How to change a pull cord on an outboard motor

Updated April 17, 2017

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Things You'll Need

  • Matches
  • Scissors
  • Screwdriver
  • Nail
  • Nylon-braided rope
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About the Author

James Melzer began writing professionally in 2008. He is a novelist and freelance writer from Toronto, Canada. His feature writing has appeared on Digigasms and his journalistic work has appeared on Robodustrial. Melzer holds a degree in radio broadcasting from Loyalist College.