13 Causes of Craftsman Chainsaw Not Starting

Craftsman produces high-quality chainsaws that can meet the needs of the majority of homeowners. It’s useful to have on ready to cut some small logs for a fall campfire and sweep up trash after a storm. When the saw won’t start when you need it, it can be a bit annoying.

Insufficient air, gasoline, and spark will prevent a Craftsman chainsaw from starting. This may be brought on by the wrong choke setting, old fuel, clogged spark arrestor, dirty carburetor, defective ignition coil, bad spark plug, clogged fuel filter, or plugged air filter.

Additionally, if the on/off switch is broken or the engine is flooded, it might not start. Always take off the spark plug wire and set the chain brake before making repairs. As directed in your Craftsman operator’s manual, observe all safety measures.

Craftman Chainsaw
Craftman Chainsaw

13 Causes of Craftsman Chainsaw Failure to Start

Bad Switch or Incorrect Choke Setting

An on/off switch is included on a Craftsman chainsaw for security. Before attempting to start the saw, the switch must be in the on position.

To start a cold engine, you must activate the choke in addition to having the switch in the proper position. The airflow is constrained by the choke so that the cylinder may burn more fuel and less air.

A cold engine must be started using this. The choke must be released once the engine has warmed up in order to give it the air it needs to function.

FIX: Ensure that the on/off switch is positioned such that it is on. A chainsaw not starting might also be caused by a broken switch or defective ground wire.

A multimeter can be used to test the switch. If you discover that the switch is broken, replace it. Replace or fix a poor ground.

Fuel in a Craftsman Chainsaw Is Old or Bad

Numerous issues, including difficulties starting the chainsaw, might be brought on by old gas. As soon as 30 days after purchasing, gas might start to lose its effectiveness and start to degrade.

Most of the gasoline sold now include an alternative fuel called ethanol. This plant-based fuel improves the environmental friendliness of fuels.

While ethanol is currently safe to use in the majority of automobiles, it is bad for a small engine like the one in a chainsaw. Moisture is drawn to the fuel system by ethanol.

Over time, the varnish that is left behind by this water and ethanol mixture might gum up the fuel system. As a result, the chainsaw may have fuel supply constraints and become unable to start.

It’s crucial to use gas within 30 days of purchase because it starts to degrade quickly. If you can’t use the gas up that quickly, stabilize it with a fuel additive to make it last a little bit longer.

Not all gasoline stabilizers work the same way or for the same amount of time in maintaining fuel stability.

If the manufacturer doesn’t disclose this information, you must learn more about the stabilizer you are using and never assume it lasts more than 30 days.

Avoid gas with a high ethanol percentage, such as E15 and E85, which have ethanol contents of up to 15% and 85%, respectively. Learn more about the gas and oil that should be used with your particular chainsaw type here.

FIX: Empty the tank and refill it with new fuel if you are experiencing starting issues and you discover that the fuel is stale.

To assist in reducing moisture and cleaning the fuel system, mix in a fuel additive like Sea Foam Motor Treatment or STA-BIL.

Once you are able to start the chainsaw, let it run through the chainsaw so that it may work its way through the fuel system.

A 2-cycle Craftsman chainsaw using the incorrect fuel

The sort of fuel you add to a chainsaw is one thing you don’t want to get wrong. A mistake here could permanently harm the engine.

Gas to oil ratio for a two-cycle Craftsman chainsaw should be 40:1. Use 40 parts of unleaded gasoline with an octane value of at least 89 and a maximum of 10% ethanol.

Add 1 part of a high-end 2-cycle oil. (This is not the same as engine oil.)

Before the early 1970s, older Craftsman chainsaws required a 32:1 gas to oil ratio. If you are unclear about the proper fuel mixture or the chainsaw’s age, consult the operator’s manual.

NEVER use unleaded fuel in a Craftsman chainsaw. It runs extremely dry and the lack of lubrication can lead to the engine seizing. Making a mistake like this might necessitate buying a new chainsaw.

Non-ethanol fuel mixtureUsing fuel devoid of ethanol is preferable but more expensive because fuel containing ethanol impairs the operation of your chainsaw.

Even though it is more expensive, having it on hand saves you from having to run to the gas station and mix the fuel. This fuel is available in canisters from your neighborhood hardware shop.

FIX: If you put the wrong mix of gas and oil in the fuel tank, drain the tank and put in the right mix. Try starting the chainsaw.

Have a small engine mechanic perform tests on the engine to see if running the wrong gasoline results in long-term harm when the engine won’t start or is performing poorly.

Air Filter on a Craftsman Chainsaw Plugged

When using a chainsaw, dirt and sawdust fly through the air. An air filter is placed to guarantee that the engine receives clean air in order to prevent this dust from entering the cylinder and wearing down the engine.

Sawdust and other debris can accumulate on the air filter if it isn’t cleaned or replaced on a regular basis, preventing enough air from passing through the filter and into the carburetor throat.

An air shortage might make it challenging to start and maintain a Craftsman chainsaw.

The typical homeowner should change their air filter once a year and clean it frequently throughout the season. You’ll need to inspect, clean, and replace your chainsaw more frequently if you use it more frequently than this.

Spend some time checking your air filter to avoid damaging engine overheating. Although it adds a step, checking the filter’s condition only takes a few seconds.

If the air filter is a little filthy, remove it and clean it. The filter has to be replaced if it is severely clogged or broken. Always use an air filter when operating a chainsaw.

Craftsman chainsaw with a bad spark plug

The spark needed to start and maintain a Craftsman chainsaw’s operation is provided by the spark plug. For the casual user, the spark plug is a worn component that should be replaced yearly.

A spark plug that is unclean or damaged may not fire properly, which can affect the engine’s performance.

FIX: If the spark plug is in good shape and just a bit dirty, check it out and clean it with a wire brush. If a spark plug is very dark in color, has a burned electrode, or has porcelain broken, replace it.

Ensure that the spark plug is gapped in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and that the spark plug wire is tightly fastened. Starting issues can also be brought on by these factors.

An issue with the Craftsman chainsaw’s ignition coil

Check the ignition coil if you have a decent spark plug but are still not obtaining spark. The ignition coil’s winding may detach and short out.

The spark plug won’t receive the voltage necessary to produce a spark in this situation. This will result in issues with your chainsaw.

FIX: Use an ohmmeter to look for continuity breaks in order to spot a faulty ignition coil. If you discover a break, replace the Craftsman ignition coil.

Fuel Filter in a Craftsman Chainsaw Plugged

To prevent dirt and other debris from getting into the fuel system, there is a fuel filter. Inside the fuel tank is a cylinder-shaped component called the filter. It is affixed to the fuel line, as you can see.

The filter can clog up if it isn’t changed frequently or is utilized with unclean fuel, which prevents enough fuel from passing through. This could make the saw difficult to start or operate slowly.

FIX: Changing a soiled fuel filter.

Changing the fuel filter on a Craftsman chainsaw:

  • When removing the fuel cap, wipe the area surrounding it to prevent any dirt from falling into the fuel tank.
  • Taking off the fuel cap (allow the chainsaw to cool down first if you have been using it).
  • Hook the fuel line with a clean, bent wire, and then remove the fuel filter from the tank.
  • While removing the filter from the gasoline line, hold the fuel line firmly. Hold onto the fuel line tightly.
  • The male end of a new Craftsman gasoline filter should be inserted into the fuel line and firmly fastened there before being installed.
  • Reinstall the gasoline cap after placing the filter in the fuel tank.

Craftsman chainsaw with a bad primer bulb

Fuel won’t properly flow into a cracked primer bulb that won’t fill up with fuel, which prevents fuel from reaching the carburetor.

FIX: Substitute a fresh priming bulb.

Fuel Line Clogged or Punctured on a Craftsman Chainsaw

The clogging of the gasoline line can result in a fuel restriction. This might stop the chainsaw from turning on.

FIX: Use carburetor cleaning to assist loosen the obstruction and remove the clogged fuel line. In order to eliminate the line, blow compressed air through it.

It’s time to replace the fuel line with a new one if you are unable to clear the obstruction or if you discover that it is dry, broken, or punctured.

An Unclean Craftsman Chainsaw’s Carburetor

The amount of fuel and air combined to ignite combustion in the cylinder is controlled by the carburetor. The carburetor will become clogged and gummed up with old fuel, preventing it from working as intended. Your chainsaw may be unable to start as a result.

FIX: You should be able to manage cleaning your carburetor if you have some mechanical aptitude. Take the carburetor apart, then clean it with carburetor cleanser.

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

Craftsman Chainsaw Has a Bad Recoil Starter

The engine of a chainsaw is started by a recoil. Your recoil may not function due to a defective pulley, a missing spring, broken clips, or a loose spring.

FIX: You could try changing the spring and restringing the recoil. You would be better off just replacing the recoil assembly if it doesn’t work because other parts of your recoil, such the clips or the pulley, are broken.

Craftsman Chainsaw with a plugged-in spark arrestor

The muffler’s spark arrestor is a tiny screen that can become blocked with soot. An airflow obstruction in a spark arrestor will prohibit a chainsaw from starting

FIX: A wire brush should be used to clean the spark arrestor after it has been removed. If you can’t clean the mesh spark arrestor screen thoroughly or if it is broken, replace it.

Never operate a chainsaw with a screen that is missing or has a hole in it. Without a screen, hot material from the saw could discharge, possibly igniting a fire or inflicting burns.

Chainsaw’s Flooded Engine is a Craftsman

When the choke is closed and the starter rope has been pulled repeatedly, the engine may flood.

It can also occur when the switch is off, the starter rope is pulled repeatedly, or the primer bulb is pushed excessively.


How to Restore a Craftsman Chainsaw’s Flooded Engine

  • Make sure the choke is off and in the open/run position before turning the switch on.
  • Pulling the starter rope repeatedly while depressing the throttle trigger. Starting this can require anywhere from 5 to 15 pulls. First, the chainsaw engine will splutter. It should start after pulling 2 to 3 more times.

Problems & Solutions with Craftsman Chainsaw Starting (Quick Reference Chart)

Bad Switch or Wrong Choke SettingTo restrict airflow when starting a cold engine, make sure the choke is engaged. Once the engine has warmed up, release the choke to let it keep running.
Replace a faulty ground wire or switch.
Old FuelFuel that is more than 30 days old should be replaced with new fuel. Including a gasoline stabilizer
Incorrect FuelRemove the fuel. Use a 40:1 gas to oil mixture in modern Craftsman chainsaws.
Plugged Air FilterA clogged air filter should be removed and cleaned. If the filter is severely soiled, damp, or broken, replace it with a fresh one.
Bad Spark PlugChanging a damaged spark plug. Ensure the spark plug wire is properly installed and that the electrode gap is accurate.
Faulty Ignition CoilChange a damaged ignition coil.
Plugged Fuel FilterInstall a new gasoline filter after removing the old one from the fuel tank.
Weak Primer BulbReplace a priming bulb that has fractured.
Clogged, Dry or Cracked Fuel LineRemove the obstruction and a clogged fuel line. If the clog cannot be cleared or the gasoline line is dry or damaged, it must be replaced.
Dirty CarburetorClean the carburetor by removing it. Replace the broken components or rebuild the entire carburetor assembly.
Bad Recoil StarterReplacing the recoil starter’s spring and restringing it. In case the recoil starter is broken, replace it.
Plugged Spark ArrestorTake off the muffler’s spark arrestor. Install it once it has been cleaned with a wire brush. Replace a spark arrestor that is broken.
Flooded ChainsawUse the techniques mentioned above to fix this.