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

April 24, 20110 found this helpful

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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August 2, 20120 found this helpful

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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April 28, 20130 found this helpful

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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June 14, 20130 found this helpful

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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July 31, 20130 found this helpful

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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August 23, 2013 Flag
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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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January 19, 20150 found this helpful

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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May 28, 2013 Flag
0 found this helpful

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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January 26, 20150 found this helpful

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

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April 22, 2011 Flag
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I am having trouble with a pull type mower. The rope was added and I can't get the string to work.

By CCooley from Scottsbluff, NE


Lawn Mower Woes: Starter Cord Won't Pull

Thank you. My lawnmower cord on my Briggs and Stratton lawnmower was not able to be pulled out. I turned the lawnmower over and the blade would not turn. The idea about turning the lawn mower over and seeing if anything was stuck in the blade was the perfect solution to fixing my cord that wouldn't pull out. You are awesome! My lawn mower has a bunch of leaves stuck in it because I use it to clean up my leaves in the Fall. Thanks again for saving me lots of money in repair bills and hassles. You are the best! (11/11/2010)

By Ginger J.

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August 5, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

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


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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May 10, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

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


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

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

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April 23, 2009 Flag
0 found this helpful

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.



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

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

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August 15, 2008 Flag
0 found this helpful

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.

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