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Author Topic: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull  (Read 1811 times)

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Offline craig345

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Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« on: May 21, 2018, 11:39:17 AM »
Hello everyone.  I'm new to the forum and am trying to repair my old Husqvarna 266se chainsaw from the early 80's and hoping someone here might have some suggestions.

The saw has always run well but within the last 5 years or so it's developed an issue where the pull cord becomes extremely difficult to pull.  Actually it's so difficult that I'm not able to start the saw.  I've done some research and tried various things to rule out potential problems.  When the spark plug is removed the cord is easy to pull.  With the plug in, it's next to impossible.  I've removed the pull cord assembly and it pulls easily without issue.  Even with the bar/chain and muffler removed, the cord is hard to pull when the plug is in the saw.  

I've also tried removing the plug and spraying WD-40 into the cylinder through the spark plug hole to clean any carbon etc. from the top of the piston and cylinder.  No change.  I also removed the plug and pulled the cord repeatedly for a period of time to correct a potential vapor lock condition.  That was a suggestion that I found on the internet.

The only other thing that I wanted to mention is that when I pull the cord with the plug removed, there is a fine spray of fuel that comes out of the spark plug hole.  I don't know a lot about 2-cycle engines, but I didn't expect the fuel to be drawn into the cylinder when the compression is so low without the plug being removed.

Also checked the flywheel and there isn't anything blocking or binding it.  I also cleaned the areas around it and the clutch assembly very thoroughly.

I did take the saw to a local shop twice in the past and was told that they "cleaned it."  Unfortunately whatever they did didn't last after the saw sat for an extended period of time.  

I got the saw running without the bar/chain for a brief period of time yesterday but it died after a few seconds if I didn't give it throttle.

Not sure if links are allowed, but the saw in this YouTube video is doing the same exact thing that mine is.



I would appreciate any advice to get this saw in working condition again.  Thank you very much for reading my post!

Offline knuckledragger

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2018, 12:42:31 PM »
My first thought is a bearing has become seized. Leading up to the problem did you notice any roar to the saw. Fuel spray is normal for the most part. Replace crank bearings & seals and I suspect that you will see a difference. In it's day the 266 was a hot rod. 40:1 minimum of 89 octane no ethanol after the bearing change. The task of changing the bearings is relatively easy one. Generally takes me an hour. BTW, welcome to the forum.

Online mike_belben

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2018, 01:21:20 PM »
Find the issue before you buy any parts.  Remove starter and see how much resistance it has.  Pull muffler and look at piston skirt.

Id guess its a scored bore.  Maybe a chip of ring jammed in there.

Whats the cranking compression?
Revelation 3:20

Offline Jack S

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2018, 02:40:14 PM »
from your description it sounds like to much fuel and hydraulic lockup . you mentioned that you had fuel spurting out the spark plug hole with the plug out. ya can't compress liquid. better find out why carb is passing to much fuel  

Offline Hilltop366

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2018, 03:08:57 PM »
Correct Sparkplug?  Unlikely but if the threads on the plug are too long...

I would dump the gas out then with plug out and throttle wide open and kill switch in the off position pull it over for a few minutes to make sure all gas is cleared out then try it with the plug in.

Offline barbender

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2018, 06:55:20 PM »
I had a Husky, I think it was a 66 special or something like that.  It was a real booger to pull over too, I traded it in so I never figured it out.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Canadiana

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2018, 10:27:54 AM »
In the youtube video referenced above the guy says he solved his issue by removing the limiting caps on the carb adjustment screws and leaning the "L" fuel supply at idle. But i figure you've read that already...
The saw is more fun than the purpose of the wood... the forest is trembling 🌳

Online mike_belben

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2018, 12:15:05 PM »
All these old husky jugs have room straight ontop the jug to drill and tap a decompressor btw, just need to drill a hole in the top cover.  

When i weld a dome onto a husky 61 piston i have to put in a decompressor or itll just break the starter. 210 psi.  
Revelation 3:20

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2018, 04:14:59 PM »
I have a 2100 Husky that by it's nature is hard to pull ,99 cc  .That aside it was the bushing in the starter drum was worn causing it to run eccentric .Originally a nylon thing I made one out of brass on my lathe which cured the problem .

Offline craig345

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2018, 07:36:42 PM »
Wow.  Thanks to everyone for the overwhelming responses.  Where should I begin?  So many suggestions.  

I did remove the starter assembly and it pulls easily by itself.  I've also removed the muffler and inspected the piston from the exhaust port.  From what I can tell it looks smooth.  I don't think that I've mentioned this before, but with the plug removed, I hear what almost sounds like a gurgle as I pull the starter cord.  I ordered a carb rebuild kit and fuel line/filter just to be on the safe side.  I've never rebuilt such a small carburetor but I've seen a few videos on YouTube that should be helpful.

I can check the compression as well as draining all of the fuel and pulling the starter with the plug out.  I hope that it isn't a bearing problem.  The saw ran great before this issue started.  It sat for long periods of time between uses which probably didn't help anything.

I don't know a lot about two cycle engines but am willing to learn what I can.  It would be great to get this saw running again since it's been around since I was a kid.

I'll report back after I try a few of the suggestions.

Thanks to all for the help.  I really appreciate it!


Offline craig345

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2018, 08:01:02 PM »
It looks like I forgot to answer a few questions and comment on the ideas.  Here we go:

1.  Didn't notice any roar from the engine before the problem started or when it was running recently.

2.  The amount of fuel coming out of the plug hole while starting was enough to make a wet spot on the rag that I put over the top of the cylinder in a short amount of time.

3.  The saw has had the same plug in it for some time and seemed to run fine and wasn't horrible to start.  Will double check.

4.  I did read the YouTube suggestion about the carb adjustment screws but as far as I know the carb adjustment has been the same for years and the saw seemed to run well.  Might be worth a try.

5.  I'm not super confident about being able to drill and tap a decompressor but appreciate the suggestion.

6.  It's possible that the starter drum bushing is worn.  I guess I could watch it as it spins to see if it wobbles while it rotates.

Hope that I didn't miss anything.  Thanks.

Offline steele109

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2018, 09:15:48 PM »
Hi the old 266 early 80s had a problem with the starter the string would wind over itself.They fixed the problem in the later models by putting a bigger drum in them.I have a 83 model I just rebuilt and got running today.I just ordered a new pulley for mine, it's a bear to crank as well. Good luck fixing it.

Offline craig345

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2018, 05:22:53 PM »
Thanks for the tip.  When I have some time to work on the saw I'll take a look at that.  I'm also going to drain the fuel and pull the starter several times with the plug out to see if that makes a difference before I rebuild the carburetor.

Offline bushmechanic

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2018, 07:48:23 PM »
Maybe you have an issue with your brake band being too tight on the clutch drum. Leave the bar guard off and see if it starts without it on, but be careful they can spin the clutch off while running! 

Offline craig345

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2018, 12:17:03 PM »
Sorry for the late reply.  Finally got some time to work on the saw.  If I didn't mention it before, the starter is difficult to pull even with the bar and chain brake completely removed.  

I just finished rebuilding the carb to rule out possible issues with fuel leaking into the engine.  I left the piston in the uppermost position in the cylinder for about a week while I was waiting for the parts to arrive.  After I put everything back together I was able to get the saw running and used it for about an hour or so.  The starter wasn't easy to pull but better than it was before.

After sitting overnight on its side the starter is difficult to pull again.  I'm going to disassemble the starter and see if there are any winding issues.  If so, is it possible to retrofit the newer starter?

Earlier someone suggested that the bar oil might be leaking through the seal and into the crankcase, causing hydro lock.  If that was the issue, I'm guessing that allowing the crankcase to vent by having the carb removed and the piston as high as possible wouldn't matter because the oil wouldn't evaporate like fuel would.  

Still fighting the good fight.

Thanks again for all of the help.


Offline craig345

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2018, 12:24:37 PM »
Just wanted to add that I didn't change any of the carb settings other than the idle adjustment.  This was my first chainsaw carb rebuild.  

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2018, 08:19:31 PM »
Well you have to start some time .Evidently it worked out .See how simple that was . 8)

Offline sablatnic

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2018, 09:53:05 AM »
You might have a split starter pulley or a too thin cord. The cord should be 4mm.
(.157" or 20/127") 
(5/32" would do nicely too)
AND when you stop the saw, pull out the cord 5 - 6 inches before stopping it. Then the engine has a chance to make a slight kick back when it stops. 

Like we see The Chainsaw Guy do here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVvvvmWILwI

Offline BobbyG

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Re: Old Husqvarna 266se very hard to pull
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2018, 10:53:28 AM »
I'm not trying to be a smart ass but when watching your video and listening to your narration, this pretty much is how all of my saws act if I don't engage the compression release.

Now I understand your saw is probably before compression release so with the plug in place you have compression making it somewhat difficult to pull. By removing the plug you remove any chances of compression which will also allow fuel to spit from the orifice.

Hydro-lock only occurs when the cylinder is full of fuel as liquids do not compress. You removed the plug and it cranked over perfectly fine.

An attached bar and chain should have no affect on starting the saw. My old Homelite, circa 1965, had no chain break or compression release and the chain never spun except when I'd throttle it up. Even today's saws should not spin the chain while idling unless there's something wrong with the clutch.

Sorry I cannot be of more help.   


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