How to Repair Craftsman Chain Saws

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Craftsman chain saws need regular maintenance and occasional repair to keep them running efficiently. You can do many things yourself, before having to take the saw to a service center. Regular maintenance will reduce repairs. Before every use, check for loose or damaged parts and leaking fuel or oil. Check the chain tension and make sure it moves freely in the groove on the bar. Be certain the chain lock bar is working and is disengaged before trying to start the saw.

Things You'll Need

  • Scrench: combination screwdriver/wrench (comes with saw)
  • Inspect air and fuel filters, spark plug, spark arrester screen and oil reservoir. Remove the top cover by loosening the nuts holding it on and check the air filter; if it is dirty, wash it with soap and water, dry, then replace it or put in a new filter. Pull the fuel filter out of the tank with a wire or needle-nose pliers, but don't pull the hose clear out of the tank. Put on a new filter and replace. Remove the spark plug with the scrench; if it is fouled, replace it. Take off the muffler retaining cover, remove the spark arrester from its metal baffle and replace it. To replace the oil filter, drain the chain oil tank and pull the filter out with a wire, then replace it (this should be required infrequently).

  • Remove the bar and chain. Loosen the retaining nuts, take the chain brake cover off, then remove the bar and outer guide bar plate by pulling straight out. Then take off the chain. Inspect the bar for any chips or burrs, then clean the chain groove and the oiling holes. Check the chain for any signs of damage. Inspect the drive socket; if it is worn or developing grooves in it, you may have to have it replaced. Then reinstall the chain with the cutting edges going clockwise; be sure the chain fits around the socket and the adjusting tang on the saw is in the bottom adjusting hole of the bar. Replace the cover and hand tighten the nuts.

  • Adjust the chain tension, and sharpen if necessary. Use the scrench to tighten the chain with the adjusting screw beside the bar on the front of the saw. The chain should fit snugly but rotate easily by hand (wear gloves). Increase tension by moving the screw clockwise, decrease it by moving counterclockwise. When the chain has proper tension, tighten the chain brake guard cover nuts. Test the chain brake before using the saw -- it should snap into position, forward to lock the chain, backward to release it. Either take a chain to a service center for repair or sharpen yourself with a round file and a sharpening guide.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some chain saws have carburetor fuel and idle adjustments, but Sears says Craftsman saws are preset at the factory and must be taken to a Sears or other qualified service center for adjustment.

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