How To Prevent A Chain Saw From Flooding

person with safety gloves and chainsaw by cut tree

Preventing a chain saw from flooding may not be a feasible task. All two-cycle engines have a tendency to flood when over-cranked. Sometimes a chain saw engine will flood because it has not been used in a while and the operator has not properly cranked it after a period of non-use.

Also, temperature–specifically cold–has an adverse effect on the successful cranking of a chain saw. There are several steps you can take to make sure you do not flood the engine when cranking it.

Step 1 - Remove Liquid When Storing

If your chain saw is employed in casual or seasonal use, before storing it drain all the liquid from the device. The chain saw runs on a two-cycle motor with both gas and oil. Make sure when draining the liquid not to spill any onto the engine. Never store the machine with the engine pointing downward.

Step 2 - Remove Spark Plugs

Another idea that many professional loggers speak about is to remove the spark plug from the chain saw when storing. Make sure to store the spark plug in a dry, cool place until the chain saw is needed next season. If any sign of corrosion is present, either clean the plug or replace it before the chain saw’s next use.

Step 3 - Properly Cranking it Up

The number one cause for flooding the two-cycle engine of a chain saw is improper cranking. Many novice chainsaw operators get over-anxious when trying a cold start which leads to engine flooding. This can be quite frustrating.

To crank from a cold start, turn the throttle open, turn the switch to the on position and pull the start cord three to four times or until you hear a “pop.” Then stop. Turn the throttle to the off position and again pull the cord three to four times or until it starts. If it fails to start, Repeat the process again. Make sure you have a good spark plug inserted.

Step 4 - Wait a Few Minutes

Sometimes making a cold start on any two-cycle engine takes a few tries until it successfully cranks. One of the common mistakes made by a chain saw user is to over-activate the throttle or choke which usually ends with the engine flooding.

Step 5 - If Flooded

If you believe the engine has flooded (a good sign is the strong smell of gasoline), try flipping the power switch off as well as the throttle and or choke. Let it rest for a few minutes. Some loggers even suggest that you remove the spark plug and pull the cord several times with all switches in the off position.

Once you have accomplished this, replace the plug. Attempt to re-crank the chain saw with the choke on and throttle in the off position.

Step 6 - Hear the Pop

With the choke on and throttle off, pull the cord several times until you hear that popping sound. Do this only once. If you continue pulling the cord through several pops with the choke on, you will flood the engine once again.

After one pop, give the cord one to three pulls to start. Try this first without the throttle on and then if it does not start, try it with the throttle on.

Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions for operating the chain saw.