STIHL Maintenance Tips For Spring
Atypically warm temperatures have all of us at Murdoch’s thinking we might need to wake up our power equipment a little earlier than usual this spring. If that, indeed, turns out to be true, then prepping our equipment starts now.
For all of our power equipment customers, here are STIHL maintenance tips direct from Jeremy Krueger, Territory Manager for Montana and Northern Wyoming at Intermountain STIHL and Murdoch’s go-to-guy for product needs. Jeremy wrote and provided this article.
Storing STIHL Products
Hopefully, you stored your machines properly in the fall. If you don’t know how, or aren’t sure if you’ve followed the latest recommendations, I detailed them below.
- Drain fuel, let machine idle until it dies. Store indefinitely.
- This usually works fine for a winter season.
- However, if the machine sits for more than the average 6 months, fuel diaphragms, gaskets, hoses, and intake manifold can dry out and become brittle.
- Drain fuel, let machine idle until it dies.
- Use up whatever 50:1 fuel is left in your can with any 4-cycle outdoor power engine such as a lawnmower, snow blower, shredder, etc. to avoid using this fuel next spring.
- Put enough STIHL MotoMix (available at Murdoch’s stores) to fill the tank about ¼ full.
- Start the engine and run for 45-60 seconds at various RPM – enough to get the fuel mix through the system, then shut it off.
- Drain the MotoMix from the tank back into its can, repeat running it at idle until it dies.
- Now, if the saw sits for up to two years without ever being run, it should start-up as if it’s new!
Now, as far as Spring prepping goes, there really is no “official” statement from STIHL regarding proper progression into your warmer season. However, having worked around – and with – the product for over a decade, here are some of my suggestions to help save frustration:
After removing the machine from storage:
- Ensure bad fuel has not been left in the machine all winter. If it has, you may need to have the fuel system inspected before you can really get to work.
- Check the spark arrester screen to ensure it is not blocked up from last year’s laboring. If it is blocked with carbon, clean it or replace it.
- If it is a chainsaw, ensure the chain is nice and sharp with the teeth filed at the proper angle, and depth gauges at the correct height.
- Tools for ensuring cutter teeth and depth gauges are at the correct spec are available from STIHL (at Murdoch’s).
- Cutting wood with a dull chain will cause a saw to over-speed, and therefore, over-heat!
- If your unit is equipped with a summer/winter shutter (part of the shroud assembly near the carburetor – most chain saws have these), ensure that it is flipped to the “sunny” summer side, instead of the “snowflake” cold weather side.
When getting ready to use the machine:
Make sure to fill the tank with a good seasonally fresh fuel (less than 10% ethanol) mixed as 50 parts gas, to 1 part mix (2.6 oz. of oil per 1 gallon). Ethanol-free fuel is the best, but is not mandatory. Either way, mixed fuel should never be used 30 days after mixing it.
STIHL MotoMix has a 2-year shelf life once it’s opened, and 10 years unopened. Also, no mixing is required as MotoMix is a 92 octane premium fuel 50:1 pre-mix!
If it is a chain saw you’re using, ensure that you have filled the bar oil tank with bar oil.
If it is a trimmer you’re using, ensure that whatever cutting line that is not in the line head is stored in water. Spooling the unused line in a Cool-Whip or Jiffy jar filled with water is an easy way of doing this until you are ready to re-fill your line head. Trimmer line (as well as STIHL Poly-Cut blades) are made of a polymer that is partially hydroscopic, meaning they absorb water. Storing these dry can cause brittleness and premature breakage.
For chain saws, this means chaps, as well as protection for ears and eyes. For branch or pruning work, a helmet with a visor and also secondary protective eye glasses should always be used. Gloves are always a good idea and can protect from sun, rogue debris, heat, and vibration.
For trimmers, all the same protection is recommended, except for chaps. Carhartts or other heavy work pants are a recommended replacement if using a trimmer.