SOLVED: How To Start A Flooded Chainsaw Without Tools In Under A Minute

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Chainsaw not starting?

One of the most common reasons why a chainsaw won’t start is because the engine has flooded. This is when too much fuel gets into the engine and there is not enough air for the spark plug to ignite.

The ‘why’ isn’t so important here, you just want to know how to quickly unflood a chainsaw.

This is the method I use that works every time without fail.

How To Unflood A Chainsaw

This video from Steve’s Small Engine Saloon does exactly as the title suggests – it shows you how to unflood a chainsaw fast.

Skip to the 4:35 mark if you want to skip the preamble and get to the method.

Watch it or follow these simple steps:

  1. Engage the chainbrake
  2. Lay the chainsaw on the ground
  3. Put the chainsaw in the run position (definitely not choke)
  4. Hold the trigger open
  5. While holding the trigger, pull the starter cord until it starts (you may need to put your need on the top)

That’s all there is to it.

In the video, Steve has to pull on his starter cord 20+ times, but whenever I have used this method to start my chainsaw, it starts in 4 or 5 pulls.

Steve had flooded his Stihl MS230 to the extreme, which is why it took him so many pulls to start the chainsaw.

For the most part, you should be able to start a chainsaw that has been flooded in under 30 seconds using this very straightforward method.

It doesn’t matter if you have a Stihl chainsaw, a Husqvarna chainsaw, ECHO Chainsaw, or any of the other chainsaw brands out there. I’ve tried it with a lot of different gas chainsaws, and it works.

How To Flood A Chainsaw

chainsaw not starting
This is my Husqvarna 450 Rancher

How do chainsaws become flooded in the first place?

Obviously, it’s easier to not flood your chainsaw rather than going through the rigmarole of unflooding it.

Here are three ways you might be flooding your chainsaw:

  • Over choking
  • Over priming
  • Turning your chainsaw off immediately after starting

Other times you may have a carburetor problem, so if problems persist and you can’t work it out yourself, take it to a small engine repair store.

Chainsaw Not Starting

Starting a chainsaw shouldn’t be difficult, and a flooded engine is the number one cause of a chainsaw not starting.

There are a lot of other things that can go wrong from a clogged carb to a defective spark plug, or even bad fuel or oil.

If your chainsaw doesn’t start after trying out this unflooding method, it’s most likely something else.

It should go without saying, but this is NOT your problem if you have a battery or electric chainsaw!


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1 thought on “SOLVED: How To Start A Flooded Chainsaw Without Tools In Under A Minute”

  1. Great video! You’ve taught me where i’ve been making my mistake in clearing a flooded chainsaw. I’ll try this tomorrow. Chain brake, start position, NO CHOKE, squeeze trigger, knee on cover (with saw on the ground) and pull on starter cord until it starts. Thanks!!! I thought for sure I’d have to take it to the shop, AGAIN!


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