Chain of fuels (An open letter to Sears)

dangerous chainsaw

Dear Sears,

I want to start by thanking you. When I discovered a step-by-step set of instructions you posted on cleaning the carburetor on a chainsaw, it empowered me. See, my father-in-law, some years ago, gave me a chainsaw he no longer needed. The trouble is, I didn’t need it either at the time. So it sat in my shed, unused for two years. I’m not terribly inclined to tackle mechanical projects, for some reason. I’m great with basic carpentry, but I can’t even tell you exactly what a carburetor does, outside of something to do with combining fuel and air in some sort of arcane magic that makes machines work.

I do know that gas sitting idle in an engine is bad. So I was not at all surprised to find that when I finally had occasion to use this chainsaw, it wouldn’t start.

But, Sears, your instructions empowered me to do something new — to take apart this chainsaw’s carb and give ‘er a good cleaning. I want to compliment you on the thoroughness with which you began these instructions, with photos accompanying every step and helpful suggestions, such as “Tip: For accurate reassembly, take digital photos of the throttle linkage on the carburetor and of the gas line connections.” Great stuff!

My concern, and the reason I’m writing you this letter, is this: After smooth sailing for seven steps, you posted no more photographs. And — I simply can’t state this plainly enough — that there’s some bullshit.

Since it might have been a while since you reviewed this document, allow me to reproduce here the pertinent contents of Step 8 (which, again, you did not illustrate in any way):

Step 8: Disassemble the carburetor

Place the carburetor on a clean work surface and remove the screws from the bottom cover. Detach the cover.

Peel the metering diaphragm and gasket from the bottom of the carburetor. Line up the parts in order as you pull them off. With the metering diaphragm removed, locate a lever on a hinge. Remove their mounting screw and detach them.

Remove the pump cover screw on the top of the carburetor. Pull out the pump diaphragm. Remove the screw securing the needle and fuel lever.

I’m not sure if you’re following my point of frustration yet. In case you are not, let me illustrate in boldface the portions of the instructions which would have benefited from illustration for the novice wrenches like myself that this guide was clearly designed for:

Step 8: Disassemble the carburetor

Place the carburetor on a clean work surface and remove the screws from the bottom cover. Detach the cover.

Peel the metering diaphragm and gasket from the bottom of the carburetor. Line up the parts in order as you pull them off. With the metering diaphragm removed, locate a lever on a hinge. Remove their mounting screw and detach them.

Remove the pump cover screw on the top of the carburetor. Pull out the pump diaphragm. Remove the screw securing the needle and fuel lever.

And it gets more confusing in the next step, which mentions additional levers and needles. Or maybe they’re the same levers and needles. It’s difficult to be certain without — am I repeating myself? — A DIAGRAM OR PHOTOGRAPH.

Here’s a photo of my carburetor, once removed (see how easy it is to share such a photograph?):

carb-800

I’m sure someone will know just by this photo which end is the top, where the pump diaphragm is, and identify pump screw cover, et al. But me, I haven’t a clue.

saw in action-800If you’re concerned about the state of my chainsaw, please don’t be. I got it running by a process that could be best described as estimation. Once I removed the carburetor, I detached any and all gaskets and non-metal pieces and sprayed the crap out of every orifice on the thing with carb cleaner. I’m sure it wasn’t an officially sanctioned service technique by the manufacturers of the Poulan saw (Did I fail to mention the saw wasn’t a Craftsman or Homelite? My bad.), but it worked.

If I sound upset, I’m not. I’m just pleading with you to finish the job on these instructions if you want them to be truly helpful. Are you all ears, Sears? Are you willing to be seers, Sears? Because promising to do something or help someone do something and then not is worse than not offering the help at all.

Sincerely,

A Dewd, Just Trying to Abide

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