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You probably need to replace the starter recoil. This is not a very expensive fix. Just be aware that this problem is usually caused by having to pull the starter rope excessively because of some other starting problem. Once you replace the recoil, keep your engine running properly.
if its the old 3hp engine then they have a starter clutch fixed to the crank shaft. they have ball bearings inside and can sometimes get stuck or the gears can wear out. you would need a special tool to remove the starter clutch but you can prise off the top plate on the clutch to inspect the internal workings
Two things to check here, check the blade is tight, it acts as a flywheel so needs to be tight, second, check the flywheel key has not sheared as this will cause the engine to kick back as the timing will be out.
there is a flywheel brake on them, possibly a malfunction there you will have to pull the top shroud off and see if maybe cable broke, that attatches to the brake which when you engage it so the eng. can rollover with pull start.It is a safety deal so that when you let go of handle the blade stops imediatly, Hope this helps
You should be able to do this yourself.
You will need the following: A phillips head screwdriver, Socket set in SAE, and a short 3" extension for your socket driver, replacement rope, and the handle.
First, take off the plastic cover for the top of the engine. You will use the phillips head screwdriver. Take the cover off and set it aside with the two screws inside of it or in a safe location.
Second, you will use a 5/16 socket to loosen the screws that hold the fuel tank in place on the flywheel housing, once it is loose pull it back and out of the way.
CAUTION: the fuel line may come off and you may leak some fuel out of the fuel tank.
Third, you will need to take the 5/16 socket and remove the screw that holds the dipstick to the flywheel housing. Then take the dipstick up and turn it around so it is 180 degrees from where it was attached to the flywheel housing.
Fourth, Take the bolts out that hold the flywheel housing to the engine. You will use a 3/8 socket on these bolts. There are two bolts on the front of the engine (close to the spark plug) and two at the back of the engine (these were covered by the fuel tank). Once the bolts are out of the engine, you should be able to pull up on the flywheel housing and it will come off of the engine.
Fifth, remove any of the old cord from the rewind pulley. Put one end of the NEW rope through the eyelet on the top of the rewind starter and push it through the hole in the pulley. Tie a secure knot to make sure the new rope does not get pulled free of the rewind starter. Depending on the type of plastic cover on top of the flywheel housing you may need to put the rope through the plastic cover before attaching the handle to the other end of the rope. Attach the handle to the other end of the rope with another secure knot. The video will describe how to put tension on the rope.
Assembly is a reverse of the dis assembly.
Can you hear the "dogs" engaging in the flywheel when you initially pull on the cord?
If you remove the recoil assembly from the engine then will the rope pull out?
Is something preventing the blade from spinning underneath?
Can you turn the engine over manually by turning the flywheel?
If you remove the spark plug will it turn over?
One of these should help determine the problem. Good luck!