A Guide to Adjusting a Poulan Chainsaw Carburetor — A Step-by-Step Guide

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If you’re using a Poulan chainsaw for the first time, you’re probably wondering how to use it correctly to prevent any damage. I’ve been there, and trust me, it’s relatively straightforward. However, adjusting the carburetor does require a particular tool.

Let me walk you through the process of adjusting the Poulan chainsaw carburetor in easy-to-follow steps. Dive into this guide to get started!

Carburetor of a Poulan Chainsaw

In the same way as a car’s carburetor or any other small engine, the carburetor of a Poulan chain saw runs on fuel. 

Poulan Chainsaws on logs

The adjustment procedure will either lean out the fuel mixture by reducing the fuel and oil ratio to air or richen it by adding more gas and oil to the air mixture.

How to Adjust Your Poulan Chainsaw's Carburetor

Safety Tips

Before the adjustment process starts, you need to get your chainsaw ready. Make sure the following are present in your chainsaw before making any carburetor adjustments:

Poulan chainsaw spark plug

Important Note: Your chainsaw’s engine runs poorly typically because of a clogged spark plug, contaminated fuel, or a dirty air filter. So, all other parts must be properly functioning before making any carburetor adjustment.

Also, if you have a tachometer, adjusting the carburetor on a Poulan saw will be significantly simpler. Poulan chainsaws can operate between 2800 and 3400 RPMs at idle and between 12000 and 12500 RPMs at full throttle.

Next, make sure to consider your safety. You may want to be aware of the following: 

Poulan Chainsaws

Once all are set correctly, you can now proceed with the steps to modify your Poulan chainsaw’s carburetor.

Step #1: Seat the High and Low-Speed Jets Closed

When dealing with the high-speed jet (marked “H”) and the low-speed jet (marked “L”) on the carburetor, you’ll want to seat them closed. Grab a tachometer and gently turn these jets clockwise until they won’t rotate any further.

high and low speed jets

Step #2: Pry the High and Low-Speed Jets Open 1.5 Turns

Use the tachometer again to open the low-speed jet and the high-speed jet by making 1.5 rotations from the baseline or the closed position.   

Step #3: Run the Chainsaw, Then Set the Tune of the Low-Speed Jet

Next, adjust the saw’s low jet to the position where the saw chain stops moving while its throttle is still responsive. 

Step #4: Tune the High-Speed Jet for Max RPMs

After that, adjust the high-speeds’ jet screw to the position where its engine idles at the maximum RPMs allowed. For this, refer to the owner’s manual (or user manual). 

tuning high and low speed jets

Reminder: You shouldn’t exceed the max RPMs allowed for your saw, or else it will impact the engine speed, resulting in engine damage.

Step #5: Adjust the Idle Screw Until the Chain Stops (Optional)

If necessary, you can modify the idle screw (the one marked with a ‘T’) until your chain stops rotating. 

Remember, if you set the idle screw too high, the saw chain moves continuously. But if you set the idle speed screw too low, your Poulan chainsaw wouldn’t idle and will eventually die.

Adjusting the Idle Speed on a Poulan Chainsaw

I’ve noticed that the idle speed is influenced by the two distinct adjustments on the carburetor. It’s the high and low-speed adjustment screws that play a pivotal role in the chainsaw’s idling behavior.

chainsaw idle adjustment

Begin with the saw’s low-speed jet opening 1.5 rotations from the closed position when you adjust the carburetor on your chainsaw. 

After starting the saw, modify the low jet until the chain stops or nearly stops while maintaining an active throttle.

You’re done if you are able to stop the chain entirely at idle while maintaining a responsive chainsaw throttle.

On the one hand, you’ll need to tweak the T-Screw if the low-speed jet adjustment does not allow the chain to stop entirely at idle.

Rotate the saw’s T-screw in a counterclockwise manner, allowing a slow-speed engine until you get to stop the chain completely. 

operating a Poulan Pro Chainsaw

Take note, turning the idle speed screw too far will result in the saw to run inefficiently, or it will die. You need to make sure you rotate the screw far enough to stop the chain from turning.  

L and H Screws, Explained

For those unfamiliar with H and L screws, these are high-speed and low-speed adjustable jets for the carburetor function. 

The air and oil mix is controlled by the L screw of the chainsaw throttle’s low-end response. Then the low end occurs on the first trigger pull. 

On the other hand, the air and oil mix is controlled by the H screw of the chainsaw throttle’s high-end response. Then, the high end occurred when the speed of the chainsaw’s engine topped out. 

Poulan chainsaw idle speed adjustment

Modifying the H and L screws affects the throttle performance of the chainsaw, as well as the low and high-end engine speed RPMs. 

Reasons Why Your Poulan Chainsaw Dies After Giving it Gas

There are several reasons why your chainsaw dies after filling it with gas. But the most prevalent cause of this issue is improper carburetor [1] adjustment. 

If your chainsaw stops working when the saw’s throttle is active, the gas mixture’s bottom end is excessively rich. Too much fuel, as well as insufficient air are being supplied by the slow-speed jet. 

Poulan chainsaw carburetor

So, the engine stops or stalls, meaning it’s not burning all of the gas properly. When this happens, I usually adjust the low-speed screw counterclockwise to find the right balance.

Additionally, issues like a bad gas mix or a dirty carburetor can cause similar problems. I’d recommend giving the carburetor a good clean to prevent any clogs. And if you suspect the fuel is off, it’s best to drain the tank and refill with fresh gasoline.

Conclusion

Adjusting a Poulan chainsaw carburetor does not require a bachelor’s degree or an authorized technician certificate or license. You can do this independently as long as you know what to do and how it must be done. 

But you’ll need to use a special tool (tachometer) to get the job done efficiently. Once you have that, you just need to follow this guide, and you’re good to go. 

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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