How to Fit a Replacement Chainsaw Chain

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Chainsaw chains need to be replaced regularly in order to maintain their performance. Here Matt replaces the chain on a McCulloch Mac 335, but the process is similar for saws of a similar size.

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Video Transcript:

Hi, I'm Matt from eSpares.

In this video I'm going to show you how to change the chain on a chainsaw.

Now I've got a McCulloch Mac 335 here - it's quite a popular model, but the process for changing the chain should be pretty similar for most chainsaws of this size.

Now chains do need to be sharpened regularly - ideally after every one or two hours of use. But as you can probably see, this one is pretty knackered, it's probably been left in the garage for a few years without being used and it's quite corroded. So I'm going to fit a brand new chain, and whilst I'm at it I'm going to show you how to fit a new bar as well.

Now it's really important that you get the right chain for your particular make and model. This McCulloch takes a 14 inch or 35cm chain as measured from the base to the nose. So I've got a 14 inch/35cm chain, and if you are in any doubt, all you need to do is to count up the number of drive links. They are these links on the inside of the chain that slot into the bar, and my old chain has got 52 drive links, which is exactly what I have got on my replacement.

Now just a few words about safety. It is a chainsaw, it is very dangerous. When it's in use we do need to make sure we've got proper protective equipment. That means protection for our ears, for our eyes, some decent gloves, and ideally some protective trousers or chaps.

Even when it's not in use we still need to treat it with respect. Always make sure you keep the blade pointing away from you, that the kill switch is in the off position, and if we're not using it for any period of time, then keep the scabbard or the chain guard on.

Now when it comes to maintenance and repair we need to be especially careful. Don't do any work on it after it's just been on, because it will be hot and very easy to burn yourself. To be extra careful, I'm actually going to remove the cylinder shield here, and disconnect the spark plug, so there is absolutely no way that this can start accidentally. Okay so that's the cylinder shield out of the way, and then disconnect the spark plug.

Now if you are unsure about anything, don't take any chances, do consult with a qualified repairer.

Now I've removed the scabbard and I just need to undo these two nuts which are holding on the clutch cover. I'm just using a 13mm socket. So with that last nut off, the clutch cover should just come away. If I push the bar in then I can just lift the chain off, all the way round, slide the bar off, and the chain comes away as well. Okay so whilst we've got the clutch cover off and the bar out of the way, it's a good idea to get in there and give it a good old clean. Get all that rubbish out of there with an old cloth. And also on the chain break make sure that's all nice and clean and clear and there's no damage to the chain break itself.

Okay so now that's all nice and clean let's get the new bar in place. Make sure we've got our chain the right way round, yep, that's good. We want to have the blade links, the sharp edge of the blade pointing in the direction of travel, which is that way along the top of the bar; and then hook it over the sprocket, and then just make sure that we feed these drive links into the groove on the bar. There we go, that's all looking good.

So it's time to put the clutch cover back on, just making sure that this adjustment pin is in the right place for the hole in the bar. There we go, that's on. Then just loosely put the nuts on so that that holds the cover in place, so with everything in place I just need to adjust the bar to put the chain under the correct tension. You should hopefully see that just tightening the chain up.

So how tight does the chain need to be? Well if we look at the bottom here, what we're looking for are the cutter links, and these ones in-between, the tie-straps. They should just be nicely touching the bottom of the bar, and if I pull that down, it should just pop back up into place. And when it's like that, I'm just going to give it another quarter turn and then I can tighten up the nuts on the clutch cover really tight.

Now the final thing is lubrication. It's really important when we've changed the chain and the bar to make sure that everything is properly lubricated. You should have a lubrication oil reservoir - this one is completely empty. I'm going to fill that up with proper chain oil and I'm also going to get some oil onto the chain itself and importantly into the sprocket here at the end. You can see there is a tiny hole there - if you've got an oil can it will be easier to get it in there but I'm just going to pour a drop on. Let that go into the hole and then use a cloth to get that and rub all over our chain. Get plenty of oil on there, get really lubricated well, so that's going to turn nice an easily.

So spark plug back on, and the cover back in place. So there we go. That's a new chain fitted and a new bar. Chains and bars are available for all makes and models of chainsaw on the eSpares website.

Thanks for watching.