How to Install a Chain on a Stihl Chainsaw

Chainsaw chain is the element that is subjected to the greatest loads and overheating. From such influences, it can break, fly off the guide rail or just become dull from prolonged use. For timely maintenance or replacement with a new one, you need to know how to remove the chain from the chainsaw yourself and install it back. A step-by-step algorithm of these operations will be shown below.

How to Install a Chain on a Stihl Chainsaw

The direction of the chain and which side to wear

The chain of the chainsaw, if you carefully consider it, has saw teeth directed in one direction. Therefore, the correct direction of the saw teeth on the guide tire is very simple to determine: if you place the chainsaw itself in the plane that it is in the process of working, then the row of teeth located on top of the guide tire, with sharp edges should be directed towards the end of the tire. At the same time, the row of teeth, which is located below the chainsaw, with sharp edges should look in the opposite direction, in the direction of the drive sprocket.

It will not work to put the chain with its teeth inward to the grooves in the guide rail, it simply will not stay on the tire. Therefore, it is necessary to wear the chain of the chainsaw on the tire so that the guide ears of the links of the saw blade are directed inside the guide tire.

Chain tension

The chain of the chainsaw together with the guide bar during operation experience the greatest load, unlike other parts of the chainsaw. Over time, it lengthens in size due to the boring of gaps in the connecting links. This process occurs absolutely with any kind of chains, therefore, when operating a chainsaw, it is necessary to periodically monitor the correct chain tension and its wear.

The following depend on the state of the circuit:

  • the term of her life;
  • safety of work on felling or dissolution of wood;
  • ICE resource.

If the chain is tightened, then the efficiency of sawing is reduced, the engine and transmission are subjected to increased loads. The guide tire is very hot due to increased friction, the operation mode of the chainsaw goes to the excessive consumption of the fuel mixture.

What to do if the chain sags

If the chain slacks, there is a risk of injury to the operator. after all, the saw blade may break or simply fly off the guide sprockets. Of course, modern chainsaws have security systems and emergency stops, but these systems do not always work correctly.

It is important not to install a chain with defective or damaged saw links on the chainsaw, in addition to the danger of tearing at any time, such a chain will sharpen the guide grooves of the tire, which will lead to its skew, uneven cut and failure of the guide bar.

What can cause a chain to sag during even short operation?

  1. There may be problems with the guide rail. Sometimes due to an oversight of the operator or due to severe wear of the threads of the fixing bolts in the place of fastening of the guide bar, vibration can occur, which causes a weakening of the chain tension. It is necessary to check the condition of the fixing bolts and, if necessary, replace them with new ones. When the bolts are sufficiently tightened, such problems do not arise.
  2. When the chainsaw is handled with care enough over time, any chain may wear out. Trying to repair it or assemble one from several is a futile task. If the chain headset is stretched due to natural reasons, it is best to purchase a new one.
  3. The asterisk is skewed. Due to the displacement of the sprocket teeth, sagging may occur. In this case, it is best to contact the service center to repair and adjust the position of the driving star. It is quite difficult to fix the drive sprocket in the correct position, because you will have to dismantle many small parts, remove the guide rail, and then reassemble everything in the reverse order.

Video: How to Install a Chain on a Stihl Chainsaw

Step-by-step installation algorithm

Not all modern chainsaws are equipped with an installation wheel, which greatly simplifies the installation of the saw blade. Systems with an adjusting wheel among household chainsaws are generally rare. Therefore, it is very important to know the technology and sequence of installing the chain on a chainsaw.

Key points to pay attention to:

  1. Prepare a flat surface on which you will put together the chain and the bar. This will minimize the chance of damage to the chainsaw or loss of small parts. A tire is laid out on the prepared surface and a chain is parallel in parallel.
  2. Remove the sprocket protection, on modern chainsaws it is enough to unscrew the wing nut, on older models, you may need a ring wrench of the appropriate size.
  3. At the base of the guide rail, turn the tension sprocket all the way to the right. Only in this position is the chain installed.
  4. Then the chain in series link by link is imposed on the locking groove on the guide rail. Install the chain from the top of the guide, gradually rotate it so that the tire is always on top, and the chain is below, this will allow it to always be in a taut state and lie in the guide groove without problems. When you perform this step, be sure to wear thick protective gloves, because your fingers will touch the cutting edge. Seen from above, the cutter is always located forward to the end of the guide rail.
  5. Put the tire and chain on the drive sprocket.
  6. Fasten the chain sprocket cover in place. Make sure that all mounting pins align with the holes. Incorrect installation with distortions or not to the end can be the cause of extraneous noise, rattling.
  7. Make sure that the guides “enter” into the special mounting groove.
  8. After installation, check the chain fixation on the chainsaw and on the tire. Everything should be securely fixed without backlash.

An important point is the degree of chain tension after its installation. Setting the correct tension is very simple and takes no more than three minutes. First, loosen the nuts on the protective cover. Use the freely rotating adjusting screw to catch the correct tension so that the chain does not stretch more than 3-5 mm from the edge of the guide bar.

It remains only to tighten the nuts and check the tension. If adjustment is needed, adjust the tension again.

What is important to know: when the chain is in operation, due to the friction forces, its metal is very hot and expands, while the length increases. Therefore, it is important to regularly check the tension and correct it in time.

How to install the tire and chain on a chainsaw, see the following video, which presents a clear algorithm of actions:

How to unravel a chainsaw chain

When removing the old or when putting on a new chain on the guide bar of the chainsaw, it may get confused. It can also occur during sloppy transport. When the chain is tangled, it folds into rings.

Due to the lack of flexibility in the transverse direction, it is very difficult to untangle it with bare hands, because when you try to untangle one ring in another place, a new ring is formed.

It is necessary to put the chain of the chainsaw on a horizontal surface and untwist the rings in different directions, while pulling the blade in such a direction that the diameter of the rings increases. Sooner or later, the chain will unravel in its natural position.

There is another way. you can rivet one link of the chain and straighten it, then connect it into a ring and rivet the riveted links back.

Why does the chain jump

Many, even the most experienced users of chainsaws, faced in their life a situation where the chain jumped off the guide bar during operation. The most common cause is insufficient chain tension or wear.

In 80% of cases, the stretched chain links slip from the teeth of the drive sprocket, and under the action of centrifugal force it flies out from the guide. Although sometimes the problem arises due to the incorrect position of the sprocket relative to the axis of rotation or a loosely fixed saw tire on a chainsaw.


Now on sale there are many models of chains for chainsaws. First you need to know what size is right for your chainsaw and not make a mistake in the purchase. The second step is to correctly install it on a chainsaw. This is a somewhat time-consuming process, but if you know how to dress and set the chain on the saw bar yourself, then the happy owner should have no problems. We tried to describe in detail the process of installing the saw blade on a chainsaw.

We hope that after reading this article you will succeed the first time. But in order to minimize the appearance of problems with a chainsaw and chain in the future, do not forget 3 basic rules:

  1. If the chain is worn out and sagging. replace it with a new one;
  2. If vibration occurs during cutting and the cut is bad. watch for chain tension on the chainsaw;
  3. Never use saw blades that are defective or repaired by dubious specialists, your health and those who are near are much more important than a small cost savings on buying a new and reliable chain.