Pull cord faults

In this video I walk you through the process step by step, from diagnosing to replacing a broken cord, replacing a broken spring and pawls.

Over View

You’ll find useful resources on this page, tips, links to tools, parts and supplies required to complete your repair.

Pull cord issues come in 3 main flavors: Cord broken; Cord won’t catch; Cord won’t go back in. In these videos I’ll guide you through the diagnoses and repair of each.

Before working on your mower be sure to remove the plug wire to prevent accidental starting, see “Repair Safety Video”.

Tools & Parts

To nail this procedure you may need the following tools, parts and supplies.


This is first on the list for good reason, Wd solves a ton of problems. I won't work without it, because I can't. Picture links to Amazon.com

Ratchet Tool Set

Before we can do anything, we'll need tools. I've selected this set as I own some Craftsman tools and while I have worn some out, they did do a lot of work. So I expect this set will last the occasional user quite a long time.

This set carries both metric and standard sockets and that's important, because some mowers will have both type of fastener sizes. Set includes spark plug sockets. Picture links to Amazon.com

Gas Line Clamp

Some small engines will have a gas tap, which is really handy when removing the carburetor, stops gas flowing all over the shop. However most engines won't have one, these useful clamps simply squeeze the fuel line and prevent a spill while you perform surgery. Picture links to Amazon.com

Gas Stabilizer

Mix this with the gas when winterizing your small engine. Gas isn't what it used to be, it goes stale, in some cases after just one month. Bad gas causes gumming and that's a carburetor killer. Stabilizer will save you money and stress in the long run. Picture links to Amazon.com

Drill/Screw Gun

I use a Dewalt screw gun (also a drill) in the workshop to speed up the process of removing engine covers, carburetor bolts, Armature bolts etc. It's a brushless motor and as tough as nails, I driven over it a few times - still works great! Batteries are interchangeable and so if you have a Dewalt product already you won't need the battery. Picture links to Amazon.com

Honda Pull start assembly

Common 3 stud Honda pull start assembly comes complete, just fit the 3 x 10mm bolts and your back mowing, Nice! Picture links to Amazon.com

Briggs & Stratton Pulley

Fits Quantum engines comes complete with spring, but not the pawls. As an alternative consider buying the complete assembly. Picture links to Amazon.com

Briggs & Stratton Pull starter

Complete original Briggs pull starter, fully assembled with fixing bolts. Picture links to Amazon.com

Briggs & Stratton Pawls

Pawls and friction plate fits many 4-6.75 hp engines, but do check your model is included in the spec sheet before buying. Picture links to Amazon.com

Briggs & Stratton Cord

Briggs & Stratton pull cord and handle. Picture links to Amazon.com
Auto Technician and Writer at | Website

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Lawnmowerfixed.com. I've been a mechanic for over twenty years, I use my knowledge and experience to write "How to" articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of mechanical repairs, from lawn mowers to classic cars.