Craftsman chainsaw that will not start

hillclimberSeptember 26, 2010

Have a 5 year old craftsman 16" (model 358.360260) chainsaw that I can not get started. It has not been used a lot and used it this year to cut down some old peach trees and cut them up into firewood but on the last cut it died and what not been able to start again.

Have spark and seems to get fuel (strong gas smell when pulling starter cord)- even tried starter fluid in the air breather and in the spark plug hole - put on a new spark plug and holding it to the cylinder head got a nice blue spark.

The piston and cylinder appear to be OK - as best I can see through the spark plug hole. Took the muffler off and try to start it with no luck..even using starter fluid.

I did take the fuel filter out and reverse blew it out with a air compressor and it sounds like there was good air flow through it

Reset the flywheel/coil gap with a business card gap.

Tried to remove the flywheel to check under it but could not move it and afraid to put too much force on it and risk breaking it.

Hate to take it in to a repair shop but do not know what else to try.

Any suggestions?

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You can see cylinder/piston problems much better through the exhaust port with the mufdfler removed. Should be mirror shiny/ Any gouges will indicate a ring/piston problem and if present may well be the problem. If that is present, go buy a different saw, as repairing that one will cost more/as much than the new saw.

The other possible problem is the timing is off. The flywheel is keyed to the crankshaft by a very small Woodruff key. That key can break or get bent, which does not change the look of the spark, but changes the timing of the spark---too late to fire the air/fuel mix.

The way too remove the flywheel is to remove the retaining nut. Then use WD-40 or similar fluid to soak the shaft/flywheel joint. Do that several times and even wait half an hour.

Using two large screw drivers placed opposite each other, push the screwdrivers as far under the flywheel as possible. If you can wedge them in place slightly, put a piece of hardwood on the end of the crankshaft and rap it sharply with a hammer.

If you do not have two large screw drivers, use wooden wedges that can be wedged between the flywheel and side cover.

You may need to soak the shaft more, but that method will loosen the flywheel eventually.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 11:24PM
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Could also be shellac on the carburetor due to deterioration of the gas if it was left sitting for a while with gas in the tank, or a deteriorated fuel line.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 11:25PM
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Generally, while that can easily cause the no start, the engine will fire when fuel is put in the plug hole. Since it did not, the cause is more likely bad timing.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 1:07AM
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Final chapter in this. Took the saw to Ace Hardware to see if they could repair it. After a time and $20. they said the cylinder and piston were scratched and they could not fix it. So, I set the saw on the workshop floor for a number of weeks and finally decided to give it one last try. Use starter spray and got some good sounds and finally the saw started and has run good ever since. Cut down and bucked two 12" trees with no problem. Guess the saw just needed a rest!!!!! Thanks for the advise and help.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 4:20PM
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Thanks for the update. Tools sometimes have a mind of their own...

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 3:12PM
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I too have a Craftsman similar vintage. This is a known problem. Mine will not start hot - one tank full of gas and you're done for the day.

Problem is they're configured to run super lean, but are easy to flood.

Mechanic at Ace told me do not use the prime bulb unless you are sure there is no fuel in carb. Just choke and pull (and pull and pull and pull) until it starts.

His advice worked for one tank full. Mine gets occasional use or I'd buy a Stihl or Echo. The Craftsmans are made by Poulan.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 11:08AM
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