How to Install a Pull Start Cord on a Homelite Trimmer

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Things You'll Need

  • Socket wrench

  • Piston stop tool

  • Screwdriver

  • Clutch removal tool

Install a new pull cord on your Homelite trimmer to get it running again

Homelite string trimmers are reliable and sturdy, lasting for years if cared for properly. The starter cord on these trimmers can get frayed or broken over time and will need to be replaced. This is a minor repair that can be accomplished with a few tools and a little knowledge of the trimmer. On some models though, it may require you to remove the clutch, which if you're not familiar with this process should probably done by a skilled professional.


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Step 1

Pop off the rubber spark plug boot from the spark plug. Use the socket wrench to take out the spark plug. Insert the piston stop tool into the spark plug hole. This blocks the piston from moving, which will allow you to remove the clutch.

Step 2

Use the screwdriver to unscrew the engine from the handle. Remove all of the screws and set them aside in a safe place. Take off the engine's front cover and remove these screws as well.


Step 3

Use the clutch removal tool to loosen the bolt that holds the clutch onto the driveshaft. If you don't have this tool you can use a flat file and a mallet; gently tap on the outer ring of the clutch to loosen it. Remove the clutch assembly from the engine.

Step 4

Remove the starter cover and pull out all of the old starter cord from the pulley. Pull up on the tab in the center of the pulley, which holds this cord in place, and unlock the pulley. Take off any remaining cord.


Step 5

Use the screwdriver to pop off the plastic handle from the old starter cord. Pull out the metal insert and untie the old cord. Throw away the old starter cord, but keep the handle and metal insert.

Step 6

Thread the whole length of the new starter cord into the center access hole. Wind the cord clockwise around the pulley.


Step 7

Hold the pulley with one hand and pull out the cord at least two full rotations. Wind it back on the pulley and repeat this until the recoil spring has full tension.

Step 8

Screw the starter cover back in place. Put the clutch back on and tighten the locking bolt to the driveshaft. Put the front cover back on; reattach the engine to the handle and remove the piston stop tool. Reconnect the spark plug and rubber plug to the engine.


Skip all of the clutch removal steps if you can access the starter cover without removing the clutch assembly. Never use the starter cord to block the piston, this cord can get cut off in the exhaust port and ruin your engine.


Do not remove the recoil spring from the pulley unless it needs to be replaced.