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Chainsaw Cuts Out When Hot: Reasons And How To Fix

Most homesteaders prefer using gas-powered chainsaws due to their high power and better workability on hardwood. However, such chainsaws require frequent maintenance due to their mechanical parts and are prone to witness ignition and fuel supply problems. One of the most common problems that homeowners witness is a chainsaw engine dying out when hot. There can be various causes behind this, and we shall investigate them in this blog post.

Chainsaw cuts out when hot, what is the reason and how to fix this:

  • Clogged Spark Arrestor: Examine the spark arrestor screen for carbon deposits and remove them using a brush or a propane torch.
  • Blocked Fuel Filter: The fuel filter in your tank might be clogged with deposits and needs to be replaced.
  • Dirty Air filter: Clean the air filter from any form of dust or debris.
  • Restricted Carburetor: Use a carburetor cleaner liquid to dislodge any fuel deposits in the carburetor.

Some additional steps that can help solve the problem:

  • Vapor lock: Clean the fuel cap of your chainsaw to allow proper venting of gasoline vapors.
  • Faulty ignition system: Check the spark plug electrodes and test the ignition coil to see if your engine’s ignition system works.

Most chainsaws use a two-stroke engine to produce power. For such engines, timely maintenance is always the key to prevent any hitches since they don’t have a sophisticated fuel delivery system as present in most automobiles. Whenever such engines face difficulty in starting, or when they die out after starting, then in most cases, there’s a problem with the fuel supply system. The fuel supply consists of fuel and air filters, a fuel tank, and a carburetor. Clogging and restrictions in these delivery channels due to degraded fuel can create difficulties for the engine to start. Occasionally, some hitches in the ignition system can also cause engine-related problems. This may include a bad spark plug or a faulty ignition coil.

We recommend reading the entire blog post for getting a thorough insight regarding typical engine-related problems and their fixes.

Causes and Fixes of a Chainsaw Dying out When Hot

There can be various factors causing the chainsaw to stall after getting started. You should investigate these factors one by one and check if that solves the problem or not. The procedure is laid out in the listed sections.

1. Clogged Spark Arrestor:

It would be best if you began the troubleshooting by starting from the most straightforward fixes. In this case, you should probably check from the spark arrestor screen first. The spark arrestor screen is a metallic wire mesh that prevents the spark from exiting the muffler. Due to prolonged exposure to sparks, the screen gets clogged with carbon deposits.

Use a screwdriver to remove the screws and check the arrestor for soot/carbon deposits. If it is clean, you don’t need to do anything, but if it appears clogged, you should consider cleaning it or, if not possible, replacing it with a new one.

– Fix: Cleaning the Arrestor:

To clean the spark arrestor, you can use a wire brush to dislodge any deposits of soot. If available, you may also a propane torch to fire up the arrestor’s mesh and clean it from soot.

Put the arrestor screen back on after cleaning. If it still doesn’t solve the issue, we shall move to the next troubleshooting step. i.e., a clogged fuel filter.

2. Clogged Fuel Filter:

Due to poor fuel quality, deposits tend to form on the fuel filter situated inside the fuel tank. As the name suggests, it filters the fuel so that a clean and uncontaminated gasoline charge is supplied to the carburetor. However, when it gets clogged, the flow of gasoline to the engine is affected, thus causing the engine to stall.

– Fix: Checking and Replacing the Fuel Filter:

To check the fuel filter, open the fuel cap of your chainsaw and take some gasoline out of it into a separate container. Next, use a dental pick or a thin metal rod to filter out the tank. Check the quality of the filter. If It appears clogged, you should buy a new filter and replace the old one. If it seems clean, leave it as it is and consider checking the carburetor and the air filter for restrictions.

3. Dirty Air Filter:

Before we check the carburetor, it is easy to examine the air filter first, which might be causing the chainsaw to die out. Just like a fuel filter, it filters the ambient air before it reaches the carburetor. When it gets dirty, the carburetor doesn’t make the proper air-fuel mix, and hence the engine faces trouble starting.

– Fix: Cleaning the Air Filter:

The air filter screen is situated behind your chainsaw. Use a screwdriver to loosen the fasteners securing the air filter. Take the filter out and check it for dirt/deposits. If the dirt isn’t much, you can clean it using a soap and water solution. However, if it doesn’t look in good shape even after cleaning, consider replacing it altogether. Air filters are pretty cheap, and you should replace them every once a year to avoid problems with your engine.

4. Restricted Carburetor:

One of the leading causes behind the stalling of small engines is a restricted carburetor. A carburetor formulates the air-fuel mixture, which is supplied to the engine for combustion. Sometimes, when fuel is stored for longer durations in the tank, its quality degrades as it forms white deposits in the fuel lines. These deposits can clog the jets of a carburetor and affect the flow of fuel to the engine. To unclog the restricted carburetor, carburetor servicing needs to be performed.

– Fix: Carburetor Cleaning:

For small engines such as those in a chainsaw, carburetor cleaning can be performed with much convenience, considering fewer mechanical parts. All you need is a regular carburetor cleaning spray. The steps are provided as follows:

  • Step 1: Locate the carburetor: First, you need to locate the carburetor in your chainsaw. It is generally present behind the air filter. So, if you’ve removed the air filter earlier, you can easily access the carburetor.

You can consider removing and then cleaning it, or you can also clean it without detaching it entirely from the chainsaw, depending on your skill level while performing DIY work. Nevertheless, we recommend not detaching it entirely as it’s more convenient.

  • Step 2: Detach the bowl and clean it: You should begin by removing the bowl nut from the carburetor and detaching the bowl. In most cases, the bowl may contain stale fuel and its deposits. Hence, it should be cleaned from any deposits and old fuel.
  • Step 3: Spray the cleaner on the interior: Next, you should spray some carburetor cleaner liquid on the inner sections of the carburetor. Don’t forget to clean the bowl nut, which is a jet and has greater chances of getting clogged. Once you see the spray coming out of the other side of a jet, you can know that any debris has been dislodged.

After you’ve finished cleaning, reassemble everything that was removed.

Some Additional Causes of a Chainsaw Dying Out

If the steps mentioned in the above section do not solve the issue, you should try addressing the following fixes.

5. Vapor Lock:

The fuel cap in your chainsaw has vent holes that allow the vapors to escape and maintain the atmospheric pressure inside the gas tank. These vent holes often get clogged due to dust and oil/fuel deposits. As a result, gasoline vapors get trapped in the gas tank. This upsets the pressure inside the tank, thus making it difficult for the carburetor to draw sufficient fuel.

– Fix: Unclog the Vent Holes:

The solution to this problem isn’t a tricky one. You need to inspect the fuel tank’s cap to see if the holes are plugged or not. If they appear restricted, use a metal wire to clean them from the debris. Place the fuel cap back on and see if that solves the problem.

6. Bad Ignition System:

If the issue persists after trying everything from the above steps, it is almost sure that your ignition system is faulty. An old or worn-out spark plug might be causing this issue, or the ignition coil might not be working.

– Troubleshooting and Fixing:

To troubleshoot this, remove the spark plug from your engine and check its electrodes. If the carbon build-up is significant and the spark plug doesn’t seem in good shape, consider replacing the spark plug.

If that doesn’t fix the issue or the spark plug is in good shape, your ignition coil is undoubtedly defective. You can use an ignition tester to check if it is producing any voltage. This can be done while attaching the tester terminals to the terminals of the coil while the engine is running—no spark indication by the tester points towards a defective ignition coil.

Final Remarks:

By and large, most engine problems can be prevented by performing timely maintenance of your engine’s components. Most homeowners tend to leave the gasoline in their tanks as it is when the device is no longer in use. Gasoline sits in a tank for a long and develops white sticky deposits that make it prone to block the fuel supply passages. As a result, your engine doesn’t start or doesn’t stay running for long.

We always recommend that you should avoid storing gasoline in your fuel tank for a long. In case it is unavoidable, always add a fuel stabilizer liquid that prevents its quality from degrading. Furthermore, don’t forget to perform timely maintenance of your chainsaw by keeping the filters and the plugs clean and deposit-free. We aim to provide you with the insight and knowledge to equip you better to solve such problems independently.

  1. Alexis Pierce says:

    How can I tell if my spark plug is faulty without any tools?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      It’s important to check the condition of your spark plug to determine if it’s faulty. Consider cleaning it or replacing it if necessary. Regular maintenance can help prevent engine problems.

  2. Paul Frazier says:

    I never knew about the spark arrestor, thanks for the info!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Glad the info was helpful, Paul! Remember to check your spark arrestor, fuel filter, air filter, and carburetor for smooth chainsaw performance. Happy homesteading!

  3. James Evans says:

    Thank you for taking the time to share these troubleshooting steps!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your kind words, James! I’m glad you found the troubleshooting steps helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  4. Randy Alexander says:

    Is it safe to use a propane torch to clean the spark arrestor?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, using a propane torch to clean the spark arrestor is safe as long as you follow proper safety protocols and guidelines. Just be cautious and thorough.

  5. Louella Gilbert says:

    I love how you included videos for each troubleshooting step.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Louella! I’m glad you found the videos helpful. I appreciate your feedback and hope the troubleshooting steps were useful to you.

  6. Clayton Lucas says:

    Clear and concise instructions, easy to follow along.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you Clayton, glad you found the instructions helpful! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need further assistance with your chainsaw.

  7. Ashley Evans says:

    Great tips for troubleshooting chainsaw engine problems!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for the positive feedback, Ashley! I’m glad you found the tips helpful for troubleshooting chainsaw engine problems. Let me know if you have any other questions or need further assistance.

  8. Erin Mason says:

    I appreciate the detailed explanations, very helpful.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Erin! I’m glad you found the explanations helpful. Let me know if you have any more questions. Happy homesteading!

  9. Jane Kelly says:

    Useful step-by-step guide, will definitely try these fixes.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for the positive feedback, Jane! We hope these fixes work for you. Let us know if you have any questions. Happy chainsawing!

  10. Ethan Myers says:

    How do I know if my ignition coil needs to be replaced?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Hello Ethan, if your chainsaw engine dies when hot, check the spark arrestor, fuel filter, air filter, and carburetor for clogs. Also, ensure proper venting of the fuel cap and test the ignition coil. More details in the blog post.

  11. Ronald Moore says:

    This guide is perfect for beginners like me, thanks a lot!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for the positive feedback, Ronald! I’m glad you found the guide helpful for beginners like yourself. If you have any more questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out. Happy homesteading!

  12. Roberto Webb says:

    This is a must-read for anyone experiencing chainsaw engine issues.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Roberto. I’m glad you found the blog post helpful for chainsaw engine issues. Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions.

  13. Hazel Hawkins says:

    As a new chainsaw owner, this article is a lifesaver!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Hazel! We’re glad you found the article helpful in troubleshooting your chainsaw. If you have any more questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out. Happy chainsawing!

  14. Tristan Henry says:

    What can I do to prevent my chainsaw from dying out when hot?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Hi Tristan, make sure to check your spark arrestor, fuel filter, air filter, and carburetor for any clogs or restrictions. Also, clean your fuel cap and check the ignition system for any faults. Hope this helps!

  15. Timmothy Freeman says:

    Very informative post, thank you for sharing!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for the positive feedback, Timmothy! I’m glad you found the post informative. Let me know if you have any questions or need further assistance.

  16. Jeanne Jensen says:

    How often should I clean my chainsaw’s air filter?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Regularly check and clean your air filter. The accumulation of dust and debris can hinder the airflow to the carburetor and cause your chainsaw to stall. This maintenance task should be done frequently to ensure optimal performance.

  17. Christian Black says:

    I always struggle with the carburetor, this guide helps a lot.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Christian! I’m glad the guide helped you with the carburetor struggles. If you have any more questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out.

  18. Diane Mitchelle says:

    Would using a fuel stabilizer prevent engine problems?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Using a fuel stabilizer can help prevent engine problems by maintaining the quality of gasoline in your chainsaw. It’s a good preventive measure.

  19. Camila Lopez says:

    I feel more confident in fixing my chainsaw engine after reading this post.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Camila! I’m glad the post helped. Remember, timely maintenance is key to keeping your chainsaw running smoothly. Keep up the good work!

  20. Lillie Snyder says:

    Can old fuel in the tank cause the engine to stall?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, old fuel in the tank can definitely cause the engine to stall when hot. Make sure to clean the spark arrestor, fuel filter, air filter, and carburetor regularly to prevent this issue. Hope this helps!

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