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How to fix lawn mower pull cord spring?

The grass on your lawn has grown significantly, and your garden looks a little under-maintained. With your schedule cleared, you decide to take your lawnmower out, and you give the pull cord a pull to start it. But it feels like it’s not connected to anything, and you do not feel any tension. And, of course, the lawnmower isn’t starting. You can see that the string is still attached to the starter pulley, so the circumstances now point towards the pull cord spring, which may have been broken or might have been dislocated from its slot. You start surfing the internet to find ways to fix the spring and reach our article, which shall provide you with in-depth details about fixing the pull cord spring.

How to fix the lawnmower pull cord spring? Try doing the steps below:

  • Step 1: Remove the pull cord spring disc from the lawnmower
  • Step 2: Identify the problem with the pull cord spring and fix it
  • Step 3: Re-fit the spring
  • Step 4: Re-assemble the lawnmower parts

The lawnmower pull cord spring is located inside a pulley, which is enclosed by a starter housing. The starter housing and the pulley are located inside the engine shroud. The pull cord spring may get broken or dislocated from its assigned slot due to constant, forceful jerking and stretching of the lawnmower pull cord. The spring can also catch rust as well and lose its strength, causing it to break. But the steps mentioned below help you re-install and fix the spring if it’s dislocated and provide you some additional tips and safety measures, which shall protect you from unnecessary injuries.


Step by step, how to fix lawn mower pull cord spring:

The method below explains all the required steps to fix a lawnmower’s pull cord spring to get the lawnmower up and running again

● Step 1: Remove the pull cord spring disc from the lawnmower:

The entire procedure for removing the pull cord spring disc from the lawnmower is detailed below:

– Step 1.1. Pull cord spring location:

The pull cord spring is located inside the starter disc, is attached to a pully, and holds typically high tension. So, we first need to locate the starter disc on the lawnmower.

– Step 1.2. Remove the plastic cover:

A lawnmower usually has a plastic engine cover with the brand name and model number printed on it. Remove the screws holding this plastic cover and pull this plastic cover out.

– Step 1.3. Detach the gas tank:

After the plastic covering has been removed, the next step is to pull out the lawnmower’s gas tank. Use a 5X16 socket to remove the screws of the gas tank. Now, one of the screws is located at the bottom of this gas tank. It is recommended to loosen this screw and rotate the gas tank outwards instead of eradicating it.

– Step 3. Pull out the oil tank:

The next step is to unscrew the oil tank, using a suitable size socket, pull the oil tank up slightly and rotate it out.

– Step 4. Remove the engine shroud:

The final step is to remove the entire engine shroud. Unscrew the bolts holding the engine shroud. You shall now see the pull cord mechanism, inside which the pull cord spring is located. Open the starter housing using a screwdriver to see what’s the issue with the pull cord spring.

● Step 2: Identify the problem with the pull cord spring:

Now once you have successfully opened the starter housing, you can see the pull cord spring. There can be two possible problems with the pull cord spring; it may either be dislocated from its allotted position, i.e., the pulley, or broken.

How to identify if the spring is broken?

If the pull cord spring has been partitioned into two pieces or more, it’s broken, and you have no choice rather than replacing it. You have no option except to replace the spring with a new one if your spring has many bents and bumps.

How to identify if the spring has been dislocated?

The pull cord spring is located inside a slot within the pulley of starter housing and holds much tension due to multiple tight turns. If the spring has lost it’s position, i.e., the slot in the pulley, and doesn’t hold a high amount of tension anymore, it means that the spring has been dislocated and needs to be re-tensioned and then fitted back into the slot.

Pro-tip: A tip to check if the recoil spring is broken without opening the rotor part is to rotate the rotor in the anti-clockwise direction. If the rotor doesn’t spin back to it’s original position on it’s own when set free, it indicates that the recoil spring is broken.

● Step 3: Re-fit the recoil spring:

Three methods to re-fit the spring are discussed in this section. One of them is applicable for only the case in which the recoil spring is broken or has many bents and bumps and needs to be replaced by a new one. The other two apply to both cases. i.e., if the recoil spring has been dislocated or needs to be replaced by a fresh piece.

Method#1: Fitting in the freshly bought recoil spring:

As the method’s name suggests, this method is applicable only if your recoil spring is broken and buy a new one. The steps that shall be followed to apply this method are as follows:

– Step 1 Remove the broken recoil spring:

Although the recoil spring is broken, it may hold a large amount of tension while it is fitted inside the pulley’s slot. So, first, you need to remove the recoil spring carefully. Wear safety glasses and gloves because the recoil spring may pop out suddenly with a large amount of force and can damage your eyes or hands.

Next, place your thumb on the twisted recoil spring and place a screwdriver’s head at the bottom of the spring. Just give it a gentle push with the screwdriver. Now with the help of a pair of pliers, grab the twisted spring and pull it out, don’t release the spring from the pliers while it’s close to your body. Instead, take the pliers a little away from your body and then release the spring.

– Step 2. Re-fit the new recoil spring:

The good thing about buying a new recoil spring is that it already comes wrapped up in a metal casing, and you can directly fit it in rather than wrapping it, which is a tedious task.

Now, grab the new spring with the help of a pair of pliers, and remove the metal casing around the spring. Next, using pliers, place the wrapped spring inside the circular slot such that the entire spring fits in, and the outer tab on the spring goes inside the small rectangular groove made to hold the outer tab.

Push the spring inside with your thumb until it entirely fits in. You can now release the spring from the pliers. The new recoil spring has now been fitted successfully.

Method#2: Fitting a collapsed spring by hand:

What if your spring is entirely fresh and is just dislocated? So now you don’t need to buy a new spring. Instead, you have to let the spring collapse, release its tension, and wrap it back again, so that it easily gets fitted into the circular slot. Here are the steps you should follow to wrap up a collapsed recoil spring:

– Step 1. Make a circular loop:

First, make a single circular loop from the spring, and use one of your hands to hold the loop in a circular position.

– Step 2. Tighten the circular loop:

Now, use your other hand to pull the other, unwrapped end of the spring as far as possible. This is done to make the circular loop tighter.

– Step 3. Continue making circular loops:

Keep making circular loops in the same way, and use your other hand to pull the spring. Do this until the spring is fully wrapped and is in a shape that it can fit into the circular slot.

– Step 4. Fit the wrapped spring:

The final step is to hold this wrapped spring with a pair of pliers, insert it inside the circular slot with your thumb’s help, and fit the outer tab on the spring into the rectangular groove.

The recoil spring has now been fitted into the circular slot of the pulley successfully.

Method#3: Fitting a collapsed spring using a drill machine:

Another efficient method to fit back a collapsed and dislocated spring is by using a drill machine. However, this method may not go right as desired initially and may require 2-3 tries. Here are the steps to apply this method:

– Step 1. Forge a nail:

Hammer a nail into a flat wooden plank or a wooden board. Hook the outer tab of the spring on to this nail.

– Step 2. Fit the other end of the spring:

Fit the other end of the spring into the slots on the drill machine’s head.

– Step 3. Place the wire ties:  

Now, take two wire ties and join them to form a loop. Place this loop around the drill machine’s head. These wire ties would help to hold the spring once it’s fully wrapped.

– Step 4. Start the winding:

Please turn on the drill machine so that it starts to wind the spring into multiple circular loops. Keep wrapping the spring until you reach the other end of the spring that’s hooked to the nail.

– Step 5. Fit the wrapped spring:

Tighten the wire ties to hold the recoil spring in the tightly wrapped shape. Grab the recoil spring with a pair of pliers. You may now remove the wire ties and fit the spring into the starter casing’s circular housing.

● Step 4. Re-assemble the lawnmower parts:

With the recoil spring fixed, the final step is to re-assemble the lawnmower parts with the help of the following steps:

Step 4.1. Re-assemble the starter housing:

Put the two pieces of starter housing back together, such the spring’s inner tab gets fixed to the notch of the outer starter housing. Tighten the starter housing bolt using a screwdriver.

Step 4.2. Attach the pull cord:

Attach the pull cord to the starter housing’s pulley.

Step 4.3. Re-install the engine shroud:

Re-install the engine shroud by tightening the bolts that hold the shroud in place.

Step 4.4. Place the oil tank back:

Push back the oil tank back into its place and tighten its screws.

Step 4.5. Re-install the gas tank:

Re-attach the lawnmower’s gas tank by tightening its screws with a screwdriver.

Step 4.6. Attach the engine’s plastic cover:

The final step is to install the engine’s plastic cover back into its place by tightening its nuts and bolts.

For a hands-on demonstration of how to fix the pull cord spring, you should watch these videos:

Related Questions:

1. My lawnmower’s pull cord is stuck. What to do?

Most of the lawnmowers have an automatic brake that stops the engine from starting. Make sure that this brake’s lever is depressed before pulling the cord. If this is not the cause of the problem, then there might be dirt or small debris stuck in the lawnmower’s blade, which turns the starter coil. So, you must remove the debris from the blades to start the lawnmower.

2. Are there any safety measures that need to be taken before fixing the pull cord spring?

Yes, fixing a pull cord spring can be a dangerous task for a layman, as a wrapped spring holds a large amount of tension. But if proper precautionary measures are taken, there is nothing to worry about. Before starting the entire process, you must wear gloves and safety glasses to protect yourself from the sharp edges of the recoil spring.

Final Remarks:

Although fixing the pull cord spring can be a tedious task, but is not impossible and can be performed by following the methods mentioned in this article. Safety should be your topmost priority, so don’t forget to wear safety glasses and gloves before starting the procedure to protect yourself from unnecessary injuries. Besides, the screwdrivers and other tools must be used carefully and kept out of children’s reach. Also, don’t forget to perform timely maintenance of the lawnmower’s other parts such as filters, cutting blades, and oil.