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Discussion Starter #1
This probably isn't the right place, but I've always gotten questions answered here from this handy group so giving it a shot.

Borrowed a chainsaw to cut up a tree that fell in my yard. All was going swimmingly until the chain jammed up. A piece of wood somehow got wedged under the chain. So I took the cover off the chain mechanism, loosened the tension and got the wood out and then tightened it back up.

After that, the starter rope is really hard to pull and it won't start. If I totally release tension on the chain, it'll start up just fine. Apply tension to the chain and it won't.

What am I doing wrong?

I'm sure this is stupid...but I'm stupid.

TIA!
 

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Super Moderator
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6,338 Posts
Rope or pin may have slip off in the recoil causing it to bind. Pull recoil and check. They can be tricky to put back together. You can google how to do it or just take recoil to a small engine shop and they'll do it for you, probably not even charge you. Just a suggestion.
 

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retired painter
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That was my first thought - chain too tight. The odds are you didn't do any damage when you pinched the chain - we've all done it countless times.
 

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If someone borrowed one of my chainsaws and was having this problem I’d want them to bring it back to me rather than possibly make the problem worse. Having said that…

Chainsaws have a centrifugal clutch mechanism that allows the engine to be started without the chain turning. When the engine speed increases, the engaging mechanism of the engine-side clutch moves outward because of centrifugal force and causes the outer chain-side part of the clutch to start turning and move the chain.

As an added safety feature, most modern chainsaws have a chain brake that should be engaged when starting the engine to prevent the chain from turning. It clamps that outer chain-side clutch hub to ensure that it doesn’t turn while the engine is being started.

So, if lowering the chain tension allows you to start the engine, then:
- You’re not using the chain brake (if equipped), since if it was being used the chain wouldn’t turn and the chain tension would be immaterial.
- There is a problem with the clutch, as others have mentioned. What is happening is that the inner and outer hubs of the clutch are engaged when you’re starting the engine. When you’re pulling the starter cord you’re trying to turn over the engine (normal) but also turn the outer clutch and the chain (abnormal). That’s why loosening off the chain tension makes it possible to start the engine.

Chris
 
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