How to Replace the Pull Rope Starter on a Garden Tiller

Garden tiller
  • 2-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-200
What You'll Need
Wrench set
Socket set
Wide vice grip pliers
Needle-nose pliers
Pull cord

A gasoline powered garden tiller is an expensive piece of equipment that makes tilling soil a quick process. As you operate the garden tiller the cord used to start it experiences a lot of wear and tear and can break. These cords are often rope, but some are metal. If these cords become damaged you cannot start the garden tiller.

Step 1 - Access the Pull Cord

Getting to the pull cord of the garden tiller is a fairly easy process. Remove the covering off the top of the spark plug. Doing this will prevent the garden tiller from inadvertently starting. Once this rubber is removed you can take out the spark plug wire. The starter is covered by a plastic shroud and fastened in place with a series of bolts. Use either the wrench set or the socket set to remove these bolts and then lift off the shroud and place it on your work surface upside down. Fastened to the underside of this shroud is a pulley where the old pull cord is located.

Step 2 - Remove the Pull Cord

Use a free hand to hold the shroud firmly in place and with the other hand manually turn the pulley toward the right. Continue doing this until the puller ceases to move and then clamp it down with the wide vice grip pliers. This will prevent the garden tiller cord from springing back inside the pulley, as they are meant to recoil on their own. Locate the knot in the cord that is near the end of the cord and in the middle of the pulley. Use the needle-nose pliers and loosen the knot until you can remove the garden tiller cord that is broken.

Step 3 - Install the Garden Tiller Cord

garden tiller

The only end you need to worry about is the end without the handle. Insert the other end through the hole in the shroud of the starter from the underside (which would be the top). Slide the cord to the knot hole in the pulley until you can see it. Pull at least a foot of the cord through the knot hole and tie a knot at the end. If you are using a cloth cord light the match and burn the end of the cord beyond the knot. Lightly singe it so the cord will not unravel or fray.

Step 4 - Seat the Cord

You need the cord to be pulled tight so it rests inside the knot hole correctly. Grip the cord from the outside and then pull it. You will notice the cord being drawn toward the pulley and the knot hole. The cord will eventually seat itself. You can then remove the pliers so the pulley can do its job and wind the cord around it. You can now replace the shroud and the spark plug wire.