Author Topic: Chainsaw choice  (Read 15630 times)

Offline machinisttx

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Re: Chainsaw choice
« Reply #30 on: August 01, 2016, 04:52:29 PM »
How many burnt up homeowner clamshell(same as $100 poulans) construction Stihls would you like in a picture?  ;) The problem is entirely in the construction and how the homeowner saws engines are sealed. It is a very, very, thin layer of liquid gasket(do not use RTV silicone if you rebuild one) compound on a thin, easily warped or dinged bearing cap, which also houses the crank oil seals.  Even the slightest imperfection can cause them to suck extra air, run lean, and then self destruct.  The whole shebang is held together with four self tapping bolts through the bottom of the plastic "crankcase", then through the bearing cap and into the bottom of the cylinder. These have been known to vibrate loose, and alternatively, the plastic crankcase can distort over time even though there are bronze/brass bushings in the hole that should prevent it.

I have taken a few burnt up 021/023/025/ms210/ms230/ms250 saws apart, and those bearing cap screws were not tight at all. Further disassembly revealed that, indeed, the sealing compound between the bearing cap and cylinder had failed. By comparison, the ones that had tight screws were a pain to get apart due to the sealing compound gluing the bearing cap and cylinder together. The failure occurred elsewhere, usually at the crank seals.

By comparison, the professional saws have an actual gasket between the cylinder and the real metal crankcase. They occasionally do have problems, but with far less frequency. It's a lot harder for that .020"-.030" thick fiber gasket to fail than it is for a thin(.0002"-.0005") layer of liquid gasket.




The 261 is a good saw. I don't know for sure on them, but with it's predecessor the 026, the only difference between the regular version and the pro was that the latter got a decompression valve and an adjustable oiler. There were no other differences at all. The 026 was a one saw does it all for a lot of people and still is. The 260 and 261 are well liked too.

Offline Polar Bear

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Re: Chainsaw choice
« Reply #31 on: August 01, 2016, 07:26:56 PM »
Real quick here.  We have over 2000 palm trees at work, along with Pines, Oaks, and Maple.  We were using Stihl but they kept breaking down.  (They hated palm fronds.)  We are now using Echo and they are lasting a lot longer.

That said, I would still recommend the Stihl over the Husky.  The main reason for this is that you have a dealer to go to when it breaks.  (All chainsaws break)  Lowes will just give you a funny look when you bring it in.  Having a dealer with a shop is everything when you need parts or work done.  That infrastructure can't be overstated. 

Offline 12th man

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Re: Chainsaw choice
« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2016, 02:22:24 PM »
in case anyone looks at this post with the same question/dilemma

my two cents is cant go wrong with Stihl. Not sure about husky, never owned one.

Don't write off craftsman though. you can get a 50cc 20" bar for $180 and a 3 year protection plan for $80. Its not as sexy as Stihl, but the protection plan makes it a huge bargin. Of course if it does break, you may be without it for a couple weeks. I have the same saw, just older. little heavy, not as much power as a comparable stihl, but it has never let me down. i got it used 4 years ago. I would absolutely do the craftsman/service plan thing if i needed a new one.

My Step-grandfather came from logging, and did alot himself. even after he was disabled he would put up 10 cord a year, by himself, from slash piles in the cascades. he swore by craftsman because of the service contract. He would take it in every year just cuase. they cleaned it, serviced it, and usually put on a new chain.

Offline Black November

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Re: Chainsaw choice
« Reply #33 on: August 02, 2016, 04:19:36 PM »
Six month back I bought a Stihl MS 391, and couldn't be happier. I use it all the time.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Chainsaw choice
« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2016, 10:56:16 PM »
Poulan wild thing just went down on me. 

Friends don't let friends buy Poulan.
My choice? Husqavara. And buy from a shop, not a big box store.

Cedar

Offline Chris Gilliam

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Re: Chainsaw choice
« Reply #35 on: August 03, 2016, 04:16:27 PM »
The Husky 440 I got from Home Depot is a beast of a little saw. Sips fuel, runs great. I prefer it over my Stihl MS390.
Both good saws though. I probably would have ordered a pro model if I had had time, but I needed it ASAP, so just went to HD and got it off the shelf. Very happy with it.

Offline machinisttx

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Re: Chainsaw choice
« Reply #36 on: August 03, 2016, 10:00:41 PM »
Friends don't let friends buy Poulan.
My choice? Husqavara. And buy from a shop, not a big box store.

Cedar

Husqvarna owns Poulan.....and many of the newer homeowner grade Jonsered and Husqvarna saws share some parts with the poulans. I have a craftsman branded poulan 5020, which is the only modern poulan I'd recommend anyone buy, and some of the parts even have the husqvarna crown emblem on them......the packaging for new parts does too. Poulan used to be a high quality american made saw. The 5020 is US made, but it does not match up quality wise to anything they made 40-50 years or more ago.  :'(   That 50cc, 20" Craftsman saw recommended by 12th man is a poulan 5020......

Husqvarna has dealers just like Stihl. The one that was local to me is now closed. All that's left here now are the damned Stihl "dealerships" which really amount to tractor stores that happen to also have Stihl chainsaws. That's what my local husky dealer was too.

As an aside...also in my possession are several Poulan "Model 44" two man chainsaws. Fully assembled and ready to cut wood, one weighs about 100 pounds and they were primarily used for pulpwood harvesting. The two I have that are "whole" came with what was called "scratcher" chain...very different than modern chain....and it's something like 7/8" pitch. Monstrous compared to even the largest chain commonly used today.

Offline CF.Tree

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Re: Chainsaw choice
« Reply #37 on: January 08, 2017, 04:57:45 PM »
Having bought more used saws off of E-bay and Craig's list than new I look at parts.
Most Stihl parts come from a dealer, through Baileys logging supply I have found a source for what I would call a short block. To fix a bad motor I take off the parts that attach to the engine ( carb, muffler, housing, flywheel, clutch etc.) and put it all back on the new part. The cost was less than 1/2 the price of a used saw the same size. My saw was a Husky or Stihl not sure what model.
Keep an eye out for these brands , many parts are available and a great way to learn. Especially with You Tube's help.

Offline Da Li

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Re: Chainsaw choice
« Reply #38 on: January 26, 2017, 02:16:50 PM »
First...A big "Thank You" to all above contributors!
It's so great to have a good community that so freely dispenses much more than a nickel's worth of free advice!

I'm in the market for my first saw, and after receiving a recommendation on a local-ish dealer (30 miles one way from me), am considering going with Echo as that's what he carries and services. Here and elsewhere online, it seems like a lot of the success/failure equation comes down to the dealer as much or more than the physical saw.

Echo CS-600P looks like it'll cover all my needs quite well and seems comparable in performance and price to the Husqvarna and Stihl models I was considering.

My needs are mainly bucking firewood that gets dumped by local tree guys and I've got a few felling cuts in mind, plus the potential to source wood from tree lines between fields nearby which will mean more felling cuts. If my parents move to the country, they may end up with some timber to cut/maintain as well, and being the closest child and with my 70yo dad's new hip as a factor, I'm guessing that type of work will probably fall to me also. (Plus, I just got dad's poulan back from a small engine guy who said it needs about $70 worth of work and may have already been broken when it was fresh out of the box, so dad's cutting days are pretty well done  :-\.)
At this point, I'm looking to supplement with wood rather than use it as my primary heat source. Figure wood supplement plus LP as a safety net equates to 1 1/2 is some, 1 is none.

Any thoughts/experience on the Echo CS-600P in particular?
(Didn't notice it mentioned above, but maybe I missed it.)
I have pretty good faith in the recommendation of the Echo dealer given the source of the recommendation.


Thanks again to all!

-- Da

PS... stats if anyone's interested... Central IL, 2500 sqft house, probably little to no insulation but good windows, surrounded by open corn/bean fields with plenty of wind, planning to get (and wear!) chaps before my first cut and thereafter (I was sold on chaps after the first youtube demo that I saw), figure 1-2 cords will significantly impact my LP usage or at least get us up to 65-68 rather than the 61 we have it set to now.

Offline machinisttx

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Re: Chainsaw choice
« Reply #39 on: March 01, 2017, 10:09:32 PM »
Da Li,

The 600P seems to be well liked, with a couple caveats.

1. Echo has a terribly bad habit of sending their saws out tuned very lean, so if you buy one, buy from a dealer and make them tune it properly before you leave the store. I have read of some echo saws being set so lean from the factory that the adjustment limiters on the carburetor had to be removed to set the carb correctly. Doing that yourself will void the warranty, and you'll probably need a special tool to adjust the mixture screws anyway(thank you EPA  :pissed: ), not to mention that you need a tachometer. If the dealer does it, then he/she can do so without damaging the limiter caps, reinstall them, and your warranty is still intact. Failure to tune it properly will ruin the engine, and echo will refuse the warranty claim because "you didn't mix the fuel correctly/used the wrong oil/there was too much ethanol/etc.".

2. Echo saws do not have as much power as their Stihl/Husqvarna/Jonsered/Dolmar/etc. professional grade equivalents. It's probably not enough for a homeowner cutting firewood to notice, but it's there.

I wouldn't hesitate to buy an echo saw for your use. 60cc will likely be more than adequate for your firewood cutting, though at some point you might want to look into getting a smaller saw as well. Using the 600p for everything will be tiring, especially on smaller wood when the extra horsepower isn't needed. Echo lists it as weighing 13.3 pounds,  powerhead only. By the time you put on a 20" bar/chain and fill the tanks, it's probably more like 15.5-16 pounds. That doesn't sound like a lot, but over the course of a few hours work, it makes a difference.

Offline Da Li

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Re: Chainsaw choice
« Reply #40 on: March 14, 2017, 10:59:15 AM »
machinisttx,

Thanks for the thoughts!

Didn't see this til too late...I just picked my saw up from the dealer and they gave it a test run, don't know if they adjusted the tuning on it or not. So I'll have to give them a call and see what they say. Any particular way to tell whether it's running lean? Maybe just by the sound I would guess?

I ended up going with the Echo 590.

I called to order the 600P and one of the shop guys answered as opposed to the front desk lady. He explained that the 590 and 600P are the same exact engine in basically the same housing, the only difference being an aluminum handle on the 600P and a plastic/composite handle on the 590. Since I don't plan on tossing my saw around like a ragdoll, I decided this wouldn't be too big of a difference for me. Also, I plan on doing shorter cutting sessions, so the "increased" vibration in the composite handle vs the aluminum handle shouldn't be as noticeable either.
From talking to the shop owner when I picked up the saw, he said he's seen some of the composite handles break...but usually bc the city guys tossed the saw in the loader bucket of their backhoe, bounced the saw out and then drove over the saw. I don't have a backhoe so hopefully I'll be ok in that regard!  ;D

The other difference between the 590 and 600P was the bar and chain. 600P comes with a heavier duty bar and chain than the 590. Since I wanted the 24" bar with my 590, they had to order the bar separately. They took off the 20" bar that came on the saw, put on the 24" bar and charged me the difference in price between the 20" and 24" bars. So my understanding is that the bar I ended up with is the same as the one that would've been on the 600P had I ordered it instead.
So now as far as I can tell, I've got basically a 600P without the aluminum handle.

 Re: saw weight and fatigue over time... Absolutely! This thing has got some heft to it for sure. I'll have to throw it on the bathroom scale and see what it reads. From talking to the shop guy, I also decided to go with the 590 (with the upgraded bar) now, which saves money over the 600P and then be able to get a smaller (aka lighter) saw sooner by having some money left over from this purchase.
Long term goal is to use wood for supplementary heat rather than as the primary heat, so hopefully that'll reduce the overall amount of cutting I have to do over the years. Which will in turn reduce the amount of wood I need to cut in a given session in order to stay adequately supplied, thereby mitigating the weight of this current saw. That's the theory anyway!  ::) We'll see how things play out "on the street"!

-- Da Li

Oh...I'll try to post the saw weight and any thing else I figure out about this particular setup over time for anyone reading in the future.....

Offline Zef_66

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Re: Chainsaw choice
« Reply #41 on: March 14, 2017, 11:58:43 AM »
I ended up going with the Echo 590.


Not a bad choice. I've never been around Echos very much. But one old professional wood cutter I know swears by them.

The 590 is comparable in size and HP to the Stihl 291 that I frequently use. The echo is a pound heavier, but nothing noticeable. I don't mind the weight at all. Much better than the other heavier saws that I have.

If you take care of it, it should last you a long time.

Offline Black November

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Re: Chainsaw choice
« Reply #42 on: March 14, 2017, 12:27:38 PM »
I think it also depends where you live. The trees in Washington are much larger and plentiful than Nevada.

Offline machinisttx

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Re: Chainsaw choice
« Reply #43 on: March 14, 2017, 08:59:01 PM »
machinisttx,

Thanks for the thoughts!

Didn't see this til too late...I just picked my saw up from the dealer and they gave it a test run, don't know if they adjusted the tuning on it or not. So I'll have to give them a call and see what they say. Any particular way to tell whether it's running lean? Maybe just by the sound I would guess?


If you know what to listen for, they can be tuned by ear.  Alternatively, you can buy the correct type of tachometer and use it to set both the correct idle speed and wide open throttle speed(no load). Both of those are specified somewhere in your owners manual. An appropriate wireless tachometer will cost $80 or more. I put an inductive tachometer on my big husqvarna. I believe I paid around $40 for it. It is battery powered and has a single wire that is wrapped several times around the spark plug wire. https://www.amazon.com/Trail-Tech-72-A00-Silver-Digital/dp/B00AR2R090/ref=sr_1_40?ie=UTF8&qid=1489546699&sr=8-40&keywords=tachometer