Starting a chainsaw properly is crucial for effective and safe operation. As someone who frequently uses a Poulan chainsaw for yard work and woodcutting, I want to provide a detailed guide on how to start one of these saws correctly. Knowing the proper starting procedure and troubleshooting common issues will give you confidence and prevent frustrations when using your Poulan chainsaw.
In this comprehensive article, I’ll cover the necessary safety precautions, a step-by-step starting guide, solutions for frequent starting problems, and tips for keeping your Poulan chainsaw running optimally. Chainsaws, including Poulan models, can be dangerous when handled improperly, so adhering to safety is paramount. However, don’t let fear prevent you from learning to safely use this effective woodcutting tool.
How to Start a Poulan Chainsaw
Operating a Poulan chainsaw requires caution and the right technique. Before starting the engine, you must take certain safety precautions. Then follow a precise starting sequence to get the saw running smoothly.
Gasoline-powered Poulan chainsaws are very handy but can also be hazardous. Make sure to take the following safety measures before starting one up:
- Wear heavy-duty gloves to protect your hands from the chain if kickback occurs. Also put on eye protection like glasses or goggles to shield against sawdust and debris.
- Use proper chainsaw chaps or pants to guard your legs from potential injury. Closed-toe shoes and long pants provide an extra barrier as well.
- Ensure the area is clear of other people, pets, and obstructions. The saw can kick back in any direction, so maintain a safe working zone.
- Check that the chain brake is engaged by pushing the front hand guard forward. This prevents the chain from moving during starting.
Once you’ve taken the proper safety precautions, follow these steps precisely to start your Poulan chainsaw:
- Remove the bar cover from the guide bar and chain. This plastic sheath protects the chain during transport and storage.
- Confirm the chain brake is activated by pushing the front hand guard fully forward. This locks the chain in place.
- Locate the choke lever near the rear handle and slide it all the way up to the “Full Choke” position. This provides an enriched fuel mixture for starting.
- Find the ignition switch on the top section behind the rear handle. Flip it up to the “On” position.
- Press the throttle trigger lockout and hold down the trigger itself. This primes the carburetor and fuel system.
- Place the chainsaw on clear ground and put your right foot through the rear handle opening. This secures the saw during pull starting.
- Grasp the starter rope handle firmly and pull it out several times to prime the engine. Then give it a strong, steady pull to crank the motor.
- Once the engine starts, push the choke lever back down halfway to the “Half Choke” setting. This reduces choke as the engine warms up.
- Allow the saw to run for 30 seconds to a minute before disengaging the chain brake and beginning to cut.
With practice and proper technique, starting a Poulan chainsaw becomes second nature. Always refer to the owner’s manual for model-specific starting instructions. Safety remains paramount when operating any gasoline chainsaw.
Troubleshooting Common Starting Issues
A Poulan chainsaw failing to start can be incredibly frustrating. But there are several frequent culprits behind starting troubles. By methodically checking each potential problem area, you can get your saw running again quickly.
If your Poulan chainsaw won’t start, there may be an underlying fuel system problem:
- Check that fresh fuel is present. Drain old gas and replace with a fresh fuel mixture. Use a quality brand of premixed fuel or mix gasoline and two-stroke oil yourself in the proper ratio.
- Examine the fuel line running from the tank to the carburetor. If cracked or obstructed, replace the line. Make sure the fuel filter is clear too.
- Remove and inspect the fuel filter inside the tank. Replace it if clogged or very dirty.
The carburetor, which mixes air and fuel for the engine, can also cause starting troubles:
- Use carburetor cleaner spray to remove dirt, debris, and varnish buildup from the carburetor chambers and jets.
- If cleaning doesn’t solve the issue, a carburetor malfunction is likely at fault. Rebuilding or replacing the carburetor will be necessary.
Spark Plug Problems
Lack of spark will prevent ignition and starting. Spark plug issues include:
- Remove the spark plug and check the condition. Look for excess dirt, fouling, damage, or abnormal wear. Check that the spark plug gap is correct.
- Replace the plug if needed or if its service life is exceeded. Use the specified plug for your chainsaw model and ensure the gap is set properly.
An overtightened chain can make the engine difficult to turn over when starting:
- Try pulling the starter rope with the chain brake off. If this allows starting, excessive chain tension is likely the issue.
- Refer to your owner’s manual for proper chain tensioning technique. Loosen the bar nuts and adjust tension as needed.
Chainsaw Maintenance Tips
Performing regular maintenance helps maximize starting ease and performance. Here are key areas to check on your Poulan chainsaw:
- Clean the air filter often, especially when cutting in dusty conditions. Replace paper filters that appear too dirty.
- Inspect the spark plug and replace as needed, per the maintenance schedule. Check that the gap is properly set.
- Remove clutch debris and keep the engine cooling fins clear of sawdust. Clean the carburetor to prevent starting issues.
- Check the fuel system for leaks. Replace damaged fuel lines and filters as necessary. Use only fresh fuel mixtures.
- Allow the engine to fully warm up before heavy cutting. This allows the chain oil to fully circulate and lubricate.
- Ensure the chain is sharpened, has proper tension, and is adequately lubricated for safe, effective cutting.
Starting and operating a Poulan chainsaw properly requires following essential safety measures and starting steps. Troubleshooting difficulties methodically allows quick identification and resolution of common issues. Performing regular saw maintenance will maximize performance and ease of starting over the long run.
With practice and patience, starting your Poulan chainsaw will become second nature. Getting comfortable with the starting technique allows you to focus on your woodcutting work. But never neglect safety or maintenance – they go hand-in-hand with effective chainsaw operation.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I mix gas and oil for my Poulan chainsaw?
Use a ratio of 40:1, mixing 3.2 ounces of quality two-stroke oil per gallon of fresh 87 octane gasoline. Premixed fuel can be used for convenience as well.
What spark plug should I use for my Poulan chainsaw?
Refer to your owner’s manual for the specified spark plug type and gap for your particular Poulan model. Common plugs include Champion RCJ7Y and NGK BPMR7A.
How do I adjust the chain tension on my Poulan chainsaw?
Loosen the bar nuts, turn the tension screw to tighten or loosen the chain, and tighten the bar nuts while lifting the bar nose. Adjust tension until the chain has just 0.5 inches of sag in the middle.
How often should I clean the carburetor on my Poulan chainsaw?
Clean the carburetor every 6-12 months depending on your usage. More frequent cleaning may be needed if starting issues arise or engine performance declines.
What should I do if my Poulan chainsaw is difficult to start after sitting for a while?
Difficult starting after storage is often due to stale fuel gumming up the carburetor. Drain old gas completely and add fresh fuel. Clean the carburetor and fuel filter as well.
How do I clean the air filter on my Poulan chainsaw?
Carefully remove the air filter without damaging it. Clean a foam filter with warm soapy water. Tap a paper filter to remove debris, or replace if very dirty. Allow all filters to fully dry before reinstalling.
What are some common reasons for a Poulan chainsaw not starting?
Typical reasons include old gas, a fouled or improperly gapped spark plug, a clogged fuel filter or carburetor, low compression, and lack of spark due to a faulty ignition coil.
Michael Boyle is the founder and main author of Chainsaws Finder, boasting over 20 years of experience in the chainsaw industry. Hailing from Texas, Michael combines his extensive knowledge and hands-on expertise to provide reliable advice and top-notch service. His vision is to empower chainsaw users to tackle any project with confidence, making Chainsaws Finder a trusted resource in the field.