Mainspring Instructions for an Evinrude 9.5 Recoil Starter

Written by will charpentier
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Mainspring Instructions for an Evinrude 9.5 Recoil Starter
Wound springs are full of energy. (watch spring image by Pali A from

Adjusting or replacing the mainspring on the recoil starter of an Evinrude 9.5-horsepower outboard motor is a straightforward process. You remove the spring, gingerly, you wind the spring -- or its replacement -- up and you put it back into the starter housing. Anytime you work with a coiled spring, you are faced with all of the energy that was expended in the process of coiling 6 feet of spring steel into a 4-inch wide coil and protective clothing and gear is a good idea.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Workbench
  • Plastic mallet
  • Replacement spring
  • Pawl retainer
  • 1/4-inch hex-head bolt
  • Waterproof marine grease
  • Torque wrench
  • Small drift pin

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  1. 1

    Turn the housing upside down on your workbench. Locate the spring over the pulley pin on the pulley at the bottom centre of the housing. Remove the bolt and the pawl retainer that you see in the bottom centre of the pulley, as well as the spring over the pulley pin, with an adjustable wrench. Lift the pawls off the pulley.

  2. 2

    Move your fingers away from the spring. Remove the pulley slowly and carefully from the housing while keeping your fingers away from the uncoiling spring.

  3. 3

    Turn the housing over on the workbench. Tap the housing gently with a plastic mallet. Allow the spring to uncoil and carefully lift the edge of the housing that is away from you or anyone else; there is still tension on the spring.

  4. 4

    Continue to tilt the "away" edge of the housing until you can lift it from the spring. When you can finally lift the housing, remove the retainer. Remove and replace the lockout.

  1. 1

    Examine the spring's end hooks; if the spring is weak or damaged, replace it. Inspect the pawl retainer, the retainer ring and the screw you removed from the bottom centre pulley, for damage. Replace each of these, as necessary.

  2. 2

    Apply a thin coat of waterproof marine grease to the spring, spring cavity and shoulder screw. Wear Kevlar gloves, Kevlar "sleeves," safety goggles and a face shield. Hold the coiled spring in one hand and hook the spring into the pulley slot. Slowly and carefully, wind the spring onto the pulley. Its diameter when fully wound is 4 inches; the process is similar to forcing a tiger into a very small cage.

  3. 3

    Set the pulley and spring in the housing, hooking the spring hook, now at the centre of the wound spring, onto the hub within the housing. Set the spring over the pulley pin and set pawls in place on the pulley. Place the pawl retainer on the bottom centre of the pulley and thread the bolt into the centre of the pulley. Tighten the bolt to 100 inch-pounds with a torque wrench.

  4. 4

    Wind the pulley four full turns counterclockwise to pre-load the spring. Align the housing rope guide hole with the cavity of the pulley. Place a small drift pin in the fully hole farthest from the housing handle to complete the task.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not lift the housing fully until almost all of the tension is off the spring.
  • Wear full protective gear when working with spring steel.
  • Do not allow children into the work area when working with recoil starters.

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