An introduction to your new Stihl chainsaw



So you are looking to buy a new Stihl chainsaw and have some questions? You will be pleased to know that you are in the right place. We at BS Power stock only the finest Stihl chainsaws for you to choose from.




As a new or prospective chainsaw owner, you are likely to have a plethora of questions ranging from how to start a saw to how to troubleshoot it if something goes wrong. Look no further, as in just a few minutes of reading, check out this brief introduction to your new Stihl chainsaw which should set you well on your journey to becoming a pro when it comes to sawing.


Choosing the best Stihl chainsaw for you


Before launching into any guides or frequently asked questions, you should have an idea of the Stihl chainsaw models we stock at BS Power. We have the following Stihl models on offer:


  • The Stihl MS170 Chainsaw (a handy, introductory saw apt for sawing firewood and thinning out wood)




  • The Stihl MS250 Chainsaw (perfect for cutting through small limbs and trees)
  • The Stihl MS382 Chainsaw (fantastic for work in low-density and medium-density stands)




  • The Stihl MS361 Chainsaw (renowned for its power to weight ratio and phenomenal torque and cutting speed)
  • The Stihl MS310 (perfect for harvesting wood in medium-density situations)




  • The Stihl MSE190 Electric Chainsaw (great for building projects and cutting firewood
  • The Stihl MS661 C-M Chainsaw (the perfect machine for the toughest of tree-felling jobs)




The importance of your Stihl chainsaw user guide


Few of us enjoy reading user manual’s – especially if they are long-winded and complicated. In most cases, it is much easier to switch on a quick how-to YouTube video and get the “same results”. However, when it comes to operating dangerous machinery like chainsaws, there is really no room for error. It is inadvisable to purchase a chainsaw if you are not willing to take the time to sit down, read an in-depth user’s manual of your new saw and prepare yourself for its use.


Further, your specific model’s guide is what will acquaint you with the anatomy of your model and where to find its accessories and buttons – down to the last nut and screw! The manual is for your own benefit and should be kept in a safe space to refer to on multiple occasions.




The Stihl chainsaw 15 step safe starting procedure


Now that you have checked to see that your working area is perfectly safe, you are ready to begin the starting procedure, which can be done safely in the following 15 steps:


Step 1: Before you actually get around to starting your chainsaw, ensure that you have activated the chain brake by pushing it forward.


Step 2: Remove the bar cover from your saw before you start it.


Step 3: In the case of your saw being fitted with a decompression valve, you should press it at this point, as it assists with firing the engine up.


Step 4: If your Stihl chainsaw has a primer bulb, you should press it a few times. This will also assist with the starting procedure and will reduce the number of times you will need to pull on the rope.


Step 5: Now is the time to set the master control lever to Choke or Cold Start. You can do this by first pressing the throttle trigger lockout and the throttle trigger – then press the master control lever so that it is all the way down.


Step 6: Finally, it is time to start up your chainsaw! Lay the machine on a flat surface but ensure that the cutting attachment is not touching the chosen surface.


Step 7: While the chainsaw is on the surface, use your left hand to grip the handlebar and grab the starter rope with your right hand. For further stability, push your right toecap into the rear handle at the same time.


Step 8: Pull the starter rope – slowly – with your right hand until you start to feel a resistance. Afterwards, pull it hard a few times until the engine fires briefly. Pull the rope upwards while keeping it as vertical as possible. Do not allow the rope to chafe against the saw’s fan housing unit.


Step 9: Because the engine fires only briefly at first, you must now move the master control lever up one notch until it sits as the half throttle position – which opens the choke.


Step 10: Pull on the rope again until the engine fires up properly.




Step 11: Now that the engine is running, use your finger to touch the throttle briefly, which will cause the master control lever to revert back to the normal idle setting.


Step 12: Slowly life up your chainsaw and make sure to avoid touching the throttle trigger,


Step 13: It is now time to release the chain brake. This can be done by pulling the brake’s handle towards you using your left hand, while still maintaining a hold on the handlebar as you do so. You will hear a clicking sound – which means that you can now turn on the bar as the chain has been released.


Step 14: You are almost ready to get to work, but before this you must check the chain lubrication. You can do this by holding up the chainsaw against a lightly coloured background – whether it be a piece of paper, driveway or tree-trunk – and opening the throttle completely. If you see some chain lubricant appearing on your chosen background, you are good to go.


Step 15: Your Stihl chainsaw should now be ready for use!


Is your chainsaw hard to start? Here is how to troubleshoot it


While regular maintenance should ensure your Stihl chainsaw starts easily, sometimes machines are problematic and require some extra measures to get working. Issues with starting a saw may have to do with spark plugs, gasoline storage or even incorrect starting procedures. Regardless, here are some steps to troubleshoot your saw if it will not start:


Step 1: Have a look at the gasoline in your chainsaw’s tank. If your saw has not been used for around a month, the gasoline may need to be replaced in favour of some fresh stock. In any case, you should start each new work session with fresh gasoline.


Step 2: If this does not help, turn your attention to your saw’s spark plug. Remove it as indicated by your user’s manual and clean it appropriately if it is dirty. Check out the electrodes for signs of wear and tear. Be aware that you should install a new spark plug after every 100 working hours. If your spark plug is any other colour than light-tan, it may be indicative of engine problems and your saw might need a service.


How to clean and maintain your Stihl chainsaw


Cutting trees and clearing brush with your Stihl chainsaw is certainly dirty work. It can be exhausting too, and the thought of cleaning your machine after a long day of sawing may not be so appealing. However, should you wish your chainsaw to operate effectively and last you for years, you must ensure that you clean it after each use and before putting it away. A chainsaw must also undergo a rigorous clean after a few work sessions to prevent dirt build-up inside the machine. The following is a guide on how to thoroughly clean your Stihl chainsaw:


Step 1: Lay your chainsaw facing upright on a flat surface, and after doing so, pull the spark plug boot from the spark plug. Now, take the spark plug out of its socket using a wrench (preferably a dedicated spark plug wrench). Proceed to examine the plug’s electrodes for signs of wear and tear. You can either clean the electrodes using a file or replace the spark plug altogether if need be. Screw the plug back into the socket – but do not go so far as to connect the plug to the boot just yet.


Step 2: If the saw has been idle for more than a few months, you should drain the fuel from the saw. After this, pull the fuel filter from the gas tank and immerse it completely in a strong solvent to dissolve any residual fuel deposits. Once this is done, place the filter back and re-fuel the tank (in an airy space) should you intend on using the machine right away.


Step 3: Take out the air filter by turning the knob on the saw’s cover 90 degrees left. Rather extract the filter with your fingers instead of prying it out with a tool, as this can cause damage. Now proceed to clean the filter either with warm, soapy water or compressed air. If you choose the former, ensure that it is dry before you reinstall it.


Step 4: Unscrew the muffler cover with a screwdriver and lift it off when finished. Next, pull the spark arrestor (a small screen which serves to filter exhaust before it enters the muffler) from behind the muffler. Clear away any deposits from the arrestor using a toothbrush or another soft brush. Replace everything and reinstall the muffler cover.


Step 5: Look for the nuts that attach the guide bar to the saw’s body. Using a wrench, turn the nuts counter clockwise before removing them. Next, remove the chain sprocket cover as well as unscrew the tensioning screw. This should loosen the chain and allow you to remove it altogether.


Step 6: Next, lift the guide bar off of the screws or bolts. Proceed to clean dirt and oil from the chain, the chain sprocket as well as the guide bar using a fresh rag. Further, ensure to remove the debris from within the grooves of the guide bar while you are at it.


Step 7: Now it is time to clean out the oil inlet hole which can be found on the guide bar, as well as clean the oilway on the engine housing (found above the tensioning screw). You can use a small-gauge finish nail or pipe cleaner to do the job.


Step 8: Proceed to turn over the guide bar and place it back appropriately in the saw. If you turn the bar regularly, it ensures that wear is even and it lasts longer. Now, fit the chain back over the guide bar (starting with the sprockets on the top of the bar and finally the bottom sprockets). Then, replace the chain sprocket cover and use your fingers to tighten its nuts.


Step 9: By turning it clockwise, you should adjust the tensioning screw. However, make sure that you do not over-tense the chain (as it can make the chainsaw dangerous to use). At the same time, the chain should not sag, but should rather be loose enough for you to be able to slip a coin underneath it, for example.


Step 10: Turn your attention to the nuts holding the guide bar and chain sprocket, and tighten them using a wrench. You are all done cleaning your Stihl chainsaw!