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I assume that you are speaking of a pull start mechanism.
I can not imagine how to put a put pull starter back on "wound tight".
Your pulling on the cord tightens a spring which pulls the cord back in.
They go back together with the cord fully wound onto the spool.
Usually, I only take these apart to replace the cord.
Wind the new cord onto the spool without handle.
Reassemble, then pull out on the cord a little when attaching the handle to the cord.
This is the only way to get tension onto the spring at the fully retracted position because the catch for the spring is on the machine and the spring itself is on the underside what you are assembling.
If you do not wish to shorten the cord or replace it, then remove the handle, assemble enough to catch the spring, wind one turn tighter then feed rope through hole and reattach handle. Easier said than done.
If your spring is broken, then you will be needing a new one.
Before you pull the piston, you may want to check the carburetor to see if it is letting fuel in during non-use. I am not familiar with this type of mower, but you may be able to do something as simple as put a shut-off in the fuel line and just before you turn your mower off after use, turn off the fuel.
Also, are you using the correct ratio of oil to gas? Maybe a different type of oil?
the rope and spring both have thier respective place in the housing for thier mountings they can be rewound by hand and reassembled with success,hint oppisite end of spring has a anchor point on the housing while one end is secured by a cup like screw mounting,to create the retracting force for retrival of the pull start rope its tricky if haven't done it before but you learn by trying Good luck Steve
with the cover in your hand pull the cord out with a pair of needle nose pliers or a little screw driver and where the cord go through the case and before the wheel. pull 5 to 10 inches out and wrap the cord around the wheel turning the wheel but not winding the cord on., do 3 or 4 wraps then pull the handle to get all the cord out and let it retract. if not enough rewind just repeat with 2 wraps
Broken starter ropes or failure to retract are both repairs that are fairly easy. However, the spring can be nasty as it is under tension (or should be when reassembled). This can be risky if you are not familiar with the internal construction as you disassemble the unit.
The cause of a broken cord is obvious. The cause for a failure to retract could be a broken spring, tangled or frayed rope, or some other mechanical failure. A broken spring will require total disassembly of the starter mechanism - fortunately there really isn't that much involved.
With some designs, it is possible to replace the cord without fully disassembling the starter mechanism - by threading the cord in and tying a not in the end - but after rotating it several turns to put the proper tension on the spring. This is relatively safe but may be frustrating as 3 hands are sometimes needed.
Where safe disassembly is not obvious, I would recommend that you refer to a book on lawn mower or small engine repair from the library or the service manual for the mower, if possible. You may be able to find specific step-by-step instructions which will minimize your risk of injury from an encounter with an uncontrolled spring.
When the rope pulls out and retracts normally - but doesn't do anything else - the most likely cause is a problem with the one-way clutch. This may be part of the spring-rope assembly - usually removable as a unit - or attached to the flywheel. The most common problems are gummed up lubrication or a broken spring or other damaged or worn parts.
anyway... there is a torx screw in the middle of the clutch drum(metal part that rotates).you will need to use a piston stop,to stop the engine turning while trying to undo the torx screw. i am assumig the starter is in front of the engine not at the back. once the screw is undone the clutch will come off and so will the starter cover.(source: neil)
Lots of thing can stop a victa working!!!!!!!!!. Ok your plug is wet. Turn the fuel off. R&R tank renew fuel(no more than a month old it goes stale)Check for spark, be very careful it could catch a light.
Get the new plug open the gap to about 5mm.earth the hex of the plug to the head, away from the plug hole ,the fuel will come out.
If it jumps gap when pulled it has enough spark to fire under load.If lots of fuel comes out its flooded.if so leave plug out remove a/f ,leave tap off, put throttle to full and pull till most fuel is gone.Refit plug and try. let me know how that goes. do this in well vented area. Fumes can build up in shed.