5 Common STIHL MS 171 Problems and Quick Solutions

The world of power tools is vast and diverse, with each tool designed to serve a specific purpose. Among these tools, the STIHL MS 171 chainsaw stands out as a reliable and versatile workhorse that has found favor with homeowners and professionals alike.

Brief Introduction to the STIHL MS 171 Chainsaw

The STIHL MS 171 chainsaw is a versatile and reliable tool that has gained popularity among homeowners and professionals for its robust performance. Whether you’re using it for cutting firewood, pruning trees, or tackling other outdoor tasks, the MS 171 is designed to get the job done efficiently.

Importance of Regular Maintenance and Problem-Solving

Like any other piece of equipment, the STIHL MS 171 requires regular maintenance to ensure it operates at its best. Neglecting maintenance not only affects its performance but can also lead to common problems that hinder your work. Fortunately, with some basic knowledge and a few troubleshooting skills, you can keep your chainsaw running smoothly.

Overview of the Common Problems Covered in the Blog

In this blog, we will delve into five of the most common issues that STIHL MS 171 users may encounter. For each problem, we’ll provide detailed insights and quick solutions to get your chainsaw back in action. Whether you’re a seasoned chainsaw operator or just starting out, this guide will prove invaluable in maintaining your STIHL MS 171.

Let’s jump right in and address these common issues to ensure your STIHL MS 171 remains a reliable tool in your arsenal.

Problem 1: The Chainsaw Won’t Start

Your trusty STIHL MS 171 chainsaw has always been a reliable companion for outdoor tasks, but what do you do when it simply refuses to start? In this section, we’ll explore the possible causes behind this issue, offer a step-by-step troubleshooting guide, and provide essential tips for preventive maintenance.

Possible Causes

Fuel Issues

One of the common culprits behind a chainsaw’s refusal to start is fuel-related problems. Fuel can become stale or contaminated over time, causing issues with the engine’s performance. To determine if fuel is the issue, consider these questions:

  • Is the fuel old or contaminated? Old or contaminated fuel can clog the carburetor and prevent the engine from starting.

Spark Plug Problems

A faulty or fouled spark plug can also be to blame for a non-starting chainsaw. The spark plug plays a crucial role in igniting the air-fuel mixture within the engine. Signs of a problematic spark plug include:

  • No Spark: When you pull the starter cord and see no spark at the plug.
  • Fouling: A spark plug that is covered in soot or oil residue.

Step-by-Step Troubleshooting Guide

Here’s a detailed guide to help you troubleshoot and resolve the issue of your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw not starting:

  1. Check Fuel: Start by ensuring that the fuel in the tank is fresh, uncontaminated, and contains the correct fuel-oil mixture as specified in your user manual. Old or contaminated fuel can obstruct the carburetor and prevent starting.
  2. Inspect the Spark Plug: Examine the spark plug. If it’s fouled, it’s time for a replacement. Even if it’s not fouled, inspect the electrode gap and ensure it adheres to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  3. Choke and Throttle Setting: Ensure the choke and throttle are correctly set for starting. Refer to your user manual for the recommended settings.
  4. Pull Cord Smoothly: When attempting to start the chainsaw, pull the starter cord smoothly and steadily. Jerking or pulling too quickly can lead to flooding the engine.
  5. Air Filter Check: The air filter plays a crucial role in maintaining a proper air-fuel mixture. If it’s clogged or dirty, it can prevent the engine from starting. Clean or replace the air filter as necessary.

Tips for Preventive Maintenance

Prevention is often the best solution to many chainsaw issues. To avoid your STIHL MS 171 not starting in the future, consider these preventive maintenance tips:

  • Use High-Quality Fuel: Invest in high-quality, ethanol-free fuel. This reduces the risk of fuel-related problems.
  • Regular Air Filter Maintenance: Incorporate the routine inspection and cleaning or replacement of the air filter into your regular maintenance schedule.
  • Spark Plug Replacement: As part of your maintenance routine, replace the spark plug according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. This simple step can go a long way in preventing starting problems.
  • User Manual Reference: Always consult your user manual for specific maintenance guidelines and settings. It’s a valuable resource for keeping your chainsaw in optimal working condition.

By following these troubleshooting steps and implementing preventive maintenance practices, you can increase the chances of your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw starting reliably every time you need it. Stay tuned for more problem-solving tips in the next section.

Problem 2: Poor Cutting Performance

You rely on your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw to tackle a variety of tasks, and when it comes to cutting, it’s essential that it performs optimally. In this section, we’ll explore the factors that can affect cutting performance, provide solutions to maintain a sharp chain and bar, and share techniques to optimize your chainsaw’s cutting efficiency.

Identifying Factors Affecting Cutting Performance

Understanding the factors that influence your chainsaw’s cutting performance is the first step in addressing this common issue. Several elements can impact how well your STIHL MS 171 performs:

Dull Chain

One of the primary reasons for poor cutting performance is a dull chain. Over time, the cutting teeth on the chain wear down, resulting in slower cutting times, increased effort, and a rough finish. Signs of a dull chain include:

  • Slow Cutting: Your chainsaw struggles to cut through wood and requires more time.
  • Sawdust Instead of Chips: A sharp chain produces clean, wood chips, while a dull one creates sawdust.
  • Smoking or Overheating: A dull chain generates excessive heat and can produce smoke during operation.

Bar Maintenance

Neglected bar maintenance can also affect cutting performance. The bar is an essential component that guides the chain during cutting. Signs of poor bar maintenance include:

  • Lack of Lubrication: The chain doesn’t receive sufficient lubrication, causing increased friction.
  • Bent or Warped Bar: A bent or warped bar can lead to uneven cutting and reduced performance.
  • Worn Groove: The groove where the chain sits is worn or damaged, affecting the chain’s alignment.

Solutions for Maintaining a Sharp Chain and Bar

To address poor cutting performance related to dull chain and bar issues, consider the following solutions:

  1. Sharpen the Chain: Regularly inspect the chain and sharpen it using a round file or a chainsaw file. Refer to your user manual for guidance on the correct filing angles and depth gauge settings. Proper sharpening will significantly improve cutting efficiency.
  2. Lubrication: Ensure the chain oiler is functioning correctly and that you are using the appropriate bar and chain oil. Proper lubrication reduces friction, heat, and wear on the chain and bar.
  3. Bar Maintenance: Regularly inspect and clean the bar groove to remove dirt and debris. If the bar is bent or warped, it should be straightened or replaced to ensure optimal cutting performance.

Techniques to Optimize Performance

To get the most out of your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw and maintain cutting efficiency, consider implementing these techniques:

  • Maintain Proper Chain Tension: Check and adjust the chain tension as needed. A loose chain can reduce cutting efficiency and increase the risk of kickback.
  • Use the Right Chain and Bar Oil: Choose a high-quality bar and chain oil suitable for your operating conditions. For example, a thinner oil may be better in cold weather, while a thicker oil is ideal for hot and dry conditions.
  • Proper Cutting Techniques: Ensure you are using the appropriate cutting techniques for different types of wood. For instance, making a plunge cut for a felling operation and ensuring the saw is at full throttle during cutting.

By addressing issues related to a dull chain and bar maintenance, and implementing techniques for optimal performance, you can enhance the cutting efficiency of your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw. Stay tuned for more insights in the next section.

Problem 3: Chainsaw Stalls or Dies During Operation

Your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw is a workhorse, but if it’s stalling or dying during operation, it can be frustrating and potentially dangerous. In this section, we’ll explore the potential reasons behind this issue, provide detailed steps to diagnose and fix it and offer tips for maintaining the proper fuel mixture and carburetor adjustment.

Potential Reasons for Stalling

Understanding why your chainsaw stalls or dies during operation is crucial to finding an effective solution. There can be several reasons behind this problem:

Fuel Issues

Fuel-related problems are common culprits when it comes to stalling or dying chainsaws. Issues can include:

  • Incorrect Fuel Mixture: Using the wrong fuel-oil mixture can lead to poor engine performance and stalling.
  • Clogged Fuel Filter: A clogged fuel filter can restrict fuel flow to the carburetor, causing the engine to stall.

Carburetor Problems

The carburetor is a vital component in the engine’s operation. If it’s not functioning correctly, the chainsaw can stall. Problems can include:

  • Incorrect Adjustment: An improperly adjusted carburetor can lead to a lean or rich fuel mixture, causing stalling.
  • Dirty or Clogged Carburetor: A dirty or clogged carburetor can hinder fuel and airflow, affecting engine performance.

Detailed Steps to Diagnose and Fix the Issue

To diagnose and fix the issue of your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw stalling or dying during operation, follow these detailed steps:

  1. Check Fuel Mixture: Ensure that you are using the correct fuel-oil mixture as specified in your user manual. Using an improper mixture can lead to poor engine performance and stalling. Empty the fuel tank and refill it with the correct mixture if necessary.
  2. Inspect the Fuel Filter: Check the fuel filter for clogs or debris. If it’s clogged, replace it with a new one. Regularly cleaning or replacing the fuel filter is good preventive maintenance.
  3. Carburetor Adjustment: If you suspect the carburetor is causing the problem, refer to your user manual for the correct carburetor adjustment settings. Ensure the carburetor is properly tuned for your operating conditions.
  4. Clean the Carburetor: If you suspect a dirty or clogged carburetor, consider cleaning it. Use a carburetor cleaner or follow the specific cleaning instructions in your user manual.
  5. Air Filter Inspection: Inspect the air filter to ensure it’s clean and not clogged. A clogged air filter can restrict airflow and affect engine performance. Clean or replace the air filter as needed.

Tips for Proper Fuel Mixture and Carburetor Adjustment

To prevent stalling or dying issues in the future, consider these tips for maintaining the proper fuel mixture and carburetor adjustment:

  • Use Quality Fuel: Always use high-quality, ethanol-free fuel. Ethanol can cause issues in small engines like those in chainsaws.
  • Regularly Inspect and Clean the Air Filter: Incorporate air filter maintenance into your regular schedule to ensure optimal airflow to the engine.
  • Refer to the User Manual: Always consult your user manual for the correct fuel mixture, carburetor adjustment settings, and maintenance guidelines. It’s a valuable resource for keeping your chainsaw running smoothly.

By following these steps and tips, you can address the issue of your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw stalling or dying during operation and ensure its continued reliable performance. Stay tuned for more guidance in the next section.

Problem 4: Excessive Vibration

Excessive vibration while using your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw can be more than just an annoyance; it can also indicate underlying issues that need to be addressed for safety and optimal performance. In this section, we’ll discuss the reasons behind excessive vibration, how to inspect and adjust the chain and bar, and the importance of ensuring a balanced and safe operation.

Discussing the Reasons Behind Excessive Vibration

Excessive vibration from your chainsaw can result from various factors, including:

Chain and Bar Issues

  • Dull Chain: A dull chain can cause vibrations due to increased friction, as the chain struggles to cut through the wood.
  • Incorrect Chain Tension: Chains that are too tight or too loose can create excessive vibration. Proper chain tension is crucial.
  • Bar Condition: A damaged or bent bar can result in uneven wear on the chain and cause vibration.
  • Loose Fasteners: Loose bolts, nuts, or bar mounting hardware can lead to vibration during operation.

Engine Problems

  • Engine Mounts: Worn or damaged engine mounts can allow the engine to move excessively, causing vibration.
  • Carburetor Adjustment: An improperly adjusted carburetor can affect engine performance, leading to vibrations.
  • Engine Maintenance: Poor engine maintenance, including dirty air filters or fouled spark plugs, can lead to vibrations.

How to Inspect and Adjust the Chain and Bar

To address excessive vibration stemming from chain and bar issues, follow these steps:

  1. Inspect the Chain: Check the chain for signs of damage or dullness. Sharpen the chain if necessary or replace it if it’s worn or damaged.
  2. Check Chain Tension: Ensure the chain tension is correctly adjusted. Refer to your user manual for specific tensioning guidelines.
  3. Examine the Bar: Inspect the bar for any signs of damage, such as bending or warping. Replace the bar if it’s compromised.
  4. Tighten Fasteners: Ensure that all bolts, nuts, and bar mounting hardware are tightened to the manufacturer’s specifications. Loose fasteners can lead to excessive vibration.

Ensuring a Balanced and Safe Operation

To ensure a balanced and safe operation when using your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw:

  • Wear Safety Gear: Always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment, including safety glasses, hearing protection, gloves, and safety boots.
  • Proper Cutting Techniques: Use the correct cutting techniques and let the chainsaw do the work. Avoid pushing the saw excessively, as this can lead to increased vibration and fatigue.
  • Maintenance Schedule: Establish a regular maintenance schedule for your chainsaw. This includes keeping the chain sharp, the bar in good condition, and the engine well-maintained.
  • User Manual Reference: Consult your user manual for maintenance guidelines and proper operation. It’s a valuable resource for maximizing the life and performance of your chainsaw.

By addressing the causes of excessive vibration and maintaining proper chain and bar tension, you can ensure that your STIHL MS 171 operates smoothly and safely, providing efficient cutting performance while minimizing wear and tear. Stay tuned for more insights in the next section.

Problem 5: Oil or Fuel Leaks

An oil or fuel leak from your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw can be more than just a messy inconvenience; it can also lead to poor performance, environmental concerns, and even safety hazards. In this section, we’ll explore how to recognize the signs of oil or fuel leaks, provide a step-by-step guide to locating and addressing these leaks, and offer essential tips for maintaining a leak-free chainsaw.

Recognizing the Signs of Oil or Fuel Leaks

Identifying the signs of oil or fuel leaks is the first step in addressing the issue. Look out for these common indicators:

Oil Leaks

  • Excessive Oil Buildup: Noticeable accumulation of oil around the chain and bar area.
  • Spots on the Ground: Puddles or spots of chain oil under the chainsaw after use.

Fuel Leaks

  • Strong Fuel Odor: An unusual smell of gasoline while operating the chainsaw.
  • Visible Fuel Drips: Spots or drips of fuel on the chainsaw, ground, or clothing.

Step-by-Step Guide to Locating and Addressing the Leaks

To locate and address oil or fuel leaks from your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw, follow these steps:

Locating the Leak

  1. Inspect the Chain Oil System: Check for visible leaks or loose components in the chain oil system. Ensure the oil cap is properly secured.
  2. Examine the Fuel System: Inspect the fuel tank, fuel lines, and connections for any visible signs of leakage.

Addressing the Leaks

Oil Leaks

  1. Tighten Oil Cap: If the oil cap is loose or damaged, tighten it securely. An improperly sealed cap can lead to oil leakage.
  2. Check Oil Lines: Inspect the oil lines for cracks or loose connections. Replace any damaged parts as needed.

Fuel Leaks

  1. Inspect Fuel Lines: Examine the fuel lines for cracks, splits, or loose connections. Replace any damaged components to prevent fuel leakage.
  2. Tighten Fuel Tank Cap: Ensure the fuel tank cap is securely fastened. A loose cap can result in fuel leaks.

Tips for Maintaining a Leak-Free Chainsaw

To maintain a leak-free chainsaw and prevent future oil or fuel leaks, consider these essential tips:

  • Regular Inspection: Periodically inspect your chainsaw for signs of oil or fuel leaks. Early detection can prevent larger problems.
  • Proper Storage: When storing your chainsaw, empty the fuel tank and oil reservoir to prevent leaks during storage.
  • Use High-Quality Fuel and Oil: Invest in high-quality, clean fuel and the correct bar and chain oil. Subpar-quality fuels and oils can lead to leaks and performance issues.
  • User Manual Reference: Consult your user manual for specific guidelines on fuel and oil recommendations and maintenance procedures.

By recognizing the signs of oil or fuel leaks, addressing the issues promptly, and following these maintenance tips, you can ensure that your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw remains leak-free and in optimal operating condition.

Congratulations! You’ve now gained insights into addressing common problems with your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw. Proper maintenance, troubleshooting, and preventive measures will help you make the most of this versatile tool and keep it running smoothly.

General Maintenance and Safety Tips

Now that we’ve explored common problems and their solutions for the STIHL MS 171 chainsaw, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of general maintenance and safety. In this section, we’ll delve into creating a regular maintenance schedule, essential safety precautions when working with a chainsaw, and the significance of using genuine STIHL replacement parts.

Regular Maintenance Schedule

A well-maintained chainsaw is not only more reliable but also safer to operate. Here’s a basic maintenance schedule to keep your STIHL MS 171 in prime working condition:

  1. Chain Maintenance: Regularly inspect the chain for sharpness and wear. Sharpen or replace it as needed.
  2. Bar Maintenance: Check the condition of the bar for any damage or wear. Replace the bar if it’s bent or shows signs of wear.
  3. Air Filter Cleaning: Clean or replace the air filter based on your usage and environmental conditions. A clean air filter ensures optimal engine performance.
  4. Chain Oil System: Regularly check the chain oil system for proper lubrication. Ensure the oil cap is tightly secured, and oil is being dispensed to the chain during operation.
  5. Fuel System: Inspect the fuel system for leaks, and check fuel lines and the fuel tank for damage. Address any issues promptly.
  6. Carburetor Adjustment: Keep the carburetor correctly tuned for your operating conditions. Refer to the user manual for specific adjustments.
  7. Fastener Tightening: Periodically check all bolts, nuts, and bar mounting hardware to ensure they are properly tightened. Loose fasteners can lead to safety hazards and performance issues.
  8. User Manual Reference: Consult your user manual for specific maintenance guidelines and recommended maintenance intervals. STIHL provides valuable information to help keep your chainsaw in top shape.

Safety Precautions When Working with a Chainsaw

Operating a chainsaw, including the STIHL MS 171, requires strict adherence to safety precautions to prevent accidents and injuries. Here are some fundamental safety tips:

  1. Safety Gear: Always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment, including safety glasses, hearing protection, gloves, safety boots, and a hard hat.
  2. Clear Work Area: Ensure the work area is free of obstacles and bystanders. Maintain a safe distance from others.
  3. Proper Stance: Maintain a stable and balanced stance while using the chainsaw. Keep both hands on the handles and never operate the saw one-handed.
  4. Use Both Hands: Always operate the chainsaw with both hands on the handles for better control.
  5. Full Throttle: When cutting, ensure the chainsaw is at full throttle for optimal performance. Avoid excessive pressure on the chainsaw, as this can lead to fatigue and increased vibration.
  6. Kickback Awareness: Be aware of kickback potential and use appropriate cutting techniques. Kickback can be sudden and dangerous.
  7. Avoid Overhead Cutting: Avoid cutting overhead when possible, as it can lead to a loss of control or injury.
  8. Refuel Safely: Allow the chainsaw to cool before refueling. Refuel in a well-ventilated area, away from open flames or sparks.

Importance of Using Genuine STIHL Replacement Parts

Using genuine STIHL replacement parts is essential to maintain the quality and performance of your chainsaw. Genuine parts are designed to meet STIHL’s high standards and specifications, ensuring the reliability and longevity of your equipment. When you use genuine replacement parts, you can be confident that your chainsaw will operate as intended and adhere to safety standards.

In addition, genuine STIHL replacement parts come with warranties, offering further peace of mind. Non-genuine or counterfeit parts may not meet the same quality standards and can compromise the performance, safety, and longevity of your chainsaw.

When you require replacement parts or components for your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw, always choose genuine STIHL parts. Your chainsaw deserves nothing less than the best to ensure its optimal operation and your safety.

By following a regular maintenance schedule, adhering to safety precautions, and using genuine STIHL replacement parts, you can enjoy the full potential of your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw while keeping yourself and others safe during operation. Remember that proper maintenance and safety go hand in hand for a successful and injury-free experience.

Conclusion

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored the world of the STIHL MS 171 chainsaw, from its outstanding features to common problems and their solutions, and the significance of regular maintenance and safety precautions. Your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw is a valuable tool for a wide range of outdoor tasks, and it deserves the care and attention necessary to keep it running smoothly.

From tackling problems like starting issues, poor cutting performance, stalling during operation, excessive vibration, and oil or fuel leaks to understanding the importance of using genuine STIHL replacement parts, you now have a wealth of knowledge to ensure your chainsaw performs at its best.

Maintenance and Safety: It cannot be stressed enough how proper maintenance and adherence to safety precautions are integral to a successful and injury-free experience. Regular maintenance ensures your chainsaw operates optimally and extends its longevity. Safety precautions are non-negotiable when it comes to using a chainsaw. Always wear the right safety gear, maintain a clear work area, and follow best practices for chainsaw operation.

Genuine STIHL Parts: When it comes to replacement parts and components, never compromise on quality. Genuine STIHL replacement parts are designed to meet the highest standards, ensuring the reliability and safety of your chainsaw. Using non-genuine or counterfeit parts can compromise your chainsaw’s performance and safety.

Your STIHL MS 171 chainsaw is an investment in your outdoor projects and tasks. By following the guidelines and recommendations provided in this guide, you can make the most of this versatile tool and keep it running smoothly for years to come.

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