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PK., Small Engine Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 1052
Experience:  Retired Owner of a full service shop and national parts sales website.
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Craftsman 20" 50cc chainsaw - Not able to properly replace

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Craftsman 20" 50cc chainsaw - Not able to properly replace chain bar and chain, saw will bind and not run when bar/chain installed. I think the problem is caused because of the chain brake not being in the correct position or not being released before putting the bar back on. I appear to be too dumb to figure out how to overcome this problem. Maybe you can help me on this problem.
Hi, if you pull back on the brake bar, does it click and lock open?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry for answer delay, had to reinstall bar and chain. If I pull back on the brake bar I hear or feel no click. When I push the brake bar forward towards the end of the chain bar I do hear a snap but when pulling it back once more I hear of feel nothing.

It sounds like the spring may have broken or come loose. If you remove the side cover again, you will see the spring and if it's attached or not. If you can post a picture of it, I should be able to see what the problem is.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi PK, I see the spring - it looks OK, tried the brake lever with the cover off - does not seem that the spring engages at any point on the brake sprocket. Must be the problem, will hopefully only have to replace the spring itself and not the brake assembly. Before answering you I did try to run once more but even though the saw started OK the chain would not engage because of the suspected brake problem. I assume you have the needed repair manual on hand. If you have other suggestions please forward, if you suspect I have to replace the spring or brake assembly parts please let me no correct P/N if you have that information available.

There's really not a repair manual available. This is a saw made by Poulan and I don't think you can buy parts for the brake, I think you'll have to buy the entire assembly if needed.

With the cover off, can you see if the brake band tries to engage? It should tighten up around the clutch when engaged. Without seeing your particular saw, I'm not sure how it locks open but usually there's a piece of plastic that either the spring or another plastic piece engages. They break often, requiring replacement of the entire cover.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi PK - One more question. I just used a screw driver to remove the spring (L shaped piece about 1" long) from the brake assembly. It appears to be complete and not broken. I will check into replacing the brake assembly (probably includes handle and spring catch). This is a safety issue but would the saw now work without the brake connected? I have hardly ever used this saw at all but have to cut a couple of thick limbs that I have been hitting my thick head on!

Just for informational purposes, the saw will run without the brake. I of course would never advise anyone to do so, but there's no kill switch to keep it from running. There's also nothing to stop the chain in a kickback incident, much as all chainsaws were made 30 or so years ago.
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