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How to Install the Recoil Spring on a Poulan Chain Saw

The recoil spring inside the engine on a Poulan chain saw helps retract the starter rope after you’ve pulled it out. This recoil spring stretches out and then snaps back, pulling the rope with it. The recoil spring sits inside the pulley, which is attached to the flywheel. If you’ve overstretched the spring or pulled it out entirely then you will not be able to start your Poulan chain saw. The recoil spring comes inside a circular cassette like object.

Turn the chain saw so that the guide bar and chain are down and the cooling side of the engine is facing up. Unscrew the four retaining screws, which hold the starter cover in place over the starter housing area. Lift the cover off.

Release the tension from the old recoil spring. Withdraw approximately eight inches of rope from the pulley and underneath the starter cover. Loop the rope and push that loop into the notch on the upper flange of the pulley. Hold the cover steady while twisting the loop and pulley back and forth until the pulley spins freely.

Unscrew the pulley’s mounting bolt with the wrench. Take the pulley off the metal post. Insert the tip of the screwdriver into the edge between the rim of the pulley and the recoil spring. Hold one hand over the recoil spring while prying out the cassette from inside the pulley.

Insert the new recoil spring into the pulley’s center. Set the pulley and recoil spring back onto the mounting post. Tighten the mounting post’s bolt with the wrench. Reset the tension on starter using the same process as you did to release it. Turn the cover back over, set it on top of the starter housing area and tighten down the four retaining screws with the screwdriver.


This spring is under a lot of tension, so wear safety glasses when removing and installing the recoil spring.

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