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Starting a pull start 48" Exmark


LawnSite Member
Columbus, Ohio
I have an older 48" Exmark walk behind. Being as it is older, It only has a pull start. The problem I am having is that sometimes it almost rips my hand off when starting it. It rips the handle right out of my hand. I have been told to pull the rope slowly to turn over the engine , then pull to start it. I just spent over $300 in repairs including a tune up. It just seems dangerous. Anyone know what the problem could be or what I can do to keep from getting my fingers ripped off trying to start this thing?


Dan Johnson


LawnSite Bronze Member
Martinsville, IN
Try posting this question in the Exmark forum on this site. They have support available and they always can answer these types of problems. Best of luck to you.


LawnSite Member
Winchester, VA
I have had the same thing happen to me. It surprises me everytime it happens. It is not just limited to exmark engines, kohler, kawisaki. I do not know what causes it but it hurts.


LawnSite Platinum Member
sounds like the flywheel key is worn, or the timing is off, valve timing could be causing the problem as well.....

Shady Brook

LawnSite Bronze Member
I had a Kohler that did it, and it was miserable. Try like you were told to pull it til you get to the point of resistance, then let the recoil go back in, then pull her good. If you still have trouble, look to other problems that were mentioned above.



LawnSite Bronze Member
It has something to do with the compression release. Mine has caught me off guard a couple of times.


Senior Member
Rock Valley, IA
What's the deal with my 12.5 Kohler then? It is super super hard to pull, and when I do get it started it seems that everything wants to come back out of the carb instead of the muffler. I think that the exhaust valve timing is off, because the exhaust is coming out when the intake valve is open. Anyone?