Monday, July 21, 2014

OEM Chainsaw Parts vs. Aftermarket

When it comes to small engine repair, craftsmen have many options for sourcing the parts they need to get the job done. They can choose from two main ways of getting the parts they need – by ordering them directly from the original equipment manufacturer, i.e. from Stihl or Poulan directly; or from an aftermarket retailer. Aftermarket retailers run the gamut from general parts – simple things like gas caps and accessories that can be found at a big box retailer such as Home Depot, to very specific parts for a very specific machine – a replacement bar for a Stihl 026 chainsaw, for example. Which should you order from?

Aftermarket Suppliers vs. OEM Supplier
  • Cost – Many times, aftermarket parts are cheaper than the OEM equivalent. This can be observed in the automobile parts market, too – because of the competition in the aftermarket industry, prices are often lower than if you were to order from Stihl or Poulan. Advantage: Aftermarket
  • Quality – Aftermarket parts meet or exceed OEM quality standards, using the same materials as their OEM equivalents. For example, all the Stihl replacement parts offered at HL Supply are guaranteed to fit the specific Stihl equipment they are designed for. Of course, the OEM manufacturer knows the machine best, and the parts from the OEM manufacturer are going to be a 100% true replica of what originally came in the machine. Advantage: Draw
  • Speed – If you need a part quickly, you’re most likely better off working with an aftermarket supplier. For example, HL Supply carries thousands of Stihl chainsaw parts and offers next-day overnight shipping. For smaller items you need to maintain your small engine equipment, it’s easier to walk into the Home Depot and buy a new gasket ring or gas cap than to order online. While the OEM company will do everything they can to get you the part quickly, their main business isn’t focused on sending replacement parts quickly – whereas at HL Supply, that’s our sole focus. Advantage: Aftermarket
  • Selection – While HL Supply carries thousands of parts to help in your small engine repair project, nobody can match the range of the OEM manufacturer. There are specific parts and specific models that it doesn’t make sense for an aftermarket supplier to carry – they might be too specific, or parts for models that are exceptionally rare. When you order direct from Stihl or another supplier, they can provide you with basically every part that has ever existed. Advantage: OEM

No matter what the small engine repair project, HL Supply is here to help. Visit us today for a full selection of small engine replacement parts from Poulan, Stihl, Husqvarna and more; or call 855-456-4299 for help in selecting the right parts for your needs.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Top YouTube Chainsaw Repair Resources

When it comes to small engine repair, sometimes a video can be more helpful then a manual. Rather than reading the pages of a book with text instructions and a simple diagram,  videos allow you to see how it’s done on an actual machine while walking you through each step.

There are thousands of videos on YouTube, more than just funny cats and music videos – there are entire collections of videos on how to repair just about anything, including small engine repair ranging from lawnmowers to chainsaws. Here are a few helpful YouTube user channels which specialize in chainsaw and power equipment repair.

Don The Small Engine Doctor -  

“DonyBoy73”, known as “Don The Small Engine Doctor” already has hundreds of videos about small engine repair, and adds new content every Friday! Don’s channel is dedicated to small engine repair, with the goal of enabling ANYONE to repair their small engine machines – both experts and beginners. Don’s small engine repair video channel includes dozens on chainsaw repair, as well as repairs on lawnmowers, trimmers, generators, and more. Other videos include general small engine advice (with Q&A sessions where he answers users’ questions) and reviews of small engine repair tools.

Jeremy Fountain -

Want your small engine repair advice with a hefty dash of southern hospitality? Jeremy Fountain’s YouTube Channel is the place for you. Jeremy walks through small engine repairs, including everything from mower maintenance to a complete rebuild of the Stihl 026, guiding you through each project with a friendly voice and slow pace so you can keep up as he goes – even stopping to ask the audience how their holidays are going.

The official STIHL USA YouTube Channel is an excellent resource for chainsaw repair advice, featuring videos on many common maintenance tasks such as chain sharpening and replacement, trimmer line replacement, and more. Other videos include previews of new Stihl products, general information like selecting the right firewood, and some cool stuff including chainsaws playing the national anthem and stories from Stihl owners!

We hope these channels provide you with all the information you need for your small engine repairs – be sure to visit HL Supply for the largest selection of chainsaw parts anywhere to make your project complete! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Install a New Cylinder and Piston Kit

For all of “DIY” people, there is satisfaction in doing a job yourself. You save time, money, and there is also the satisfaction gained when accomplishing a difficult task. Remember Tim Allen on “Home Improvement” when he would grunt loudly when working on a project? That's his “I am a man working with tools” grunt.

But as we all recall from watching the show, many times Tim didn’t quite know what he was doing. He knew just enough to get himself into trouble. That’s when the comedy ensued. Many times folks fixing their own equipment run into the same problem. They may be able to take the old part off and put the new one on, but usually there is more to it than that.

Installing a new cylinder and piston kit on a chainsaw for example is one of those times where you really need to know what you are doing, or you can easily ruin $200.00 worth of parts. The store where you purchased them is not going to be too cheerful about issuing a refund if they suspect malfunction was because of improper installation. If you broke it, the store cannot resell it. That means they must “eat it” to give you another one. If you do the same thing to the replacement, well, you can do the math.

Here is a good video explaining what you should do when installing a new cylinder and piston kit into a saw.

Andrew has many helpful videos on YouTube for you chainsaw enthusiasts to watch. They are informative and many times also entertaining.

YouTube is an excellent source for videos showing how to do things yourself. There is nothing wrong with learning how to fix your own equipment as opposed to paying someone else or worse yet, pitching a perfectly good saw in the trash. Just make sure you know the proper installation and break-in procedures when you tackle the job. If you have any doubts, it is always a good idea to go online and consult the owner’s manual.

Here are helpful hints when installing the parts. Check the packaging to make sure the part number and description matches what is on your packing list. Mistakes can happen, especially when pulling parts for hundreds of orders each day. Also check to see if the new part looks like the old part before you damage it trying to “make it fit”.

Clean the parts before installing them. Some parts can be cleaned with an air hose such as the lines. Others can be cleaned with soap and water (cylinder and piston). Some may need to be oiled first (some air filters). Do your “pre-installation” work before installing.

After installing, be sure not to over rev the engine. You may think it is an old saw and therefore it is “broken in” but if you just put a new cylinder and piston on it, it is now a new saw.

As always, when in doubt, call somebody before you make a mistake.