Lawn Mower Cord Stuck?

Updated on June 13, 2013
Source

It's That Time of the Year Again to Mow the Lawn

Yep, it's that time of the year again to pull out the lawn mower and start the weekly ritual of mowing your lawn. But when you give that cord a good hard pull the cord doesn't retract like it supposed to, or worse, the mower fires up for a minute and the cord is whipped back, you hear some funky grinding noise, and the mower dies. Subsequent pulls on the cord are futile because the cord won't retract, now what?

No problem! This is one of the most common problems I see with lawn mowers. It's an easy fix.

The Starter has Seized

The problem isn't the cord necessarily, it's the part on the top of the engine that is spun when the cord is pulled, called the starter clutch.

What's happened is the starter clutch has rusted itself to the starting rod, making it impossible for it to lift, spin or retract.

Rusted Ball Bearings

Ball Bearings Rusted
Ball Bearings Rusted | Source

Here's Where the Problem Is

Pictured to the right is where the problem lies. The ball bearings are rusted and the rust has affixed itself to the rod.

Follow the steps outlined below to have your mower up and running within an hour!

Step-by-Step Mower Repair

 
1. Remove the starter cord from the pull handle.
2. Remove three or four screws holding starter assembly on. (instructions follow on repairing the spring)
3. Gently tap on the cap of the starter clutch. (see photo)
4. Remove starter clutch assembly.
5. Using a fine grade steel wool clean the rust off the ball bearings, clean out the bearing pocket, the shaft and any other rust you may come across.
6. Before reassembling you will probably need to recoil the starting spring.
7. Reassemble taking care to put several drops of oil in the center of the starter clutch. (see additional instructions below please)
Oil Bath
Oil Bath | Source

Oil the Bearings or Don't Oil the Bearings

I have heard that the bearings should be placed back in the clutch with no oil, absolutely dry. I have also heard that the bearings and their housing should be oiled in addition to the center piece that needs oil.

I lean towards oil the bearings. Especially when the bearings are as rusted as the ones in the photo. I put them in an oil bath first, then drain off some of the oil and put several drops in the center piece. This method has worked for me for many, many years.

Recoil the Spring

After the rust is cleaned out and put back in place with the ball bearings it's time to fix the spring if it is sprung. Often times the spring is sprung from the starter seizing up. They're not too difficult to recoil.

  1. Bend the tabs up so the coil can be removed from the housing.
  2. With the coil in hand, pull the end until the coil is compact and even; a nice spool.
  3. Now place the end holding tab into the housing and lay the rest of the coil in the housing carefully.
  4. Hang onto the coil so it won't uncoil before you're ready.
  5. While holding the spring with a small finger, place the coil on top of the spring inside the housing and carefully release the spring. The clutch will hold it in place while you bend the tabs down.
  6. Place the starter assembly back onto the clutch and put the screws back in.
  7. Guide the string back through the pull start hole in the housing and tie it back onto the handle.

Now you're ready to fire it up!

Questions & Answers

    Comments

    Submit a Comment

    • Msmillar profile imageAUTHOR

      Joanna 

      4 years ago from Valley Springs

      Hi Kenneth, Thank you for stopping by to read! Some of my hubs are "seasonal", like the lawn mower one. It's interesting to watch the statistics rise and fall with the seasons. Yeah, I'd like to check out your work! Good Luck!

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Msmillar,

      Wonderful and timely. Very helpful and easy to follow. Voted up all the way. Thanks for sharing your intelligence that us men do not have. I love your writing style and subjects.

      I ask you to read a couple of my hubs and then become one of my followers.

      I would love that.

      Kenneth/ from northwest Alabama

    • Msmillar profile imageAUTHOR

      Joanna 

      5 years ago from Valley Springs

      Hi Benjimester! Thanks for stopping by. You are one of the few people that think of the welfare of their machinery in the winter. I try to winterize, but if I don't, I definitely run the machines every four to six weeks. Did you know, like your mower, you should turn on your a/c every so often in the winter also, especially in your car. The refrigerant acts as a lubricant and running it every so often keeps the fittings nice and fresh, like the mower.

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 

      5 years ago from San Diego, California

      I've definitely experienced the funky grinding noise. It's definitely tough starting a mower after a season of no mowing. I didn't know that rust was responsible for the difficulty of running a mower after a full season of idleness. I usually start and run a mower a few times in the off season to ensure it will run properly in the Spring. That's good info.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)