Unstick a Stuck Pull-Start Cord on a Nitro RC

Although the pull-start on an RC could fail for several different reasons, two common situations are a pull-cord that won't pull out or a pull-cord that won't recoil. The first is often due to a condition called hydrolock or hydrostatic lock (basically, the engine has locked up) so the cord won't pull out. The stuck in or stuck out could be because the cord has come off its track/flywheel. For each sitation, try the appropriate steps described here.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: It usually only takes a few minutes to an hour or so to get a pull-start cord unstuck

Here's How:

  1. Cord Stuck Inside
    If your cord won't pull out it could be that pressure has built up within the engine.
    • Remove the glow plug.
    • Pull on the cord a few times.
    • If this releases it, replace the glow plug and start your engine.


  2. Cord Stuck Inside and Off Track
    If your cord won't pull out and removing the glow plug and giving the cord a few tugs doesn't work, it could have come off the track/got stuck or twisted inside. You'll need to access the flywheel and rewind the pull-start cord. 


  3. Cord Stuck Outside and Off Track
    If your cord is stuck unwound and won't go back in, you'll need to access the flywheel and rewind the pull-start cord.


  4. Rewinding Not an Option
    If rewinding doesn't work, you may need to replace the pull-start assembly. Some RC owners prefer to just replace the pull-start rather than messing with the spring and trying to rewind the cord. It's your choice.



    1. Change Starter Methods
      To avoid pull-start issues altogether you may want to see about converting your nitro RC to a roto-start (shaft starter) system. See What are the different ways to start a nitro engine?

    What You Need:

    • Wrenches
    • Screwdrivers
    • Needle-nosed pliers
    • New pull-start assembly (possibly)