Lawn mower pull cord attacked me!


Old 09-18-08, 10:36 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Central North Carolina
Posts: 2
Lawn mower pull cord attacked me!

I have a problem with my pull-start Craftsman Push-lawnmower that I just bought this spring. I went to start it this morning, checked the fuel and oil levels, pulled the string about three times like it normally takes to start... nothing. Pulled 5 more times, nothing. Pulled 10 more times, nothing. After taking a break huffing and puffing, I pulled again. This time, the engine turned over one time, then stopped suddenly. Pulled again, same result. Pulled one more time and this time, the pull handle jerked out of my hand, wrapped around the handle, and somehow managed to hit me pretty hard in the chest.
After a bit of peering around to see if any of my neighbors had been watching my plight, I moved the mower back under the garage, checked the blade which I have already replaced once this year, and it is super-tight. Now, each time I pull, the engine tries to turn over, but seems to get "stuck" after one cough. Also after every third pull, the same recoil on the pull-string is happening, with it snapping back in mid-pull. I read on another post on this forum to check the blade or that perhaps the flywheel key could be sheared, but I don't know what that means or how to get to it to possibly replace it. The mower is a Sears Craftsman, model 917.385131, and the engine is a Brigs & Straton 6.25 hp, 190cc engine. Thanks in advance for any assistance to help me keep my dignity.
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Old 09-18-08, 11:29 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Central New Hampshire
Posts: 754
It does ound like the flywheel key has been sheared. This happens if you hit a stump or rock with the blade.
That violent pull back of the cord indicates the timing is off due the flywheel key being sheared. It happens to everyone.
This is also the cause of the hard starting problem.

Last edited by indypower; 09-18-08 at 11:31 AM. Reason: additional comment
Old 09-19-08, 02:10 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Central North Carolina
Posts: 2
Problem Solved

After removing the covers off the top and realizing that I didn't have any kind of tool to remove the actual flywheel, (you must have some sort of very long bar to hold the flywheel in place while you loosen the nut, and since it is made of aluminum, damage can occurr very easily) I finally resorted to my local yellow pages and found a small engine repair place in town. After calling them and explaining my situation (sans the bruise on my chest) I found out that they do this kind of work all the time. The actual pin that was sheared is just that, a small pin not much bigger than a cotter pin. The hardest part is just getting to it, since it is at the bottom of the engine. He gave me that part for free, since he keeps so many on hand, and I now have my mower back and working on the first pull as of this afternoon.

Total cost, $20 plus a trip to and from the small engine repair shop, not 5 miles away.

Hope someone else with this same problem can find this useful.
Now to enjoy the rest of my Friday! Beer 4U2

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