How to Install a Locked Chainsaw Sprocket Plate

Introduction: How to Install a Locked Chainsaw Sprocket Plate

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Chances are that you'll need to know how to reinstall a locked sprocket plate on your chainsaw if you perform your own repairs. This instructable explains how to reverse this common repair mistake.

It's not uncommon for chainsaw users to find themselves in the difficult situation pictured below. The chainsaw in the picture has just had its sprocket plate removed with the brake left in the locked position.

The chances to mistakenly leave the brake locked before removing the plate is very high because removing a chainsaw's sprocket plate is the first step in several frequently-performed chainsaw repairs and maintenance procedures.

This little oversight can get the best of even the most careful tool users.

We explain the steps to reinstall a locked chainsaw sprocket plate below because knowing how to quickly get that plate back on your saw can turn your unlucky day around.

Step 1: Remove the Chainsaw Chain and Bar

  • Steps to Install a Locked Sprocket Plate

Remembering to unlock a chainsaw brake before removing the sprocket cover is such an important check to make because locked sprocket plates do not reinstall on their chainsaws easily.

This mistake only happens on chainsaw models where the saw's brake mechanism is actually part of the sprocket plate (like the saw pictured above), but this is the case for many models.

Basically, the matched brake mechanism dogs on the plate and the saw must be forced together while pulling on the brake lever to unlock them.

1. Remove the chainsaw chain and bar.

It is difficult or impossible to install the locked sprocket plate on the chainsaw with the chain and bar still on the bar.

Remove the bar and chain and set them aside until the brake mechanism is unlocked later in the repair.

2. Lay the chainsaw on its side.

Lay the chainsaw down with its sprocket plate side up.

This will make it possible to exert the pressure on the sprocket cover needed to force the brake mechanism back together.

Step 2: Force the Brake Mechanism Dogs Together by Firmly Pressing Down on the Sprocket Plate.

Line up the sprocket plate into its correct position and press down very firmly on the brake mechanism area.

Step 3: While Pressing, Unlock the Brake by Pulling the Brake Lever.

Your pressure on the brake mechanism should force it open when you simultaneously pull the brake lever into the unlocked position.

Step 4: Reinstall the Bar, Chain, and Unlocked Sprocket Plate.

Please visit the article links below for help with these assembly steps:

How to Remove and Install a Chainsaw Chain

How to Tighten a Chainsaw Chain


Forcing the brake to unlock like this can be hard on parts of the mechanism, so it's best if you get the sprocket plate unlocked on the first attempt.

If the problem your saw is experiencing goes beyond the scope of this specific repair article, type your saw's model number in the search field at the top of this page to visit your saw's parts page. Your saw's parts page will have a breakdown schematic available for viewing.

Find more chainsaw parts on our Chainsaw Parts page here at

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