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Tightening Chainsaw Chain

How-To Tension Chainsaw Chain Video

Oregon urges you to become familiar with proper saw chain maintenance techniques, and be aware of the possible dangers which can result if saw chain is not properly maintained. Always wear proper protective apparel when operating or maintaining a chainsaw. Check your chainsaw's chain tension frequently during operation.  

    How-To Tension a Chainsaw Chain

    Important: Always make sure the engine is turned off before you begin tensioning the chainsaw chain. Also, saw chain should only be tensioned while it is cool, not hot.

    Step 1a

    Step 1a

    Locate the chain tension adjustment points on your chainsaw. Common locations for adjustment points include the side cover and the front of the chainsaw.

    Step 1b

    Step 1b

    For some chainsaw models, like the Oregon CS300, the adjustment points are housed within a side cover release knob.

    Step 2

    Step 2

    Turn the adjustment screw "clockwise" to tighten, "counterclockwise" to loosen.

    Step 3a

    Step 3a

    Adjust the chainsaw chain tension. Use a chainsaw scrench to loosen your tensioning pin. This pin moves the bar for tensioning purposes and is attached to a screw. 

    Step 3b

    Step 3b

    Hold the nose of the bar up as you adjust the tension (do not let go of the bar nose until after you've tightened the mounting nut in).

    Step 3c

    Step 3c

    For sprocket-nose guide bar, follow the solid-nose guide bar instructions, then give the tensioner another quarter to half turn. The bottoms of the lowest tie straps and cutters will come up and solidly contact the bottom of the guide bar rail. The tension for a sprocket-nose guide bar must be tighter than for the solid-nose guide bar.

    Step 4

    Step 4

    As you increase the chain tension, monitor the gap between the under-side of the guide bar and the slack chain. Continue tensioning the saw chain to remove this gap. The saw chain is properly tensioned when the drive links are fully seated into the groove of the guide bar and all chain tie-straps make light contact with the guide bar.

    Step 5

    Step 5

    With a gloved hand, pull the chainsaw chain along the top of the guide bar guide bar away from the engine towards the guide bar nose several times. The chainsaw chain should feel snug but still pull freely.

    Step 6

    Step 6

    Finally, perform a "snap" test to ensure proper saw chain tension. Simply pull the chain on the underside of the guide bar down so one or two drive links are out of the guide bar rails and release it. The chain should snap directly into position. Continue to check the saw chain tension regularly, especially during the first half hour of use. If the chain becomes loose, stop cutting and let the saw cool before readjusting the tension.


    Oregon strongly encourages safe work practices and always recommends the use of appropriate safety apparel. Persons demonstrating technical product information in videos or photography do not necessarily represent proper safety habits for any given task.
     

    How-To Tension a Chainsaw Chain on an Oregon Intenz Guide Bar

    Oregon’s Intenz guide bars have their own built-in tensioning mechanism which allow you to tension chain quickly and easily. With Intenz, you don’t need to hold the bar tip up during the tensioning process.

    Step 1

    Loosen the bar nuts on the side of the chainsaw guide bar.

    Step 2

    Insert a screwdriver or chainsaw scrench into the Intenz slot of the guide bar.

    Step 3

    Turn the screwdriver or scrench clockwise to move the guide bar forward to proper chain tension. Perform a "snap" test to ensure proper saw chain tension.

    Step 4

    Tighten the chainsaw's guide bar mounting nuts - starting with the back nut before tightening the front. With a gloved hand, pull the chainsaw chain along the top of the guide bar from the engine to the guide bar nose several times. The chainsaw chain should feel snug but still pull freely.

    FAQ

    How tight should I tension my chain?

    A snap test should be performed. Grasp the chain along the bottom of the bar, pull down, and let go. The chain should snap back to its original position, solidly contacting the bottom of the bar rail. For general instructions on how to tension your chain, check out our chain instructional guide and video.  


    How do I tighten a chainsaw chain?

    A snap test should be performed. Grasp the chain along the bottom of the bar, pull down, and let go. The chain should snap back to its original position, solidly contacting the bottom of the bar rail. For general instructions on how to tension your chain, check out our chain instructional guide and video.  


    How much slack should be in a chainsaw chain?

    See chain tensioning instructional guide and video for additional information.
     

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    Product Manuals

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