Its a missing or broken spring in the handle(trigger). If you look inside the handle you should see a circular spring around the post of the trigger. This spring returns trigger to idle position. If its missing or broken the trigger won't spring back.
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The precision bent throttle connecting rod can only go in one way CORRECTLY.... if it has to be forced or bent, stop and figure out the puzzle before any damage is done.
I'd suggest placing the carb temporarily on the mounting studs on the side of the cylinder. Don't install the filter and nuts etc yet. Take the throttle rod and lay it in place this way and that way until it looks like it matches the trigger end AND the carb end. Usually the carb end has to be installed on the carb while it is removed from the engine as tightness of space won't allow moving it all over to poke it in the hole. Once it is on the carb and you are sure of the orientation, slide the carb once again over the studs and lay the throttle rod by the trigger.
You need about three hands to hold the trigger, trigger lock, trigger return spring and the handle together while you figure out how to snap in the top of the handle and start a screw under the handle.
The choke system is connected to the half throttle position, if you lift the throttle trigger the choke pull will automatically return, whilst trying to start do not lift the throttle trigger, the starting procedure is, pump the primer bulb as many times as it takes to 3/4 fill the bulb, pull the choke pull fully out, this will switch the saw on and engage the half throttle, crank the engine until it fires once, do not continue to pull,it will actually not run on full choke, if you do continue to crank with the choke fully out, you will very quickly flood the engine, now push the choke fully in, now crank the engine until it fires up, lift the throttle trigger once, this will dissengage the half throttle, and it should now come down to idle.
Open the carburetor area cover and remove the air cleaner so that you can observe the throttle arm and the idle speed screw which stops throttle movement to set idle speed. If the throttle arm doesn't come back completely to the screw, then likely, the throttle trigger is jammed with sawdust/dirt that prevents the throttle arm from returning. Disassemble the trigger assembly making notes of part placement as you go. You will usually find a plug of sawdust in the trigger mechanism. Recheck the throttle arm motion after putting the trigger back together. You may have to advance the idle speed screw several turns CW to be able to keep the engine running when the throttle works correctly. Idle speed should be set so that the engine continues to run, but the chain doesn't try to turn. Hope this helps!
Make sure that you are adjusting the idle speed screw, not the idle jet screw (L). If you are adjusting the proper screw, then it is possible that the throttle trigger assembly in the handle has a load of sawdust/dirt that blocks proper return to idle. Take the handle apart carefully, and make notes on how the parts go back together. Check at the carburetor throttle assembly to make sure the throttle arm returns fully to the idle speed screw when the trigger is pulled and released slowly. Check the throttle spring as well to make sure it is undamaged. Hope this helps!
Operate the throttle trigger to see if it returns to the idle speed screw when the trigger is released. If it seems to 'float' somewhat, the trigger assembly may be full of dirt/sawdust, or the throttle return spring on the carburetor is damaged or disconnected. When taking the trigger assembly apart, be sure to make notes so that it can be put back together correctly. Make sure the throttle plate in the bore is tight to the shaft. When the carburetor was off of the engine, did the gaskets and heat insulator seem to be ok? Any air leak behind the carburetor will cause run-away speed. As for the engine quitting, check the fuel filter, air cleaner, and muffler for plugging. Check the condition of all of the fuel lines for decay or other damage. Did you check the condition of the diaphragm in the lower chamber of the carburetor--it should be quite flexible with no holes or cracks. With the jetting set where you have it, the engine should be 4-stroking heavily. Hope this helps!
Remove the air cleaner assembly to see the carburetor throttle mechanism and open the handle so that you can access the throttle trigger. There should be either a cable or wire connecting the trigger to the throttle arm on the carburetor. Try moving the trigger and see if it responds at the carburetor. Is the carburetor arm against the idle stop screw, wide open, or some where in between? There should be a spring at the throttle arm that returns the arm to the idle stop if the cable/wire is disconnected. The trigger mechanism may be jammed with sawdust to prevent movement. Hope this helps!
I think like you it is running lean. Normally I would provide a link to the IPL (exploded parts list) for your saw but Poulan just locked the site for non-dealers. Please register your displeasure here http://www.poulanpro.com/node4020.aspx. IMO as an owner, you should have free access to these.