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Poulan Pro Chainsaw Chain Won’t Move, Turn, or Rotate: SOLVED!

When the chain on your saw won’t turn or moves slowly, it’s important to stop the saw to troubleshoot the issue before you develop a more serious problem and damage components on your chainsaw.

A Poulan Pro chainsaw chain won’t turn or move 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.

Ensure the saw is turned off and remove the spark plug wire before you begin working with your chain and bar. Wait for all parts to stop moving and wear the appropriate gear for safety.

Poulan Pro Chainsaw Chain Won't Rotate

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

Reasons a Poulan Pro Chainsaw Chain Won’t Turn, Move or Rotate

Chain Brake Activated

The chain brake is activated using the plastic hand guard located in front of the handle. This guard is used to protect the user when the saw kicks up and back at the user.

The chain brake is designed to engage and stop the chain from turning in the event this happens. It also stops the chain from moving when it is pushed forward.

Manually pushing the chain brake forward should be done when the chainsaw is not in use and while transporting the saw.

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

Lack of Bar and Chain Oil

Friction will build that will cause the chain to move slowly or not move at all. This friction can create significant heat and smoke which may damage the bar and chain.

To check for sufficient oil on the bar, run your Poulan Pro 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 indicate proper lubrication.

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

Make sure the bar and chain are well lubricated with oil like premium bar and chain oil like the bar and chain oil from Poulan Pro.

Refill the bar and chain oil every time you fill the fuel tank with fuel so you don’t run out. Note: If you are running too thin of oil, you may run out of chain oil before it’s time to refill the fuel tank.

Change the Bar and Chain Oil with the Ambient Temperature

  • Thinner oil for cold temperatures: Oil will thicken and become tackier in cold temperatures. Look for oils often sold as low-temperature or winter bar and chain oil.
  • Standard weight for warmer temperatures

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 chain tension so it easily moves around the Poulan Pro 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 that it hangs from the guide bar.

Worn Clutch Pads

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

Reasons a Chain Moves at Idle Speed on a Poulan Pro Chainsaw

Carburetor Needs Adjustment

A 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 adjustment screws, the “Idle Screw (T)” adjusts the idle speed affecting chain movement.

Adjust idle speed so the chain doesn’t move while idling begins by turning the screw counter-clockwise until the chain stops moving.

Worn Clutch Springs

On a Poulan Pro 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.