Review Of The Poulan 3416. The Good AND The Bad.
The Poulan 3416 Chain Saw Review
Recently my faithful old Echo chain saw expired, and I had to replace it. Cash is a little short right now so I looked around at less expensive saws and was not too impressed. I saw the Poulan 3416 for sale at an excellent price, and bought one, in spite of some poor reviews. So far I have been very happy with it (No longer true!). This is a medium duty saw, not made for felling ancient forest giants. It is about right for someone who wants a bit more than a pruning saw. I use it for felling and cutting up small to medium sized trees for firewood, up to about two feet thick maximum.
The bad reviews mentioned above seem to mostly revolve around one issue. These saws are not as easy to start as some other chainsaws. (Some people can't seem to start them at all!) My old Echo started on the fourth pull of the cord, after having sat unused for ten or fifteen years! Read that story here. Can not beat that. The Poulan isn't that easy. But still, when I followed the instructions exactly, it did start just as advertised, the first time.
They range from very good to very poor, and as I said, for most of the bad reviews the problem was that the machines are hard to start. You can read some of the reviews here, on the Amazon website for this product.
The saw came with an instruction booklet, and also a separate page with instructions on how to start it. The instructions are surprisingly complex. With my old saw it was just put in the gas, pull out the choke and yank the starter cord a few times. The Poulan has an 11 point list of steps to follow! I have simplified that, and rewritten it in standard English, below.
Step By Step Guide To Starting The Poulan 3416 Chain Saw
- Add bar oil to the oil sump, and add gasoline/2-stroke oil mix (40 to 1 ratio gas to oil) to the gas tank.
- Reset the chain brake by pulling back the hand guard. This step is important, as the Poulan WILL NOT START if you don't do this. The hand guard needs to be all the way back.
- Prime the engine by slowly pressing the primer bulb several times. The instructions say six times.
- Put the on/off switch in the 'on' position and pull out the choke all the way.
- Place the saw on the ground and put your foot through the handle to hold it down. Pull the starter rope until the engine pops a few times. My saw will often start right up on this step. If it starts, quickly push the choke all the way in and let the engine fast-idle.
- If the saw didn't start on that last step, put the choke in its halfway position and keep pulling the cord until it starts. I have only had to go to this step a few times.
- Once the saw has fast-idled for 30 seconds, squeeze the throttle to reset the engine speed to normal idle. It is a good idea to let the saw warm up for a couple of minutes before going to work with it.
Tips For Getting The Saw Started
1. On the list above there are a few of tricky points. The first is the on/off switch. It is hard to see if it is in the correct position, and easy to knock into the 'off' position while you are fooling with the choke. I suspect some of the bad reviews are from people who made this mistake.
2. Another easy problem is the choke. It is supposed to have two distinct positions, one for full choke and one for half choke. But it doesn't like to stay in the full choke position, and almost always slips into the half choke position while you are pulling the starter-cord. This can ruin your attempts to start the engine. Keep pulling the choke out if you have to. You have to give it a pretty hard yank to get it to click into the full choke position. You will feel and see when it does.
3. The third problem is the chain brake. You absolutely have to pull it all the way to the back or the saw will not start. The one time I had a problem, this was the cause.
The Correct Gas to 2-Stroke Oil Mix For Your Poulan
The saw comes with a bottle of two-stroke oil, which is just the correct amount to add to one gallon of gas to make a mix of 40 to 1. My old saw used 50 to 1 mix, and I wonder if some of the problems people have had was because they were using the thinner mix instead of the richer mix the Poulan chain saw needs. If you look at different web sites on line, most of them recommend a 50 to 1 mix. But since the Poulan instructions specify 40 to 1, that is what I started with, and it works fine. Most of the advice you see says a bit richer mix is no problem, but too thin a mix can ruin the engine, so I will stick with 40 to 1.
Check Your Gasoline For Alcohol And Octane
All two-stroke engines like expensive, high-octane gas, with no alcohol in it. Alcohol can ruin a two-stroke. I buy the most expensive gas at the pump, and check to see if it has added alcohol. Many gasolines do these days, so watch out. You may think this gasoline is too expensive, but since you are only buying it one gallon at a time, it really isn't. And small two-stroke engines really do run a lot better with good gas.
This model chain saw, the Poulan 3416, cost me under $115, and I bought the extended store warranty for an added $15. If you look around on line, you can find it for $126 at and AmazonWalmart, and they are often on sale used at Ebay.
I have not used this saw hard yet, but have felled and cut up a few medium-sized trees. New, with a new, sharp chain, it cut them like butter. Even the dry, aged elm and mulberry, two very tough woods, cut easily. The saw had more than enough power. One thing I particularly like is its fuel efficiency. It uses less than half the gas my old Echo did, and that was a puny little saw. I mixed up a full gallon of gas, and I expect to get a full winter's worth of wood cut on that one gallon. I wish I had only made a half gallon!
I give the Poulan 3416 a thumbs up. Lots of people hate it though, so keep that in mind when choosing your saw. Maybe I just got lucky and got one of the good ones, or maybe my problems are still coming! I'll occasionally post updates here one way or the other.
If you use a Poulan, I would appreciate your comments below. Thanks.
There is bad news, and good news...an update.
First the bad news. The original Poulan 3416 I bought seized up and died just a couple of months after I bought it. Before, in fact, I had even burned through a single gallon of gasoline! The engine was simply frozen solid.
The store where I bought it suggested that I had probably not used the correct gas/oil mix as this is what they usually saw when an engine seizes. Well, since I had followed the directions and used the bottle of 2-stroke oil that came with the saw, in exactly one gallon of high-quality gasoline, this suggestion did not make me too happy.
Then, they told me they do not take returns at their store, and that I would have to deliver it myself to their certified repair shop, which just happened to be in another city! Let's just say I was not a happy customer!
So I fired off an email to their corporate headquarters, expecting little or nothing in reply. But, one day later I did get a reply. That is the good news. Corporate told me to take the saw back to the store and they would exchange it for a new saw. So I got a brand new Poulan 3416 chain saw.
So, right now, I have to say the Menards, where I bought the saw, did honor the one year warranty, although it took a bit of prodding to get them to do it.
We will just have to see how long this new saw lasts!
***Update. I am now on my second Poulan 3416 chain saw, and it also died, seized up like the first one did.
I took it to a local certified Poulan repair center (Farm And Fleet) and their verdict was scored cylinders due to silicon build-up. I don't know enough about 2-cycle engines to know if this makes sense or not.
I took it to another repair center, and they actually got it working. That was over a year ago, and the saw is still working fine. It starts very easily, and cuts well as long as I keep the chain sharp.
This saw is not very high powered, and tends to get loggy in thick trunks. But then, it is a light-duty saw, so maybe I am just expecting more than I should.
Right now, after all the initial problems I had, I am not too unhappy. The saw works, starts easily, and cuts wood. I have little confidence however in the long term. My next saw will be a different brand.