How to do-it-yourself instructional on the repair and modification of a hand-held leaf blower's pull start cord mechanism.
Today on Repairs101, or is it yesterday on Repairs101? Yesterday I took this leaf blower outside to clear my yardÖ
[Pulls Cord]
I live in Canada.
 [Wind howls]
 Sometimes the weatherís nice.
[Rain]
So now I realize thereís 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 Iíd just let it all grow over wild and return to the state of nature. And for that matter Ė 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.

Leaf Blower start up procedure  Bondhus Gorilla Proof Tools

Alright, so letís get started. IĎll just take this nozzle off so itís not such a big ordeal to work with. OK Iím just going to drain the fuel out of this for obvious safety reasons.
OK so weíre going to need some Allen Keys to do this job. Generally speaking Iíll reach for one of these two kits Ė BONDHUS Gorilla-Proof tools made in the U.S.A., to me that still means made with pride and quality merchandise. Hereís another BONDHUS tool that I would strongly recommend this for the average person who just needs something with a good selection. If youíre not a serious tool collector Ė youíre just someone whoís trying to get the basics together so that they can take care of things themselves Ė this is a great place to start.
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 Iíve got a cover here Iím going to take off Ė three screws one two and a third one hiding under here. Looks like Iíve got to remove the impeller in order to service the pull-cord - which is just terrible.
 
                                                         
 
And you can see thereís also a backing ring here to cover this bearing. There you can see theyíre Torx. Theyíve switched from ďAllenĒ to ďTorxĒ. Iím using a tamperproof Torx Ė tamperproof has a hole in the centre.
Iíve got the entire motor and fuel can right here and this is the impeller housing here. The inside of the impeller housing and theyíve gone and built the pull-start mechanism inside of that. OK herein lies the recoil mechanism. Now Iíve had trouble with this since day one Ė it doesnít recoil properly. So Ė 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 canít beat Ďem, join íem, right? Son of aÖ

  Leafblower spring uncoiling

OK so Iím 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 donít want that to jump on you. You can see the tang on this needs to go in that tang slot right there. So Iím just going to drop that in there. There we go. Now the only thing to do is to line that tang up Ė on the back of this reel here thereís another slot that the other tang that the tang on the other end lines up to. Now Iíve 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. Iím desperately trying to hold that spring in place with the butt of my hand. OK so thatís through, this pipe passes through here. Push the pull cord out first and then the pipe and then weíll seat this end so Iím just going to shove that through the handle and pull it out a little bit. Now they had a regular stopper knot Ė I like to use a figure eight knot here. Put the cover on Ė that just drops in here like that and thatís whatís going to keep the spring from coming out. OK? This is um, most uncivilized. Look at that it still doesnít work properly.
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 Ė three screws and youíve got the start mechanism in your hand. OK so look at that now: thatís a civilized start- cord mechanism. Three screws and itís in your hand.
OK so Iím going to put this back together again nice and easy Ė I wish it was nice and easy. Twenty-one fasteners: twenty screws and a big fat bolt. And oh and also youíve got to take the fan off too so that makes twenty Ėtwo when you count the nut on the end of the drive shaft that holds the fan in place.
 
            
 
So Iím going to make two modifications here Iím going to add a little dry lubricant Ė 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. Unfortunately I donít have any washers that are the right size so what Iíll do is just take these electrical connections and nip the end of it off with my side-cutters. Letís see, Iíll just put that in there like that and then hold onto this end and let that end fly, and voila, home-made washer. So Iím threading the washer onto the bolt Ė this should take care of my spacing problem back this off just enough so that itíll rotate freely. And these home-made washers here theyíre a nice soft metal that will crush down and conform.
Well thatís the smoothest itís been yet, without question, it recoils properly.

Starting a stubborn leaf blower with faulty pull start cord recoil mechanism

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? Iím going to suggest that itís not reasonable.
OK, put that bearing back in so that it lines up nice and straight.



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