I was taking a break on the snowmobile trail this weekend and when I went to start the sled to leave the pull cord would not engage. The pull cord would come out and return but would not engage to turn the motor over. I thought it was all over but the crying for this ride but one of the guys I was riding with suggested to tug the cord multiple times quickly until it would engage. After it engages hold the tension on the cord and start the sled. This worked for the rest of the ride but I knew I had to find the cause of the problem once I got home. Here is what I found.
In order to get to the recoil assembly you need to remove the exhaust and the silencer.
Here's a tip for removing the exhaust springs. Use a piece of safety wire and wrap it around the spring end like seen above. Now use some channel lock pliers to pull the safety wire and remove the springs.
expansion chamber removed
Silencer removed to see recoil
After the exhaust is removed I removed the 6 bolts holding the recoil onto the motor.
Here is what I found – the issue was that the nut for the assembly that puts the arm out to engage the engine when the cord is pulled was loose. This caused the plastic assembly to spin when it should be fixed. You can see the evidence of the worn plastic under the nut.
I used a star washer under the nut to get a little more bite in the plastic than just the surface of the nut.
I also used some blue Loctite on the stud and nut to make sure it does not back off. pull the cord and check to see that the arm extends and then release the cord to make sure it retracts before proceeding with reassembly.
I put the recoil back on but had to weld up a hole in the silencer before I reinstalled the exhaust.
After the silencer fix I reinstalled the exhaust and I was good to go.