My brand new Stihl chainsaw smokes and stalls

17 May 2013
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United Kingdom
I've just bought the ms180. 2nd time of using it, it starts fine but in half throttle the amount of smoke coming out is scary - I'm using premixed Stihl petrol.

When I put it in idle it stalls in a couple of seconds... Too quickly for me to release the chsinbrake and apply throttle. So basically, it's unusable. My dealer is not that local so I'll have to take half a day off work to visit them with it.

So what really obvious thing haven't I done after using it once or twice that could be to blame?!
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Forget about the smoke, when you've given the machine some work it will clear.....its probably just residual oil in the crankcase.
Run the machine with the chain brake the saw able to idle slow enough so the blade isn't revolving?
This is a good machine and can rev like hell - but it is prone to starving the chain bar of oil so please check that!
John :)
I took the cover off and cleaned out some oily sawdust. Now it will start in idle but still only wants to run a few seconds before it stalls.

I can at least spin the chain but testing against cardboard I can't see any oil coming through at all. I don't know how quickly this is causing damage so I stopped plus it was getting dark, the afternoon I'd planned to get work done wasted.

It's a new saw with less than 30min use in total I reckon... It's still on the petrol and oil they filled it with to show how little it was used, both were official stihl stuff.

I assume the clouds of smoke were the oil and sawdust, could some of that have chatted and clogged up wherever the oil comes out? I don't have a manual handy to see where that is.

The stihl guy recommended I don't try adjusting oil flow etc on this model when I bought it.
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I'm a little confused about where the smoke is coming from.....the exhaust should emit some blue smoke (not much) but if the smoke is coming from where the sawdust is accumulating then you are running the machine with the chain brake on - not a good move as it will overheat the clutch.
On the carburettor body there are two screws marked L and H. These provide fine tuning of the machine when it is running properly, and Stihl put a plastic shroud on them which restricts their movement to half a turn. Ignore them for now.
The idle screw should be marked LA and its accessible around the plastic air cleaner area.....turn it clockwise until the machine keeps running (chain brake off).
You can run the machine perfectly happily with the chain and chain bar removed (for safety). In fact if you do this you'll see a drilled hole where the chain bar oil comes from. Follow its path and you'll see how it gets onto the chain.
I'm not surprised you're not advised to adjust the oil flow - its a fixed flow pump. One fill of fuel is meant to coincide with one fill of chain bar oil.
John :)
Thanks John although now I'm confused :) I thought you were supposed to start the saw and leave it running with the brake ON for safety. In fact I thought it disengaged the drive rather than operating a clutch... If that's the case I can well understand all that smoke if I've been running the saw at high revs on the clutch?

I'm new to chainsaws and very cautious of them, so could you confirm what the starting sequence should be regarding choke, throttle, brake? Perhaps I've got something back to front in my attempts to be safe
For sure, its a good move to be wary of chainsaws - they dont take prisoners!
However, to start them - or any two stroke engine really, the technique is: (chain brake off)
Full choke
Full throttle ( this is often set when you squeeze the throttle handle to set the choke)
Pull the recoil starter smartly until the engine fires once or twice then....
Choke off, full throttle, pull the recoil starter smartly and the engine will start up.....after a few seconds it should idle fine. The chain will initially revolve but should stop on idle.
With a chainsaw, put your heel through the handle to hold the machine on the deck.....dont try a ‘drop start’ until you are well familiar with a chainsaw.
John :)

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