How to change a pull cord on an outboard motor

Written by james melzer
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Older models of outboard motors have a pull cord that is used to start them. This pull cord is made of nylon-braided rope. Over time, with lots of pulling on the T-handle to start the motor, these cords can become worn and frayed and must be replaced. Changing a pull cord on your outboard motor is a simple task that requires removing the recoil starter from the engine.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Matches
  • Scissors
  • Screwdriver
  • Nail
  • Nylon-braided rope

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  1. 1

    Remove the screws holding the recoil starter in place on the top of the engine with a screwdriver. Turn the recoil starter upside down.

  2. 2

    Pull the old rope in the recoil starter all the way out, and insert a nail through the pulley hole and hub hole that line up. This prevents the rope from springing back into the recoil starter.

  3. 3

    Cut the knot off the end of the rope where it goes through the pulley hole with a pair of scissors. Remove the knot and the rope from the recoil starter. Cut the knot holding the T-handle to the rope. Remove the T-handle.

  4. 4

    Singe both ends of the new, nylon-braided rope with a match. This prevents the ends from fraying. Slide one end of the new rope through the pulley hole and tie a knot in it. Slide the other end of the rope through the T-handle and tie a knot in it.

  5. 5

    Hold the T-handle and remove the nail from the pulley hole and hub hole. Release the T-handle and let the new rope recoil into place.

  6. 6

    Attach the recoil starter to the engine and replace the four screws.

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