Does Your Poulan Chainsaw Stall When Giving It Gas?

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf

Poulan makes a popular line of chainsaws that do-it-yourself types and landscaping aficionados have come to depend on for years. Chainsaws can make for a highly versatile tool depending on what you use it for and how it is cared for.

Replace the fuel in your chainsaw if the fuel filter is clogged so that it doesn’t stall. Clean the carburetor passages with compressed air to remove debris so that the chainsaw starts properly. Make sure that you put fuel in your chainsaw that contains at least 10% ethanol.

Spark Arrestor

The most common solution when your Poulan chainsaw stalls when it gets some gas is that the spark arrestor is clogged. The spark arrestor in a chainsaw is a small screen that keeps the engine from producing sparks.

As is the case with just about anything, it can wear over time. In this case, the soot clogs up the arrestor. When this happens, the chainsaw might run rough or even stall when given gas. It is a good idea to perform basic cleaning and maintenance from time to time to ensure all of the components run properly.

If the spark arrestor becomes clogged, you can remove it and clean it thoroughly with a wire brush. In the event that the spark arrestor has become damaged, you can replace it altogether for relatively cheap.


If the spark arrestor isn’t the culprit behind your Poulan chainsaw stalling, it is likely that the carburetor is clogged. The most common reason that the carburetor can become clogged is when fuel is left inside the chainsaw for far too long.

Over enough time, the ingredients in the fuel can evaporate. This leaves a stickier, thicker substance in its wake. That sticky fuel can then clog the carburetor, leaving the chainsaw to stall whenever it is given some gas.

When examining the problem, cleaning the carburetor is relatively easy. As a matter of fact, there are cleaners specifically designed for carburetors. Should that not improve the performance, you may need to either rebuild or replace the carburetor entirely.

Air Filter

The theme here is that the Poulan chainsaw’s components can become dirty or clogged over time. When one of these components is clogged, it can result in the chainsaw stalling out during use. So, it should come as no surprise that the air filter is another part that can become dirty or clogged.

When the air filter is clogged, the engine gets too much fuel without the requisite air needed. When that happens, the engine can run roughly or stall out entirely. After checking the carburetor and spark arrestor, the air filter is the most likely culprit. The air filter can be cleaned, but if that doesn’t do the trick, replace the air filter entirely.

Fuel Filter

Another of the chainsaw’s major components is the fuel filter. It can become clogged whenever old fuel is left in the chainsaw for some time. As is the case with the carburetor becoming clogged, some of the fuel’s ingredients can evaporate over time, producing a much thicker substance in its wake.

In addition to clogging up the carburetor, the stickier fuel can clog the fuel filter as well, calling the engine to stall completely. Try draining out the old fuel first and foremost and then replace the fuel filter entirely. This should be enough to get the chainsaw working optimally once again.

Air Supply Issues

What you may not have known is that air supply is critical, as much so as proper fuel supply is to any kind of internal combustion engine. Whenever factors contribute to the lessening of the air supply, be they internal or external factors, the engine will bog down.

Clogged filters are a major contributing factor, but it can also have to do with where the chainsaw is stored. It is a good idea to clean out filters often, especially when the chainsaw has seen heavy usage in a short amount of time. When the filters are clogged, they supply less airflow to the carburetor, which can become clogged. All of these factors come together to bog down and stall out the chainsaw.

Try using compressed air when cleaning out the carburetor passages and jets. This should be enough to blast out the dust and debris that can build up in the filters, keeping them clean and free while allowing proper airflow to pass.

Proper Percent of Ethanol

The integrity of the fuel being used in the chainsaw plays an integral role in the way that it operates. If the fuel that you are using doesn’t have the proper amount of ethanol in it, that can eventually lead to stalling out when in use.

The ethanol in fuel vaporizes quickly and combines with the water in the air to create actual water. The water is meant to stop combustion; this is necessary for keeping the motor running properly.

Fuels with up to 10% ethanol are optimal. This solution has a better tendency of separating the varnishes from the gas. All of this means that there is greater accumulation in the tank and the fuel lines and the resulting residue is meant to combat the combustion in the carburetor.

Carburetor Fuel Flow

The flow of fuel is perhaps the most integral part of the chainsaw. When there is too little or too much fuel, the engine will likely stall out. There are three adjustment screws that should come standard in the carburetor that can help to prevent stalling: idle, low speed, and high speed.

When your chainsaw starts to idle out and you have checked to verify that all of the appropriate filters are clean and free of dust and debris, the next thing to do is to tweak the screws. By adjusting the idle screw, the corrective measure is taken for when the chainsaw is idle.

When the chainsaw is unable to hit full power during the full throttle, it’s a good sign that your chainsaw is bogging down. Adjust the high-speed screw to remedy this issue.

Cleaning Tips

The goal when diagnosing issues with bogging down is to implement a quick fix and avoid any disassembly (like the carburetor). There are a couple of things that can be done to improve the performance of the chainsaw without the need for disassembly.

The first is to use a starting fluid. The starting fluid is meant to flush through the system, removing gunk from the jets. This can be a fantastic way to clean out the carburetor instead of having to rebuild it entirely. Confirm this by flushing water through your fuel tank to ensure that the flushing has worked.

Make sure to properly clean the fuel filters on a regular basis to prevent stalling. When the filters become worn down or clogged, you will have to replace them entirely. Filters should be relatively cheap to replace and can help to extend the life of the chainsaw, delivering better efficiency and keeping the chainsaw running with fewer issues.

If you have an old chainsaw that starts to sputter and stall out, consider replacing the carburetor. It may not be the most ideal of solutions, but a new carburetor should be able to deliver greater efficiency and new life to an old chainsaw.

Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

More by Ryan Womeldorf