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How to Change the Chain Tensioner on your STIHL Chainsaw

Maintaining your Stihl chainsaw ensures it runs efficiently and safely. One crucial component is the chain tensioner, which keeps the chain at the correct tension for optimal performance. If your chainsaw's chain tensioner is malfunctioning, it can lead to chain slippage or excessive wear, posing a safety risk. But don’t worry — replacing the chain tensioner on your Stihl chainsaw is a straightforward process that can easily be completed with basic tools.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Replacement chain tensioner
  • Screwdriver (Flathead and Phillips)
  • Socket wrench set
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Cleaning brush
  • Safety gloves
  • User manual (optional, but recommended)

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Remove the Guide Bar and Chain

  • Use the socket wrench to loosen the nuts on the guide bar cover. Remove the cover carefully.
  • Slide the guide bar and chain off the saw. Clean these components with a brush to remove any debris and set them aside.

Locate the Chain Tensioner Assembly

  • The chain tensioner is typically located on the side of the saw near the guide bar mount. It consists of a screw and a tensioning pin that engages with the guide bar.

Remove the Old Chain Tensioner

  • Use a screwdriver to carefully remove the tensioner screw. Depending on your model, you might need a flathead or Phillips screwdriver.
  • Once the screw is removed, use needle-nose pliers to extract the tensioning pin from its slot.

Clean the Tensioner Area

  • Before installing the new tensioner, clean the area where the tensioner sits. Use a brush to remove sawdust, oil, and debris. This ensures smooth operation and longevity of the new tensioner.

Install the New Chain Tensioner

  • Insert the new tensioning pin into the slot where the old one was removed. Ensure it fits snugly and moves freely.
  • Align the new tensioner screw with the hole and carefully screw it in place. Tighten the screw securely but avoid over-tightening, which can damage the threads.

Reattach the Guide Bar and Chain

  • Position the guide bar back onto the saw, ensuring the tensioning pin engages with the hole in the bar.
  • Place the chain back onto the guide bar, making sure it fits properly around the sprocket and lies correctly on the bar.

Adjust the Chain Tension

  • Use the newly installed tensioner to adjust the chain tension. Turn the tensioner screw until the chain is snug against the guide bar but can still be pulled slightly away from the bar.
  • Check the tension by pulling the chain. It should snap back into place without sagging.

Secure the Guide Bar Cover

  • Reattach the guide bar cover and tighten the nuts using the socket wrench. Ensure the cover is securely in place.

Final Checks

  • Reconnect the spark plug.
  • Start the chainsaw and let it run for a few moments. Observe the chain to ensure it moves smoothly and maintains proper tension.
  • Make any minor adjustments to the chain tension as needed.

Stihl Chainsaw Maintenance Tips

  • Regularly inspect the chain tensioner for wear and damage.
  • Keep the chainsaw clean and well-lubricated to ensure optimal performance.
  • Refer to the user manual for specific instructions related to your Stihl chainsaw model.

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