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How to Replace the Rope on a Homelite XL Chain Saw

By James Werning
A well-maintained Homelite XL chain saw will produce many cords of firewood.
Logs image by Tjobbe from Fotolia.com

It’s not uncommon for the starter rope on a Homelite XL chain saw to eventually need replacing. This job will be easier if you change the rope before it breaks, so watch for frayed and damaged sections. Replacement ropes are available at lawnmower repair shops and many home improvement centers. Before you buy, compare the diameter of the new rope with the old to make sure the new one will fit properly.

Remove the screws holding the pull rope housing to the chain saw with a Phillips screwdriver. Place the housing on a work surface with the open side facing toward you.

Pull the old rope out of the housing as far as it will go. If the rope is broken, turn the rope pulley about six turns clockwise -- until it becomes difficult to turn with your fingers -- then back it up a half to a full turn counterclockwise. Clamp the pulley to the housing with a clamp or locking pliers to prevent the pulley from turning.

Cut the old rope with a utility knife if it is not already broken and remove it from the pulley and the grip handle.

Tie a knot in the end of the new starter rope. Slide the rope through the hole in the center of the pulley. Thread the rope through the hole in the housing. Use a stiff wire or flat-head screwdriver if necessary to help guide it through the hole.

Thread the rope through the grip handle. Tie a knot in the end of the rope, on the upper side of the grip.

Tighten the slack in the rope by pulling the grip away from the housing. Remove the clamp or locking pliers, allowing the rope to coil inside the pulley. Fasten the housing onto the Homelite XL chain saw with the mounting screws.


Things You Will Need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Clamp
  • Locking pliers
  • Utility knife
  • 48-inch starter rope
  • Stiff wire
  • Flat-head screwdriver

About the Author


James Werning has authored books and articles on various websites. His scripts have aired for more than 15 years on radio stations across North America. He is a small business owner and a world traveler with a master's degree in communications from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.