Can I mod my Husky 281xp to have stock Stihl 066 power?

777funk

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There's very little difference between a 281 and 288 in real world cutting.
The 660s were pigs
Imho
But I did run a nice 066 before.

I was hoping getting from 81cc to 88cc would bring it close enough to 92cc (066) that the saw would be in the ballpark. I guess there's more to it than that. I do know these things are pretty high compression saws (close to 200#).
 

Bob Hedgecutter

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My question is why?
Why do you want your 281 to be an 066?
IF the 281 is in top condition internally where the gas becomes a bang, the air filter is good and clean, the fuel mix and tuning are on a dial, the chain is sharp with correctly set rakers- it should not slow the chain much running a 20 inch bar. But, if the chain is off a bit, saw not making peak power and the user is dogging in and leaning on it.....
Maybe a piston ring renewal will help your cause?
Cosmetics matter little if the internals are still in good condition- get your current saw well sorted in the powerhead with a chain sharpening that suits what you are cutting, well dressed bar and for 20"bars with 3/8th chain on both saws- there should not be a heck of a difference between the 281 and 066, taking the 10cc's into account.
 

777funk

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I've done a little more reading and it looks like some guys have made the chinese p/c work... But I've also read of plating coming off as mentioned and port timing being off as well. I now understand why leaving it vs putting the chinese jug is recommended.

Bob Hedgecutter, I guess I just wish I had an 066 after seeing enough of them and the amount of power. My 281xp is a nice saw to say the least. Some things I like better than stihl:
the simpler throttle mechanism
the air filter setup
overall layout

I don't like the sprocket being inside of the clutch. I also find my Stihl easier to start. But that could be fixed I'm sure. I installed a primer jet on the intake of all my jet skis and they always start instantly. There's a way to do this with the big Husky no doubt.
 

Bob Hedgecutter

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Bob Hedgecutter, I guess I just wish I had an 066 after seeing enough of them and the amount of power. My 281xp is a nice saw to say the least.

. I also find my Stihl easier to start. But that could be fixed I'm sure. I installed a primer jet on the intake of all my jet skis and they always start instantly. There's a way to do this with the big Husky no doubt.

So all this "seeing" of power, is it alongside your 281 with you as the operator to compare the two saws in the same log?
Or is it all the youtube videos of 066's tearing up balsa wood, cutting cookies in "race saw" scenarios that is swaying your thoughts?
Your 281 is a nice saw to say the least and should easily impress you with a 20 inch bar.

Yes, they are harder to start than an MS 260- they were designed way back when men were men and boys were hairy butted monsters, but the addition of some kind of cobbled up primer system is not going to help your cause- retro fitting a decomp cylinder might, but not a primer bulb and used OEM 281 or 288 cylinders cost money, so you could just try a D handle or elastostart handle in place of the Husqvarna starter handle that is fairly small and not very forgiving as fitted to the original 281.
My vote is for getting what you have sorted and in tip top condition, find a local 066 with a 20 inch bar and run it alongside your 281 in the same log to base your opinion on and don't try to compare internet video to real life.
 

777funk

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So all this "seeing" of power, is it alongside your 281 with you as the operator to compare the two saws in the same log?
Or is it all the youtube videos of 066's tearing up balsa wood, cutting cookies in "race saw" scenarios that is swaying your thoughts?
Your 281 is a nice saw to say the least and should easily impress you with a 20 inch bar.

Yes, they are harder to start than an MS 260- they were designed way back when men were men and boys were hairy butted monsters, but the addition of some kind of cobbled up primer system is not going to help your cause- retro fitting a decomp cylinder might, but not a primer bulb and used OEM 281 or 288 cylinders cost money, so you could just try a D handle or elastostart handle in place of the Husqvarna starter handle that is fairly small and not very forgiving as fitted to the original 281.
My vote is for getting what you have sorted and in tip top condition, find a local 066 with a 20 inch bar and run it alongside your 281 in the same log to base your opinion on and don't try to compare internet video to real life.

All I know is that after a couple hours of hauling 200# chunks of red oak along side cutting, I feel those 5-10 pulls to start it dry after I ran it out of gas. The first start of the day is not so bad when I still have my energy up. This is where a thumb press shot of gas in the intake, may be easier than moving gas from tank all the way through the carb. It sure works on my Jet skis. I won't own a carbed jet ski without adding a primer again. 3 pumps after I feel the pump is primed and it starts in what seems like less than a rev instead of 20 (probably more like 40-60) revs after a winter of no use. Looks like this. Too big for a chainsaw of course...
 

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Bob Hedgecutter

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All I know is that after a couple hours of hauling 200# chunks of red oak along side cutting, I feel those 5+ pulls to start it dry after I ran it out of gas. The first start of the day is not so bad when I still have my energy up. This is where a thumb press shot of gas in the intake, may be easier than moving gas from tank all the way through the carb. It sure works on my Jet skis. I won't own a carbed jet ski without adding a primer again. 3 pumps after I feel the pump is primed and it starts in what seems like less than a rev instead of 20 revs after a winter of no use.
Don't run the fuel system dry before you refill and starting will become easier.
If the saw is hot, you prime with a bulb and the line is not full, the fuel will vaporise in the hot intake, saw will pop on prime- but may not pump enough to prime the system. If you pump the heck out of the bulb to lift fuel into the entire hose and carb body- you will more likely flood the saw making it a real beast to start.
In all your research- have you ever come across anyone else that has retro fitted a primer bulb to a high compression saw to make starting easier?
 

huskihl

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Don't run the fuel system dry before you refill and starting will become easier.
If the saw is hot, you prime with a bulb and the line is not full, the fuel will vaporise in the hot intake, saw will pop on prime- but may not pump enough to prime the system. If you pump the heck out of the bulb to lift fuel into the entire hose and carb body- you will more likely flood the saw making it a real beast to start.
In all your research- have you ever come across anyone else that has retro fitted a primer bulb to a high compression saw to make starting easier?
It’s been done before, but the air flowing through the carb pulls fuel through the primer at will and makes them almost impossible to tune. I would guess his carburetor needs rebuilt
 

president

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Good to know. I guess these 54mm cheapos have been tested? I watched a video of a guy using a Farmer Tek 066 clone and it looked like it cut faster than my OEM 281xp. Wouldn't those be similar chinacom garbage (relatively speaking)?
Initially the thing may cut better,but looking back you;ll wish you had the real thing
 

777funk

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Update: I don't know that I trust my HF compression tester long term (it's about 7 years old)... but it reads only 110psi.

So... that may be part of my problem. It's not a weak saw by any means. It'll pull through oak as big as the bar. It does slow a small amount though and I'd think 20" bar on a big saw like this with 3/8" shouldn't even break a sweat.
 

Huskybill

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We took a modded 288 to the fair speed cutting she cleaned house in the open class. I have a stock 288 I hope to mod when the compression falls off it has a big bore kit on it now. The new 390 is 88 cc’s.
 

Bob Hedgecutter

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Update: I don't know that I trust my HF compression tester long term (it's about 7 years old)... but it reads only 110psi.

So... that may be part of my problem. It's not a weak saw by any means. It'll pull through oak as big as the bar. It does slow a small amount though and I'd think 20" bar on a big saw like this with 3/8" shouldn't even break a sweat.
Update: You want a reasonably good 81cc saw to become a 92cc saw- just because. You don't want to spend too much time or money, any suggestions thus far that make a lot of sense have been taken with a grain of salt.
Shout the saw a set of rings and a D handle so you can start it and go cut some wood.
 

J D

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I agree with Bob, sounds like the saw needs a good going over to ensure it's in optimum running order...
I'd start by cleaning it thoroughly "inside & out"... flush tanks, de-carbon exhaust & exhaust port, replace fuel filter, fuel/impulse lines, put a kit in carb (or at least check & clean it), replace plug (NGK BPMR7A), check/set coil gap...
While you're at all that find a reliable (small motor) compression tester & a vac/pressure tester to test saw/carb for leaks.
Good luck... Keep us posted :D
 

777funk

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I think part of my frustration starting it was that the kill switch wire had come off while I was working. I was killing it by choking. Then even 10 minutes later restarting was hard because it was flooded. I re-soldered the kill switch wire today (back home now) and it fires right up. This is a new saw so I need to learn how it behaves... When all is well, it behaves pretty nicely. One hard pull isn't a big deal. 10+ hard pulls when tired... Ironically, my 026 also had the kill swich acting up. Two saws lose the kill switch in the same day... In the 026's case the switch just needed more spring tension. Fixed both today.

So my plan for now. Buy a new ring (caber for $12). Buy a china top end kit. Try the new ring in wood but of course before that check compression. I'll also try the china 88cc kit and keep it on there if it has dramatically more power. If it's just close, I'll just put the OEM 81cc cylinder back on and call it a day.

It's about 30 minutes to swap cylinders in this saw. Easy enough to try. I would like to try porting... but I don't have time right now to even begin to dig in on understanding port timing. Very interesting though! Lots of respect for guys who port saws.
 

Huskybill

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Do a super job on sharpening the chain, that makes a big difference in cutting. I hog out the gullet with the biggest round file that will just fit under the top of the tooth, then I use the file n guide with a smaller diameter file, then there is clearance for the chip to curl freely into the gullet and get exhausted, I spent lots of hours figuring how to properly sharpen a chain.
 

777funk

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Do a super job on sharpening the chain, that makes a big difference in cutting. I hog out the gullet with the biggest round file that will just fit under the top of the tooth, then I use the file n guide with a smaller diameter file, then there is clearance for the chip to curl freely into the gullet and get exhausted, I spent lots of hours figuring how to properly sharpen a chain.

There's as much of an art to that as tuning a saw. I envy you guys that can really do it! I sharpen mine with a grinder when it's really rocked then touch up with a hand file. I usually have to re-sharpen every couple tank fulls. Not always with the grinder. I feel like I did a good job cutting when I don't need the grinder.
 
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