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Author Topic: Running 3/8 chain on Stihl MS 261 & 271  (Read 978 times)

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Offline markjdube

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Running 3/8 chain on Stihl MS 261 & 271
« on: July 19, 2017, 04:26:36 pm »
I have 1 MS271 and 2 MS261s that according to the Stihl should be run with .325 chain on bars anywhere from 16-20in. From reading other forums, it seems like these saws have the best performance when running 16 or 18in bars, but can still run 20 if need be. My question is whether I can get this sprocket kit, http://www.treestuff.com/store/catalog.asp?category_id=563&item=5751, and use it to run 3/8 chain instead (it says it's made for 271 & 261). We have about 40+ saws in our fleet, all of which run 3/8 chain on 20in bars. I would like to get the 271 and 261s running the same if possible for conformity's sake.

Basically I am wondering if anyone has any experience with these modifications. Would 3/8 work, but only on a bar smaller than 20 in since 3/8 is heavier than .325, and .325 already has a harder time with a 20in bar? I understand the saws might not run as efficiently with my desired set up of 3/8 on 20in, but I just need to know if it'll cause any damage to the saw in the long run. I have to determine if it is easier to just have all saws run the same size chain, or have a variety but worry about chain getting mixed up (which will happen unfortunately). We have alot of new sawyers and the skill of organization is sometimes lost on them. Thanks in advance!

Mark

Offline dougand3

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Re: Running 3/8 chain on Stihl MS 261 & 271
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2017, 08:11:27 pm »
You can switch saws to 3/8 with above rim sprocket (Whew, it's pricey). Saw will be noticeably slower. Shouldn't damage saw unless you push it too hard trying to speed up and then it runs too hot. And I'll assume you know that you have to change the bar sprocket to 3/8. (Unless it's a hardnose and doesn't care about pitch).
Husky 272xp, Husky 272 on Jonsered 630 case, Husky 55 (x4), CraftsPou 4218, Stihl 011AVT, Zenoah G2500

Offline teakwood

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Re: Running 3/8 chain on Stihl MS 261 & 271
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2017, 12:02:08 am »
I agree with dougand

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: Running 3/8 chain on Stihl MS 261 & 271
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2017, 08:55:28 am »
Guys, let me explain why Stihl since  introducing the 42cc 024 in 1982 has a standard 3/8(.375) rim sprocket and b/c on their parts list.

At that time Stihl manufactured a unique standard 3/8" chain called the 33 Topic Super (33TS) which was a narrow kerf low profile chisel chain.

This was not a 3/8" Picco chain but a standard 3/8 pitch chain that was a compatible match to the larger 33RS chain, on the same sprocket nose bar and drive sprocket.
The smaller 33TS chain was basically a .325 chisel chain with a longer heavier chassis.
But since the 1990s the 33TS has been discontinued in production.

So today here we have people saying "Oh I see on the 024/026 parts list I can run a full size 3/8" chain."
These people then quickly realize the combo is not a good match.

Then the excuses to have the saw ported by folks in the business come rolling in :D

 

 
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: Running 3/8 chain on Stihl MS 261 & 271
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2017, 11:00:04 am »
I have 3 or 4 brand new 20" loops of Stihl 33Topic Super chains in my collection.  But I have no desire to use them up anytime soon.

I wish Stihl would make this beautiful little chain again.

Willard.
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline joe_indi

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Re: Running 3/8 chain on Stihl MS 261 & 271
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2017, 03:08:43 am »
The 026/260 had an optional 3/8 rim sprocket kit for using Picco chain(63PM).Now that the full chisel PS3 (Picco), this could be the best way to run a 3/8 chain on your 261,provided that rim sprocket kit is suitable. You would need to change the guide bar too.

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: Running 3/8 chain on Stihl MS 261 & 271
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2017, 09:27:04 am »
Joe, part# 3003 000 6313 for 16" Stihl Picco bar.
7 tooth Picco rim sprockets are readily available as their used on the MS241 etc.
 

 
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline PNWRusty

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Re: Running 3/8 chain on Stihl MS 261 & 271
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2017, 09:49:02 am »
So today here we have people saying "Oh I see on the 024/026 parts list I can run a full size 3/8" chain."
These people then quickly realize the combo is not a good match.

This isn't making sense to me.

I bought my 026 new in 1997. It came with an 18" bar and (AFAIK) a regular width kerf 3/8" chain. Whenever I've bought a new chain for it the Stihl dealer knows an 026 takes a 3/8" chain without asking the year. The motor runs strong and has never had a problem pulling the full length when buried in wood as long as the chain is sharp. It makes big piles of big chips and the motor seems to thrive on being fully loaded with the bar buried.

What does this discontinued narrow kerf 3/8" chain have to do with my 026? Have I been running narrow kerf 3/8" chain all these years without being aware of it?   

Offline NWP

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Re: Running 3/8 chain on Stihl MS 261 & 271
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2017, 10:09:06 am »
I've been wanting to do this with my MS261 as well for the exact same reason. I have a 361 and 362 with 18" bars and I wanted to be able to use a uniform bar and chain on everything. I have extra bars so I'll just get the kit and be good to go.
1999 Blockbuster 2222, 1994 Duratech HD8, 1997 Duratech HD10, 2011 Case SV250, 2000 Case 1845C, 1990 Peterbilt 378 w/ Hood 7000 loader, 2001 Chevrolet, 2005 Chevrolet, several trailers, and Stihl saws.

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: Running 3/8 chain on Stihl MS 261 & 271
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2017, 03:20:27 pm »
So today here we have people saying "Oh I see on the 024/026 parts list I can run a full size 3/8" chain."
These people then quickly realize the combo is not a good match.

This isn't making sense to me.

I bought my 026 new in 1997. It came with an 18" bar and (AFAIK) a regular width kerf 3/8" chain. Whenever I've bought a new chain for it the Stihl dealer knows an 026 takes a 3/8" chain without asking the year. The motor runs strong and has never had a problem pulling the full length when buried in wood as long as the chain is sharp. It makes big piles of big chips and the motor seems to thrive on being fully loaded with the bar buried.

What does this discontinued narrow kerf 3/8" chain have to do with my 026? Have I been running narrow kerf 3/8" chain all these years without being aware of it?   
Maybe you should put your reading glasses on ::)
If you bought your 026 new in 1997 then the 33Topic Super about that time was already discontinued.
Those 024/026 part listings go back to the 1980's as the 026 was introduced  in 1988.
The 026 by 1997 had quite a few upgrades to be able to better handle a standard .375 chain.
024 is classified a 40cc saw, 026 a 50cc.

Now that you got your glasses on look at the differences again of the 33TS and 33RS :D
 

 
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: Running 3/8 chain on Stihl MS 261 & 271
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2017, 10:52:49 pm »
A friend of mine has a 026, 044 and a 066 and he says he runs standard 3/8 on all 3 of them.

But he says the 026 cuts good when the cutters are filed half ways back down to the witness marks .

So what he's saying is the 026 never gets a new chain on it. ;D
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline celliott

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Re: Running 3/8 chain on Stihl MS 261 & 271
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2017, 10:22:02 am »
I run my 346xp with 3\8 chain, 16" bar only though. And don't get aggressive with the depth gauges, but I like how the chain lasts. Not often blocking wood like that, more brush cutting and small diameter stuff.
Chris Elliott


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Offline PNWRusty

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Re: Running 3/8 chain on Stihl MS 261 & 271
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2017, 11:40:26 am »
If you bought your 026 new in 1997 then the 33Topic Super about that time was already discontinued.
Those 024/026 part listings go back to the 1980's as the 026 was introduced  in 1988.
The 026 by 1997 had quite a few upgrades to be able to better handle a standard .375 chain.
024 is classified a 40cc saw, 026 a 50cc.

Thank-you for explaining that. I didn't know the earlier 026's had less power.

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: Running 3/8 chain on Stihl MS 261 & 271
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2017, 11:18:15 pm »
If you bought your 026 new in 1997 then the 33Topic Super about that time was already discontinued.
Those 024/026 part listings go back to the 1980's as the 026 was introduced  in 1988.
The 026 by 1997 had quite a few upgrades to be able to better handle a standard .375 chain.
024 is classified a 40cc saw, 026 a 50cc.

Thank-you for explaining that. I didn't know the earlier 026's had less power.
Your 026 you bought new in 1997 it could be a 026 Pro which was manufactured from 1996 to 2002.
But there  was a regular 026 which was manufactured from 1988 and also up until 2002.
MS260 ran from 2002 to 2011.
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline PNWRusty

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Re: Running 3/8 chain on Stihl MS 261 & 271
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2017, 08:57:46 am »
Your 026 you bought new in 1997 it could be a 026 Pro which was manufactured from 1996 to 2002.
But there  was a regular 026 which was manufactured from 1988 and also up until 2002.
MS260 ran from 2002 to 2011.

Good history lesson. That info is hard to find on the Internet.

I think I have the non-Pro 026 because it lacks a compression release. It seems like there was one other minor difference between the two versions but I can't remember what it was.