How to test drive a chainsaw

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bradleyheathhays

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Lexington, KY
I'm looking at getting a used chainsaw and since I want a 20" bar I'm considering this guy's Husqvarna 450. He sells a good deal of this stuff on marketplace. The pictures of it don't look bad, and I've heard nothing but good things about H chainsaws. So when I go to pick this thing up how do I go about putting it through it's paces? I got a crappy Poulan chainsaw a couple years back and got jipped. It started and cut ok, but it got hot and bogged down with throttle and was useless. I'd rather avoid going through something like that again. Here's what it looks like..

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Ask the guy if you can see it cut some wood before making the deal. Let him do the cutting and you watch. As with all secondhand purchases there is always a bit of chance involved but it is reasonable to expect it to work.
Regards
John
 
When looking at a second hand saw I would do the following…

Before starting it have a feel of the exhaust/engine with your hand as you might be able to tell if the seller has fired it up just before you got there. You want to know that it starts from cold okay.

Check the bar and chain. You can tell if a saw has been abused by the state of them. Is the chain absolutely hammered with teeth missing? Is there any blueing of the bar where the chain runs along it? Does the sprocket move freely? Is there a sharp burr on the edge of the bar?

Check the air filter, if it’s absolutely blathered in dust and oil it’s likely not been looked after very well.

By lifting the saw up by the pull cord you can get an (rough) idea of the compression in the chamber. With good compression the weight of the saw shouldn’t extend the pull cord from the spool.

Does the amount of visible wear on the saw generally match its age?

Remove the bar and chain. Is the drive sprocket in reasonable order? Is there any blueing to the clutch?

Fire it up without the bar on. Rev the engine. Is the oil pump working? A small trickle of oil should seep out of the port when it’s revved.

Put the bar and chain on and cut something. Make sure it doesn’t bog down in the cut.

Leave it running for a bit. Make sure it idles when warm.

If the seller has no objections, whip the exhaust off so you can see the piston and rings, you can’t see much but it might give you an idea if the rings are fried or the piston is badly scored.

Good luck.
 
It perhaps goes without saying, but take some 2-stroke, chain oil, plug spanner, torx head screw driver, chain file, etc. in case the seller doesn’t have them.

And check the plug, shouldn’t be excessively oily or blathered in carbon deposits.
 
TomB, This is what I like to see, intelligent practical advice! The only proviso I would add is that spares for Husqvarna (and other professional brands) are expensive. (I have one of these chainsaws!).
 
Forgot to add, the problem with most chainsaws (provide they start and run) I have had is the chain oil pump/device not working/blocking up which causes the chain to overheat.
 
I personally would be happier buying something from a regular private individual rather than someone who deals in garden machinery, maybe he gets stuff from auctions or car boot sales and does it up?,, just my prejudice Im afraid,
Steve.
 
My first question is do you need a petrol chainsaw, or would a corded mains voltage work for your situation.
I ask this as I used to have a 50cc 2 stoke 24" McCulloch. Whilst this was not a "premium" make it performed well, but the corded 16" Makita at 1600w I replaced it with is far more useable, lighter, hastle free and cuts better.
I obviously can not use it in the middle of a field, but I've worked around this in the 8 or so years I needed to cut my firewood logs. At about £120-150 new it was one of my better buys.

Colin
 
I personally would be happier buying something from a regular private individual rather than someone who deals in garden machinery, maybe he gets stuff from auctions or car boot sales and does it up?,, just my prejudice Im afraid,
Steve.
At least with a dealer there may be some come back.
 
Both of my chainsaws are fitted with Oregon Stay Sharp blades. Oh the joy of just fitting the grind stone and ten seconds later the blade is sharp again, for the DIY merchant that I am its the best.
 
Maybe I shouldn't say anything but I can't bite my tongue anymore.

While the answers will be of benefit to somebody down the road the OP has not been back to read anything since starting the thread and posting the question. The identical thread was started on at least 5 more forums I know of in four countries the same day and approximate time. The OP very rarely will comment in his threads and almost never posts a thank you to anyone. He also never comments on other peoples threads with any help. I don't think much of the behaviour so I don't bother to help him anymore.
There. I vented and my little rant is over.

Pete
 
Maybe I shouldn't say anything but I can't bite my tongue anymore.

While the answers will be of benefit to somebody down the road the OP has not been back to read anything since starting the thread and posting the question. The identical thread was started on at least 5 more forums I know of in four countries the same day and approximate time. The OP very rarely will comment in his threads and almost never posts a thank you to anyone. He also never comments on other peoples threads with any help. I don't think much of the behaviour so I don't bother to help him anymore.
There. I vented and my little rant is over.

Pete
I’d noticed that.

A bot maybe?
 
Maybe I shouldn't say anything but I can't bite my tongue anymore.

While the answers will be of benefit to somebody down the road the OP has not been back to read anything since starting the thread and posting the question. The identical thread was started on at least 5 more forums I know of in four countries the same day and approximate time. The OP very rarely will comment in his threads and almost never posts a thank you to anyone. He also never comments on other peoples threads with any help. I don't think much of the behaviour so I don't bother to help him anymore.
There. I vented and my little rant is over.

Pete
Good to know Pete, glad you mentioned it.
Annoying when others go to the bother of replying/helping and the OP doesn’t acknowledge with a follow up post or even a like. Really weird grammar too.
Will look further into this person who appears to like cats that drive…..
 
Having read the last few posts, I'm less guilty hijacking the thread !!
Some great help given but my question is where would people go for purchasing a replacement bar, chain and drive sprocket? I try and support my local garden machinery supplier but would be interested to compare costs.
The saw is an old well used Stihl MS240 with 16inch bar.
 
I get my Stihl consumables from either Ebay.co.uk or Carr Power Tools in Bristol, if they're still going.

Don' t forget to order a new needle bearing and clip when you order the sprocket.
 

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