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Author Topic: MS291 locked up..  (Read 1237 times)

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Offline deminin

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MS291 locked up..
« on: October 03, 2022, 04:52:49 PM »
I was cutting up a couple of dead trees, this morning, and suddenly the chain brake activated.  I don't think I pushed it, but it wouldn't release....no "click".  If I held the brake, the saw would cut.  I finished the cut I was making, then went back to my workshop to see if I could fix it.  The clutch wouldn't turn, unless I pulled the brake handle way back, and even then the brake band wouldn't fully release.  I cleaned it out, and put everything back together.  I will take it to the dealer in the morning and let them see if they can find the problem.

This saw is 4 yrs. old...well out of warranty, and has always been quite hard to start.  If it's going to cost a bunch to fix it, I may just let them have it for parts, and buy a new saw.  

That brings me to my next subject....I'm 80 yr's old and would like to find a saw that doesn't require such a Hard Pull to crank it up.  The Stihl taxes my strength just to pull the cord 3 or 4 times.  Is there a "farm boss/rancher" type saw that doesn't require super human strength to get it running.  I'm not "married" to the Stihl brand, and we have dealers nearby that sell Echo, and Husqvarna...I would consider them, or any other brand that is easier to start, and can handle an 18 or 20 inch bar. I'm open to suggestions.  Thx, in advance.   

Offline beenthere

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Re: MS291 locked up..
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2022, 05:03:13 PM »
There is a Stihl or two that have the easy crank system. You wind it up and it triggers for a whirl at turning the crank. Ones I have tried out work quite well, at least much easier to start. Don't know the model no.s. And don't know if the system is unique to Stihl. 

What I would go to if I can't drop start the ones I have, but so far at 83 I can start the MS362 and MS261. Had them both running and cutting last two days now that the weather is a more decent temperature. 
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Offline Southside

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Re: MS291 locked up..
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2022, 06:04:16 PM »
I believe @Magicman can speak to the saws that have that feature, IIRC
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Offline Ianab

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Re: MS291 locked up..
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2022, 07:22:51 PM »
There is a Stihl or two that have the easy crank system. You wind it up and it triggers for a whirl at turning the crank


Stihl call it Ergostart, and the models with it have an E at the end of the model number.   There is a MS291 C-BE model listed on the local web site. 55cc, 18" bar as standard, basically an updated MS290 "Farmboss". Should fit your specs. 

Failing that a saw with a decompress makes starting easier. My Dolmar 7900 (79cc) is easier to pull over than my MS310 (60cc), because of the decompress. 

But the ergostart is the easiest as you are just smoothly winding up the spring until it has enough "spring" to spin the saw over at a decent speed. 
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline beenthere

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Re: MS291 locked up..
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2022, 07:27:39 PM »
For reasons I do not know, but I cannot tell any difference in the pulling effort when the decompress is used and when not. Seems to fire off sooner when not decompressed. Sometimes I entertain myself by pushing the decompress button in before starting. That is with both the MS362 and the MS261. 
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Offline Magicman

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Re: MS291 locked up..
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2022, 07:47:04 PM »
I believe @Magicman can speak to the saws that have that feature, IIRC
Nope, not me.
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Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: MS291 locked up..
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2022, 08:03:06 PM »
Beenthere, I have never tried the decompress on my 362 or my 261.  They both seem to start just as easy as my 025 and 291 did without pushing it in.  I have witnessed a friend starting one with the ergostart.  Seems pretty neat.

I'm sure its worth the money to pay them to fix the 291.  I sold my 291 for $375 earlier this year.
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Offline NYH1

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Re: MS291 locked up..
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2022, 09:28:50 PM »
Maybe take a look at the Stihl MS250 (10 lbs., 3 HP).  My buddies 025 was noticeably easier to start then my 029 was, a lot lighter too.   

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Offline Ianab

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Re: MS291 locked up..
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2022, 10:09:25 PM »
'm sure its worth the money to pay them to fix the 291.  I sold my 291 for $375 earlier this year.


Yeah, somethings come adrift in the brake mechanism, but shouldn't be excessive to repair. 

Maybe take a look at the Stihl MS250 (10 lbs., 3 HP)


It's probably now a MS251 but comes in the C-BE model, with the easy start option. Certainly worth considering as it's a couple of pounds lighter.  
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline Guydreads

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Re: MS291 locked up..
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2022, 03:03:59 AM »
Also on the Husky side of things. I think @thecfarm has a 450 with an easy start system. Maybe he can weigh in here

Offline thecfarm

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Re: MS291 locked up..
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2022, 05:45:16 AM »
Yes, I have the 450.
Just a slow pull will get it going. Slow pulls with an "S" is what I mean. This is a 50cc saw.
I did have to have the recoil replaced after I had it for 2 years. But labor and parts were less than $50.
I use this saw a lot too. It's in my hands 2-3-4 times a week.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: MS291 locked up..
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2022, 08:16:13 PM »
For reasons I do not know, but I cannot tell any difference in the pulling effort when the decompress is used and when not.
Some of you may remember that the reason I bought my MS362 was because I was having a very difficult time cranking my old MS310 because it was hurting my hand/fingers.  Matter of fact I even devised a strap to loop around the pull handle and my wrist in order to crank it.

The MS362 has a decompression button so I have always used it, never even tried to start it without.  Well after Kent made the above reply, I gave it a shot today and to my amazement, I could not tell the difference either.  Maybe during the Winter, but not today.

When I bought the MS362 my dealer told me that it would be easier to start for some reason and I was only thinking about the decomp button.
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Offline NYH1

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Re: MS291 locked up..
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2022, 12:36:08 AM »
Maybe take a look at the Stihl MS250 (10 lbs., 3 HP)


It's probably now a MS251 but comes in the C-BE model, with the easy start option. Certainly worth considering as it's a couple of pounds lighter.  
The 2022 catalog has the MS250 (10.1 lbs.), the MS251 Wood Boss (11.1 lbs.) and MS251C-BE (11.5 lbs.).  I mentioned the MS250 with the lower weight in mind.  They're pretty easy to start.

Just my $0.02, YMMV, NYH1. 
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Offline Big_eddy

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Re: MS291 locked up..
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2022, 03:03:02 PM »
It sounds like whatever detent mechanism there is on the brake has failed and therefore the brake stays applied unless you hold the brake flag back.  The fact that it just applied itself mid cut points to a failure rather than a stuck or gummed up part. Likely a small part easily replaced (as long as you dont have to buy an entire clutch cover kit to get it)


Offline deminin

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Re: MS291 locked up..
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2022, 03:43:07 PM »
I took this saw to the dealer a few days ago, and they are so swamped with other "broken" Stihl chainsaws that it may be 2 or 3 weeks before they even have a chance to check it out.  

Today, a local lawn and garden shop had a sale on their saws, trimmers, etc., and I wound up buying an Echo CS560.  I have been doing some research on other brands, and this Echo seems to have a lot of positive reviews....AND it was about 40% less cost than the equivalent Stihl.  it starts far easier than my Stihl, and I will be giving it plenty of "exercise" in coming weeks cutting down several dead trees in my forest.  

I'm increasing concerned about the overall quality of Stihl products in recent years.  Some of the others I know are having increased problems with their Stihl saws.  I notice that now Stihl only offers a 1 yr. warranty on their chainsaws. whereas, the Echo I bought has a 5 yr. warranty....perhaps that is an "admission" from Stihl that they are "cutting corners".  

Offline lxskllr

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Re: MS291 locked up..
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2022, 03:50:17 PM »
That echo should serve you well. I love my echoes. I'm skeptical of the big two's non pro saws. They're fine I'm sure, but I get the feeling some of the money paid is going towards the badge on the side at the expense of the stuff on the inside. I think echo provides a better value at the low-mid range, and perhaps at the higher end for someone trying to save money, though I think absolute quality is still better with the big two at the pro level, but it  comes at a price.

Offline aigheadish

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Re: MS291 locked up..
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2022, 01:08:37 PM »
I'm a bit late to the party but for others that may be shopping, I'm with cfarm. I've got a Husqvarna 455 with a decompress. I notice a difference when using it, but hard to say if it's substantial, as a couple reasonable, easy pulls gets it spinning. After wrestling with my father in laws Stihl and getting beat by its rip-chord I was pleased with the 455. I've since learned that I may have been trying to start the Stihl incorrectly, but I don't really know if that was the problem. My only concern with the 455 is power, but I don't use it enough to worry about that too much. It still slices through anything I've thrown at it, albeit maybe a bit more slowly than something bigger.
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