How to Clean a Chainsaw Like a ProfessionalMD. SHAHAB UDDIN
Chainsaws are among the most powerful tools, but they can also be the most dangerous. Without proper maintenance, a chainsaw will not work efficiently. If a chainsaw becomes gummed up, there is a greater risk of throwing the chain while the chainsaw is running.
With this information, you will learn how to clean a chainsaw safely and effectively. We are here to help you protect yourself and extend the life of your chainsaw. The steps of cleaning a chainsaw are easy as long as you take the proper precautions. Use the right cleaning products for the best results.
CAUTION: Before you begin, make sure to remove the spark plug to ensure the chainsaw does not start accidentally! If the chainsaw is electric, unplug it from its power source. Check these two before you start the steps of cleaning the chainsaw chain. These precautionary steps could prevent serious injuries.
There are a several components of a chainsaw that require maintenance. The chain is one of the areas that can become dirty, even after one or two uses. A dirty chain is not going to cut effectively. Dirty chains are a danger to users.
Chainsaws pick up a lot of grime during normal use. They come into contact with sap, sawdust, and dirt, which can cause the chain to no longer cut effectively. These substances mix with the chain lubricant and create quite a mess, and your chain requires cleaning from time to time. Learning how to clean a chainsaw chain is not overly difficult. All you need is a little time and some elbow grease for the cleaning process.
Clean the Chain
It is important to read the owner’s manual to determine how to remove the chain. Generally, this means simply loosening the tensioning knob. This is the knob or screw that tightens or loosens the slack of the chain. Once you have loosened the chain, it can easily slip off of the guide bar. Make sure you gently remove the chain so you do not cause damage to the rivets.
To clean the chain, you will need plain ammonia, a gallon bucket, some water, a soft brush, and chain and bar oil. Place one gallon of water in the bucket and pour in one cup of ammonia. (Caution: Ammonia is very strong and you should not use it in a closed environment. For the safest results, clean the chain outside or in an area with plenty of air circulation.)
Place the chain inside the bucket with the water/ammonia mixture. Let it to soak for at least thirty minutes. After the soak, remove the chain and use a soft brush to clean every crevice. If you have soaked the chain long enough, the brush makes light work of removing the gunk.
After cleaning the chainsaw chain, rinse it with water and dry the chain. Leaving a chain wet could lead to corrosion that becomes damaging. After the chain is dry, put a drop of chain and bar oil at every rivet. Blot any drips before putting the chain back on the guide bar.
Clean the Guide Bar
Next, you will clean the guide bar. There are tool picks that are helpful for cleaning the grooves of any dirt and grime. It is also important to clean the oiler holes on each side. These become gunked with oil over time.
You will clean the guide bar of the chainsaw with bar cleaner or some type of degreasing cleaner. Cleaning the guide bar and refilling the oil tank will help to prolong the life of the chain and prevent kickbacks that can cause injuries. Your goal is to keep your chainsaw guide bar clean.
Clean the Carburetor
Cleaning the carburetor is one of the steps involved in cleaning a chainsaw. The carburetor is responsible for mixing air with the fuel so it creates a vapor. This fuel vapor goes to the engine to keep it running during use. The right vapor ratio is essential.
Over time, the carburetor becomes clogged, and this can lead to a reduced flow of fuel to the engine. Low fuel flow could result in improper function or even a failure to start.
If you see the carburetor has a golden or brownish residue on the outside, it needs cleaning. Cleaning this small component is not difficult, but make sure to drain the carburetor first. Draining prevents the diaphragms from sticking together and damaging the carburetor.
(It’s a good idea to check all of the screws, nuts, and bolts to ensure they are all tightened before you start cleaning.)
Using a spray-on carburetor cleaner is the best method of cleaning. This type of spray is tough on grease and grime, but it will not harm your carburetor. Never use the wrong cleaner for cleaning carburetors, or you could end up causing damage.
Once the outside of the carburetor is thoroughly clean, remove the needle valves, diaphragm, and cover plate, and soak them in carburetor cleaner. These will soak while you work on cleaning the rest of the components.
Now the inside of the carburetor’s body is ready for cleaning. Word of caution: NEVER use a brush on the inside of the carburetor! Only use carburetor cleaner and compressed air to clean all of the internal areas. While cleaning the inside, make sure to spray some compressed air into the air intake. The compressed air cleans the throttle nicely.
Once the needle valves, cover plate, and diaphragm have soaked for about twenty minutes, clean each of them with a soft brush. Make sure to remove all the gunk. After these parts are clean, be sure to reassemble the carburetor correctly.
Reassemble the Chain
Once finished with the carburetor, guide bar, and cleaning chainsaw chain, you can now put the chain back on your chainsaw. Carefully adjust the tensioner knob so the chain is properly tightened and not too slack.
Before storing your chainsaw, test it to ensure it moves normally in all directions. Check every component of the chainsaw. At this point, be sure everything is in its rightful place. Check for any loose components on the chainsaw so it will operate safely and effectively.
Proper Storage Is a Must
It wouldn’t make much sense to go to all of the trouble of learning how to clean a chainsaw chain without proper storage. Chainsaw chains that are stored improperly, are going to become dirty again in a short amount of time.
Store your chainsaw in a dry environment that is free of dust. Follow these steps when storing your chainsaw:
- Always store your chainsaw with an empty gas tank.
- Do not store the chainsaw outdoors or corrosion could occur due to moisture.
- Make sure the chainsaw does not become exposed to the sun or the UV rays could lead to UV embrittlement which could cause guide bar and chain damage.
- Store your chainsaw inside a chainsaw carry bag to keep it away from dust.
- For safety, always make sure to store your chainsaw in a locked cabinet, so small children cannot gain access and become injured.
Learn How to Clean a Chainsaw and Keep It Maintained
As you can see, cleaning a chainsaw is not a difficult process. It simply takes time and a little attention to detail to get the job done. Without proper cleaning and maintenance, the engine could begin to misfire. The guide bar and chain might not receive the lubrication they need for safe performance. Both of these issues can significantly decrease the performance of a chainsaw and will decrease its lifespan.
We recommend you clean your chain a few times a year, depending on how often you use the chainsaw. You should always perform the above steps when storing a chainsaw for more than three months without use.
Taking the time to clean all of the components of your chainsaw will help keep it running properly and help you avoid injuries that could result from improper maintenance.
A chainsaw is a big investment and a helpful tool for making light work of cutting limbs and breaking down logs. Do all you can to protect your investment by taking the steps to keep your chainsaw clean and properly maintained.