Stihl 026 Chainsaw Troubleshooting

Written by eric blankenburg
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When your STIHL 026 chainsaw shuts down and refuses to run again, you can perform several uncomplicated tests at home to isolate your problem into one of the three engine functions: spark, fuel, or compression. After you've isolated the problem area you can determine the severity of the problem, and then decide whether you can make the repairs yourself, if you'll need a mechanic, or if the whole saw is shot. Perform these tests when you begin noticing problems and, most often, simple cleaning and maintenance is the solution to your problem.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Socket wrench
  • 13-mm attachment nut
  • New spark plug
  • Leather work gloves
  • 50-to-1 gas to oil freshly mixed chainsaw fuel
  • Screwdriver
  • Brush
  • Rag
  • Metal hook (baling wire)
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Replacement fuel hose
  • Replacement fuel filter

Show MoreHide


    Spark Test

  1. 1

    Unhinge the high-tension lead wire's black boot from the end of the 026's spark plug. Attach the 13-mm nut to the socket wrench and undo the spark plug. Toss out the old spark plug and fit the new one, metal tip out, into the black boot.

  2. 2

    Place the chainsaw onto the ground. Hold the rubber wire, while wearing leather work gloves, so the tip of the spark plug is about 2cm from a grounded metal point on the engine block. Tug hard on the starter rope four times.

  3. 3

    Check the spark plug for a blue spark. If there's no spark, follow the high-tension lead wire down into the ignition module, looking for a loose connection or damage to the wire. Securely connect the "Stop" or kill switch's wire to the switch and keep it from prematurely grounding, or touching metal somewhere before the switch.

  4. 4

    Replace any damaged or broken wires. Perform spark test again. If a spark is present, the problem was with the wires. If there's still no spark or it's a weak yellow, your ignition module is almost finished and will need to be replaced.

    Fuel Test

  1. 1

    Fill the fuel tank with freshly mixed two-cycle fuel at a 50-to-1 gas to oil ratio. Unscrew the carburettor box's cover. Slide the choke lever into the closed position. Undo the air filter and, if you haven't already, clean the filter, cover and surrounding area with the brush and rag. Unhook the main fuel line (the plastic hose nearest to the top) from the intake valve on the carburettor. Tilt the saw upside down and watch the hose to see if gas trickles out of the hose. If gas trickles out and you can't get the engine started or it dies slightly after or when it's hot, your carburettor's filter screens and nozzles need to be cleaned by a professional. If no gas trickles out, drain the fuel in the tank into the approved fuel container.

  2. 2

    Lift up the fuel filter and fuel hose with the metal hook. Pull the fuel filter and fuel line from the tank. Push the new fuel hose through the hole in the tank. Attach the new fuel filter to the end of the line and refill the gas tank. Tilt the saw upside down and gas should trickle out of the line. Reattach the gas line to the carburettor and wipe up any spilt gas with the rag.

  3. 3

    Restart the 026. If it fires up, the problem was in the fuel hose and filter. If it doesn't fire, your carburettor is dirty and will need cleaning and servicing. If it fires and then dies, move the choke lever to the half-open position. Pull on the starter rope and as soon as it fires squirt a blast of carburettor cleaner into the open choke hole.

  4. 4

    Move the choke to the closed position and let the carburettor cleaner burn off all the dirt inside the carburettor before reusing the saw. If the saw dies after injecting the carburettor cleaner, your carburettor needs servicing.

Tips and warnings

  • For compression problems, take the chainsaw to a STIHL service mechanic to pressure test the crankcase.

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