March 1, 2016

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

By Lyle Weischwill
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
30 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
30 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.

    Disconnect the spark plug.

    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.

    Remove the blower housing screws.

    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.

    Remove the recoil starter guard.

    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.

    Install the new recoil starter.

    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.

    Reinstall the blower housing.

    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.

Symptoms for gas walk-behind mowers

Choose a symptom to see related walk-behind mower repairs.

Main causes: damaged cutting blade, loose cutting blade, damaged flywheel key, engine needs tune up
Main causes: dirty carburetor, bad spark plug, clogged air filter, engine choke problems, clogged gas cap vent
Main causes: uneven wheel height settings, damaged wheel, dull or damaged cutting blade
Main causes: engine needs tune up, dirty or clogged carburetor, damaged flywheel key
Main causes: drive control cable failure, worn or broken drive belt, bad transmission, broken drive wheel
Main causes: stale gas, engine needs tune up, bad spark plug, dead battery, bad recoil starter, faulty safety switch, bad ignition coil

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.

March 1, 2016
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a lawn mower carburetor

The carburetor mixes air with fuel to drive the piston. Replace the carburetor if it's clogged or damaged.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
How to replace a lawn mower flywheel key on a flathead engine

When you hit a hard object with your mower, the flywheel can shear to protect more expensive components. Learn how to replace this tiny but essential part.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
How to replace a lawn mower ignition coil on a flathead engine

If the spark plug doesn't fire when you try to start the mower, you could have a defective ignition coil. Follow these step-by-step instructions to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all walk-behind mowers

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

October 1, 2019

Types of walk-behind mower blades video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn about the different kinds of mower blades and how to maintain them.