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Choosing a saw for high altitude

Discussion in 'Chainsaw' started by Uglyhat, May 23, 2011.

  1. Uglyhat

    Uglyhat ArboristSite Lurker

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    Greetings - first post but I'd like to get right to the point.

    I'm needing a good firewood saw for between about 7000 and 9500 feet in elevation. Years past I used a slightly modded 044 with a 30" bar and full chisel chain at lower elevations in Oregon - wish I still had that one but I don't. So I'm accustomed to a decent amount of cutting power.

    The new saws have me rather confused, and now that I'm cutting wood again I'll get my chainsaw reeducation in due time, but I'm hoping for the voice(s) of experience to expedite my saw and firewood acquisition.

    'been looking at the new Stihls - not terribly brand loyal but where I live the best shops service and sell Stihls. I'm told the EPA regs now have the adjustability limited and saws crippled, but don't know how true this is. Sales folk tell me they run fine at altitude and can still be adjusted 'a little bit'. Some Stihls have the 'Intellicarb' compensating thingamajig supposedly for altitude and filter clogging, but the "NEW!" Stihls say nothing about compensating carbs.

    I have no problems buying an older saw which I can jet down and otherwise tinker with, but I don't know how far back parts are readily available for various models and brands. I can spend the $$ on a new saw, but would hate to learn after the fact I shoulda got an older hot rod saw.

    Weight is somewhat of an issue; I'm thinking a 20" bar will be sufficient but the wife will get grumpy if she has to wait long for me cutting to carry wood back to the truck. I'm looking in the 272 to 362 range, at least as far as Stihls go.

    Thanks heaps and awaiting your responses ...
     
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  2. Bounty Hunter

    Bounty Hunter Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Hey Uglyhat,

    Welcome to the ArboristSite Forum...Interesting username, where didya get that?

    As for high altitude...that's my gig too, usually 6000 to 8000, and sadly you do feel a big difference in overall saw power...especially if you run (and re-tune) the same saws at much lower altitudes (I sometimes get tree jobs in L.A. including Malibu, Hollywood, Brentwood, etc...)

    My advice...for what little it's worth, is to get a good used 044 / 440 and go through it with new oversize piston and cylinder, get a dual port muffler (or enlarge the stock single port...alot!) Buy the new Stihl Rollomater E S SuperLight bar 28" (PN# 3003 000 2238) and tune it up for the altitude...a bunch richer to make up for the lesser oxygen at those altitudes...then go cutting!

    That setup is killer for mountain firewood...light enough to use all day long, yet enough power to rip through wood with authority...and you will save $$$$ over a brand new saw.

    Best of all, you get to make it "your" saw, not just one you plopped down a plastic card for.

    Have fun and Saw Safe :cheers:
     
  3. Zombiechopper

    Zombiechopper Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I would get a good used 044, MS440, 372XP and get it ported, milled with a popup. I'd want that saw making 210psi at sea level so you might still get 160+ up in the sky. The air is thinner, so you need the saw to gulp more of it in and compress it more
     
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  4. jeeptj19992001

    jeeptj19992001 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    you need to buy the special " mile high club saw
     
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  5. mtngun

    mtngun Addicted to ArboristSite

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    +1 You need a higher compression ratio to compensate for the thin air.
     
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  6. JDNicol

    JDNicol ArboristSite Guru

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    Surely you want to lean it out if less oxygen is available... to maintain correct fuel:air ratio
    :cheers:

    +1 on the higher compression.
     
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  7. Bounty Hunter

    Bounty Hunter Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Yep...less air, less fuel. I was thinking backwards, my bad.

    As for higher compression, what happens when you use that 210psi saw at sea level...do you just richen it up and everything's fine? Does it become a PITA to start?

    Just Wonderin'

    Thanks :msp_thumbup:
     
  8. SteveH

    SteveH ArboristSite Guru

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    I live at 8500 MSL and cut from here on up to maybe 9000. I have no trouble with either of my saws. They work great. I have an 036 and a 441, so both a new Stihl and an older one. Never done a thing to them.
     
  9. hotshot

    hotshot ArboristSite Operative

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    Most definitely, if you don't richen it back up you will quickly fry the P &C.
     
  10. nate cutter

    nate cutter ArboristSite Operative

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    To compensate a 044 at sea level a heavily modified or a larger displacement is needed a 460. I cut at 6000-9000 with a 372xp bb ported mm and it smokes a stock 440. Nothing against Stihl just against stock.
     
  11. Uglyhat

    Uglyhat ArboristSite Lurker

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    The Ex didn't like my hat collection - winter caps, ball caps, hard hats, various helmets (yeah I hit my head on things a lot hehe). One particularly petulant but otherwise fine day she proclaimed "You must be the president of the Ugly Hat Club". Since her departure I've proudly taken this as my moniker on numerous forums, and was pleased to discover it available here.

    This seems like an excellent forum. Thanks all ...
     
  12. Gologit

    Gologit Completely retired...life is good.

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    Good catch.
     

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