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Author Topic: The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!  (Read 2874 times)

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Offline Piston

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The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!
« on: September 23, 2008, 08:57:24 pm »
First off, I'll just thank everyone for all the great info I have found researching the [future] purchase of my new saw.  By looking at many old posts and using the search function to find answers, I pretty much found the answer to EVERY question I had about what and why a particular saw would match my needs.  I also found answers to questions I didn't even know I had....until I actually found the answers  :-\ hmm, that doesn't make much sense....

I came to the decision that I will settle on the Stihl MS361.  I feel it will be a good step up from the saws I have been using in the past (a husky 36, stihl 024 wood boss, an old homelite XL-101, and 2 older johnsereds which i don't know the model numbers for).  My reason for going with Stihl vs. any others is because there is a dealer only 5 miles away and I have bought many products (lawn and garden type tools) from him in the past, and always have been happy with him.  If there was a husky dealer close by that I liked, I would have gone with Husky.  I will be using the saw for 2 things, the first and most use it will get, will be for felling and bucking hardwoods between 12"-20"  for firewood on a 25 acre MA lot and a 50 acre NH lot.  This is where the saw will see most of its use, I will match it with a 20" bar. 

It's secondary purpose will be for use with an Alaskan Sawmill (I know I know, I need a bigger saw :D...actually no, just get an LT 15 [yes I am planning that for the future too 8)]) but for now and just to start out I plan on getting a CSM with a 24" bar, this will only be used for milling beams from EWP to "attempt" to build the garden shed in Sobon's book.  Once I realize it is way too much work and I think I want to tackle a bigger project, like a house or barn, I will upgrade to a sawmill, but I'm getting off topic here.

I have a fair amount of experience operating chainsaws (although none compared to those who do it every day) and I feel pretty confident in my ability to safely drop a tree where I want it as well as safely limb and buck it up.  I have read 2 excellent packets (pamphlets, write ups, or whatever it would be called) that I also learned a great amount from.  One was the Carlton "how a chain cuts" pamplet in the "forum extras" section http://www.sawchain.com/images/complete%20book.pdf , and the other one was "Production felling through safety" which I believe is similar to some GOL techniques.  (Forget where I found this one?)  I would LOVE to take the GOL course someday and its on my list. 

I hate to say it but I do not own a pair of chainsaw chaps yet, I will be buying them as well when I purchase the 361, so I'm ashamed to say that up until now I have not been wearing chaps when operating the chainsaw, I feel pretty lucky that I haven't been hurt yet and from now on I will be wearing all appropriate gear, no excuse for the past other than I was just too dumb to know, and now I know better...
I also have safety glasses, the husky hardhat with screen and earmuffs (I also wear disposable ear plugs under the muffs), gloves, and soon will have the chaps.  I'm also gonna buy a logrite peavey with log stand to help me buck up the logs.  Is there anything else I "need"? 

I Like the power to weight ratio of the 361, I want a pro saw, and its in my price range.  I have read more than a few posts about the 361 being hard to start, I have also read posts that this isn't an issue anymore because stihl "fixed" that problem.  I don't need my saw to start first pull everytime, although that would be nice, but I also don't want to have to mess with it every time I wanna start a hot saw.  I just want to confirm with other MS361 owners (preferably recent owners) that this isn't a problem anymore, or if it is, what you did to fix it?  Is it something that goes away after the saw is broken in? 
This is literally the only thing holding me back from knowing 100% that this saw would be a good match for what I am looking for, so if all goes well, you guys will help me spend my money and convince me that I shouldn't have a problem with hard starts. 

I guess that is a pretty longwinded way of asking a simple question, but I wanted everyone to know I've done my homework and searched for the answers and I'm not just asking another question that has been answered a thousand times before.  (This is your Q to post a link to the answer of this exact question that was probably just asked last week :D :D

Thanks again for all your help, I've been checking out this site fairly religiously for the last year and a half or so, and I have already learned an unbelievable amount from everyone......okay, post away...
“What the Lion is to the Cat the Mastiff is to the Dog, the noblest of the family; he stands alone, and all others sink before him. His courage does not exceed his temper and generosity, and in attachment he equals the kindest of his race.”

Offline WDH

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Re: The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2008, 11:04:20 pm »
Piston,

I bought a MS 361 about 2 months ago.  Initially, it was hard to start, and I managed to flood it, causing problems.  From the advice here, I learned a good bit about how to start the saw.  When it is cold, mine takes about 5 or 6 pulls to fire in the start position.  Then you flip up the switch to the next position, and it starts on the second or third pull.  When hot, I just flip the switch to the first position, and the saw starts easily.

It seems that the saw is getting easier to start as it gets broken in.  I have ran maybe 8 tanks of gas through it so far.  I have been very pleased with the saw's performance, and I would not hesitate to buy one again.

The decompression feature is nice, making it much easier on the pull to start the saw. 
Woodmizer LT15, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline Rocky_J

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Re: The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2008, 11:07:56 pm »
So, if WDH is correct then that means it starts just like every other Stihl chainsaw built in the last 25 years or so? That sounds like an accurate description of the standard starting procedure for practically any two cycle engine. Is the 361 so different or are the complaints coming from people who don't know how to start a chainsaw?
 ???

Online beenthere

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Re: The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2008, 12:19:27 am »
................... I just want to confirm with other MS361 owners (preferably recent owners) that this isn't a problem anymore, or if it is, what you did to fix it?  Is it something that goes away after the saw is broken in?  ..............................

Mine is easy to start now, and I'm still on the first two chains (for an idea of limited use on 4 years of firewood ++ some).

Cold...3-4 pulls, then 1-2 on half-choke.
Warm..one pull, seldom a second pull.

I don't use the decompression valve.

You'll like the MS361, I'm suspecting.  :) :)

(and Rocky_J,   I was one of those not happy with my MS361 at first, after 29 years using an 041-my favorite-along with others. But I figured I knew how to start a chainsaw. ;) ;) At first, the MS361 was a hard starter, and I was used to old faithful 041. I just about gave up on the new one, but the dealer said..."be patient, and run a few tankfuls of fuel through, and it will get broken in". That did happen.  :) :)
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Offline Maineloggerkid

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Re: The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2008, 05:14:32 am »
I ran a 361 that had been broken in, and I liked it. If I wasn't cutting oversized wood I was gonna buy one. I just ordered a husky 385xp yesterday.
JD 540D cable skidder, and 2 huskies- just right.   

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Offline SawTroll

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Re: The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2008, 05:40:29 am »
So, if WDH is correct then that means it starts just like every other Stihl chainsaw built in the last 25 years or so? That sounds like an accurate description of the standard starting procedure for practically any two cycle engine. Is the 361 so different or are the complaints coming from people who don't know how to start a chainsaw?
 ???

I vote for the last option...... :D :D



...only thing to note really, is to take it off choke at the slightest hint that it wants to start, as with many other saws etc......
Firewood saws: Jonsereds Raket 621 (1970), Husky 353G, Stihl MS361W, Husky 372xpg, New Edition Husky 339xp, Dolmar PS5100SH, New Edition Husky 346xpg, Jonsered 2153WH, Husky 560xpg.

Offline SawTroll

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Re: The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2008, 05:49:06 am »
..... My reason for going with Stihl vs. any others is because there is a dealer only 5 miles away and I have bought many products (lawn and garden type tools) from him in the past, and always have been happy with him.  If there was a husky dealer close by that I liked, I would have gone with Husky.  .....

The 361 is the Husky that Husky forgot to make when they discontinued the 262xp - it acts about like a Husky xp, except that you need to clean the air filter more often - no problem though.    8) 8)
Firewood saws: Jonsereds Raket 621 (1970), Husky 353G, Stihl MS361W, Husky 372xpg, New Edition Husky 339xp, Dolmar PS5100SH, New Edition Husky 346xpg, Jonsered 2153WH, Husky 560xpg.

Offline WDH

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Re: The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2008, 08:00:02 am »
I vote for the last option...... :D :D

I guess that I was fooled by my husky saws for 29 years, and that all along, I really did not know how to start a chainsaw :).
Woodmizer LT15, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Online beenthere

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Re: The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2008, 10:37:17 am »
WDH
And I was fooled too by several Homelite's, Mac's, Poulan and Pioneer, as well as the 041 (may fav).
 ;D ;D ;D

(and too, it's not that the MS361 wouldn't start, it just took some extra pulls when it was new). 
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Offline pbuehning

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Re: The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2008, 05:32:43 pm »
its real simple, BUT you've got to pay attention.
  Cold start - full choke - pull till you here the slightest pop (pay attention or you'll flood it)
                    after the pop, move it up one notch and it will start in 1 or 3 more pulls.
  Warm start - place in run position and pull - should start in 1 to 2.

  If not, its not tuned right!     Forget about the decomp until you get to know your saw - It muffles the ist pop and causes frequent customer flooding.  You really don't need it anyways.
MS361C-Q (muff mod), MS200 (rear handle),026 (muff mod), MS290, (3)SXL-AO, 030AV, couple of old poulans and ??? # of projects

Offline John Bartley

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Re: The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2008, 06:27:56 pm »
My MS361 was a slow starter until it had about 10-15 hours on it. As it broke in it got easier and easier to start. As a former Stihl dealer, I was expecting exactly that performance. You'll like it.

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Offline SawTroll

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Re: The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2008, 08:00:54 pm »
its real simple, BUT you've got to pay attention.
  Cold start - full choke - pull till you here the slightest pop (pay attention or you'll flood it)
                    after the pop, move it up one notch and it will start in 1 or 3 more pulls.
  Warm start - place in run position and pull - should start in 1 to 2.

  If not, its not tuned right!     Forget about the decomp until you get to know your saw - It muffles the ist pop and causes frequent customer flooding.  You really don't need it anyways.

Fits with mine - it is that simple - except that I use the decomp on mine when cold.....
Firewood saws: Jonsereds Raket 621 (1970), Husky 353G, Stihl MS361W, Husky 372xpg, New Edition Husky 339xp, Dolmar PS5100SH, New Edition Husky 346xpg, Jonsered 2153WH, Husky 560xpg.

Offline Piston

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Re: The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2008, 08:15:22 pm »
Okay, well thats pretty much what I was looking for, seems as though I just need to go out and buy one now, get some hours on it, and i'll be happy, thats what im looking for! 
Thanks guys, im away from home for a while now, but am planning on buying the saw before winter to get goin on next years firewood  8)  I'll let you all know if i'm happy with my purchase after i get some hours on it.
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Offline tyb525

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Re: The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2008, 09:14:39 pm »
On the subject of the CSM, if the 361 is any thing like the 036, it should do fairly well in logs 20" and under, just make sure your chain is sharp!
LT10G10, Stihl 038 Magnum, many woodworking tools. Seems I do more construction work than sawmill work these days.

Offline SawTroll

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Re: The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2008, 09:27:21 am »
On the subject of the CSM, if the 361 is any thing like the 036, it should do fairly well in logs 20" and under, just make sure your chain is sharp!

It is + excellent throttle responce and high rpm performance.. 8) 8)
Firewood saws: Jonsereds Raket 621 (1970), Husky 353G, Stihl MS361W, Husky 372xpg, New Edition Husky 339xp, Dolmar PS5100SH, New Edition Husky 346xpg, Jonsered 2153WH, Husky 560xpg.

Offline Bobcat_pa

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Re: The truth about MS361 Hard Starts...Help me spend!
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2008, 07:57:02 pm »
My first 361 was awful to start, both cold and warmed up.   Dealer finally gave up and just gave me a new power head.   This one, and a second 361 I purchased, are both easy to start.  As Saw Troll said, at the first sign of firing, get it off coke.   And as Rocky said, this is true for all saws.  Any brand will flood if you keep pulling and pulling when on choke.