HotNotch
HotNotch Reader
1/31/24 1:10 p.m.

So, as of lately (the last 3 months or so) I’ve been on a bit of chainsaw / small 2 stroke repair kick.

Anyway, I’m going to use this thread as a log of my adventures with chainsaws and small power equipment, and wanted to open it up to others who might share the same hobby, or just want to follow along and maybe learn / share some tips and knowledge along the way.

For some backstory, one of my early childhood memories is going to the small, non-supercenter Walmart the next town over with my Dad.   I distinctly remember spending 15 to 20 minutes in the farm and garden section with him as he looked at a new Poulan Chainsaw, specifically the 1950 Woodshark Model.   This was probably 1997 / 1998

~ 4 year old me was enamored with the Lime Green, almost Chartreuse color, and the cartoonized Great White Shark biting through a log on the box (and the pull start cover).  I don’t remember what he paid, but I think it was less than 100 dollars for the new saw, complete with storage case. 

Growing up, with supplemental wood heat, I remember getting bundled up in winter clothes to go stack, or split wood with Dad and being surrounded by the cackle of the little Wood Shark putting in work, and the smoky haze of cheap 2 Stroke oil being burnt while Dad would cut and noodle logs.

I distinctly remember one time, in early 2007, where we spent the better part of a day cutting our way in to our farm.  There was an ice storm in January where we accumulated upwards of 1.5 inches of ice, and it brought down a lot of trees and limbs, and prevented us from getting down the mile long driveway to the cabin.

Anyway, it took us about 8 hours of cutting and dragging limbs, branches, and downed trees out of the way to make it to the cabin.  At one point, Dad stopped and re-filled the trusty Woodshark, and fired it back up.  It ran OK for a few seconds, but then started running poorly and just pouring blue smoke out, and ended up filling up the valley we were in with hazy smoke.

After a short time, he realized that he had dumped in diesel by mistake, and dumped it out and re-filled with some fresh premix.  After cleaning the spark plug, the little Woodshark was back in action.

Eventually, he stepped up to a Husqvarna 455 Rancher and let the old Poulan sit.  I messed with it in College, put a new piston ring, fuel lines, spark plug and primer bulb, but was never able to get it run reliably.  I, regrettably, cut my losses and threw it away on a scrap run.

My last semester of college, I ended up living in an apartment above an RV repair shop (a large pole barn).  The only method of heat was a wood stove.  My dad’s buddy who owned the repair shop gave me a ~1987 Poulan 2800 that had been sitting for years, and I was able to shoestring it along enough to keep me warm thru the winter months.  I ended up having to put all new fuel lines and bar / chain on it, as the bar that came on it had a pinched nose sprocket.  But I was content with my free Green Machine.

Fast Forward to now:  one of my Dad’s co-workers lives down in the city, and during trash day, while taking out his trash bags, has found upwards of 4 chainsaws thrown in there, at different times.  Apparently, one of his neighbors need for a chainsaw would be pretty sporadic, and by the time he’d need a chainsaw again, the carburetor would be gummed up, or the fuel lines would be rotten, and he’d just go buy a new one. 

 

My Dad’s co-worker picked them all up and brought them into work, and as a result, Dad has brought home at least 4, including my go to “bigger” saw, my Poulan 3300, affectionately known as my Trash-can Poulan.

When I brought it home, the chain was off the bar, and the fuel lines were all gone.  I was able to get it to fire on pre-mix down the throat, and upon firing off, there was metal on metal sound under the clutch cover. Upon further inspection, the drive links were totally gone off of the chain, and the clutch had exploded.

With new fuel and impulse lines, fresh fuel, a muffler mod, and a new clutch and chain, the thing was back in action.  I pre-emptively bought a carb kit because I figured it would need it, but with fresh fuel, and some minor adjustment, it rips.

The dopamine hit of an uncorked 2 stroke brapping to life and making chips triggered something in my brain, and since then, I’ve been on a chainsaw repair kick.

This has led to the refurbishment of the following:

1980’s Poulan Micro XXV Top Handle (needed a carb kit and fuel lines / filter).  I use this one for limbing and small stuff, super handy.  My dad gave me this saw years ago, and I used it in College for cutting dirt bike trails, but where it’s origin is unknown.

1987 Poulan 2800 – re-did the fuel lines / impulse line / filter, gave it a muffler mod and tuned it, now it’s back to operable status

Early 1970’s Pioneer 1072 – this one is special.  This was my Grandpa’s saw that my Dad took with him when he moved out to go tech school.  All mag, no anti-vibe, old school.  This one required a carb kit and fuel lines / filter, but fired up and runs good.  This one doesn’t get used, but I keep it in running shape just because I can.  Feel a connection to my Grandpa when I mess with this one.

 

Dumpster Saw #1: 2013 Craftsman-branded Poulan 42cc Stratoport – this one had hardly been used, but had been sitting for a while.  The fuel was rancid, and the ethanol in the fuel had killed the fuel lines.  I ended up replacing the carb, fuel lines, primer bulb, and air filter on this one, and gave it to my brother in law as a Christmas present, with 2 new chains, a set of wedges, and a chain sharpening kit and bar / engine oil. 

Dumpster Saw #2: 2007 Poulan 42cc Stratoport – this one had some signs of use, but I assume the PO used ethanol free fuel.  The lines were in good shape, and this one fired up on pre-mix but required some tuning.  My guess is, since it wouldn’t take full throttle, that the PO dumped it and bought Dumpster Saw #1, which ironically is identical other than color scheme. After getting it running and tuned in, the saw felt weak compared to the non-strato saw.  So I recently gave this one a muffler mod and re-tuned it and it's much better.

Dumpster Saw #3: Homelite 150 Auto – this one is kind of unique.  All mag saw, no anti-vibe or chain brake.  Fired up on pre-mix, so I ordered a carb kit and some other parts.  I ended up buying a parts saw for some recoil stuff.  Unfortunately, the recoil uses a 1 way bearing on the end of the crank (incorporated into the flywheel nut), and somehow, broke the end of the crank off, along with the nut.  So now, the parts saw is the project. 

These have a unique design where the entire engine / clutch assembly comes out with like 9 bolts, which makes for easy access for certain things, but difficult access for working on the carb and stuff.  And the aforementioned recoil assembly is a bit of weak link.  I’ve got the carb rebuilt, but I need to transfer it over to the part’s saw and see what happens.  Plans for this one are to get it running, sharpen the chain, then preserve it and leave it at the cabin for use as a backup saw.

1975-ish Stihl 015L Tophandle – my Great uncle gave this to me.  When I got it, the recoil wasn’t functioning.  It turned out that the flip out pawls on the flywheel that catch the dogs on the recoil were seized, and upon trying to break them loose, I broke off one of the threaded pins in the flywheel.  I was able to drill out and modify an M6 bolt in place of it, and now the recoil works.  I’ve got a carb kit / molded fuel line for this one, and it fires up and runs, but needs some carb work and an air filter.  And a new chain, which is 1/4" pitch and a little difficult to find locally.

https://www.acresinternet.com/cscc.nsf/ed1d619968136da688256af40002b8f7/12046f530e4f349488256c1f007d86a8?OpenDocument

2001-ish Poulan Pro 42cc Non-stratoport – Buddie’s old saw he gave me.  Has definitely seen some use.  Muffler port heated up the plastic chassis and warped it, and the bar studs pulled out so it has some modified bolts in place now.  Runs, but needs a carb kit / air filter (which I have) just haven’t made time for it yet.  Definitely seems to have more ummmph than the newer stratoports.

Homelite Super XL-Auto – Not sure where this one came from, but my Dad thinks he bought it at a garage / estate sale.  Super nice, and has been well taken care of.  I got it off the shelf where it’s sat for at least 5 years, dumped some pre-mix in, and in a few minutes had it running and idling really well.  Not sure what plans I have for this one, but my buddy sharpened the chain on it, so it’s ready for action.  Super Loud exhaust on this one too – just a cool, old school saw.

BIL’s McCulloch Pro-Mac 55:  This one is a bit more of a project.  Apparently, it was his grandpa’s saw, and for as long my BIL can remember, it sat in the basement of his grandparents house.  When his grandpa died, he brought it home with him, but BIL tried (but failed) to get it running.  I snuck it out of his house before Christmas with the intent to get it running and give it back to him as a surprise.  It had no spark, so I cleaned the points and was able to get some good spark. However, the crank bearings have a lot of side to side play.  I rebuilt the carb, and was able to get it to fire up, but the bottom end doesn’t sound happy, likely due to the crank bearings.  Service parts for this are difficult to come by, but it’s very mechanically similar to the 10-10, which are pretty ubiquitous. I’ve got a line on a 10-10 parts saw that should have a good long block. Besides the engine swap, it needs a thorough cleaning, and the fuel and oil tanks resealed (they bolt on and seal to the chassis, which is unique. 

I plan on getting this one running, and clean it up real nice, and make a wall display with a wood slab I cut.  I want it to be functional, even though a modern saw is much safer, and probably more appropriate for the homeowner duties than this dinosaur.  So I want to get it running, then preserve it and leave it on display for his mancave.

Dad’s 2013 Husqvarna 455 Rancher – Dad bought this new and used it for quite a while.  I worked at a Motorcycle dealership in College that happened to sell Husqvarna’s, and I had it in for some warranty work while I worked there.  Dad always had issues with it puking bar oil, and then had some issues with it running.  Turns out the factory fuel line dissolved, even though he always used ethanol free fuel, and gummed up the carb and fuel tank. 

Dad pulled it apart years ago to repair it, then got sidetracked, and threw it all in a box, and went out and bought an Echo CS590 Timberwolf.  The Husky had been apart for 4 years, and one night I had enough and decided to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.  He had purchased a new carb, which I installed, cleaned the tank, made new fuel lines, and reassembled.  Working on this thing was pretty difficult, the way it’s designed.  It’s really more of a homeowner saw than a commercial / farm saw, which is what it was marketed as.  That said, it’s back together, short of a few missing bolts, and runs.  Still need to get it properly tuned.  I was happy to be done with this one though – to remove the carb, the entirety of the handle has to come off.

Anyway, I’m going to use this thread as a log of my adventures with chainsaws and small power equipment. 

 

Future projects include:

Air Cleaner Mod / Swap on my Poulan 2800 / 3300.  The factory air filters are no longer available and difficult to come by.  The later model 1950 / 2150 airbox looks like it may fit under the cover, and uses a foam air filter that are widely available. 

Harbor Freight Chain Grinder Mods.  The swap to an Oregon wheel made this 90% better, but the locking mechanism is pretty flimsy.  Need to make something more secure to hold the chain with.

Echo / John Deere Saw:  Dad has had an old Echo saw up on the shelf for years, hat was re-branded and sold as a John Deere. Not sure what model or size, but I know it was heavy.  Maybe a 60V? Regardless, I want to get it down and get it fired up and brapping.

I really want one of the goofy, 42cc, non-stratoport Green and Purple Poulan Wildthings, if nothing else for the novelty of it.  That, and a replacement 1950 Woodshark, just for the novelty.

I do plan on doing a “build” on a 372XP Clone from Holzzforma.  They are Chinese clones of the Husky 372XP now that the patents have ran out.  The higher end Pro unit I have had my eye on have Genuine Walbro Carbs, Italian Caber Rings, and some other upgraded parts, and are supposed to cut even with an OEM saw.  Leaning towards a 24 or 28 inch bar, and planning on a dual port muffler and more freely flowing intake right off the bat.

I need to get some more pics of the saws individually, but here are some pics of a recent storage solution we figured out for the bulk of the saws.

 

 

 

The Pioneer

Who else tinkers / fools with Chainsaws?

EvanB
EvanB MegaDork
1/31/24 1:28 p.m.

I have an 015L I occasionally pull out and try to get running, I pulled apart the carb and cleaned it that didn't help, I think maybe I rebuilt it at one point? It floods out and I have never got it running. 

My main saw is a Dolmar 510  with a 20" bar that does most of what I need, not a project as it has never needed anything. 

Picked up a cheap Homelite 650 Super at auction with 30" bar as a project but it fired right up with fresh fuel so not much work needed. I don't run it much since it doesn't have a chain brake but it is fun to run a 100cc monster. 

orthoxstice
orthoxstice Reader
1/31/24 9:31 p.m.

I pulled a Poulan WILD THING out of a trash pile and use it around the yard. I think it's 40cc? Feels pretty chintzy but it goes through all the black locusts we have around the property okay. I'm curious about these "mods" one can do because it feels pretty weak. But maybe that's because I put the cheapest carb on ebay I could find and didn't tune it at all. 

Some day the garbage will provide me with something a bit more respectable. 

HotNotch
HotNotch Reader
1/31/24 11:42 p.m.

In reply to orthoxstice :

Everything that I've done a muffler mod too, so far, has responded pretty favorbly.

The older Poulans, with the 2 piece separate mufflers, make it pretty easy.   I ended up oversizing and adding additional holes to the baffle, and then opening up the exit port with a screwdriver to about double the size.  I think I pulled the screen on one, but left it on the other.  Both made a noticeable difference, and not too much louder. 

 

The newer one piece muffler like on Dumpster Saw #2 was far more invasive.  4 slots in each tube, and I drilled another exit hole that is covered by the screen.  And an additional 3/4" hole, directly below the OEM exit, right in the front face of the muffler body.

This makes it substantially louder, but power was pretty dramatically increased.  I needed to retune the high side after that, and it took a decent amount more fuel.

The Stratoport saws have the Choke and Kill Switch on the Left side (when viewed by the operator).  The earlier non-strato saws have the choke / kill on opposite sides of the handle

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
2/1/24 10:54 a.m.

This thread is relevant to my interests. I don't know nearly enough about 2-stroke saws, so I'll be following this.

 have a couple older 80's Jonsered 16" saws that I can never get to run properly. I replaced them with an electric Kobalt saw, but that one keeps having chain drops, so I may invest some time on getting these older saws going again. 

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue Dork
2/17/24 5:18 p.m.

This thread is that thing Tony said.  I have a very clean little Poulan 2250, of the same plastic clamshell family/architecture as the OP's Woodshark and non-strato 42cc Poulan Pro, as well as orthoxstice's Wild Thing.  I blueprinted the muffler in the same way HotNotch did and will probably drill some holes to open up the intake.  For a disposable homeowner saw that nobody likes, that thing gets it done, to the point that I am developing an interest in building one up despite the fact that I do not actually burn firewood.  But those Chinese 42cc piston and cylinder kits are awfully cheap, assuming I don't find a nice Poulan Pro donor with the chrome-plated cylinder and maybe a brake.  Green (non-Pro) versions and Craftsman variants apparently have unplated aluminum cylinders and plated pistons.  Not sure about the Husky 36/136 cousins and whatever else shares the same architecture.

 

HotNotch
HotNotch Reader
2/19/24 9:49 a.m.

So I got back in the shop Sunday afternoon and played with some small equipment.

A few weeks ago, after I filled up the bar oil on my Poulan Micro XXV, it immediately started smoking like a freight train, and the smoke was decidedly not just 2 stroke pre-mix.

These saws use a somewhat unique bar oiling system, where instead of a crank driven oiler, it has 2 check valves where it takes crankcase pulse pressure, pressurizes the entire oil tank, and then the pressure pumps it out through a small piece of Tygon hose through a port in the side of the tank, and dribbles down onto the bar.

Here is a good video explaining it for anyone with one of these saws that may have issues (note, he doesn't cover the mod, but the disassembly and the process in how they work)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKprDsl5-sc&t=362s

These are known for having issues, and the check valve in the side of the case has a mod where you can remove the screen, replace the OEM duckbill with a Homelite rubber duckbill, and reinstall.

On mine, not only was the crankcase check valve bad, and allowing it to pull oil through the tank check valve and burn bar oil, but the internal hose had split and disintegrated.

Note: to do this repair, you definitely need forceps, as the tank and fuel caps opening on this saw are tiny.

So a few weeks ago,  I replaced the line, repaired the crankcase check valve, verified that the oil tank check valve was functional, and reassembled.

I filled it up with Husky bar oil, and couldn't get anything to come out of the line; at this point, it was late, and I was tired, so I shelved it for another time.

Another time turned out to be yesterday, so I drained the Husky bar oil (it's some of the thickest stuff on the market) and refilled it with ATF Type F.

Then I couldn't get it to fire (WTF?) so gave it some pre-mix down the throat to help prime the fuel system (with the air box lid off, you can see the line, and see if it's pulling fuel)

No matter what, I couldn't get the carb to pull fuel from the tank.  I can easily get fuel from the tank when using a fluid evacuator, so it's not a kinked line or plugged filter.  

I pulled the carb apart to see if any gunk was present, but it was clean, and there was a little fuel present in the passages - so I don't know what's going on.  My gut feeling is that the Chinesium carb kit failed.  So I will probably order a new Walbro kit for it today.

That said, just with running on pre-mix down the throat for about 30 seconds total, the oiler was pumping plenty of ATF, so the saw just needs thinner bar oil.  So I fixed the oiling issue, at least.

 

-----------------------

Next, I rebuilt the carb on a Shindaiwa HT20 hedge trimmer, and replaced the fuel line and filter, and reassembled.  This was given to me when I was buying a parts saw, and I'm a sucker for a lost cause.

Got it fired up and running, and it blew a bunch of walnuts / debris out of the muffler exit - I'm assuming that a mouse or something had been trying to build a home in it.  

Got it tuned and put a new air cleaner on it, and it's ready for service.

 

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue Dork
2/21/24 2:57 a.m.

Sunday I had an excuse to run the 2250 Woodmaster, which is an excuse to mod it just a little. It got another slot cut into the side of the muffler, and through the judicious application of brute force and apathy, that slot became a third muffler outlet. It also got a few holes over the air filter element. It sounds better and doesn't run worse. And the chain got sharpened just because.

Today I loaned out another Poulan, my old PP333 string trimmer with pole saw attachment. My boss has a little limbing to do. In exchange, he sent me home with his elderly Craftsman 2.0/10" chainsaw (a red Poulan that looks just like HotNotch's Micro XXV). It's not starting without a few drops of fuel down the throat. Should be an easy fix.

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue Dork
2/22/24 10:52 p.m.

Yesterday I picked at the boss's Craftsman saw a little bit. It was pulling fuel up the line to the carb when the engine was turned over, but wouldn't start on its own, so I pulled the carburetor apart.

The carb was spotless inside. The only thing that looked suspicious was the metering lever, which was bent incorrectly and (strictly a guess here) maybe not allowing the needle off the seat and letting fuel into all the appropriate places. I bent that up to the correct position and reassembled. Gave the rope a few pulls and it made the noise. Great success.

The chain was really more of an artist's rendering than a cutting tool. I own wooden spoons that have keener edges than this thing, and there ain't enough tooth left to sharpen. Luckily a new one was on the shelf for a princely ten bucks, so I grabbed that yesterday and dressed the bar tonight. I will reassemble the whole affair tonight and set the mixtures and maybe give it a little exercise over the weekend. I'll try to get some pics then, along with some pics of my 2250.

Speaking of the 2250, I am doing my best not to ... no, the heck with restraint. I just ordered up a 42cc engine for cheap money. I'd like to try porting it and tightening up the squish a little.

It's not like I need a bigger saw - I can barely justify the one I have - but I like old school stuff, and these two are giving me a special feeling:

https://eugene.craigslist.org/tls/d/pleasant-hill-poulan-3400-chainsaw/7713091949.html

https://eugene.craigslist.org/tls/d/eugene-chain-saw/7719092761.html

HotNotch
HotNotch Reader
2/22/24 11:42 p.m.

In reply to DarkMonohue :

That's awesome news on the Craftsman.  I ordered a new carb kit for mine yesterday, waiting for it to show up, hopefully it fixes the running issue.

The 3400 Countervibes are pretty well liked and revered on some of the Facebook groups and Arboristsite.  They tend to be a little heavy, but torquey and powerful.  After using a modern Echo CS590 Timberwolf, I can appreciate the torque over a peaky high RPM saw.  Each have their place, but the grunt is nice for control.

It's interesting you linked the 3400 Countervibe; the guy that I bought the Homelite 150 parts saw (and gave me the hedge trimmer) apparently bought a bed full of saws from a closed down repair shop.  I had given him a list of saws that I'd like to have, including a 3400 (or bigger) Countervibe.  Apparently he ended up with pretty much my whole shopping list in one swoop.  Looking forward to meeting up with him and picking thru the goods.

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue Dork
2/23/24 12:08 a.m.

In reply to HotNotch :

Wow, that's fortuitous. Keep us posted on anything you manage to snag.

I have been reading too much on Arboristsite. I don't burn wood (we have a fireplace, but I think the draft cools more than the fire heats) and can barely justify a homeowner saw, but once you go down a rabbit hole...

Let me know if you see anything you want on our CL/FB listings. Shipping is more than likely silly from OR to MO, but I'd be happy to take a look if there's something special you just can't live without.

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