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Author Topic: New guy here.....Stihl question  (Read 4232 times)

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Offline Hawkshoe

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New guy here.....Stihl question
« on: April 15, 2009, 08:47:25 AM »
Hello folks,  After several years of cuttin with cheap busted up poulans, etc. I am finally getting me a Stihl.  OK, my local dealer (great guy!) recommends a 290 or 280 (anybody got a good used one for sale?) for cuttin my 10+ cord of wood per year.   Whats yer take?  I'm leanin toward the 280, as I'm told it's a bit quicker.  Thanx in advance!!
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Offline Reddog

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Re: New guy here.....Stihl question
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2009, 09:04:18 AM »
Welcome to the Forestry Forum.

I have heard the 280 is well built and good running saw. The 290 is an old design and the anti-vibe is not near as good as the 280. Plus if I remeber right the 290 is quite heavy.
When I was looking at the 270 and 280, my dealer was saying he did not have any issues with them.

Offline sawcollector

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Re: New guy here.....Stihl question
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2009, 09:08:14 AM »
hey Hawkshoe,
This is a repeat from an earlier post I did but it bears repeating to answer your question:

"There are a couple of other things to consider here. STIHL makes saws considered for homeowner, or occasional use, farm and ranch or semi-pro, and professional use. They all have the same warranty, one year for homeowner and 90 days pro. I honestly believe they all are well designed and good value if you look at return on investment for run time, performance, and just plain fun and ease of operation. That is of course based on proper care and use.
So you have to decide on a price range and how hard you plan to use it.
The breakdown pretty much goes like this:
MS 170, 180, 210, 230, 250, 192, are light duty use. They have a clamshell or engine pan design, called modular, where the crankshaft is pinched between the cylinder and the engine pan, making the engine module, and everything else bolts to the module. The bar bolts into the plastic tank housing. This makes for ease of manufacturing and keeps cost down, so the price is lower at retail.
The MS 290, 310, 390 are designed the same, but have a heavier crankshaft and are considered more of a mid-range saw. All of these models have an aluminum engine pan, chrome or Nikasil coated cylinder, four open transfer ports, and plenty of plastic holding it all together. The bar has one bolt into the engine pan and the other into the plastic tank / handle housing.
The MS 270, 280 are more of a semi-pro model, with a magnesium engine pan and housing holding the crank in, and the bar, but still a clamshell design. These saws are a newer design with some more current engineering in them, and are a great performing saw with plenty of power and performance. I really enjoy running this model. The 290, 310, 390 is a much older design, but has plenty of power and a proven track record.
When you move up to the pro models there is a big difference in design, and they cost more money. The MS 260, the older 034 and 036, the newer MS 360, 361, 440, 460, 441, 660, 880 are all pro models, designed for logging or commercial use. Now you have a split magnesium crankcase, that holds the crank, and both bar studs, in a rigid configuration, with the cylinder held on with four screws, and a plastic tank housing and handle assembly. The pro saws have closed transfer ports. The older models have two ports, the 361 has four. Where this all comes together is that the 361 weighs less than a 390, and has more power with less engine size. It is engineered to a higher level of performance, and is a newer design. So if that is the size of saw you are after then is it worth the difference in price to you to pay for a pro saw?
Down the road for repair will also make a difference. I can have the piston in my hand in 5 minutes on a 361. It will take a complete teardown, just about to the last bolt, to get the piston out of a modular design. Will that matter if you only cut a cord or two a year? Probably not. But the labor and parts cost to have the dealer install a new piston and cylinder in a modular saw will usually exceed the value of the saw, even on a 390. But a pro saw it usually will not. And a saw used by a pro may get over a 1000 hours on it in a year. So it is worth the repair.
I have friend that actually cut over 50 cords of wood with an 017, which became the MS 170. He did very little maintenance on it and was more than pleased with the use it gave him, and bought two more.
So I guess it all comes down to budget and use. Research the models and decide how big a bar your minimum is and then decide on pro model or lighter duty. But I know for a fact any STIHL when used right will be fun and hold up well.
But probably the most important thing is to buy from a local dealer that will give you good service and support. And if it isn't a STIHL dealer that is OK too, as long it is a good model saw that meets your needs. I just like STIHL the best. Most of the other saw brands are similar in design as well."

But for sure the low priced saws sold in mass merchant outlets are not a very good value. In my opinion and based on my experience in the repair business, these saws are are usually pretty much done in 20 hours or so of use. I know some poeple will take issue with that statement, and I am sure there are some cheap saws that have lasted longer than that, but for the most part the low cost saws and trimmers and blowers are very short lived engines. Take one apart and look at how it is made and youwill see what I mean.
And the least expensive STIHL is about $200, but you are getting an engine that with proper care and use will last several hundred hours or more. And that is true for most name brand manufacturers such as Echo, Dolmar, the XP Husky models, and some others. Most of the time you get what you pay for.
Hope that helps,
Eddie

Offline tonto

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Re: New guy here.....Stihl question
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2009, 12:05:27 PM »
I agree with Reddog, he hit the nail on the head. I had 4 or 5 MS290's over the years. Sold them all and bought 2 new saws - MS260pro and an MS441. 2 great saws to cover most situations that I'm in. The pro saws are just made to last, are lighter and are much easier to have work done on them. Tonto.
Stihl MS441 & Husqvarna 562XP. CB5036 Polaris Sportsman 700 X2. Don't spend nearly enough time in the woods.

Offline ErikC

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Re: New guy here.....Stihl question
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2009, 12:21:49 PM »
  I have a 290 and 039, and other pro saws like 044, 460 and 066. The 290 and 390 were both used when I bought them, for employees to use around the mill and so on, less investment. But they have been trouble free and great saws, lots of hard use and hours have not hurt them a bit. I think for the money spent they were some of my best buys. I paid $125 for the 290 and $350 for the 039. A lot of comments on here indicate if it isn't an even numbered stihl, it's a piece of junk. Absolute BS. While the pro models are better in some ways, and easier to do major work on, the others are fine saws at a lower price, and for a person cutting their own firewood they will do a good job. 
Peterson 8" with 33' tracks, JCB 1550 4x4 loader backhoe, several stihl chainsaws

Offline CabinDweller

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Re: New guy here.....Stihl question
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2009, 06:19:47 PM »
I picked up a 270 about six months ago and really like it. I have cut about 12 cords of firewood with it so far. I was trying to decide between a 270, 290 and 310. The dealer actually suggested the 270. The 280 is the same platform as the 270, but with a little more power. I would not hesitate to recommend this saw.
Cutting to heat my log home...

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- Norwood Industries LumberMate Saw Mill

Offline Mooseherder

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Re: New guy here.....Stihl question
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2009, 08:25:56 PM »
I bought the 280 last summer and use it with an 18 inch bar.  My Poulan and Homelite Saws are now my backups but they did serve me well and don't owe me anything. ;D
The ms280 is a great saw for my use and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend either.

 





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Offline beenthere

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Re: New guy here.....Stihl question
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2009, 08:52:05 PM »
Mooseherder must wash, clean, blow dry, polish, and wax that saw everyday. Sure looks great after a few months of hard use.   ;D ;D ;D
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Mooseherder

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Re: New guy here.....Stihl question
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2009, 09:00:26 PM »
Naw, I just knew a picture of it before use is always better than after.  :D
It might come close but may never be that clean again.  ;D
Lane Circle Mill
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Offline Hawkshoe

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Re: New guy here.....Stihl question
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2009, 11:24:51 PM »
Wow, I love this forum!  I have been stopping here first for the past coupla weeks now.  Thanx for the welcome and yins have helped me make an important decision :).  Now if I don't like the saw, I can tell my wife is was yins fault!  (just kidding!)  I appreciate the time and enthusiasm put into answering my question. 
Oh yeah, I built one of these smart firewood holders last summer.  http://www.baileysonline.com/itemdetail.asp?item=15730&catID=1716
Only difference is I mounted it on the back of my ATV trailer and as I cut, the wood falls right in the trailer.  This is a pretty slick idea, I thought, but I am easily entertained.  My best tool so far is the hookaroon, though!!!
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