What are the Solutions to STIHL MS 311 Problems

The STIHL MS 311 chainsaw is a powerful and reliable tool for various cutting and woodwork applications. Whether you’re a professional logger or a homeowner with extensive woodcutting needs, the STIHL MS 311 is likely an essential part of your toolkit.

However, like any piece of equipment, it can encounter issues over time. In this blog post, we will delve into the common problems associated with the STIHL MS 311 and provide practical solutions to address them.

Brief Overview of the STIHL MS 311 Chainsaw

The STIHL MS 311 chainsaw is a powerful and reliable tool designed for a wide range of applications, from cutting firewood to professional forestry work. Known for its robust build and cutting-edge technology, this chainsaw has gained a reputation for its performance.

However, like any piece of machinery, the STIHL MS 311 is not immune to issues that may arise over time.

Importance of Addressing Common Problems

Addressing common problems with the STIHL MS 311 chainsaw is crucial for several reasons. First and foremost, it ensures the safety of the operator and those in the vicinity, as malfunctioning equipment can be dangerous.

Secondly, addressing these issues in a timely manner helps maintain the chainsaw’s performance, extending its lifespan and saving you money in the long run.

Preview of the Solutions Discussed in the Blog Post

In this blog post, we’ll delve into some of the most frequently encountered issues with the STIHL MS 311 chainsaw. We’ll provide detailed solutions for each problem to help you keep your chainsaw in optimal working condition.

Understanding the STIHL MS 311

The STIHL MS 311 chainsaw is a reliable and robust tool designed to meet the demands of both professional and residential users. In this section, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of the STIHL MS 311, covering its features, specifications, common applications, and maintenance tips to ensure optimal performance.

Features and Specifications of the STIHL MS 311

STIHL MS 311 is renowned for its outstanding features and specifications, making it a top choice among chainsaw users. Let’s delve into what sets this chainsaw apart:

  • Engine Power: The STIHL MS 311 is equipped with a powerful two-stroke engine that provides a remarkable 59.0 cc of displacement, delivering a strong cutting performance.
  • Guide Bar Length: This chainsaw is available with various guide bar lengths, typically ranging from 16 to 25 inches, allowing you to choose the right size for your specific needs.
  • Weight: The MS 311 is designed with an optimal power-to-weight ratio, making it easy to handle despite its substantial power. The weight varies depending on the chosen guide bar length but typically falls in the range of 13 to 14.5 pounds (5.9 to 6.6 kg).
  • Advanced Air Filtration: It features a professional-grade air filtration system, which extends the life of the engine by reducing dust and debris intake, thereby enhancing durability.
  • Easy2Start Technology: The Easy2Start feature reduces the effort needed to start the chainsaw, ensuring a hassle-free startup.
  • Chain Tensioning: Quick Chain Adjuster (QCA) allows for tool-free and easy chain tensioning, making adjustments convenient and efficient.
  • Anti-Vibration System: The built-in anti-vibration system reduces operator fatigue during prolonged use, improving comfort and safety.
  • Ematic Bar Lubrication: The Ematic lubrication system ensures precise and efficient oil distribution to the guide bar and chain, reducing oil consumption and minimizing environmental impact.

Common Applications of the Chainsaw

The STIHL MS 311 is a versatile chainsaw designed to handle a wide range of applications, making it a valuable tool for various tasks, including:

  • Firewood Cutting: Its powerful engine and cutting efficiency make it ideal for cutting firewood. With the right chain and guide bar, it can quickly process logs into manageable pieces.
  • Tree Pruning: The MS 311’s maneuverability and cutting precision make it a preferred choice for tree pruning, ensuring accurate cuts with ease.
  • Felling Trees: It is well-suited for felling small to medium-sized trees, thanks to its balance of power and weight.
  • Professional Forestry: Professionals in the forestry industry rely on the MS 311 for its durability and performance when handling demanding tasks in the woods.

Maintenance and Care Tips for Optimal Performance

To ensure that your STIHL MS 311 continues to perform at its best, regular maintenance and care are essential. Here are some tips to help you keep your chainsaw in top-notch condition:

  • Cleaning: Regularly clean the air filter, cooling fins, and chain area to prevent debris buildup that can affect engine performance.
  • Lubrication: Keep the chain and guide bar well-lubricated to reduce friction and extend their lifespan. Check the chain oil level before each use.
  • Chain Tension: Maintain the correct chain tension to prevent excessive wear and ensure safe operation. Adjust the tension as needed.
  • Spark Plug: Periodically check and clean the spark plug. Replace it if necessary to maintain efficient combustion.
  • Fuel and Oil: Use the recommended fuel mixture and high-quality 2-stroke oil to prevent engine damage. Store fuel properly in a clean container.
  • Safety Check: Before each use, inspect the chainsaw for any loose or damaged parts, ensuring that all safety features, such as the chain brake, are in working order.

By understanding the features, applications, and maintenance tips for the STIHL MS 311, you can maximize its performance and longevity, allowing you to tackle a variety of tasks with confidence.

Common Problems with the STIHL MS 311

The STIHL MS 311 chainsaw is a reliable tool, but like any equipment, it may encounter issues over time. In this section, we’ll address four common problems that users may face with their STIHL MS 311 chainsaws and provide detailed solutions to help you resolve these issues effectively.

Problem 1: Starting Issues

1. Possible Causes

Starting issues can be frustrating, but understanding the root causes is the first step to a solution. Common factors that lead to starting problems include:

  • Fuel-related Issues: Old or contaminated fuel can hinder the starting process.
  • Air Filter Blockage: A clogged air filter restricts airflow, affecting combustion.
  • Spark Plug Problems: A fouled or damaged spark plug can prevent ignition.
  • Choke Misuse: Incorrect choke settings can make starting difficult.

2. Troubleshooting Steps

To resolve starting problems, follow these troubleshooting steps:

  1. Fuel Check: Ensure that you have fresh, high-quality fuel mixed to the manufacturer’s specifications. Drain and replace old fuel if necessary.
  2. Air Filter Inspection: Examine the air filter, and clean or replace it if it’s dirty or damaged.
  3. Spark Plug Examination: Check the spark plug for fouling or damage. Replace it if needed and ensure the gap is correct.
  4. Choke Settings: Use the choke as instructed in the manual. Typically, start with the choke fully engaged, then disengage as the engine warms up.
  5. Pull Cord Technique: Use a smooth, steady pull when starting the chainsaw, avoiding sudden jerks.

By following these steps, you can often diagnose and address starting issues, ensuring a smooth startup for your STIHL MS 311.

Problem 2: Chain Not Turning

1. Potential Reasons

When the chain on your STIHL MS 311 doesn’t turn, several factors might be at play:

  • Chain Tension: Insufficient tension can cause the chain to slip or not turn.
  • Sprocket Issues: Worn or damaged sprockets can lead to chain rotation problems.
  • Clutch Problems: A malfunctioning clutch can prevent the chain from engaging.

2. Solutions to Resolve This Issue

To get the chain turning again, consider the following solutions:

  1. Chain Tension Adjustment: Check and adjust the chain tension according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. A well-tensioned chain ensures proper engagement.
  2. Sprocket Inspection: Inspect the sprocket for signs of wear or damage. Replace it if needed to maintain smooth chain movement.
  3. Clutch Examination: Ensure the clutch is functioning correctly. Clean or replace clutch components if necessary.

By addressing these potential causes, you can restore proper chain rotation on your STIHL MS 311.

Problem 3: Chain Brake Not Engaging

1. Causes and Safety Concerns

When the chain brake on your STIHL MS 311 fails to engage, it poses a safety risk. Common causes and safety concerns include:

  • Mechanical Issues: Damaged or worn brake components can prevent engagement.
  • Inappropriate Use: Failing to engage the chain brake when necessary can result in accidents.

2. Step-by-Step Instructions to Fix the Problem

To ensure the chain brake engages as it should, follow these steps:

  1. Safety First: Always prioritize safety. Ensure the chainsaw is turned off, and the spark plug is disconnected.
  2. Brake Inspection: Examine the brake components for wear, damage, or debris. Clean and lubricate the brake system, or replace components if necessary.
  3. Proper Usage: Train yourself to engage the chain brake when not cutting, moving, or setting the chainsaw down. It’s a critical safety feature.

By following these instructions, you can rectify chain brake issues and maintain a safe working environment with your STIHL MS 311 chainsaw.

Problem 4: Engine Performance Problems

1. Common Symptoms

Engine performance problems can manifest in various ways, including:

  • Loss of Power: Reduced cutting efficiency and slower chain speed.
  • Stalling or Cutting Out: The engine may stall or stop unexpectedly.
  • Excessive Smoke: Abnormal levels of exhaust smoke.

2. Diagnostic and Repair Suggestions

To address engine performance problems, consider the following steps:

  1. Fuel Mixture: Ensure the correct fuel-to-oil ratio is maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  2. Air Filter Maintenance: Clean or replace the air filter regularly to maintain proper airflow and combustion.
  3. Spark Plug Health: Check the spark plug condition, and gap, and replace it if needed for consistent ignition.
  4. Exhaust and Muffler Inspection: Inspect the exhaust system and muffler for obstructions or damage. Clean or replace components as required.
  5. Carburetor Adjustment: If you suspect fuel delivery issues, consult the manual for carburetor adjustment instructions or seek professional assistance.

By diagnosing and addressing engine performance issues promptly, you can ensure your STIHL MS 311 runs smoothly and maintains its cutting power.

Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is the key to keeping your STIHL MS 311 chainsaw in optimal condition, ensuring longevity, performance, and safety. In this section, we’ll delve into the essential steps of preventative maintenance, including regular cleaning and lubrication, proper chain tension and sharpening, spark plug and air filter maintenance, and best practices for the fuel and oil mixture.

Regular Cleaning and Lubrication

Proper cleaning and lubrication are essential for the longevity and smooth operation of your STIHL MS 311 chainsaw.

Cleaning Tips:

  • After each use, clean the exterior of the chainsaw to remove dirt, debris, and sawdust. Pay special attention to the air intake and cooling fins.
  • Regularly inspect and clean the air filter. Replace it if it’s excessively dirty or damaged. A clean air filter ensures proper airflow to the engine.
  • Clean the guide bar groove and sprocket area to prevent chain binding and wear. Ensure that the bar rails are well-lubricated.

Lubrication Tips:

  • Maintain proper chain and guide bar lubrication. Check the chain oil level before each use and top it up as needed.
  • Use high-quality chain oil that is specifically designed for chainsaws. Proper lubrication reduces friction and heat, extending the life of these components.
  • Ensure the chain oiler holes are clear of debris to allow for consistent oil distribution.

Proper Chain Tension and Sharpening

Maintaining the correct chain tension and sharpness is crucial for safe and efficient operation.

Chain Tension:

  • Check and adjust the chain tension regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. A properly tensioned chain ensures safe and efficient cutting.
  • Avoid over-tightening the chain, as it can lead to excessive wear and reduced performance.

Chain Sharpening:

  • Keep the chain sharp by regularly sharpening the cutters. A sharp chain reduces the risk of kickback and ensures a clean and efficient cut.
  • Use a quality chainsaw file and guide to maintain the proper angle and depth of the cutters.
  • Replace or sharpen the chain when you notice increased resistance, smoking, or uneven cutting.

Spark Plug and Air Filter Maintenance

Maintaining the spark plug and air filter is vital for consistent engine performance.

Spark Plug Maintenance:

  • Regularly check the spark plug for signs of fouling, wear, or damage. Replace it as needed.
  • Ensure the spark plug is properly gapped according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Use a spark plug wrench for easy removal and replacement.

Air Filter Maintenance:

  • Clean or replace the air filter at regular intervals, especially if you’re working in dusty conditions.
  • A clean air filter promotes proper airflow, combustion, and engine performance.

Fuel and Oil Mixture Best Practices

The fuel and oil mixture is critical for the engine’s health and performance.

Use the Right Fuel:

  • Always use fresh, high-quality gasoline with an octane rating of at least 89. Ethanol-free fuel is preferable to prevent damage to the carburetor and engine.
  • Mix the fuel with a high-quality 2-stroke oil at the manufacturer’s recommended ratio. Using the wrong oil-to-fuel ratio can damage the engine.

Proper Fuel Storage:

  • Store fuel in a clean, approved container and keep it in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing fuel for extended periods.
  • Use a fuel stabilizer if the chainsaw will be in storage for an extended time.

By following these preventative maintenance steps for your STIHL MS 311, you’ll not only ensure its longevity but also enhance its performance and safety, allowing you to tackle cutting tasks with confidence.

Troubleshooting Tips

As a responsible STIHL MS 311 chainsaw owner, knowing how to troubleshoot common issues is essential to keep your equipment running smoothly and safely.

In this section, we’ll provide valuable tips for diagnosing problems effectively, essential safety precautions when working with the STIHL MS 311, and guidance on when to seek professional assistance.

Tips for Diagnosing Problems Effectively

Properly diagnosing issues with your STIHL MS 311 chainsaw is the first step to finding the right solution. Here are some tips to help you diagnose problems effectively:

  1. Listen Carefully: Pay attention to unusual noises, such as knocking, grinding, or clicking sounds. These can provide clues about the problem.
  2. Observe Performance: Note any changes in your chainsaw’s performance, such as reduced power, slower cutting speed, or stalling. Changes may indicate underlying issues.
  3. Check for Fuel and Oil: Ensure the fuel and oil mixture is correct and that the chainsaw is properly lubricated. Inadequate or incorrect fuel mixture can lead to engine problems.
  4. Inspect the Chain: Examine the condition of the chain, guide bar, and sprocket. Look for signs of wear, damage, or misalignment.
  5. Clean and Maintain Regularly: Regular cleaning, lubrication, and maintenance can prevent many issues. Neglecting these tasks can lead to problems over time.
  6. Consult the Manual: The user manual that comes with your STIHL MS 311 contains valuable information on troubleshooting and maintenance. Refer to it for guidance.
  7. Keep a Log: Maintain a maintenance log where you record when you performed maintenance tasks, such as air filter and spark plug changes, chain sharpening, and fuel mixture adjustments. This can help identify patterns of issues over time.

Safety Precautions When Working with the STIHL MS 311

Safety should always be a top priority when operating a chainsaw like the STIHL MS 311. Here are some essential safety precautions to follow:

  1. Wear Appropriate Safety Gear: Always wear safety goggles, hearing protection, gloves, and a certified chainsaw helmet with a face shield and ear protection.
  2. Keep a Safe Distance: Ensure that no one is within at least 30 feet (9 meters) of you while operating the chainsaw.
  3. Secure Workpiece: When cutting, secure the workpiece properly to prevent it from rolling or moving unexpectedly.
  4. Check for Overhead Hazards: Be cautious of overhead branches or objects that may fall during cutting.
  5. Use Proper Technique: Follow recommended cutting techniques to minimize the risk of kickback and maintain control.
  6. Operate on Stable Ground: Work on a stable and level surface to maintain balance and prevent slips or trips.
  7. Be Mindful of Fuel: Store and handle fuel carefully, away from open flames and heat sources.
  8. Engage Chain Brake: Always engage the chain brake when not actively cutting to prevent accidents.

When to Seek Professional Assistance

While many issues can be diagnosed and resolved by users, some problems may require professional expertise. Consider seeking professional assistance in the following situations:

  1. Complex Repairs: If you’re uncertain about disassembling or repairing critical components of the chainsaw, it’s safer to leave it to a certified technician.
  2. Persistent Issues: If problems persist after troubleshooting and maintenance, professional assistance may be necessary.
  3. Warranty Service: If your chainsaw is under warranty, consult the manufacturer’s recommendations and contact an authorized service center for repairs.
  4. Safety Concerns: If you encounter safety-related issues, such as malfunctions with the chain brake or clutch, it’s imperative to have a professional inspect and repair the chainsaw.
  5. Maintenance and Tune-Ups: Regular maintenance, such as carburetor adjustments and major engine overhauls, is best performed by experienced technicians.

By following these troubleshooting tips, adhering to safety precautions, and knowing when to seek professional help, you can ensure the continued performance and safety of your STIHL MS 311 chainsaw.


In conclusion, the STIHL MS 311 is a versatile and robust chainsaw capable of tackling a variety of tasks. Armed with knowledge about its features, common problems, maintenance, and troubleshooting tips, you can harness its full potential while ensuring safety and longevity.

Remember, regular maintenance is your best friend when it comes to this tool. Keep it well-maintained, and it will serve you faithfully for years to come.

Thank you for joining us in exploring the world of the STIHL MS 311, and we look forward to hearing about your experiences and insights.

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