Tecumseh Recoil Starter Repair

Updated February 21, 2017

Tecumseh manufactures small engines for walk-behind lawnmowers. With the exception of models that are started electrically, these small Tecumseh engines utilise a recoil starter with a pull rope and handle. The most common problem that can occur with these recoil starters is that the rope can break. Replacing the broken rope in a recoil starter can be accomplished in just a few minutes with some basic hand tools.

Remove the spark plug wire from the spark plug by pulling on the black rubber boot that covers the tip of the spark plug.

Loosen the bolts that secure the starter shroud to the engine. Lift the starter shroud off the engine. Set the shroud upside-down on a work table.

Hold the starter shroud with one hand. Rotate the recoil pulley in the centre of the inside of the shroud counterclockwise with the other hand until the pulley stops turning. Clamp the pulley in place with a pair if wide-jaw vise-grip pliers.

Grab the knot in the knot hole near the centre of the pulley with a pair of needle-nose pliers. Pull out the broken section of rope.

Insert the open end of the new rope, with the handle on the opposite end, through the hole in the starter shroud and into the pulley. Guide the rope toward the knot hole. Grab the rope with the needle-nose pliers when the rope appears in the knot hole. Pull out about a foot of slack on the rope.

Tie a knot in the end of the rope. Singe the remaining end of the rope with a match or lighter to prevent the rope from fraying.

Pull on the starter rope from outside the shroud until the knot is firmly seated in the knot hole. Release the wide-jaw vise-grip pliers, allowing the spring-loaded recoil starter pulley to wind the starter rope around the pulley.

Replace the starter shroud on the engine. Tighten the bolts to secure the shroud in place. Reattach the spark plug wire to the spark plug.


To get the maximum use from the starter rope, always use Tecumseh rope in your recoil starter.


To prevent accidental firing of the engine, always disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug before beginning to work on the engine.

Things You'll Need

  • New recoil starter rope with handle
  • Socket set
  • Wide-jaw visegrip pliers
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Matches or lighter
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About the Author

Chris Baylor has been writing about various topics, focusing primarily on woodworking, since 2006. You can see his work in publications such as "Consumer's Digest," where he wrote the 2009 Best Buys for Power Tools and the 2013 Best Buys for Pressure Washers.