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Old 05-05-2008, 11:28 AM   #1
jermil01
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Any Chainsaw Experts?? re: Stihl MS170

Recently bought an MS 170 on ebay for some light cutting chores around the house. The seller had pretty much rebuilt the whole chainsaw, new rings bearings and seals, carb rebuild all with stihl oem parts, even a new oil pump, new pullstarter, caps and new mag. Almost like buying a new saw.

Anyway, I mix some gas, fill it up with oil and crank it a couple of times, finally get it to start. It's running, but it keeps stalling out an I have to crank it again. It does this a few times and I give up.

So this Saturday I take it out again and fire it up, and start cutting away, it's running great. I'm able to cut sit it down it keeps idling no problems.. I got to a point where I needed to shut it off for a few minutes, then went back to start it, it cranks and then stalls out, I have to keep giving it gas to keep it running..

So my question is this, does the rebuilt engine need to be broken in, or is there something out of adjustment on the carb, you can only adjust the idle on these (carb is factory set). My other thought was the gas, maybe the gas was old..Any thoughts? I don't want to tear into if it's something simple..Thanks.
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:40 AM   #2
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I just couldn't get it in there. Even tried putting soap on my hand to lube it up but it still wouldn't go.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:15 PM   #3
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Another thing that came to mind, if the chain was over tensioned, I don't think it was since I checked a couple of times while I was cutting, but if it was, could that have caused the chainsaw to heat up to the point where it would not want to run until it cooled down?
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:44 PM   #4
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Yes, they do need to be broken in. From what I've been told this consists of letting it idle for about two minutes, and then good to go.

its a two stroke, so i'm not sure what you mean by oil pump. oil is mixed with the gas before it ever enters the combustion chamber. if it is just not idling, you may have to f with the carb. i've never really looked at my 170, on the bigger saws you can adjust.

as far as the chain being too tight, no, not really. if it heats up too much i've seen some people freeze the chain to the bar and damage both of those items, but the saw should still idle since the sprocket is not turning until its revved up.

not trying to rain on your parade, but i'd be a little skeptical about someone saying they rebuilt a 170. for another 80 bucks or so you can just buy a whole new saw. further, the "home owner" grade saws like that are not really designed to be rebuilt. it can be done, but the case is not designed in such a fashion to make it simple and easy. you can buy that saw new for 180.00, most of the people i know who run them just throw them out after they shit.

i love mine though, hasn't given me an ounce of trouble to date. knock wood.

i'd recommend checking the air filter.
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Old 05-05-2008, 01:44 PM   #5
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hope you did not pay much for it?
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:11 PM   #6
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Thanks. I know what you mean, this is obviously the low end of the stihl line but for what I do it's fine, and the price was fair.

I'm running regular 87 octane gas at a 50:1 ratio, I checked the Stihl site and they recommend a mid-grade, that's why I was thinking it might be the gas. I'm pretty sure the rebuilt oil pump refers to the pumps that lubes the chain. Filter was/is brand new so no problems there.

Yeah, it has the idle adjustment but nothing visible for the air fuel . I'm hoping/guessing it probably needs to be broken in. thanks for the suggestions

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Yes, they do need to be broken in. From what I've been told this consists of letting it idle for about two minutes, and then good to go.

its a two stroke, so i'm not sure what you mean by oil pump. oil is mixed with the gas before it ever enters the combustion chamber. if it is just not idling, you may have to f with the carb. i've never really looked at my 170, on the bigger saws you can adjust.

as far as the chain being too tight, no, not really. if it heats up too much i've seen some people freeze the chain to the bar and damage both of those items, but the saw should still idle since the sprocket is not turning until its revved up.

not trying to rain on your parade, but i'd be a little skeptical about someone saying they rebuilt a 170. for another 80 bucks or so you can just buy a whole new saw. further, the "home owner" grade saws like that are not really designed to be rebuilt. it can be done, but the case is not designed in such a fashion to make it simple and easy. you can buy that saw new for 180.00, most of the people i know who run them just throw them out after they shit.

i love mine though, hasn't given me an ounce of trouble to date. knock wood.

i'd recommend checking the air filter.
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:22 PM   #7
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Yes, they do need to be broken in. From what I've been told this consists of letting it idle for about two minutes, and then good to go.
I think that might be a little on the light side.


I can't say for sure, since our fire department saw is a modified one, but I'm pretty sure the motor is just a repackaged Stihl, but they sent us a direction sheet with an insane break in period.

If I remember correctly, it's 4 tanks of gas at idle, two tanks at half throttle, four tanks at 3/4 throttle under load, and 1 tank at wide open throttle under load.

They may be being paranoid about the breaking, but I doubt 2 minutes at idle is a sufficient break in.
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:26 PM   #8
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fwiw......pull the plug and clean/replace it w/the CORRECT plug.that did wonders for mine.2 strokes are notorious for fouling them.
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:30 PM   #9
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I think that might be a little on the light side.


I can't say for sure, since our fire department saw is a modified one, but I'm pretty sure the motor is just a repackaged Stihl, but they sent us a direction sheet with an insane break in period.

If I remember correctly, it's 4 tanks of gas at idle, two tanks at half throttle, four tanks at 3/4 throttle under load, and 1 tank at wide open throttle under load.

They may be being paranoid about the breaking, but I doubt 2 minutes at idle is a sufficient break in.
I don't know for sure. My girlfriend works for a local company that is a Stihl distributor and i'm kinda buddies with the mechanic there. Thats what he told me to do, and thats what i've done. i've heard the 4 tanks of gas business before for dirt bikes and stuff, which i think is a waste, but never for a saw.

i run all stihls now

660
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170 and i think the last one is a 280 pro. its a backup saw, bought it new and never started it, probably why i don't remember the name.
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:41 PM   #10
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Hadn't checked the plug, and I know I didn't "break it in", was just assuming, maybe wrong on my part that this had been done. Thanks.
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Old 05-05-2008, 03:16 PM   #11
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Old or bad gas will ruin your day.
It happened to me with my Homelite or Stihl.
I would constantly have to pull the plug, clean it, fire it up,
stall, do it again.
Pull the plug, put in some new gas, pull it through ten times till you clear the lines of old gas.
Put the plug in and try.
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Old 05-05-2008, 03:28 PM   #12
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i run 93 octane in my saws, seems to kick less when i start them. (038 magnum, 064, 038 stihls, homelite model 17). my guess would be a fouled plug also. something could be sticking in the carb as well, i would do as the others have said an put in fresh gas as well as a plug
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Old 05-05-2008, 04:27 PM   #13
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dump that 87 out and go with some premium fuel in there. I always add in some octane booser that I use in the bronco as it makes the fuel last up to 16 months or something stupid like that.
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Old 05-05-2008, 04:43 PM   #14
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Old 05-05-2008, 10:45 PM   #15
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STA-BIL...gas stablizer
Sta-Bil is a joke IMO. It helps to prevent fuel from turning to varnish, but thats about it.


Pertaining to the MS170--There is only 1 adjustment screw on the carb and that is for the idle adjustment. There isn't any way to adjust hi/lo mixture settings. Check the fuel line for cracks--Stihls eat fuel lines like a fat kid eats chocolate.

Another think to check on the 170 is the intake boot ring. It's a little plastic ring that mounts between the carb and the intake boot, they're a mofo to install right and they can deform causing an air leak and improper impulse to the carb.

A couple FYI's for the 170: Keep an eye on the air filter, they like to pass dirt into the engine. The throttle linkage likes to come unhooked from the carb as well, it's a 10 minute fix, but a PITA nonetheless.
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:06 PM   #16
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People actually fix 170's? I thought you were supposed to throw them out.
Seriously though, it sounds like a carb issue. Go look around on arboristsite.com in the "chainsaw" section.
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:42 AM   #17
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Thanks Yak, this is good info, I'll have to check that out. I'm pretty sure the fuel lines are good, so the boot ring is next on the list, along with air filter and gas. Haven't had a problem with the throttle linkage but I'll keep an eye on that too.

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Sta-Bil is a joke IMO. It helps to prevent fuel from turning to varnish, but thats about it.


Pertaining to the MS170--There is only 1 adjustment screw on the carb and that is for the idle adjustment. There isn't any way to adjust hi/lo mixture settings. Check the fuel line for cracks--Stihls eat fuel lines like a fat kid eats chocolate.

Another think to check on the 170 is the intake boot ring. It's a little plastic ring that mounts between the carb and the intake boot, they're a mofo to install right and they can deform causing an air leak and improper impulse to the carb.

A couple FYI's for the 170: Keep an eye on the air filter, they like to pass dirt into the engine. The throttle linkage likes to come unhooked from the carb as well, it's a 10 minute fix, but a PITA nonetheless.
Thanks for the site suggestions.

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People actually fix 170's? I thought you were supposed to throw them out.
Seriously though, it sounds like a carb issue. Go look around on arboristsite.com in the "chainsaw" section.
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Old 05-06-2008, 06:09 PM   #18
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People actually fix 170's? I thought you were supposed to throw them out.
Seriously though, it sounds like a carb issue. Go look around on arboristsite.com in the "chainsaw" section.
i've been into Stihls for years and this is only the second time i've heard of the 170
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:39 PM   #19
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Not too familiar with 2 strokes but it sounds like a carb adjustment issue with a high speed jet.
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:55 PM   #20
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Yeah the 170 is the cheapest Stihl there is. And other then the climbing saws its the smallest too. I have one but I really only use it for limbing and cutting the roads back at the property where 98% of cuts are on wood less then 1 inch or so.


thats the 170 right at the gate
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