Servicing and tuning up a chainsaw is necessary to keep your Husqvarna in good condition. With the busyness of life, this important task often gets pushed off to another day.
Sometimes servicing the chainsaw gets skipped altogether. Not maintaining your chainsaw will shorten its lifespan. You may miss small problems that can quickly develop into larger problems.
Service a Husqvarna chainsaw by replacing the filters and spark plugs; making sure the safety components are working properly; cleaning the cooling system; lubricating the bar and chain; and inspecting the fuel system.
Keep reading for instructions on how to tune up your Husqvarna chainsaw.
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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.
17 Steps to Service and Tune Up a Husqvarna Chainsaw:
- Gather tools and supplies
- Check safety components
- Remove the spark plug & follow safety precautions
- Replace old fuel
- Replace the fuel filter
- Fill with bar and chain oil
- Inspect the fuel system
- Replace the air filter
- Replace the spark plug
- Clean the cooling system/air intake system
- Inspect the muffler and clean the spark arrestor
- Lubricate the needle bearing
- Inspect and clean the guide bar and lubrication hole
- Inspect the saw chain. Sharpen and check tension.
- Inspect the drive sprocket
- Clean the exterior
- Inspect components, tighten loose hardware & replace broken and missing parts
Service, Maintain & Tune Up a Husqvarna Chainsaw (Step-By-Step)
1. Gather Tools and Supplies to Service a Husqvarna Chainsaw
- Socket set and screwdrivers
- Fuel filter
- Air filter
- Spark plug
- Clean rags
- Gas and 2-cycle oil (If old fuel is in the fuel tank)
- Fuel stabilizer
- Bearing grease
- Protection gear: safety gloves and glasses
2. Check Safety Components
A Husqvarna has many safety features installed to assist with reducing injury. Some of these items include the chain brake, chain catcher, throttle trigger lockout, hand guards, and start/stop switch.
Make sure each of these features works as designed. The chain brake should keep the chain from moving when engaged and the chain catcher will catch the chain if it comes off the bar.
The throttle trigger will return to idle if your hand is taken off the handle, and the start/stop switch stops the engine from running. Test each of these items to make sure they are in good working condition. Check that the handguards are in place and not damaged.
If you find any problems with these safety components, repair them. Do not operate your chainsaw until they are fixed.
3. Remove the Spark Plug & Follow Safety Precautions Before Servicing
Before you start performing maintenance and inspections on your Husqvarna chainsaw, take safety precautions to avoid injury and burns. This includes shutting off the chainsaw and allowing the engine to cool if it was running.
Make sure all parts have stopped moving. Remove the spark plug wire. Wear safety glasses and work gloves for protection and follow all additional safety instructions found in the operator’s manual.
4. Replace Old Fuel
Old fuel can cause significant problems to develop in the fuel system and engine. Because most fuels today contain ethanol, an alternative fuel to make it a little environmentally friendly, it’s important to know how to care for it to reduce fuel-related issues in the chainsaw.
Gas can begin to break down and lose its combustible properties rather quickly. The ethanol added to gasoline attracts moisture to the fuel system that will leaving behind a varnish that causes fuel restrictions and corrosion.
Change the fuel in your Husqvarna if you find it is older than 30 days and doesn’t have a fuel stabilizer to make it last a little longer.
If the fuel in your chainsaw is old, wipe around the fuel cap, remove the cap, drain the fuel tank and add a fresh gasoline and oil mix. It’s also a good time to replace the fuel filter after you drain the fuel tank and before you refill it.
Husqvarna currently offers a full line of chainsaws with 2-cycle engines. These types of engines require gas and oil to be mixed before placing in the fuel tank. Read more about the type of gas and oil Husqvarna chainsaws use here.
Husqvarna chainsaws use a gas-to-oil mix at a ratio of 50:1. This means 50 parts gasoline is mixed with 1 part oil.
- Gasoline: An unleaded gasoline with a minimum octane rating of 89 and a maximum ethanol content of 10%. Stay away from gas with ethanol contents greater than this. Ethanol is not good for small engines.
- 2-cycle premium oil: A 2-cycle premium oil that is ISO-L-EGD and JASO M345 FD certified like Husqvarna XP.
|Husqvarna Gas to Oil Mix Ratio||1 Gallon Gas||2 Gallon Gas||2.5 Gallon Gas|
|50:1||2.6 oz Oil||5.2 oz Oil||6.4 oz Oil|
Add a fuel additive like Sea Foam Motor Treatment or STA-BIL to stabilize the fuel so it lasts longer than 30 days before it breaks down. This additive not only stabilizes gas, but it will also reduces moisture buildup and help keep the fuel system clean.
Note: Some 2-cycle oils contain an additive that can keep the fuel stable anywhere from 30 days to 2 years. Don’t assume that, just because there is a fuel stabilizer included in the oil, it makes the fuel stable for longer than 30 days.
5. Replace the Fuel Filter
The fuel filter is a necessary component to keep dirt and debris from entering the fuel system. It must be replaced so it doesn’t become plugged with dirt and restrict fuel flow resulting in your chainsaw running sluggishly and losing power.
To replace the fuel filter, wipe around the fuel cap and remove it. Use a clean bent wire to hook the fuel line and filter to pull it out of the fuel tank. Hold onto the fuel line and ring clip in one hand while pulling the filter out of the line with the other hand.
Don’t lose the ring clip. Keep it on the fuel line and slide the new fuel filter into the line. Make sure the fuel filter is securely attached to the filter using the ring clip. Place the fuel filter inside the tank. Reinstall the fuel cap.
6. Check the Fuel System
Check the condition of the fuel system components including the fuel tank, fuel lines, and fuel cap. If you find any leaks or cracks, replace the items.
Check the fuel cap seal to make sure it is sealing and the fuel will not leak out of the cap area. Do not operate your Husqvarna chainsaw if you find a fuel leak until it is repaired.
7. Fill the Bar and Chain Oil Tank
Use a Husqvarna bar and chain oil or other standard bar and chain oil to fill the chain oil tank. When using the saw in very cold temperatures, the oil will thicken and become tackier.
Changing to a thinner oil viscosity or a “winter” bar and chain oil is better to use in these temperatures.
8. Replace the Air Filter
You must keep a clean air filter in your chainsaw. With the dirty dusty conditions created when using a chainsaw, it’s important to have an air filter that keeps dirt from entering the carburetor throat and wearing on the engine.
When the air filter in your Husqvarna isn’t cleaned and replaced regularly, it can get plugged causing problems such as your chainsaw dying, failing to start, or overheating.
Replace the air filter annually with a new filter. You will have to replace it more often if you are working in very dusty conditions, use your chainsaw more than the average homeowner, or for commercial purposes.
Never run a chainsaw without an air filter. Doing so will wear and damage the engine.
Replace an air filter
- Remove the engine cover.
- Remove the air filter.
- Wipe out and remove any dirt remaining in the air filter housing and engine cover.
- Install a new air filter.
- Reattach the air filter cover.
Clean your Husqvarna chainsaw filter regularly throughout the season. Brush the dirt from the air filter or shake it to remove the dirt. You can also clean it with a mild dish detergent and water solution. Rinse the filter until the water runs clear. Allow the filter to air dry.
9. Replace the Spark Plug
Make sure you always have a good spark plug in place. A fouled or damaged plug can cause your Husqvarna chainsaw to have intermittent spark problems resulting in poor performance.
Remove the old spark plug and replace it with a new spark plug that is gapped to the manufacturer’s specification. Hold off on attaching the spark plug wire. You want to leave it unattached until you have completed servicing your Husqvarna.
10. Clean the Cooling System and Air Intake
The engine can overheat and shut down when it gets hot due to debris and dirt clogging the air passageways. When air can’t circulate around the engine to keep it cool, your Husqvarna chainsaw will overheat which can result in potential engine damage.
Before working around the engine, make sure the spark plug wire is still removed. Remove the engine cover. Clean all debris from the air intake on the starter, engine cover, and around the engine.
Remove debris buildup on the pawls on the flywheel and the cooling fins. Use a bristle brush to remove dirt. Don’t use any metal tool to remove the debris as this can cause damage.
11. Inspect the Muffler and Clean the Spark Arrestor
Inspect the muffler for any damage and ensure it is properly attached. Replace a damaged muffler.
You will find a spark arrestor on most Husqvarna chainsaws. This is a small metal screen that prevents hot exhaust materials from shooting out of the chainsaw.
This spark arrestor screen can become plugged with soot resulting in a lack of airflow and affecting your chainsaw’s performance.
If you have been running the chainsaw, wait for the muffler to cool before cleaning the spark arrestor. With the spark plug wire disconnected, remove the engine cover and engine exhaust cover.
Remove the spark arrestor and clean it with a wire brush to remove the soot. If you are unable to clean it sufficiently, it is damaged or has a hole in it, replaces it with a new spark arrestor.
12. Lubricate the Needle Bearing
Keep the needle bearing lubricated. To apply grease, make sure the chain brake is not engaged. Remove the bar nuts and clutch cover. Place the chainsaw on a table so the clutch drum is on the top side facing upward.
Inspect the spur sprocket on the clutch drum for wearing. If it is worn, it must be replaced. Apply good bearing grease to the needle bearing.
13. Inspect and Clean the Guide Bar
Next, look at the guide bar. Clean out the groove in the bar and file down any burrs you find. Inspect the bar for a bend and any wearing. If you find either of these conditions, replace the guide bar.
Check the lubricating hole and clean it to make sure it isn’t clogged. Lubricate as needed.
14. Inspect, Sharpen, and Check the Tension of the Husqvarna Saw Chain
Inspect the condition of the Husqvarna chain:
It should be easy to bend and not stiff. Look at the rivets and links and replace the chain if you find they are loose, worn, or cracked. Inspect the cutting teeth. If they measure less than 4mm, it’s time to buy a new chain.
Sharpen the Husqvarna chain:
It’s important to always use a sharp chain on a Husqvarna chainsaw. A dull chain can increase the chance of a kickback. In order to sharpen a chain, you must have the right file and gauge for your chain along with the proper technique.
Because sharpening a chain correctly isn’t the easiest thing to do and will impact how the saw cuts and the user’s safety, I have a professional sharpen my saw chains. Most outdoor power equipment dealerships that sell chainsaws provide this service.
Check the Husqvarna chain tension:
The chain should be adjusted regularly as it will become longer as you use it. The chain should sit securely on the bar and be able to rotate easily around it.
You don’t want the bar too loose that it’s hanging from the bar and you don’t want it too tight that it won’t move.
To adjust the chain tension so it easily moves around the chainsaw bar, loosen the bar retaining nuts that hold on the cover over the clutch and chain brake.
While holding the bar nose up, turn the tensioning screw clockwise to tighten the chain and counter-clockwise to loosen the chain. Once you achieve the correct tension, tighten the bar nuts before lowering the bar nose.
15. Clean the Exterior
Add a mild dish detergent to the water. Dampen a clean cloth and clean the exterior of the chainsaw removing dirt and sawdust.
16. Inspect Components, Tighten Loose Hardware & Replace Broken & Missing Parts
Inspect your chainsaw for loose or missing parts. Replace any items that are missing or damaged. Tighten any loose parts. Don’t operate your Husqvarna chainsaw until all parts are installed and in good working order.
17. Reattach the Spark Plug Wire
Now that all of the work is complete on your Husqvarna chainsaw, you can reattach the spark plug wire. Start the chainsaw and check that it is running well.
Allow it to run for several minutes at about 3/4 throttle if you have added fresh fuel with a stabilizer to allow it to run through the fuel system.
While you’re allowing the chainsaw to run at 3/4 throttle, hold the saw about a foot from a flat surface while the chain spins. You should see a line of oil develop on the ground after several minutes indicating the bar and chain are being sufficiently lubricated.
Tuning Up Your Husqvarna Chainsaw Will Help Keep It Running: Don’t Skip Regular Inspections
While you should tune up your Husqvarna chainsaw annually to keep it running at its best and to minimize significant problems during the season, it is also important to check it over before each use.
Check these items on a Husqvarna chainsaw before each use:
- Inspect and clean the air filter.
- Check safety components (chain brake, chain catcher, throttle trigger lock-out, hand guards, start/stop switch)
- Look for fuel leaks and repair.
- Check the condition of the fuel filter.
- Make sure air passages are not clogged.
- Inspect the muffler for damage.
- Check anti-vibration elements.
- Inspect bar and chain for damage and proper lubrication.
- Check the chain sharpness and tension.
- Tighten loose parts and replace missing parts.
Still Having Troubles With Your Husqvarna Chainsaw?
As the owner of a Husqvarna chainsaw, you’re going to run into problems with it occasionally. This is true of all chainsaws.
To help you quickly identify the cause of your problem and how to fix it, I’ve put together a handy reference guide. You will find charts with problems and solutions to many common Husqvarna chainsaw issues along with links to information in more detail.
Check out Common Husqvarna Chainsaw Problems for help solving problems with your chainsaw not starting, the chain not turning, the engine dying, a loss of power, and more.