The pull starter on Homelite chainsaws is connected to a pulley and a recoil spring cassette just underneath the starter cover. The recoil spring allows the pull rope to automatically retract after you let go of it. The spring can become disengaged or overstretched if you pulled too hard on the rope, and this can cause your pull starter not to automatically retract. If your recoil spring cassette is damaged, you will need to replace it with a new part.
Turn the Homelite chainsaw so that the bar and chain are laying flat and the starter cover is facing up. Loosen the four starter cover screws by unscrewing them counterclockwise with the screwdriver.
Take the starter cover off of the engine. Turn the starter cover over to work on the pull starter. Pull the rope out about 6 to 8 inches.
Twist a loop into the end of the rope. Insert the intersection of the two ropes into the notch on the upper flange of the pulley. Rotate the loop back and forth until you notice the recoil spring has disengaged. Unwind the rope from the pulley. Cut off any old rope if you need to replace it with a new rope.
Unscrew the screw holding the pulley to the starter cover using the screwdriver. Take the pulley off the starter cover. Turn the pulley over and remove the recoil spring cassette from inside the pulley.
Inspect the spring inside the cassette to see if it is damaged or overstretched. Replace the recoil spring cassette if it is broken. Lubricate the post on the starter cover using about a dime-sized amount of engine grease.
Put the recoil spring cassette back into the pulley. Set the pulley onto the starter cover and tighten the screw down with the screwdriver. Wind the starter rope back around the pulley in a clockwise direction.
Leave about 6 to 8 inches of rope unwound. Form another loop at the end and insert the loop into the notch on the pulley. Rotate the loop back and forth until you notice the tension is set on the recoil spring.
Remove the loop and place the starter cover back over the engine. Pull the rope out 6 inches and tighten the starter cover’s screws using the screwdriver. Release the rope and it should automatically retract.