March 01, 2016

How to replace a lawn mower recoil starter on an OHV engine

How to replace a lawn mower recoil starter on an OHV engine

The step-by-step instructions in this lawn mower repair guide explain how to replace a recoil starter on a lawn mower that has an overhead valve (OHV) engine. If recoil starter rope doesn't retract, it's likely the recoil spring is broken. Replacing just the spring is difficult; the best way to repair a recoil starter is to replace the entire assembly with a manufacturer-approved replacement part.

This repair procedure works for replacing the recoil starter on common Briggs & Stratton OHV engines that power Craftsman, MTD, Husqvarna, Cub Cadet, Toro, Troybilt, Snapper, Murray and Ariens walk-behind lawn mowers.

If you have an older lawn mower model with a flathead engine, see How to Replace a Lawn Mower Recoil Starter on a Flathead Engine.

Quick links
Tools required
Nut driver set
Slot screwdriver
Work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
Replacing a recoil starter on a lawn mower OHV engine

This video explains how to replace the recoil starter on a walk-behind engine with an OHV engine.

Instructions

  1. 02.

    Disconnect the spark plug wire

    Wear work gloves to protect your hands.

    Disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug.

    PHOTO: Disconnect the spark plug.

    PHOTO: Disconnect the spark plug.

  2. 02.

    Remove the blower housing

    Release the starter rope from the lawn mower handle.

    Remove the screws from the blower housing.

    Pull the blower housing off the engine.

    PHOTO: Remove the blower housing screws.

    PHOTO: Remove the blower housing screws.

  3. 03.

    Remove the recoil starter

    Snap the recoil starter guard out of the blower housing retainer clips and remove the recoil starter guard.

    Release the recoil starter from the blower housing retainer clips and remove the recoil starter from the blower housing.

    PHOTO: Remove the recoil starter guard.

    PHOTO: Remove the recoil starter guard.

  4. 04.

    Install the new recoil starter

    Position the new recoil starter in the blower housing and snap recoil starter into the blower housing retainer clips.

    Reinstall the recoil starter guard by snapping it into the blower housing retainer clips.

    PHOTO: Install the new recoil starter.

    PHOTO: Install the new recoil starter.

  5. 05.

    Reinstall the blower housing

    Position the blower housing on the top of the engine and line up the mounting holes.

    Reinstall the mounting screws.

    Reconnect the starter rope to the mower handle.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the blower housing.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the blower housing.

  6. 06.

    Reconnect the spark plug wire

    Connect the spark plug wire to the spark plug.

Warning: Undertaking repairs or maintenance to appliances or power equipment can be hazardous. Should you choose to undertake repairs or maintenance, you are assuming the risk of injury to your person or property. In an effort to reduce the risk, use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the applicable guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs or maintenance, however, should only be performed by a qualified technician.

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Repair guides for gas walk-behind mowers

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your walk-behind lawn mower.

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Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your walk-behind lawn mower.

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