Stihl MS 271 Problems: Troubleshooting Guide

The Stihl MS 271 is a popular mid-range chainsaw ideal for most cutting tasks. However, like any power tool, it can develop issues that hamper performance.

Here are some of the most common Stihl MS 271 chainsaw problems and how to fix them:

Chainsaw Won’t Start

Difficulty starting is one of the most frequently reported problems with the MS 271 chainsaw. There are a few potential causes to check:

  • Clogged Air Filter – Over time, the air filter can become clogged with sawdust and debris. This restricts proper airflow to the carburetor. Try cleaning or replacing the air filter.
  • Faulty Spark Plug – The spark plug may become fouled after extensive use, preventing proper ignition. Check the spark plug gap and replace it if needed.
  • Flooded Engine – If the engine is flooded with too much fuel, it will not start. Remove the spark plug, turn the chainsaw over to clear excess fuel, then try starting again.

Chain Tension Failure

The chain can loosen over time and eventually derail or come off the guide bar. To fix this:

  • Consult your owner’s manual for proper chain tensioning steps.
  • Check the chain tension frequently and adjust as needed.
  • Replace the chain if it is excessively stretched or damaged.

Poor Airflow

Insufficient airflow due to a dirty air filter or blocked carburetor will cause poor performance or stalling. To improve airflow:

  • Clean or replace a clogged air filter.
  • Check the carburetor for blockages and clean it if needed.

Rough, Unstable Running

If the MS 271 runs rough or stalls at high speeds, several faults could be to blame:

  • Dirty air filter – Replace or clean the air filter.
  • Clogged fuel filter – Replace the fuel filter.
  • Carburetor issues – Adjust carburetor per manufacturer instructions or rebuild/replace it if needed.

Brake Failure

It is dangerous to operate a chainsaw with a malfunctioning brake. To fix, inspect the brake band and mechanism.

Replace worn or damaged parts that prevent the brake from engaging and releasing properly.

Rapid Chain Dulling

Improper chain sharpening or a damaged cutter can cause premature dulling. Try these fixes:

  • Sharpen the chain properly as per the manual.
  • Inspect the cutters and replace the chain if excessively worn or damaged.


An overheating chainsaw may indicate airflow blockages or spark plug issues:

  • Clean or replace a clogged air filter.
  • Check the spark plug and replace it if fouled or damaged.
  • Inspect the carburetor and clean it if excessively dirty.

Following proper maintenance and storage procedures can prevent many of these common issues. But if problems do occur with your MS 271 chainsaw, these troubleshooting tips should help get it running smoothly again.

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