Terribly Disappointed - Clint Tollinger
Totally agree with Daniel. I have owned a succession of Stihl 034s over decades, and they have given me enormous service. The last one refused to start, in the end, and I figured I'd buy a new first time every time starter. The 311 has given me trouble from the outset - NEVER starts first time, cowling screws fall out. Have to not only clean sparkplug and airfilter (much harder with the cylindrical, ribbed filter, as against the simple rectangular gauze filter of yore), but also spray 363 into the spark chamber, leave it sitting in the sun to warm up, then maybe, it'll decide to go. I too am 70+yo. Honestly, I am terribly disappointed and disheartened. Is this thing made in China? Husky next. Soon.
I have now owned the MS 311 with a 32" bar for the past 3 years. This saw spends more time on my repair bench than it does cutting wood. I am 70 years old and have owned Husqvarna, Echo, Jonsered saws over the years. For decades I have cut anywhere from 5 to 10 cords a year from standing timber to "in the shed". I cut alder and doug fir anywhere from 8"-10" up to 35"-40" so you can gather I am not a rookie or inexperienced saw operator. This saw (following ALL Stihl starting procedures) is the absolute hardest starting saw I have ever owned. ...This saw is cleaned after every use and well maintained and sharpened and ALWAYS has fresh 92 octane fuel with Stihl synthetic 2 cycle oil at a 50:1 ratio. When it does run it has no problems with the larger wood, but the main point here is "WHEN" it runs. Give me back my Jonsered. I just plain wore it out after 18 years of hard use and .... it started EVERY time. Don't waste your money on a 311!
Purchased in May 2017.
Good performer, a bit lightweight
The saw took a bit of getting used to, after 27 years of faultless running of an equivalent 034. Clearly I'm not a pro, and my usage pattern is 1.5 to 3 tanks per trip out, cutting a ton+ of West Australian jarrah, a renowned hardwood, for my wood heater. I couldn't start it hot after the first tankful first trip out with a brand new saw, and I cursed the damned thing. We had to come home 45km with half a load of wood. Diagnosis was that it was flooded, even though I believe I followed correct hot-start procedure (remembering, I'm not a beg...inner). Since then I have had no problems starting, but I NEVER use the decompression valve, especially when starting hot - I just put up with the hard jerky high-compression pulls, knowing I'm getting a fat spark in a rich mix for optimum ignition, and less chance of flooding. The saw does slow down during heavy cutting through a dense, thick log, and you have to nurse it - jarrah's not pine, and density varies from some fairly easy going, to some hard. A Stihl 381 cuts the same dense log as though there's no tomorrow. One thing that peeved me with this saw was only recently, and that was after owning it and using it for 7 years. We'd gone out to a designated public cutting area and got a good load trouble-free one day, the large long log we finished our load off with had fallen across a side-track that we could drive right up to, and there was no barrowing or carting required - as good as it gets! So we decided to go out early next day to get another load out of the same log, before anyone else got to it - you fellow firewood cutters would know what I mean, there's only the quick and the dead, and there's no honour among thieves. This is the first time I'd done a double whammy with the 311, ie cut 2 consecutive days. I sharpened the chain, and cleaned the air filter with warm soapy water after day 1, and got it ready for next day. When we returned next day, I started the saw up no problem, but it had no guts. Right off I suspected the air filter was still wet and not allowing full air flow, so I took it off and it ran full power. I wasn't prepared to cut wood without the air filter, so that's when I swung over to my mate's 381 and we got a full load with it, no problem. What irks me is this cleaning of air filters with warm soapy water. The cleaning of my old 034 was with fuel mix, which, in the main, is petrol, and rapid drying. Back in my younger days I did many double-whammy trips out, sometimes twice in the one day, always cleaning the filter after the first trip, and always without problem the next trip. After the air filter problem I re-read my 311 user manual, and it said to blow the filter out with compressed air after the warm water wash, and I should have known better. But, not everyone has access to an air compressor, and when I searched, I found out that you can use a proprietary quicker drying Stihl solvent in lieu of water, but of course, you have to pay for it. My question: why should one pay for something that you shouldn't have to?? Why has Stihl gone from a fool-proof fuel mix cleaning process to water?? On the air filter, the fitment leaves a lot to be desired compared to my much older 034. The 034 filter was removed and replaced by simple screwing. The 311 filter is fairly easily removed, but must be carefully slotted into receptacles in a very 'busy' part of the body when replacing, and in practice, this can take several attempts, always taking care not to break off any of the delicate lugs. Only when correctly seated can you snap the filter into operating position. This is a step backwards, and I would rate the whole air filter system 1 star - it works, but with more difficulty than is reasonable. All in all, apart from some dumb designs from Stihl that lead to operating and maintenance problems that simply should not exist, and apart from a longer more painful learning process with the newer 311, I have had no undue wear and tear or mechanical issue with either of my Stihls, and I've been using them for 35 years. I sometimes wonder, when I read these sorry user reviews, how much is due to operator mis-use rather than manufacturing deficiencies.
Based on the rugged reliability of my Stihl 180 chainsaw and the Stihl whipper-snipper I too bought this larger chainsaw. It hardly runs for than 10 minutes, stalls and is hard/impossible to start. The Stihl dealers give me the run around and you can see that they know its crap. Mates with smaller $300.00 Bunning's saws cuts 10 x as much without fail. Never again.
MS 311 Farm Toss
Just like Colin's review, bought my MS 311 late October 2017. It only had light use and in December 2018 the exhaust just severed off. Took the saw back and explained to the Tech Dept that I believed the saw was overheating. They simply replaced the exhaust and did no further testing or even examined it. Early April 2019, I started having issues starting the saw and then it would cut out when iddling. Was told Piston Head and Cylinder were burnt out, down to a poor mix (crap). Paid for the repair, despite being under warranty and the saw overhe...ated after the first time I used it for only 45 mins. After the saw was inspected again it was confirmed that the new Piston Head and Cylinder had burnt out. After a big battle, I finally got a refund on the saw. I have used chains for over 20 years and have to say I have never experienced anything like this, particularly with Stihl, which usually are so reliable. If I had seen this forum before I purchased, I never would have touched the 311.
Purchased in October 2017 for A$900.00.
I bought in early 2017 ran for 3_4 months with only light work started overheating took back to Mansfield sthil dealer not covered under warranty as suspected fuel mix [what crap] had saw cylinder and piston replaced at my cost $800 fix. Used for 2maybe 3 loads of wood then seized
Took back to dealer same thing suspected wrong fuel mix no warranty.. Never ever buy a sthil product again lost me...
Purchased in April 2017 for A$1,800.00.
$1200 of rubbish
Very hard to start now won't start only used twice can't believe it payed $1200 for this crap will never recommend or buy stihl products again I've also got an old stihl 510 about 40 years old never had a problem prefer to use that stihl don't make them like they use to may as well get the Chinese to make them
Purchased in March 2018 for A$1,200.00.
DONT BUY THIS
Did the job for the first few hours then started overheating. took back to dealer and was told the recommended 25:1 was not good for this model had to run it as rich as possible. Fell apart seals disintegrated while cutting dust entered and then ceased after 30 hours, was a very expensive lesson in what not to buy.
Great saw when going but doesn't go often enough. Dealer and spare parts support is absolutely disgraceful. Once they sell you the saw and you return with a problem they don't want to know you. Parts are never available, repair times cant be quoted, they don't know because they don't know if they can get parts or not. Will never buy another Stihl Chainsaw again and probably will never buy a Stihl product ever.
- Verified purchase
certainly not a pro saw
spat the plug clean out of the head under full noise, not overly used, mainly for felling or sectioning larger rounds, sent back under warranty which was not honored
for a 14 month old machine that cost $2000 I would have expected it to last a hell of a lot longer
Great all rounder
I run the ms311 as my main saw cutting Australian hardwood logs 15" no issue at all. Starts as directed by dealer choke4pull half choke 1pull first time every time and once warm 1 pull I've never ever had to pull twice once warm. Ive been through 1 spark plug in 6 mths to what i think is great considering i run it 3 full days of the week flat chat cutting logs and used to mill planks/fence posts. I was going to upgrade saws to do my milling and stuff but this is doing fine for me atm i can not fault. only fault isn't the product its the brand ...as the "stihl dealers" need to be able to do discounts or throw something in on sales this set price no leway is rough on regular customers as ive spent well over 4k at stihl changing all my equipment from honda/husky and get nothing so don't expect anything from them in that way on purchase.
I have owned husy's,jonsonreds,and several other top dollar saws this saw is amazing my grandfather bought it from a friend and its quite old but i love it.i cut wood burls and they are really hard.This stihl runs through it. I use air compressor to blow it out after and its perfect.for these people that wrote bad reveiws buy a poulan and a box of kleenex. Cause you obviously do not know what your doing. If the saw dis run you would probably hurt yourselfs.lol amazing saw wouldnt trade it for anything else.
Worst saw I ever used. Nothing but problems with no dealer backup. Quality just not there. They don’
I had an old stihl that was used by my grandfather for years supplying wood as his job, the thing looked like a relic that had fallen off a cliff but was a great saw that never let him or me down. My well meaning wife bought me a new ms311 for 40th birthday. Had nothing but problems with it, could never keep the chain tight. Stihl response was that I was using the wrong chains( that they supplied ) Cut a moderate amount of wood with it , but never went out without my old one that got used nearly every time. It has done 4 seasons and now the cra...nkshaft bearing has collapsed. Stihl response is that it is out of warranty and it is on me. I would not advise anyone to buy a stihl chainsaw. They are not built like they used to be and it now seems that with the crazy repair price they are a throw away item definitely not made to last like the old ones. I would not recommend anyone buy a new stihl chainsaw as the quality is just not there like the old ones. February 26th 2018 Update: No backup support, very aggressive when dealing with problems, saw is terrible quality with problem Purchased a farm boss as an upgrade to my existing saws. From the first use something just did not feel right. The saw vibrated really badly. I contacted stihl and was told to replace the chain which I did. The saw still felt terrible to use. I had all sorts of problems trying to keep the chain on as it keep getting loose. I stayed in contact at all times with stihl and was reassured that they would look after me. After the muffler fell off after a little over 12 months I had enough and let stihl know that I was not happy and that I had hung in there enough, I was met with an aggressive customer support operator who said it was my fault and that that the saw was out of warranty. All correspondence with stihl was met with aggression and accusations of me mistreating my saw. I would not recommend any one buy a stihl saw these days. If you want a crappy Chinese saw just buy one off eBay. At least you won’t be paying a premium for a stihl sticker.
Recently upgraded from a ms170 (owned for 5 years without an issue) to a ms 311. So far a fantasic saw, had it out on a few occasions, it starts easy even without using the decomp button, reliable and has plenty of power. Would recommend as a good all rounder.
- Verified purchase
This was far from the expectations that was offered.
After buying this chainsaw as my first saw, I thought that a good mid range saw that could handle a reasonable workload would be the way to go.
The saw ran amazing for a few months, then overheated and cooked the motor mid cut.
Stihl replaced the saw begrudgingly, as I bought the saw from Bunbury, it was openly suggested the fuel mix could have been wrong although an ex-stihl worker explained that the first thing done under warranty is check the fuel mix.
The second saw had 18-20 months of once again, brilliant running, cutting like a drea...
Worst saw ever
I have cut 5 to 10 cords of wood from standing timber to "in" the wood shed every year since 1975. I have owned 4 saws during that time. This is my first (and last) Stihl. I have cut less than 1 cord and it won't start, won't run at idle. I always use fresh gas at 50:1 mix. I am very picky about cleaning and maintaining my saws. I have a 15 year old "Husky" with a 20" bar that has more power than the Stihl 311 and it starts every time on second or third pull. I wanted a saw with a longer bar and a compression release start so decided to give th...is Stihl a try. BIG MISTAKE. Took the saw to my local Stihl Dealer and their reaction was " ya, these are hard starting saws". Save your money and buy a Huskavarna, Echo, Johnsered or anything but a Stihl 311
Excellent chain saw!
It is very easy to start once you figure it out,pops off every time like clock work and once warm....one pull every time. It has very good power and I'm running a 20" bar. Love It! quite baffeled with some of the negative responses???? ripped into some old very hard red oak last year, outdid my buddies comparable Husky. Again couldn't be happier. I run none oxy 91 and Steels top of line oil, never even changed plug yet.
Solid all round saw
Not a bad saw until you roll a 1000lb log over it. Sounds like all the start issues you guys complain about is failure of your local dealer jetting the carburetor for right altitude. I live at 9k feet saw runs great up to 11k so far. But have to say after I destroy saw has never ran the same and getting replacement parts takes ions for Stihl dealers. Has bean a year and still not right from my accident. Parts should not take 3 or more months to get to a authorized dealer
Questions & Answers
we just bought the ms311 and they started it at the store but when we brought it home it won't start. Any help?
Take it back and try to get your cash back. It is a really poorly built chain for Stihl standards and has been plauged with issues including catastrophic engine failure (cylinder and cylinder head burning out). Stihl have attempted to cover this up by encouraging their dealerships to say a poor mix was used. If you can get your money back or change for a different model, I would do so.
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