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5 Expert Chainsaw Tips to Keep Things In Check

5 Expert Chainsaw Maintenance Tips

Chainsaws are great tools – when they’re working properly. Here are five chainsaw-maintenance tips to keep your chainsaw cutting strong.

Keep the chain sharp

Anyone who has tried forcing a dull chain through wood knows the importance of a sharp chain.

Properly sharpening a chain is an art form, so if you don’t want a collection of useless chains hanging on your garage wall, visit a professional.

It’ll likely cost you less than $10 and save you a ton of grief.

Oh, and the AMSOIL Bar & Chain oil keeps the chain cooler thus sharper longer. (We keep both gallons and quarts in Sioux Falls)

filing chain saw teeth

However, if you’re like me and enjoy the challenge of learning a new craft, be sure to…

  • Use the proper file size. The box the chain came in or your owner’s manual are two places to find that information.
  • File at the correct angle. You can purchase a file gauge at most home centers that ensures you hold the file correctly.
  • File each tooth the same number of file strokes (typically 3-6).
  • Be careful with the depth gauges (the protrusions directly in front of each tooth). If you file them too much, the saw can bite too deeply into the wood and stall or, worse, pull you off balance. Again, use a gauge to ensure you sharpen the depth gauges correctly.

 

Properly tension the chain

A chain that’s too tight can bind and stall the saw. On a non-roller-tip bar, an over-tightened chain can overheat.

When adjusting the chain, hold the tip of the bar up as far as it goes and tighten the tensioning screw until you’ve taken the slack out of the underside of the bar.

soaking chain in oil before use

Soak a new chain in bar and chain oil when breaking it in.

Break in a new chain

When it’s time to replace the chain, break it in first by soaking it in bar and chain oil for a couple hours. This ensures all the pivot points are well lubricated.

Then, hang the chain from a nail and let the excess oil drip back into the pan.

Install and tension the chain and run until warm.

The chain will loosen as it heats, so shut the saw down and tension the chain again.

Then, perform light-duty work, like cutting limbs and small branches for 30 minutes or so. Tension the chain again, and you’re ready to dive into the heavy-duty work.

Find out why Soderlund’s Wood Mill using only AMSOIL.

Clean the air filter

Keeping the air filter clean is one of the most important parts of chainsaw maintenance to extend saw life and increase performance.

It’s the only line of defense against the engine ingesting sawdust and dirt, which can plug the carburetor and cause the saw to start hard and run poorly. Contaminants can also wreck the piston rings, causing the engine to lose compression, reducing power.

Many saws have a screen as opposed to a foam or paper filter. In these cases, use an air compressor to direct air through the filter backward to prevent lodging debris deeper into the media.

If you don’t have an air compressor, tap the filter on the edge of a workbench. If you have a foam or paper filter, replace it often – it’s far less expensive than replacing the entire saw.

Find out why different chainsaws have different oil mix ratios.

Use fresh gasoline for best chainsaw maintenance

Most homeowners’ chainsaws spend far more time sitting in the garage than cutting in the woods.

As gas/oil ages, gasoline can breakdown in as few as 30 days, creating gums and varnish that plug the carburetor and lead to hard starts and rough running.

Mix only enough fuel to last 30 days. Better still, use a two-stoke oil formulated with a gasoline stabilizer, such as AMSOIL SABER® Professional Synthetic 2-Stroke Oil.

Not only is SABER Professional formulated with stabilizer, it also fights carbon to keep the exhaust port and spark-arrestor screen (if equipped) clean for maximum engine operability and power. Using a premium two-stroke oil is an overlooked, but vital, part of chainsaw maintenance.

You can also treat fuel with an additive designed to stabilize fuel, like AMSOIL Quickshot®. Both products keep gas fresh up to six months.

Amsoil Diesel Fuel Additives Best Choice For Increased Fuel Lubricity

Our Diesel Fuel Additives Will Save Your Fuel System and Add Performance

Diesel fuel additives are the most overlooked motor maintenance item next to motor oil. An essential product that must be added to every tank. Many diesel drivers mistakenly think a fuel lubricant is okay every other tank.

New diesel owners are not being told this critical information from the dealership. 

Adequate diesel fuel lubricity is essential for protecting the highly engineered components in modern diesel engines, particularly high-pressure common-rail (HPCR) engines, which are subject to increased wear and deposits that interfere with an optimum spray pattern, reducing power and fuel economy. Many diesel owners add two-stroke oil to their fuel for added lubricity. AMSOIL delivers a better solution that provides additional benefits.

Amsoils diesel fuel additive selection

ULSD Provides Less Lubricity

Diesel fuel has traditionally had high lubrication properties, but the desulfurization process that allows fuel to meet modern ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) requirements also strips it of organic compounds responsible for lubrication. Although the ASTM D975 standard for diesel fuel provides a minimum level of lubricity, it’s not as much as the Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) has called for.

To meet government mandates for reduced emissions, nearly all diesel fuel sold in North America is ULSD, which contains a maximum of just 15 ppm sulfur, compared to traditional diesel fuel that contained up to 5,000 ppm prior to EPA regulations taking effect in 2006. ULSD is also compatible with modern exhaust treatment devices, such as diesel particulate filters (DPF), that also help reduce emissions.

The Two Stroke Oil Remedy

Because lost fuel lubricity and the expenses associated with fuel-pump and injector replacements are serious concerns among diesel enthusiasts, some have adopted the practice of adding a little two stroke or 2 cycle oil to the fuel to replenish the lost lubricating properties. While this is generally a safe practice, it’s not recommended. Because all two-stroke oils are different, it’s a guessing game regarding how much oil is required to achieve a lubricity benefit. Using too little may not provide any benefit, while using too much may violate EPA laws regarding ash content.

The Superior Remedy: AMSOIL Diesel Fuel Additives

The best way to increase fuel lubricity is to use a fuel additive designed specifically for this purpose, like AMSOIL Diesel Injector Clean (ADF – Our best seller), Diesel All-In-One or Diesel Injector Clean + Cetane Boost. These additives also provide specific additional benefits designed to keep diesel engines operating at top performance. Some say they can hear the difference. Omaha is starting to discover the AMSOIL difference now! We are keeping more and more cases so buy your months supply. We keep loads in inventory.

Lubricity Test

The ASTM D6079 High Frequency Reciprocating Rig (HFRR) lubricity test simulates wear in high-shear conditions, measuring fuel lubricity by rubbing a steel ball on a plate in a bath of fuel and measuring the wear scar. Independent testing reveals Diesel Injector Clean provides superior fuel lubricity over untreated fuel and fuel treated with two-stroke oil.

  • Better lubricity
  • Clean fuel system
  • Avoid EPA violations

August 2019 amsoil dealer magazine

We have plenty of supply here in Sioux Falls. Stan Houston’s and at our Tea Exit location by Marlins.

Why Top Landscapers (Like Duluth Lawn Care) Trust AMSOIL

Why Top Landscapers (Like Duluth Lawn Care) Trust AMSOIL

Landscape professionals provide the most demanding proving grounds for two-stoke equipment. Their string trimmers, backpack blowers, chainsaws and other equipment run continuously in hot, dirty and wet conditions. And their brutal schedules leave no time for breakdowns.

As the video shows, AMSOIL synthetic lubricants have earned the trust of landscape professionals like Duluth Lawn Care.

Small businesses with big challenges

Running a lawn and landscape business is tough. According to Lawn & Landscape magazine 2018 State Of The Industry Report, 72 percent of survey respondents said their location’s gross revenue in 2017 was less than $1 million.

The report listed the following challenges landscapers face to turning a profit:

  1. Quality labor shortage
  2. Fuel prices
  3. Low-ball competitors
  4. Personal stress
  5. High health insurance costs
  6. Abused equipment
  7. Expensive gourmet morning coffee and energy drinks

Large companies can have 5-10 zero-turn mowers at $15,000 a crack. They can also maintain eight or more string trimmers and backpack blowers, which can log 500-600 hours per year. That’s a lot of gas and oil.

Creating a profitable business in this environment demands maximum efficiency and cost control. Scheduling and executing jobs is critical and downtime due to unexpected equipment repairs can eat away at narrow margins.

AMSOIL delivers reserve protection

We focus on building protection into our synthetic lubricants that goes beyond the most demanding standards.

For example, AMSOIL SABER Professional Synthetic 2-Stroke Oil is guaranteed for any mix ratio up to 100:1. Using less oil compared to traditional 50:1 ratios lets professionals cut two-stroke oil costs considerably.

As noted in the video, Duluth Lawn Care mixes SABER Professional at the SABER Ratio™ of 80:1.

“The reason we mix it a little bit leaner that the manufacturer recommends is simply for the fact that we haven’t had issues mixing it at this rate,” said Duluth Lawn Care owner Matt Marciniak. “The cost savings is huge.”

Not only does SABER Professional reduce oil costs, it allows landscapers to use one mix ratio for all their equipment, eliminating confusion.

Equipment starts easier and runs better

Mixed at the SABER Ratio (either 80:1 or 100:1), SABER Professional is proven to fight power-robbing carbon deposits.

These images of Stihl string trimmer components from Duluth Lawn Care’s fleet offer visual proof. The exhaust port, piston and spark-arrestor screen are virtually free of power-robbing deposits following 1,200 hours of operation at 80:1.

By fighting power-robbing carbon, SABER Professional helps equipment start easier, run better and last longer. This adds up to big savings for small businesses fighting to preserve their margins.

Buy SABER Professional

SABER Professional extends equipment life

Since its inception, Duluth Lawn Care has trusted AMSOIL products to protect and extend equipment life. In this industry, landscapers commonly replace two-stroke equipment every two years. That hasn’t been the case with Duluth Lawn Care. Thanks to diligent maintenance and the excellent protection of SABER Professional, some of its two-stroke equipment is more than 10 years old an has accumulated 6,000-8,000 hours.

Duluth Lawn Care is a prime example of a lawn and landscape company that overcomes the top industry challenges. Not only has Duluth Lawn Care met these challenges, it has thrived for more than 13 years delivering quality service for its 4,500 customers. We’re proud to be a trusted partner of lawn and landscape professionals around North America.

Shop AMSOIL Products for Professionals

Why are There Different Two-Stroke Oil Mix Ratios for Chainsaw Oil

Why are There Different Two-Stroke Oil Mix Ratios for Chainsaw Oil

Swamp mix.

That’s what you call a concoction of two-stroke oil and gas that’s been slopped together with no measuring tools and no regard for engine protection. Your chainsaw or string trimmer could be running on a 50:1 mix. Could be 72:1. Could be 147:1. There’s no telling.

I often made swamp mix back in the day. Like other adherents to the dark art of mixing foul-smelling liquids in a dimly lit shed, I did it for a couple reasons: 1) I didn’t have clearly marked measuring containers at the ready, and 2) even if I had, I wouldn’t have felt like playing chemist with my chainsaw when I’d rather be cutting brush.

I never blew up a saw doing this. But, then again, I’m not a professional logger, so I didn’t cut often.

Some people don’t like mixing two-stroke fuel/oil because it’s a mess. Some hate it because math makes their brain hurt.

What is a two-stroke mix ratio?

The math isn’t that tough to understand. Say your chainsaw manufacturer recommends a 50:1 fuel/oil mix. This simply means you need 50 parts of gas to one part two-stroke oil. Two-stroke engines derive lubrication from the oil mixed directly into the gasoline, unlike your car engine, which lubricates itself with oil housed in an oil sump and circulated by an oil pump.

Complicating things, some equipment manufacturers recommend different mix ratios. While most modern trimmers, chainsaws, leaf blowers and the like call for 50:1, some older equipment recommends 32:1. If you have multiple pieces of equipment with different mix ratios, you have to mix and store multiple cans of fuel. That’s not only a hassle, it’s a situation begging for problems when you accidentally dump 50:1 in your saw that takes 32:1.

This scenario likely isn’t a problem for landscapers, loggers and other professionals who replace their equipment often due to heavy use. But plenty of homeowners still use older equipment that calls for a richer fuel mixture.

Life would be much easier if every manufacturer recommended the same mix ratio, right?

They don’t. But we do.

AMSOIL SABER Professional Synthetic 2-Stroke Oil is tested and proven at any mix ratio up to 100:1. That means you can mix one can of fuel and use it in all your two-stroke equipment. Done. Problem solved. If you want to use 50:1, use that. Or 80:1. For best value, use 100:1. You could mix at 71:1 if you want. It’s up to you.

And, to eliminate the hassles of mixing fuel, we offer bottle sizes matched to certain sizes of gas cans. For example, to mix AMSOIL SABER Professional at 50:1 in a 2.5-gallon gas can, just use an entire 6.4-oz. bottle. Use half the bottle for a 100:1 mix ratio.

That’s the ratio I now use in my chainsaw. As the piston images show, SABER Professional mixed at 100:1 outperforms other two-stroke oils at 50:1, fighting power-robbing deposits and maintaining operability.

AMSOIL SABER Professional mixed at 100:1 delivers better protection against power-robbing deposits than other oils mixed at 50:1.

With SABER Professional you spend less on oil, get better protection and eliminate hassle when mixing fuel. And you never have to make swamp mix again.

Two-stroke equipment is changing

Two-stroke equipment is changing

Ask your Sioux Falls small engine sales and repair shop to carry the standard which makes all 2-stroke work motors easy to maintain.  SABER-PRO synthetic 2-cycle oil.

Hotter, leaner-running engines require less oil to do more work.

Dan Peterson - AMSOIL Technical Development

AMSOIL’s Dan Peterson.

Dan Peterson | VICE PRESIDENT, TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT

I spent my 53rd birthday in Tampa, Fla., during the 2016 DJ Convention, talking, listening, learning and making notes on how AMSOIL Dealer businesses have changed and what has driven those changes. This prompted a story I told the group about how AMSOIL is studying changes in handheld twostroke equipment. Allow me to share for those who weren’t in Tampa.

I grew up operating a range of two stroke equipment – mowers and string trimmers in the ‘70s and chainsaws in the ‘80s. I still have a 1980 25hp Mercury* outboard and an old two-stroke Lawn-Boy* mower, which has journeyed from Dayton, Ohio to Appleton, Wis. to Hermantown, Minn. It now resides at the cabin in Eagle River, Wis. The old Lawn-Boy runs great on SABER® Professional at 100:1. Occasionally, I use my equipment to burn the last of my neighbor’s summer gas. He uses Valvoline* mixed at 50:1. Boy, does it smoke in the old LawnBoy, but he’s a good neighbor and I like to help him out.

When I put the Valvoline mixed at 50:1 in my new Stihl* leaf blower, I don’t see as big a difference in exhaust smoke compared to SABER Professional at 100:1.  There is some difference, but nothing compared to the Lawn-Boy.

Why? The answer lies in the design of the equipment. Before I was introduced to AMSOIL, I ran the Lawn-Boy at 50:1 and it always smoked, especially before it warmed up. It continued to spew blue smoke the whole time I mowed, just like it does on my neighbor’s end-of summer gas. When I start my new Stihl leaf blower and use the end-of-summer gas, it does not smoke nearly as much as the Lawn-Boy.

Older equipment was designed to run rich, which means it burned a lot of fuel/oil. Not all of it burned, so the partially burned fuel and oil exited the exhaust as smoke. In response to government mandates to reduce emissions, much of the handheld twostroke equipment built in the last four years is designed to run leaner. This means it burns less fuel/oil and more air. When engines run on less fuel/oil and more air, they generate less smoke and emissions, but they run much hotter.

The problems with older two-stroke equipment included fouled spark plugs, gummy deposits and smoke. SABER Professional mixed at 100:1 helped resolve those issues in older equipment. Now, however, the challenges to equipment operability and longevity have changed. Modern equipment runs on the ragged edge due to burning less oil. The intense heat leads to deposits, which can cause the following:

  • Piston-ring sticking
  • Blocked exhaust ports
  • Plugged spark arrestor screens

As a result, equipment can lose power, become difficult to start and eventually quit running.

To be proactive with modern 2-cycle equipment, we went to work testing many different oil formulations in different types of equipment. In the end, we developed a formulation that delivers excellent protection against high heat and deposits. We tested and validated it at both 100:1 and 50:1. Although it’s safe and effective at both ratios, the benefits of reduced deposits and better cleanliness are more noticeable at 50:1 since more oil is available to lubricate the engine. For proof of SABER Professional’s performance at 50:1, see the ECHO String Trimmer Technical Study (G3455).

Here is where we all need to adapt to change. We all know our founder and Chairman of the Board Al Amatuzio designed the original SABER Professional to provide extraordinary benefits for the equipment of the time. In the same spirit, we’ve identified the most disruptive problems for lawn and landscapers when running today’s two-stroke equipment. And then we developed a formulation proven to address these issues.

What does this mean to your business?

If your customers are happy using  SABER Professional at 80:1 or 100:1, great. They can continue to rely on its safe, effective performance. However, perhaps you encounter a prospect who rejects our 80:1 or 100:1 recommendation. Let’s face it – some prospects simply aren’t interested in the benefits of using less oil. Use the results of the ECHO String Trimmer Technical Study to sell them on SABER Professional’s exceptional performance at 50:1. You can also use the study to sell current customers on the benefits of running a 50:1 ratio in their equipment.

In the end, it’s up to you to know your customers and prospects and sell SABER Professional as the solution to the problems they’re facing. This study gives you the flexibility to do that.

Look for more SABER Professional comparisons soon.

Available in the Sioux Falls store at 4610 W. 12th st. Call 402-399-3902