How to fix a broken RC pull start

Written by derek odom
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How to fix a broken RC pull start
RC pull-start repair (rc-modellauto image by andreas from

Because it is used so often, the pull start on your RC car is bound to break at some point. Rough pulls or frequent starts can decrease its lifespan. While RC pull starts are not complicated, they can be difficult to work on if you are not familiar with them. Removal and installation are very easy, and the repair itself should not take more than a few minutes.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Flat blade screwdriver
  • Phillips style screwdriver
  • New pull string

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  1. 1

    Take the pull start off the engine. There are four screws holding the unit onto the engine. When the pull start comes off, be careful not to let the one-way bearing drop out of it, because it will need to go back in the same way to turn the engine properly. Mark how the one-way bearing came out, and place it out of the way.

  2. 2

    Remove the four screws located in the corners of the pull start. This will separate the case halves and allow you access to the inner workings of it. Be sure not to lose the screws in the process. Put them in a lid or another container, and place them away from the work space.

  3. 3

    Remove the lock that holds the string. Along the rear of the pull start, there is a half-circle-looking piece of plastic. This is the lockout mechanism that keeps the unit together. Use a small, flat-blade screwdriver to remove the lock while keeping your thumb on the centre drum so that it does not shoot out when the lock comes off.

  4. 4

    Take the drum out. The round centre section that you held in when removing the lock will come out at this point. Carefully take it out without shaking the pull start around too much, because you do not want to disturb the tightly wound coiled spring that is in there. The spring causes the pull start to recoil, allowing the pull string to be sucked back into the body of the pull start. Once the drum is out, you can see it sitting at the bottom in a cylindrical portion of the body.

  5. 5

    Take the old string off, and put a new one on. The string itself clips into a small portion of the drum like a winch cable, and then winds around the unit. Unwind what is left of the old string and discard it. Then attach the new spring to the clip and wind it around the drum tightly. When that is done, replace the drum into the pull start body and apply the lock. Then put the case halves back together and reinstall the pull start onto the engine. t should be as good as new.

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