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Your ECHO Chainsaw Chain Won’t Move or Rotate (Find Out Why)

A chain that gets hung up on the bar and moves slowly or not at all will need to be fixed to prevent additional damage to the bar and chain. The chain should be able to move freely and smoothly around the chainsaw bar.

An ECHO chainsaw chain won’t move, rotate or spin when the chain brake is activated, the chain tension is too tight, the clutch pads are worn, or the bar and chain are not sufficiently lubricated.

Before checking your bar and chain, turn the chainsaw off, remove the spark plug wire and wait for all parts to stop moving. Wear safety gloves and follow all safety precautions listed in the operators manual.

ECHO chainsaw chain won't move

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Follow all safety instructions provided in your equipment operator’s manual prior to diagnosing, repairing or operating. Consult a professional if you don’t have the skills, knowledge or are not in the condition to perform the repair safely.

Reasons an ECHO Chain Won’t Turn, Move or Rotate

Chain Brake Activated on an ECHO Chainsaw

Check the chain brake. This is a safety device on an ECHO chainsaw designed to reduce injury from the event of a kickback when the saw kicks up and back at the user.

The chain brake is a plastic hand guard at the front of the handle that stops the chain from moving when it is pushed forward. It also engages in the event of a kickback.

Check the hand guard to make sure it isn’t pushed forward activating the chain brake. You may have accidentally pushed the guard forward causing the chain to stop. Pull the guard to the rear to disengage the brake.

Lack of Bar and Chain Oil on an ECHO Chainsaw

It’s important to keep the bar and chain lubricated. Without proper lubrication, there will be a buildup of friction and heat. The chain will begin to move slowly or not at all.

To check for sufficient oil on the bar, run your chainsaw at about 1/2 – 3/4 throttle while holding it about a foot off the ground. Look for a line of oil coming off the bar and appearing on the ground after about 30 seconds. This will indication proper lubrication.

If you aren’t getting good lubrication, make sure the bar is in good condition and the oil channel isn’t blocked. Replace a worn or damaged guide bar.

Make sure the bar and chain are well lubricated with an oil like ECHO Premium Bar & Chain Oil. Refill the bar and chain oil every time you fill up with fuel so you don’t run out. Note: If you are running too thin of an oil, you may run out of chain oil before it’s time to refill the fuel tank.

Change ECHO Bar and Chain Oil with the Ambient Temperature

  • Thinner oil for cold temperatures: Oil will thicken and become more tacky in cold temperatures.
  • Standard weight for warmer temperatures

ECHO Chain Tension is Too Tight

The chain should be adjusted regularly as it will become a little longer the more you use it. When the chain is too tight, it will not rotate around the bar.

Adjust the ECHO chain tension so it easily moves around the chainsaw bar:

  • Remove the spark plug wire.
  • Unlock the chain brake.
  • Loosen the bar retaining nuts that hold on the cover over the clutch and chain brake.
  • Hold the nose of the bar up.
  • Turn the tensioning screw counter-clockwise to loosen the chain and clockwise to tighten the chain.
  • Once you achieve the correct tension, tighten the bar retaining nuts while continuing to hold the bar nose up.

You want the chain to sit securely around the bar, but still able to move easily. You don’t want it so loose it hangs from the guide bar.

Worn Clutch Pads on an ECHO Chainsaw

The clutch pads can wear with time. When this happens, they won’t engage the clutch drum to turn the chain. The clutch assembly on a ECHO chainsaw will need to be replaced.

Reasons a Chain Moves at Idle Speed on an ECHO Chainsaw

Carburetor Needs Adjustment on an ECHO Chainsaw

An ECHO chain should not move when the chainsaw is idling. If yours does, you need to adjust the saw to stop the chain from moving.

There are adjustment screws on the carburetor that adjust the mixture of fuel to air. One of the adjustments screws, the “T Screw” adjusts the idle speed affecting chain movement.

To adjust idle speed so the chain doesn’t move while idling begin by turning the the screw counter-clockwise until the chain stops moving. Then continue 1/4 turn further.

Worn Clutch Springs on an ECHO Chainsaw

On an ECHO chainsaw centrifugal clutch, there are springs that retract the clutch weights. When the engine speeds up, the centrifugal force pushes the weights outward making contact with the drum. The drum spins making the chain move on the bar.

When the engine slows down, the spring retracts the clutch weights and the chain is supposed to stop moving. If your chain continues to move, you may have a worn spring that needs to be replaced.