8 Most Common Stihl 500i Problems & Troubleshooting

When using a chainsaw, you will need something powerful and versatile. But what if you can have more than this? Stihl 500i is backed with a heavy-duty engine without making the saw heavy. Also, it is the only chainsaw so far with an electronic system for fuel injecting.

Despite such innovation, there are a few common Stihl 500i problems. Given that it is not a cheap chainsaw, these issues cause users to be dissatisfied with the saw. Fortunately, these problems are only exceptions and will not ruin your tree-chopping projects.

In this article, we will give you an insight into these problems and how to troubleshoot them.

The Most Common Problems with Stihl 500i

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Stihl 500i takes tree cutting to a whole new level, as it frees users from traditional carburetors. Despite saying goodbye to good old carburetor problems such as clogs that prevent fuel from feeding the engine properly, you will still run into some issues with this saw. These include the engine not starting, weak acceleration, or smoky exhaust.

1. Engine is not starting

This is not an exclusive thing for Stihl 500i chainsaws; it happens with zero-turn mowers, too, such as the Kubota z421. To overcome this problem, you will need to check the fuel level. Maybe your tank is running out of gas. In this case, you will have to refill it.

But if the fuel levels are sufficient, it must be a flooding issue. There could be too much fuel that has been flooding the engine. In this case, you should check the spark plug. In the case of a flooded engine, you can feel fuel on the plug. Clearing the combustion chamber is the only thing you can do to solve this problem.

2. Bogging down when accelerating

When your Stihl 500i is not accelerating correctly, you will have to suspect the chain’s tension. If it is not adjusted correctly, it will perform poorly when accelerating. You can easily change the chain’s tension to make it tight but not very tight.

To successfully do this, you will have to disengage the brake on the chain. Make sure that the nuts holding the bar are loose enough. Then, you can adjust the tightness accordingly.

To ensure proper tightness, you can try to rotate the chain using your hand. If it does not rotate, then it is too tight. Also, if the chain sags, it will require more adjustment.

Sometimes, you might need a simple maintenance task to keep the chain accelerating properly. Just adding oil to the chain can enhance its performance. After all, lubricating can make acceleration and rotation run smoothly.

3. Smelling or seeing smoke while sawing

When your chainsaw smokes during operation, the first explanation that comes to one’s mind is a dull chain. The most straightforward outcome of sawing with a dull blade is getting poor cuts. In this case, you will have to sharpen the chain correctly. Use protective gloves while doing so.

Also, it is recommended in this case to inspect the bar and chain oil levels. This issue can lead to weak acceleration and increase strain and pressure on the chain bar. This can cause excessive black smoke to come from the chain and bar.

The wood you’re cutting will smell burnt if you overwork the chain. Smoke is also common in various mower categories, including brush mowers such as DR Brush Mowers.

4. Chain is not rotating

To cut wood, the chain of a Stihl 500i must rotate properly. The saw can’t perform its mission if it is not rotating. Usually, this happens when the air filter is not clean. This filter gets clogged with fine debris, cutting up dust and even fuel deposits.

It would help if you cleaned it once you had a problem with the machine’s performance.

In other cases, the problem is pretty simple. You just forgot to disengage the brake. This prevents the chain from rotating no matter what you do. So, you will have to disengage it to get your chain spinning.

5. Engine running hot

You can diagnose engine heat issues when your Stihl 500i is hotter than it should be. Engine overheating can also lead to unusual vibrations or noise. And just like the symptoms are various, the causes can vary too.

For instance, you could use a dull chain or a dirty air filter. Fixing these two issues will resolve many of the common Stihl 500i problems.

Sometimes, the heating problem is due to a plugged exhaust port. In this case, the hot exhaust will not be able to leave the saw. This could be causing an overload on the engine and making it hotter than normal.

Keeping the emission port clean by unclogging it makes the exhaust leave the machine’s body easily.

6. The saw is overworked

This is not an issue of the Stihl 500i itself; it is probably your fault. You could be using it to cut a tree, which exceeds its capacity. By doing so, your saw’s bar will be stuck inside the tree bark. In this case, the engine will keep going, and the machine will keep trying to free the stuck bar.

So in a way, you are misusing the machine, and you will cause severe damage in the long run. The best remedy for this issue is to avoid this situation in the first place.

But if it happens, you must interfere, using an iron or wooden wedge to release the stuck bar. It is far superior to using the saw.

7. Noise from the grinding wheel

The unusual knocking and rattling noise can be caused by damaged or worn-out clutch springs. So, if you notice these strange sounds, you will have to inspect the whole clutch system. This allows you to replace any damaged parts, not just springs.

8. Oil leakage when not using the chainsaw

Different causes may lead to oil dripping. But things are pretty strange when oil leaks even without running your Stihl 500i. Usually, the main reason is increased oil levels due to overfilling. The other cause is the lack of ventilation in the reservoir.

In this case, you will need to check the oil levels according to the user manual. You will have to remove the extra amount if it is too much oil. In the case of poor ventilation, there would be too much air inside the reservoir.

This makes the tank overflow once again. So, you will have to reduce the tightness of the oil tank cap. This lets the tank breathe out and frees up the extra air.

Stihl 500i problems: are they a deal breaker?

No, all the above-mentioned Stihl 500i problems are not deal breakers. Most of them can be avoided easily, while the rest can happen due to overloading and misusing the machine. Your Stihl 500i lets you enjoy speedy and flawless chopping; it needs attention.

Make sure the machine does not have build-up blocking its parts. Also, avoid using it with large trees that need a bigger saw. Your Stihl 500i is made to suit moderate to high cutting needs, provided you choose the cuts carefully.

Another important thing to remember while caring for your Stihl 500i is covering your hands with thick protective gloves.

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( Farming Equipment Expert )

Marvin is an expert in farming equipment with a strong background in agricultural engineering. He graduated from Kansas State College of Agriculture, where he received a degree in Agricultural Engineering and specialized in farm equipment design and maintenance.