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Most Chain Saw Engines Have Three Carburetor Adjusting Screws:
1. Idle Speed/Throttle Stop - This is the adjustment that controls how much the throttle valve (butterfly) stays open when the throttle trigger is released. If this adjustment is set too low, the engine will die when the throttle trigger is released. The throttle valve (butterfly) simply cuts off the supply of combustible air/fuel and the engine stops. If this adjustment is set too high, the high idle speed will cause the centrifugal clutch to engage and the chain will run. This is a dangerous condition and should never be allowed.
2. Low Speed Fuel Adjustment (marked L on carb, this is the low speed jet)- This is the adjustment that controls the proportion of fuel in the combustible air/fuel mixture at idle speed. An adjustment that is set too rich will cause the engine to load up and die at idle speed. A mixture that is too lean will starve the engine and cause it to race or surge. An extremely lean adjustment will cause the engine to die, too.
3. High Speed Fuel Adjustment (marked H on carb, this is the high speed jet) - This is the adjustment that controls the proportion of fuel in the combustible air/fuel mixture at cutting speed. It would not be accurate to say that this is the most important setting, because all of these adjustments need to be accurate for a saw to perform its best, but this is the adjustment that determines how the saw runs in the cut. An adjustment that is set too rich will not allow the saw to reach the RPM level necessary to build maximum power. Throttle response may also be sluggish and the engine would smoke and perform poorly. A mixture that is too lean will allow the engine to reach an RPM level where bearing failure and cylinder seizure are likely. It will also lack power in the cut and tend to run very hot.
The preceding information briefly explains rich and lean running conditions. It also identifies the three adjustment screws and their function. It should be noted that some chain saws lack the high speed adjustment needle. These saws have what is called a "fixed jet" which is set from the factory. "Fixed jet" carburetors are used to prohibit the saw operator from setting the adjustment too lean and damaging the saw. Unfortunately, they also often prohibit the saw from achieving maximum performance.
If the chain runs at idle, or tries to turn when cranking the saw, then there is an issue with either the clutch drum bearing or the clutch spring has become weak, to get to both of these components you need special tools, the tool to remove the clutch is part no. 530031112, and the tool to adjust the carb screws is part no. 530035560, the L screw will adjust from idle to half throttle including acceleration, the H screw will adjust the full engine speed
In front of the handle on top of the saw is a hand guard. If in the course of cutting wood you hit it or pushed it forward, it will lock up the chain drive system. It should pull back towards the handle until it again clicks to release the chain. It's designed to lock up the chain drive and stop the chain when the saw kicks back.
This sounds very much like a blunt chain, either sharpen or replace the chain, if the engine is still reving well when the chain stops, then you need to take a look at the clutch and sprocket, check them for wear and breakage. If the saw is incorrectly tuned ( running too rich or too lean ) the engine will die in the cut, clean the air filter as a dirty filter will make the saw run rich and will have low power, clean/replace the fuel filter in the tank, part blocked filters will create lean running and low power.
Start the engine and allow to warm up. Turn the idle speed screw (not the jet screws) CCW to reduce engine speed until the chain stops even hinting at running. If you get it too low, the engine will tend to die when it idles. Hope this helps!
A gas engined saw has a clutch that can slip if overly oiled internally, but electric saws don't use a clutch. Most however, have a safety disconnect to the drive sprocket that shears or otherwise removes power to the chain while the motor runs. The worst problem can be a broken gear within the gearbox and requires dis-assembly to discover. Many modern saws use plastic gears in place of metal ones and are prone to failure. The fact that the chain turns when not under load would seem to eliminate the gearbox, but don't discount that until proven. Hope this helps!
It sounds as though you have abraded away the clutch face. I’d try a local saw seller/mechanic, they may be able to adhere a new face to your existing parts. I went here: Homelite/Ryobi.com https://www.gardnerinc.com/recons/disclaimer-lg.php - Agree; Choose “Product Line”; “Select OEM” & “Select Catalog” both to “Homelite Consumer Products”. A drop down list appears; self explanatory from here. The numbers Homelite & Ryobi use don't match the numbers everyone posts. A careful inspection of your saw should find something that matches. Chose “38cc 16" Chain Saw UT-10927” and on the “Clutch – Chain Brake – Drive Case Cover” detail found; item 20, clutch, pn984894001, $15.47; item 21, sprocket and drum assembly, pn984640001, $18.46 Yours is an inboard clutch but it must be removed, the outboard clutch video will help. R² Drive Link Inboard Clutch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUbSIHMSSP8&feature=PlayList&p=4A4A1DF66590854E&index=0&playnext=1 The C-clips tend to fly when being removed. Please wear eye protection and exercise care. R² Drive Link Outboard Clutch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdqkIuVNUQc
Check at the IPL for your saw to see if any special tools are needed.
A length of starter cord or nylon rope may be used instead of the piston stop (retain 6" ± so you can remove it). Make sure the piston is near the top of the cylinder before feeding the cord or it can fall through the exhaust port and damage the piston as it rises.
It is probably a left handed thread (tighten it to loosen it). Let us know how it worked for you. GL Lou