STIHL MS 500i Problems: Common Issues and Troubleshooting Tips

The STIHL MS 500i has gained significant attention in the chainsaw market due to its innovative fuel injection technology and impressive power-to-weight ratio.

Designed to cater to the needs of professionals in the forestry and arboriculture industries, this chainsaw has garnered rave reviews for its performance and efficiency. However, like any power tool, the STIHL MS 500i is not devoid of problems that may arise under certain circumstances.

One issue that has been reported by some users is difficulty in starting the chainsaw, particularly in colder weather conditions. This can be attributed to the fuel injection system and the need for proper maintenance and appropriate fuel mixtures.

Another common concern revolves around the availability of replacement parts and the need for specialized tools when performing repairs or maintenance, which may pose challenges for end users.

It is essential for owners and prospective buyers of the STIHL MS 500i to be aware of these potential issues and to understand that, with proper care and handling, many of these problems can be mitigated.

By keeping informed and seeking support from experienced professionals, users can continue to enjoy the benefits of this cutting-edge chainsaw technology.

Common Problems and Causes

STIHL Chainsaw

Air Filter Issues

The STIHL MS 500i chainsaw can sometimes encounter air filter problems due to the accumulation of dust and debris. Users should inspect and clean the air filter regularly to ensure optimal performance. If excessively dirty or damaged, replace it with a new one.

Carburetor Problems

Carburetor issues can occur if the STIHL MS 500i chainsaw is not adjusted properly. Signs of carburetor problems include difficulty starting, poor idling, and reduced power. To resolve these issues, the carburetor should be adjusted according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Dull Chain

A dull chain on the STIHL 500i chainsaw will lead to inefficient cutting and increased wear on the saw’s components. To avoid this, always maintain a sharp chain through regular inspection, filing, or replacement when necessary.

Chain’s Tension

An improperly tensioned chain can cause problems such as poor cutting performance and increased wear on the STIHL 500i’s bar and sprocket. Check and adjust the chain’s tension regularly to ensure smooth operation.

Decompression Valve

The decompression valve of the STIHL MS 500i can become clogged or damaged over time, leading to difficulties in starting the chainsaw. Regular inspection and cleaning of the decompression valve can help prevent such problems.

Flooded Engine

A flooded engine is a common issue with the STIHL MS 500i when too much fuel has entered the combustion chamber. This can occur due to improper choke usage or repeated starting attempts. To remedy a flooded engine, disengage the choke and pull the starter rope several times to clear the excess fuel.

Spark Plug

A faulty or dirty spark plug can cause the STIHL MS 500i chainsaw to experience difficulty in starting or running smoothly. Inspect the spark plug regularly and replace it if necessary to maintain optimal performance.

Solutions and Maintenance

Air Filter Cleaning

Regular maintenance of the STIHL MS 500i includes cleaning the air filter. A clean air filter ensures optimum airflow and prevents dirt from entering the engine. To clean the air filter:

  1. Remove the air filter cover.
  2. Carefully remove the air filter.
  3. Gently clean the filter with a soft brush or compressed air.
  4. Reinstall the air filter and cover.

Remember to clean the air filter frequently, especially in dusty environments.

Carburetor Adjustment

It’s essential to adjust the carburetor of the STIHL 500i for optimal performance. The carburetor controls the fuel and air mixture, making it critical for efficient engine operation.

To adjust the carburetor:

  1. Turn the saw off and allow it to cool.
  2. Locate the carburetor adjustment screws.
  3. Carefully adjust the screws according to the user manual.

Consult a professional or an authorized dealer if you’re unsure about making adjustments.

Chain Sharpening

Sharpen Chainsaw Chain

A dull chain on the MS 500i decreases cutting performance and can strain the engine. To sharpen the chain:

  1. Secure the chainsaw in a vise or a clamp.
  2. Use a round file and file holder to sharpen the chain teeth.
  3. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for sharpening angles and techniques.

Regularly inspect the chain’s tension and sharpen it as necessary.

Checking Decompression Valve

The decompression valve on the STIHL MS 500i helps ease engine startup. Ensure the valve is functioning correctly:

  1. Locate the decompression valve near the top handle of the saw.
  2. Press the valve button to be sure it isn’t stuck.
  3. If the valve appears damaged or isn’t functioning correctly, consult a professional.

Spark Plug Replacement

An old or damaged spark plug can hinder engine performance. Replace the MS 500i’s spark plug periodically:

  1. Turn off the saw and allow it to cool.
  2. Locate the spark plug and remove the boot.
  3. Unscrew the old spark plug and inspect it.
  4. If necessary, replace it with a new spark plug recommended by the manufacturer.

By following these maintenance solutions, users can effectively address common issues and maintain optimal performance of the STIHL MS 500i chainsaw.

Performance Issues


The STIHL MS 500i may experience overheating issues. Overheating can occur due to several factors, including inadequate airflow, incorrect fuel mixture, or engine wear.

To prevent overheating, ensure proper air filter maintenance and follow the recommended fuel mixture for optimal engine performance. Keep the engine clean and free of debris, as clogged cooling fins can contribute to overheating.

Poor Performance

Poor performance can be attributed to several factors:

  • Power: The STIHL MS 500i relies on its engine to provide the required power for efficient operation. Ensure that you use the recommended fuel mixture for optimal performance.
  • Engine: A worn-out or damaged engine could contribute to reduced overall performance. Regular maintenance and servicing can help maintain peak engine condition.
  • Fuel Mixture: An improper fuel-to-oil ratio can result in performance issues. The 500i uses a 50:1 fuel mix ratio. Using the correct ratio ensures proper lubrication and engine performance.

Oil Leaks

Oil leaks can occur if the STIHL MS 500i’s oil seals or caps become damaged or worn. Regular inspection of the oil system and prompt replacement of any damaged components can minimize the risk of oil leaks.

It is recommended to follow oil capacity guidelines when filling the oil tank to prevent overfilling and potential leaks.

On Sale
STIHL High Performance 2-Cycle Engine Oil 6-Pack of 5.2 fl. oz. Bottles
  • High Performance
  • 2 cycle engine oil
  • 2 gallons-5.2 fluid ounces
  • Developed for all STIHL products

Specifications and Features

Power-to-Weight Ratio

The STIHL MS 500i boasts an impressive power-to-weight ratio of 1.24 hp per kg. This is achieved through a combination of lightweight components and a powerful engine. The high power-to-weight ratio ensures efficient and comfortable operation, even during extended periods of use.

Engine Displacement

The STIHL MS 500i features a 79.2 cc engine, giving it a significant amount of power for its size. This displacement enables the MS 500i to effectively manage heavy-duty cutting tasks without causing excessive strain on the operator.

Guide Bar Length

The STIHL MS 500i is compatible with various guide bar lengths, ranging from 16 inches to 28 inches. This adaptability allows users to choose the appropriate bar length for their specific cutting needs, whether they are pruning smaller branches or tackling larger trees.

Guide Bar LengthSuitable Task
16 inchesPruning, limbing, small tree felling
20 inchesMedium tree felling
25 inchesLarge tree felling
28 inchesVery large tree felling


The STIHL MS 500i has a weight of 6.2 kg without fuel, guide bar, or Oilomatic chain. This relatively low weight, combined with the high power output, contributes to the excellent power-to-weight ratio that makes the MS 500i a sought-after chainsaw for professional use.

Ease of Use and Replacement Parts

Handling and Controls

The STIHL MS 500i chainsaw is designed to provide optimal efficiency and comfort to operators in the forestry industry. With its revolutionary fuel injection system, the chainsaw offers precise control and easy handling.

The ergonomic design of the handles and the layout of the controls ensure that the user can manipulate the chainsaw with minimal effort.

  • Easy-to-access controls
  • Ergonomic handle design
  • Innovative fuel injection system

The MS 500i also features a lightweight design, making it less cumbersome to operate for extended periods. This aids in reducing operator fatigue and allows for improved maneuverability in tight spaces.

  • Lightweight design
  • Reduces operator fatigue

Replacement Parts

On Sale
Stihl Spark Plug Set | 2 Pack |Replacement for Trimmers Chainsaws
  • Genuine Replacement Part for 2-cycle engine powered machines.
  • 2 Pcs included. Savings pack!
  • Long term usage, better performance.
  • Also fits with other makes.

Maintenance and replacement of parts are key aspects to consider when using a chainsaw in the forestry industry. The STIHL MS 500i is designed to make this process as straightforward as possible.

Commonly replaced parts, such as the chain, bar, and spark plug, are easily accessible and can be replaced with simple tools.

PartAccessibilityTool Required
ChainEasyChain tool
Spark plugEasySpark plug wrench

Furthermore, STIHL has a large network of authorized dealers who can provide parts and servicing when necessary.

This ensures that owners can maintain their chainsaws in optimal working condition and promptly replace any worn or damaged parts.

Last update on 2024-06-16 / Affiliate links / Somes Images and Data from Amazon Product Advertising API

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