How to start a flooded chainsaw

Thursday, March 30, 2023
how to start a flooded chainsaw

Starting a flooded chainsaw -  A quick guide

One of my youngest memories is being with my father in an orchard somewhere cutting trees for firewood.

When we were done, the car, stacked up with firewood, wouldn't start. 

We had to wait for what felt like forever for my mum to turn up to take me home while Dad tended to the car. 

And what does that have to do with starting flooded chainsaw engines? 

Nothing, except to say my dad was pretty handy with a chainsaw. He had a green Poulan and as a kid, it just seemed the coolest thing in the world. 

Anyways, enough of this chit chat here are some:

Tips on starting a flooded chainsaw

Before we get into it, make sure you have fresh petrol in your engine. 

If you've got an old mixture of oil and gas that's older than a month, it will be harder for your engine to start.

We suggest you drain and add fresh petrol to ensure a good start. 

If you have tried several times unsuccessfully to start your unit, it is most likely flooded, especially so if you can smell gas. 

Flooded means there is excessive fuel pumped into the engine which has displaced the vital ingredient of oxygen for starting. 

Do not prime the engine again as you will add to the problem!

There are two ways you can try to clear the unit of the excess fuel and get it chopping wood.

The first is the easiest and most common method.  Let your chainsaw sit for 15-20 minutes to allow the fuel to evaporate from the engine and then repeat the starting instructions.

This method will work best with a mildly flooded engine. The same principles apply to lawnmowers and weed whackers.

The more hands-on method to start a flooded chainsaw:

  • Have the chain break on
  • Turn the choke off
  • Activate the fast idle (by engaging the throttle lock/trigger assembly or pulling the choke out and pushing it back in
  • Turn the on/off switch to on
  • Hold the saw firmly on the ground as you do during normal starting, and pull the starter rope sharply until the saw starts. Do not pull the starter rope out to its full length. Employ short, brisk pulls instead.
If the engine does not start in 15 pulls then the spark plug may be 'wet fouled'. If you suspect this has occurred, remove the spark plug and look for moist wet deposits on the electrode. 

While the plug is out, there's a chance to remove any fuel in the engine via the spark plug hole. 

Once the plug is re-installed you can prime the carburetor: If the chainsaw has a primer bulb, press it several times to get fuel into the carburetor. 

Now start your machine in the 'ordinary manner'.

Here's a great video tutorial on starting your saw:

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