or low speed screws.

Hope this helps! thumbsup
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#549183 - 12/14/09 01:44 PM Re: Stihl Chainsaw only runs when choke is on [Re: Woodie]
Quinn Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/06
Posts: 3550
Loc: Durham, NC
I've put seafoam in mine and it seemed to blow out a lot of smoke which I'm assuming means it cleaned out a lot of crud. I also went back and adjusted my low, high and idle screws by the book. Another thing to consider is your chain and oiler. Make sure the chain can move freely and isn't binding. There's an oil filter on the end of the pickup which can get clogged and not put out enough oil; I understand it's a pain to fish it out and replace but possible. If you take the saw in for service, don't--I repeat--don't let them sharpen the chain. Shops always grind off most of the life of the teeth.

--
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#549187 - 12/14/09 01:48 PM Re: Stihl Chainsaw only runs when choke is on [Re: Quinn]
EffBee Offline
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Registered: 07/20/00
Posts: 13721
Loc: SoCal, USA
Air leak.
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#549191 - 12/14/09 01:51 PM Re: Stihl Chainsaw only runs when choke is on [Re: Quinn]
Woodie Offline
Torquemada
Member

Registered: 09/17/04
Posts: 2166
Loc: Central+Eastern CT, USA
Wow! I turn around to do a little work, and I have several viable leads!

I will check the spark plug tomorrow most likely.
At that point I can get the model # (I borrowed it from my Dad after mine "went missing"). Once I have that, I'll get the manual from Stihl, and take a look at the carb.

I don't know about "winter mode". Air filter looks ok. Fuel mix 20-60 days old, the gas part is older.

Sounds like Seafoam won't hurt it, and *may* help.
I sharpen it myself by hand, but even so, this chain is down to almost nothing at this point.
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RTP tidbits

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