How to Repair a Briggs & Stratton Rewind Starter

Updated April 17, 2017

Briggs and Stratton pull start engines can be found on all types of lawn power tools, including push lawnmowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws and snowblowers. If you are pull starting your Briggs and Stratton engine and the cord will not retract, there is a pretty good chance that the spring in the recoil assembly has broken. Since the recoil assembly will have to be disassembled during repair, it is a good idea to replace the recoil rope as well. Replacing the spring and recoil rope can seem like a big undertaking, but in a few short steps, and no more than 15 minutes of your time, the engine should be ready to work again.

Place the engine on a flat workbench.

Remove the four hex screws that hold the recoil starter to the top of the engine. Flip the recoil over and place it upside down on the workbench. Remove the flathead screw directly in the middle of the recoil. Remove the pawl held down by the screw.

Pull up on the recoil pulley until it comes free of the recoil assembly; this will expose the recoil spring. Cut the recoil rope from the pulley and remove it by pulling the old rope through the eyelet of the starter handle. Carefully unwind the spring with the needle-nose pliers by pulling the spring from the centre to the outside.

Apply a minimal amount of multipurpose grease to the inside of the recoil assembly. Using the needle-nose pliers slide the new recoil spring into place, hook the outside loop on the spring into the anchor slot inside the recoil assembly. Slowly release the tension on the pliers while holding down the spring with your free hand until the spring has seated. Slide the new rope into the eyelet of the starter handle, and tie a knot once through the eyelet to hold the handle in place.

Place the recoil pulley on top of the spring. Reinstall the pawl and tighten down the flathead screw. Turn the pulley counter-clockwise until it stops. Insert the new recoil rope through the eye in the recoil assembly, then through the eye in the recoil pulley while still holding the pulley down with your hand. Tie a knot on the end of the rope to keep the rope in place.

Slowly release pressure from the hand holding down the pulley, while allowing the recoil pulley to turn under the tension of the spring until it stops. Slide the rope through the eyelet of the old handle until you feel the tension from the spring. Tie a knot in the end of the rope to hold the handle in place.

Place the recoil assembly back on top of the engine and reinstall the four hex screws holding the assembly to the top of the engine.

Things You'll Need

  • Hew wrench
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Knife
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Multi-purpose grease
  • Recoil rope
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About the Author

Based out of Orlando, Fla., Yvonne Grant has since 1997 done everything from designing and outlining company handbooks to preparing reports for the IRS. She maintains a popular interior design blog where she gives advice and design tips. Grant has bachelor's degrees in both business and interior design from the University of Central Florida and the International Academy of Design and Technology.