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 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.

But the ‘why’ isn’t so important; you want to know how to quickly unflood a chainsaw.

This is the method we 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 to skip the preamble and get to the method.

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 (put your knee on the saw if needed)

And that’s all there is to it.

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

Steve had flooded his Stihl MS230 to the extreme, so it took him longer to start the chainsaw.

Using this straightforward method, you should be able to start a chainsaw that has been flooded in under 30 seconds.

It doesn’t matter if you have a Stihl, Husqvarna, or other chainsaw brand. We’ve tried it with many different gas chainsaws, and so long as the problem was a flooded chainsaw, it works.

How To Flood A Chainsaw

chainsaw not starting

How do chainsaws become flooded in the first place?

It’s easier not to flood your chainsaw than go 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 many other things that can go wrong, from a clogged carburetor to a defective spark plug or even bad fuel or oil.

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


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3 thoughts 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!

  2. Thank you! I’d never have thought of this, and indeed it saves me a load of time in the woods today. Husq 550XP, probably over-primed, just would not start. I’m the past I’ve found waiting around for a while works, but not today. Your method worked in about 20 seconds. Very pleased!


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