Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Husqvarna 545 Chainsaw Review

Husqvarna 545 Chainsaw Review - Intro

I am a fire wood chopping home owner and I have happily used by old 2nd hand Husqvarna 136 for 2 years worth of log chopping, unfortunately it developed a fault (chain moves at idle), and before I could fix it I had already (whoops) bought a new chainsaw.

First Impressions?

Moving from bottom of the range home-owner saw, to a bottom of the range pro saw is a big move. This combined with the saw being newer and a more modern design, well they are worlds apart.

Husqvarna 545 Chainsaw Review - What is in the Box?

The saw turns up partly assembled. You will need to fit the bar and chain. By box as shipping / posted also contained:

  • Tube of Grease
  • Allen Key / Socket Spanner Tool
  • Flat Blade Screwdriver / Socket Spanner Tool (Scrench)
  • Grease Gun (!)
  • Saw Blade Cover / Sheath
  • Instruction Book
  • Cold Weather Attachment

Husqvarna 545 Chainsaw Review - First Impressions

The Husqvarna 545 is the cheapest Husqvarna saw you can buy (I think) that is made in Sweden. No doubt all the parts are made in china, but the saw feels good qaulity. The crank case is made of metal, rather than plastic, and the fit of the parts to each other is very very neat.

Four muffler bolts - Seems very secure.

The saw is heavier than my old saw, but I expected this. At 5kg it is only 10% heavier (1 lb) than my old saw yet has 50% more power. Which seems like a good trade.

The workman ship is very good, the machining around the bar oil plug being very neat.

Been on a diet?

It is a thin saw side to side, this has been done intentionally. Not sure why.

The feel of the Husqvarna 545 is reassuring, with most of the componenets being built very solidly. The fold up handles on the filler caps are a nice touch, and seem to be tough depsite their being quite thinly made.The front handle is metal with a rubbery plastic grip. The rear handle is plastic with rubberised areas on the the upper sides.

Flip Up Handles on Fuel and Oil Bungs are Handy

And very neat when folded away!

The muffler is attached via 4 bolt on to the front of the Husqvarna 545. The chain brake hand guard is neatly designed and comes down to meet the cylinder cover.

Underneath the cylinder cover you will find  a plastic mesh type air filter, and NO adjustment screws on the carburettor. This is because this chainsaw has AutoTune.

Husqvarna 545 Chainsaw Review - AutoTune


Autotune is a feature that adjusts the idle, low jet and high jet setting on the carburettor automatically.

Look - No Adjustment Screws

AutoTune was a big selling point for me. I like the thought of not being able to damage a chain saw for mis-adjustment of the carburettor. Perhaps I should have more faith in myself. When first using the chainsaw I found a big chunky log and followed the below instructions:

The following steps should be taken when the chain saw is started for the first time or when outside circumstances change (fuel, altitude, air filter etc.): Start the engine. Accelerate the engine to full throttle and saw a number of cuts in a thick log (3-5 min.).The chain saw must be run (8,000 - 12,000 rpm) the entire time so that the carburettor can adjust itself.

These instructions are fairly basic, and I suspect even if you are chopping fire wood you can find some way of doing this so it is not a waste of effort. If you are working thinning out thin trees though it may prove tricky.

When cutting in to the big log for the first time, you could hear the chainsaw adjusting it self, 4 cycling and then not and then 4 cycling again until . .  . perfection.

Husqvarna 545 Chainsaw Review - Performance

WOW. I am comparing this to my old 136 but the 545 is very powerful, at full revs the saw cuts very smoothly. The tone of the engine is very steady. The pick up i.e. the acceleration of the chain is very impressive. The chainsaw came supplied with a 15" bar, which is a little short (18" would be better as standard Husqvarana) and as you would expect you can bury the entire length of this in the wood with little loss in revs.

I had to tension the new chain 3 or 4 times through the first hour of use, and the hot starts were faultless. There is a procedure to follow (turn the choke on and off before starting), but the saw will start without doing this if the stop period is brief.

Combined Stop and Choke Switch

Note. On following the hot start procedure the chainsaw will rev up quite considerably saw be sure to engage the chain brake.

Husqvarna 545 Chainsaw Review - Price

This saw costs around the same as a Husqvarna 455 Rancher, which is now also available with autotune. On many websites the 545 is cheaper than the 455, yet is has one or two features which  push it up in to the bottom of the pro saw catergory.

545 under the hood

I paid £457 (inc VAT) for my chainsaw. A 455 is £500 perhaps people are distracted by the 55cc displacement of the 455, despite this 10% extra cylinder capacity it has only 2% extra power.

The next step up for a 550xp (which is basically the same chainsaw), expect to pay around £530.

For the Stihl equivalent with M-Tronic  (AutoTune alternative) can be had MS261- M for around the same price if you find a good deal.

Husqvarna 545 Chainsaw Review -Conclusions

I agonised over this decision for some time, there are a lot of choices out there. I paid £450 for this chainsaw, and I hope it will last for 10 years. Until it has lasted that long I will not have released its value.

For a weekly user such as myself perhaps a £260 Dolamr or Makitta might have been  better choice. A Husqvarna 236 can be had for £160. Perhaps this would have been better value, time will tell

That being said the 545 is a joy to use. It is easy to start and will run for 45 minutes on 1 tank of fuel. I love it, although as with any chainsaw it scares the living $h1T out of me!

Please leave a comment.

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Friday, 8 May 2015

Chainsaw Chain Keeps Moving at Idle

Chainsaw Chain Keeps Moving at Idle - Intro 

I have an 10 year old husqvarna chainsaw with a chain that keeps moving at idle, I used to apply the chain brake to stop the chain when not using the saw, but the problem has got steadily worse and now the clutch overheats so I had to try and fix it.

Trying to fix this chain moving at idle problem has lead me on a journey of discovery which I will now share with you in the hope it may help you fix the same sort of problem.

Chainsaw Chain Keeps Moving at Idle - 2 Causes

I may be wrong but there are 2 basic reasons why your chain might move at idle:

  1. A faulty clucth (or something else) is engaged and is causing the chain to spin.
  2. The clutch is OK but the saw is revving too high and so the clutch engages (as it should) at higher revs.

"Clutch" Based Reasons (1)

Chainsaw Chain Keeps Moving at Idle - FIX A - Faulty Clutch

The spring on the centrafugal clutch may have become weak over time, and now when the RPM is correct (sat around 2800 RPM), the clutch engaes and the the chain moves.

Either replace you clutch, clutch spring, or tighten the spring.

There could be lots of sawdust or wood chips stuck in the clutch, if so get rid of this.

Further reading.

Chainsaw Chain Keeps Moving at Idle - FIX B - Seized Sprocket Bearings

While you are inspecting the clutch springs it is worth taking a look at the sprocket bearings, they may have overheated and seized. The clutch drum (and sprocket) should rotate freely on the crankshaft. 

Further reading

"Rev" Based Reasons (2)

I am no expert on carburettors please read this guide before following any of the below suggestions.

Chainsaw Chain Keeps Moving at Idle - FIX C - Adjust Idle Speed

on the carburettor there are 3 screws a low jet screw, high jet screws and a "T" screw. This T screw is for setting the idle. Turn it out (anticlockwise) to lower the idle speed, until the chain stops spinning. If the saw stalls before the chain stops spinning or this does not lower the revs enough to stop the chain moving, then it is likely you will have to adjust the carburettor.  

Chainsaw Chain Keeps Moving at Idle - FIX D - Adjust Low Jet

Turn out the low jet screw, this will richen the mixture and make the chain speed slow down. I think that adjusting this screw affects the setting of the high jet. But if you are just adjusting a small amount, perhaps leave the high jet screw alone, if this is set over lean it can damage the engine. Make adjustments very small and take not of which way you are adjusting them, so you can put them back how they were is the adjustments do not improve things.

Chainsaw Chain Keeps Moving at Idle - FIX E - Your May have an Air Leak

If the saw is running at high revs with the idle screw out and the low mixture set over rich then it is likley you have an air leak.

Put simply the engine requires air and fuel to run, the mix is controlled by the carburettor. If extra air gets in from else where then this will cuase an over lean mixture and the saw to run at higher revs.

Air leaks can come from

  1. Seals - Port Seal, Impulse Seal, Cranks Seals
  2. Cracks - In Cylinder Block
  3. Loose Nuts - on carburettor mounting etc.
I had no special machinery so I improvised in the following manner.

You will need a bicycle inner tube, and a bicycle pump.

Cut some piece of inner tube to fit behind the carburettor and the carburettor mount. Fit these is place to seal the port.

Refit the spark plug.

Cut the valve from the inner tube together with a patch big enough to fit behind the exhaust port. As pictured below: fit behind the muffler and re-attach.

Very carefully now use a pump to very gently blow a littl e air in the the seal chamber. Ensure that the piston head is down low, or up high ( you need to try both up and down I think) and not blocking the ports.

Listen for air hissing out, with a wet hand you may be able to feel the air escaping from behind a seal. Spray the outside of the sealed area with lashings on bubbly liquid, this could be kids bubble bath, or washing up liquid.

The picture above shows some bubble coming out of the crank seal. The man cuase of the air leak on my saw was a completely trashed impulse seal. Pictured below.

Further viewing (video below).

Chainsaw Chain Keeps Moving at Idle - Conclusions

So I hope you can see from the above that there are many reasons why your saws chain may be moving at idle. And hopefully using the baove information you can fix your saw, and get back out in the woods.


I am not an expert and this is my first foray in to the world of small engines so please read this guide at your own risk. My saw is worth about £50 / $90, and worth nothing broken, so I had nothing to loose here. If your saw is worth a lot of money then please read up on the each fix before attempting it. Chainsaws are really really dangerous obviously, and despite trying to fix this saw I have in the mean time bought a new one, because I value my legs and other limbs, and want a saw that is safe to use because they are inherently dangerous anyway. Perhaps consider doing the same your self.

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