Stihl Chainsaw - starts but won't run

uberfusionAugust 9, 2006

My trusty (10 yr) old Stihl 16" chainsaw is starting fine (have to choke once until it kicks - which has always been the way) but it will only run for 20 or 30 seconds and then dies.

Re-chocking (once until it kicks) gets it running again for another 20-30 seconds. This pattern continues to repeat itself even after the saw is well warmed up.

Has to be a 'gas' problem - I'm thinking bad/dirty gas, or maybe more likely a carburetor problem (eg fuel pump?).

I'll get deeper into the diagnosis this weekend, but thought in the meantime I'd ask for any advice and ideas...

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First thing I'd do is change the gas filter on the end of suction hose in gas tank. You can fish it out w/ a small hook formed in the end of a piece of tie wire.
If that doesn't cure it,then check gas line closely for small cracks. If none,then it has carb problems:debris in gas control needle,cracked diaphragm.
Hope this helps,

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 11:35PM
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Thanks mla2odus - I check these out this weekend and hope they solve my problem.

Will let you know - and thanks again for the advice.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 10:01AM
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Finally had a chance last weekend to look further into my chain saw problem.

I fished out the fuel filter and it looks clean and I can suck gas through it. The fuel line look OK.

I took off the carb and cleaned and blew it out - everything looks clean (but who can tell in the small jets) and the diaphram looks OK (but I didn't risk taking it off in case I damaged it w/o a replacement).

When I reassembled everything (and topped up the gas) and restared the engine it would still (no pun intended) only run, after starting with the choke, for 30 seconds then die as though it was running out of gas. Restarting with the choke would allow another 30 seconds on full speed operation...

When it does run it runs nicely at full throttle so the carb jets must be OK which in my mind leaves only the pump/diaphram (guess I should pick up a carb kit) or somthing I've overlooked in the fuel line/filter/supply.

Any ideas?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 8:50AM
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Posting the model of the saw would be helpful. If the fuel
line looks ok, it usually cracks on the portion above the
fuel tank, then you might want to take a look at the impulse line, most Stihl saws have them, it connects to
the other fitting on the carb, and goes to the crankcase
at the base of the cylinder.
If that looks ok, then you will have to disassemble the
carb, and thoroughly clean it out, the passage below the
inlet screen is likely got some junk in it, you will have
to remove the needle/lever from the other side to blow it


    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 7:05AM
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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.

Sometimes they're built into the cap and other times there is a vent line that comes off the tank and goes somewhere else.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 9:03AM
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Thanks for the ideas.

I'm pretty sure the air vent is OK but I'll definitely check it again.

The model is "009".

I'll also recheck the fuel line. Regarding the 'impulse' line - I don't remember seeing another line connected to the carb on this unit.

This weekend I'll pull the carb off and re-check it - I must admit that I didn't take out the jets when I gave it a quick cleaning last week - so that's a very good/logical suggestion.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 10:11PM
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I had the same exact scenerio with my Stihl. Dealer thought it was the ignition coil. But it turns out the fuel line had a real small crack which could not be seen. Since its pretty cheap, I would replace them.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 9:17AM
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Make sure the spark arrestor screen is clean.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 11:38AM
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Finally got my chainsaw working again!

I dismantled the carb and sprayed the openings with carb cleaner (using the spray tube) and while I was doing this I noticed in one recess some crud which turned out to be covering a very fine filter screen (the fuel inlet opening I presume).

At first I couldn't even see the screen because the fine build up of crud completely coated the screen. So I eased out the screen, cleaned it, reinstalled it in the opening, reassembled the carb and fitted it back on the saw.

I restarted the saw, adjusted the low/high jets and now the saw is working as good as new - so the plugged filter screen in the carb body was not letting enough gas through to contunue running the saw at full speed. Making sure this filter screen is clean is definetly something to always check for!

Appreciate everybody's help.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 9:43AM
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If you have to go back into the carb again, clean out the
passage under the screen, it goes to the needle/spring/lever I mentioned in my earlier post, as it is still likely obstructed partially.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 6:37AM
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Thanks fisher40037 - using a spray nozzle on some pressurized carb cleaner I did clean out the passages under the screen.

Appreciate the good advice.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 11:06AM
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I have a Farm Boss that is doing the exact same thing. I have tried the remedies mentioned above with no success (except for the fuel line replacement). One clue is that I ran it dry before winter storage and it hasn't run properly since then. PLEASE HELP ME! THE SHOP WILL CHARGE $150 TO REPAIR A SAW WORTH $250!!!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 5:55PM
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If your shop is trying to charge you $150 to fix it, then you need to find another shop.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 5:38PM
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I have same chainsaw as fisher40037 and it won't start. I've cleaned it, new spark plug and there is spark. Tomorrow I'll follow the above directions for cleaning the carb. Does anyone know the adjustment on the jets? How many turns on high and low? Any help appreciated. Thanks

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 9:03PM
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Generally you start by turning the screws in all the way, then 1 turn out. That's the starting point, then you need to adjust from there.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 6:45PM
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If my saw is firing,and I put a little fuel in the plug hole should it start on that amount of fuel.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 12:14PM
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I have a Homelite 240 that had the same problem except wouldn't run quite as long, maybe 10sec. I put a new carb kit in it and cleaned out the carb while I was in there, checked the fuel filter and lines, all OK, loosened the gas cap as described above, adjusted the needles to all kinds of different settings, and still nothing. Finally I was going to completely rebuild the whole thing so I dumbed out the gas and noticed it was sort of nasty looking and foamy. I refueled with new gas and new oil and it fired right up! Must have been some real old oil in there or something, I got it from my grandfather, who knows how long it'd been sitting around.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 11:59PM
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I'm having the same problem with a Stihl 360 saw. It starts after 4-5 pulls, but stalls about 30 secs later. Filter in tank is OK. Does anyone know where I can find a repair manual to do a carb tear-down? Any other advice?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 12:01AM
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I know this is an old post but not an old issue.
Stihl 011
Only runs 10 seconds
I have done everything suggested in earlier post plus a rebuild kit.
Gas, fuel line, breather line, diaphragm, needle and seat and the gasket over it, inside fuel screen.
Took everything apart then blew everything out with compressed air.
Any more advanced ideas? The carb only has so many parts. It can't be that involved.

The High, low adjustable screws, as posted earlier, start with each out one turn then go from there.
One is longer than the other, which one goes where?
Just double checking I got it correct. I do not believe it is the (main) cause of the running issue

Thank you,

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 12:31PM
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Try starting at 1-1/2 turns out. Steve

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 6:27AM
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Jeff as Steve has advised 1-1/2 turns out is where I normally start , sometimes I turn in the High Speed jet to
approx 1-1/4 on certain Manf or Models . The Longer Jet is normally the High Speed , but not always you should be able to identify the correct orientation since both screws will be approx. flush when installed and adjusted if not at least at the same position .

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 4:57PM
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Just glad I found out my old username....


    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 12:37AM
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My husqvarna 235 starts fine idles fine, but when you start cutting, it bogs down and the chain quits moving. any ideas? thanks

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 4:32PM
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You did not give a lot of info . Has the saw been stored for a prolonged period of time ? Is the Fuel Fresh ? If you answer No then Yes , then just adjust the low speed jet . Normally 1/4 turn in or out should resolve the bogging issue . Give it a try and let us know .
P.S. I would also add a little Concentrated fuel cleaner just for good measure in case you got a bad batch of fuel .

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 3:32PM
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Replaced the oiler twice, once with the regular pump, and once with an over size pump. It blows bubbles and maybe a drop of oil once in awhile. Cleaned the tank and line. Saw is only about one year old. Help anyone. Jim

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 2:22PM
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I have a Stihl 070 Chainsaw. It starts fine and in idle mode its also fine (runs) but when fuel throttle is press to increase speed, the chainsaw choke and stop.

Have remove Carb and clean but still problem is not solve.

Can someone advice

Thank you

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 11:56PM
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Fuel filter within tank should be checked for restriction . Next ensure fresh fuel and ensure also that low and high speed jet circuits are clean . Concentrated fuel cleaner within fuel 2 ounces and set both jets at 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 turn out once they have been blown out with carb cleaner aerosol . If this does nt solve your fuel restricition issues a carb kit may very well be required since you diaphram may have become dried out or stretched out do to ethanol fuel .

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 5:13PM
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I have a stihl 029 that I recently cleaned the carburator.I diassembled it completly ,soaked it, I blew through all the holes with pressured air, assembled it, adjusted the (H) and(L) according to owners manuel i.e. (H) 3/4 from max lean and(L) 1/4 from max. It will start with choke on and runs with it off but bogs out when trottle is released. Does not idle. I removes the idle needle and took it to a parts dealer and he said it was good.PLEASE HELP!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 7:50PM
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Leo : 1st H & L setting are usually 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 from bottomed (closed) Also you have not mentioned if the fuel filter has been checked for restriction or if the diaphram has been inspected , a small tear or sag (deformation) can cause erratic performance. obviously all fuel lines must also be inspected for any pinch points and proper tightness along with the carb flange nuts. You certainly seem to have a fuel restriction problem , since it intially starts. Ensure to remove the jets and gentley use a small tag wire to clean the orifice along with carb cleaner and compressed air . Secondly use 2 ounces of fuel cleaner within fresh fuel and let it sit a half hour then attempt restart using choke to keep unit running until cleaner helps remove residue from the carb circuits. All the Best .

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 8:23AM
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I adjusted the H&L settings as adviced by ewalk and it ran cherry. Thanks ewalk! I am still wondering why the setting instructions in the owners manuel and on the fuel filter cover are incorrect ???

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 11:13PM
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Great Leo ! Happy that you have it running CHERRY . Just a note of further info . On the High speed setting ensure that you do not have it running to lean (MAX RPM) I usually suggest max RPM (once warmed up) then turn it out until it diesels and then 1/8 turn in (leaner) . The Low Speed is the setting I do 1st in or out a 1/4 turn to ensure no hesitation . The Idle Speed (once warmed up) so that chain is just tring to rotate , this ensures a good Cold idle without stalling. Plug checks are what I always do to identify the state of condition of any engine . Medium to Light brown is Ideal . Also as to your question of Manf. Recommended settings they are usually correct , sometimes (over time) restrictions (dirt gum) or wear of seats and needles or elevation changes (barometric pressure) conditions will require different settings . So don't sweat it . Also if you get bored keep and eye on your fuel inlet prefilter (screen)within the carb and under the diaphram it usually is the secondary filter which catchs any minute particles that the inline (fuel tank) filter may miss. I also alway advise to use a fuel cleaner additive annually (beginning of the season once) alone with a Stabil product during prolonged storage . I have usually used Lucas Top end and injector cleaner which cleans rings and piston crown of carbon and also cleans and lubricates injectors or throttle shafts and passages etc. However a wise forum member RDaystom has put me on to Star*tron Product available at Walmart within their RV Section which is a Great Product . Anyhow Thanx for the follow up note Happy Cutting Dude !

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 8:09AM
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Take the damn tank vent off. Bet this will fix most problems. The vent on my MS290 has been causing me trouble for 3 years. I finally tore it apart and put some foam in it and got rid of the check valve feature. That was the problem. You might lose a few drops of gas but, so what.
Other than that, it runs powerful great when you can get it started. I have been cussing this thing since I got it. I have a McCulloch 7-10 that is 30 something and doesn't give me as much trouble.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 8:06PM
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This thread really contains some valuable information but one thing that wasn't mentioned was the spark plug. A number of years back my Stihl 011AV would start and run fine for about 30 seconds. Took it to the shop. They told me they fixed it. It did the same thing. Next door neighbor said, "Maybe after it runs for awhile and gets hot the plug is breaking down at the higher temp." I put a new plug in it and it solved the problem. Chain saws, particularly the small models are finiky. Everything mentioned in this thread can cause a problem.

Papa Jim

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 3:32PM
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    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 7:59PM
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I had the same problem.
The answer in my case was to replace the fuel line. It was completly soft from the ethanol in the fuel, so much so, that when I went to fish the tank filter out, the line just disolved away.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 7:10PM
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doesnt really start just fires a sec and quits no matter what has been done

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 4:09PM
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029 chaisaw starts and runs great, but blows gas out of the carb. Inspected carb and everything that I can see looks good. any suggestions for a fix?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 11:16PM
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my craftsman seems to have to much fuel through the carb and exhaust it will run for about a min then dead wont restart until 4-5 hrs later----??

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 6:56PM
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Have a ms220 that starts fine with the choke but cuts out when full throttle is applied. Is this a similar fault to those above? Anyone know of a repair manual on line so that i can strip the carb

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 3:20PM
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I know its like beating a dead horse but i have a huska 240 that i bought last fall ran great,ran the fuel outta it and stored it in my warm dry basement,well today i put fuel in her and it fired up and died 10 seconds repeat and repeat same thing! so i pull the plug and it looks great,fuel lines..filter all look new,thought maybe it was the fuel because its sat since last fall,but the other saw is running just fine with that fuel,so i tryed to crack the gas cap..same thing.I did notice after i prime it and losen the gas cap its under pressure and poors out when i open it? also if i prime it just before it dies it stays running..what gives? this saw is new!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 6:39PM
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I found this link very helpful for cleaning/fixing Stihl carb;

I ordered and replaced Carb Kit, now it runs great!

Here is a link that might be useful: Repairing Stihl 250 chainsaw

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 4:33PM
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I have a strange problem with my chain saw. It starts easy and cuts fine in the VERTICAL position, but stalls when I rotate it 90 degrees (HORIZONTAL) to cut a tree down. Has anyone experienced something like this? Thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 6:39AM
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I replaced the spring (under the metering lever) in the carby of my Stihl 029 - because I foolishly lost the existing one when trying to replace after cleaning. Wasn't able to get an original spring - got one similar (maybe slightly bigger). Now saw dies when trying to throttle up. Am guessing the spring is the problem though I know it could be a host of other things. Fuel line and filter looks good though haven't had it out. Diaphragm and seals are good - replaced some. My question can anyone provide a link to a nice diagram of how the fuel works through the carby - how the meter lever is activated etc. Also I guess I need a link to a site where I can get an original spring for my Tillotson carby (even if intnl) - I'm in Australia.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 5:49AM
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put a straight edge along the metering side with out any gasket or diaphragms, the inlet needle should barley see air between the lever and the straight edge as far as dying when you throttle up is seems like your running to lean on the low side need to ritchen it up a bit if you go more than 2 turns out from the set position you have other problems

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 8:37PM
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Sorry - been off the air for a few days. Thanks GoldTec. I didn't think I'd touched the H & L adjustments on the carboy - but I clearly had. Anyway reset them both to 1.25 turns from fully clockwise and cleaned the spark arrestor and she running great now. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 8:36AM
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I have a stihl ms 211 chainsaw it will start but wont run for long , when you squeeze the throttle it cuts out far should the h/l screws be turned out and the la screw as well. any help would be apreceated thanks

This post was edited by houtyinoz on Sun, May 26, 13 at 20:50

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 8:32PM
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-> houtyinoz
Both H & L normally are set 1.25 turns back from fully clockwise. But first set the idle speed using the other screw. Adjust idle up till the saw starts to surge and the chain rotates, then adjust the other way till it starts to chug and miss. then set in the middle of the 2.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 8:30AM
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New question: for a Stihl MS2700, it starts and runs fine in vertical position. Once you roll it over to a horizontal position to cut a tree, it dies. After restarting, revving it up and trying again for 3 or 4 times, it will run fine in horizontal position. But then stalls once it is set down again. Any suggestions why it is acting up?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 6:48PM
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Someone else may be able to improve on this description but let me give it a go. In most chainsaw carbys fuel is aspirated from the fuel tank by 2 mechanisms. 1 is the air that gets sucked past the inlet from the fuel tank. The second is via an impulse line (from the engine) which sucks in direct sync with the 'revs' of the engine. This line works on one of the 2 diaphragms in the carby to suck fuel up into the carby independent of which way the saw is sitting. First guess would be check or replace the diaphragms in the carby, check or replace the impulse line.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 8:52AM
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Homelite 150 Starts with quick start for 3-5 sec.
Changed fuel line and filter
Changed gas
took apart carb and put back together
when you look at the clear fuel line it is only 1/2 way full of gas, I am not sure.
what is the purpose of the diapharm?
At one point when the carb was apart I tried blowing into the fuel line and it is tight like it was clogged, but looking on line it looks like it is supposed to be. Any suggestions?
I am thinking it is some type of vacuum thinig?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 12:26AM
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My Stihl Farm Boss was running okay, but wanted to stall sometimes while cutting. I noticed when it stalled that if I removed the gas cap I heard a small release of pressure or vacuum. After I ran the tank out, I refilled but it will not start at all now. Suggestions?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 11:37AM
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sounds like a pluged up vent line

    Bookmark   November 23, 2013 at 9:44AM
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I have a Stihl 018c Chain Saw with a problem. I starts fine and runs fine until I try to throttle up power to use it. Then it seems to choke up and I have to release the throttle to keep it running. I installed a new plug, cleaned out the air filter, inspected the spart arrestor screen, but there is no carb adjustment screws to reset or adjust. HELP !!!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2015 at 5:39PM
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