13 Common Causes of a Non-Starting Poulan Chainsaw

If you’re a homeowner who needs a chainsaw sometimes for simple tasks, Poulan makes a solid option. If you keep it long enough, you’re bound to encounter a starting issue.

If your Poulan chainsaw won’t start, check the following: the on/off switch; the gasoline; the carburetor; the air filter; the fuel filter; the fuel tank vent; the spark arrestor; the spark plug; the ignition coil; and whether or not the engine is flooded.

When troubleshooting and fixing your Poulan chainsaw’s starting issue, be sure to follow the safety procedures outlined in the operator’s manual. Working on a chainsaw can be dangerous, so take all necessary precautions.

poulan chainsawBefore diagnosing, repairing, or operating, be sure you’ve read and understood all of the safety recommendations in the equipment’s operator’s manual.If you are unsure of how to proceed, lack the necessary expertise, or are unable to execute the repair properly, you should seek the advice of a professional.

Troubleshooting a Non-Starting Poulan Chainsaw

Defective Switch or Incorrect Setting

To activate your Poulan chainsaw, you must first turn the power switch to the on position. If you discover that it is turned off, simply switch it to the on position.

If the switch is engaged and the chainsaw still won’t start, the problem may lie with the ground wire or the switch.

Outdated Energy Sources

The shelf life of gasoline is finite. It doesn’t take long for it to start degrading and losing effectiveness. To ensure you are utilizing fuel when it is fresh, it should be used within 30 days after purchase.

These days, most gas contains an alternative fuel to reduce its environmental impact. Ethanol is the common name for this substance. Produced from corn or another plant rich in starch.

Poulan chainsaws’ tiny engines are no match for ethanol, but it’s better for the planet.

Moisture in the air is drawn into the fuel system by ethanol. The varnish left behind by the ethanol and water combination might clog gasoline filters and lead to engine failure.

Poulan chainsaws call for a 40:1 mixture of gas and oil. Use fuel with no more than 10% ethanol and a minimum 87 octane rating.

Don’t fill up with E15 or E85 gas, or any other gas with a high ethanol percentage. The ethanol concentration of these fuels ranges from 15% to 85%.

If you discover stale gas in your chainsaw, the solution is to empty it and refill it with new gas and oil. To keep the fuel system free of moisture and sludge, I like to use an additive like Sea Foam Motor Treatment or STA-BIL.

Mismatched 2-Cycle Oil

As was previously noted, Poulan chainsaws run on a blend of gas and oil. Putting undiluted gas into the chainsaw’s engine could ruin it and force you to buy a new one.

Pure gasoline has a low fuel reserve. Because of the shortage of oil, the engine could seize.

Blend fuel with a high-quality 2-cycle engine oil, such as Poulan 40:1 oil or another oil of similar quality that has been certified as ISO-L-EGD and JASO M345 FD compliant.

Fuel without ethanol

If you want the maximum performance out of your Poulan chainsaw, you should invest in the more expensive fuel that does not contain ethanol. Most home improvement stores stock pre-mixed 40:1 fuel.

If you want to avoid the hassle of having to go to the gas station to add oil into your fuel because you ran out, this is a fantastic choice to keep on hand.

Drain the fuel tank if you realize you put the improper fuel mix in your chainsaw. Blend 40 parts gas to 1 part oil in a separate fuel container before adding it to the gas tank.

If you tried to start the engine by pouring undiluted gas into it, you probably destroyed it. A small engine mechanic will be able to confirm whether or not the chainsaw has been damaged.

The Air Filter Is Blocked

Protecting the engine of a Poulan chainsaw is a regular job that requires the air filter to be replaced. The engine is protected from wear and damage caused by dirt and debris by the filter.

Not cleaning or replacing the air filter on a regular basis might lead to a buildup of dirt that prevents adequate ventilation. Your Poulan chainsaw won’t start if the air filter is clogged.

If you’re a typical homeowner who uses a chainsaw periodically, you should replace the air filter once a year and clean it multiple times during the season.

You should inspect and clean it more frequently if you use it more frequently. After every 5 hours of use, as suggested by Poulan, you should clean it.

If you want to keep your engine from overheating and breaking down, you should check the air filter. Verifying this takes less than a minute and can stave off worse problems.

Always use an air filter when operating a chainsaw. You might be tempted to keep your Poulan running until you can buy a new air filter, but doing so puts the engine at risk.


How to clean the filter on a Poulan chainsaw:

  • Take off the cover of the air filter.
  • Remove as much dust and debris from around the filter by wiping it down.
  • Take out the air purifier.
  • Clean the air filter housing of any lingering sawdust or grime.
  • Filter cleaning involves soaking it in warm soapy water, then rinsing it in cool water until the water comes out clear.
  • Air dry the filter fully before using again.
  • The sanitized filter should be re-inserted. If your current air filter is really dirty, torn, or has a space through which dirt
  • can travel, you should go out and get a new one and get it installed.
  • Fix the air filter cover back on.

Broken Spark Plug

The spark plug is what gets the chainsaw going and keeps it going. It’s a consumable that needs to be replaced at least annually for occasional users and as frequently as every month for heavy ones.

When the spark plug is dirty, it can’t make a clean spark, which might make starting and running difficult. Check the spark plug and clean off the carbon buildup using a wire brush in between replacements.

Substitute a spark plug if you see that it has turned a very black color, the electrode is scorched, or the porcelain is shattered. Check that the spark plug wire is properly attached and that the space on the spark plug is as specified by Poulan.

Ignition Coil Fault

Check the ignition coil if the spark plug is in decent shape and you’re still not receiving spark. The ignition coil’s winding can come loose and cause a short.

This prevents the necessary voltage from reaching the spark plug, preventing it from igniting. Because of this, you will be unable to start your Poulan chainsaw.

The problem can be solved by using an ohmmeter to look for a break in continuity and thus identify a defective ignition coil. A broken ignition coil should be replaced immediately.

Fuel Filter Clogged Up

The fuel filter serves a similar function to the air filter, which keeps debris out of the air intake and hence the engine.

Poulan chainsaws have gasoline filters that are housed in the fuel tank. Before fuel enters the fuel line, this strainer is affixed at its end.

Filters can become clogged from lack of maintenance or from using unclean fuel, reducing the amount of fuel that can pass through them.

If your Poulan isn’t getting enough gas, it won’t start or will run very slowly.

SOLUTION: If you use your chainsaw frequently, replace the fuel filter at least once a year.

To change the fuel filter on a Poulan chainsaw:

  • To prevent dirt from entering the fuel tank when removing the fuel cap, wipe the area around it first.
  • Get rid of the gas cap.
  • Hook the fuel line with a clean, bent wire, then remove the fuel filter from the tank.
  • Pull the filter out of the gasoline line while holding the fuel line firmly with one hand (needle nose pliers may be useful for this).
  • Insert the male end of the new fuel filter into the fuel line and tighten it down.
  • Replace the fuel cap after inserting the filter into the tank.

Bad Primer Bulb

If the priming bulb is cracked and won’t take fuel, the engine won’t be able to run properly since the carburetor won’t be fed.

Put in a new priming bulb, that’s the answer.

Clogged or Broken Fuel Line

Varnish and sticky deposits left behind by fuel that has been sitting in fuel lines for an extended period of time can reduce fuel flow.

A clogged fuel line can be removed with the help of carburetor cleaning, compressed air, and the fuel line itself.

Compressed air is blown into the fuel line to dislodge the obstruction, and carburetor cleaning is used to aid release the clog.

If the fuel line is blocked beyond removal, or if it is found to be broken, pierced, or otherwise damaged, a new fuel line should be installed.

Unclean Carburetor

The carburetor controls how much gasoline is added to the air mixture before it enters the cylinder and ignites. The carburetor will stop working properly if you use old fuel because it will gum up and clog. Your Poulan might not start up if you do this.

You can fix your carburetor by yourself if you have some mechanical aptitude. Take apart the carburetor and use carburetor cleaner to get it sparkling clean.

After cleaning, if the carburetor still doesn’t work, you may need to have it rebuilt or get a new one.

A Poor Recoil Activator

Poulan chainsaws have a recoil starter that is used to activate the motor. Recoil issues include a faulty pulley, slack springs, or damaged clips.

It may be possible to restring the recoil or replace the spring. It is best to replace the entire recoil assembly rather than individual parts if it does not work because the clips or pulley are broken.

Spark Arrestor with Plug

The muffler incorporates a spark arrestor. In order to prevent burns and flames from the Poulan’s hot exhaust material, a tiny screen has been attached to the chainsaw.

Blocking the spark arrestor with soot prevents air from passing through. Because of this, you will be unable to start your Poulan chainsaw.

The problem can be fixed by taking apart the muffler and taking out the spark arrestor screen and cover. Brush the screen down with a wire.

If the mesh spark arrestor screen is damaged or cannot be cleaned properly, it should be replaced. Never operate your Poulan chainsaw without this screen, and never operate it with a damaged screen.

Engine Flooded

It is possible to flood the engine by repeatedly pulling the starter rope while the choke is closed.

It can also occur if the priming bulb is pushed too many times or the starter rope is pulled repeatedly when the switch is off.

Follow these instructions to drain the tank and restart the vehicle’s engine.

Fixing a Poulan Chainsaw After It Gets Wet:

  • To activate, move the toggle to “ON.”
  • Turn the choke off and into the RUN position.
  • Repeatedly pull the starter rope and press the throttle trigger to start the engine. Pulling this can take anywhere from 5-15 tries until it begins. First, the motor in your chainsaw will splutter. If you keep pulling, it should turn over after another pull or two.