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Recoil Repair Guide

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DO NOT DRILL OUT THE RIVET which is holding the center bearing! If it hasn't been already.

The spools can be removed without destroying that rivet. If the rivet has already been drilled, that can be repaired as well but the housing will not look original anymore and will appear like it's repaired with a nut and bolt.


This repair thread is for the original style recoils which are an integrated part of the blower housing. The newer type with the separate square recoil part on 13B engines will be covered separately


Removing the spool-

First remove the knob from the rope. Best to push and pick the rope knot out of the top and cut only that knot off. If there is still spring tension, it's easiest if a quick knot is tied about 6-8 down to keep the tension off the rope and not allow the rope to just suck in by the recoiling of the spring. After removing the knob release any tension of the spring slowly until it's neutral of any tension.

There are a couple different styles of housings whereas early recoils do not utilize a retaining clip (#17) to hold the spool in. The later production recoils do have a retaining clip. The clip is a bit difficult to see and could appear just like it's the inside of the spool. That's why quite a few get the rivet drilled out but the spool will not come out if it has that retaining clip in place.

See the pictures below. The retaining clip is a ring that's silver, not black like the spool is. It clips into tiny slots right near the main body of the housing. Look for the opening in the clip and that too is very small and possibly hidden from view as well. The clip is #17 in the IPL drawing.

To release the clip use a small flat screwdriver to press it inwards towards the center to release it from the little slots all the way around the housing. As it's released move it towards the other side of the spool, engine side.







Once the clip is loose or if there isn't one, pinch the spool with small pliers as close to the center as possible, not on the outer ring, and pull while rotating the spool back and forth. Do not pull hard enough to bend the spool. Sometimes repositioning the pliers to pinch it 180 deg from the first spot or go back and forth which seems to work better. Sometimes they come right off and sometimes they need to be worked off of that center bearing but they do pull off. 







For best results and smooth operation after any repairs, the spring should be completely removed from the housing and cleaned by soaking and or wiping the old grease/oil off. Also clean the inside of the housing and the center bearing.


Older recoils used a different type of clip to retain the spring. (#11) These devises are difficult to remove without bending or breaking them but it must be removed anyway to get the spring removed. Since newer models didn't use them, they still work fine without them. I have NOS #11 pieces yet haven't been successful installing one so I just skip it. Not an issue so far.




Repairing a broken spring. The broken end of the spring can be re-shaped if it has broken off. Heat about 1 inch of the end of the spring until it's cherry red. I use a small butane torch but even a cigarette lighter will probably work. Let it air cool and do not quench it. That heat will remove the brittle "spring" characteristics of the steel and allow it to bend without breaking it. Below is a pic of what that bend of the spring looks like and it's fairly easy using small needle nose pliers to shape it. The shape is important so the tail remains inside the indent of the center bearing. If it protrudes out at all, the spool can not be seated back in properly.


Recoiling the spring and getting it back into the housing isn't fun or always easy. It can be recoiled directly back into the housing starting from the outside in or coil the spring first and then insert it back into the housing. It's nice to have a spring holder and especially if doing a bunch of them. A holder / retainer can be made from 2" pipe which makes installation much easier. The coiled spring is loaded into it then It's simply inserted into the housing.  The holder is removed while holding the spring down in the housing. After removal the spring tension must be released slowly until it's neutral. 








Not the best pic but the tail of the spring must fit all the way into the indent of the bearing. Otherwise the spool will not go down. The spring must slip into the slot on the spool





It is retained in the spool with a small wire. Remove that old wire completely or any remnants of it and find a short piece of wire about the same size to use for retaining the rope to the spool. I have used a copper strand from electrical wire because it's soft enough to manipulate to get the ends into those tiny holes on the side of the spool. Basically untwist just a single strand of the copper wire off of the larger twisted wire but it needs to be thick enough. To small and thin and it will easily break. Copper or steel or anything you can get in there should work. Even a small paper clip but I haven't tried one. Below is a pic of what the NOS repair wire looks like before it's inserted into the spool. The bend for the tips makes it easier to get into the spool holes









The wire twist must bend over tight to fit in this indent of the spool otherwise it will catch on the spring



Once you get that small loop of wire inserted through the holes in the side of the spool pull the tails through so there's just a small loop down inside the spool, feed and poke the end of the rope through that loop in the wire.

Cut the end of the rope so it has a nice clean edge. Use a cigarette lighter or a match to heat the edge of the rope in order to seal it and keep it from fraying. It will melt and do just a little bit at a time. Just enough to melt the edges of the fibers.  Once you melt the edge,  quickly twist it in your fingers to keep that hardened edge the same or smaller size diameter than the the rope. Too much melted and it will be too big to fit through that wire loop. That size is important for trying to get the edge of the rope through that little loop of the wire inside the spool. I use a small pick tool to push it and pick it from the opposite side to pull it through. Once you get the rope through the wire loop pull it through enough so you can now heat the edge of the rope again. This time melt the edge of the rope so it does create a hardened edge that's bigger than the diameter of the rope. This hardened bulge on the end of the rope will prevent it from ever pulling through the retaining wire once that wire is cinched down.

Now pull the retaining wire tails so the loop is just snug to the rope. Then pull the rope back through so that little bulge you created is almost snug to the retaining wire loop.

Using pliers, pinch, pull and twist both tails of that retaining wire to lock the rope to the spool. Be careful not to twist too tight and break that wire or you need to start all over, but it does need to be tight enough to hold the rope snug. It's a very fine line between breaking the wire and having it tight enough. Best to go 1/2 twist at a time once it's close to being tight.

After it's twisted tight and the rope is locked to the spool, cut the twisted wire tail off. Leave about 1/8 inch long of twisted wire. Then bend over that twisted tail so it fits down below the indent of the spool. Bend it to the right and the opposite way it is shown bent over in your pic but I'm not sure it makes a difference. That's how the originals are done so I just follow that.

Wind the rope onto the spool. You will need to cut the knot off that retains the handle and heat the end just like before to stop the fray of fibers but keep it small enough to fit back through the handle hole. ( There should be a spring inside that type of handle) Just a hole in the newer ball type

Feed the end of the rope, after it's spooled up, through one of the openings in the spool with about 3 inches or so protruding out. This will allow the spool to be installed without interfering with the edge of the housing,

Now is a good time to oil the spring. Drops all around so it gets in between the coils.

Insert the spool over the bearing and back into the housing. That little slot on the bottom of the spool must catch the spring and that's why it's important to have that spring bent and properly positioned. 


There can not be any other part of the spring protruding out from the bearing which would prevent the spool from sliding all the way down and the slot catching the spring.

Once the spool is down in place and caught on the spring, use that tail of the rope that's protruding up to spin the spool counter clockwise. Usually it's about 3-4 revolutions to create enough spring tension on it to recoil. Hold the tension on the spool with your thumb when the rope tail is at the top and at the location it goes through the housing and up to the handle stop. Now feed the tail of the rope back through the spool edge and out to the front of the housing. Grab it and feed the rope up through the hole in the handle stop and tie a quick knot to keep it from recoiling. If there is a # 17 retainer clip you can now use a small screwdriver to clip it back into those housing slots.

This is a good time to test the action of the recoil and verify everything is working properly. Pull and release the rope quite a few times to get that spring to settle in it's proper place and disperse the oil all around it too. It should pull and retract with ease and have enough tension that it recoils all the way in. Once you are happy with the performance, tie a loose quick release knot about 8-10 inches down on the rope. This will prevent it from spooling back in while you work on the handle. Send the rope end through the little spacer first, then through the handle and then through the handle spring if there is one (Older style). One end of the spring is smaller than the other so that end is the top where the knot will hold and retain the handle.

That's all there is to it!  :lol: Definitely not the easiest thing for the first timer doing it!!!

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