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Lawn Mower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull


Recently I bought a new Briggs and Stratton 550 series push mower. I pulled it out, assembled it, put oil and gas in, and primed it. When I went to pull the starter cord, it wouldn't budge. Advice? Anything I missed? I followed the owners manual word for word.

By Silas


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By Al 1 04/24/2011

I rewound the starter assembly and bolted everything back together. I pulled the cord and the mower would start and the cord would get stuck in the assembly and make a chattering noise and I have to shut the mower off. What's my problem?

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By Alicia B. 1 08/02/2012

If you've mowed before and then have problems pulling the cord to get it started, it could be that your mower needs cleaned from underneath where the blade turns. When mowing damp grass, it tends to cake around the bottom and it dries up making it hard for the blade to turn which locks up the pulling cord. Turn your mower sideways and see if it needs cleaning. Scrape off all dried up grass, then try to start up as usual. Should do the trick. Good Luck! Handy-Mama

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By acioffi59 1 04/28/2013

I recently bought a Troy Bilt self propelled mower, model TB210. I experienced a similar problem, followed the assembly and set up instructions and the starter cord would come out about 5 inches and not budge. No knots in the cord, and I was holding the blade control bar against the upper handle, as instructed. I checked the blades and realized that I did not extend the handle bar as much as I needed to. There was still about six inches of handle bar extending into the rotating blade area and it was preventing me from pulling the starter cord out fully. Once I readjusted the ends of the handle bar I had no problem.

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By 1 06/14/2013

Thanks for the help! My problem was because the handles weren''t properly aligned. Once I pulled them up out of the way of the blade and adjusted them as instructed, voila, the lawnmower started.

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By Country girl 1 07/31/2013

The assembly in the owners manual failed to say the mower ships with the handle extended down into the blade. You have to remove the lower bolts to pull the handle out and refasten it so that it is no longer blocking the blades.

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Here are questions related to Lawn Mower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull.

Question: Troy Bilt Lawnmower Starter Cord Won't Pull

I have a Troy Bilt mower, model 12AJ836E011. The starter cord will pull out a few inches then stop. I can jerk it and it will come out a few more inches then stop again, etc., etc. I cleaned under the mower and that didn't help. I tried to remove the cover to see if there was anything lodged on the top, but it is held on by three screws, maybe. They don't look like Allen screws, because they are not octagon shaped, rather round - like rivets. How can I get the cover off? Or, what else can I look for to get this darned thing started. My neighbors are starting to make nasty comments about my lawn. lol

By Kat

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Most Recent Answer

By helper 1 01/19/2015

Extreme Caution note: FAILURE to disconnect the spark plug when turning the blade may cause the mower to start and cause serious injury especially for mowers that may not have safety devices to prevent accidental starting and subsequent injury from the blade.

Before attempting to clean underneath the mower or turn the blade for any reason, make sure to DISCONNECT the wire connected to the spark plug from the end of the spark plug, making sure none of the metal part touches the spark plug at any time. The end of the spark plug and wire may be very HOT if the engine has been running. Allow it to cool or remove it with pliers or gloves.

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Question: Starter Cord Wouldn't Come Out

I just bought a Craftsman lawn mower and I am trying to pull the rope and it's not coming out.

By Bharti

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Most Recent Answer

By Hilary 4 6 01/26/2015

Are you holding down the safety bar while pulling the cord? Your manual should mention your problem under "trouble shooting".

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Question: Honda Self Propelled Lawn Mower Cord Won't Pull

Please, is someone able to help me? 1 day ago I brought a second hand Honda self propelled lawn mower from eBay. I had been told it had recently had a service, (before the winter) and had full tank of petrol and oil. It took a few times to get going, but once going and I got the hang of starting it and using it it was working fine.

I then went over some longer wet grass and it cut out. I am now unable to pull the start cord out any more than a few inches. I checked the underneath and removed all wet grass that was clogging it, but I still can't pull the cord out or the blade to turn. I have removed the cover that holds the cord and when not attached to the mower the cord pulls fine. But whatever that is suppose to turn won't budge. I don't know where the spark plugs are or what to look for.

I am desperately wanting advice as to whether I should return it for refund of £100 or if it's worth while taking it somewhere to be fixed and the possible costs of getting it fixed. It looks well looked after. It has not been left outside or rusted. Please help!

By Charlene

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Question: Mower Cord Stuck

I ran over a piece of metal with my lawnmower and now the cord is stuck it won't pull out. The blade looks fine, but won't turn.

By Janie

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Question: Lawn Mower Cord Won't Pull Out

I have a Honda self-propelled lawn mower. At the end of last use, the self-propel stopped and it smelled like burned rubber. I checked the oil, which is fine, checked the blades, no blockage or build-up on inside of mower, and the belt looks fine (I thought the belt might be hung up on something or broken, but it looks O.K.) I can turn the blades manually with no problem. The spark plug is new. The cord is extremely difficult to pull and I can't get it all the way out. Also, when looking under the mower, what is the best way to tip the mower? Lift the front, or turn it on its side?

By Nutty Nana

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Question: Lawn Mower Starter Cable Locked Up

My starter cable is locked and I am unable to pull the chord to start my lawn mower. I noticed that the oil had dried up. I decided to fill it up with oil, but I need to unlock the jammed or locked starter cable. Even the blade below is stuck. Any suggestions, please?

By Chris

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Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

Archive: Lawnmower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull

I purchased a new lawn mower the end of July this year. I've mowed my lawn approximately 6 times. I went out today to mow. I pulled the mower out of the shed and attempted to start it but the starter cord won't pull and the engine seems to be frozen. Any help would be appreciated.



RE: Lawnmower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull

Look under your mower and see if any grass is blocking the blades. If so, carefully, with gloves, scrape it out. Spraying the blades off after mowing may help to prevent this. Also, check the gas to see if it's ready and check the oil too. I know, it seems petty, but really it's good to check these each time you mow. If that doesn't work, reference your user manual to make sure you're not missing anything. (08/22/2004)

By Nicole.

RE: Lawnmower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull

My husband recommends taking the spark plug out and then putting it back in again because it could be compression locked, although he says if you aren't sure how, to leave it and get help from someone who does. Or it could be because it needs oil, if it does a piston could burned into the engine block which is no good. Sorry I couldn't be of more help. He recommends checking the oil every time you use it. Samantha (08/22/2004)

By sammylew

RE: Lawnmower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull

The previous feedback is where I'd start. I'd remove the spark plug wire from the plug, then check to make sure the blade isn't obstructed in any way. You might see if you can turn it by hand a little but be aware that doing so with the plug wire connected could start the mower. While inspecting the underside of the mower, see if there is any evidence of an oil leak (around the shaft). Then check the oil. If everything checks out okay, read your warranty. If you bought it new in July any warranty should still apply. If it has been run low on oil or if the shaft is bent this may not be covered under warranty. Good luck! (08/25/2004)

By Alph

RE: Lawnmower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull

I had a mower that would only pull half way one day, after I had just used it. Turns out the rope was "off track" on the wheel. We had to remove the cover to find this out and re-align the rope. Works fine now. (05/11/2005)

By kidseatfree

RE: Lawnmower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull

There is a button that you press three time. There should be a label on it or around it. Then the machine starts when you pull the cord. (05/17/2008)

By pro

RE: Lawnmower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull

Take out plug, check oil, check to see if blade is tangled, or is the brake lever(safety stop on handle) pulling the brake cable all the way? I have found that to be a problem with many mowers-the cable gets stretched or broken and then the brake is stuck on. I have a bunch of mowers that work fine, that people must have thought were seized up. I just take the spring off and wire it open.

By jesse

Archive: Lawn Mower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull

I put my new Tubobilt lawn mower together. It started the first time I pulled the rope. Then, it stopped and the rope will not come back out.



RE: Lawnmower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull

Do as everyone has said, but after you have taken the wire of the spark plug out of the spark plug, look at the tip of the plug, it might be black with carbon and will need cleaning with a dry cloth. Make sue the oil is full in the oil compartment.

I would also find some 3 in one oil or 2-stroke ready mixed flue and add it down the spark plug hole, and let it sit for a while. Don't go to crazy with the oil down the S/plug hole, just like 3 or four small drops, then turn the blades by hand slowly, this should free up the piston. If it still won't move, consult the paper work or take it down to the local DIY store where you bought it from. Then let them know what's wrong with it. Hope it helps. (08/19/2008)

By DayTripper

RE: Lawnmower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull

I've had 2 different reasons for that:
1. The blade couldn't move because of dried clippings that had been wet when I mowed.
2. I forgot to hold the throttle/choke bar when it was new and I wasn't used to having it. (08/20/2008)

By siris

Archive: Lawn Mower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull

I replaced the starter cord on my Troybilt lawn mower. It works perfectly until I re-bolt the cover, then it locks up and can't be pulled. Any ideas of what the problem is?

By Jessy12 from Fairfax, VA


RE: Lawn Mower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull

I viewed the archived answers and followed the instructions of one responder. The engine started on the first pull. A great site. Thanks! (04/23/2009)

By Jessy12

RE: Lawn Mower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull

Thank you all for your tips! Our lawnmower "seized up" and, after doing a quick search, found this site, and in about 20 minutes we got our lawnmower running! You saved us from having to pay someone to fix it or possibly buying a new one. Thank you, thank you, thank you! (07/28/2009)

By jt883

Archive: Lawn Mower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull

Last week my Briggs and Stratton push mower worked fine. This week I cannot pull the cord out far enough to start it. Can you point me in the right direction toward fixing it, please?

By Mary W. from Brunswick, MD


RE: Lawn Mower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull

Turn the lawn mower on its side and see if the blade will turn. You may just have some big wad of grass clogged in there or perhaps some piece of plastic bag wrapped around the center.

Good luck!! (05/11/2010)

By dlginlove

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