How to Remove a Stihl Outboard Clutch

Updated February 21, 2017

The difference between an outboard clutch and an inboard clutch is the location of the drive sprocket. Most Stihl saws use an inboard clutch, which has the drive sprocket sitting above the clutch and below the bar. This makes the clutch removal very simple. But, some Stihl saws use an outboard clutch that has the drive sprocket below the bar and clutch, which makes their removal a bit more difficult. Stihl fortunately makes specific tools designed to make this task easier.

Turn off the saw and disengage the chain brake by pulling back on it. The chain brake is the plastic handle that runs across the top of the saw. With your gloved hand, spin the chain to make sure the chain brake is off.

Use the wrench to loosen the bar nuts that hold the clutch cover over the bar and chain. Loosen them until they are finger tight.

Use the screwdriver to loosen the bar tensioner screw that's located inside the hole on the clutch cover in between the bar nut posts. Turn the screw counterclockwise until the chain sags below the bar.

Take off the bar nuts with your hand and remove the bar, chain and clutch cover. Set them aside in a safe place.

Use the screwdriver to pop off the engine cover, which houses the spark plug. Remove the spark plug from the engine and insert the piston stop tool into the spark plug hole. This will block the crankshaft from spinning and lock the clutch in place so you can remove it.

Use Stihl's clutch removal tool to loosen the clutch weights. To loosen turn the bolt and clutch clockwise, because all Stihl models use this reverse thread.

Pull the clutch weights off and remove the clutch. Inspect the drive sprocket and roller bearing for any damage, deep grooves or heavy wear. Replace these parts if needed.

Install the clutch again by putting it back onto the crankshaft. Lock the bolt by turning it counterclockwise.

Remove the piston stop tool and reattach the spark plug to the engine. Put the bar, chain and clutch cover back onto the saw.


You can also use a mallet and metal file to gently pound the clutch weights loose, though the clutch tool is much simpler and you don't risk damaging the flywheel.


Do not use anything other than Stihl's piston stop tool, like the saw's starter cord. Using the cord can seriously damage the piston head, get sheared off into the exhaust port.

Things You'll Need

  • Leather working gloves
  • Wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Piston stop tool
  • Clutch removal tool
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About the Author

Currently based in Minneapolis, Minn., Eric Blankenburg has been a freelance journalist since 2000. His articles have appeared in "Outside Missoula, Outside Bozeman," "Hello Chengdu" and online at and various other websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the University of Montana.