Chainsaw chain stretch ? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 19 Old 12-11-2010, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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Question Chainsaw chain stretch ?

I have a Farm Boss Stihl Chainsaw that I have been using for about 2 years. I have 2 chains that I use. It has been a few months since I used the saw, but today I put it to use. Everything seemed fine, but the chain started to get loose, and after tightening a couple of times, I found that I was maxed out and could not tighten any further. I had to stop using the saw since the chain had about a 1/4 in droop below the bar. I checked the bar and sprocket - seems fine.

I know a new chain can stretch a little, but this seems extreme for a chain that has been in use for at least a year.

What might cause this?

I was able to install my second chain and it seems OK, but I am going to have to purchase a replacement for the longer one I guess.
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post #2 of 19 Old 12-12-2010, 12:11 AM
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I don't know if the time frame is unusual, but I've had mine stretch too. If the teeth are fine, I just take it in to my local chainsaw place and have them remove a link or too.
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post #3 of 19 Old 12-13-2010, 10:05 AM
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Chains can stretch that much. You can take a link out of it. If you don't have the tools to do it take it to your chainsaw shop.



Quote:
Originally Posted by reprosser View Post
I have a Farm Boss Stihl Chainsaw that I have been using for about 2 years. I have 2 chains that I use. It has been a few months since I used the saw, but today I put it to use. Everything seemed fine, but the chain started to get loose, and after tightening a couple of times, I found that I was maxed out and could not tighten any further. I had to stop using the saw since the chain had about a 1/4 in droop below the bar. I checked the bar and sprocket - seems fine.

I know a new chain can stretch a little, but this seems extreme for a chain that has been in use for at least a year.

What might cause this?

I was able to install my second chain and it seems OK, but I am going to have to purchase a replacement for the longer one I guess.
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post #4 of 19 Old 12-13-2010, 11:01 AM
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Chain stretch is a normal occurrence. Also, the nose of the bar wears somewhat. As suggested, have a link removed.

Gerry
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post #5 of 19 Old 12-13-2010, 12:24 PM
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Only thing I would add to the above is check your oiler and be sure it is functioning correctly. It can speed both the wear on the chain and bar and also cause them to heat up which will speed the stretching process. I also use a 290 with a 20 inch bar but rotate between 3 chains and so far haven't had any issues with excessive stretching.
David
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post #6 of 19 Old 12-13-2010, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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The second chain worked fine this weekend.

I will see about getting a link removed on the other chain, but I don't think they do anything but sharpen chains. May have to check around for a place that can remove the link. I don't have tools or knowledge myself.
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post #7 of 19 Old 12-13-2010, 01:32 PM
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chain breakers

You can possibly use a bicycle chain breaker, but you may need a bigger size. See if you can find a place that sells bulk chain and then get a breaker and you'll save big $$ if you go through a lot of chain. Sounds like you don't, if a chain will last 2 years. But I thoughi I'd throw that out for anyone else. bill
http://www.nextag.com/chain-breaker/compare-html
Click on image to zoom

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specfic. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo
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post #8 of 19 Old 12-16-2010, 02:14 PM
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Technically, chains don't stretch. They simply wear. And you see a lot of wear in the first hours of use of a new chain. So, if a chain is worn to the point that you need to take a link out, beware that it is not lining up correctly on the clutch sprocket. Each link is slightly longer than the spacing on the sprocket. If you run a badly worn chain for long, you will also wear out the clutch sprocket. If this is the case, you will need a new chain AND a new sprocket. And if you have a sprocket nose bar, that may need to be replaced too. Moral of the story is to never use a chain that is badly worn out.

Bud

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post #9 of 19 Old 12-16-2010, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TS3660 View Post
Technically, chains don't stretch. They simply wear . . .
If we were discussing bicycle chains that would be accurate because they don't get hot and "expand/stretch" as does chainsaw chain. Saw chain gets too hot to touch and so the metal obviously expands and becomes looser, thus the term "stretch".

In a case where the chain is still so loose it cannot be adjusted to tight enough, even when cold then that's where the elongated holes in the tie straps/presets and even grooves in the rivets comes in to play. This is the wear you refer to and is all that happens to a bicycle chain as they don't get hot enough to also "stretch". Unless your name is lance Armstrong.

You're correct that the drive links will be further apart than the drive slots in the sprocket - *but* it isn't as critical as what you have read. I've run chain so stretched *and* worn that it got to where it would slip off the drive sprocket. That's not good for the sprocket either as you point out.

I try not to go into the field without extra filters, chains, drive sprockets, bar nuts, bars/s, spark plugs yada yada.



.
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post #10 of 19 Old 12-16-2010, 02:50 PM
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Yes, I wasn't talking about heat. But that does emphasis the importance of enough oil. A chainsaw chain shouldn't ever get HOT. Maybe too hot to touch, but not HOT HOT. If it does, then there's an oil problem.

Bud

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post #11 of 19 Old 12-16-2010, 09:29 PM
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If your Farm Boss is a 290 or 310 or 390 (029, 031, 039) your oiler is adjustable. On the bottom of the saw body is a hole with a screw that can increase the oil flow if necessary. Some people will take out links in chains that have stretched but the danger is that it can wear the sprocket excessively. My personal opinion is it is better to fork over the 20 bucks for a new one.

Roger from the Great Horicon Swamp
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post #12 of 19 Old 12-17-2010, 12:02 AM
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Taking out a link IS NOT going to make the sprocket wear excessively and yes chains WILL STRETCH..... Main stretch causes: 1) new chain 2) excessive tension 3) excessive friction on bar.....lack of OIL.... A) #1 is bar not properly clean(ed) (trash in oiling port/groove) Stihl has simple tool and I clean out everytime I change chain(s) B) oiler stopped up or out of adjustment.
From my experiences the bar groove needed cleaning out, You'd be surprised how much fine, packed, gummy/oily sawdust can be in there.
It's been awhile since my 029 days (tree top crushed), but still have my 15 yr old 065 and a newer MS 460........My Blood Runneth Orange.... Stihl Orange That IS.
Another trick I do when swapping chains is flip bar (top to bottom NOT end to end ) over getting an even wear pattern to both edges extending life of the bar and sprocket.
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post #13 of 19 Old 12-17-2010, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tennessee Tim View Post
Taking out a link IS NOT going to make the sprocket wear excessively and yes chains WILL STRETCH..... Main stretch causes: 1) new chain 2) excessive tension 3) excessive friction on bar.....lack of OIL.... A) #1 is bar not properly clean(ed) (trash in oiling port/groove) Stihl has simple tool and I clean out everytime I change chain(s) B) oiler stopped up or out of adjustment.
From my experiences the bar groove needed cleaning out, You'd be surprised how much fine, packed, gummy/oily sawdust can be in there.
It's been awhile since my 029 days (tree top crushed), but still have my 15 yr old 065 and a newer MS 460........My Blood Runneth Orange.... Stihl Orange That IS.
Another trick I do when swapping chains is flip bar (top to bottom NOT end to end ) over getting an even wear pattern to both edges extending life of the bar and sprocket.
All good points. A dull chain is also likely to stretch as it gets warmer. A good rule is to sharpen the chain every time you fill the gas tank. (Also flip the bar at the same time). Check the sprocket regulary, if it's damaged the chain will wear out quickly. A simple way to check if the oil pump works is to run the saw on high speed and hold the tip of the bar over a fresh stump. If there are oil stains on it, the pump is working.
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post #14 of 19 Old 12-17-2010, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Lots of good info provided.

I flip my bar when I change chains. I like the idea of sharpening at each gas fill up.

I think my problem was caused by high tension when the temperature went into the teens, and a dull chain that heated up when I started using it.

I put the second chain on, and it would not cut at all - then I noticed it was on backwards . Once installed correctly, it works great.

Will definitely buy another new chain - not sure if I will remove link on the old one yet.
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post #15 of 19 Old 12-17-2010, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reprosser View Post
I put the second chain on, and it would not cut at all.
Should have left it that way. This is for cutting trees that are behind you.

Bud

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post #16 of 19 Old 03-16-2011, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reprosser View Post
I have a Farm Boss Stihl Chainsaw that I have been using for about 2 years. I have 2 chains that I use. It has been a few months since I used the saw, but today I put it to use. Everything seemed fine, but the chain started to get loose, and after tightening a couple of times, I found that I was maxed out and could not tighten any further. I had to stop using the saw since the chain had about a 1/4 in droop below the bar. I checked the bar and sprocket - seems fine.

I know a new chain can stretch a little, but this seems extreme for a chain that has been in use for at least a year.

What might cause this?

I was able to install my second chain and it seems OK, but I am going to have to purchase a replacement for the longer one I guess.
My thoughts exactly! My Farm boss is 29ish years old and I have been fighting this for years, The Stihl shop just removed a link from one of the chains today and it is like a miracle! I found this board when I did a search to see if removing a link was the answer. Thanks for confirming and for all the great advice. I also have a new MS250 with similar chain problems and realize I need to maybe use external oil as well on the chain/bar (working in a sand environment ...) Thanks again y'all!
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post #17 of 19 Old 04-06-2011, 07:04 AM
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http://www.darlac.com/dp164.htm
Found this on the net, could be a very handy tool.
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post #18 of 19 Old 04-06-2011, 09:29 PM
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Do you know where b&b is in Batesburg? I use the same saw and get all my chains from them. They can make chains any size you want.
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post #19 of 19 Old 04-07-2011, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Do you know where b&b is in Batesburg? I use the same saw and get all my chains from them. They can make chains any size you want.

I will check them out - Thanks!
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