8 Most Common Stihl 500i Problems That Are Not Hard to Fix

Do you own a Stihl 500i chainsaw? Have you had problems with it? I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that you’re not alone, and many others are experiencing the same problems as you. The bad news is…well…I guess there isn’t really any bad news to speak of, because I’m about to talk about some common Stihl 500i problems and how to fix them.

Some typical issues with the Stihl 500i include a hot start and the engine failing to start. There’s also deafening noise, water leaks, slowdowns, and, of course, no ignition.

No worries. Stay with me as this article will give you some troubleshooting tips and basic fixes to keep your cravings from ruining your job.

stihl 500i problems

Quick Table-Stihl 500i Problems and Fixes

A Stihl 500 saw is a wonderful tool for property maintenance and light timber work. But just like any other machine, it does have problems. 

This quick table lists the most common problems experienced by 500i owners and their possible solutions.

Stihl 500i Problems Quick Solutions
Hot Start Replace defective parts of the engine
Malfunction of the cutter wheel Fix faulty clutch part
The engine won’t start Refill the fuel
Leakage In System Fix worn-out O-rings and water seals.
Loud noise Replace faulty ball bearings, holders, clutch springs, etc
No spark Replace spark plugs and check the fuel system
No Water Supply Change the solenoid valve and water nozzle
Bogging down Clean up the air filter

Extensive Fixing Discussion to Stihl 500i Problems

500i problems and fixes

The Stihl 500i is a robust tool that can accomplish a great deal of work for you. However, some errors can develop and have an impact on how well this tool works. Continue reading as I go into great detail about the issues and walk you through the procedure for resolving them.

Problem 1: Hot Start

hot start

Hot starts can be caused by a number of different issues, but the most common cause is a stretched-out engine part.  However, the issue can be fixed easily by replacing the damaged part with a new one. This’ll allow you to enjoy smooth starts again and prevent further damage to your engine.

Process of Fixing…

  • First, examine the spark plug. If it’s filthy or clogged, fully clean it.
  • If cleaning the spark plug does not fix the problem, the cause might be a filthy air filter, which prevents the engine from running. So, clean the air filter and replace it if necessary.
  • Next, if you’ve been using old fuel, clean it up and use a fresh one. 
  • Finally, inspect the engine’s compression because it won’t start if there isn’t any. You can check for compression by removing the spark plug and inserting your finger over the hole.

Problem 2: The Cutter Wheel Doesn’t Operate Correctly

cutter wheel doesn't operate correctly

You may have noticed that the cutter wheel on your Stihl 500i is not working properly. Or it may have stopped working altogether. The cutter wheel may not be working because of a loose poly V-belt, radial, or axial runout. 

This can be a serious problem, and if you don’t get it fixed quickly, it could become a significant inconvenience.

Process of Fixing…

  • Examine the overall state of the drum and clutch shoe. Replace them if they don’t appear to be in good condition.
  • Next, replace the cutting wheel if it’s damaged. 
  • Set the actual functioning of the axial or radial components.
  • Check the tightness of the poly ribbed V-belt and correct it.
  • Finally, remove the existing ball bearing and install a new one.

Problem 3: Engine Won’t Start

engine won’t start

If your Stihl 500i won’t start, it’s probably a simple fix. There are a few things to check before you reach for your phone to call a mechanic.

Process of Fixing…

  • Start by checking the fuel level. Refuel it if it’s low on fuel.
  • After that, check to see if the fuel is flooding since this might cover the spark plug.
  • Touch the spark plug now. Clean up any fuel residue you detect.
  • Finally, to resolve this problem, you must clean out the combustion chamber.

Problem 4: Water Leakage in the System

water leakage in the system

If you’re experiencing water leaks in your Stihl 500 system, it’s most likely due to a faulty O-ring. Besides, worn-out water attachment seals can also cause leakage of water.

Let’s show you what to do to fix this problem

Process of Fixing…

  • First, locate and replace the defective O-ring and water seals.
  • Then, look for the hose clamps and replace them.
  • Finally, if you see that the majority of the water attachment pieces have deteriorated, replace the whole system.

Related: Husqvarna 465 Rancher Problems and Solutions

Problem 5: Loud Noise

loud noise

If you have a Stihl 500i and it’s making a lot of noise, it might be time to check your clutch or ball bearing. Aside from that, clutch shoes broken retainer or a deteriorated carrier also produces a loud eerie noise.

Process of Fixing…

  • Find the damaged ball bearing and the clutch springs.
  • You better repair and, if required, replace them. 
  • After that, use the proper chainsaw blade since small ones shake a lot and make more noise.

You can follow the owner’s manual to find the right size of the blade for your chainsaw.

Problem 6: No Spark

no spark

This is a common issue with the Stihl 500i. The problem can be traced back to the spark plug and its connection to the engine block. 

Process of Fixing…

  • The first thing to check is whether the spark plug has a good connection and whether it’s in the right place.
  • Now, examine the spark plug if it’s damaged or broken. If it’s required, replace it with a new one.
  • Verify that there is no fuel on the plug.
  • Then, pour a little petrol into the hole of the spark plug, and that should be enough to start the engine.
  • You can also inspect all of the connections to ensure that they are secure.

Problem 7: No Water Supply

no water supply

The water supply is an important part of your Stihl 500i. Without it, you can’t get the saw ready for use. If you have a problem with your saw’s water supply, there are a few things you can do to fix it.

Process of Fixing…

  • First, check and find the damaged section of the solenoid valve, as well as the control panel.
  • Then, swap them out. You should also clean the banjo screws.
  • Again, make sure the water supply is switched on and the pressure is appropriate.
  • You can also use a garden hose to flush the system with fresh water.
  • After that, use compressed air or a brush to clean up the clogged nozzles on your Stihl 500i to continue the water supply.

Problem 8: Bogging down when accelerating

bogging down when accelerating

Bogging down when accelerating is a problem that can be caused by a variety of issues, but it’s usually due to an improperly adjusted chain. If you experience this issue, try adjusting the chain so that it runs more smoothly.

Process of Fixing…

  • Begin by disengaging the brake on the chain.
  • Plus, ensure that the nuts are not too tightened that are holding the bar.
  • Now, it’s time to adjust the chain’s tightness.
  • The chain is appropriately set when you can turn it with your hand; if not, it’s too tight.
  • Finally, add some oil to the chain to enable smooth rotation and acceleration.

Related: Stihl MS 391 Problems and Solutions


Does purchasing a Stihl 500i make sense given their severe problems?

While there are some issues, they don’t outweigh the positives of this product. The machine is powerful and cuts through the brush like a hot knife through butter. In addition, it’s comfortable to use and easy to maintain if you follow instructions carefully.
Overall, it’s a great product despite its flaws—it just needs proper care and maintenance!

What’s the fuel capacity and maximum speed of the Stihl 500i?

With a 24.5 oz. fuel capacity, the Stihl 500i can operate for hours without refilling. It also has a maximum cutting depth of 4.9 In., which means that it can cut through most types of wood with ease.

Which chainsaw can I use instead of the Stihl 500i?

The 420 shares the same cutting depth and wheel diameter as the 500i. So, it’s an excellent alternative. Plus, the STIHL TS 700 is another great choice. That’s because the TS 700 has 5 kW of power whereas the 500i has 3.9 kW. The additional power of TS 700 will let you tackle larger jobs and make faster work of them.

Wrap Up

There are a lot of things to love about the Stihl 500i. But one thing that you have to remember is that with any chainsaw you have to maintain them and replace them as they wear out and that’s going to be a part of your responsibility if you like using this machine. It’s something that’ll have to happen fairly often. 

Having said that, I believe I’ve addressed the majority of Stihl 500i problems and their fixes. Good luck and if this helps you might check this article on Stihl 462 problems.

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