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Are chainsaws intentionally sold weak out-of-box? Q's on mods & chains

Discussion in 'Chainsaw' started by eye.heart.trees, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. eye.heart.trees

    eye.heart.trees arborjunky

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    tl;dr- Which, if any, modifications are worth doing to an out-of-box chainsaw?
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    I'm hoping to understand this a bit more, I learned about two general 'types' of what I can only describe as intentional-weakening of chainsaws (out-of-box) and want to learn more, specifically:

    #1 - It seems that many (maybe a majority?) of new saws are being made in such a way that simple modifications are freeing-up a ton of power, for instance I'm thinking most of the 200t-->201t progression where everyone hates the 201, unless you sent it to brad sneller to get it modified in which case it out-performs the 200t...I've got a few saws and expect that if I opened all 3 up and expanded/bored their mufflers, gently ported the intake/exhaust ports on the carb, removed the limiter(s) on the carb/shaved the key on the crank to slightly advance the timing, I expect this'd make them all stronger- but would it be shortening their lives in a significant way? I'm seeing so many ways that people 'free up' power, seeing people like Reg Coates go over how weak regular saws feel after using ported ones (which, I guess, would be a whole level above what I'm talking about, right? I don't think the slight sandings of the intake/exhaust ports counts as a full/real porting does it?) it just makes it seem like something that'd be nice to learn down the line, so any&everything anyone can offer on this would be hugely appreciated :)

    #2 - The chain on my 18", with the highest tooth//link ratio of all my saws/chains, I thought it was the most aggressive / strongest, just learned it's 'a safety chain' and in fact is weaker than the regular oregon 'skip chains' I have on my 14" & 10" saws (1 tooth every 3rd link), at any rate I was needing to get backup chains and have realized just how ignorant I was about chain-types, am still unsure if it's 'smart' for me to get the every-third-link oregon skip-chains or if I should consider others (also looking at bars, am plenty content with the bars on my rear-handled saws but the 10" Double-Guard oregon bar on my climbing-saw I'm not so sure about after seeing all the dime- and quarter-tipped bars, between varying weights / pitches / tips I'm just lost on why one would choose one over the other!

    Thanks a ton for any advice or directions to learn more about these things, I used the Steve's Small Engine Saloon series to learn basic tuning but the second I google for anything beyond that it's immediately way over my head!!

    (also am curious if people ever modify a right-side dog/spike onto a saw that's not OEM-fit for one? Am looking at my 18" poulan pro and wishing it had 2 sets of dogs (maybe they'll be needed once I get the 'safety chain' off this thing!!) but would have to rig it up myself, it 'looks simple' but would really love to hear that someone else has done similar before considering it myself!)
    [PS I should mention I consider sharpening [stihl 2-in-1] frequently to be requisite, I don't use pre-made fuel but use 90&92oct eth-free with Stabil & syn.oil, & am very precise mixing it to 40:1! I was happy with how they ran once 'overhauled' and once I had new chains on - excepting my 18" - so it's pretty neat thinking there's unlocked power, just hoping it's not akin to trying to turbocharge a Kia!!!]
     
  2. CausticUC

    CausticUC Need to fix that pull!

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    Are you mistaking your perception of "weakening" for the true reason of reliability?

    MTBF (mean time before failure) is a huge consideration for manufacturers when they release products into the market. The last thing they want is to be giving away warranty replacements.

    Sure, you can tune and run an engine on aircraft fuel or alcohol at triple the rpm for more power, I would not expect it to last more than a few minutes before something shatters or explodes.
     
  3. holeycow

    holeycow Addicted to ArboristSite

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    No.

    Remove epa restrictions. That’s all.

    Just pick known good saws. They’ll all snort on an appropriate sized bar with a sharp chain.
     
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  4. Huskybill

    Huskybill Addicted to ArboristSite

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    My older Husqvarna saws kicked butt. I plugged the govenors and installed a 8 pin floating rim and drum in my 266se and 2100cd they became beasts. Even my little 240sg was a fast cutter with the same setup. No porting on my work saws. My shops saws were built for the fair. In the woods breaking them in was unbelievable.
     
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  5. s sidewall

    s sidewall Addicted to ArboristSite

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    No dogs needed on your 4218 Poulan pro, just get you a good LP semi chisel chain. Only mod I have done on one of those beside a good chain was to open up the exhaust port on the muffler some and flip the exhaust deflector over. After that a good tuning. I have experimented on the depth rackers some to get a good cut but not to go overboard to the point that it's too dangerous to use. Would not speed the time trying to get more power out of one of these if you plan on using it instead of the not lasting long and be scrap pile bound.

    Steve
     
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  6. Brent Nowell

    Brent Nowell ArboristSite Guru

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    I agree.

    Porting work usually opens up more top end power. You start running the saw into rpms it was not designed for to take advantage of the port work...

    Some mods like a muffler mod actually extend the life of the saw by keeping more heat out of the engine.

    The candle that burns twice as bright dies twice as fast
     
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  7. Huskybill

    Huskybill Addicted to ArboristSite

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    To make the saws last longer we must run them oil rich. Back then I mixed my two stroke about 2.3 gallons to one can of husky oil instead of 2.5 gallons.
     
  8. Ted Jenkins

    Ted Jenkins Firewood by TJ

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    There are changes that make sense and some do not. For most part the newest saws have restrictions that allow the saws to be sold because of EPA requirements. Some times muffler mods actually help all around. Then porting a saw can hurt longevity done too aggressively. My two pennies say use a conservative approach and you will not be disappointed as there are several people who do modifications here. I prefer older saws that are easy to work on with few EPA restrictions. Thanks
     
  9. CausticUC

    CausticUC Need to fix that pull!

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    Seeing as I live in a fire prone area; the muffler baffles and spark screens are there to help prevent forest fires.

    They are not there for any other reason. Yes it impacts performance to trap potential fire starters. Yes, it is an easy way to get a bit extra power by reducing exhaust restrictions.

    I have a heavily modified saw that I usually do not run outside from May through October because I dont trust it not to send out a spark.

    One really needs to think about why certain things are in place before you start removing them. Sure, performance gains are nice sometimes, othertimes you should have just gotten a larger saw to start with.

    I could always toss a forestry/processor chain on a saw for faster cutting (eventually it will bite or kill me when luck runs out), but that does not make it a good idea if I am using it with no one around to take me to the hospital or not using it on a remote/mill where I am protected because I did not know any better.

    People tend to jump into things where they think faster and more power is better.

    Normally one would need a good reason to run skiptooth chains and be prepared for what can happen as they grab aggressively in hardwoods and knots. Good for grubbing chains when cutting out roots etc.

    Know a few ex-fallers who grind down their old chains to make various skiptooth on Walkerized or Bakerized saws (yes I am in the pnw).

    Most of the stuff I cut is fir, maple, apple, or plum, so I have never really needed a dedicated skiptooth myself.
     
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  10. Huskybill

    Huskybill Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I guess the more the saws get in emission controls the less power they will have?

    In the firewood bizz time is money. With a slow saw we lose $$.
     
  11. CausticUC

    CausticUC Need to fix that pull!

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    No, it's the fuel source that is the issue.

    Look at what electric cars are putting put for wheel torque. Electric chainsaws are pretty pathetic currently, but they will not stay that way, electric race bikes are advancing quickly!
     
  12. Huskybill

    Huskybill Addicted to ArboristSite

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    So we burn non ethanol fuel? But these newer saws aren’t like our older saws. There finicky to start when hot right?
     
  13. CausticUC

    CausticUC Need to fix that pull!

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    Miniaturization issues, outboard engines went through the same problems in the transition from 2 stroke to 4 stroke.
     
  14. Ted Jenkins

    Ted Jenkins Firewood by TJ

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  15. CausticUC

    CausticUC Need to fix that pull!

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    All valid and informed comments!

    Many people jump into things without knowing why. Sometimes it lands them in trouble.

    As for your skiptooth question: the guys I know who use them, they only use them for grubbing chains when cutting through roots and dirt trying to pop stumps. Sometimes the excavators can not do it alone and need some help. Never witnessed them used on anything else yet.
     
  16. John Lyngdal

    John Lyngdal ArboristSite Operative

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    The best modification to your saw is keeping the chain sharp and knowing how to touch it up when needed. Not a fan of safety chains, but they're more forgiving at the price of cutting speed. Sorry, no free lunch on that trade off.
     

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