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Leaf Blower : Pull-Start Cord

Today on Repairs101, or is it yesterday on Repairs101? Yesterday I took this leaf blower outside to clear my yard…

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[Pulls Cord]

Safety first!

I live in Canada.

 [Wind howls]

 Sometimes the weather’s nice.


So now I realize there’s a bit of a contradiction here with my claiming to be an environmentalist and using a machine like a two stroke leaf blower. The by-laws in my neighbourhood insist that the properties be kept in character with one another and everybody in my neighbourhood has manicured lawns. If it was up to me I’d just let it all grow over wild and return to the state of nature. And for that matter – as much as I want to make the environmentally conscious choice every time, sometimes you have to make some compromises. But you know I also drive this four by four when I go off-road, instead of a horse – as much as I love horses.

Safety first

Alright, so let’s get started. I‘ll just take this nozzle off so it’s not such a big ordeal to work with. OK I’m just going to drain the fuel out of this for obvious safety reasons.

OK so we’re going to need some Allen Keys to do this job. Generally speaking I’ll reach for one of these two kits – BONDHUS Gorilla-Proof tools made in the U.S.A., to me that still means made with pride and quality merchandise. Here’s another BONDHUS tool that I would strongly recommend this for the average person who just needs something with a good selection. If you’re not a serious tool collector – you’re just someone who’s trying to get the basics together so that they can take care of things themselves – this is a great place to start.

Impeller housing

Just take this last screw out of the bottom here. There we go. Piece of cake, eh? So the fan housing comes right off just like that as you see. OK I’ve got a cover here I’m going to take off – three screws one two and a third one hiding under here. Looks like I’ve got to remove the impeller in order to service the pull-cord – which is just terrible.

And you can see there’s also a backing ring here to cover this bearing. There you can see they’re Torx. They’ve switched from “Allen” to “Torx”. I’m using a tamperproof Torx – tamperproof has a hole in the centre.

I’ve got the entire motor and fuel can right here and this is the impeller housing here. The inside of the impeller housing and they’ve gone and built the pull-start mechanism inside of that. OK herein lies the recoil mechanism. Now I’ve had trouble with this since day one – it doesn’t recoil properly. So – oh there goes the spring out the back. That is unfortunate. Oh crap. This is bad design. This is just terrible. There it goes. Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ’em, right? Son of a…

Recoil spring

OK so I’m loading the spring into the housing just by winding it in. I am not impressed with the way this machine was designed. There we go. Now be very careful, you don’t want that to jump on you.

You can see the tang on this needs to go in that tang slot right there. So I’m just going to drop that in there. There we go. Now the only thing to do is to line that tang up. On the back of this reel here there’s another slot that the other tang that the tang on the other end lines up to. Now I’ve got the cord as short as possible wrapped around the reel. To pre-load it: turn opposite from which it recoils in other words: in the direction that it pulls out. I’m desperately trying to hold that spring in place with the butt of my hand.

OK so that’s through, this pipe passes through here. Push the pull cord out first and then the pipe and then we’ll seat this end. So I’m just going to shove that through the handle and pull it out a little bit. Now they had a regular stopper knot – I like to use a figure eight knot here. Put the cover on – that just drops in here like that and that’s what’s going to keep the spring from coming out. OK? This is um, most uncivilized. Look at that it still doesn’t work properly.

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Again & again

Checking that I had the right tension on the spring every time I redid it and I redid it. And I redid it again to make sure that I was doing it correctly. And in the end it operates exactly the same as it did before. This seems to have been designed to make it as difficult as possible to make a repair.

For instance this chainsaw – three screws and you’ve got the start mechanism in your hand. OK so look at that now: that’s a civilized start- cord mechanism. Three screws and it’s in your hand.

OK so I’m going to put this back together again nice and easy – I wish it was nice and easy. Twenty-one fasteners: twenty screws and a big fat bolt. And oh and also you’ve got to take the fan off too so that makes twenty –two. When you count the nut on the end of the drive shaft that holds the fan in place.

So I’m going to make two modifications here I’m going to add a little dry lubricant. Just a little bit of dry graphite dust powder on the outside edge here. Besides a whisper of dry lubricant. I want to add spacers here and here to push back the cover just a tiny bit.

Make your own

Unfortunately I don’t have any washers that are the right size. So what I’ll do is just take these electrical connections and nip the end of it off with my side-cutters. Let’s see, I’ll just put that in there like that and then hold onto this end. And let that end fly, and voila, home-made washer. So I’m threading the washer onto the bolt. This should take care of my spacing problem back this off just enough so that it’ll rotate freely. And these home-made washers here they’re a nice soft metal that will crush down and conform.

Well that’s the smoothest it’s been yet, without question, it recoils properly.

I mean honestly is it reasonable to ask me to take the entire motor and fuel tank off in order to change the pull cord? I’m going to suggest that it’s not reasonable.

OK, put that bearing back in so that it lines up nice and straight.

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