Pull Cord Recommendations?


I need to replace my recoil pull cord. It’s an old Tec Hs50
I would like it to perform properly and last a decent while.
I have a few engines here that could use some help in that department.
Any good recommendations for pull cord? I don’t mind buying a bunch but I don’t need a gigantic roll.
100 feet will prob do just fine.



Well-Known Member
I find nylon 5/32" cord works best. I bought 100 feet on ebay. You can use 1/8" but it's hard to knot (but i've used it many times). I don't recommend the original 11/64", too thick and it catches on the side of the housing.


Well-Known Member
I prefer the genuine article too. The outer sheath on 550 cord/para cord is indeed too fragile, no thanks. You need braided, multi strand cord.

I'd heard of number 5 rope and so forth, but never saw the dimensions listed, nor the uses until recently:

#3 (3/32" Diameter) and #3-1/2 (7/64" Diameter) rope is used on most trimmers and small 2-cycle engines
#4 (1/8" Diameter) and #4-1/2 (9/64" Diameter) rope is used on most chain saws and larger 2-cycle engines
#4-1/2 (9/64" Diameter), #5 (5/32" Diameter) and #5-1/2 (11/64" Diameter) rope is used on most 4-cycle push mower small engines
#6 (3/16" Diameter) and #7 (7/32" Diameter) rope is used on most larger 4-cycle engines

I think Stens probably has the best quality or adherence to the above dimensional standards.


Well-Known Member
#6 man myself, when I have to replace them on the vintage Tecumsehs. Thats normally the size coming off the early 70's bikes and its big and tough/strong cord for most applications......chipper excluded :D

As a reference here is an an NOS tecumseh replacement recoil kit correct for early 70's bikes (they came complete with cup and screen back then and yes they came sloppily hit with primer to keep the bare metal from rusting.)

#6 3/16" cord

At full pull it comes in around the 50" length installed, standard replacement rope if bought by the part number float around 52-54" and the book suggests 54" to account for knots. No binding and does not over extend the spring at full extension

IMG_1309.JPG IMG_1310.JPG

Its funny, I have to replace or repair a lot of newer engines with the smaller cord where they pull out of the end or fray and break for people, yet I have original hard use recoils from 60's and 70's Tecs floating around here where the pull cord is the least of its problems even after 50 years....so I'll stick with what Tecumseh chose to use on those.


Well-Known Member
As long as it’s the right size/diameter and doesn’t look like sewing thread in relation to the size of the starter handle and the pulley inside the engine, it should be OK. Is it truly unbreakable? I bet I can break it. :D

Made in USA too. Nice. Just don’t over-think it.

As to honest opinions on brands and stuff, hardly anyone is gonna have a go-to brand for something as Plain Jane as recoil starter rope. I have bought it by the foot in the hardware stores etc., couldn’t tell you what brand it was.