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Rick, Factory Authorized Trainer
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 8057
Experience:  Outdoor Power Equipment technical trainer since 1990, covering eight states.
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My new lawnmower hit a high grass concealed rock and the engine

Customer Question

My new lawnmower hit a high grass concealed rock and the engine died. Attempts to restart have failed since I cannot pull the starter cord to turn the engine. Cord is stuck and will not pull out.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  Rick replied 4 years ago.
Hello, and thank you for choosing JustAnswer. I'll be helping you today and am committed to providing clear and concise answers to your question.

If you remove the spark plug wire and ground it for safety, then look under the deck, is there anything such as grass build-up, a foreign object, etc. blocking the blade from turning?

Using gloves and being very careful not to get cut, does the blade turn completely around by hand without anything binding or locking up? You need to tie back the bail lever to the top handle of the mower while you do this or have someone hold it for you.

When you life the mower be sure to tilt it no further than necessary and keep the spark plug and carburetor (air filter) to the high side so you don't get oil into the cylinder.

Let me know and we'll continue...

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
When I hold down the bail lever and try to pull the cord, it does not pull. There is nothing blocking the blade from turning as I can turn it by hand. When the engine quit after hittind the rock, there was a puff of smoke.
Expert:  Rick replied 4 years ago.
If you remove the spark plug, does the recoil pull?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I removed the sparkplug, and while holding down the bail lever. the cord will still not pull out
Expert:  Rick replied 4 years ago.
If you can turn the blade by hand and not by the rope even with the plug out, then the recoil starter is bound up inside and will need to be removed and repaired. Also, in an impact like this, it is very likely the flywheel key has also sheard, so please be sure to check it while the starter housing is off.

You'll need to remove the engine shroud to gain access to the flywheel. If you don't have a strap wrench for holding the flywheel, take a length of clean cord like starter rope and place about 3' in the spark plug hole to function as a piston stop to keep the engine from turning. Leave enough hanging out for easy removal. Loosen and remove the flywheel nut and washer, then look at the slots in the crankshaft and the flywheel. They should be lined up exactly square with one another. If they are not, the soft flywheel key has sheared (it's supposed to under some circumstances to prevent damage to the engine) and will need to be replaced.