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Author Topic: Stihl 290 won't start  (Read 918 times)

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Offline gbsk

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Stihl 290 won't start
« on: September 23, 2018, 10:15:03 AM »
I have a Stihl MS290 chainsaw that a friend gave me. I am having a lot of trouble starting it. 3 chainsaw mechanics said it was fine. One guy said I need to push down the decompression valve located at the top of the saw. I looked everywhere and did not see one. Otherwise I tried to start it this way.

What I do is grab the handle, be sure to depress the safety switch on the top of the handle. Then I grab the trigger and push the vertical selector switch(stihl calls this the master control switch) on the saw, down to the bottom (fully choked) if it is cold. If it is warm move the selector switch up one position. Put the saw on the ground with your foot in the trigger handle. Put your left hand on the wrap handle and your right hand on the starter rope. Pull the starter rope slowly until you feel it engage. Then once you hear a pop, if you had a full choke move the selector switch up one notch. And keep cranking until the saw starts.

Why and how can I get this to start?

Offline sawguy21

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Re: Stihl 290 won't start
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2018, 12:41:35 PM »
Your techique sounds good. Are you giving the rope a quick pull?
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline dougand3

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Re: Stihl 290 won't start
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2018, 12:43:59 PM »
Check simple things first.
Hold pull handle with saw waist high and let go of saw - does it drop quickly or slowly?
Pull plug and ground metal on cylinder. Does it show good spark when rope pulled?
Put a tsp of fuel mix in plug hole and try to start with choke off. May take 10+ pulls. Does it run for 2-3 secs?
Husky: 372xt, 272xp, 61, 55 (x3)...Poulan: 315, 4218 (x3), 2375, 2150, 2055, 2000 (x3)...Stihl 011AVT...Homelite XL...Saws come in broken, get fixed or parted, find new homes

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Stihl 290 won't start
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2018, 01:44:09 PM »
I dont think 290 has a decompressor but its been a long time. I hate working on those saws.  

if its tuned right you pull pull pull quick until you get your first fart on choke then flip choke off and pull.. It should start and run at WOT until the first blip. 
Revelation 3:20

Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: Stihl 290 won't start
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2018, 02:29:26 PM »
Mike has it right.  If my saw has not run in some time, I pull the plug and pour a little mix down the hole.  I turn the saw over to make sure it will turn, then put the plug back in and pull the rope. Sometimes I have to do 2 or 3 times before the saw will keep running. Usually only takes once a season to get the saw used to being used. 

Offline PAmizerman

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Re: Stihl 290 won't start
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2018, 12:35:56 PM »
Funny this topic came up.
I'm having 290 trouble as well. I bought the saw 5 years ago and have had nothing but trouble with it. Took it to two different dealers. They charge me $50 to look at it and tell me there is nothin wrong with it.
Some days I can't get it to start. Other days it  spins off like a top. Then there is the recurring problem of just shutting off.
It will just shut off and I can't get it restarted. Let it sit for a couple days and fires right up. Now the recoil spring is week. After three pulls it won't recoil. And I've broken two pull strings in the last month. I don't use the saw that often. Maybe once a week. I have a 041 av and a 660 for most of the work.
The gas cap has always leaked.
I'm fed up with this saw and I'm thinking about junking this one and buying a husky.
Sorry didn't mean to highjack you're thread. Maybe we will both find what we are missing.
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Hydraulics everywhere
Woodmizer edger 26hp cat diesel
Traverse 6035 telehandler
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and a lot of back breaking work!!

Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: Stihl 290 won't start
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2018, 09:48:01 PM »
A really good mechanic could fix that saw.  There is one at G and R implement Durham, KS.  I'd be tempted to have it shipped there.  Be sure to write a note and describe your problems.

Offline gbsk

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Re: Stihl 290 won't start
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2018, 06:50:50 PM »
Thanks for the replies.  Maybe it is just me.   My son had  a friend over who said he did lots of chainsaw work.  I asked about mine.  We went outside and I started it on 2 tries so the guy could not comment on it.  I have tried to start it every day for at least the next 3 days and can't start it.  It does seem to pull hard.  I am not that big at 140lbs. but don't think I am that weak.  Yesterday, I tried and it farted on the choke so I put it up a notch and pulled at least 20 times and nothing.  At the end, it got much harder to pull and it was the saw and not that I was tired.  Am I pulling it wrong or not choking it right?

Offline realzed

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Re: Stihl 290 won't start
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2018, 07:31:00 PM »
Sounds possibly like you flood it..
As mike said earlier in this thread - once it burps with the choke on and the master switch set in the lowest position - you need to immediately physically move the lever off choke to the middle setting and pull it until it starts on fast idle (hopefully you will have the chain brake on still at this point).. 290's generally start from this point easily after an additional couple of quick pulls and after a couple of seconds on high idle you tap on the trigger to let it settle down on normal idle.  
I found that any subsequent pulling after the initial fart with the choke still on (lowest setting) would always put my 290 at real great risk to flood easily - and I only went back to the choke setting if after quite a few addition pulls without the choke produced no luck (which seldom ever happened)
Notice I mentioned quick pulls - as in a sharp quick tug.. was the best way - any lazy, long, or slow pull and you might as well go grab a beer and sit down and watch the World go by 'cause you ain't cutting anytime soon!
Quite often when it got close to flooding it would lock up seriously as if it was hyro-locked and dang near pull my fingers off from the shock.. which told me already had all  the fuel it needed!!

Offline PAmizerman

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Re: Stihl 290 won't start
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2018, 08:26:21 AM »
Give this a try.
Woodmizer lt40 super remote 42hp Kubota diesel. Accuset II
Hydraulics everywhere
Woodmizer edger 26hp cat diesel
Traverse 6035 telehandler
Case 95xt skidloader
byrnemillwork.com
WM bms250 sharpener
WM bmt250 setter
and a lot of back breaking work!!

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Stihl 290 won't start
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2018, 09:51:52 AM »
The days of your life are passing by.  its a 5 minute effort to start trouble shooting this issue. Lets stop wasting precious time.

Next time you see the saw try to start it a few pulls.

Pull the muffler, look inside, is piston scored?

Pull the plug, look inside over exhaust port, is jug scored?  

Look at plug?  Is it sopping wet and black?  Now ground it and pull.. Do you get a bright blue spark? 

Leave it apart and report back with those.
Revelation 3:20


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