Chainsaw will not idle properly

Discussion in 'Tree Service Equipment' started by 123hotdog, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. 123hotdog

    123hotdog LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    I have a Husqvarna 142. I bought it new in 2008. Since the day I bought it new, it will not idle for more than a few seconds. It only gets used less than ten times a year. It has only had ethanol free fuel in it and stihl 2 stroke from day one. I found the idle adjustment on it. However, when I turn the idle up the chain wants to turn really fast. I realize it has a chain brake and I know how to use it. My question is, shouldn't it idle with the brake off and the chain not turn or barely turn? Thanks for any help. There are only two shops in my area and I have took things to both shops with bad results. Help????:dizzy:
  2. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Yes, it should idle without the chain moving. You do not want the chain to rotate at idle, although mine will sometimes bump forward a little now and then at idle...but spinning at idle is a big no no. And you don't want to be using the chain brake to keep it from spinning either.
  3. pjm123a

    pjm123a LawnSite Member
    from FL
    Messages: 164

    Hi 123hotdog. I just went through all kinds of grief with my chainsaw. It is an el-cheapo Poulan that had worked well but sat for at least a year. When I went to try to use it again. It would run briefly then die. It would also not idle well. It was simply not possible to get it to idle slow enough so the chain would not turn. First thing I noticed was that one of the gas lines was badly deteriorated. I replaced it with a better fuel line. You can buy fuel line by the foot in all different kind of sizes here:

    After replacing the fuel line things were a bit better, but I knew it was not perfect. I replaced the carburetor. My saw had a zama carb and a new one was only about $20. I expected that would fix it for sure and it did run now for longer periods of time as long as I kept on the gas. It still would not idle correctly even with the new carb! At this point I knew I must've done something wrong. I went through the entire saw again and discovered that 2 fuel lines were backwards! I found this video to be quite useful in figuring out how the lines are supposed to be routed:

    Once I reversed the lines, the saw ran and idled just like I remembered. Now the saw idled nice and low and the chain did not spin. I suspect that the original problem was a deteriorated fuel line. I fixed that but hooked the lines up backwards when I did. That most likely caused me to needlessly replace the carb (I am keeping the old one as a spare).

    Hope this helps!
  4. dboyd351

    dboyd351 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,124

    It's a good idea to replace the filter when you replace the fuel lines, helps things flow easy. Good idea on keeping the spare carb. Zamas can be tricky to rebuild, in part because of the check valves in them. Since a carb kit usually costs $6-10, if you can get the carb for $20 or so, it is often smarter to just buy the carb. Of course, now you don't have to.
    It is a very good idea to pour out all the gas and run the carb dry on any seasonally used piece of equipment to avoid just what you had to fix. Also, if you can, buy and use only non-ethanol fuel. You can locate non-ethanol stations at

    You might want to inspect the clutch. Take an air compressor and blow out all the accumulated crud. Check to make sure all the springs are intact and hooked up. The interior of the clutch needs to freewheel separately from the drum that the chain is attached to, or the chain will turn all the time. If all that checks out, start the saw, let it warm up, then start turning down the idle screw until the chain stops turning. If your clutch is working right, the chain will stop before the saw dies.
  5. fritowrdo

    fritowrdo LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,067

    I have the 141 which is pretty much the same saw.

    Other than hard starting when cold it will idle all day long if I let it and not move the chain with the brake off at idle.

    It is a poulon but been a good saw for how little I use it.

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