How to Replace a Recoil Starter Rope

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You're all ready to mow your lawn. You go to pull on the starter rope and the old thing breaks in two and slides back into the engine. Now instead of mowing, you get to replace the rope that should have been replaced at the first sign of wear or fraying.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • New rope
  • Screwdriver
  • Vice grips
  • Remove the recoil starter from the engine. Look for the knot where the old rope is secured. Some will have metal fitted on the end.

  • Pull the old rope all the way out of the recoil starter.

  • Keep the rope sheave from rewinding. If the sheave has a hole in it, insert a pin or nail through it and lock it to the housing. No hole, use a pair of vice grips, but be careful not to damage the sheave.

  • Get 6 feet of rope that matches the diameter of the existing rope. Braided nylon is a durable choice with a lower risk of fraying.

  • Run the rope through the guided hole in the housing into the sheave and through the knot hole. Tie off. Tie handle to the other end.

  • There is a spring under the recoil assembly. Turn the recoil assembly clockwise seven or eight times. Stop when it feels tight, then back off to line the rope up with the holes. On some housings there are arrows cast into the recoil starter that align with marks on the rope sheave.

  • Readjust the handle length for a comfortable pull. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

Tips & Warnings

  • Watch out for the coiled spring. Use a screwdriver to hold it in place.
  • Safety glasses can reduce the risk of eye damage.

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