Easier starting chainsaw?

Is it possible to make a pull-cord chainsaw (Stihl 029) easier to start?  I'm in my mid-seventies and have lost much of my former strength, as such, I have extreme difficulty starting the saw initially. Once it's warmed-up, no problema, but after sitting for a few days, well—.  Anyone have a suggestion (aside from buying an electric saw which will not be practical, because of the cord length)?

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Burf5 years ago
That's a pretty good mid-size chainsaw, so it should have decent starting characteristics. Which almost always means that you have an ignition problem, a fuel problem or a combination of the two.
First, buy a brand new spark plug, don't try to re-use the old one until you correct the current issue. Gap the new plug to the manufacturer's specs, usually about .030". Don't install the new plug yet; connect the spark plug wire and ground the threads to the engine block and crank the engine and watch the plug. There should be a strong, blue spark. If the spark is yellow and weak you should check, clean and re-gap the points if its an older engine. If it has an ignition module make sure all the wires are connected tightly and not frayed, corroded or shorting out. Check the spark again and if it is still weak, you likely will need to replace the module.
If you have a good, strong spark, drain the fuel tank and carburetor bowl, and add fresh fuel. Clean or replace the air filter and now would be a good time to install a new or replace the existing in-line fuel filter.
Install the new plug and try to start the engine. You may need to crank it a few times to get some fuel into the carb.
If those steps don't resolve the problem, the carb probably needs to be re-built, take it to a small engine specialist for that.
blkhawk5 years ago
My respects to you for keeping active in your seventies. One of my coworkers is in his mid seventies also and is a close friend. He brags that he still makes his old lady "very happy" if you catch the idea. My advice to you is to next time, add fuel stabilizer to a fresh batch of the fuel that you use for your chainsaw. You can easily start your saw when you use this product. You can buy it at any auto parts store. I hope that this solves your problem.
Vyger5 years ago
I feel your pain so to speak, as I too have a saw that can be hard to start. What is strange is that each saw I have has a different trick to starting.
If your saw is a new saw then it should start with a couple of pulls. They have improved the process on some new models so they start much easier. If it is new and is having a problem them it might need to be tuned correctly. Sometimes the factory does not set them correctly.
If it is an older saw then tuning it up could help it a lot. Change the spark plug, clean the air filter and use fresh gas. I have one that will start just fine cold, and also if it is still hot from running but if you let it cool down for 15 minutes or so it will not start for anything. Its just a quirk of that saw.
Temperature could also make a difference. If they get really cold some small engines will not start, or start with a lot of trouble so you might need to keep it inside to warm up.
I have also used starter fluid to get them to fire up but that can be a little dangerous as it is highly flammable and you have to remove the air filter to spray it into the carburetor.
It is possible that you are flooding the engine in your attempt to get it going. If this happens it can take a lot of pulling to clear out the extra gas before they will start. If I flood one I sometimes pull out the spark plug and let it dry out.
Bottom line is that each saw is a little different. Some of the new ones are easy start. You may need to trade yours in for one of those.
rickharris5 years ago
I have seen electric start power tools around - costly though.
lemonie5 years ago
It's not recommended, but you could dry a "drop-start:
You lift the saw with on hand, grip the cord with the other, then "drop" the saw while still keeping a grip on the handle. You have help from gravity and you back is straighter.
However, selling the one you've got and buying a new one may be a better idea if you can manage a couple of pulls.