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Thread: Winterizing a Chainsaw

  1. #1

    Default Winterizing a Chainsaw

    Does anyone winterize their chainsaws? It's a Stihl. I probably won't be using it this winter. I don't want it to gum up or anything.

    Can I run Sta-Bil through it, even though it's a 2-cycle?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    dump out the fuel tank and start it to run out... you'll be good
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    The old school of thought was to drain the fuel and run the carb dry. Turns out that actually exacerbates the problem it was intended to prevent and results in dried out and perforated diaphragms, and varnish left behind from the last bits of fuel evaporating. Better to leave the fuel in it, perhaps add some fuel stabilizer (yes, 2-cycles like sta-bil, although good 2-cycle oil has some stabilizers in them too, and I don't typically bother to add additional sta-bil), and run it for a while before putting it into hibernation. Nothing else need be done, save for routine cleaning and greasing as necessary. I've done that with my saws for 20 some years now and have never had to rebuild a carb since (back when I always ran them dry for storage, I'd have to rebuild the carbs and/or replace fuel lines every couple years). Saws fire right back up as if they were just run yesterday.
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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    As mentioned, you want to keep fuel in the carb. I have a ~30 y/o husky that I've had for 12 years. I've never done anything to it to winterize it (i.e. leave fuel in it) and even though I picked up a carb rebuild kit I haven't had to rebuild the carb.

    It is a good idea to remove the bar and chain, get all the oily sawdust cleaned out, inspect your bar and dress it if needed, sharpen your chain, grease the sprocket and make sure the bar and chain have a decent coating of oil so that they don't rust.
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    As other's said, leave it. I've got a similar sounding saw to Paul (Husky 61 Rancher) and have never had issues. I have no idea how old my saw is, but I bought it 9-10 years ago used for $35. Other than sharpening the chain it's never needed anything from me.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    It is a good idea to remove the bar and chain, get all the oily sawdust cleaned out, inspect your bar and dress it if needed, sharpen your chain, grease the sprocket and make sure the bar and chain have a decent coating of oil so that they don't rust.
    Put a little grease on your drive sprocket bearing while you're in there too.
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    Fill the tank, fill the oil and spray down parts with a light lube. You never know when you might need it in an emergency. In 30 years of chainsaw use I have never had an issue except when it get over 80 degrees. Then I refuse to work.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBoater View Post
    As other's said, leave it. I've got a similar sounding saw to Paul (Husky 61 Rancher) and have never had issues. I have no idea how old my saw is, but I bought it 9-10 years ago used for $35. Other than sharpening the chain it's never needed anything from me.
    yeah me too.. i only have 7 saws, i used while i was building logs homes... Sthils and Husky's the lot... have 1 25 yr old Echo that starts third pull after i put gas in it...as they all do..... sure not rocket science
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    I treat mine as badly as I treat it all the time. I use it hard, put it away dirty, and expect it to fire right up the next time. It's worked that way for a long time. No reason to screw up a good system.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    The old school of thought was to drain the fuel and run the carb dry. Turns out that actually exacerbates the problem it was intended to prevent and results in dried out and perforated diaphragms, and varnish left behind from the last bits of fuel evaporating. Better to leave the fuel in it, perhaps add some fuel stabilizer (yes, 2-cycles like sta-bil, although good 2-cycle oil has some stabilizers in them too, and I don't typically bother to add additional sta-bil), and run it for a while before putting it into hibernation. Nothing else need be done, save for routine cleaning and greasing as necessary. I've done that with my saws for 20 some years now and have never had to rebuild a carb since (back when I always ran them dry for storage, I'd have to rebuild the carbs and/or replace fuel lines every couple years). Saws fire right back up as if they were just run yesterday.
    Me too! Only I been doing it this way for (good grief) 40+ yrs.

  11. #11
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Winter is the one time I keep it in the truck 24-7 ready to roll for downed trees in the road.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    I treat mine as badly as I treat it all the time. I use it hard, put it away dirty, and expect it to fire right up the next time. It's worked that way for a long time. No reason to screw up a good system.
    That's how I do it. Never heard of babying a chainsaw.

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    Default Winterizing a Chainsaw

    Lol..... I never heard of such....
    Do I give my friends advice? Jesus, no. They wouldn't take advice from me. Nobody should take advice from me. I haven't got a clue about anything..

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    Default Winterizing a Chainsaw

    When I think of winterizing I think of pulling out the air filter to keep it from frosting up and opening the oiler a touch more to keep the lube flowing, but that's for winter use, not storage.

    As mentioned keep some fuel in it to keep the carb seals happy. Not much to it otherwise.

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andweav View Post
    When I think of winterizing I think of pulling out the air filter to keep it from frosting up and opening the oiler a touch more to keep the lube flowing, but that's for winter use, not storage.

    As mentioned keep some fuel in it to keep the carb seals happy. Not much to it otherwise.
    You can cut the oil a bit to thin it too. Diesel or cooking oil works. Doesn't take much.

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    I can't resist...if you use cooking oil does it smell like french fries when you fire it up?

    I'm with the majority....I don't do anything but put a new plug in or clean it once a year...usually in the SPring.

    Stihl's rule and Husky's drool!!!
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  17. #17

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    Thanks for the info. I've been told that the bar oil can gum up after the winter. I'll just leave it alone.

    At $500 for the saw, I want to make sure it starts later!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruger01 View Post
    Thanks for the info. I've been told that the bar oil can gum up after the winter. I'll just leave it alone.

    At $500 for the saw, I want to make sure it starts later!
    $500 for a saw.... must be a cheap one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruger01 View Post
    Thanks for the info. I've been told that the bar oil can gum up after the winter. I'll just leave it alone.

    At $500 for the saw, I want to make sure it starts later!
    I use my saws more in winter than summer. For short chores on cold days I put a couple of ounces of fuel into the bar oil tank to loosen the oil up. If I decide to cut for a few hours I don't add more gas since the saw makes enough heat to keep the oil flowing. If you're storing your saw for the winter the only thing you might want to do is run some oil into the chain, especially if you cut up any wet wood from the recent wind storms. I just use whatever's open in the garage and rub it into the chain with my fingers. That's the most chainsaw maintenance I ever do other than change the chain and bar occasionally.

  20. #20
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowrider View Post
    Stihl's rule and Husky's drool!!!
    Yea, well, my Husky 371 XPG has many hundreds, perhaps tens of hundreds of hours on it, and the powerhead has remained maintenance free, save for spark plugs and drive sprockets. The air intake is designed so well, I virtually never have to clean the air filter. Oh, and it has heated handles too. I've put hundreds of hours on alot of Stihls professionally over the years, and they're a perfectly fine saw, but if I was only going to own one saw (and I do), it would be a Husky (and it is).

    PS: My Husky only drools when it remains stihl for too long and gets hungry.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It
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