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Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 637
Likes: 3
Senior Contributor
I was going to ask a question that should be simple, but is very hard to find anywhere. I seem to have stumbled on to the answer. Wondering if any tech experts on this forum might care to comment or confirm the information. After breaking an already shortened cord on a recoil starter, I began to wonder what length of cord I will need as a replacement?

Question: How long is a standard Briggs and Stratton recoil cord and what diameter is most often used in their lawnmowers?

Seems the answer may be found in products being sold on various online websites. Most cords that are touted to fit a B&S lawnmower are between 1.4 and 1.5 metres long, and 9/64" diameter. I remember a relative was not particular. He would just pull out a length of cord holding the roll in one hand against his chest with the end of the rope in the other hand, stretched out as far as he could reach, and that is where he cut it. He had long arms so probably was around 1.4-1.5 m at a guess. I note that some online aftermarket pages are recommending metric equivalent 3.5mm, others 4mm. I guess it hardly matters, although some of the newer recoils have a very narrow hole in the inner plastic pulley, meaning the smaller diameter may be best.

One thing I have discovered is the older clutch-type recoils were far superior to the newer ones on Classic/Sprint etc. where you have to wind up the spring that sits behind. Trying to hold it and clamp it all together while feeding a rope through is a near impossible task. You need like 5 hands and a swear jar and packet of bandaids placed nearby. These recoils seem to have been designed to take people's fingers off if you ask me. The old idea was superior and far safer in my opinion. I am sure there must be an easy way to install a cord into the Classic/Sprint recoil starters. I have watched online videos claiming to offer an easy way to install a rope, but have still found the task to be difficult and frustrating. Just getting the rope through that extremely narrow hole on the plastic pulley is like trying to thread a needle in the dark.

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Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 2,045
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
Hi Vm

The bigger diameter cord you fit the less length cord you can use as the cord will be off the starter pulley so length
will depend on the diameter of the cord.

Sometimes a bigger cord is used because of a greater breaking strength but more expensive thinner cord with
a greater breaking strength could also be used.

I've used 3mm to 4 mm and don't worry about the length ,just cut the rope so the rope isn't too long for the pulley
and so the rope isn't too long to over wind the recoil spring up when using a smaller rope.

Sounds like you are putting the rope on a difficult way.

When putting a spring in I would wind the spring in my hands then put the spring in one half of the starter ,(the housing
or the pulley depends on the starter) then just slot the other half together.

The rope is easy ,unwind the starter spring (no disassembling) then use a lighter to melt the end of the rope then
use fingers to squash the end smaller when hot but do this quickly so you don't burn your fingers.

Bend the metal tab up so you can wind the rope around the pulley to tighten the spring ,some starters have a notch for this.

Pics show unwinding the spring direction and tensioning the spring direction

Remember to bend the tab back down when you've finished tensioning the spring.
Cheers
Max..

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Joined: Jan 2016
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I just drill the hole to suit the thicker cord. I buy 100m roll of cord so all mowers get the same size

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Senior Contributor
Thanks for the advice Max and Normk,

Max, I did all that but still find it very difficult, but that may be because of age and various maladies that come with it. I find if I use a small clamp and hold the whole lot down while I insert the rope, that makes life a lot easier. I resorted to using macrame cord (believe it or not) and find it works great. It is only around 2.5 mm diameter but has the same break rating as starter rope and paracord. Very strong stuff! Makes me wonder why is such strong cord needed for macrame? Haha! It is very easy to work with and I got it through the holes first try. Left over from a relative's macrame obsession way back in the 1970s!

Norm, I'm slapping my forehead. Funny, I never even considered drilling the holes bigger. Yes, that makes sense and would make it a lot easier inserting the wider diameter cord.

Joined: Jan 2016
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It is easy to drill the holes out just turn the plastic rope holder so it lines up with the cord guide on the outer housing then you can drill straight through

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