how much is a used (beat?) Stihl 026 worth?

tinyfrogs(z8 NC)July 20, 2010


I got good chainsaw advice on this forum last fall and picked up an clean Makita 6401 from the Home Depot rental area for about $190. That saw rips but is heavy for light cutting, so I want a complementary smaller saw. I still have a borrowed Stihl 011av for light cuts, but I hate using borrowed tools and that saw is mediocre. The Stihl 026 seems like a very popular saw for this sort of work.

I was in a thrift store in the middle of nowhere late last week and saw a Stihl chainsaw case from across the room. I opened the box to discover an oily, dirty, worn-paint Stihl 026 with a bar and chain that appear to be too tight at the moment, or maybe worse (bad oiler?). I asked the guy about it and he said it was on consignment for $200, with a bag of tools including an electric sharpener, supposedly. I didn't have time and was a little put off by the condition so I took off before trying to start it up or look through the gear that came with the saw.

Now I wish I had. An eBay search for Stihl 026 coughs up a bunch of saws without all the extra gear but that look cleaner, more or less, for usually more than $200.

Did I blow it by not buying the saw on the spot, assuming 1) it runs and 2) all controls are functional, inc. the chain brake? I don't have a compression test on it, obviously. What else should I look for when I try to go back to check this thing out again? I'd be OK with taking the saw apart and putting it back together in better shape. It would be a project...I just hope it won't get too expensive (with the help of eBay/Bailey's/Chainsawr etc for any needed parts).


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The Only True measure of a used saw is to Run it through a few cuts . A compression test will ensure at least engine saleability . Visual only inspection appearance of casing small cracks , bottom condition any leakage etc. It was a very good saw in it's day . $150-$300.00 (Tested) is the Norm !

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 5:40AM
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Walk away and dont look back. I think that if there is one thing never to buy used it would be a chainsaw. Especially one that looks abused. By example, I have a 24 yr old Jonsrud that looks brand new and I would never sell it to a friend.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 12:58PM
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Tiny: Fresh Paint does not make the saw , don't fret the small stuff. Have the Saw demonstrate it's worth . It should start with 3-5 Pulls , fresh Properly mixed Fuel is imperative . I would 1st pull and check the plug this will give you a good indication of the state of condition of the saw's engine. It should be medium to light brown coloration . Any shiny metallic flecks (engine worn) . If you have a tester pull it over 4-5 times with the power switch off to get a accurate compression test. Should be in the 130 -160 Range . If not the running engine is your only real valid test . Also ensure the Oil Reservoir is full and ensure the chain is adjusted and rolls true and free . With a Roller tip bar 3/16 slack at mid bar before saw begins to lift . Solid nose bar slightly looser . Again if it fires and idles and runs up to wide open throttle without any issues and you have good compression it would be a great deal for
the asking price since a electric sharpener is in the $100.00 range itself without additional tools . A new Bar and chain will be in the $30.00 $50.00 (Oregon) Range . There should be Oil fling off the Chain within a minute of running the saw at full throttle . Let us know what you find before you drop the $$$ If your serious , if it fails any of the above steer clear unless your maintenance friendly and get a reduced price . Buying a used saw is always Russian Roulette , but a little knowledge to what to look for can give you the advantage of knowing when to Hold-em and when to fold-em lol .

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 1:52PM
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tinyfrogs(z8 NC)

Bought it for $161.50 after some negotiation, with a clause that I could return it within 24 hours if I wasn't satisfied (I've dealt with the seller before). I opened it up and cleaned out lots of oily sawdust and inspected it. The only thing I found that needs replacement is the air filter.

It starts in 2-3 pulls from cold with fresh gas. It cuts very well. I'm happy with it.

The lesson for me: don't be discouraged by lots of oil all over the saw, and don't pay a premium for accessories (the electric sharpener is a cheap 12V model).

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 8:48PM
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Tiny: I Hate to Tell You ....But I Told You So ! Roflmbo !
Great Deal . Do yourself a favour and run some Fuel Treatment through it with the fresh Fuel . I recommend Lucas Top end Lube even with 2-Strokes . Sold almost everywhere . It will clean the carb and also slowly decarbonize the Head & Rings. Also ensure to run Premium Oil . I would run no less than Stihl Oil or Amsoil . 50-1 is the best all around Mix Ration for this Model and Vintage . When you get a chance do a compression test and report back , would love to hear the results . Happy cutting and use your PPE .

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 5:30AM
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I have no problem with purchasing used power equipment if I know the ownerÂs maintenance habits, have used the equipment and can test the equipment in a reasonable period of time before paying for the equipment. I feel a big factor is how much time and experience do you have to give to a used or unknown project. With that being said, I must get into my garage and get busy. There is no end to maintaining equipment, "New or Used" but it pays off. Loger

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 12:25PM
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tinyfrogs(z8 NC)

Well, I need a new bar on this saw.

A dogwood came down in a storm so I figured it was a good moment to try this thing out with some real work. After about 5 minutes and 10 or 15 cuts on the top of the tree, I got to the main trunk (8" cuts). I started seeing smoke, realized the bar was not getting oil and that the cuts were curving. I put the saw down and got out my big one to finish the job.

The bar is toast. It heated up quickly, apparently, and is warped on the left side along the top edge. I figured a new bar and chain would be a good idea eventually but I didn't realize I would need it so soon. I planned to order parts for a tuneup anyway, so I guess a bar/chain combo is in order. I just hope that there isn't some underlying problem that caused this.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 10:21PM
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Tiny: Per my PM did you get a chance to check the Sprocket and Clutch assembly ? This would be a good time to check it out . The Bar issue is small potatoes it may well have been ready for a change . As I mentioned you normally get 4 chains two bars out of one sprocket/clutch combination Ratio , under normal usage . Ensure to get a good Oregon Chain and Bar Combination or Stihl Roller Tip Combo . Prior to installation check out the Oil Pump Orifice and run Light (summer) Bar Oil for break in (30 Minutes) of your Chain and Bar . Drop me a note if you require anything further from my previous PM of July 21st , you should have my Email .
P.S. Did you get a chance to check the compression yet ?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 11:13PM
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Tiny : Got your Email , will respond accordingly later this evening have Horseshoe League !

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 3:03PM
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tinyfrogs(z8 NC)

follow-up message.

So I eventually got some parts together: new Oregon Pro-light bar with a semi chisel chain, new plug, new air filter, new fuel filter that I didn't even end up using. I cleaned up the saw, put it all back together, fired it up and ripped through a small pile of green dogwood with no problems. The carb was poorly adjusted but I was able to find the sweet spot where it idles smoothly and still has plenty of power at less than full throttle. The engine tests at 150 psi. So for a total of about $240 with parts and tools, I have a great complement to my bigger saw, with a case.

New project? I just picked up a lightly used but somewhat neglected Mantis 20 off of craigslist. Aaah, used power tools. So hard to resist.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 4:30PM
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Hey Great to hear Dude ! You took a chance and Beat the House ! Good Job . Don't forget the Stabil and Fuel Conditioner once a yr :)

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 6:41PM
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