Hot Topics: Chainsaw Problems, Everybody's Had One

A closeup of a chainsaw chain.

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Summer is here and it’s time to get the saws out. Whether you’re stockpiling firewood, clearing deadfall or carving a log sculpture, you need your chainsaw working in top condition. It’s an inherently dangerous task, so when smoke and overheating come into the mix, the Forum can figure it out.

Original Post: STIHL Chainsaw Producing Excessive Heat and Smoke

ThrasherFan Member

Good morning,

I was using my STIHL chainsaw this past weekend and after a very short amount of time, I noticed a lot of heat and smoke from the chain and the bar when making cuts. Technically, it works because it was making cuts successfully, but the amount of heat/smoke was definitely atypical.

I did check to make sure the bar oil/lubricant was being distributed when throttling the chainsaw. It was definitely throwing some bar oil to the bar and chain. However, I don't know if the valve is partially blocked and the bar and chain simply aren't getting ENOUGH bar oil, if something else is restricting the bar oil from being properly applied, or if something else is causing the friction entirely.

Can anyone provide information on how I can maybe clean out the area where the bar oil leaves its reservoir and gets thrown to the bar and chain? It appears to be extremely small and near impossible to reach. Or, if the problem might be caused by something else, let me know what else I might do to troubleshoot?

Thanks in advance!

Highlights from the Thread

Pilot Dane Group Moderator

First, make sure the chain is not tensioned too tightly. If that's OK, with the saw off, grab the chain and pull it around the saw. Can the chain make a full loop freely without binding? Or, if you have the chain off, the do all the links move freely or some sections seem stuck or bound together?

If you twisted when cutting, or if a log bound on the chain, it can bend or kink the chain or bend or nick the channel in the bar, but usually it's the chain that takes the abuse. This binding causes extra friction when trying to cut and can prematurely wear out the bar, not to mention the original damage to the chain.

ThrasherFan Member

Thanks very much for the input. I did check the chain tension and I was able to move the chain around the bar freely in a complete revolution without issue.

Regarding a small kink in the chain or bar channel due to twisting, I would say that's certainly a possibility... Is there a way to check this beyond visual inspection or would it be best simply to replace the bar and chain to see if the problem corrects itself?

marbobj Member

If you hold the end of the bar about four or so inches from a piece of wood and rev the engine and see oil thrown onto the wood, you are getting enough oil onto the bar and chain.

ThrasherFan Member

Yep. That's exactly how I determined the bar and chain were getting oil. Throttling the saw immediately throws a nice line of bar oil on my scrap wood. I just didn't know if the bar/chain were getting the proper amount. I think a small binding in the chain or bar channel, as Dane mentioned above, that I haven't yet noticed is the likely culprit. Thanks for your input.

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