Chain saw - bar not getting oil

tom_nwnj(z6 NJ)December 8, 2007

My neighbor dropped a large black maple last week (40"+). I went over to give him a hand.

I have an old Craftman that an elderly gent gave me 20 years ago. Haven't run it in years, but it started right up. With a 20" bar on it, it's a beast. But I doesn't move much oil onto the bar (I had to stop and squirt oil on it every several minutes).

The gas is now drained, and most of the bar oil. I was thinking of putting some solvent (paint thinner?) in the oil tank, and let it drip down to the pores that feed the bar.

Any ideas?

I'll get a few pics of the saw later today.


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Do you take the saw's bar off and clean everything real good after using it every time? That's how you properly maintain a saw, without doing so the oil port can get plugged up pretty quick and stop flowing oil to where it's suppose to go. I'd take everything off and clean it up real well. Make sure to clean the bar's groove as well.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 8:29AM
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masiman(z7 VA)

Runs the saw without the without the bar and sprocket cover on. You should see oil coming out of the oiling port. If you don't see oil, you know your problem is somewhere between the tank and the oil outlet. Possibilities there would be clogged pickup or lines. Another possibility is that your oiling gear is not working for some reason. The little pump that moves the oil is turned when the sprocket to drive the chain is moving, i.e. under throttle. There are various ways the manufacturers drive the pump off the engine so look for a tab that might hit a gear every revolution or something similar.

If you do see oil coming out when you run, check that the bar is not clogged up.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 12:32PM
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Sitting for a long time without a clean up turns oil soaked wood fibers into hard chunks. I would first as joecool suggested clean up the bar chain groove and oil feeder holes using carb. cleaner and a piece of wire to remove any stuck debri in the track I would also us compressed air and blow out the feeder hole and sprocket area. Chain saw wood chips, dust, and bits have a way of finding there way into everything, you might want to flush the tanks also. Most likely you air filter is hard also by oil and wood fibers I would check it. I would do a system clean up. Automatic oiler arn't all that great anyway and after a few cuts the crude limits the oil flow. It's always wise to do a clean up after every use on the low end models IMO if you expect them to cut properly. Now after a good clean up and you still don't get any oil flow I would then suspect something internally.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 11:26PM
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"Runs the saw without the without the bar and sprocket cover on."

Make sure to have full body armor and face shielding when operating a chainsaw without the clutch cover.

Chances are the hole in the bar is plugged or the bar may be on upside down.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 9:59AM
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Make sure the oil passages line up to the bar that your using.

Some of the old Craftsman saws were made by Homelite. On the Homlite XL they pipe the impulse off the crankcase and use it to pressurize the bar oil tank. Once the tank is pressurized the oil flows to the bar through an orifice. They use a check valve called a -duck bill- to prevent the engine from drawing the bar oil back in on the compression stroke. Sometimes the duck bill falls off into the oil tank never to be seen again. You will notice this because the engine blows white smoke from all the extra oil its burning. Homelite still stocks and sells the duckbills, otherwise Ebay is your best bet. Take a good look at the hoses if its an older model. When set up and working properly, the oiling system works fine.

Best wishes,

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 2:26AM
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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

mine 16" craftsman quit oiling a few years back. i finally got around to fixing it last Spring. i had to remove the bar, clutch, and about halfway disassemble the rest of it to get the little pump out. the pump and lines were clogged full of old wood chips. once i cleaned it, it ran and oiled like the day it was bought. now if i could just get my other Craftsman to run more than 15 minutes i would be good to go!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 12:44PM
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Biglumber, I have ran a chain saw without the bar and chain many times and had no problems. the clutch is spin on so it tighten with the engine is running and besides if it was going to spin off the bar and chain don't stop it. I won't recommend it for a non-mechanical minded person.

IMO a Chain in unknown condition is by far a greater hazzard than no bar and chain. Some guys don't know how to sharpen a chain and they run them into the ground and run the dull for several sawing sessions. IMO then the chain gets dull and not getting oil it heats up quickly, Now you have a dangerous situation IMO. Especially when you heard a saw running WOT and taking 10 mins to cut through a 2 min log. IF smoke comes off your chain its dull and not oiling properly. Don't balme the saw for not cutting if you don't keep care of it JMO....

    Bookmark   December 23, 2007 at 5:17PM
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paddle(z5 NY)

I have the same problem, how do i get to the oil pump? I can't seem to figure how to remove the clutch to get to the pump.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 5:43PM
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The clutch is threaded on usually backwards. Usually there is a little arrow on the inside portion of the clutch that tells which direction to tightens or loosens.

If you don't have the proper holding tools or removal tools you may be able to take a big hammer and punch working on the the outside of the center piece (not the spring seperator parts or the clutch outer wheel housing that the centrifical seperation parts brake against) Lay the punch onto the center outer part with a shape blow smack it in the direction to loosen the clutch. If it's really tight you may have to thread some rope into the spark plug hole to lock the crank by the piston squeezing against the rope or lock the flywheel some how but you may break the flywheel cooling fins off if not done properly.

May take two or three blows, the heavier the hammer the better cause the weight (dead blow) what released the clutch, but a regular ball peen or nail hammer will work if you position the punch on the outer edge. Once you get it loose it spins right off. Make note of where the thrust washers go when you put it back on.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 10:04AM
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tom_nwnj(z6 NJ)

Update to the oiler problem.

I emptied the oil tank, and put several ounces of paint thinner in it. With the bar off, I start up the saw. After about 30 seconds, the paint thinner started coming out of the hole that feeds oil to the bar. I ran it till no more paint thinner came out.

Then put the bar + chain back on, filled oil tank with oil. It is now putting some oil on the bar, maybe half of what I would like. Probably needs more soaking. So for now, in between cuts, I have been putting oil into the groove in the bar with a small oil can. The chain moves fine and smooth.

I'll get a pic of the saw later. It cuts like nobody's business. I also have a fairly new Poulan 35 cc. This ancient Sears thing cuts twice as fast as the Poulan.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 7:24AM
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can't get oil to come out even with the bar off.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 12:53AM
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