How to Replace a Broken Starter Rope on a Briggs & Stratton

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • 7/16-inch end wrench

  • ½-inch end wrench

  • Vise grip wrench or pinch clamp

  • Small metal pick


Do not remove the pulley from the starter housing. The tension on the recoil spring may cause injury from its sharp edges.

Replacing the pull rope on a Briggs and Stratton can be performed in a short period of time. Of course the rope always seems to break just when you are ready to use the engine. The oil has been checked, the gas tank is full and you give a good tug to the starter rope. The next thing you know you're holding a handful of rope. Over time and with use the knot at the end of the rope can come loose or break. By following a few easy steps you can replace the broken starter rope.

Step 1

Remove the three bolts that hold the starter housing to the top of the engine. Use the 7/16-inch end wrench or the ½-inch end wrench, depending on the size of the bolts. Briggs and Stratton utilizes larger bolts on larger engines. There should be one bolt on the rear of the housing and two on either side of the round portion of the starter cover near the front of the engine.

Step 2

Pull the cover from the engine and turn it upside down on a workbench or tabletop for easier access. Remove any remaining rope from the plastic pulley.

Step 3

Wind the pulley in a clockwise direction to tension the recoil spring. Tighten the pulley as far as it can be wound. Exercise caution, as the plastic pulley is under a lot of tension. Do not let it go. Align the starter rope hole with the hole in the side of the cover.

Step 4

Attach the vise grip to the plastic pulley to hold the pulley in place. Place one jaw on the pulley and the other on top of the metal lid for the cover. Be careful not to tighten the vise grip wrench too tight as this can break the plastic. You can also use a hand pinch clamp.

Step 5

Feed the new starter rope through the access hole and into the hole of the pulley. Push the rope until you can see it through the hole in the plastic pulley. Use the metal pick to pry the rope up through the pulley hole. Pull enough rope up through the hole so that you can tie a knot at the end of the rope.

Step 6

Pull and hold the rope taut as you remove the vise grip wrench or pinch clamp. Slowly allow the spring to recoil the rope back into the pulley. Replace the cover with the bolts in the same order as you removed them.


G.K. Bayne

G.K. Bayne is a freelance writer for various websites, specializing in back-to-basics instructional articles on computers and electrical equipment. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and studied history at the University of Tennessee.