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Chainsaws

Are Stihl and Husqvarna Bars Interchangeable?

Husqvarna and Stihl are, apart from chainsaw manufacturers, also big producers of chainsaw guide bars. In two previous articles, I have reviewed the sizes and compatibility of Stihl and Husqvarna bars with saws of the same brand.

But do Stihl and Husqvarna bars mix? This is what we are going to be looking at today. If you’ve recently switched brand and have a mixed stock of bars, or that the bar you need is easily available only from the other manufacturer – these are cases when you may want to fit a Stihl bar on a Husky or the other way around.

The answer to the question, in a nutshell, is that Stihl and Husqvarna bars are not interchangeable as such, but can be made compatible with mount adapters or by modifying the bar. In general, fitting Stihl bars on Husqvarna saws is often easier than the other way around, but the ease of adapting depends on the exact mount type the bar and saw use.

We will explore all of this in detail in this article. Next, we will start by quickly going through the principles of chainsaw bar compatibility. Then we will recap Stihl and Husqvarna bar mounts, after which I will tell you, in turn, how Stihl bars fit Husqvarnas and Husqvarna bars fit Stihls.

A warning

Before we go any further, a word of warning on mixing guide bars is in order:

Caution: Mounting any other guide bars than the ones recommended by your chainsaw manufacturer involves risk of injury, death and damage to the saw and bar. Do this only if you have experience in chainsaw maintenance, understand the risk and accept responsibility for your chainsaw setup. Please also read Disclaimer.

Bar compatibility in brief

I discuss the principles of chainsaw guide bar compatibility at length in an earlier article, but here is a short recap:

For a guide bar to be compatible with a given chainsaw, the bar must have: 1) the same bar mount and 2) same chain pitch as the saw. To be further compatible with a certain chain type, a bar should also be matched to 3) the chain gauge. Finally, to fit the same saw and take the exact same chain loop, two bars should also be 4) the same length.

This may sound complex but really is not. For this article, just remember that a bar fits a saw if it has the same mount and pitch.

Bar mount in brief

The bar mount and its components are the central factor in bar compatibility. In case you are not quite sure what it means, here is a quick explanation:

A chainsaw guidebar mount is an arrangement of slots and holes in the tail end of the bar used to attach the bar to the saw powerhead. The bar mount is also called a tail mount. Different bar mounts are referred to as bar mount type, tail mount or mount pattern.

A chainsaw guide bar mount has three main functional features (see also image below):

  1. Mounting slot: a long slot along bar center line which takes the bar studs
  2. Chain tensioner holes: a pair of round holes or slots on either side of the mounting slot
  3. Chain oiler holes: a small round hole closer to the top or bottom of the bar
Bar mount components on a Husqvarna Large mount bar.

For two mounts to be compatible, all of these features have to more or less line up.

Stihl and Husqvarna compatibility

The matching principles above also apply to Stihl and Husqvarna bars. So for any bar to fit your Stihl or Husqvarna saw, it should have the same mount and pitch as your saw.

The bar matching challenge is that both Stihl and Husqvarna use many different mounts and pitches across their chainsaw product line. To make matters worse, some of the pitches and all of the mounts are brand-specific, and all are mutually incompatible.

In practice, this means that no Stihl bar will fit a Husqvarna saw and no Husqvarna bar will fit a Stihl saw – as such.

Adapting bars

If all Husqvarna and Stihl guide bars are mutually incompatible because of the different mounts, how could you possibly fit a Husky bar on a Stihl or the other way around?

The answer is that you make them fit by using adapters and by modifying the tail of the bar.

Adapters are small metal spacers and used to reduce the width of the mounting slot in the bar. They are needed when mounting most Stihl bars onto Husqvarna saws. Adapter plates are available from some replacement bar manufacturers like Cannon, but you can also make them yourself as shown in the image below.

Modification involves drilling new holes into the bar tail or widening the mounting slot by milling or grinding. This is more challenging than using adapters and often requires a drill press or a milling machine.

A Stihl 3003 mount guide bar with a 12.1 mm wide slot adapted to the 9 mm Husqvarna Large mount bar studs using two drilled and thinned nuts.

Compatibility overview

The table below lists the possible combinations of Stihl and Husqvarna bars and saws and tells you which features fit, and which need some adapting. The saws and bars are listed by mount type, which is the biggest compatibility hurdle. Please also remember that the pitch must be matched too.

SawBarMounting
slot
Tensioner
holes
Oiler
holes
Husky
Small
Stihl 3005OKdrill newdrill new
Stihl 3003adapterdrill newdrill new
Stihl 3003adapterdrill newdrill new
Husky
Large
Stihl 3005incompatible, no matching pitches
Stihl 3003adapterOKOK
Stihl 3002adapterOKwiden
Stihl
3005
Husky SmallOKdrill newdrill new
Husky Largeincompatible, no matching pitches
Stihl
3003
Husky Smallwiden slotdrill newdrill new
Husky Largewiden slotOKOK
Stihl
3002
Husky Smallincompatible, tail too narrow
Husky Largewiden slotOKwiden

In the following sections, we shall take a closer look at each of the combinations, explain what all of this means and what you need to do to make each bar and saw fit.

Which mount do I have?

From left to right: Husqvarna Small mount, Husqvarna Large mount, Stihl 3003 and Stihl 3002 mount.

Not sure which mount type your saw or bar has? – Check the tables in my articles on Stihl and Husqvarna bar sizes. Here are some quick guidelines:

  • Most Husqvarna saws under 60 cc have the Small mount, most above 60 cc the Large
  • Husqvarna Large mount bars are all 3/8” pitch; smaller pitches are Small mount. Note that there are also Small mount 3/8” pitch bars.
  • Stihl saws below 50 cc or 2.5 kW (3.4 hp) are mostly 3005 and most others 3003; the largest 3002 mount is used only in MS 880 and some old saws
  • Stihl small pitch bars (1/4”P, 3/8”P) are 3005 mount, .325” bars are 3005 or 3003 mount, and most 3/8” bars are 3003 mount. The 3002 mount exists in some 3/8” bars, all .404” bars, and some Duromatic hard nose bars with no pitch. Most Stihl bars also have the mount number stamped on them (see image below).
Stihl (top) and Husqvarna (bottom) bar markings tell you the chain pitch and, in case of Stihl, the bar mount (first 4 digits in the bar number).

Fitting Stihl bars on Husqvarna chainsaws

Most Stihl guide bars can be fitted on Husqvarna chainsaws relatively easily. The modifications necessary depend on the mount type on both the saw and bar: with the popular Stihl-3003-on-Husky-Large combination, a mounting slot adapter is all you need; sometimes you may have to drill new holes too.

We will next go through all the Stihl bar & Husqvarna saw combinations, ordered by mount type, and I will tell if a fit is possible and what modifications are needed.

Stihl 3005 on Husqvarna Small saw

Stihl 3005 mount bars are often a good match to many Husqvarna Small mount saws in terms of length. The mounts are not fully compatible, but the Stihl 3005 bar can be modified to fit by drilling a few holes.

Mounting slot: Both Stihl 3005 and Husqvarna Small have a 8 mm (.31”) wide slot. The bar studs fit perfect to the slot without modification.

Chain tensioner: Stihl 3005 and Husqvarna Small have a similar tensioner offset of around 10.5 mm (.41”) from mounting slot center line. However, the Stihl holes are further back and may out of reach for many Husqvarna Small tensioner pins. Prepare to drill new tensioner holes.

Chain oiler: Stihl 3005 and Husqvarna Small have a similar oiler offset at around 17 mm (.67”) from mounting slot center line. As with the tensioner, the Stihl oiler holes may be too far back for the Husqvarna oiler groove. Prepare to drill new oil holes and channels.

Note also that many of the Husqvarna and Stihl narrow kerf pitches these saws and bars use are proprietary, and may not work together.

Stihl 3005 on Husqvarna Large saw

Stihl 3005 mount bars are all slightly shorter than the typical bars on Husqvarna Large mount saws. While the mount could probably be modified to fit, Stihl 3005 bars are not available in 3/8” chain pitch. This is a show-stopper, as 3/8” is the only pitch in Husqvarna Large mount saws. The lack of common pitches makes this combination incompatible.

Stihl 3003 on Husqvarna Small saw

Stihl 3003 bars make a lot of sense on a Husqvarna Small saw and can be made to fit, but takes some work. You have to adapt the slot and drill new holes for the tensioner and oiler.

Mounting slot: The Stihl 3003 mounting slot is wider than the Husqvarna Small bar studs (12.1 mm vs. 8 mm). Use an adapter plate or spacers to make the fit tight and secure. Cannon does not offer an adapter specifically for Husqvarna 8 mm, but some of the Echo versions may work with modifications; alternatively, you can make your own.

Chain tensioner: The Stihl 3003 tensioner holes are further out than the Husqvarna Small tensioner pin (15 mm vs. 10.5 mm offset). You will have to drill new tensioner holes.

Chain oiler: Like the tensioner holes, the oiler holes on a Stihl 3003 bar are further out that the oiler groove on a Husqvarna Small mount saw (24 mm vs 17 mm). They are probably too far to have any overlap, so you will have to drill new oiler holes and channels.

Stihl 3003 on Husqvarna Large saw

Fitting a Stihl medium 3003 mount bar on the larger Husqvarna saws with the Husqvarna Large mount requires only a slot adapter and is relatively easy.

In fact, this combination is the easiest of all Husky–Stihl bar mixes to make work. It is also practically attractive due to the limited selection of long original Husqvarna guide bars.

Stihl 3003 (top) and Husqvarna Large (bottom) bar mounts compared. The slot needs adapting, but tensioner and oiler holes are mostly compatible.

Mounting slot: The Stihl 3003 mounting slot is wider than the Husqvarna Large bar studs (12.1 mm vs. 9 mm); as such, the bar sits loose on the studs. Use an adapter plate or spacers to make the fit tight and secure. Compatible Cannon Adaptor plate models are CBW-20020, -20030 and -20090 (depends on bar stud spacing).

Chain tensioner: Stihl medium 3003 mount and the Husqvarna Large mount have a decent match in tensioner hole positioning: both have hole spacing of around 1.2” (30 mm) and positioning close to the mounting slot middle. Husqvarna holes and tensioner pin are larger diameter at .284” and .236” (7.2 and 6 mm), respectively, compared to Stihl at .24” and .20” (6 and 5 mm). In my experience, the Stihl 3003 and Husqvarna Large are tensioner-compatible, although the Husky pin fit to the Stihl hole is on the tight side.

Chain oiler: Stihl 3003 and Husqvarna Large mounts are usually oiler-compatible. Both have oiler holes around .93” (23.5 mm) from the mounting slot center line; the Stihl holes are 7 mm more forward, but the oiler slots typically cover the difference. If oiling malfunctions, drill a new one.

Stihl 3002 on Husqvarna Small saw

A Stihl large 3002 mount bar on a Husqvarna Small mount saw is usually not the most reasonable match. Making the bar fit is also tricky, but if you just have to make it, I think it can be done (have not tried to confirm).

Mounting slot: The Stihl 3002 slot is much wider than the Husqvarna Small bar studs. You will need a 14.0 mm to 8.0 mm slot adapter. Cannon does not offer such an adapter, so you will have to make your own; a drilled and thinned nut may be a good starting point.

Chain tensioner: The chain tensioner is the biggest challenge with Stihl 3002 on Husky Small. The Husqvarna small tensioner pin is just .41” (10.5 mm) offset from the mounting slot center line, and will almost touch the 14.0 mm wide slot in the 3002 bar. You will have to drill new holes for the tensioner very close to the slot, and perhaps break into it.

Chain oiler: Stihl 3002 bar chain oiler holes are much further from the mounting slot center line than oiler groove in Husqvarna Small mount saws (1.14” vs. .67”, or 29 mm vs. 17 mm). You will have to drill a new oiler hole and channel. You may also need to block the old oil holes to avoid oil leak, since these holes are probably outside the base plate on the saw.

NB: Remember to check the tail width for possible interference. Many Stihl 3002 bars may be somewhat wider in the tail that many of the Husqvarna Small mount saws are designed for.

Stihl 3002 on Husqvarna Large saw

A Stihl large 3002 mount bar is often a sensible match to a Husqvarna Large mount saw, particularly for 3120 XP. The mounts are also reasonably easy to fit thanks to a similar tensioner positioning.

Mounting slot: The Stihl 3002 slot is much wider than the Husqvarna Large bar studs. You will need a 14 mm to 9 mm slot adapter. Compatible Cannon models are CBW-20035 (most 9 mm Huskies) or CBW-20095 (3120 XP), differences being the stud spacing and tensioner screw access hole. You can naturally also make your own.

Chain tensioner: Stihl 3002 has the same 15 mm (.59”) tensioner offset as the Husqvarna Large and two pairs of holes. The tensioning should work without modifications.

Chain oiler: Stihl 3002 oiler holes are further out than the Husqvarna Large oiler groove (29 mm vs. 24 mm). You may have to drill new holes lower or widen the existing ones to get them to overlap.

Fitting a Husqvarna bar on Stihl chainsaw

Most Husqvarna guide bars can be fitted on Stihl saws, but this usually requires modifications to bar. This direction is more difficult than mounting Stihl bars on a Husky because of the narrower mounting slots on the Husqvarna bars. In these cases, a simple adapter or drilling will not do, and more serious machining is required.

Let’s go through the combinations:

Husqvarna Small on Stihl 3005 saw

Husqvarna Small mount bars are available in a wide range of pitches, gauges and lengths, and the shorter and lighter versions are a good match for many small Stihl 3005 mount saws. Thanks to the same mounting slot width, the bars are fairly easy to make fit. The tensioner and oiler may require some work, though.

Mounting slot: The Husqvarna Small and Stihl 3005 both have a 8 mm slot. The bar fits the studs without any modification.

Chain tensioner: The Stihl 3005 and Husqvarna Small have similar tensioner offset at around 10 mm, but the Stihl tensioner pin is somewhat closer to the bar tail than hole in the Husqvarna bar. Depending on the saw model, chain length and wear, you may able to reach the hole with the tensioner; if not, you need to drill a new one.

Chain oiler: Stihl 3005 and Husqvarna Small have similar oiler offset, but the Husky Small oiler hole horizontal position may be out of reach of the Stihl 3005 oiler groove. If the oiler does not work, you have to drill a new oiler hole and channel.

Husqvarna Small on Stihl 3003 saw

Many of the Husqvarna Small mount bars would make a good match to Stihl 3003 saws in terms of size and length. Actually fitting the two together is made difficult by the narrow mounting slot in the Husky Small bars. But it’s still possible:

Mounting slot: The Husqvarna Small mount bar has a 8 mm wide mounting slot, which does not fit onto the 12 mm bars studs on a Stihl 3003 saw. You will have to widen the bar slot to 12 mm by milling (if you have the equipment) or grinding.

Chain tensioner: The tensioner holes on a Husqvarna Small mount bar are around 0.2” (5 mm) closer to the mounting slot than the tensioner pin of the Stihl 3003 saw. You will have to drill new holes for the tensioner.

Chain oiler: The chain oiler holes on a Husqvarna Small mount bar are likewise closer to the mounting slot than the oiler groove on a Stihl 3003 saw (17 mm vs. 24 mm offset). The difference is too large for the two to overlap, and you will have to drill new holes for the chain oiler.

Husqvarna Small on Stihl 3002 saw

While most Husqvarna Small mount bars will be on the short side for the large Stihl 3002 mount saws, the longest 24” and 28” ones would already make sense.

Sadly, the Husqvarna Small bar tail is too narrow to properly work with Stihl 3002 mount saws. The critical clash is in the oiler hole positioning: with an offset of around 29 mm from the bar center line, the oiler groove of a Stihl 3002 saw is partly outside the Husqvarna Small bar tail.

Husqvarna Large on Stihl 3005 saw

Husqvarna Large mount bars and Stihl 3005 saws are not a great match in size. They also share no common pitches: all Husky Large bars are 3/8”, which none of the Stihl 3005 are designed for.

While the bar mounts could be made to fit, the lack of common pitches makes Husqvarna Large bars and Stihl 3005 saws incompatible.

Husqvarna Large on Stihl 3003 saw

Husqvarna Large mount bars are often an excellent match for Stihl 3003 mount saws. They can also be made to fit together, although this involves widening the mounting slot and takes some work.

Mounting slot: The Husqvarna Large bar mounting slot is too narrow for the Stihl 3003 bar studs (9 mm vs. 12.1 mm). As with Husky Small bars, you will have to mill or grind the slot wider.

Chain tensioner: As mentioned above under Stihl 3003 bars on a Husky Large saw, Stihl medium 3003 mount and the Husqvarna Large mount have a decent match in tensioner hole positioning. The tensioner should work also in this direction without modification.

Chain oiler: Stihl 3003 and Husqvarna Large mounts are usually oiler-compatible. Both have oiler holes around .93” (23.5 mm) from the mounting slot center line; the Stihl holes are 7 mm more forward, but the oiler slots typically cover the difference. If you notice oiling malfunctions, you will have to drill a new hole.

Husqvarna Large on Stihl 3002 saw

Many longer Husqvarna Large mount bar are a reasonable choice for a Stihl 3002 saw, and the two can often also be made to work together. Some narrow-tail The difference in chain oiler positioning may prevent proper function in some cases.

Mounting slot: The Husqvarna Large bar mounting slot is too narrow for the Stihl 3002 bar studs (9 mm vs. 14 mm). As with Stihl 3003 saws, you will have to mill or grind the slot wider.

Chain tensioner: As mentioned above, Stihl 3002 and the Husqvarna Large mount have the same tensioner offset and also a decent match in horizontal hole position. The chain tensioner should work without modification.

Chain oiler: The Stihl 3002 chain oiler groove is around 5 mm higher up as the holes in the Husqvarna Large bar. You may be able to make the oiler work just by drilling new oil holes or extending the existing ones. However, as the original Husky holes are already quite close to the bar top, the Stihl 3002 oiler groove may actually be partly outside the bar tail with the shorter Husky Large bars. Sealing the open part of the oiler groove can probably be done, but I would recommend avoiding such bars on Stihl 3002 saws.

Conclusion

As we have seen, the incompatible Husqvarna and Stihl guide bars can actually be mixed and matched in most cases if you are willing to put enough effort into modding the bar.

Making the match does take some serious effort, though, particularly with Husqvarna bars on Stihl saws. The few reasonably easy mixes are Stihl 3003 bars on Husqvarna Large mount saws, and in some cases Stihl 3005 & Husky Small either way.

When successful, bar adapting can be very rewarding, bringing some of your old bars back into service or allowing you to realize new interesting kerf & length combinations.

This said, none of the bar mixing is for chainsaw beginners. Judging which modifications are necessary and checking the functioning require a solid understanding of chainsaw mechanics and use experience.

When successful, bar adapting can be very rewarding, as it allows you to bring some of your old bars back into service or realize new interesting kerf and length combinations. Safe and happy sawing!