new cylinder kit for the Stihl 036


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A few weeks ago, my 21 year old Stihl 036 chainsaw ate the third wrist pin clip in its life.  I got around to working on it today, but the base gasket wasn't in the kit, like it was supposed to be, so it's still on hold.   On a Stihl, replacing the piston, and cylinder is a pretty simple job.  I'll post some pictures after the new gasket gets here.

Here's one of the scored piston.  The cylinder looks about the same, but it broke the rings too.  The bottom end still seems nice, and tight.

It's very strange that the fatal event is always the same.  I forget how long the one lasted when it was new, but don't think it was 8 years like the last Meteor kit did.  I remember replacing it in an old house we were working on in 2012, so the last one lasted about 8 years.

 

IMG_2530.JPG

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I use the right sized file for the chain.  Pferd is my preferred brand.  Keep the file dry, and rust free.  I can't tell you how long one will last, but get another one when it won't cut.  I buy them by the box.

Get a handle that fits your hand.  The Oregon wooden handles suit me.  I buy them by the dozen off ebay, and use them for handsaw files too.

Start by tightening the chain.  If it's loose, the tooth will rock back.  You don't want the tooth to rock as you file it.

If you're right handed, start with the side with cutters on the right side of the bar.  If you sharpen the left cutters first, and your hand slips while sharpening the right cutters, the sharp left teeth can cut a knuckle to the bone.  If it needs sharpening at all, they won't cut flesh so easily.  You learn real fast to not push too hard, and stay in control, but learn with dull left cutters.

Different than sharpening a hand saw, you don't push down on the file.  You push straight back into the cutter.  Push down too much, and the gullet will go down, even hitting the links, and away from the sharp point you want on each cutter.  Push up, and you are shortening the cutter, which just won't throw chips as good.  Only go straight back into the cutter, parallel to the bar.

I do most of my sharpening on the tailgate of the truck.  I use one hand on the file, and also when sharpening hand saws.  For a chainsaw, I don't use a vise, but hold the bar with my left hand.   Count strokes.  You see on the first cutter how many strokes it's going to take.  We'll talk about strokes later in this.

You need the angle of every cutter to be right.  Stihl cutters have a little groove to tell you when the chain is completely worn out, but it's also a good indicator of the angle you need to maintain.  Hold the file level, but at this angle.  A strip of plywood, with Magic Marker lines drawn on the angle make any difference in holding the file jump back at you.  That works for hand saws too.

I start each stroke on the little smooth end of the file, and take a full stroke.  Never back up with the file.  I do the same when sharpening a hand saw.   I learned to sharpen a chainsaw before taking up hand saws, and the feel for the file made the transition easy.

I do as many cutters as I can get to in one set, and then advance the chain with the file near the handle.  You only have to advance the chain about 4 times, doing it like this.

To counting strokes:  The duller you let the chain get, the more strokes it will take.  If you haven't let the chain hit the dirt, it might only need sharpening every second tank of gas, and then maybe  tale two, or three strokes per tooth.  If you let it get dull to the point that it takes seven strokes, you've been fighting a dull chain for a while, and now will tire out your arm much faster with the file.  Cutting is much faster, and easier with a sharp chain, and sharpening one before it gets completely dull is much easier, and faster.

Some people use the chain brake.  Some people use a vise.  I just hold the bar with my left hand.

My method is fastest, as most around here who use a chainsaw will tell you.  Not may days go by with lunch at the local store, where most of us workers eat lunch, without some pro asking me to sharpen his chain. It doesn't take me long, unless they've really screwed up the chain.  There are a lot of people who run a saw for a living that can't sharpen a chain very well.  They will sharpen the left and right sides differently, and it will get to the point that it pulls to one side.  Try to keep the cutters on each side the same length, and angle.

I think I covered everything, but feel free for anyone to ask questions.

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After 20, or so, numbers of strokes on each tooth, regardless of how many sharpenings cover this, the depth gauges will need to be lowered.  Around here, people call them drag links, but the proper name is depth gauge.

Different sizes of chains have different clearance amounts between the height of the depth gauge, and the cutting edge of the tooth.  The box that the chain came in will tell you this amount.

The tools to limit the depth that the depth gauge file cuts come in a bunch of different sizes.  They have steps of .005 inches.   You can buy the Oregon set with a file, and the tool, or you can buy them separately.   https://www.amazon.com/Oregon-27742-Depth-Gauge-Guide/dp/B00004RA7A/ref=sr_1_3?crid=31QMD7UWW7HLS&dchild=1&keywords=oregon+depth+gauge+and+flat+file&qid=1591481061&sprefix=oregon+depth+gauge%2Caps%2C494&sr=8-3

The depth gauge file is a special little smooth file, with no teeth on the edges that might harm a cutter.

Cutting style differences ask for different depths too.  For instance, I cut with a light hand, and always a sharp chain, so I can use a larger gap.  This allows the tooth to take a bigger bite, but if you push on it, the chain can lock up in the cut.  For instance, my little Makita cordless chainsaw came with some tiny gap that my smallest .020 tool was letting the depth gauge set well above the slot in the tool.  I filed that chain down to .025 to start with, and it suits me fine.  My 180 I use the .030 tool.  I think normal for the .043 chain on the 180 is either .020, or .025.

If it's a new chain, or one that only I have filed, I'll use the depth gauge tool to see how many strokes it takes, and then stop using the tool, and just count strokes.  If it's a chain that someone else has screwed up, I'll use the tool on every drag link.

The depth gauge file needs a handle too.  You can just file them straight across.

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Dave, I learned from a former employer, who had been an arborist at Augusta National. Mostly similar to Tom's method, but he taught us to kneel with a knee on each side of the power head, to hold the saw steady. That leaves both hands free for the file. We always used a bit more angle (fleam?) than Tom describes, and twirled the file as we pushed through, making the file teeth roll up into the top edge of the tooth. Makes for a sharp chain, I have the knee scar to prove it!

:lol:

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4 hours ago, treeslayer said:

Wow that’s a lot of great information Tom, thanks, I knew you would be the guy to ask. I’ll thankfully take your advice and get to sharpening ASAP 

Now you’ve suddenly realized why you send them out for sharpening! 

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Great explaination Tom, it sounds like I sharpen it very similar to you. While milling I stop and sharpen every few tanks regardless, and i really keep an eye on my rakers (depth gauge). I set my rakers based off the wood I'm milling, bigger bites in soft woods, smaller in harder woods.

@Coop, the explaination really is longer than the doing. If you watch someone sharpen a chain correctly it is not that complicated, but the little nuances Tom is explaining mean everything.

@Tom King , what scored that piston, the fatal event? It wasn't clear to me in your post. I've had that happen to one of my 660s last winter.

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 (First sentence in first post). The clip on the end of the wrist pin came off.  It was the third time that's happened with this saw.  It was new in 1999, so it goes a long time between fatal events.

That saw has been used a lot.  I let the guys that work for me use it for cutting their firewood, so it's had a lot of use that I didn't see.  Someone gave me a 290.  I like using this saw myself, so I gave the guys the 290.  Maybe it will go longer than 7, or 8 years this time, before it eats another clip.

Sharpening might sound complicated, by my two long posts, but it only takes me a couple of minutes to sharpen a chain.  I could have sharpened a half dozen saws in the time it took me to write it out.

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16 minutes ago, curlyoak said:

Small chainsaws including name brands are not always repairable. I had a Mcculloch had to throw it away. It is impressive that you can get parts for an old saw. Speaks well of the brand!

Stihl is very good about continuing to make parts available and making the units repairable. It probably helps that they manufacture the majority of parts themselves. When I toured their Virginia Beach, VA facility a number of years ago I got to see cylinders being machined, bars being made, the injection molding machines for the housings, as well as the units and sub-units being assembled and finished machines being test run before getting boxed up. They did have some areas blocked off to keep certain processes secret, but they had a really nice facility and processes.

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33 minutes ago, curlyoak said:

Small chainsaws including name brands are not always repairable. I had a Mcculloch had to throw it away. It is impressive that you can get parts for an old saw. Speaks well of the brand!

The pro Stihl saws are not only rebuild-able, but there are enough aftermarket parts available that you could build a whole saw out of.  This is an 036 Pro.  It's been replaced by similar saws several times since I bought this one, but a new one is over a grand, so I'll put a little money back into keeping this one running for a while longer.

Looking at this saw closer this morning, I've decided to put a whole new crankshaft assembly in it.  The connecting rod is not replaceable separate from the crank, and there is a little play in the main rod bearing.  The whole aftermarket crankshaft assembly, including gaskets, and new main bearings, and seals was $62 with shipping.

I didn't have the tool to split the crankcase with, so ordered one of those two.  The pro saws have easily split-able crankcases, whereas the homeowner saws do not. 

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