6 Most Common STIHL MS 500i Problems: Troubleshooting Tips & Advice

When it comes to powerful chainsaws, the STIHL MS 500i is a true standout. This professional-grade chainsaw is known for its exceptional performance and reliability.

However, like any piece of machinery, it can encounter problems from time to time. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the STIHL MS 500i and delve into the six most common issues users may face. We’ll also provide valuable troubleshooting tips and advice to keep your chainsaw running smoothly.

The Importance of Proper Maintenance and Problem-Solving

Proper maintenance is essential to ensure your STIHL MS 500i continues to perform at its best. Regular upkeep not only prolongs the life of your chainsaw but also helps prevent many of the common issues we’ll discuss. Additionally, having the ability to troubleshoot and address problems as they arise can save you time, money, and frustration.

Overview of the 6 Most Common Problems with the STIHL MS 500i

Let’s explore the six most frequently encountered problems with the STIHL MS 500i, and equip you with the knowledge to tackle them effectively:

Troubleshooting STIHL MS 500i: Starting Issues

Common Problem 1: Starting Issues

The STIHL MS 500i chainsaw is a remarkable tool known for its power and performance. However, like any piece of machinery, it can encounter starting issues. In this section, we’ll explore the typical starting problems users may encounter with the STIHL MS 500i, provide troubleshooting steps to address these issues, and offer preventive maintenance tips to avoid starting problems in the future.

Typical Starting Problems

Starting problems can be a common frustration for chainsaw users. Here are some typical issues you might encounter:

1. No Response When Pulling the Starter Cord
  • Possible Cause: This issue may occur due to a flooded engine, a disconnected spark plug wire, or a faulty ignition system.
  • Solution: Ensure the spark plug wire is connected, remove excess fuel from the engine, and inspect the ignition system for faults.
2. Hard to Pull the Starter Cord
  • Possible Cause: A hard-to-pull starter cord could indicate a flooded engine, excessive fuel in the cylinder, or a problem with the recoil starter.
  • Solution: Remove excess fuel, check the recoil starter for issues, and make sure you’re using the proper starting procedure.
3. The Engine Starts but Dies Quickly
  • Possible Cause: An engine that starts but dies soon after could be suffering from fuel-related issues, such as a clogged carburetor or contaminated fuel.
  • Solution: Clean or replace the carburetor, and use clean, fresh fuel. Also, check the air filter for blockages.

Troubleshooting Steps for Addressing Starting Issues

To tackle starting problems effectively, follow these troubleshooting steps:

1. Check the Spark Plug
  • Start by inspecting the spark plug. A fouled or damaged spark plug can prevent the engine from starting. Clean or replace it as necessary.
2. Inspect the Air Filter
  • A clogged air filter can restrict airflow, making it difficult to start the engine. Regularly clean or replace the air filter to ensure proper air intake.
3. Review the Fuel System
  • Examine the fuel lines, filter, and carburetor. A clogged or malfunctioning carburetor can cause starting problems. Clean or replace these components as needed.
4. Examine the Ignition System
  • Ensure that the ignition system is functioning correctly. Inspect the spark plug wire and ignition coil for any faults or loose connections.

Prevention and Maintenance Tips to Avoid Starting Problems

Preventing starting issues in your STIHL MS 500i is crucial for maintaining its reliability. Here are some preventive maintenance tips:

  • Regular Maintenance: Stick to a maintenance schedule for your chainsaw. Cleaning and servicing the air filter, spark plug, and fuel system are essential steps to prevent starting problems.
  • Quality Fuel: Always use high-quality, fresh fuel. Stale or contaminated fuel can lead to starting problems and decreased engine performance.
  • Proper Storage: When storing your chainsaw, use a fuel stabilizer to keep the fuel fresh. This will help avoid fuel-related starting issues.
  • Correct Starting Procedure: Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended starting procedure. Incorrect starting techniques can lead to unnecessary wear and tear on your chainsaw.

Troubleshooting STIHL MS 500i: Poor Performance

Common Problem 2: Poor Performance

The STIHL MS 500i chainsaw is celebrated for its exceptional performance and power. However, even the best tools can face issues over time, affecting their performance. In this section, we’ll explore common performance-related issues users may encounter with the STIHL MS 500i, provide troubleshooting techniques to improve the chainsaw’s performance, and outline regular maintenance practices to ensure optimal performance.

Common Performance-Related Issues

Poor performance can manifest in various ways with your chainsaw. Here are some common issues to watch out for:

1. Loss of Power
  • Possible Causes: A loss of power may be due to a clogged air filter, a damaged spark plug, or a restricted exhaust system.
  • Solution: Clean or replace the air filter, inspect and replace the spark plug, and ensure the exhaust system is free from obstructions.
2. Inefficient Cutting
  • Possible Causes: Inefficient cutting can result from a dull or damaged chain, improper chain tension, or a malfunctioning chain brake.
  • Solution: Sharpen or replace the chain, maintain proper chain tension, and check the chain brake for any faults.
3. Excessive Vibration
  • Possible Causes: Excessive vibration can be caused by a loose or damaged chain, a worn-out guide bar, or an imbalanced chain.
  • Solution: Tighten the chain properly, replace the guide bar if necessary, and ensure the chain is balanced and in good condition.

Troubleshooting Techniques to Improve Performance

To enhance your STIHL MS 500i’s performance, consider the following troubleshooting techniques:

1. Clean the Air Filter
  • Regularly clean or replace the air filter to maintain optimal airflow, ensuring that the engine receives the proper mixture of air and fuel.
2. Check the Spark Plug
  • Inspect and replace the spark plug as needed to guarantee a strong and consistent spark, which is essential for efficient combustion.
3. Maintain Proper Chain Tension
  • Keep the chain properly tensioned. A loose chain can lead to poor cutting performance and increased wear on the chainsaw components.
4. Inspect the Chain Brake
  • Regularly check the chain brake to ensure it engages and disengages properly. A malfunctioning chain brake can affect the chainsaw’s performance and safety.

Regular Maintenance Practices

To maintain optimal performance of your STIHL MS 500i, adhere to these regular maintenance practices:

  • Sharpen the Chain: Keep the chain sharp to ensure efficient cutting. Dull chains can cause the chainsaw to work harder, reducing its overall performance.
  • Proper Chain Lubrication: Adequate chain lubrication is vital. Check and adjust the chain oiler regularly to prevent friction and heat buildup.
  • Guide Bar Maintenance: Periodically inspect and clean the guide bar. Replace it if you notice excessive wear or damage.
  • Cooling System Inspection: Inspect and clean the cooling system, including the air intake and cooling fins, to prevent overheating and maintain performance.

By following these troubleshooting techniques and regular maintenance practices, you can ensure that your STIHL MS 500i continues to deliver the power and performance you rely on.

Troubleshooting STIHL MS 500i: Chain Lubrication Problems

Common Problem 3: Chain Lubrication Problems

Proper chain lubrication is a critical aspect of chainsaw operation, ensuring not only smooth and efficient cutting but also the longevity of your STIHL MS 500i. In this section, we will delve into the importance of chain lubrication, address common chain lubrication problems, and provide step-by-step guidance on troubleshooting and maintenance to ensure proper lubrication of your chainsaw.

The Significance of Chain Lubrication

Chain lubrication is crucial for the smooth operation of your chainsaw for several reasons:

  1. Friction Reduction: Chain lubrication reduces friction between the chain and the guide bar, preventing overheating and wear.
  2. Cutting Efficiency: Proper lubrication ensures efficient cutting, reducing the strain on the engine and improving overall performance.
  3. Chain Longevity: Lubrication prolongs the life of your chain, reducing the frequency of replacements and maintenance.
  4. Safety: Adequate lubrication decreases the risk of kickback and enhances overall safety during operation.

Common Chain Lubrication Problems

Chain lubrication issues can hinder the performance of your STIHL MS 500i. Some common problems include:

1. Inadequate Lubrication
  • Possible Causes: Inadequate lubrication may result from a clogged oiler port, a malfunctioning oil pump, or the use of the wrong type of chain oil.
  • Solution: Clean the oiler port, inspect and repair the oil pump, and always use the recommended chain oil.
2. Excessive Oil Consumption
  • Possible Causes: Excessive oil consumption can occur due to an overactive oiler, a damaged oil line, or incorrect chain tension.
  • Solution: Adjust the oiler settings, inspect the oil lines for damage, and maintain proper chain tension to prevent oil wastage.
3. Uneven Lubrication
  • Possible Causes: Uneven lubrication may result from a clogged oiler port, a misaligned guide bar, or a malfunctioning oiler.
  • Solution: Clean the oiler port, realign the guide bar, and inspect and repair the oiler if needed.

Troubleshooting and Maintenance for Proper Lubrication

To troubleshoot and maintain proper lubrication of your chainsaw, follow these step-by-step guidelines:

1. Check the Oil Reservoir
  • Ensure that the oil reservoir is filled with the recommended chain oil. Top it up if necessary, and use high-quality oil to prevent clogs.
2. Inspect the Oiler Port and Holes
  • Regularly check the oiler port and holes on the guide bar for any blockages. Clean them with a wire or a small tool to ensure a consistent flow of oil.
3. Adjust the Oiler Settings
  • If you notice excessive or insufficient lubrication, adjust the oiler settings according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
4. Inspect the Oil Pump
  • If you suspect a malfunctioning oil pump, consult your chainsaw’s manual for guidance on inspection and potential repair.
5. Maintain Proper Chain Tension
  • Regularly inspect and adjust the chain tension to prevent uneven lubrication and to ensure the chain moves freely along the guide bar.

By understanding the significance of chain lubrication, addressing common problems, and following these troubleshooting and maintenance steps, you can ensure that your STIHL MS 500i operates with the efficiency and safety you expect from this high-performance chainsaw.

Troubleshooting STIHL MS 500i: Overheating Issues

Common Problem 4: Overheating

Overheating can be a serious concern when it comes to the performance and longevity of your STIHL MS 500i chainsaw. In this section, we’ll emphasize the importance of preventing overheating, identify common causes of overheating, and provide valuable tips and advice for troubleshooting and keeping your chainsaw cool.

The Importance of Preventing Overheating

Preventing overheating in your STIHL MS 500i is crucial for various reasons:

  1. Performance: Overheating can lead to a decrease in performance, causing the chainsaw to operate less efficiently.
  2. Safety: Excessive heat can increase the risk of accidents and injuries, such as chain kickbacks or burns.
  3. Component Longevity: Overheating puts stress on the engine and other components, potentially leading to premature wear and damage.
  4. Fuel Efficiency: An overheated engine may consume more fuel, resulting in increased operating costs.

Common Causes of Overheating

Several factors can contribute to the overheating of your chainsaw:

1. Inadequate Lubrication
  • Possible Cause: Inadequate lubrication can cause friction between the chain and the guide bar, leading to overheating.
  • Solution: Ensure proper chain lubrication and address any issues with the oiling system.
2. Dirty Air Filter
  • Possible Cause: A clogged air filter restricts airflow, causing the engine to run hotter.
  • Solution: Regularly clean or replace the air filter to maintain proper air intake.
3. Overloading the Chainsaw
  • Possible Cause: Pushing the chainsaw too hard, forcing it through tough materials, can lead to overheating.
  • Solution: Operate the chainsaw at a pace that allows it to handle the workload without excessive strain.

Tips and Advice for Troubleshooting and Keeping Cool

To prevent overheating and maintain your STIHL MS 500i in optimal condition, follow these tips and advice:

1. Maintain Proper Lubrication
  • Ensure the chain and guide bar are adequately lubricated to reduce friction and heat. Regularly check the oil reservoir and oiler system.
2. Clean the Air Filter
  • Periodically inspect and clean or replace the air filter to maintain proper airflow and prevent the engine from running hot.
3. Operate Within Capacity
  • Avoid overloading the chainsaw by forcing it through materials it can’t handle. Allow the chainsaw to work at a comfortable pace to prevent overheating.
4. Regular Cooling System Inspection
  • Inspect the cooling system, including air intake and cooling fins, for debris and blockages. Clean them to ensure effective cooling.
5. Rest and Cool Down Periods
  • During extended use, give your chainsaw short breaks to cool down and prevent overheating. This practice will also extend the life of the engine.
6. Proper Fuel Mixture
  • Ensure that you’re using the correct fuel-oil mixture as recommended by the manufacturer. Incorrect ratios can lead to overheating.

By understanding the importance of preventing overheating, identifying common causes, and following these tips and advice, you can ensure that your STIHL MS 500i remains cool, efficient, and reliable during all your chainsaw tasks.

Troubleshooting STIHL MS 500i: Fuel and Carburetor Issues

Common Problem 5: Fuel and Carburetor Issues

Fuel and carburetor problems can significantly impact the performance of your STIHL MS 500i chainsaw. In this section, we’ll discuss how these issues can affect the MS 500i, provide troubleshooting steps to address fuel and carburetor problems and outline best practices for maintaining the fuel system and carburetor.

How Fuel and Carburetor Problems Affect the MS 500i

Understanding how fuel and carburetor issues can impact your chainsaw’s performance is crucial:

  1. Loss of Power: Fuel or carburetor problems can lead to an inconsistent fuel-air mixture, resulting in a loss of engine power and performance.
  2. Starting Issues: Poor fuel delivery or carburetor malfunctions can hinder the chainsaw’s ability to start or maintain a stable idle.
  3. Fuel Efficiency: A malfunctioning carburetor may cause the engine to consume more fuel than necessary, increasing operating costs.
  4. Overheating: An incorrect fuel-air mixture can lead to overheating, potentially damaging the engine.

Troubleshooting Steps to Address Fuel and Carburetor Issues

To address fuel and carburetor problems with your STIHL MS 500i, follow these troubleshooting steps:

1. Check Fuel Quality
  • Ensure you are using high-quality, fresh fuel with the correct oil-to-gas ratio. Stale or contaminated fuel can lead to performance issues.
2. Inspect the Fuel Filter
  • The fuel filter may become clogged over time. Inspect and replace it if necessary to maintain proper fuel flow.
3. Clean the Carburetor
  • A dirty or clogged carburetor can lead to fuel-related problems. Clean the carburetor using a carburetor cleaner and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
4. Adjust Carburetor Settings
  • If the chainsaw is not running correctly, you may need to adjust the carburetor settings. Refer to the owner’s manual for guidance on making these adjustments.
5. Inspect the Fuel Lines
  • Check the fuel lines for cracks, leaks, or blockages. Damaged or blocked fuel lines can disrupt fuel delivery to the carburetor.

Best Practices for Maintaining the Fuel System and Carburetor

To prevent fuel and carburetor problems and maintain your chainsaw’s performance, consider these best practices:

  • Use the Right Fuel: Always use the fuel type and oil-to-gas ratio recommended by the manufacturer to maintain the correct fuel-air mixture.
  • Regular Maintenance: Stick to a maintenance schedule for your chainsaw, including cleaning or replacing the fuel filter and inspecting the fuel lines and carburetor.
  • Store Properly: When storing your chainsaw for an extended period, drain the fuel tank and run the engine until it is out of fuel to prevent fuel-related issues.
  • Professional Service: If you’re unsure about carburetor adjustments or encounter persistent problems, seek professional service or guidance.

By addressing fuel and carburetor issues, following the troubleshooting steps, and practicing proper fuel system and carburetor maintenance, you can ensure that your STIHL MS 500i continues to operate at its best.

Common Problem 6: Chain Tension Problems with the STIHL MS 500i

When it comes to chainsaw maintenance, one of the critical aspects that often gets overlooked is proper chain tension. The STIHL MS 500i, a high-performance professional chainsaw, is no exception to this. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the significance of maintaining the right chain tension in a chainsaw, highlight common chain tension issues specific to the STIHL MS 500i, and provide step-by-step instructions for troubleshooting and maintaining the chain tension.

The Significance of Proper Chain Tension

Proper chain tension is vital for the optimal performance and safety of your chainsaw. Here’s why it matters:

  • Safety: A loose chain can easily come off the guide bar, leading to potentially hazardous situations. On the other hand, an overtightened chain can result in damage to the chainsaw and pose safety risks.
  • Cutting Efficiency: Correct chain tension ensures that the chain remains snug on the guide bar, allowing for precise and efficient cutting.
  • Chain Longevity: Over time, improper chain tension can lead to premature wear and tear of the chain, necessitating costly replacements.

Common Chain Tension Issues in the STIHL MS 500i

The STIHL MS 500i is known for its advanced technology, but it’s not immune to chain tension problems. Here are some common issues specific to this chainsaw model:

  1. Chain Slippage: Due to the high power output of the MS 500i, the chain may experience occasional slippage if not properly tensioned.
  2. Chain Stretch: As with any chainsaw, the chain on the MS 500i can stretch over time, leading to improper tension.
  3. Temperature Sensitivity: Extreme temperature variations can affect chain tension. The MS 500i may require more frequent adjustments in such conditions.

Troubleshooting and Maintaining Chain Tension

Maintaining the right chain tension in your STIHL MS 500i is crucial. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you troubleshoot and keep it properly tensioned:

  1. Safety First: Always ensure the chainsaw is turned off and cool before attempting any maintenance.
  2. Loosen the Bar Nuts: Use a wrench to slightly loosen the bar nuts. This allows you to adjust the chain tension.
  3. Adjust the Tension: Locate the chain tensioning screw, typically found on the side of the chainsaw. Turn it clockwise to tighten the chain or counterclockwise to loosen it. The chain should be snug against the guide bar but still able to move freely.
  4. Check the Tension: Pull the chain gently to see if it’s properly tensioned. It should stay on the guide bar without sagging, and you should be able to rotate it manually.
  5. Re-Tighten the Bar Nuts: Once you’re satisfied with the tension, retighten the bar nuts securely.
  6. Test the Chainsaw: Before using the chainsaw, test it to ensure the chain runs smoothly on the guide bar.
  7. Regular Maintenance: Check the chain tension before every use, and adjust it as needed. Additionally, monitor for signs of chain wear and stretch, and replace it when necessary.

By understanding the importance of chain tension and knowing how to troubleshoot and maintain it for your STIHL MS 500i, you can ensure both the safety and performance of your chainsaw. Properly tensioned chains will not only make your cutting tasks easier but also extend the life of your equipment.


The STIHL MS 500i is an exceptional chainsaw, renowned for its high-performance capabilities and advanced technology. However, even the most reliable equipment can encounter issues over time. In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored the six most common problems associated with the STIHL MS 500i and discussed the importance of regular maintenance and troubleshooting. Let’s recap what we’ve learned and why it’s crucial to keep your chainsaw in top shape.

Recap of Common Problems

  1. Starting Issues: We discussed the importance of following the correct starting procedure, using high-quality fuel and oil, and keeping the air filter clean to ensure your MS 500i starts reliably.
  2. Fuel System Problems: Regularly inspecting the fuel system for clogs and contamination is essential to prevent performance issues. Proper storage and fuel mixture ratios are also vital.
  3. Overheating: High engine temperatures can lead to overheating. Ensuring proper chain tension and ventilation, as well as maintaining the cooling system, is key to preventing this problem.
  4. Chain Lubrication: Inadequate chain lubrication can damage both the chain and the guide bar. Regularly checking and adjusting the oil flow is necessary for smooth cutting operations.
  5. Air Filtration: A clean air filter is vital for engine performance and longevity. Regularly inspect and clean or replace the air filter to avoid power loss and damage.
  6. Chain Tension Issues: Maintaining the right chain tension ensures safe and efficient cutting. We provided step-by-step instructions on how to troubleshoot and maintain chain tension for your STIHL MS 500i.

The Importance of Regular Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Proper chainsaw maintenance and troubleshooting are the keys to maximizing the lifespan and performance of your STIHL MS 500i. Neglecting regular checks and adjustments can lead to costly repairs and reduced efficiency. By following the guidelines we’ve outlined in this blog, you can ensure your chainsaw operates at its best. Here’s why it’s essential:

  • Safety: A well-maintained chainsaw is safer to use. It reduces the risk of accidents and malfunctions.
  • Efficiency: Regular maintenance ensures that your chainsaw performs at its peak, making your cutting tasks more efficient and less time-consuming.
  • Longevity: Taking care of your MS 500i means it will last longer, saving you money in the long run.
  • Environmental Impact: Proper maintenance and troubleshooting help reduce emissions and fuel consumption, which is better for the environment.

Seek Help from STIHL Professionals for Advanced Issues

While routine maintenance and troubleshooting can resolve most problems, some issues may be more complex or require professional assistance. If you encounter advanced problems with your STIHL MS 500i or if you’re unsure about how to address a specific issue, it’s always a good idea to reach out to STIHL professionals.

STIHL has a network of trained technicians who can diagnose and repair advanced problems, ensuring that your chainsaw is back in top condition. They have the expertise and access to genuine STIHL parts, guaranteeing quality service.

In conclusion, the STIHL MS 500i is a powerful and reliable tool that can meet the demands of professional cutting tasks. By understanding and addressing the common problems, practicing regular maintenance, and seeking professional assistance when needed, you can enjoy the full potential of your STIHL MS 500i and keep it running smoothly for years to come.

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