How to Adjust a Poulan Chainsaw Carburetor: Guideline

Poulan chainsaws are some of the finest ones that I’ve ever encountered, often being deemed as the best in their class.

And while they are equipped with plenty of power in the engine, it also comes with a caveat that plagues most chainsaws – it starts running poorly after a couple of years.

Now, if you are a tool-savvy person, then you already know that it’s only a matter of time before your chainsaw starts underperforming. But newer users with little experience handling chainsaws can start to panic when that happens. Well, put your mind at ease if you are one of them because your chainsaw is most likely fine.

You see, gasoline chainsaws such as the one Poulan manufacturers rely on their carburetor to provide the fuel-to-air mixture which keeps the engine running. But if the adjustment is wrong, you will notice your chainsaw struggling to give you the optimal RPM when you are working.

Don’t worry – the fix is pretty easy. All you have to do here is readjust the carburetor in your Poulan chainsaw, and you should notice an immediate improvement. But what if you don’t know how to do that? Well, that’s where I come in.

how to adjust a poulan chainsaw carburetor

In this article, I will tell you all there’s to know about Poulan carburetor adjustment so that you can maintain the peak performance of your chainsaw. So, let’s get started.

How to Adjust the Carburetor on a Poulan Chainsaw?

If you have managed to acquire all the necessary tools, you can get started with the adjustments. But before you proceed, make sure you are wearing the proper safety gear, such as long-sleeve shirts and long pants, closed-toe shoes, leather gloves, and safety glasses.

Here are the steps to adjusting the carburetor in your high-end Poulan Chainsaw:

Step – 1

Step – 1

The first step is to seat the low-speed and high-speed jets in the carburetor to the closed position. Take your carburetor adjustment tool and turn both of these jets in a clockwise direction until they don’t turn further. The low-speed jet is marked with an L, and the high-speed jet is marked with an H in the carburetor.

Step – 2

Step – 2

For the next step, use your tool again and turn both the jets counterclockwise 1.5 turns from the closed position.

Step – 3

Step – 3

Now you want to fire up your chainsaw. With the chainsaw turned on, adjust the low-speed jet slowly until you see the chain stop turning even when the throttle is responsive. Once that happens, you’ll know that the low-speed jet is adjusted properly.

Step – 4

Step – 4

With the low-speed jet out of the way, you now need to turn your attention to the high-speed jet. Turn the high-speed jet slowly until the engine gains the maximum RPM that’s listed in your owner’s manual. This is when a tachometer would help you out.

Make sure the RPM in the chain doesn’t exceed the value listed in your manual. While you might be able to gain more RPM this way, it won’t offer you a stable performance and can even damage the chainsaw engine.

Step – 5

Step – 5

This is an optional step, but if you want to adjust the idle speed in your chainsaw, adjust the idle screw in the carburetor until the chain halts. However, this is only needed if the idle speed in your chainsaw is not set properly.

Do I Need Any Special Tools to Adjust the Carburetor on a Poulan Chainsaw?

Do I Need Any Special Tools to Adjust the Carburetor on a Poulan Chainsaw

Adjusting a Poulan chainsaw’s carburetor is pretty easy and straightforward. Even if you are a complete beginner at this sort of thing, you should be able to manage it without too much trouble. But before you start, there are a couple of things that you would need.

You see, the carburetor in a Poulan chainsaw requires a special set of adjustment tools that has splined teeth. There are a couple of choices here. Personally, I would recommend going with the Hipa Pack-of-12 Carburetor Adjustment Tool. This toolset comes with everything you need to get things started, along with a few extra goodies.

And it’s not only Poulan chainsaws that you can work with if you get this set. You can also use the same kit to work on the carburetor of other top-tier chainsaw brands like Stihl or Husqvarna. It also comes with a handy carry case that you can take with you anywhere you want.

Other than that, you also need to make sure the spark plug in your chainsaw is working properly. Since some of the symptoms of carburetor trouble also match the symptoms of a faulty spark plug, you want to eliminate that possibility.

You also want a fresh batch of properly mixed fuel ready at hand to pour into the fuel tank after you adjust the carburetor. Finally, make sure the air filter in your chainsaw is cleaned properly. If the air filter in the chainsaw looks damaged, now is the time to replace it.

What Does the Carburetor Do on a Poulan Chainsaw?

What Does the Carburetor Do on a Poulan Chainsaw

The carburetor is an essential component in a Poulan or any other chainsaw that works sort of like a driving force for the engine. It maintains the ratio of fuel and air in the air-to-fuel mixture that the engine uses to deliver its power.

If the amount of air becomes higher than the fuel or vice versa, you will start to notice weird issues in your chainsaw, such as poor RPM, excessive vibration, or even black smoke emissions.

There are ways to detect if your fuel-to-air ratio in the carburetor is air-heavy or fuel-heavy. For instance, if your chainsaw dies immediately after you start it or doesn’t start up properly, that means the amount of fuel is low in the mixture. On the other hand, if the carburetor produces a high-pitched noise during operation, this usually means there’s too much air in the mixture.

Typically, once you adjust the carburetor with the right ratio, you can forget about it. It will maintain that ratio for a good while.

But over time, the adjustment might become off, which means you will need to readjust it again. That’s why it’s always a good idea to learn how you can adjust your carburetor so that you won’t be caught off guard when the time comes to readjust it.

Optionally, if you have a tachometer, it can help diagnose issues in the carburetor. This is not a must-have, but if you have one and know how to use it, it can come in handy.

What are the L and H screws on the Chainsaw?

What are the L and H screws on the Chainsaw

Now in the steps to adjusting the carburetor, I talked mostly about adjusting the high-speed and low-speed jets. These two jets or screws are called speed screws and are typically marked in the carburetor as H and L screws. And it’s important to understand what they do if you want to know what adjusting the carburetor means.

The L screw, or the low-speed screw, controls the air and oil mix in the low end of the chainsaw’s throttle response. In other words, when you first pull the trigger, the adjusted fuel-to-air mixture in the low-speed screw is activated.

Inversely, the H screw controls the mixture in the high-end of the chainsaw’s throttle response. While the low end is when the trigger is first pulled, the high end of the throttle response refers to when the engine achieves its maximum RPM.

By adjusting the two screws, you are basically dictating the throttle response at the low end and engine RPM at the high end. Theoretically, you can adjust the H and L screws in a way that your chainsaw offers a higher RPM than what the manufacturer designed.

But I strongly advise against that as it would put an increasing level of stress on the engine. So unless you are willing to cut down the lifespan of your chainsaw significantly, it’s best to leave the H and L screws at the manufacturer’s recommended specifications.

How Do You Adjust the Idle Speed on a Poulan Chainsaw?

How Do You Adjust the Idle Speed on a Poulan Chainsaw

While it’s rare, you do need to adjust the idle speed of your chainsaw sometimes. If your chainsaw is not idling properly, then typically, it’s caused by the carburetor. And to fix it, you need to understand how to adjust the idle speed.

Now, the idle speed is controlled by two screws in the carburetor. Firstly, there’s the low-speed jet, and secondly, the T-screw which is known as the primary idle screw.

The first step here is to adjust the low-speed jet of the Poulan chainsaw’s carburetor to 1.5 turns from the closed position. You then want to keep adjusting the low-speed screw with the chainsaw running until the chain stops completely while the throttle is still responsive.

The goal is to have the chain in your chainsaw stop completely at idle while the throttle is still responsive. But if the chain doesn’t stop completely at idle, you need to start adjusting the T screw.

So, this time, start turning the T screw counterclockwise, which will slow the speed of the engine. You want to keep turning the screw slowly until the chain halts in its track. You don’t want to turn the idle screw too far, though – otherwise, the chainsaw engine will shut down.

Make tiny adjustments, and after a while, you should reach a point when the chain is not spinning, the throttle is responsive, and the chainsaw engine is still running. Once you achieve that, it means that the idle speed in your chainsaw is adjusted properly.

Why Does My Chainsaw Die When I Give it Gas?

Why Does My Chainsaw Die When I Give it Gas

There are many reasons that can cause your chainsaw to not start as you engage the throttle. And while it might be caused by a faulty spark plug or fuel system, the more likely culprit here is an incorrectly set carburetor.

You see, an engine stalling when you give it gas usually means that the fuel mixture in the low end is too rich. In other words, the low-speed jet is giving too much fuel to the engine while there’s not enough air, essentially choking the engine.

Since the engine can’t combust the fuel for lack of enough air, the chainsaw stalls. To fix the problem, all you have to do is lean out the low-speed screw, which means turning it counterclockwise.

Of course, there are other explanations for this problem in your chainsaw. A clogged carburetor or stale fuel can also cause your chainsaw’s engine to stall. Thankfully, the fixes for these two problems are pretty easy –

  • If the carburetor is dirty, clean it thoroughly. Also, properly clean your chainsaw too while you’re at it.
  • And if the fuel is stale, drain the tank and refill it with fresh fuel of the correct ratio of air-to-fuel mixture.

Poulan Carburetor Adjustment for Popular Models

While I have already given a general idea about the carburetor adjustment mechanism for Poulan chainsaws, it’s true that some models have different designs. But here’s the thing – Poulan has a wide variety of chainsaws, and it’s impossible for me to list out every single one of them.

What I can do, however, is address the carburetor adjustment process for a couple of popular models that many people use and help eliminate any confusions you might have about it.

Disclaimer: If your chainsaw isn’t listed in the following section, don’t let that alarm – it’s more or less the same steps that I mentioned in the above section.  But just to be on the safe side of things, I would recommend reading through the owner’s manual for any additional info on adjusting the carburetor for your specific chainsaw model.

  1. Poulan P4018wt Carburetor Adjustment

Carburetor Adjustment for Poulan P4018wt

The 4018WT is an amazing 40-cc gasoline chainsaw by Poulan. It’s part of their Wild Thing series and is the perfect choice for farmers or landowners who demand nothing but perfection out of their chainsaws. Adjusting the carburetor in this chainsaw is pretty simple and straightforward. Here are the steps:

  • Warm up the chainsaw by running it for a few minutes.
  • Locate the carburetor adjustment screws at the side of the carburetor. You should find three screws – the idle speed screw, the low-speed L screw, and the high-speed H screw.
  • Turning the idle speed screw clockwise will increase the idle speed, and a counterclockwise turn will decrease it. Your goal is to set the idle speed at around 2800 rpm.
  • Adjust the L screw next and turn it clockwise until the engine stalls. Then rotate the screw counterclockwise until the engine runs smoothly without the chain rotating.
  • Next, adjust the H screws by turning them clockwise all the way. Then rotate it counterclockwise until the chain achieves the maximum RPM, which in this case should be around 9000
  • Once the screws are set, test out the chainsaw. If it works properly, then you are done with the adjustments.

  1. Poulan Wild Thing 2375 Carburetor Adjustment

Carburetor Adjustment for Poulan Wild Thing 2375

The 2375 is another popular chainsaw from Poulan’s Wild Thing series, and I believe many of you have it in your tool shed. Now when it first came out, it had a very poor reception, but it turns out people were not using it to its fullest potential. Over time, once people got used to the chainsaw, it quickly gained massive popularity.

Since it’s part of the same Wild Thing series, the adjustment method is the same. So, I won’t get into too much detail here. You can simply follow the instructions that I laid out for the Poulan PP4018Wt chainsaw.

  1. Poulan Pro PP4218a Carburetor Adjustment

Carburetor Adjustment for Poulan Pro PP4218a

The PP4218 is the predecessor to the ever-so-popular PR4218 chainsaw by Poulan Pro. While the PP4218 is discontinued as of today, the PR4218 serves as a direct replacement for this chainsaw.

The Poulan Pro PP4218 is a 42cc gasoline chainsaw that’s equipped with an 18-inch bar. Despite its larger bar size, the chainsaw is quite light, which makes it the perfect pickup for any homeowner. Here are the steps to adjusting the carburetor in this chainsaw.

  • As always, warm up the chainsaw by running it for a few seconds.
  • Locate the high-speed and low-speed screws on the carburetor marked by H and L symbols, respectively.
  • Turn the low-speed screw clockwise until it stops. Then move it counterclockwise until the chain stops moving while the throttle is responsive.
  • Then turn the high-speed screw clockwise until it stops, and start turning it counterclockwise until you achieve the maximum RPM.
  • Test out your chainsaw, and if it doesn’t bog down when you cut something, you’re good.

  1. Poulan Pro PR4218 Carburetor Adjustment

Carburetor Adjustment for Poulan Pro PR4218

As I said already, the Poulan Pro PR4218 is the successor to the PP4218 chainsaw and offers more efficiency in fuel usage and engine performance. But similar to its predecessor and all other gasoline chainsaws, the carburetor might require some adjustment after it’s been used extensively.

Thankfully, the chainsaw doesn’t require you to jump through any additional hoops to adjust the carburetor. You can simply follow the steps I mentioned for the Poulan Pro PP4218 to set the carburetor in this chainsaw.

  1. Poulan P3314 Carburetor Adjustment

The Poulan P3315 is a strato-style chainsaw, and tuning it can be a bit tricky. Since the optimal setting depends on the condition of your chainsaw, you might need to tweak your chainsaw a bit differently than what worked for me. 

Make sure you read the instruction manual first to give you any additional tips I might have missed. Here are the steps for carburetor adjustment.

  • Warm up the chainsaw and locate the adjustment screws on the side.
  • You need to set both the H and L screws to the extreme clockwise point.
  • After that, I like to turn the H screw counterclockwise for about two and a half turns and start the engine. From that point, I turn the screw clockwise half-step at a time, until the engine runs clean.
  • Adjusting the low speed screw follows the same formula. Start at the leanest setting and then turn it until you get a good idle speed with a good acceleration with the throttle.

  1. Poulan Pro PP5020AV Carburetor Adjustment

Carburetor Adjustment for Poulan Pro PP5020AV

The Poulan PP5020AV is a weird one. It’s one of the most popular Poulan chainsaws to date and has plenty of power for any sort of task, but people complain that the carburetor adjustments from the factory are way off. Now when users are complaining that the factory settings are wrong, it does sound suspicious.

In fact, many users report that after tweaking the carburetor on their own and tuning the chainsaw a bit differently than the recommended specs, they could get the chainsaw to perform much better than before.

Since I haven’t seen this myself, I can’t really attest to that. What I can say is that the adjustment steps are pretty much identical to the other ones I mentioned here. Personally, I would recommend sticking to the carburetor settings laid out in the manual.

But if you want to tweak some settings to see if you can get more out of it, it’s entirely your decision. Just remember that tweaking it beyond the manufacturer’s parameters can burn out the engine if you’re not careful.

  1. Poulan Woodshark 1950 Carburetor Adjustment

Carburetor Adjustment for Poulan Woodshark 1950

The Woodshark 1950 by Poulan is a personal home maintenance chainsaw that’s extremely popular these days. It’s a lightweight, compact chainsaw that’s perfect for some light landscaping and property maintenance around the house. The engine is not very powerful, but it can surely pack a punch whenever you need it.

Now despite its seemingly simple design, adjusting the carburetor may prove difficult solely because of the typical users that get this chainsaw. You see, professional loggers have no use for a chainsaw like this. Only those who occasionally use a chainsaw will consider picking it up.

So, if you’re unsure how to adjust the carburetor in your Woodshark, here are the steps.

  • Set the chainsaw down on a flat surface, preferably a table, and make sure there’s nothing around the chain that can interrupt it from spinning.
  • Remove the engine cover by locating and removing the three screws holding it in place. Then lift the air filter cover and remove the air filter. You should see the carburetor adjustment screw just behind the air filter.
  • Locate the idle screw, which is marked with the letter T just about the priming bulb.
  • Warm up the chainsaw for about two or three minutes keeping it at idle speed. If you feel that the idle speed is too slow, you need to engage the throttle.
  • Using a flat-head screwdriver, turn the idle screw clockwise if it’s idling slowly. This will increase the engine speed. However, if the chain starts turning, turn the screw counterclockwise to make it stop.
  • Your goal is to find the spot where the engine runs without the chain rotating. Once you achieve that, you can reassemble the chainsaw.

You’ll notice two other screws in the carburetor, but there are screw guards in place to prevent interference. If you think your engine is still running poorly, I would recommend taking your chainsaw to a professional instead of turning the two screws here.

With Everything Said and Done

Adjusting the carburetor of a Poulan chainsaw might sound intimidating, but the truth is, it’s a very basic maintenance skill that every chainsaw operator should learn. I get it – it’s your first chainsaw, and you don’t want to mess it up. But if you follow along with my guide, you should be fine.

Of course, you would need to buy a special tool for the job, and while I recommend the Hipa Pack-of-12 Carburetor Adjustment Tool, you can go with any other option if you like. Just make sure the tool is compatible with the carburetor in your chainsaw.

Before I take my leave, though, let me remind you not to exceed the manufacturer’s recommended RPM to get more power out of your chainsaw. This can sound tempting, but if you operate your chainsaw beyond its factory parameters, you can damage it beyond repair.

I hope my in-depth discussion on how to adjust the carburetor in your Poulan chainsaw could help you sort out any issues you were having with your chainsaw. If you want to know how to adjust the carburetor in a Stihl chainsaw, you can check out my article here. Good luck!

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