Sumo Gardener

What to Do If Your Chainsaw Won’t Idle

Is your chainsaw troubling you? Are you unable to handle it?

If your chainsaw won't idle, you need to look into the carburetor adjustments. But if you ask me, I will say that too rich adjustments may cause a smoke and additional carbon build up. And an adjustment, which is lean, will produce insufficient power.

So at times, it is difficult to analyze what to do when a chainsaw won't idle. I too have been facing the same problem until I figured out what could stop it. There are some issues responsible for this hazard, but you can tackle it for sure. Read the guide to find out a quick solution.

When your chainsaw won't idle – what's the next step?

It is important to adjust your carburetor accordingly when your chainsaw won't idle. And in order to make sure that the adjustments have been perfect you need to follow some of the basic steps.

Check the air filter and clean if possible

Cleaning chainsaw air filter

Source: Youtube

If the air filter clogs, clean it and after the filter has cleaned the saw will run very lean.

Read also: How to clean a chainsaw

Check if there is any carbon builds up in the muffler zone

It is the time when your Carburetor requires adjustment. Changing your carburetor with a plugged muffler may result in running the saw lean.

Look for fuel adjustments

If you need to a carburetor adjustment for a new or rebuilt carburetor, it is better to start with fuel adjustments. Just screw the adjustment screws gently and then back them out one by one. Now check the level of the fuel and make sure that tank stays more than half-full.

Start the engine

Checking chainsaw engine

Source: Youtube

Now give a start to your engine and warm it up gradually. If the chainsaw idles then let it run for a few minutes. If chainsaw won't idle then without stalling warm it up by constantly squeezing the throttle. Make sure you do not run the throttle wide open.

Set the idle speed

You need to settle the idle speed at about 2700RPM. If you do not have a tachometer, then you can set the speed of the saw idle without engaging the clutch. If the chainsaw won't idle, you must slowly turn the screw until the engine runs out of fuel.

You can also look up to the video to tune a chainsaw. This will act a quick guide for layman to professionals

What are the steps to handle when the chainsaw won't idle even after proper idle settings?

  • You need to turn the screw until the engine loads up. Do take a note of the position of the screwdriver and compare it with the lean adjustment. You need to turn the screw slowly to a position where it will idle the best. Make sure it should lie between rich and lean settings.
  • When you hear the sound of the idling saw, lean the low-speed adjuster turning it and let the idle climbs and then it will slowly start to die out.
  • Now set the high-speed fuel adjustment and check the RPM once more with your tachometer. And if you do not have a tachometer then again wide open the throttle. And set it at maximum levels. Setting it at rich adjustments will reduce the performance, but will also lessen the chance of damage to the saw engine
  • After you hear the engine fully revving up to maximum RPM and holding, adjust the high-speed rich and let it slow down, developing lower power. Finally, the engine starves and as you back it off from rich to lean the sound will turn rough
  • After the full revving, a check is the low-speed adjustments still works before you adjust it for the high-speed jet. If the acceleration is not as before, you have to again start from checking the idle settings.
  • Now set the final idle speed and screw to the lowest RPM where the chainsaw will idle smoothly. and are ready for work

You can also follow this video to adjust the chainsaw that does not idle


Make sure that you adjust the carburetors as described above. You can also refer to the manual to know the correct ways for rich and lean adjustments as it varies according to the model you buy.

If your chainsaw won't idle, this guide can show you the path to run it successfully once more. If you still have some doubt or have questions, share them below in the comment section. And if you have enjoyed every part of it then let your chainsaw idle at the right manner following this guide.

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What to do if chainsaw won't idle?

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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