Stihl Chainsaw MS210 That Won't Start

Updated February 21, 2017

The Stihl MS 210 chainsaw operates with a gas-powered two-stroke engine. This engine requires three basic things to start: compression, gas and spark. However, all three of these components need to work fluidly together or else the system will shut down and the saw won't start. Locate the area and the part that are causing the system to not work properly to get your 210 running again.

Spark Ignition Problems

The spark plug ignites the fuel inside the cylinder. The spark gets delivered via a system of wires from the ignition module. For the ignition module to build and fire this electronic charge, the flywheel needs to spin properly to generate magnetic energy. The entire ignition system works in a closed circuit, so find the place where the charge is getting lost or dropped and you'll find the part that's causing the entire system to fail. Potential problems include bad plugs, faulty wiring, loose connections, old ignition coil and poorly gapped flywheel.

Fuel Delivery Problems

The fuel must arrive at the cylinder at the exact moment the spark gets discharged. For the fuel to ignite it also needs to be diluted with the proper amount of air. As the fuel comes up from the tank, it gets mixed with air in the carburettor and sent off to the cylinder. If the fuel gets blocked up anywhere during transit that fuel stoppage will suffocate the engine. Locate the source of the blocked or leaking fuel and you'll find the part that isn't working. Potential fuel problems include dirty or clogged gas tanks, dirty filter, dirty fuel hoses, loose fuel hoses and problems in the carburettor.

Carburettor Issues

The carburettor pumps in fuel from the tank, measures the appropriate amount of fuel to mix with the appropriate amount of air and then sends this mix off to the cylinder. If this cycle gets interrupted, even slightly, the whole mixture will be wrong and the fuel may stop igniting and the engine will stop starting. Many carburettor issues can present themselves in many different ways, but a few are clogged or dirty bores, dirty inlets and jets, clogged screens, improperly seated needle valve or improperly adjusted screws. Let a professional handle all carburettor issues.

Compression Issues

The pulsing of the crankshaft and the piston creates enough pressure to keep all of these systems running. Without the proper amount of compression, the Stihl will not start even if all of the above problems have been addressed. Compression problems usually happen when air leaks into the cylinder or crankcase, causing a significant drop in pressure. However, if the fuel or air systems were dirty and clogged, too much compression may be building up and shutting down the engine. Let a professional handle all compression issues as well.

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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.