After shoveling our driveway, I decided that a redundant starting mechanism on the decrepit snowblower was definitely my ticket out of further back pain. (Electric starter repair/replacement might be my next instructable.) I also had to fabricate a handle since I wasn't about to fork over any money for a plastic handle.
As it turns out, the only disassembly was to remove the rewind starter housing from the snowblower (4 bolts).
Step 1: Tools/Materials Required
1. Hot Glue Gun (optional, I just like to glue stuff)
2. Sharp Knife
3. Lighter (please be careful with fire, do not use this near the snowblower or any other source of gasoline)
4. Locking Pliers and Drill Bit (I have yet to aquire a free drill, so I improvised)
Materials needed for Repair:
1. Dowel for replacement handle.
2. Latex Cork
3. The new pull cord. (I found some snowmobile pull cord at my favorite hardware store)
Step 2: Remove Old Pull Cord.
You can discover how the rewind starter operates by turning the pulley both clockwise and counter clockwise. The "dogs" or teeth engage when the pulley is turned counter clockwise.
When attached to the engine they function to grab the interior of the flywheel and turn the engine over, then they retract as the pulley turns clockwise. The "dogs" are angled in a way to minimize the damage caused if they were to fail to retract, or if the cord is pulled again while the engine is operating.
Step 3: Install Replacement Cord
I then tied a knot on the end of the cord I just pulled through.
NOTE: I do believe you are supposed to use a left hand knot on the cord, as my images show...I definitely did not. I intend to fix this when I have time.
I then pulled the cord back out of the assembly and pushed the knot into a recessed area in the pulley with my pliers.
Step 4: Winding the Cord
I didn't want the cord rubbing the inside of the housing when it was operated and I didn't want to have a pull length that was too short either. (You know the ones that rip the handle from your hand mid pull...haha)
So I found a happy medium at about 3 or 4 turns. I am sure this varies depending on your engine make and model.
Step 5: Making the Handle
I drilled a hole in the middle in my length of dowel. I eyeballed the location of the hole...you could measure if you like.
I had to find a drill bit that was larger than the cord but not too large to allow the knot to pass through. I could have done a prettier job, such as recess the hole halfway though with a larger bit to hide the knot, but I just needed functionality folks...and I only had the one drill bit.
My solution to the fat knot problem was to cut a v-groove from one side of the dowel to reduce the prominence of the knot. It's not like I am going to feel it though the gloves anyway.
Step 6: Prepare the Cork
I decided to make use of an old latex cork to fit into the thingy for that very purpose.
I cut about a half inch off the cork since it needn't be that long. I then drilled a hole through the cork so that I could thread it along my rope before the handle.
Step 7: Thread the Cork and Handle Onto the Cord and Tie the Knot
Now I wanted to put enough tension on the cord so that the handle wouldn't dangle out of the housing but not enough that the "dogs" were engaged.
When I found the sweet spot, I tied a knot against the handle and test operated the whole assembly.
After I was satisfied with the testing, I then cut and melted the cord with the lighter to prevent fraying.
Then I glued the cork to the dowel to prevent premature separation. I am not sure how well it will last, but it is some due diligence on my part.
If they do separate it may prevent the cord from fully retracting. Keep an eye on it.
Step 8: The Completed Rewind Starter
Thanks for reading.