How to Replace the Ignition Coil in a Chainsaw: A Guide

How to Replace the Ignition Coil in a Chainsaw: A Guide

Replacing the ignition coil in your chainsaw is an important repair that will restore performance and allow your chainsaw to run smoothly again. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the entire ignition coil replacement process step-by-step.

First, I’ll go over the basics – what an ignition coil does, signs that yours needs replacing, and the benefits you’ll see after installing a new one. Then, I’ll provide a detailed list of all the tools and materials you’ll need to complete the repair.

The step-by-step instructions will take you through safely accessing the coil, removing the old one, installing the new one, and testing your chainsaw. I’ll also give you pro tips for maintaining your chainsaw to prevent issues and maximize its lifespan. By the end, you’ll be able to replace the ignition coil yourself and keep your chainsaw running like new.

Importance of ignition coil in chainsaw functioning

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The ignition coil is an essential component in your chainsaw’s ignition system. It transforms the low voltage from the battery into the high voltage required to create a spark at the spark plug. This spark ignites the fuel and allows the engine to run. Without a functioning ignition coil, the engine will not start or run properly.

Signs of a faulty ignition coil

Some clear signs that the ignition coil in your chainsaw needs to be replaced include:

  • Difficulty starting the engine
  • Engine stalling or stopping suddenly during use
  • Lack of power
  • Chainsaw not reaching full rpm
  • Excessive fuel consumption

If your chainsaw exhibits any of these symptoms, it likely means the ignition coil is failing and can no longer deliver consistent high voltage to the spark plug. Replacing it will restore performance.

Benefits of replacing the ignition coil

Installing a new ignition coil provides several benefits:

  • Improved starting with fewer pulls on the starter cord
  • Smoother engine operation
  • Ability to reach full rpm power
  • Optimized fuel efficiency
  • Increased engine lifespan by eliminating strain from misfiring
  • Restored cutting performance to slice through wood cleanly and efficiently
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Replacing a faulty coil is crucial for keeping your chainsaw running properly over the long term.

How to Replace the Ignition Coil in a Chainsaw?

Now let’s get into the step-by-step process for DIY ignition coil replacement. Follow these instructions closely and you’ll be able to swap out the coil on your chainsaw without a hitch.

Tools and Materials Needed

Before starting, make sure you have the following tools and materials on hand:

  • Replacement ignition coil specific to your chainsaw model
  • Spark plug socket and ratchet
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Gasket scraper
  • Clean rags
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Safety gloves, glasses, and mask

Having all of these items ready will allow you to remove the old coil, install the new one, reconnect the wires, and complete the repair smoothly.

Step-by-Step Replacement Process

Here are the detailed steps to safely and effectively replace the ignition coil in your chainsaw:

Step 1: Safety Precautions

The first step is to take proper safety precautions:

Turn off the chainsaw and allow the engine and muffler to fully cool before beginning. This prevents burns. Disconnect the spark plug wire. Clear your work area of debris. Put on protective gloves, eyewear, and a mask to protect yourself throughout the repair.

Step 2: Accessing the Ignition Coil

Next, gain access to the ignition coil:

  • Remove the chainsaw cover by unscrewing the fasteners. This exposes the engine and coil.
  • Locate the ignition coil, mounted on the engine near the spark plug. Identify the wires running to the coil.

Step 3: Removing the Old Ignition Coil

With the coil accessible, begin removal:

  • Disconnect the spark plug wire from the ignition coil.
  • Unthread and remove any screws or bolts securing the plastic coil cover.
  • Use needle nose pliers to grip and remove the rubber spark plug boot.
  • Use a wrench to unscrew the ignition coil mounting bolts.
  • Detach the primary coil wire from the coil’s terminal.
  • Lift the old ignition coil to remove it from the engine.

Step 4: Installing the New Ignition Coil

Once the old coil is removed, install the new one:

  • Align the new ignition coil with the mounting holes on the engine.
  • Insert and tighten the coil mounting bolts to secure it in place.
  • Attach the primary coil wire to the new coil’s electrical terminal.
  • Press the new spark plug boot onto the coil outlet.
  • Reconnect the spark plug wire to the coil.

Step 5: Testing the Chainsaw

The final step is reassembling the saw and testing operation:

  • Replace the plastic coil cover and screws.
  • Reinstall the chainsaw cover.
  • Reconnect the spark plug wire to the spark plug.
  • Add fuel and oil as needed.
  • Start the chainsaw following instructions in the owner’s manual.
  • Allow it to run for several minutes, ensuring normal performance.
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With a properly installed coil, your chainsaw should start right up and run smoothly, signaling a successful repair!

Chainsaw Maintenance Tips

Replacing the ignition coil keeps your chainsaw’s engine running properly. But there are additional maintenance steps you should follow to prevent issues and keep your chainsaw in top shape for the long run.

Regular Cleaning

It’s important to keep your chainsaw clean, clearing away dust, debris, sap, and dirt:

  • Use compressed air to blow away particles collected on the exterior and engine parts.
  • Wipe down the plastic housing periodically with a rag and cleaning solution.
  • Remove the chain cover and guide bar to clean out accumulated sawdust and gunk with a brush.
  • Soak the filter, carburetor, and other parts in solvent to dissolve built-up grime.

Proper cleaning reduces friction and wear to extend the saw’s lifespan.

Sharpening the Chain

A sharp chain is crucial for efficient, smooth cutting:

  • Use a round file and guide to sharpen each cutter along the chain at the correct angles.
  • Ensure the depth gauge is properly set as the cutters are sharpened.
  • Swap out the chain when excessively worn for a factory-sharp replacement.

Sharpening the chain regularly avoids frustration and delivers optimal performance.

Proper Chain Tension

The correct chain tension lets the chain glide smoothly around the guide bar:

  • Check tension frequently, tightening or loosening the bar nuts as needed.
  • Press down on the chain midway along the guide bar. It should have just a little bit of play.
  • Start with proper tension on a new chain and recheck it periodically.

Improper chain tension causes unnecessary wear, sap buildup, and poor cutting.

Air Filter Maintenance

A clean, clear air filter is required for smooth engine operation:

  • Check and clean the filter regularly by tapping it or blowing it out.
  • Spray the filter with solvent and allow it to fully dry if heavily soiled.
  • Replace disposable air filters at recommended intervals.

Regular filter maintenance prevents engine-damaging particles from entering the carburetor.

Fuel and Oil Maintenance

Fresh, quality mix of fuel and 2-stroke oil prevents ignition issues:

  • Use fuel stabilizer when storing gas for prolonged periods to prevent stale fuel.
  • Mix oil and gas in the proper ratio specified in the owner’s manual.
  • Periodically drain and clean the fuel tank to remove old gas, gunk, and condensation.

With good maintenance habits, your chainsaw will start easily and run strong season after season.

Troubleshooting Common Chainsaw Issues

Even with proper maintenance, issues can arise. Here are solutions to some frequent chainsaw problems:

Engine Starting Problems

If the engine won’t start:

  • Check for spark – if none, replace the spark plug or ignition coil as needed.
  • Try priming the carburetor with a few extra pulls on the starter cord to draw in fuel.
  • Ensure fuel is reaching the carb by checking the filter and lines for blockages.
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Engine Stalling or Overheating

If the engine stalls while cutting or overheats:

  • Make sure the air intake is clear and the air filter is clean.
  • Check that chain oil is flowing properly to the bar and chain.
  • Let the engine cool, then restart, avoiding long continuous runs during hot weather.

Poor Cutting Performance

If the chainsaw lacks power or takes too long to cut:

  • Refuel with a fresh gas/oil mix.
  • Sharpen or replace a dull chain.
  • Check the spark arrestor for blockage, clean if needed.
  • Ensure the chain is adequately tensioned around the bar.

Excessive Vibration

If the chainsaw vibrates excessively:

  • Tighten all mounting bolts that may have come loose.
  • Check the crankshaft bearings and replace if worn.
  • Balance or replace a damaged/warped bar or chain.
  • Switch to a lower-vibration anti-vibe chainsaw model.

Addressing these common issues will restore proper functioning and performance.


Replacing a faulty ignition coil is a straightforward repair that breathes new life into your chainsaw. Just follow the steps for safe removal of the old coil and proper installation of a new replacement. Combine the coil repair with regular maintenance like cleaning, chain sharpening, filter replacement, and using quality fuel to keep your chainsaw running smoothly for years to come.

With this guide’s step-by-step instructions and troubleshooting tips, you’ll gain the confidence and knowledge needed to DIY ignition coil replacement and perform ongoing maintenance for peak chainsaw performance. Investing a small amount of time and effort goes a long way toward maximizing your chainsaw’s lifespan and reliability.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I replace the ignition coil in my chainsaw?

You should replace the ignition coil when it begins causing issues like difficulty starting or engine stalling. They typically last several years under normal use, but replace it proactively once the chainsaw reaches the age recommendations in the owner’s manual.

What are the symptoms of a bad ignition coil?

A failing ignition coil in a chainsaw will cause symptoms like lack of power, misfiring, sputtering at high rpm, excessive fuel consumption, and difficulty starting or stalling. Any of these indicate it’s time to replace the coil.

Can I replace the ignition coil myself?

Yes, with some basic mechanical skills and following the steps in this guide, a DIYer can replace a chainsaw ignition coil. The repair just involves accessing the coil, disconnecting the wires, swapping in the new coil, reconnecting the wires, and testing for proper performance.

How do I know if my chainsaw chain is sharp enough?

A sharp chain will cut clean and fast without requiring excess pressure. It will also produce larger, smoother wood chips rather than small, gritty sawdust. Visually inspect each cutter for any damage or dullness. If in doubt, go ahead and sharpen the chain.

What type of fuel should I use for my chainsaw?

Use the specific fuel type recommended in your chainsaw’s owner’s manual, typically a mix of standard gasoline and quality 2-stroke engine oil mixed at a ratio of 40:1 to 50:1. Using this proper premixed fuel prevents ignition problems and maintains engine health.

So there you have it – a complete guide to safely replacing your chainsaw’s ignition coil paired with tips to keep your saw running great for years of reliable service. Let me know if you have any other chainsaw maintenance questions!

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