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Broken Pull Cord on Gas Mower

Category Lawn Mowers
Replacing the pull cord on a mower can be done at home, but is not always that easy. This is a page about broken pull cord on gas mower.


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May 24, 2009

How do you repair a pull rope on a lawn mower? The rope just came off on my last try to start the mower.

Elio from Staten Island, NY


Broken Pull Cord on Gas Mower

On the Craftsman EZ3, to remove the cover of the starter rope mechanism, there is a bolt recessed in the front of the cover plate. You will need the right size socket with ratchet.

To replace the starter rope on the Craftman EZ3, remove the cover to expose the pulley-spring-clutch assembly. Remove the assembly by removing the many screws attaching the circular bottom plate at the side. If the rope end attached to the pulley is broken, remove the broken end by removing the staple that holds the rope end in the hole drilled through the 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5 inch block attached to the pulley. Use a pliers or screw driver to remove the staple. Remove the broken rope end.

If the starter rope is still long enough, cut off the broken end and tape it to a 1 inch long taper. Use masking tape. Rotate the pulley against the rotary spring about 5-7 complete circumferences until it stops.


This is easily done by hand. Fix it relative to non-rotating part under tension using a screw driver, with the outer starter rope guide hole on the outside of the assembly, in line with the holding block on the pulley.

Thread the starter rope with tapered end through the guide hole into the hole of the holding block. A piece of wire attached to the tapered end might help feed the rope into the block. Replace the staple into the holding block or use two nails of same diameter as staple. The nails pass through the rope and come out of the other end of the block. Hold on to the rope and remove the screw driver allowing the pulley to turn and feed the rope around the pulley as the spring unwinds. Replace assembly and cover plate.

The reason I know how to do this is because local Sears Service Center denied service. The mover is 12 years old and parts were unavailable. My feeling is any rope of same diameter and length would do. The out of stock starter rope is 98 inch long and 9/64 inch diameter.



By Steve

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April 30, 2007

The pull cord to start the engine broke on my gas mower. Can anyone help me? Im tapped on cash and i'm being overwhelmed by grass!



Broken Pull Cord on Gas Mower

You can fix the broken pull cord, but it'll require you to take apart the entire "pull-start assembly," according to my handy husband. (04/06/2004)

By Melanie

Broken Pull Cord on Gas Mower

You can get a new pull cord at any hardware store for a few dollars but they can be tricky to replace. If you go to a repair shop they will do it for you. The last time we had to do ours it cost about $20.00 (04/06/2004)

By Red

Broken Pull Cord on Gas Mower

A lot of people will mention how easy it is to "get a new pull cord" BUT they're not telling you that once you take the cover off of the side or top of the lawn mower, there's a REALLY STRONG SPRING that has to be reattached before the face plate can be put back on, I know because I found out the hard way. It took two of us to hold the spring and two to keep it wound tight and hope you have it pulling the right way.. let a professional do the job and save your hands and nerves. (04/06/2004)


Broken Pull Cord on Gas Mower

The cord can be purchased at a hardware store. Hubby, just replaced one, wasn't that hard. (04/08/2004)

By syd

Broken Pull Cord on Gas Mower

Recoil (pull) starter repair

Broken starter ropes or failure to retract are both repairs that are fairly easy. However, the spring can be nasty as it is under tension (or should be when reassembled). This can be risky if you are not familiar with the internal construction as you disassemble the unit.
The cause of a broken cord is obvious. The cause for a failure to retract could be a broken spring, tangled or frayed rope, or some other mechanical failure. A broken spring will require total disassembly of the starter mechanism - fortunately there really isn't that much involved.

With some designs, it is possible to replace the cord without fully disassembling the starter mechanism - by threading the cord in and tying a not in the end - but after rotating it several turns to put the proper tension on the spring. This is relatively safe but may be frustrating as 3 hands are sometimes needed.


Where safe disassembly is not obvious, I would recommend that you refer to a book on lawn mower or small engine repair from the library or the service manual for the mower, if possible. You may be able to find specific step-by-step instructions which will minimize your risk of injury from an encounter with an uncontrolled spring.

When the rope pulls out and retracts normally - but doesn't do anything else - the most likely cause is a problem with the one-way clutch. This may be part of the spring-rope assembly - usually removable as a unit - or attached to the flywheel. The most common problems are gummed up lubrication or a broken spring or other damaged or worn parts. For common engines:

On Briggs & Stratton starters, the clutch is often part of the flywheel nut assembly. The entire unit can be easily removed and replaced if it fails to engage reliably.


On Tecumseh starters, pawls in the starter assembly engage a serrated cup held in place by the flywheel nut. Check for damaged parts or gummed up lubrication.
WARNING: Take extreme care should you need to disassemble the portion of the starter that includes the mainspring - that can be nasty.

By Les Cuff

Broken Pull Cord on Gas Mower

It's not so difficult.

Here's the procedure on a Tecumseh:

Take off the top housing that holds the cord/clutch assembly. Two screws on my model. Remove the assembly.

Use a small screwdriver or similar to pluck out the end of the broken cord. Unroll the cord all the way then pull it out by the knot.

Get your new cord at Walmart for $1.97.

Install the new handle according to the instructions.

Here's the part not on the instructions:
You need to wind the spring all the way. You can hold the spring tension with one hand while you thread the cord through the eyelets. Then get your wife, husband, kid, whoever to tie a knot in the cord.

You have two options at this point: Let it go. Or slowly let it wind the cord in. I chose the latter. Reattach the cord/clutch unit. (07/22/2005)

By Boba Fett

Broken Pull Cord on Gas Mower

Easy to replace! I am a level 2 mechanic on a scale to 10. Read some other forums online for "recoil starter replacement". The only thing they don't tell you is that it is underneath the cover, not on the engine itself. Took a total of 20 minutes.


By Mike Dayton

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

May 27, 2012

How do I replace the pull cord on my mower?

By RC from Lakewood, CO

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April 9, 2011

How do I fix snapped pull cord on a gas mower?

By chance

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April 9, 2011

After making numerous attempts to replace the pull cord on my Craftsman push mower, I have "no" recoil at all. Any ideas? Thanks.

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July 16, 2010

How do I replace the cord on my mower?

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April 15, 2010

My lawn mower pull cord is broken.

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August 12, 2009

How do I fix a pulled out "Pull Cord" on a push mower?

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