Review: Echo CS 590 Timber Wolf
Echo’s foray into the Landscaper/Rancher class is a bold, no nonsense 69.8 cc “tough” guy that proves to be a reliable and powerful alternative to the competition. Featuring a :pro-grade” magnesium crank case engine, modern features, and coming in at a price that’s hard to beat, the Echo CS 590 Timber Wolf is a formidable predator among the tree-line.
After removing a few medium to large trees from around my house, I was confronted with a new problem: what to do with the trees on the ground. I do not have a wood stove, and Poplar and Spruce aren’t the greatest firewood species. It seemed a shame to just buck the wood into manageable chunks to be pulled into the brush to rot. These once magnificent forest gods deserved better than to be just thrown away.
Poplar and Spruce aren’t well suited for burning, but they do make good lumber. The pictures of Alaskan Chainsaw Mills I had seen on the internet had looked interesting, and they were quite affordable. Milling this “waste” wood into usable lumber seemed like a fine adventure, but my Stihl MS 271, although a fine all round general purpose saw, was a bit undersized at 50 cc’s for the task of ripping lumber. The trees in question were large only by Eastern Canadian standards as they were not Western giants by any stretch of the imagination. They were around the 16 inch diameter mark, which is quite modest by milling standards, so a saw in the 60 cc range should do nicely without costing a fortune. Enter the Echo CS 590 Timber Wolf, which at the time was priced at a very reasonable $400.00.
Starting and Reliability
The Echo CS 590 proved to be a reliable starter. The starting procedure for the Timber Wolf is quite simple:
- Power switch up into the “on” position
- Choke lever pulled out to draw fuel
- The decompression valve pushed in to release compression in the chamber to reduce the pulling force needed
- After one or two strong pulls on the starter cord, the engine would fire or “burp”
- Push in the choke lever
- Press the decompression valve in one more time
- One or two more strong pulls of the starter cord and the Echo CS 590 roars to life
- A quick squeeze of the trigger to release the throttle lock and the mighty Timber Wolf is ready for action.
The CS 590 proved to be a reliable starter every time, and there were no issues with its running performance. The saw never stalled (all though the engine did cut out once when a stray branch caught the power switch and pushed it to the “off” position). One little caveat: my Echo did perform horribly the first time I brought it home due to a completely botched carb adjustment on the dealers part. This was entirely due to dealer error (it was purchased at a local full service dealer). After I returned the saw to the dealer, a quick adjustment had my Echo CS 590 purring like a kitten.
The bottom line for any saw is reliability, and after a rough start due to some dealer incompetence, the Timber Wolf has proven to be a reliable chainsaw. This saw has started easily every time. Even in sub-zero temperatures, the CS 590 has started without issue.
(As per: Echo USA’s website)
|Engine Displacement (cc)||59.8|
|Engine Displacement (cu in)||3.65|
|Carburetor||Butterfly-Valve Diaphragm (without purge pump)|
|Oiling System||Automatic/Adjustable (Clutch-Driven)|
|Vibration Reduction System||Standard|
|Standard Bar Lengths (in)||18, 20|
|Optional Bar Lengths (in)||16, 24, 27|
|Fuel Capacity (fl. oz.)||21.8|
|Oil Capacity (fl oz)||10.1|
|Dry Weight (lbs)1||13.2|
|Bar Type||Pro-Lite w/ ProAm material|
|Consumer Warranty||5 years|
|Commercial Warranty||1 years|
|Rental Warranty||90 days|
|1 Without bar and chain|
The review CS 590 came with the optional 20″ bar and had a running weight just over 18 pounds. Although Echo does not give BHP ratings, many sources site a BHP rating of 3.9 horsepower. The manual states that the engine should be adjusted to 12000 RPM’s, and the Echo CS 590 comes equipped with an Oregon 72LPX070G 70 Drive Link Super 70 Chisel Chain, 3/8inch.
The Echo CS 590 chainsaw is a rugged saw that Echo classifies as a Farm/Rancher class saw. Unlike other saws in this class, the CS 590 has a 59.8 cc professional grade engine with a vertically split magnesium crank case. This saw is not a “clam-shell”, or, in other words, it does not have a horizontally split plastic crank case. The vertically split magnesium crank case design is a proven design that is currently only offered on “professional” class saws. The CS 590 is the only 60cc saw with a magnesium crank case in this price class. The Echo engine is an older “carb compliant” design and does not feature the newer, cleaner (but heavier) strato charged scavenger engines that the other big manufacturers offer in this class. Whether these older style engines are superior to the newer strato charged engines is a debate I won’t get into, but I will say that I prefer the deeper purring sound of the older design to the higher pitched “pinging” sound of the strato charged engines. My preference is based only on the sound of the engine, and I would liken it to the difference between an older muscle car sound versus a newer Honda VTEC type sound.
The Echo Timber Wolf also comes equipped with Echo’s G-Force Engine Air Pre-cleaner system which prolongs the time between air filter cleanings. This isn’t an exclusive technology by any means as most newer saws have a similar feature, but it does seem to work well. The CS 590 also comes with a translucent fuel tank (another feature that is becoming standard in the industry, but a useful feature nonetheless). The Echo also comes equipped with a decompression valve which greatly reduces the effort required to pull the starter cord.
The Echo CS 590 also comes equipped with sturdy metal chain stays (or bumpers) that keep the chain from catching the cover or vibrating into harm’s way inside the cover plate. Most other saws use plastic stays, and the metal pieces give the impression that they will last longer. Another nice design touch that shows Echo is trying to up the “toughness” factor. One feature of the CS 590’s chain cover that I didn’t appreciate as much is the placement of the adjustable bar post on the cover as opposed to placing it on the power head side. I find it easier to install the bar and chain on saws with the post on the engine side as the process is a little less finicky. This is a trivial design issue, but I do prefer the other option. The Echo also comes equipped with the smaller 13 mm retaining nuts holding the bar in place. This is the smaller size nut, and my only issue with them is they look a little less “tough” than the larger 19 mm retaining nuts. This is purely an aesthetic preference, but it is what it is. The Timber Wolf also incorporates side chain tensioning which is also becoming standard, but it is a feature you definitely want on your chainsaw.
Another feature of the Echo CS 590 that bears some discussion is an easy access, tool-less two piece air filter. The air filter is described as a two piece, heavy duty air filter, but there is a small flaw in its design: there isn’t a gasket on the bottom of the filter to ensure a tight seal between the filter and the intake. How much dirt and debris might make its way past the small gap is unknown, perhaps none, but a small rubber gasket would be an inexpensive addition to provide piece of mind. A small amount of grease around the opening is one way to get a seal, and it is an easy fix, but it would be nice if this small, perhaps trivial, detail had been addressed.
The last feature of interest for this review is the Echo CS 590’s clutch driven oiler. This oiler is adjustable, which is a feature that is not included on many, if not all, of the other saws available in this class. Since this saw was purchased for use in light milling jobs, this feature is a real benefit.
The Tip Guard
Echo ships all of its saws with a tip guard to help reduce the risk of kickback. If you are not planning on felling any trees, or if you aren’t planning on doing any bore cuts, the tip guard is a great piece of kit to add to your piece of mind. Just because you have a tip guard installed doesn’t mean that you can forget about where your bar tip is at all times, but it does greatly reduce the chance of kickback from accidental contact with the kickback zone. The tip guard does not reduce kickback from pinching the bar and chain in a cut. An additional caveat: make sure to tighten the nut on the tip guard to the proper tension to ensure you do not damage the sprocket from over-tightening, or, if it isn’t tight enough, it may come loose from vibrations during cutting and damage the chain.
When it comes to performance, the Echo CS 590 was an able performer. With the optional 20 inch bar, the Timber Wolf was quite well balanced. As already stated in this review, this Echo chainsaw weighed in at 18 pounds fully fueled with a stock 20 inch bar. Considering it has a twenty percent larger engine and an eleven percent larger bar and chain than my Stihl MS 271, the CS 590 only weighed in a little under a pound more than the Stihl. Although well balanced, the CS 590’s composite handle felt a little less sturdy than the Stihl’s, but it didn’t feel flimsy by any stretch. The Timber Wolf is also easily upgraded to the CS 600 P’s aluminum handle if one so desired.
The Echo CS 590 proved to be a good cutter. Equipped with Oregon 72LPX070G Chisel Chain, the CS 590 had no trouble bucking frozen poplar 17 inches in diameter. Echo’s newest entry into the Rancher class cut through the frozen wood without any trouble or hesitation. Although the Echo’s older style engine only spins its chain at 12000 rpms, it tore through the frozen wood extremely well. Any homeowner or landscaper looking for a powerful cutting machine would be more than pleased with the Timber Wolf’s speed. At full throttle in the cut, the CS 590’s anti-vibe system felt smooth as silk. Although the stock Oregon chain includes bumper links, the bumpers are only there to prevent overaggressive filing of the depth gauges and they do not interfere with the cutting around the bar tip (this is a yellow coded chain). The Echo CS 590 bored through dry 20 inch cedar without any trouble or lag. The engine had plenty of torque when boring and didn’t bog or falter.
The clutch driven oiler performed very well and there were no problems keeping the bar and chain lubricated without spraying or dripping excess oil. The only time the oiler had trouble oiling was during a test ripping of a 8×8 post out of a poplar trunk. Once the oiler was turned to maximum output, the CS 590 handled the extra fine ripping dust much better. During the sample milling test, the Echo lived up to its “tough” claims and handled the modest ripping challenge with ease. Even running the stock chain, the Echo handled the milling without strain. This spring, we’ll try out the Echo with some milling time equipped with Oregon’s ripping chain.
Although this reviewer only had an opportunity to use the Echo CS 590 a few times before the snow hit, this chainsaw impressed with its simple operation, no nonsense performance and reliability. Echo’s CS 590 is a tough competitor that will put a smile on your face. At the rock bottom promo price of $400.00, the Timber Wolf is a real bargain.
A Note On the Pictures
The more astute of you readers might have noticed that the chain on the saw in one or two of the photos is backwards. This reversal of the chain was a result of quickly flipping the bar on the saw to ensure the logo was right side up for aesthetic purposes. The author did not take the time to rotate the chain at the time because he was lazy, and it was cold out.