Stihl MS 193 C-E Review
In a previous post, we reviewed the Stihl MS 170 that was purchased to convert into a dedicated carving saw, but the MS 170 had some issues with the engine (see full review here), so it was returned for a Stihl MS 193 C-E. The MS 193 C-E is a light-weight and nimble 30.1 cc rear handled saw. Weighing in at 10.2 pounds fully fueled with a 16” bar and 3/8”p chain; the MS 193 C-E is extremely light. Its strato-charged engine promises a BHP of 1.8 with lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions. The anti-vibe is incredibly smooth and refined and this saw promises to be a well balanced detail carver once I get around to forking out the additional $200.00 to equip it with a carving bar, chain and sprocket/rim.
Extremely light-weight and nimble
Fully adjustable carb
Incredibly low vibration
Strato-charged engine promises lower emissions and lower fuel consumption with increased power.
Outboard clutch for better balance.
Easy to start
Strato-charged engine is cold blooded and needs more time to warm up
Adjustable carb is quite finicky with a hard to find sweet spot
Small, narrow bar is very sensitive to dirt and debris- clogs easily
Chain tension system requires breaking in and is difficult to tension out of the box
Automatic oiler is anemic with 16” stock bar
Outboard clutch makes bar and chain removal more difficult
Starting the MS 193 C-E
The starting procedure is a little more involved in that there is a separate full choke switch on the side of the handle as opposed to Stihl’s patented single master control lever on their larger saws. The MS 193 C-E starts up easily and consistently. After starting, the small strato engine does require a couple of minutes warm-up. Once warmed up, the saw seems to cut fairly well, but the review saw came from the dealer with the carb set quite rich, which some say is a good thing during the break-in period (whether this is true of modern saws or not, like everything in the internet forums, is hotly debated). The saw was not adjusted during the break-in period, even though the saw did occasionally stall when the throttle was released.
The Stihl MS 193 C-E features Stihl’s Easy2Start system. The review saw is easy to start, but there was no noticeable difference between pulling the MS 193’s starting cord and pulling the starter cords of non Easy2Start chainsaw’s. The box label states the Easy2Start feature is on board, but it would seem this saw does not have it. There is no gradual pulling until the spring tension is over-come and the saw fires. In writing this review, it was debated whether to leave the E out of the model designation. It is unknown if this saw came without the feature, or if the feature was broken before the saw was received (a not-so far-fetched scenario given the starting technique used by the dealer associate prior to delivery). This saw pulls just like a “regular” saw. You feel the engine compression immediately when starting the pull. It can only be concluded that this saw came without the Easy2Start feature, or it came with a defective one. The lack of Easy2Start is not an issue as it removes an level of complexity in the day-to-day operation of the saw: in essence, one less thing to fail. As it is, the saw’s small engine should not present a starting issue for most users.
The following video shows how easy the saw is to start. The video also shows that the Easy2Start feature is not on board or broken as it is obvious that the engine’s compression is being felt immediately at the start of the pull.
During the initial break-in period, it was quite difficult to properly tension the chain on the Stihl MS 193 CE. The chain tension would continue to increase as the bar retaining nut was tightened. The video below shows how the chain would tighten as the nut was turned. Stihl Canada quickly responded to an email regarding this issue, and they explained the problem was due to pressure from the nylon bumpers that keep the chain aligned with the bar groove protecting the cover housing from the chain. The nylon bumpers needed time to wear and adjust to the saw. Stihl stated the problem would quickly correct itself as the bumpers wore into the proper shape. The problem did seem to go away after two tankfuls of fuel. It was quite frustrating at first before the problem was identified. Thankfully Stihl Canada’s customer service quickly responded to my emailed questions about this issue.
After the break-in period, the saw proved to be quite finicky to fine tune in order to cure it of the annoying throttle release stall. The L jet seemed quite sensitive, but after a few tries I did manage to eliminate this tendency to stall. Admittedly, I am no tuning wizard, so the difficulty in fine tuning could rest solely with me, but with a little patience and my trusty Echo PET 1100 (a re-branded Oppama), we managed to correct the problem.
The MS 193 C-E is incredibly light-weight; a feature that lends itself to bad habits in the safety arena. It is easy to neglect safe operating procedures because the saw’s 10.2 pounds makes it easy to forget to engage the chain-brake while you hold the saw with one hand by the handle-a potentially big no-no. The saw is quite comfortable and easy to use, and this ease of use can quickly lull you into complacency in following safe operating procedures. The MS 193 C-E’s ease of use can be a curse if you are not careful. The MS 193 C-E is incredibly smooth. The anti-vibe system works extremely well. It is easy to see why so many carvers use this saw as it is very comfortable to use.
The Stihl MS 193 C-E cut everything thrown at it, but if you are expecting it to tear through the wood like a 60 cc saw with a 3/8” chain, you are going to be disappointed. If you have reasonable expectations for this small limbing saw and allow the saw to do the work, you will find it is up to the task. The low profile OILOMATIC® STIHL PICCO™ Micro™ Mini 3 (PMM3) chain cuts quite well. The chips, although tiny, really fly when cutting.
The narrow 0.043” gauge bar proved to be quite sensitive to dirt build-up within the groove. If the bar is not cleaned after every use, no matter how short the cutting session, the saw’s oiler would fail to provide enough oil to the bar during the next session. Admittedly, cleaning the bar groove is a good maintenance practice, but larger saws are much more forgiving of slackness in this regard. The MS 193 CE has proven to be merciless in it’s demand for proper cleaning practices. Whether this is a common trait among such small bar and chain combinations, I do not know.
The Stihl MS 193 C-E uses an outboard clutch to enhance the balance and maneuverability of the saw by keeping the cutting attachment closer to the saw’s center of gravity. How effective this is, is open to debate, but the outboard clutch does make removing the bar and chain more difficult. It is not a major problem, but the first couple of times removing the cutting attachment for cleaning (something that the narrow gauge bar requires after every use) are a bit frustrating.
Another aspect of the MS 193 that is worth mentioning is the placement of the spark plug. The spark plug is accessed from the bottom of the saw which makes it a little more difficult to reach and remove. The spark plug is recessed in a small hole by the handle and it is hard to extract. It also makes using a tachometer harder as the induction sweet spot is harder to find while holding the saw and measuring rpm’s in the cut. A small detail, but it is worth noting.
Overall, the MS 193 C-E has a lot going for it. It is one of the lightest small chainsaws on the market. It is easy to start, and it is comfortable and nimble. The MS 193 C-E performs quite well, and if one approaches it with the proper expectations, they will be quite pleased with its cutting ability. The saw reviewed here came with a few quirks: some of these quirks could have been corrected pre-delivery by the dealer- for example the tendency to stall when the throttle is released. The apparent lack of the Easy2Start feature is troubling only in that I was not told it wasn’t on board. The chain tension issue resolved itself quickly on its own, just as the folks at Stihl Canada predicted.
Since this saw was purchased to use as a dedicated carver, I will have to give a follow-up review after the saw is retrofitted for carving. Stay tuned.