What to use for Bar & Chain Oil? [Archive] - MyTractorForum.com - The Friendliest Tractor Forum and Best Place for Tractor Information

: What to use for Bar & Chain Oil?


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hotajax
11-13-2011, 02:03 PM
Instead of paying ridiculous prices for oil, what can I use instead of Stihl or Poulan bar oil? Seems like snake oil just to lube your chain with some branded lube when prob most heavier oil in my garage will work. Thanks

DJ in WV
11-13-2011, 02:08 PM
I use the Tractor Supply brand. In my area, it's $8.79 per gallon and a gallon will last me one two seasons.

It's plenty sticky and I haven't had a problem with burnt or overheated chains. It works for me.

http://www.tractorsupply.com/tractor-supply-co-reg-bar-chain-oil-1-gal--4469010

sanfordanddaughters
11-13-2011, 02:10 PM
I have a drain container set up in my garage for all my funnels and oil jugs. I use those drippings for my chainsaw bar oil. I also use partial containers of oil, trans fluid etc. that I come across.

MrGiggles
11-13-2011, 02:21 PM
I've heard of people straining waste motor oil and running it through their saws. I haven't tried it but don't see why it would hurt anything. I've got a 7.3 PSD in the fleet that would drop half my winter supply of bar oil in one oil change.... I've also heard of using vegetable cooking oil if you're cutting something you don't want contaminated.

I could see used ATF working very well in the winter as it's thinner and more pourable. As long as it's not totally trashed with metal in it I would use it as well.

I've personally used straight 30wt motor oil, 80-90 gear lube, and hydraulic oil in my saws when I was in a pinch. Never had an oiling-system related failure.

That being said, I do prefer to use actual bar and chain oil when I can. One thing about that walmart Poulan oil though, it has a stink to it.

Ken in NJ
11-13-2011, 02:33 PM
My chainsaws are part of my family, and I've always used store bought bar and chain oil. By the gallon it's not that costly. Like DJ I've used Tractor Suppy brand.

I would not give my kids outdated milk, I won't give my saws dirty or the wrong type of B&C oil either.

I'm funny like that. :drunkie:

ggsteve
11-13-2011, 02:38 PM
My local guy carries Husqvarna bar oil. Why mess with cheaper stuff, it's not that expensive.

orange j d
11-13-2011, 07:44 PM
Well my chain saw days are over, but when I did use them they got good ol drain oil and the lasted for years. And we did not have milk so the kids got the same. But if I were rich I would only use 3 in 1.:thThumbsU

Grand Sierra
11-13-2011, 08:44 PM
I just buy it @ Lowes mainly because I buy there Pro Mix oil there once you try it you" ll be hooked!

Nitro-Fish
11-13-2011, 09:08 PM
The whole idea behind chainsaw bar oil is for it to be tacky so it will stick to the chain and drive teeth instead of just slinging off of the chain during use. I know people who use old oil, but I also know their saws are a lot more messy than mine to clean up at the end of the day, not to nemtion it gets all over their chaps, coveralls. shoes etc.

HydroHarold
11-14-2011, 12:29 AM
If your chainsaw ain't worth real chainsaw bar oil, feel free to run old stale gas in it too. Motor oil is not worth anything for lubing a chain, it's not stringy, flies off, doesn't have the viscosity to really lube the tip (no matter what type tip your bar has) and it certainly can't perform at the drive sprocket. One case where cheap isn't better.

Something closer to chain oil is rear end or "hypoid oil" thinned with kerosene. Even that is better than new or used motor oil which has already been changed out because it's lubrication properties won't lube an engine. Just because it "looks like oil" doesn't mean it still is. But these words are from a guy that uses bars until the chain drive tangs start dragging the bottom of the groove after a bunch of bar resets and truings.:)

echoman
11-14-2011, 05:57 AM
I agree. There is no replacement for true bar & chain oil. My cousin gave me a brand new saw several years ago he bought brand new and then let a co-worker borrow it. He was too cheap to use the proper oil, so he filled it with ATF. It destroyed the bar and chain in no time. I would say less than 2 maybe 3 tanks of fuel. It even messed up the oil pump, so after I replaced these 3 items, he was almost at the price of the saw when he bought it, and would have been way over if he had taken it in for labor and parts. Oil by the gallon at TSC stores go on sale for about $7. I haven't seen many brands over $9 regular price. Parts are too expensive to use anything but the real stuff I.M.H.O.

redmule
11-14-2011, 06:24 AM
:ditto: On using the right bar oil.

jerry_nj
12-19-2012, 06:48 PM
I am tempted to start a new thread, and indeed I may....as this thread isn't an exact match from my question on "cold weather chain bar oil".

I read on a customer evaluation for my newest saw, a Husky 440I, that he uses vegetable oil, and says it is cheaper. I have a problem with both parts, but the part that says vegetable oil is better in cold (below 40 degrees F?) weather may be correct. The cost, I pay about $10 a gallon for bar oil, I think Tractor Supply has a house brand for that amount.

So, what should I use below 40 degrees, how about vegetable oil? Which doesn't pass the "sticky" requirement in my experience with vege-oil.:drunkie:

D-Dogg
12-19-2012, 07:29 PM
I catch a load of crap from the guys for using plain old 30wt, Jerry.:fing32:

FORD_LGT_165
12-19-2012, 07:39 PM
I use used oil... for people that say Used oil doesn't lubricate enough. I guess my HEMI needs bar oil instead .... Get real....

c5rulz
12-19-2012, 07:40 PM
This is one of those questions where when answering I lack even more dimplomacy than normal.:bannana::bannana::bannana::bannana:

Any decent saw is going to run a minumum of $300 to well over a thousand dollars. Owners manuals are pretty specfic about using BAR OIL! So how people come up with used crank oil, ATF, leftover new crank oil and god knows what is beyond me.:dunno:

Bar oil needs to be tacky to stick to the chain and do it's job. These "tackifiers" are made specficlly for this job so that it doesn't sling off the nose.

If you feel the need to pinch pennies, then buy whatever is on sale. I don't feel a need to buy name brand bar oil, but buy whatever I feel is the "tackiest". Some of the super cheap Menard's oil didn't seem much different than motor oil. One time I opened the foil on a jug before buying and ended up leaving it on the shelf for this reason.:sorry1:

Right now I bought about 6 gallons of Poulon oil when it was $7.99 and I prefer it. I like the Husky oil but thought it was a little thin, the Dolmar oil was very similiar to Poulon. I haven't bought Stihl due to the price.

I like summer weight oil year round. It will pour very slow in the winter, but the oil tank on a saw is right under the exhaust and if you look after the saw is run, it is thinned out nicely. I fill the saws with quart bottles from motor oil. Much easier to use than a gallon jug. :fing32:

notmYJ
12-19-2012, 09:20 PM
I am tempted to start a new thread, and indeed I may....as this thread isn't an exact match from my question on "cold weather chain bar oil".

I read on a customer evaluation for my newest saw, a Husky 440I, that he uses vegetable oil, and says it is cheaper. I have a problem with both parts, but the part that says vegetable oil is better in cold (below 40 degrees F?) weather may be correct. The cost, I pay about $10 a gallon for bar oil, I think Tractor Supply has a house brand for that amount.

So, what should I use below 40 degrees, how about vegetable oil? Which doesn't pass the "sticky" requirement in my experience with vege-oil.:drunkie:

If you do alot of cutting in cold weather (below freezing) then look into winter bar oil. I have a bottle of Stihl Winter in the blue jug that I use if I need to cut in the winter. Otherwise I either run Stihl oil or Itaska. Both are very sticky.

I use used oil... for people that say Used oil doesn't lubricate enough. I guess my HEMI needs bar oil instead .... Get real....

Running bar oil in your Hemi is just as bad for it as running motor oil for bar and chain...Unless of course your car is a hemi powered chain drive...

The oil is designed to do two very different jobs. Bar oil is made to be sticky. Motor oil is engineered to withstand a multitude of forces and resist foaming, resist acids and suspend dirt.

Get some motor oil and some bar oil. Compare them side by side and see the difference. stick your finger in each, and see how they are different. Oils are engineered to do very different jobs. Since you take such pride in your hemi you should know the difference in oils. ;)

I don't go cheap on consumables for my saw, its the cost of use/ownership. Just like a car, I pay for high quality oil and filters instead of never changing the filter and running used oil.

cheap1
12-19-2012, 09:52 PM
Im not saying its the correct thing to do but i have a stihl saw ive iwned for thirteen years that i got from my father and he had bought it new in the late seventies and all we ever ran through it was used motor oil or tranny fluid (a littlemessy but if your cutting wood in a suit shame on you) and i havent had any problems. Maybe ive been lucky but i also have two other saws not as old with ni problems and i dont treat them no different . Hope this helps good luck.

hodge
12-19-2012, 11:21 PM
Chain and bar oil for me. A jug of it goes a long way, and that is how the bar and chain are engineered. There are so many variables, plus who knows who tells the truth or stretches things a little. I choose to use what is made for it.
Where is the logic in vegetable oil? It is oil, but not in the lubricating sense. I see no reason to risk my saws putting that in it.
If it works for you, fine. Me, I am skeptical. When it comes to trusting the engineers or the tales of good old boys, I side with the engineers. No offense intended, but the OP asked.

jerry_nj
12-19-2012, 11:57 PM
I've never purchased, or even considered, winter weight chain bar oil. Until Hurricane Sandy hit NJ last October I didn't expect to get my chain saws out of the shed before spring. Now I have a new saw and have many cuts to go before I get all the downed White Pine trees cut up into pieces small enough for me to move. I may even split some of it, I understand us East Coast hard wood snobs don't know the value of softwood for firewood. I guess once one gets the softwood dry it is fine for burning, burns a little faster, but still heats.

The vegetable oil comment I read made referred to the arborist web site http://www.arboristsite.com/ I haven't check it.

TreePointer
12-20-2012, 01:31 AM
I buy the least expensive dedicated bar & chain (B&C) oil, and usually that means TSC on sale and sometimes discounted Poulan. Bar oil has jumped in price over the last couple years. I stocked up on TSC a few years ago when it was just under $5/gallon. Now the best price is $7 on sale.

TSC is pretty darn good with respect to tackifiers, which are more important for longer bars.

B&C oil typically starts out as 30 weight oil before additives.

Canola/veggie and similar are okay for general use, but they will go bad in a saw and can gum up things, so empty the tank if not using it for a while.

Bailey's biodegradable is a nice alternative.

If you cut in near freezing weather or colder, thinner winter weight oil can help to avoid problems. In these conditions, regular weight oil can form a slurry with sawdust and freeze in the bar groove, which eventually can cause your chain to be thrown. Throw a chain and you're likely to damage driver links. I use Stihl or Husqvarna winter weight oil in really cold temps, but I've also cut regular weight B&C oil with a bit of diesel--It worked fine.

A lot of old timers will put used motor oil in saws, and it has worked. I don't do it be cause there are heavy metals and other toxins in used oil.

c5rulz
12-20-2012, 08:11 AM
Chain and bar oil for me. A jug of it goes a long way, and that is how the bar and chain are engineered. There are so many variables, plus who knows who tells the truth or stretches things a little. I choose to use what is made for it.
Where is the logic in vegetable oil? It is oil, but not in the lubricating sense. I see no reason to risk my saws putting that in it.
If it works for you, fine. Me, I am skeptical. When it comes to trusting the engineers or the tales of good old boys, I side with the engineers. No offense intended, but the OP asked.

I don't know anything about the biodegradable bar oil. I am sure that this must be a response to enviromentally minded people or State/Federal land that mandate it's use. On the former, that is a personal choice and I respect that. On the latter, this is a bigger issue where common sense outweighs practicality. The amount of sawdust generated with a good cutting saw really soaks up the bar oil being used. The EPA mandates now have limiter caps put on chainsaw so the saws are set too lean from the factory in order to satisfy the EPA regs., that they are on the verge of self destruction. Any minor routine air leak, (fuel line, intake boot, crank seal) will cause the saw to go even leaner resulting in scoring of the piston/cyl.

I mix gas (around here the premium has no ethanol) on the safe side and go 40:1 with synthetic. I better stop before I start on the 100:1 folks.:banghead3

KellyfromVA
12-20-2012, 11:25 AM
This is the best stuff ever. I buy it by the case: http://www.powerpunchinc.com/Specialty_Product_p/cs300-each.htm

grnspot110
12-20-2012, 11:42 AM
I use name brand oils only! For cold weather use, I add a little diesel fuel to thin it. ~~ grnspot

c5rulz
12-20-2012, 11:48 AM
This is the best stuff ever. I buy it by the case: http://www.powerpunchinc.com/Specialty_Product_p/cs300-each.htm

$32.40 Gallon:dunno:


Not that I am advocating using it, but isn't that about the same price as Mobil !:thSick:

Onan18
12-20-2012, 12:05 PM
I only ever run STIHL bar and chain oil any more, but when I worked for John Deere they had a bar oil, not sure who made it but it was labeled as Deere brand, it was very good as well, nice and stringy.

Joe

Jere39
12-20-2012, 12:34 PM
I really wasn't running brand tests, but I notice my last gallon of B&C Oil labeled Efco is quite a bit thinner than my usual Dolmar. My local Deere Dealer sells Stihl, both regular and cold weather. And I've bought Husky when there was a sale at the local Lowe's. All have worked fine for me, and at the price ~$10/gallon, I can afford to splurge. I've never used used motor oil, or attempted to mix something to thin mine down. When it gets too cold, I switch to splitting.

Jere39
12-20-2012, 12:37 PM
This is the best stuff ever. I buy it by the case: http://www.powerpunchinc.com/Specialty_Product_p/cs300-each.htm

At this price, I could replace my saw every 2-3 years instead. YMMV

KellyfromVA
12-21-2012, 07:40 AM
But with the Powerpunch Bar Oil, you don't go through as much as fast. It's thick and sticky. An actual lumberjack in the Seattle area recommended it to me and I've never used anything else since. I get much longer chain and bar life. It's taken me just over a year to go through one gallon. And I've cut a lot of trees this past year.

Using old motor oil is not advised. Motor oil doesn't coat the chain and bar groove, but flies off the end of the chain, plus is hard on the pump and seals because of the unburned gas or diesel oil and combustion byproducts suspended in the oil.

MrGiggles
12-21-2012, 09:25 AM
But with the Powerpunch Bar Oil, you don't go through as much as fast. It's thick and sticky. An actual lumberjack in the Seattle area recommended it to me and I've never used anything else since. I get much longer chain and bar life. It's taken me just over a year to go through one gallon. And I've cut a lot of trees this past year.

Using old motor oil is not advised. Motor oil doesn't coat the chain and bar groove, but flies off the end of the chain, plus is hard on the pump and seals because of the unburned gas or diesel oil and combustion byproducts suspended in the oil.

How long does a bar last you? At 32.00 a gallon, I can get a new 20" bar and a gallon of decent bar oil for the same amount. I just don't see how that oil could ever be cost effective. I'll wear out a chain from filing way before it ever stretches too much or wears out.

KellyfromVA
12-21-2012, 12:35 PM
Good question!

I have four saws, a 1972 Homelite XL12, 1987 028 Stihl Farm Boss with a 24" bar, 1988 John Deere (Echo) 55V with a 20" bar, and 1980 Stihl 015AV with a 14" bar for limb-ing. The Homelite is used for cutting stumps or other things close to the ground where I might clip dirt. I use the Stihl and JD 55V for tree falling and cutting. Of all the saws, only the Homelite has a replacement chain because the teeth got too small to sharpen due to dirt contact. The other three all have their original chains and bars provided as new. I sharpen the chains on the JD and Stihls on rare occasions. Because I run the Cushion Seal bar oil, I turn the chain oil pumps way down because the oil is so sticky, it doesn't fly off the chain as easily.

Why professionals like using the Cushion Seal oil, is; when you're out falling trees all day and from sometimes crazy heights, you can't afford downtime to put a chain back on or have the saw cut slowly. I'm not a pro, but when I'm on one of my back acres cutting, I don't want to lose time or deal with the increased effort from a dull chain or damaged bar slot that allows the chain to jump half way through a cut. I bought a case of Cushion Seal bar oil five years ago and have only used a little more than half of the case. Once you use a high quality bar oil, you'll never go back to stuff sold at Home Depot or (cringing) used motor oil.

c5rulz
12-21-2012, 02:53 PM
But with the Powerpunch Bar Oil, you don't go through as much as fast.

Bar oil is pumped via an oil pump. Whatever it is pumping should not effect the amount delivered to the bar. I understand adjustable oilers on pro saws can be turned down, but why would you want to. I want it to run out of fuel just before it runs out of oil. This is why the saw manufactures design the capacities of the oil and fuel tanks the way they do.



Why professionals like using the Cushion Seal oil, is; when you're out falling trees all day and from sometimes crazy heights, you can't afford downtime to put a chain back on or have the saw cut slowly. I'm not a pro, but when I'm on one of my back acres cutting, I don't want to lose time or deal with the increased effort from a dull chain or damaged bar slot that allows the chain to jump half way through a cut. I bought a case of Cushion Seal bar oil five years ago and have only used a little more than half of the case. Once you use a high quality bar oil, you'll never go back to stuff sold at Home Depot or (cringing) used motor oil.

I guess there is a lot I don't understand. I always thought chains got dull from use and hitting abrasives such as dirt/sand.

Bar slots wear from general use and the slot gets wider over time. I don't get how bar oil would in any way effect a saw throwing a chain. That generally happens when it is isn't tensioned correctly.

jerry_nj
12-21-2012, 05:18 PM
I agree, when my saws run out of gas is when I check the bar oil and there is always some left, not much but he oiler has not run out.

The takeaway I get, as already mentioned I think, is bar oil is different and I will no longer use engine oil, not even new fresh clean engine oil. I will, however, use the no-name par oil, to which I include Tractor Supply Company oil and whatever Lowes/HD/Walmart sells. The latter may have a "brand" such as Pouland which means nothing to me other than it claims to be bar oil.

c5rulz
12-21-2012, 06:15 PM
jerry nj, :howdy:

You'll be fine with any name brand bar oil,

I see you are cutting pine. If you have a problem with pine pitch, WD40 takes it off without harming the plastic of the saw.:trink39:

jerry_nj
12-21-2012, 06:24 PM
Thanks on the WD40. I had use gas to remove pine pitch, WD40 sounds much safer.