FAQ: Chainsaws

Read through our "Frequently Asked Questions" for information regarding basic operation and maintenance for Chainsaws.


Q: How do I mix gas and oil?
A: Mix 3.2 ounces of Poulan 2-cycle air cooled engine oil to one gallon of fresh unleaded gasoline to obtain the recommended 40:1 fuel to oil ratio.

Over a period of time oil will separate from gasoline. To properly insure oil and gas mixture, we recommend thoroughly shaking your oil and gas mixture before refueling your unit.

Q: What grade of gas should be used?
A: Our units run on 87 octane regular unleaded gasoline. You can use gasoline which is blended with a maximum 10% alcohol. Never use E85 or diesel fuels. Remember to use fresh gasoline and to mix it with the recommended 2-cycle oil.

Q: Can I use alcohol blended fuels in my unit?
A: Alcohol blended fuel (called gasohol, or using ethanol or methanol) can be used with up to 10% alcohol. BUT do not store the unit with this mixture. These alcohol blended fuels attract moisture and form acids which can damage the fuel system. Fuels with more than 10% alcohol can rob your engine of power and cause your engine to run erratic. Our engines are calibrated to run on 87 octane regular unleaded gasoline.

Q: Where does the engine oil go?
A: All Poulan two-cycle products require oil to be added to the gas. Unlike engines that have separate gas and oil reservoirs, two-cycle engines run on a gas/oil mixture that keeps the engine lubricated at all times. Never use straight gas in a two-cycle engine; straight gas will ruin the engine within minutes. Don't forget your chain saw also has a bar oil reservoir. Bar & Chain oil is used in this reservoir only. Do not fill the Bar & Chain oil reservoir with 2 cycle engine oil.

Q: Can I leave fuel stored in my unit?
A: No, fuel should not be stored in the unit. It is important to prevent gum deposits from forming in the fuel system. If the unit is to be stored for longer than 30 days - drain the fuel tank, retighten the gas cap, and start the unit and let it run until it stops.

Q: How do I start my chain saw?
A: Starting most two-cycle chainsaws is quite simple. Use the procedure outlined in your operator's manual if it differs from the following. NOTE- the chain will be turning when the engine is started.

  1. Move the choke lever to the full position which on most models will lock the throttle in starting position.
  2. Lock the throttle in the starting position if necessary.
  3. If the unit has an on/off switch, move it to the on position (usually indicated by the symbol "I", not "O")
  4. If the unit has a primer bulb, depress it 4-5 times to draw fuel from the fuel tank into the carburetor, this removes any air from the fuel lines and fills the carburetor with fuel.
  5. For chain saws with a step-through rear handle, set the saw on the ground, place the toe of your shoe through the handle, and hold the handlebar with your left hand. If the saw doesn't have a step-through rear handle, simply hold the handlebar and firmly press the bottom of the chain saw against the ground
  6. Make short, brisk pulls on the starter rope until you hear the engine try to start. This should happen between 1-5 pulls. When the engine tries to start or after 5 pulls, push the choke to the HALF position. Pull the starter rope until the engine starts. Allow the engine to warm up 30 seconds and then squeeze and release the trigger to allow the engine to return to idle. 

Q: Why won't the engine start?
A: There are several things that would cause an engine not to start. The following are a few items that you can check. 

Make sure the on/off switch is in the on position (I). Make sure that you are using a fuel mixture less than 90 days old mixed at a 40:1 ratio. DO NOT store and use fuel mixture from previous seasons. 

IF YOU SMELL FUEL AFTER TRYING TO START THE UNIT: If you smell fuel, the unit is most likely flooded. Go to "How do I start a flooded unit?"

Check the air filter and clean if necessary. A fouled or incorrectly gapped spark plug will also cause an engine not to start. Remove your spark plug and clean the electrode with a small wire brush. If the spark plug electrode is wet fouled with gasoline, replace with a new plug. The gap should be set at .025".

Check the fuel filter and replace if necessary. If the weather is hot, and the saw will not start after sitting for 15-30 minutes, the carburetor could be vapor locked, which is caused by hot gas evaporating in the carburetor and preventing the correct amount of gasoline mixture from reaching the carburetor. Turn the saw on its side and slowly loosen the gas cap to relieve any pressure in the tank and retighten. Push the primer bulb several times until the bulb fills with fuel. The saw should now start. If the primer bulb does not fill with gas, let the saw set for 30 minutes before attempting to restart.

If after checking the above causes the unit still will not start, it would be best to have an authorized service center check the unit over.

Q: How do I start a flooded unit?
A: If you smell gasoline after unsuccessfully trying to start your unit, it is most likely flooded. There are two ways to clear the unit of the excess fuel and get it started. The first is to let the unit sit for 15-20 minutes to allow the fuel to evaporate from the engine and then to repeat the starting instructions. This will work with a mildly flooded engine.

The better way is to turn the choke off, activate the fast idle ( by engaging the throttle lock/trigger assembly or pulling the choke out and pushing it back in—depending on the model saw you have), turn the on/off switch on, hold the saw firmly on the ground as you do during normal starting, and pull the starter rope sharply until the saw starts. Remember not to pull the starter rope out to its full length. Short, brisk pulls are recommended. If the engine does not start in 15 pulls, the spark plug is probably wet fouled. Remove the spark plug and look for moist wet deposits on the electrode. If it is wet, replace with a new spark plug. While the spark plug is removed, turn the engine upside down and allow any fuel in the engine to drain from the spark plug hole into a suitable container. Install the new spark plug and repeat the starting instructions.

Q: What type of oil/lube do I use for the bar and chain?
A: The bar and chain require continuous lubrication. Lubrication is provided by the automatic oiler system when the oil tank is kept filled. Lack of oil will quickly ruin the bar and chain. Too little oil will cause overheating shown by smoke coming from the chain and/ or discoloration of the bar. In freezing weather oil will thicken, making it necessary to thin bar and chain oil with a small amount (5 to 10%) of #1 Diesel Fuel or kerosene. Bar and chain oil must be free flowing for the oil system to pump enough oil for adequate lubrication. Genuine Poulan bar and chain oil is recommended to protect your unit against excessive wear from heat and friction. Poulan oil resists high temperature thinning. If Poulan bar and chain oil is not available, use another brand of bar and chain oil. Bar and chain oil is formulated to stick to the chain as it spins around the bar. The oil retained on the chain protects the bar and chain from overheating caused by friction.

** Never use waste oil for bar and chain lubrication ** **Always stop the engine before removing the oil cap. **

Q: What causes the chain to not turn?
A: First, stop your engine. Check to make sure that the chain brake isn't engaged. The chain brake can activate automatically by a sudden movement or impact. You can disengage the chain brake by pulling the chain brake hand guard back against the front handle and releasing slowly. If the chain brake is disengaged and the chain does not turn; turn off the saw, then check the drive links on the chain, the bar groove and the sprocket nose on the bar. A burr on the drive links will bind the chain in the bar. If the bar has been pinched, the chain will not pass freely through the groove. If a sliver of wood has gotten into the sprocket nose, it will not turn at all. Also, look at the drive sprocket on the saw itself to see if it has a groove worn into it. A drive sprocket with a groove worn into it will damage the chain.

Q: What causes the chain to cut improperly?
Several things may contribute to why your chain is not cutting properly.

If this is the first use of the saw and it appears that the chain is burning the wood, it is likely that the chain has been put on backward.

If the saw has cut fine in the past, but now is having problems, it is likely that you have dulled your chain. This can easily happen when you accidentally contact dirt with your saw. It only takes a momentary contact to dull the sharp cutting edges of the chain. Cutting wood with embedded dirt- such as used landscaping timbers- will dull a sharp rapidly. It is typical to dull the sharp cutting edges of a chain after several hours of normal operation. A dull chain will produce sawdust instead of wood chips while cutting.

Is your saw cutting crooked? First, check the cutters on the chain and the guide bar rails. If one side of the cutters is sharper than the others, the sharper side will cut into the wood deeper. If the rails on the guide bar are uneven, the chain will ride deeper on one side and will cut crooked.

Q: What type of spark plug does the unit take?
A: All of our current chainsaws use a Champion RCJ7Y or Torch R7 spark plugs- which are interchangeable. We recommend checking with your Poulan or Poulan PRO servicing dealer for exact details. Follow the spark plug replacement procedures in the operator's manual if doing the work yourself.

Q: What is the correct spark plug gap measurement?
A: The spark plug gap on all products is .025-inch.

Q: Where is the fuel filter?
A: The fuel filter is located in the fuel tank. We recommend changing the fuel filter yearly. To remove the filter, drain your unit of fuel and remove the fuel cap/retainer assembly from the tank. Pull the filter from the tank and remove it from the end of the fuel line. Install the new filter and reassemble.

Q: How do I clean the air filter?
A: The air filter on your unit should be checked and cleaned every 5 hours of use. Before removing the air filter, clean the top cover and the area around it to keep debris from falling into the carburetor chamber. Remove the top cover of your saw. Remove the air filter and clean it in warm, soapy water. Rinse it in clean water. Allow the filter to dry completely before reinstalling. If the filter is foam, lightly oil it with bar and chain oil and squeeze out the excess oil. Install the filter and top cover.

Q: How long is the warranty?
A: Poulan branded and Poulan Pro Burgundy chainsaws have a 1 year warranty against manufacturer’s defects when used for Household purposes. Poulan Pro gas-powered chainsaws have a 2 year warranty against manufacturer defects.  Poulan Pro 40V battery chainsaws have a 4 year warranty.

Q: What does the warranty cover?
A: The warranty covers manufacturer’s defects. Parts and labor are covered under the warranty. Some items that ARE NOT covered include; improper maintenance, old or stale fuel, wearable items such as bars, chains and sprockets, starter ropes or the use of accessories or parts not specifically recommended by Poulan Pro. Please see your warranty statement in your operator’s manual for the full warranty statement.

Share this article with others