How to Replace a Broken Pull Cord on an MTD Snowblower

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Things You'll Need

  • New pull cord with handle

  • Socket set

  • Wide-jaw locking pliers

  • Needle-nose pliers

  • Matches


Never work on your snowblower engine without first disconnecting the spark plug wire from the spark plug, to prevent the engine from firing accidentally.

You start many MTD snowblowers by pulling on a starter cord.

MTD is a lawn equipment manufacturer, offering lawn mowers, snowblowers and roto-tillers and log splitters under the YardMan, Bolens, White Equipment and Yard Machines brands. All of these brands utilize Briggs and Stratton engines to power their equipment and, with the exception of electric-start models, all are started by a pull cord starter. If the pull cord becomes damaged or breaks, you can replace it using some common hand tools.

Step 1

Pull on the black rubber boot on the tip of the spark plug to disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug.

Step 2

Loosen the three bolts that secure the recoil starter housing onto the engine. Slide the housing off the engine and place the housing upside-down on a work table.

Step 3

Hold the housing with one hand and rotate the pulley inside the housing counterclockwise with the other hand until it stops rotating. Clamp the pulley in place with a pair of wide-jaw locking pliers.

Step 4

Pull on the knot in the knot hole near the center of the pulley with a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the broken section of cord.

Step 5

Insert the end of a new pull cord (with the handle attached to the other end) into the hole in the starter housing. Guide the cord into the pulley toward the knot hole. When the cord appears in the knot hole, pull out about a foot of cord through the knot hole with the needle-nose pliers.

Step 6

Tie a knot in the end of the cord, then singe the remaining cord with a match to prevent fraying.

Step 7

Pull on the cord from outside the starter housing to seat the knot firmly in the knot hole. Then release the clamp and allow the cord to rewind around the spring-loaded pulley.

Step 8

Replace the starter housing on the engine and secure it by tightening the three bolts. Reconnect the spark plug wire to the spark plug and pull on the handle to start the snowblower engine.


Chris Baylor

Chris Baylor has been writing about various topics, focusing primarily on woodworking, since 2006. You can see his work in publications such as "Consumer's Digest," where he wrote the 2009 Best Buys for Power Tools and the 2013 Best Buys for Pressure Washers.