How to Convert a Pull Start Generator to an Electric Starter With a Kit

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It can be quite a chore to turn on a pull start generator, especially when you have to repeat the forceful motion if you can't pull hard enough. You could end up hurting your arms with this manual system so you might want to consider installing a generator electric starter kit as a convenient option.

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How to Convert a Pull Start Generator to an Electric Starter With a Kit
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What to Examine In the Engine

Some brands have designs that make switching from pull start to electric start easier, but it's not that simple to do with other brands. Before attempting this project for your portable generator, you need to go over the manual of your equipment. It should have a section about engine conversion so that you can buy an electric starter kit with the right size and make.

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If you can't find the manual, examine the engine's mounting boss that houses the mechanical components. You can mount a starter in this area if this part has been drilled. If not, you may have to do some retrofitting to create a space for the electric starter kit, but the labor and trouble might not be worth doing the conversion.

Replacing the Flywheel

Check if there's a notched ring on the rim of the flywheel. If there's not a ring, you have to replace this part with a flywheel that has a ring gear first. The electric starter won't work if this part has no ring gear. The flywheel works to maintain the speed of the engine, as well as cool it down by blowing air with its fins.

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Disconnect the components connected to the flywheel and unscrew the bolts that attach this part to the equipment with a wrench. The flywheel has a self-puller in its hub that you can carefully rotate to pop it out, then put the new flywheel by doing the reverse order of the extraction.

Mounting a Small Engine Electric Start Conversion

A typical electric start kit that provides the power for your generator consists of the starter motor, the push button device or a key switch, bolts, the plug and the installation instructions. Be sure to get the starter kit volt that can supply the right power to your generator to prevent burnout. Some brands may include a battery for generators with electric start as a backup system.

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Mounting the starter kit is pretty straightforward. You'll have to insert the electric starter onto the flywheel's ring gear, as provided in the instructions, and bolt it onto the mounting boss. Then, after wiring the starter, plug the cord in the power outlet to check if it works. Put the cover back on the engine when you're finished.

If your equipment is a Tecumseh, it's best to purchase an electric start kit from the same manufacturer. This way, you can get the appropriate Tecumseh electric starter installation instructions that will be compatible and specific to your equipment's engine.

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Heather Burdo is a seasoned writer with six years of experience, including home improvement topics. Her passion is helping homeowners with tips and tricks through content.