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Stihl 038 thoughts

Discussion in 'Chainsaw' started by KMB, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. KMB

    KMB Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I hope I don't get to long-winded with this post.
    Continuing to think about and research a second saw purchase, and keeping a very limited budget in mind, I have some questions and comments regarding the Stihl 038 series (038, 038 Super, 038 Magnum) - for a second saw to go with my 260 for firewood purposes. The 260 until the wood gets bigger, than to the second, bigger saw.
    I've did searches here on AS and found that the 038's are very well liked. I emailed Stihl and did some other research and found these specs: 038 = 61.0 cc, 3.72 cu.in., 4.0 hp ; 038 Super = 66.8 cc, 4.07 cu.in., 4.4 hp ; 038 Magnum = 72.0 cc, 4.4 cu.in., 4.8 hp .
    I realize the 038's are old saws, but it seems that it's a good saw for the money - in that the Magnum version has 044 type power, but heavier. I've looked up prices (including shipping) on 'completed auctions' on ebay and found that a 'nice, clean looking' 036Pro/360Pro goes for between $350 to 450, a 044/440 goes from $500 and up, and a 038 series saw goes for between $300 to 350. For me it's gonna come down to the money - the best quality for my dollar. Outside of ebay, what is a 'real world' approximate price for a clean, not abused 038 seires saw? A 038 Magnum sounds like what I'd like to eventually get into - unless I get a good, sensible reason not to.
    So am I on the wrong line of thought, messing with an old model saw (found out that the 038's were made between 1980 to 1993)? Should a saw this old be considered mostly by those who have good mechanical skills? Comments welcome. Lots of good info here.

    Kevin
     
  2. clearance

    clearance Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I bought a new 038 Magnum in '88 for cutting down trees on powerlines. The starter/choke/on/off combo setup broke fairly soon after, I bought a new Husky 266xp and got rid of it. I have used them since, the problem switch is the only real thing wrong with them. They have lots of power/torque and good anti-vibe. There is no way I would pay $350-450 for any 036, that is crazy. I would get a saw from someone here at this site who is reputable, nothing neccessarily wrong with old saws. Look for something like a 038, 044, 266xp, 272xp, good luck.
     
  3. timberwolf

    timberwolf Addicted to ArboristSite

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    If you need more saw than a 260 I would not think it to be worth having a second bigger saw unless it was at least an 044.
     
  4. clearance

    clearance Addicted to ArboristSite

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    The 026 is not really a firewood saw, at least to me, I think the best firewood saws are in the 60-80cc range. I like my 371xp, wrap handle, big dogs, 28" bar, skip chisel chain. Excellent for falling and bucking small (for B.C.) trees also.
     
  5. KMB

    KMB Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Hmmmmm. This is the kind of reply that gets me thinking. I'd have to wait longer - financial wise. But...
     
  6. Lakeside53

    Lakeside53 Stihl Wrenching

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    if you want an 038 just get the later Mag 2. Older versions, particularly the very old versions with the metal tank aren't worth it.

    A clean MS360 would be a nice saw... be careful on used 044's - many have really been beaten to death... and get a Post 1995 version if you do with the bigger small-end bearing.
     
  7. TimberPig

    TimberPig AboristSite Guru

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    Don't forget that eBay values on used saws are often quite inflated over what the saws are really worth. In some cases, by about twice what you would pay if you find a local deal. A good portion of the saws on ebay are also not the deal they appear to be, as they usually have some minor or major issues that aren't disclosed and you discover once you have the saw in your hands. I think you can get more saw for your money buying locally than on ebay in most cases, as the prices are more in line with the actual value of the saw. Try a peek in the trading post here, there is usually a few good used saws poking around in there, for far better prices, and generally the sellers are more honest about the shape of the saw.
     
  8. KMB

    KMB Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Agreed. I haven't yet checked the pawn shops of the local towns yet, but the local newspapers don't have much at all. When I settle on which saw, I want to handle it first. I look on ebay more to see what's out there and to get a general price esitmate. I'm always looking in the Trading Post section here on AS and I believe I could buy a saw from one of the regulars here, without handling it first, and know I'm getting a fair price for a saw.

    Kevin
     
  9. KMB

    KMB Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Thanks Lakeside for the info. I've read lots of your posts and you have good info to share. If there's anything else I should look for in the saws I am interested in, lets have it :)
    BTW, the carb you sold me, for my 260, works great. I'll be going out to cut on a dead Pecan in a bit.

    Kevin
     
  10. toolmaker

    toolmaker ArboristSite Operative

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    I'm not sure that an 038 would be a big enough jump for you.
    You're looking for a saw that has more grunt when you get into a big hunk of wood.
    I'd look for at least an 044/MS 440, or better yet an 046/MS460.
    Beleive me, you won't regret it.
     
  11. timberwolf

    timberwolf Addicted to ArboristSite

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    If the price started to get up towards $400 I would start considder a Dolmar 7900, in the new market they look to be one of the best values. Used I would think it should hold true also. Jumping from 50 to 60 CC just would not be enough to justify another saw, though it is nice to have two saws whatever the size, I would rather cut one stuck saw loose with a second saw rather than and axe.
     
  12. skwerl

    skwerl Will Climb for food

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    In response to the couple of people assuming the 038Magnum is not as strong as the 044, I beg to differ. I've owned both and the 038Mag is the exact same displacement as the 044. The state of tune and sharpness of the chain will determine which is faster. Those who assume the 038 Mag is 'weaker' obviously have never used one.
     
  13. KMB

    KMB Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I don't know of any dealer support locally for Dolmar, and I'd like to get another Stihl - but as the saying goes, variety is the spice of life.:) Since I've had a few 044/440 suggestions, what is a fair real world price for a 'clean' one? Would like to know to set a goal for. It would be nice to have y'alls money bags and go buy brand new with cash - but that's the way it goes. :) I'll appreciate it more when I earn it.

    Kevin
     
  14. PWB

    PWB AboristSite Guru

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    Just something to keep in mind, (and I know everyone is going to jump on this) every 038 I ever dealt with was hard to start. Great saws once they're running, PITA to start. We run 7 stihl saws at work (2 038 mags) and I've got three more at home, 038s are the last ones I pick up ONLY because of this. Once started the first time in any given day, they're fine, but who neds the hassle?
     
  15. clearance

    clearance Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I'm going to jump, they are easy to start, if the dorky switch (only problem) is o.k.. Those saws with no decomp just take a little more. Hey there you go PWB, sell KMB one of them 038 mags. Perfect.
     
  16. PWB

    PWB AboristSite Guru

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    The 038's aren't mine or I would! I've got an 034 super, an 064, and an 084 (along with a Sachs-Dolmar 153). Take any of them before I'd pick up one of the 038 mags at work unless someone has already had them running that day. Same goes for a couple of other 038's I've used in the past. They're great once you get them started...............
     
  17. davefr

    davefr Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I own about a dozen saws and one of them is an 038 AV Super. I'd say that it's one of the most consistently reliable saws I own. Mine always starts very easy. (hot, cold, old gas, new gas - it doesn't seem to matter)

    I agree that they compare closely with an 044 from a power standpoint however they are heavier. I think their powerheads are almost as heavy as 066's.

    If you can find a "creampuff" at a good price and want a very well built saw then go for it. I thought 038 Magnum II's were sold in certain markets up until a couple years ago.
     
  18. TimberPig

    TimberPig AboristSite Guru

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    It kind of sounds like they need a little tuning and a fuel system checkover. If they run fine once warmed up, it sounds like they could be tuned a little off, or maybe they need a little attention to some fuel system parts. There's no reason they should be tough to start cold, but fine warm.
     
  19. Dadatwins

    Dadatwins Addicted to ArboristSite

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    038 magnum is the tank of the stihl line in my opinion, lot of low end torque great for heavy cutting. Same power as the 044 but it is heavier. Only fault I ever found with mine is the front chain adjuster vs the side adjuster on the 044/440 and the rest of the stihl line. Not had any trouble getting one started, they usually come without the elasto start handle but that can be added, I think the filter system on the 044/440 is better and can be removed without tools, the 038 needs to be cleaned frequently with lots of cutting and need a screwdriver / saw wrench to get it off. 044 / 440 are very frequent to ebay, but liike someone said they are usually beat up bad, but parts are readily available, a nice 038 shows up occasionally and parts are available, but not as many in my opinion. I have both and they are both used equally on the ground, but the 044 is easier to handle in a tree.
    good luck.
     
  20. PWB

    PWB AboristSite Guru

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    Yup. Trouble is every 038 I ever had anything to do with was the same. These things have been like this since new. Put a new plug in it and it will be good for a week or two, then back to the same thing. Easy thing for me to do is not touch them. The carbs have been gone through, nothing seems to be wrong with anything. I'll pick up the 034 or the 066 if I need a big saw. Might be a good saw, doesn't work for me.
     

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