Poulan Chainsaw Won’t Start: 8 Easy Ways To Fix The Problem

Are you having trouble starting your Poulan chainsaw? Don’t let it get the best of you –  this article offers 8 easy ways to diagnose and fix the problem.

If you’re a proud owner of a Poulan chainsaw, you know the importance of having a reliable tool for outdoor tasks. However, even the best equipment can encounter issues, and your chainsaw may refuse to start.

There’s a solution for every problem, and the Poulan chainsaw not starting is no exception. With a bit of troubleshooting, you’ll be back to cutting trees and tackling tough jobs in no time. Let’s get right into it!

Why Your Poulan Chainsaw Won’t Start?

Table of Contents

Before you can solve the problem of why the Poulan chainsaw won’t start, let’s first check the possible and most common causes of this problem.

1. Spark Plug Issues

The inability of your chainsaw to start could stem from an issue with the spark plug. This component is crucial in producing the spark that ignites the engine’s fuel. If the spark plug is faulty, it might need to be swapped out.

A cracked porcelain insulator can also cause the chainsaw not to start. If the electrode has been completely burned, it requires replacement. Excessive carbon buildup can be another cause, which requires cleaning the spark plug.

2. Carburetor Problems

The carburetor in a Poulan chainsaw mixes air and fuel before they enter the engine. If the carburetor isn’t functioning properly, the chainsaw won’t start. Dirty air filters,  a faulty carburetor, or clogged fuel lines can lead to carburetor issues.

Sometimes, you can fix the problem by cleaning or changing the part causing the issue, while in others, you may have to switch out the entire carburetor.

3. Issues with the Fuel

When attempting to fix a Poulan chainsaw that isn’t starting, fuel-related problems should be among your initial checks. Outdated fuel may have gone bad, in which case you must drain the tank and refill it with new fuel.

A clogged fuel line must be replaced. Additionally, make sure to inspect the fuel filter to determine if it needs replacement.

4. Damaged Ignition Coil

The ignition coil provides the spark that lights the fuel in the engine and must be changed if damaged. Make sure the spark plug is working before replacing the ignition coil.

Sometimes, the spark plug wire could be the cause, a replacement that is easy to make.

5. Damaged Recoil Starter Pulley

The issue could be with the recoil starter pulley, which serves the purpose of activating the crankshaft. When you pull the handle of the recoil starter, the pulley should spin. If the pulley is damaged, it is best to get it replaced. 

6. Recoil Starter Problems

The crankshaft is activated by the recoil starter, which starts the engine. If the recoil starter is faulty, it prevents the chainsaw from starting. Causes of recoil starter problems include a jammed ratchet, a broken spring, or a flawed recoil starter cord.

Fixing the problem may require replacing the faulty part, or you may have to replace the entire recoil starter assembly.

7. Rewind Spring Issues 

The rewind spring is meant to coil up when the starter rope is tugged. This energy stored is then utilized to ignite the engine. If the rewind spring is broken, starting the engine becomes impossible.

If this is the issue, simply replace it with a new one; it’s a straightforward process.

8. Damaged Piston Rings

The role of piston rings is to enclose the combustion chamber. If the piston rings are damaged, the chainsaw won’t start. Replacing the piston rings may help; however, in certain cases, it may be necessary to replace the entire piston.

9. Engine Stops Working 

The occurrence of engine seizure can be attributed to a variety of causes, such as oil deprivation, overheating, or incorrect oil selection.

Crankshaft or connecting rod malfunctions can also be responsible. If your engine seizes, a professional assessment is necessary.

10. Clogged Muffler

The muffler reduces the noise of the chainsaw. However, over time, the muffler can become clogged with carbon deposits. In this case, you will need to clean or replace the muffler.

11. Clogged Air Filter 

While the chainsaw sprays oil onto the air filter during use to ensure lubrication, the oil may accumulate and obstruct the air filter with time. If this occurs, you must replace the air filter and clean the housing before installing a new one.

How to Fix a Poulan Chainsaw that Won’t Start?

Now that you’re familiar with the reasons why the Poulan chainsaw won’t start let’s check the best solutions for such a problem below:

1. Check the Spark Plug

A defective spark plug could be the issue. To check, take out the spark plug and examine it. If the porcelain insulator is broken, electrodes are damaged or burned, or there is an abundance of carbon buildup at the electrodes, you need to replace the spark plug.

Furthermore, if the spark plug hasn’t been changed for a few seasons, it may be time to replace it. 

2. Replace the Ignition Coil 

The ignition coil dispatches the voltage to the spark plug while the motor is in operation. A faulty ignition coil may cause the engine not to start. Before exchanging the ignition coil, ensure the spark plug is functioning correctly.

If the spark plug passes inspection, use an ignition coil tester to check the ignition coil. If it is faulty, replace it with a new one.

3. Clean the Carburetor

The issue could be a clogged carburetor. This can occur when fuel is left in the chainsaw for extended periods, causing some of its components to evaporate and form a sticky substance that clogs up the carburetor and hinders the engine from starting.

To fix it, clean the carburetor with a carburetor cleaner. If cleaning isn’t effective, consider rebuilding or replacing the carburetor. In the event that cleaning proves to be ineffective, a full rebuild or replacement of the carburetor may be necessary.

4. Check/Replace the Recoil Starter Assembly 

The recoil starter mechanism activates the crankshaft for engine start-up. A faulty assembly can prevent the engine from turning over and starting the chainsaw. To determine if it’s the issue, take off the assembly and assess its operation.

Pulling the starter rope should cause extensions from the pulley and cam to grasp the hub on the engine and start the engine. Releasing the rope should result in the tabs retracting and the rope winding back onto the pulley. Replace the recoil starter assembly if it’s not functioning properly.

5. Rewind Spring

When you pull and release the starter rope, the rewind spring retracts the rope back onto a pulley. If the rewind spring is damaged, the rope won’t be able to retract back onto the chainsaw pulley.

Hence, starting the engine might be challenging or not possible. If the rewind spring is damaged, have it replaced. Some rewind springs can be swapped out.

6. Check the Chain

If your Poulan chainsaw runs but doesn’t cut effectively, the chain could be the problem. Inspect if the chain is moving. If not, switch off the engine and verify if the chain brake is activated.

The brake can activate automatically due to a sudden jolt. If the brake isn’t activated, but the chain still won’t move, turn off the saw and examine the drive links for any burrs that might obstruct the chain’s movement.

7. Clean the Filter

If the filters on your Poulan chainsaw are clogged, it might not start. First, remove the air filter from under the cylinder cover and wash it with warm, soapy water.

Next, rinse the filter with cold water and let it air dry before putting it back in place. To avoid future problems, clean the filter after 5 hours of use or 10 fuel tanks.

It’s worth noting that you can never fully clean an air filter, so you should replace it once a year. To replace it, empty the chainsaw of fuel, remove the fuel cap, take out the filter from inside the tank, and disconnect it from the end of the fuel line. Finally, replace the old filter with a new one and put everything back together.

8. Turn to the Company for Help.

If your Poulan chainsaw still isn’t working properly after trying the above solutions, it may be time to reach out to the company. Poulan offers a 1-2 year warranty on their chainsaws, so if you’re facing any issues, don’t hesitate to take advantage of this service and coordinate with the company.


What could be the problem when the chainsaw is getting fuel but not starting?

If the chainsaw refuses to start or starts briefly before shutting off and you notice the spark plug is soaked with fuel mixture, it indicates that the engine is flooded, and you may detect the odor of gasoline.

This occurs when an excessive amount of fuel enters the combustion chamber, which can result from repeatedly pressing the primer bulb.

What is the fuel mixture for a Poulan chainsaw?

To achieve the right fuel-to-oil mix, combine 3.2 ounces of Poulan 2-cycle engine oil with one gallon of unleaded gasoline. This will give you the desired 40:1 ratio.

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( Licensed Chainsaw Professional )

Jake is a chainsaws expert with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field. He is a licensed professional by the National Chainsaw Program, which attests to his skills and expertise in the safe and efficient use of chainsaws.