Old Chainsaw advice...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by polishshooter, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2001
    Messages:
    8,081
    Location:
    Indiana
    From the late 40s unitl the late 60s my Dad and his brother were loggers and ran their own sawmill. I remember as a young kid going into the woods with them, my older brother usually snaklng the logs out with either an old McCormick Deering or Cletrac crawler or a Farmall H with dual wheels, the inner rubber the outer steel spikes...with a homemade skid cart...

    And ALL they used was Homelite saws, back when Homelite made REAL saws not the plastic crap they do now for light duty...

    I remember my Uncle "Big Mike" running a two man 32" Homelite by himself, I couldn't even LIFT it by myself...


    Anyway somewhere between 1968 and 1970, when I was somewhere between 10 and 12, Dad decided I needed to know how to run a saw, and bought a new Blue Homelite XL-12...

    He was getting out of logging due to heath reasons, the sawmill was now a storage shed for the next year's firewood, but we still burned a LOT of firewood.

    I ran the heck out of that saw, until I was out of college. I cut a helluva lot of wood with it, always liked the old manual oil pumps, had a few diaphrams go out on newer "automatic oiler" saws that you didn't know until the damage was done to the blade or chain...

    I still remember Dad..."Pump a few times until you see oil running off the end, then start cutting until you dig the dogs in...then ROCK ROCK PUMP!";)

    Of course back then that was how you "recycled" your motor oil, no spending for "bar and chain oil," you used old 30 weight from the Chevy...;)

    Anyway, after Mom died and we were cleaning out the house for sale, nobody in the family wanted the old saw, so I now have it, with a bunch of spare chains.

    It RUNS, but doesn't have the power it once did...

    I remember my Dad having a lot of saws "rebuilt," wherer they were bored out and sleeved then a new piston installed, making them run like new.

    Does anybody do this anymore? Would it be worth it? OR the alternative, does anybody collect old Homelites?

    Advice requested from all you other "Sawmen...."
  2. Millwright

    Millwright Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,886
    Lots of things you can do to old saws to "re-energize" them. Boring/sleeving is one. But IMO unless you own the shop the cost would be prohibitive. A much l ower cost option might be to ridge ream it, scuff hell out of the cylinder and re-ring it, but don't go for hard chrome rings. You need to "wear in" the new rings to conform to the "by now elliptical" bore. >MW
  3. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    Messages:
    3,246
    Location:
    ND, USA
    Most of the new engines are aluminum with nic-a-sil plated lining so that pretty much shoots the hone & new rings out into the trash.
    If you can still have an engine that can be sleeved...and if you can find a shop and the parts to do it...that would be worth doing.

    I've seen lots of guys claim they rebuilt their snowmobile engines by honing those nic-a-sil jugs and throwing new rings in. That "fresh" engine was just as bad as it was before after only a couple hours of running. They would've been better off just using new rings and not touching the bore at all. If you scratch through the plating (and that takes one heckuva hone job), the aluminum bore ain't gonna last longer than one good WOT run.

    Best bet...
    For starters, put a kit in the carb and give it a thorough cleaning. Then de-carbon the thing using Sea-Foam. If that doesn't do it, proceed as follows...
    -Get a new piston and ring, drop it in the cylinder as is. Don't bother honing unless it's a sleeved jug (cylinder). The big culprit for lost power/compression is rings that have lost their tension or are just carboned up.
    -Regasket the whole engine...don't forget the crackcase seals.
    -Clean up the carb. Check it for worn throttle shaft and/or bush the holes where the shaft runs.

    Most two-cycle engine melt-downs are caused by running lean. Either from a bad crankcase seal or from a worn throttle shaft that leans out the mixture too far.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
  4. BillM

    BillM Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Messages:
    554
    Location:
    Amity Orygun
    One quick check before you get too far into it. A lot of saws/weedeaters
    etc have a screen in the exhaust. Supposed to be a spark arrestor
    of sorts.

    The screens/mufflers get plugged with gunk/carbon. Motor will start
    and idle OK, but when you hit the throttle it just doesn't have as much
    power any more.

    Clean out the screen/muffler crud and away it goes again.
  5. hstout1143

    hstout1143 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Messages:
    2,638
    Location:
    California
    I'm sure someone at a lawnmower shop could help you, if you live in the sticks check in one of the larger towns. I spent a good part of my youth cutting fire wood, when I got older and went out on Friday or Saturday night and had a few too many adult beverages my dad would make sure and wake me up at 5am so "we" could cut wood, that is a really good way of getting a teenager to quit drinking or move out of your house, depending on your objective. It stopped me from drinking too much, until I moved out.
  6. Zhurh

    Zhurh Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    Messages:
    2,116
    Location:
    Upper Yukon, Alaska
    Those older saws were heavy duty but way more dangerous than saws we buy today. I have friends close to 70 years old and we were talking about old saws just last week. Both friends were showing off their scars and missing chunks; both agreed the new stihls are way safer for everyday use.
  7. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2001
    Messages:
    8,081
    Location:
    Indiana
    Yeah, I remember my SECOND lesson from Dad after working the oiler was "kickback..."

    But you can get hurt with ANY saw if you aren't careful and "read" the wood BEFOREhand.

    The more safety features you build in the more stupid people will find a way to hurt themselves...

    Like firearms, or racing...

    You make the cars safer, the FASTER they will go, and they will STILL kill themselves by doing stupid stuff they wouldn't dare do when they KNEW they would die...


    My '97 Winchester with no safety and the typical Winchester "half-cock" with the chamber loaded makes you UNDERSTAND that you were SUPPOSED to carry it with an empty chamber until you needed it, and if you then loaded it, you had better be REALLY careful when the chamber was hot...and if you killed yourself it was your OWN damm fault! Not in the litigious society we live now.

    Just like the Colt SAA intended to be a "5 Shot" weapon until the circumstances warranted pulling the C-note out of the spare chamber where you hid it under the hammer and loading it with 6.... be MORE careful now!

    A saw with a "chain break" CAN kick back and bite you in a heartbeat...better to learn and AVOID those situations that CAN kick it better than depending on the "safety tip" which everybody removes OR the "break..."


    And no matter WHAT saw you use, most fellers die by the "Widow Maker" branches coming down from overhead than by cutting themselves...NO defense about that other than the eyeball MKI...
  8. sub-moa

    sub-moa Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2012
    Messages:
    482
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Mud dobbers in the exhaust ?:eek: Iv'e seen it a lot. :)
  9. wv hillbilly

    wv hillbilly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    2,444
    Location:
    mountains of wv.
    i remember the old homelite very well. i would come home from school,change my clothes, and hit the woods. my neighbor had a contract to cut pulp wood at my other neighbors place.
    my job was to trim and drive in the grabs and pull to the landing with an old 8N.
    then when enough wood was on the landing the boss would come in and i carried the measuring pole while he cut 5' pieces. then we loaded by hand. you made darn sure you picked the bigest pieces first

    as stated you could have it rebuilt but it would cost a great deal
  10. Country101

    Country101 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2004
    Messages:
    2,171
    Location:
    Dardanelle, AR
    It may cost a good bit, but it should be cheaper than a new saw and you will have a better saw to boot. You cant beat an old saw. These new ones just aint the same and are pretty well disposable.
  11. JUNKKING

    JUNKKING Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,920
    Location:
    Just East of Pittsburgh PA
    That Homelite you have is the real deal saw!! I think there may be a few reasons it lacks the power it once had.

    1st. Go to a parts store and get a lead additive and add it to high test gas. 87 octane just doesnt do any justice for an older engine.

    2nd. Put a little Marvel mystery oil in the cylinder head through the spark plug hole. Pull the string a few times with no spark plug in it and then add a little more oil. Let it set overnight and try to run it. It may have a valve sticking a little bit or some corrosion around the valve and it isnt seating fully to give you the full compression.

    3rd. A valve job isnt that expensive or hard to do but I would take it to someone that has the valve guide so they get the right angle I believe 45 degrees on the valve. It could possibly be rings.

    A quality saw is definitely worth putting a few dollars into. It will last for many more years. They were built to work.
  12. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2001
    Messages:
    8,081
    Location:
    Indiana

    Wow, I never thought about Leaded gas. Yeah, "Unleaded" came into regular service AFTER Dad bought this saw...HHHmmmmm.

    The house should close in a couple of weeks, (DAMM all lthe regulations on selling a house in Erie County New York...)

    With my portion of the sale, which was Dad's only hope to leave us an inheritance of any size, from the house he BUILT....

    I just may have that saw rebuilt. I think somewhere he might be smiling if I put some of his money to work THAT way...


    The only thing about it is he only put a 16 " bar on it, and yeah I dumped trees more than 32" in diameter with it...but my current saw, a cheapo red plastic HOMELITE ;) from Sears I bought for a song as "rebuilt" that I have run the hell out of has an 18" bar that sometimes I felt was STILL too short for BIG trees...

    I wonder if longer bars are available for it...
  13. cpttango30

    cpttango30 Guest

    Man I learned how to run a saw with the old blue devil Homelite XL-12. Great saw man great saw.

    Me I would put what ever money I needed to into because it was my dads saw.
  14. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Messages:
    5,521
    Location:
    Indiana
    Mike;

    I had a Jonsered saw rebuilt last spring by an Amish guy in Milroy. Don't know for sure if they would do Homelite.

    Schmidt Engine Service. Good luck!
  15. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    Messages:
    3,246
    Location:
    ND, USA
    I've never seen a 4-stroke Homelite here. All of em 2-stroke and most of em are reed-valve engines but a few of the little ones were transfer-port style.
    What model is it PS? I've probably got a manual for it in the shop that I can scan pages or pull part #s for ya.

    Leaded or unleaded...doesn't make a whit of difference to a 2-cycle. No valves or valve seats to worry about burning on a 2-cycle.
    You can add some octane booster if you want to, but it'll run just fine on regular unleaded too. Just don't run ethanol blend fuel unless you can't get non-ethanol. If you do, use either StarTron or Marine StaBil (the green stuff) when you store it for the season.

    Marvel Mystery Oil can be used to de-carbon the rings, but SeaFoam injected through the carb (follow the instructions on the can) works faster and does a better job. MMO works, but it takes longer. Actually, Kroil works great for a sit-n-soak solvent too.

    BillM and sub-moa have a good point on checking the exhaust too. Don't run it minus the muffler because you won't get proper scavenging and it'll run weak. But if the screen is clogged then it can't breathe either.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
General Discussion Needing a little advice on picking a good chainsaw Aug 25, 2014
General Discussion Chainsaw advice ? Feb 9, 2013
General Discussion Chainsaw questions Dec 13, 2012
General Discussion Which Stihl chainsaw? Nov 14, 2012
General Discussion stihl chainsaw help Sep 11, 2012

Share This Page