Thursday, February 16, 2012

STIHL Announces Second Recall of Defective Chainsaws

Pittsburgh residents know that chainsaws are inherently dangerous.  My firm has seen, first hand, the damage defective chainsaws can cause.  Which is why defective chainsaws are all the more concerning for local consumers.

In 2010, STIHL, a German manufacturer of chainsaws and other handheld power tools, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, recalled its MS 361 C chain saw models equipped with a rear-handle-activated chain braking system. These defective chainsaws were manufactured between January 2004 and August 2009. The models were sold throughout the United States, including Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by STIHL Dealers and had a serial number range of 262 202 287 through 280 623 809.

The chainsaws were found to be defective because in some units the throttle trigger did not work correctly. The defect resulted in the chainsaw engine not returning to proper idle speed after release of the throttle trigger. In such instances the chain would continue to rotate unexpectedly and, in certain circumstances, result in injury to the user or bystanders.

More recently, in February 2012, STIHL has announced another recall through the Consumer Product Safety Commission, this time of its MS 391 gas-powered chain saws. Apparently the flywheel- a weighted wheel that controls engine speed- can break apart sending parts flying into users and bystanders.

To date, no incidents or injuries have been reported in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Consumers, however, are directed to stop using the MS 391 chainsaws and return them to an authorized STIHL dealer for modification and free replacement of the flywheel.

More than 3000 units have been sold. The chainsaws, pictured below, have an orange top casing, gray base and black front handle and hand guard. "STIHL" and "MS 391" are printed in an orange circle on the starter side of the unit, and the serial number is located on the crankcase to the right of the muffler when viewed from the rear of the saw.

Serial numbers included in the recall are:

28535 1759 through 28535 1956
28664 5278 through 28664 6277
28665 1283 through 28665 5577
28724 4317 through 28724 4480
28735 3627 through 28735 3647

The MS 391 chainsaws were manufactured in the United States and sold nationwide at authorized STIHL dealers from March 2011 through July 2011.

Incident/injury reports for this product are to be submitted to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at

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