How to Replace the Pull Cord on a Briggs and Stratton Lawnmower, step by step


With the weather cleared up, you finally head out to your lawn to give it a nice cut. You have an older Briggs and Stratton push mower that has served you well for all these years. But as you pull the lawnmower’s pull cord to start it, it ends up in your hand, and the other end goes spinning into the starter assembly. This happens much more often with older lawnmowers and probably means that the pull cord needs to be replaced. Luckily for you, fixing the issue is not a challenging task. Depending on your experience, it will only take half an hour, and your lawnmower shall be up and running again.

How to replace the pull cord on a Briggs and Stratton lawnmower, step-by-step:

  • Step 1: Get the correct replacement pull cord
  • Step 2: Unscrew the starter assembly
  • Step 3: Remove the old pull cord
  • Step 4: Replace the old pull cord with a new one
  • Step 5: Reassemble the lawnmower parts
How to Replace the Pull Cord on a Briggs and Stratton Lawnmower, step by step 1

There are a few necessary steps on how to fix the pull cord. However, these steps may vary from one model to model. The standard action for all the models is to reach the pulley located inside the starter assembly. The pull cord may break down when it gets old or gets stuck somewhere inside the pulley.

This blog post provides you with the nitty-gritty details that one needs to be aware of for performing the pull cord replacement.

Step by step, How to Replace a Briggs and Stratton Lawnmower Pull Cord:

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

Step 1: Get the needed tools and material

Before we can replace the pull cord, you need to make sure that you have the required tools and material. The most important is the replacement cord. Make sure that it fits your model lawnmower.

– Required tools:

You should have the following tools to help you in the process:

  • Screwdriver
  • Nut driver
  • Pliers

– Required Material:

Only a couple of materials are required to complete the job, which is as follows:

  • New rope
  • Match stick

Step 2: Unscrew the starter assembly

– Step 2.1. Pull cord location:

The pull cord is tied to the starter disc of the lawnmower. So first, we need to locate the starter disc on the lawnmower.

– Step 2.2. Remove the plastic cover:

A lawnmower usually has a plastic cover that covers its engine. Remove the screws holding this plastic cover and pull this plastic cover out.

– Step 2.3. Detach the gas tank:

After successfully removing the plastic cover, the next step is to pull the gas tank out. Remove the four screws holding the gas tank from the top and the fifth screw located at the bottom of the gas tank. Just loosen the screw at the bottom a little and rotate the gas tank outwards instead of eradicating it.

– Step 2.4. Remove the engine shroud:

The final step is to remove the entire engine shroud. Unscrew the bolts holding the engine shroud and lift it off. Now you shall see the whole starter disc, to which the pull cord is attached.

Step 3: Remove the old pull cord:

– Step 3.1. Cut the knot on the rope:

Turn over the starter assembly, and you would see the old pull cord. With the help of pliers, cut the knot on the rope.

– Step 3.2. Pull out the old pull cord:

Now, pull out the old pull cord but be careful because it creates tension on the starter pulley, and you don’t want to break the starter spring.

– Step 3.3. Rewind the pulley spring:

Once the old pull cord is removed, rewind the pulley spring in an anticlockwise direction and verify that the starter spring is not broken. If the spring is broken, check out our article on “How to fix pull cord spring.”

– Step 3.4. Rotate the pulley in an anticlockwise direction:

After you have completed checking the spring, rotate the pulley in an anticlockwise direction, and give it about five rounds. This should be done so that the hole on the pulley and the starter housing hole are aligned.

– Step 3.5. Lock the pulley:

The final step is to lock the pulley in this position by placing a screwdriver inside the starter housing. This shall also keep you safe from unnecessary injuries as the pulley is holding a large amount of tension at the moment.

Step 4. Replace the old pull cord with a new one:

Length of pull cord:

Most of the lawnmowers use a size five or a size six pull cord. But it is recommended to measure the length of your old pull cord and buy the new one of the same size and length as recommended by Briggs and Stratton for your particular model number.

– Step 4.1. Attach the rope to the pull handle:

Once you have bought the new pull cord, you need to thread the rope through the pull handle.

  • Burn the end of the rope: Burn one of the rope’s ends with a match stick’s help and give it a little twist. This prevents the rope from fraying.
  • Tie a knot: Now, pass this end of the rope through the pull handle and tie a knot, which shall prevent the rope from coming out of it.

– Step 4.2. Attach the new pull cord to the starter housing:

  • Burn the end of the rope: Take the other end of the rope and burn it with the help of a match stick. Please give it a little twist so that it forms a pointed end.
  • Attach the rope to the starter housing: Pass this pointed end through the starter housing hole. Tie a knot at this end of the rope to prevent it from coming out of the starter housing.
  • Wind the pull cord: Next, remove the screwdriver and let the pulley wind the rope back completely.

Step 5: Reassemble the lawnmower parts:

We know that you must be a little exhausted after this hectic task. But don’t worry, the main work is done, and all you need to do now is reassemble the lawnmower parts.

– Step 5.1. Reinstall the engine shroud:

Reinstall the engine shroud by tightening the bolts that hold the shroud in place.

– Step 5.2. Place the gas tank back:

Push back the gas tank inwards, tighten the screws at the top and the one at the bottom of the gas tank with a screwdriver’s aid.

– Step 5.3. Attach the engine’s plastic cover:

The final step is to install the plastic cover back into its place by tightening its bolts.

Related Questions:

1. How long should a lawnmower cord be?

The length of the lawnmower cord depends upon the model of the lawnmower. The main thing regarding the pull cord’s size is that it should not be too thick, as a thick pull cord would not rewind around the pulley.

Commonly 5, 5.5, or 6 size pull cords are used.

2. What is the function of a pull cord?

The pull cord is like a key, as it helps to start the lawnmower. The pull cord is wrapped around a pulley inside the lawnmower’s engine in the off state. As you push the pull cord, it rotates the pulley, and it moves a piston. A spark is produced as a result, which starts the lawnmower.

3. How to reduce the pull cord length?

Sometimes, a pull cord of the desired length is not available in the market. So you need to cut it according to the desired size. For that, you first need to place a mark on this rope according to the required length and then cut it using a pair of scissors. Then, using a match stick, burn the end of the rope cut recently and twist it. This is done to prevent the rope from fraying.

4. Why is my pull cord stuck?

Many reasons may cause the pull cord to get stuck. A few of them are:

  • Old grass or debris may be stuck up inside the starter pulley
  • Broken recoil spring
  • Damaged pull cord

– 1. Old grass or debris stuck up inside the pulley:

Sometimes there is a build-up of mud and grass inside the starter pulley. To remove this dirt and grass, you need to open the lawnmower’s starter housing by following the steps above and then remove the debris using a screwdriver.

– 2. Broken recoil spring:

This is a scarce scenario, but the recoil spring inside the starter housing may be broken in some cases. You need to check the starter housing, in this case, to rule out the problem.

– 3. Damaged pull cord:

A lawnmower that has been put into use for a very long time mostly gets its pull cord damaged. To fix this problem, you should reach the above article.

Final Remarks:

A lawnmower’s pull cord is one of the essential parts of a lawnmower. It’s like a key to a car, and without it, it’s impossible to start the lawnmower and trim your garden’s grass. To fix the pull cord, one has to reach the starter housing located inside the lawnmower’s engine. The above article is a step-by-step guide to fix the pull cord. You should also wear safety glasses and gloves during the procedure mentioned above to protect yourself from unnecessary injuries. Also, don’t forget to perform timely maintenance of other lawnmower parts to prolong its life.

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