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how to repair generator recoil starters

To learn how to repair and replace a recoil starter on your generator, continue checking out the information china BISON will share below.

Table of Contents

Generator recoil starters are a type of starter ropes that are specifically used to start generators. But sometimes, a fault in the rope makes it impossible to pull the generator. Your generator will not start until you lift it off the ground.

Many other factors can contribute to generator rope stiffness. But every error can be fixed with simple methods and tips that we will share in this article. To learn how to repair and replace a recoil starter on your generator, continue checking out the information china BISON will share below.


How the recoil starter works?

Understanding how a recoil starter works will help identify and solve problems associated with it. At the most basic level, a recoil starter consists of three main parts: a pulley, a return spring, and a pull cord. When you pull on the rope, a ratchet system behind the pulley engages the flywheel, causing the engine’s crankshaft to turn. Once the rope is released, the return spring pulls the rope back into the pulley, ready for the next start attempt.

does my recoil starter need fixing?

Like any mechanism, a recoil starter can become worn or damaged over time, at which point it becomes critical to know the signs of failure.

Directly observed changes usually indicate the need for repair or replacement of the recoil starter. Here are the main signs:

  1. Difficulty pulling on the cord: If you find that your starter cord is harder to pull than usual, or is completely stuck, this is a strong indication that your recoil starter may be damaged.
  2. Pull cord not fully retracted: One telltale sign to watch out for on your recoil starter is that the pull cord is not fully retracted into the housing. This may indicate a problem with the spring.
  3. Alternator won’t start: If you’ve ruled out fuel, oil, spark plug, and battery problems but your alternator still won’t start, the culprit may be your starter. Especially if the pull cord spins freely with no resistance, that means it’s not engaging with the flywheel the way it should.
  4. Pull handle kickback: If the starter handle is pulled out, but then snaps back, it may be due to a damaged return spring.
  5. Visible damage or wear: Any visible damage to pulleys, springs or ropes, such as worn, cracked or rusted springs.

Being alert to these signs can help you avoid unexpected and frustrating generator outages, thereby extending the life of your machine. In the following sections, we’ll dive into diagnosing, repairing, and replacing a damaged recoil starter.


how to repair a generator recoil starter

When the pull cord is loose, the engine will not start. Fortunately, when this happens, you can fix your recoil starter in about 20 minutes.

Note: After tightening the pulleys and springs, you need to position the housing securely. The small tabs on the pulley can easily cut your hand if you accidentally let go of the recoil starter while tensioning.

remove the recoil housing cover

Unscrew the cap holding the pulley in the recoil starter housing.

untie the rope

Untie the knot in the rope and pull it out of the housing.

replacement parts

If your spring slips out of its slot in the housing, you can proceed with the repair. If the housing, pulley, or spring fails, you will need the appropriate replacement parts to continue.

re-tighten the spring

Now spring is the time for stress again. Think about how you want the rope to return to the shell. You need to wrap the pulley in the opposite direction.

Place the pulley into the recoil housing and rotate it about six times. After tightening the spring, use a small screwdriver to stop the pulley from turning.

close the lid

Reinstall the cover that secures the pulley to the recoil housing. While the cap secures the assembly, it does not prevent the pulley from rotating, so hold it firmly.

reinstall the rope

Line up the holes in the pulley, recoil housing, and thread the rope through them.

Tie an overhand knot at the end of the rope. If you’re worried about untying the knot, add a thin coat of superglue to secure it.

Screw the starter rope into the housing, making sure the knot does not interfere with the pulley’s ability to rotate in the housing.

roll up the rope

Hold the recoil starter firmly, still tensioned, and remove the screwdriver.

Pull firmly on the starter rope and release the pulley. The pulley controls the speed of the rope as it reels into the starter.


Reinstall the recoil starter assembly onto the generator, making sure the mounting holes are properly aligned.

Insert and tighten the bolts. Do not overtighten or you may damage the components or mounting holes.


Finally, carefully pull the handle a few times to test its functionality. You should feel a smooth pull followed by a clean, even retraction.

If the generator won’t start, or the pull feels uneven or gritty, you may need to disassemble the unit again to discover any misalignments or issues.

By following these instructions, you’ll have your generator’s recoil starter repaired and running properly in no time. Please note that safety is of the utmost importance throughout the entire process.


Fix the recoil starter on your generator is a valuable skill for any China BISON generator owner. By following the step-by-step instructions outlined in this guide, individuals can ensure the proper functioning of their generator’s recoil starter mechanism, thus guaranteeing reliable power when needed.

Remember, while this task may seem daunting at first, patience, attention to detail, and the satisfaction of successfully repairing your recoil starter will make all the effort worth it.

reliable, high-quality recoil starters

Maintaining your generator may seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be, especially when you have the right parts on hand.

When it comes to reliable, high-quality recoil starters, look no further than China BISON. Our recoil starters offer excellent compatibility and fit a wide range of popular generator models. Factory Direct Price Guarantee makes your generator maintenance more affordable. And, BISON’s expert guidance doesn’t stop at the point of sale. We are committed to providing our customers with detailed product information, repair and maintenance instructions to ensure smooth operation.

With BISON recoil starters, you can rest easy knowing you’re getting a product that balances quality, affordability, and after-sales support.

Are you ready to experience BISON’s commitment to quality? Contact our customer service team directly. BISON is ready to support the health and peace of mind of your generator every step of the way, with every power challenge you face.

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