There’s nothing more annoying than a machine that fails to work well when you need it. You may have felt the same when your pull start won’t retract. Numerous reasons can be the cause of this issue. However, before you learn how to fix a pull start that wont retract, you need to understand the other parts of the machine and how it works.
How does the snowblower work once you pull the starter rope?
Most gas blowers start the engine by pulling on the starter cord. Inside the housing of your snowblower, there’s a tiny hole that feeds out the pull start to its maximum. Other parts inside the housing, numerous other parts work in tandem for the machine to work. Here are some of the parts you should know about:
The snowblower housing
Most housings are either rectangular or round. You can tell apart this part of the machine from the other because of vented holes all around it. These holes allow the free flow of air into the flywheel.
The starter recoil, rewind spring and pulley
This part is usually right on top of the motor but below the housing. When you pull the rope, the starter recoil catches while ensuring the flywheel turns. That’s because it’s usually situated in the groves. The engine starts with the turning of the flywheel. However, the starter recoil works with other machinery to make this possible.
The first is the pulley, where it coils. The second is the rewind spring. This is a narrow and thin-looking spring that’s ever tightly coiled. It’s also what applies the necessary tension to the machinery. You can access the rewind spring through the tiny screw at the center of the pulley.
Additionally, the spring is responsible for putting the pull start back into place on the puller whenever the pulley is on. The spring coils tightly to provide the tension force needed to retract the pull cord.
Why the pull cord won’t recoil
There are several reasons why your pull start can refuse to recoil. With years and years of use, some parts of the machinery that makes it possible for the starter recoil to retract can damage. The damage can be in the rewind spring, the pulley system, or even the entire mechanism.
It’s always safe to troubleshoot the machine and check every part to ensure that they work perfectly. It’s good practice to do this before you try starting the machine. Additionally, your pull start may fail to retract because you pulled it out without jolting it. The force applied may only be enough to coil it around the motor.
How to fix a pull start that won’t retract
Here are more common issues of what is wrong with your pull start and what you can do about it:
The pull cord broke
After pulling the starter cord, did it remain in your hand? Did it come off in your hand with a slight tug? Then the issue is a broken pull start. You may need to replace the cord. Additionally, this may happen due to subsequent issues; it may be either a jammed pulley system or a broken rewind spring. Here’s how to replace the cord on the snowblower.
Firstly, you need to remove the bolts holding the starter cord assembly in place. At each end of the starter cord, there are knots. You can try to either untie them or cut them. This will make unwinding the cord easier.
Once you remove the rope, you can insert one end of the replacement pull cord for the snowblower through the starter handle and make a neat knot. The other end of the rope goes right through the hole in the housing unit. You can make another knot on this end through the recoil pulley hole.
Now it’s easier to hook your new cord to its position on the pulley. While doing this, you can wind the pulley using the cord. The tension it creates is enough to recoil the cord. Once your cord entirely wounds onto the pulley, you can unhook it from the slot and let it rewind slowly. Lastly, you can test to see if the pull start will retract or if the snowblower starts. If yes, then you have done a fantastic job.
How to lubricate the pull cord
One reason why a pull cord may break may be because of a lack of enough lubrication between the moving parts. For your cord to keep working efficiently, it’s best to lubricate it. A lubricate can ensure little to no friction between the moving parts, which means less wear and tear.
If the parts keep rubbing against each other, then the pull start can fail again in no time because of the recoil spring slipping or breaking. Additionally, it’s best to lubricate the machine even when not in use to ensure that it’s safe from rust or corrosion while in storage.
You can do this by spraying the lubricant of your choice (or refer to the maintenance manual for guidance) on the parts while the machine is still apart.
A jammed pulley system
A snowblower, like most other machines, cannot work with a jammed pulley system. One way the pulley system can jam is if the pull starts knots in any way when you pull it. However, the issue is easily fixable and doesn’t require much effort.
You can start by dislodging the housing of your snowblower and checking to ensure the pulley system is in pristine condition. If something is hindering the normal movement of the snowblower, then you need to remove it.
Additionally, if the pulley system is damaged somehow, you can readily rectify the situation by replacing the part. The first step in doing so is removing the pull cord entirely. You can then use a screwdriver to lock the pulley in place. Once you are done removing the cord, remove the screwdriver to release the tension it exerts on the rewind spring.
Try using your hand to spin the pulley. However, there’s no guarantee this will work at all. If it fails to work, your best bet is to replace the pulley with a new one. First, to do so, loosen the center bolt and align the new pulley with the housing post before installing.
A broken rewind spring
When you pull the pull start, this spring does most of the work for you. That makes it the first place to start searching when the pull start fails to retract. If the issue is a broken rewind spring, then the solution is getting a replacement.
However, that may not be the only issue with the rewind spring. If the spring is not broken, you can try recoiling the cord with your hand. To do this, you may need to dismantle the housing system and try rotating the pulling using your hand. This can help rewind the pull start on the pulley.
Once it is back on, you can close the housing system and try pulling the cord again. If the pull cord is still loose, then replacing the spring is the only thing you can do. However, if the pull start will not retract, then recoiling the spring will work.
If you don’t feel up for this task, it’s best to take the machine to a professional repair shop. Alternatively, if you are still covered by warranty, then the manufactures can do the repairs free or, better still, replace the machine.
What is the cost of replacing the recoil spring
It’s less costly when you fix the issues yourself. The only things you need to pay for are the pull cord and the recoil spring. On average, both items will cost less than $30. However, if you cannot handle the issue independently, then a repair shop can help. The repair job will take less than half an hour, and you will be charged per hour an average of $75.
How long does a rewind spring last
The lifespan of the recoil spring varies depending on how you store it, the period of storage, and where you store it. If it’s exposed to moisture, then it won’t last long due to rust and corrosion.
Can a snowblower run while the pull cord is out?
It’s a valid question for most people whose pull start won’t retract, but the snowblower engine is one. Is it safe to use it like this? The answer comes in two forms. The first is the safety of the pull start. The pull start is safe since the snowblower cannot cut it.
The second is your safety. It’s easy to trip over the pull cord while working, and snowblower injuries are usually severe. As such, it’s not a good idea since you walk right behind the machine. It’s best to shut off the machine using the emergency shut-off button.
Additionally, not all models can work with the pull start. It’s best to work on fixing the issue so that you may continue your snow-clearing project.
Fixing a pull start that won’t recoil is an easy task, especially if you know your machine well. Additionally, it’s crucial to inspect your pull start to avoid panic when it fails to work. Proper troubleshooting can save you both time and money. The above tips can help you repair your snowblower pull cord that won’t recoil.