Lawn Mower Clutch Problems (How to Spot Fixes)
The PTO clutch is an essential part for your lawn mower’s function. Without the clutch, or with a poorly functioning clutch, your riding mower will be nothing but a slow, one-seater vehicle. While this may be useful for teaching your teenage kid to drive, it will be useless for mowing the lawn. The clutch is needed to transfer power from the motor to the blades, so that you can cut grass! Luckily, it’s pretty easy to tell if you have a bad clutch. We will go over some ways to diagnose and fix lawn mower clutch problems here.
How to Spot Common Riding Lawn Mower Clutch Problems:
If you are activating your PTO switch on the mower, and you don’t hear it engage or hear the blades start turning, there is probably a problem with either the engagement mechanism or the clutch. The electric solenoid can go bad, the clutch can be worn out and slipping, or the clutch can be fused together by excessive heat. There may also be a safety system malfunction, which may not let the blades engage.
With the first problem, nothing will happen when you activate the switch. This is a telltale sign of an electrical problem. If the clutch is damaged, you may hear it slipping while it tries to engage, or you might hear your PTO engage and then stop right away, as it is designed for the fuse to fail first if it cannot turn the clutch.
Most Common Riding Lawn Mower Clutch Problems:
The Electric PTO is Not Getting the Voltage Needed, or the PTO Solenoid is Toast
If the solenoid switch that controls the electromagnetic clutch engagement is bad, you will not hear anything happen when you activate the switch. There are three common reasons for this: There could be a bad fuse, which is the easiest fix. The solenoid may not be getting enough voltage from the battery to engage, in which case you will want to test the voltage coming from the battery. The other possibility is that the solenoid is bad, and in this case, you will want to head down to your local small engine repair shop to obtain a new one.
The Clutch is Slipping, Damaged, or Fused Together
If you activate your PTO switch and you hear a squealing, screeching sound, disengage the PTO and turn off the mower. You may have something in the blades that is keeping them from turning, your PTO belt may be worn out, or worst-case scenario, you may have a lawn mower clutch problem. Whatever you do, NEVER GO NEAR THE BLADES WHILE THEY ARE SPINNING, OR THE PTO IS ENGAGED. It’s best to completely turn off the mower and remove the key before trying to service any part of the PTO system.
A Safety Switch Somewhere Else is Causing the Blades Not to Engage
There is the possibility that another safety mechanism or switch is keeping the PTO from engaging. There are multiple switches in most mowers to ensure that you are safely seated on the mower when the blades start spinning. This may be a safety switch in the seat, or possibly a switch in the emergency brake or transmission. Try shifting your mower into neutral, engaging and disengaging the emergency brake, and make sure your weight is centered on the seat while engaging the PTO switch. Sometimes the switch under the seat may go bad or get dirty, and it will not sense your weight on the seat. Your lawn mower blades won’t engage if this is the case.
Symptoms of a Bad PTO Clutch on Your Lawn Mower (Mechanical):
These symptoms may indicate a mechanical problem with the actual clutch of the mower.
The Clutch Makes Noise When Engaged
If this is happening, your clutch may have a bad bearing, the surface of the flywheel may not be in good condition, or your PTO belt or pulley may need replacement. The belt slipping may cause the noise, so the first thing to check would be that the belt is tight and not damaged.
The Clutch Causes the Engine to Rev Higher
If the engine is revving up higher when you engage the PTO, it becomes evident that the power transfer from the engine to the blades is not working as it should. This may indicate some of the same things mentioned above. Your actual clutch may have a bad bearing and not be spinning smoothly, causing the engine to use more power. The PTO pulley may also have a bad bearing which would cause the engine to supply more power to get it moving.
The PTO Clutch Starts, Then Immediately Stops, and Fuse is Blown
If the fuse to your PTO switch blows right away when you activate it, that could still indicate a mechanical problem. This could mean that the clutch was impossible for the motor to move, and the motor had to try and supply so much power that it blew the fuse. Your clutch may be seized up completely, there may be something stuck in the blades, or your PTO pulley may be seized up. Either way, you won’t be mowing until you figure out the problem.
Symptoms of a Bad PTO Clutch (Electrical):
The PTO Switch Makes No Sound When Activated
This can indicate that the actual switch is bad or is not receiving enough power from the battery. You will need to do some electric PTO clutch troubleshooting to fix this problem. Listed below are the possible problems to check for if you experience this. You will likely need a multimeter to check for these.
Check the Fuse – The fuse for the PTO System is the easiest part to check and change. It should not be burnt, and you should be able to see that there is still a solid connection.
Battery Voltage – The battery may not be supplying enough voltage to activate the solenoid. This is a common problem, as lawn mower batteries can lose charge while sitting.
PTO Solenoid – This is the actual electromagnetic switch that controls the clutch, and replacing this part is a little more in-depth. You can check for its function with a multimeter.
How to Test the PTO Clutch on Your Mower
For the purpose of testing the PTO clutch on your mower, you will need to use a multimeter. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it just needs the ability to check voltage, resistance, and amperage.
Testing the PTO Clutch (Mechanical)
First, perform a mechanical test on the clutch just to rule out any physical problems with the clutch. You will need to turn on your mower. Make sure the mower is in neutral or park, and that the emergency brake is engaged. Some mowers have differing safety features, and you may need to disengage the emergency brake to start the PTO.
With the mower running at full throttle, try engaging the PTO switch or lever. If you hear the blades try to start up, you can rule out the PTO solenoid. If the clutch is squealing or the mower engine starts revving higher, disengage the PTO and turn off the engine. You may have a bad bearing in the clutch, a bad contact surface on the flywheel, or a bad PTO pulley.
Also, check the belt for the PTO and make sure that it is not loose, frayed, cracked, or otherwise worn out. You can find replacement pulleys, belts, and clutch assembly parts at your local small engine repair shop. If you activate the PTO switch and your blades turn on without incident, Congratulations! You have a functional PTO clutch and you can mow away!
Testing the PTO Clutch (Electrical)
If you tried to activate the PTO in the last step and nothing happened, it’s time to check some electrical connections.
1) Fuse – First, look for the wire that goes to the PTO mechanism. There should be a small fuse box containing the fuse for the switch. If the fuse is blown, you will be able to see it. The metal connection inside the fuse will be melted, broken, or burnt-looking. This means that the clutch was trying to draw too much amperage for some reason, and it usually points to some sort of mechanical problem (bad bearing, etc.). Replacement fuses are cheap, and you can replace it with the same amperage fuse that was in there. Usually, they are 10 or 15A.
2) Battery – If the fuse is good, the next thing to check would be the battery. You want to make sure the battery is supplying the correct voltage to the parts of the mower. Take your multimeter, switch it to Volts, and place the positive (red) probe on the positive terminal of the mower battery. Take the negative (black) probe and place it on a metal part of the engine. If your battery is putting out the correct voltage, the meter should read about 12.6 volts. Anything under that and your battery will need a charge. If this checks out, all that is left to check is the function of the solenoid.
3) Solenoid Function – You will want to find the clutch assembly under the mower, with the mower turned off, and unplug the wire that comes from the PTO switch. Put the key in the mower and turn it only to the first click. You don’t want to start the mower up, you just want the battery turned on. You will need to switch your multimeter to Amperage and connect the black probe to a grounded metal piece. Next, you will need to insert the red probe into the wiring harness coming from the switch. Activate the PTO switch and this should give you a reading of about 4 amps. If there is no reading, it is likely that the switch is bad. You may need to contact the manufacturer to get the part number for that PTO switch.
If you checked for these lawnmower PTO clutch problems and everything worked, your clutch is in working condition and you are ready to mow!
About Tom Greene
I’ve always had a keen interest in lawn care as long as I can remember. Friends used to call me the lawn mower guru (hence the site name), but I’m anything but. I just enjoy cutting my lawn and spending time outdoors. I also love the well-deserved doughnuts and coffee afterward!
Комментарии и мнения владельцев
Hi mate, I’m Farud. I have a Mcculloch m175h38rb ride on mower. How can I tell if the clutch is bad and if it is, can I still mow?
Hi Farud, First, driving with a bad or “failed” clutch on a mower isn’t particularly dangerous or likely to damage more than the clutch itself, but it’s unlikely that you will be able to mow for very long. Any breaking mechanisms may also be worn down more while driving with a bad clutch than they would be otherwise. Further, if your clutch is failing, it may “stick” in the on position and make it difficult to disengage the blades. If this happens, turn off the mower and remove the key. The clutch will need to be repaired or replaced before using the mower again. To know if you have a failed clutch, look for the following signs: – Is your clutch hard to use? If the clutch fails to engage or disengage without more than a reasonable amount of effort, your clutch could be failing. – Does your engine rev every time you engage the clutch? If so, your clutch could be faulty. If either of these criteria is true, you likely have a clutch with a mechanical problem that needs to be repaired or replaced. If neither of these is true, there may be a problem elsewhere that is interfering with how the clutch operates. This usually means a problem with the wiring to the clutch, your mower’s battery, the solenoid related to your clutch if your mower has one, or a fuse attached to the clutch. I hope that helps
My husband purchased an old Craftsman DYT 4000 from a guy he works with last summer. We replaced the carb and it ran good and cut great last summer. We used it for the first time this spring last week. Now the blades are turning but not really fast like normal. It isn’t cutting the grass, just pushing it over. It doesn’t sound like the electric PTO is engaging correctly, but the blades are turning. Switch or electric clutch?
Hi Brenda It sounds to me like that would be an issue with your clutch. If the blades engage at all, the switch should be working fine. Since your blades aren’t spinning as fast as they should I would guess that the clutch isn’t functioning properly, or that the f belt is worn out. Aside from that, I would also recommend taking a look at the blade itself. Make sure that it is tightened securely, and that all grass and grime buildup has been cleaned from the blade and deck. The only other thing that would cause the blades not to spin properly would be lack of power from the engine. However, if you’ve got a suspicion that the clutch is faulty I would check that out first. Let me know how you get on!
Hi Ted, The process of belt replacement will vary depending on the type of mower you have, but generally speaking there are a few things you can expect to do. First, you will have to loosen or remove your variable speed pulley. In order to get some slack in the belt you can almost always expect to pull out a pulley or two. This is usually done by pulling out a handful of mounting screws around its edges, or by taking out its center bolt and fully disassembling it. Now, with tension released, you can remove the old belt and then thread the new one in. Just be sure to route it the same way it came out. There will be some other parts that you’ll likely need to remove when doing this to free up space, but it really depends on the type of riding mower you have. As long as you keep track of all the parts involved, you should be able to get your new belt on just by noticing how the old one is installed. Good luck! Tom.
I have a Cub Cadet 1515 which is having issues with the pto clutch. Last fall the blades quit spinning while cutting grass. I pulled the pto switch out and pushed in several times and the clutch would still not engage. So today I found the air gap on the clutch to be.035 inches which I thought might be the problem (too large). I removed the deck and started the engine and pulled out pto switch and clutch did not engage (pulley was not spinning). A few hours later I started the engine again and the pulley started spinning immediately without pulling out the PTO knob. So, I pulled out and pushed in the PTO switch several times and the pulley kept spinning. I checked the continuity on the PTO switch pushed in: Com a=.89, com b=1, com c=1 and pto switch pulled out: Com a=1, com b=0, com c=0. I think the PTO switch is OK. With the engine running the battery was putting out 13.40 volts and the voltage to the clutch was 14.05 volts. The resistance to the clutch was 5.9 ohms and the continuity was 0. Any ideas on what the problem may be?
Hi Doug While I’m not a trained small engine mechanic, I can definitely offer my perspective. You’re right that your clutch’s gap is off. From what I understand, the average gap is meant to be about half that wide (.016 inches). I’m having a hard time finding the specification from Cub Cadet, but I’ve been reading that other 1515 owners use a gap of 0.012”. Your test results do seem to indicate that the PTO switch still works, and if the pulley can spin, I would assume engagement is the problem here. Try and adjust/shim your gap first. It seems like that should be your issue since you’ve had good readings from the electrical system. If that doesn’t help the problem, make sure you’ve checked your brake switch and safety shut-down circuit too. If these are out of whack it could prevent your PTO switch from doing its job. If all else fails, you might want to consider going for a new PTO and belts. Hope this helps! Tom.
Hi. we have a Husquvarna zero turn CZ4817. Every time we try to engage the blades it rips through my wires on my clutch. I can’t find any information on this and how to fix? Some talk of a anti-rotation bracket but again I can’t find any information on that either? Please help.
Hi Donita, There is a part you need called a clutch tie-down. If you search on the internet for the following – Husqvarna CZ4817 CLUTCH TIE DOWN – you’ll find what you need. It’s a small 15-25 bracket that bolts to the underside of where the engine sits. It slots between a cut-out on the clutch and stops it from spinning. If someone changed the clutch for you, they could have forgotten to put it back on. If the wires were just ripped out, then it probably fell off. If you search on the internet, you’ll find some images that will show you exactly where it goes. I hope you find the part you’re looking for. Thanks, Tom.
I have a 1996 Toro Pro-line model # 30182-690727. While mowing the blades disengaged. Everything was within specification, so I suspected the delay module. I bypassed it and kept the relay for power transfer. I connected the wiring to a 12-volt battery to prove the wiring and everything worked. The system works directly from the alternator which puts out 28 volts ac. The regulator puts out varying voltage between 7.2 and 13 volts dc. When back probing the hot wire going to the clutch, I got 7amps and the clutch engaged. When I remove the meter it disengaged. I cleaned all my grounds and bought a new regulator for the hell of it. It still does not work. Any ideas? I’m stumped.
Hi Matthew, Well, it seems you know your way around electrical systems better than I do. But I did come across a case where the inside of a clutch was shorted out but would still engage. The problem is that it was burning out switches. Now, I’m not sure if this would have anything to do with your case, but it could be something similar. Checking the resistance through the clutch with a multimeter might shed some light on the matter. Also, I’ve heard of starter solenoids causing strange issues with clutches engaging and erratically disengaging. I hope you get things sorted out. Cheers, Tom.
The PTO clutch will stop the engine. The Engine stops when the PTO clutch is in “ON” position. Electrical switch under clutch? What should I look at? I have a Stiga Villa mower.
Hi Aleks, First, you want to make sure that the clutch can spin when the mower is switched off. If it’s seized, then it could trigger the engine to shut down. Then, take a look at the safety switches to make sure that they are connected and working. Your mower could have a safety switch that requires you to have your foot on the brake to engage the PTO. If this is malfunctioning, then it will kill the engine. Next, I would want to check the clutch itself. It could have shorted out and caused the engine to cut out when you tried to engage the PTO. You can test for the resistance through the clutch using a multimeter. At the same time, you can check the switch with the meter. By the sound of it, the switch seems to be working. I hope this gives you some idea of where to look. Good luck! Cheers, Tom.
MY SIMPLICITY CORONET 1694288 had a bad solenoid and I replaced and now starts fine. But when I release the clutch, it shuts down. What did I do wrong?
Hi George, Well, I wouldn’t say you did anything wrong. It could just be a coincidence that when the starter solenoid went bad, so did something else. Or something else caused the clutch to go bad. Here are a few items that could be worth looking into. Check the Safety Switches First, run through the mower’s safety features. I’m sure you know that micro switches around the mower will cut the engine if safety isn’t followed as per the manufacturer’s design, such as sitting in the seat when you engage the PTO switch. Next, check that the switches are working correctly and are still connected to the wiring harness. These could have been disconnected when the solenoid was being replaced. Check the Wiring Harness for Damage Next, check the wiring harness for any damage. There could be a damaged cable causing a short and resulting in the mower cutting out once you engage the clutch. Once you’re confident that these are working correctly, move on to the clutch. Checking the Clutch First, set the ignition to ON (not start) with the mower’s engine off and engage the clutch. So you should hear the clutch click on and off as you move the switch. If it engages, then the switch should be ok. Next, you want to check the clutch. I’m not sure if you are handy with a multimeter, but if you are, you could test the resistance through the clutch. If the clutch is shorted out internally, it could be drawing too many amps from the battery. You can test the switch to see how many amps run through the circuit or how many ohms pass through the clutch. If the clutch is burned out, it could be drawing too much power and killing the engine. A clutch can still operate even if it is burned out electrically. I hope this information can point you in the right direction. Tom.
I have a Craftsman zero turn mower about 10 years old. Model 247.25001 42″ deck. The last year or two I’ve been having an intermittent problem with my PTO switch. I start the mower, turn on the switch and the blades engage fine. After about 30 minutes or so, sometimes longer (takes me about an hour or so to mow the lawn) I may stop the mower and blades to get off and clear the deck off, or move something (its setup for mulching). I’ll get back on the mower, engage the switch and nothing happens. However, if I leave the switch in the on position in about 3 – 5 minutes the blades will start up again. I changed the switch and it was a little better, but still doing the same thing. I had read something about overheating of the PTO switch and I see where they now sell 10 amp switches versus the 5 amp that came with the machine. Any ideas what this could be?
Hi Robert, It sounds like there could be an issue with the actual PTO clutch. Inside the clutch, there is an electromagnet that has windings. As these windings degrade, they can cause a short, which in turn changes the resistance through the PTO. What can happen is the PTO switch can overheat and damage the switch. Basically, the change in resistance can cause an increased pull of amps and melt the switch. So, the fact that you changed the switch from a 5 amp to a 10 amp probably masked the issue for a while. I recommend disconnecting the electrical connector from the PTO and testing it with a multimeter. If you set your multimeter to ohms and connect the two probes to the clutch, you will be able to check the resistance. Typically a PTO clutch will have a resistance between 2-4ohm. If your clutch is outside of this range, then this is likely the cause of the problem. You should be able to find the specific resistance for your PTO in your manual. I hope this gives you an idea of what to check. Thanks for the question. Tom.
Hi Tom, I have a Scag walk behind. There is a high pitched noise when I disengage the blades. Also I noticed when I spin the blades the clutch moves back and forth. Any thoughts? Are these issues related? Thanks!
Hi Travis, The clutch should be locked in place with a small metal bar/bracket. So the clutch should only move a tiny amount between the bracket. Now inside the clutch, there are a few bearings that allow the clutch to spin. I’m thinking that the bearings could be worn and are causing the noise, or the clutch isn’t properly installed, and it could have come loose. I would take a closer listen to see where the noise is actually coming from. It could be coming from the clutch, or it could be belt noise as the belt slips when the blades are disengaged. First, I recommend that you inspect the clutch to make sure the bearings are ok and that the clutch is correctly installed. Then I would take a look at the belt and pulley system. If you are only having a problem when the blades engage/disengage, then it must have something to do with the driveshaft, clutch, belt, pulleys/spindles, or the deck. I hope this gives you a few ideas. Tom.
Lawn Mower Clutch Problems: Their Quick And Easy Fixes
Lawn mower clutch problems can be a nuisance when using a riding-style mower for lawn maintenance. A clutch is a particularly sensitive part of the mower equipment that is easily prone to get damaged.
This article lists all the probable reasons your clutch might not work properly. You will also learn practical methods for checking for problems and solving them yourself.
What Are Some Common Lawn Mower Clutch Problems?
Some common lawn mower clutch problems would be the releasing mechanism, the worming out of the input. On the other hand, it can also be due to the solenoid not working, and the clutch not being properly lubricated.
Xtreme Clutch Installation Video
On the other hand, the clutch of gas-fueled and electric lawn mowers might have problems because of a defective releasing mechanism or a worn-out input shaft. A faulty or fused solenoid is one of the most common reasons, and it provides a variety of symptoms.
LAWN MOWER REPAIR how to diagnose and repair honda blade clutch issues
– The Releasing Mechanism
The releasing mechanism of an electric PTO clutch gets damaged quite easily. This would be the result especially when the machine is used improperly on a bumpy surface. The latter is because the machine is made to work on smooth surfaces, with no uphills or crusted bumps on the edges.
When these are present, the machine will become weaker, because it is not made for these reasons. The dysfunctionality will be represented by the mower’s weird noises when the clutch engages or disengages. This would indicate that the mechanism has been messed up, and the clutch is not in the right position as it should be.
What you must do in this case is to turf off the engine and then press and release the clutch. If the release mechanism has been affected, the peculiar noises will continue even with the engine being turned off.
The mechanism is the one that is responsible to adjust the proper functionality of the machine and how it would be running throughout the time. Remember that if this is damaged, then the whole thing will have a major issue when it is aiming to do the work.
– Worn Out Input Shaft
A clutch input shaft connects the engine to the clutch and transfers rotational forces to it. Naturally, the bearings around this shaft might wear off after years and years of mower use. The shaft is what will be gripping well the clutch, and as a shaft gets worn out, or weakened, the clutch would start seeing different problems. This is an aspect that you wouldn’t think of, because this issue is not an obvious one.
However, it might also occur due to bad PTO clutch use when you overexert your riding lawn mower and its clutch, which would get damaged as the years would pass by. As a result to the latter, you can very obviously, tell that the problem lies in the input shaft when the mower makes whirring or chirping noises in a neutral position, but the sounds go away when the clutch is depressed.
– Clutch Solenoid Is Not Working
A PTO solenoid, in layperson’s terms, is simply a switch activated when the engine engages with the clutch. Once the clutch, in turn, connects with the external shafts of mower tires, this solenoid gets deactivated.
The clutch will stop working whenever there is something wrong with this solenoid; on the other hand, it may also be due to the wrong calibration of the solenoid, which is not properly adjusted, as a result you will feel like the machine is not doing its job right.
A lot of mower clutch problems arise because of a dysfunctional clutch. Sometimes, this solenoid turns into a bad fuse and must be taken care of, or else the machine would get tired so quickly.
At other times, the solenoid might be working all right but is not getting the right voltage from the battery, so the battery needs to be fixed, and this is a matter of reverse standardization, where one would effect the other.
When the mower is not stored properly, someplace dry, the solenoid rusts. Dust can get stuck in the mower engine, affecting the sensitive electromagnet from which the solenoid is made. When the solenoid gets fused, damaged, or corroded, you have no other option but to replace it.
– The Clutch Is Not Lubricated Properly
When the electric clutches are not lubricated properly as part of regular mower maintenance, problems would begin to arise. As a result of lacking of oil, the machine may start showing you signs such as a squeak of noise coming out, or a challenge when trying to work through the task.
To elaborate further, the friction in the clutch parts might cause it to become stuck while working or not turn properly. You will feel resistance in the mower movement even with the engine at full throttle and the clutch fully engaged, as a result the problem would be relevant and obvious.
A lack of power is not the only thing that happens when lubrication of riding mower clutches needs to be taken care of. When friction starts to occur, then it will cause the clutch components to wear down quickly, and this might end up damaging the mechanism of this machine on a permanent scale. In addition to this, sometimes, fluids might start leaking into the clutch from lack of lubrication.
Lastly, the resistance and friction between these parts will increase the heat production in the clutch. The temperature of the whole engine will be raised, which is a dangerous thing to happen in any machine.
How To Solve Lawn Mower Clutch Problems?
To solve the lawn mower problems with the clutch, you must first test the clutch well, and make sure you would replace the electromagnetic solenoid. In addition, you should also replace the battery, and invest in better lubricating oil, and remove the defected clutch and replace it.
To fix your problematic PTO clutch, you need to see what is wrong with it and then fix it accordingly. In case the clutch is completely damaged, take it out and then replace it with a new one.
– Test The Clutch First
The first step is to carry out extensive clutch troubleshooting for the pto switch clutch. after which it can be fixed. This will help you pin the issue right from the start, it will tell you and signify what is really going on.
First and foremost, you must make sure that the mower’s engine has been turned off and cooled before working. This is when you must push a mower jack underneath it and lift it using two rear jacks and two front ones.
Then, make sure you try to lift the hood to expose the battery and disconnect its terminals. Use a millimeter to read the volts on the battery. If the voltage falls below 12.4 volts, the inadequate voltage is why the clutch is not engaging, and this is the way you would start to tackle the problem.
Next, check the fuse in-line and see if it has blown or is black with soot. It will have to be replaced if it is damaged. See that nothing is jamming the belt and the pulley system of the mower, like broken twigs or tree branches.
Put in the ignition key and turn the engine off to check the working of the clutch. Before turning the engine, engage the lever and disengage it after turning it on. If the pulley is slowing down during this, then this means that the clutch has fused with the plates.
Which means that you should take the matter into a closer look, and fix this situation by replacing it, or adjust it properly.
– Replace the Electromagnetic Solenoid
Many problems can go wrong with a mower clutch, and each needs to be addressed individually. However, if you check that the clutch is not sitting right, then you should try to work with fixing the solenoid.
If the problem lies with a faulty solenoid, this electromagnet will have to be replaced by a new one. This is something other than what we recommend doing yourself, and it’s best to ask for professional help instead.
When it sits right, after you have replaced it, you won’t go through so much difficulty, because after adjusting, it won’t show you any issues. Sometimes, it is just the switch that is defective and in need of a replacement, this would be upon the situation, of course.
Your local hardware store will give you a brand new one that must be bolted in place of the old one.
– Replace The Battery
When the problem lies with the battery voltage, there is no need to mess with the clutch anymore, don’t go any further and try to put yourself in a chaos of a situation. The battery only needs to be cleaned and get IRS electrolyte refilled, and it will be fair to get it done.
When the machine has been set with a really old and worn-out battery will have to be replaced by a new one, and as you try to turn it on after you have replaced it, you shouldn’t face any clutch problems.
– Invest in Lubricating Oil
Lack of lubrication will produce undue friction and generate heat from the clutch plates getting stuck together. Invest in a premium-quality lubricating oil and use it on the engine. If the problem persists, the clutch has been damaged already and requires a replacement.
When you invest in a quality lubrication oil for your lawn mower, and spread it to the right amount that is given, it will run in a smooth way, with no further complications, and no noise. This would show that the clutch is functioning very properly.
– Removing and Replacing the Defective Clutch Effectively
Put on your best rubber gloves and take a screwdriver and a socket wrench set. You do not need any other additional tools for this.
Once the engine has been switched off, and the ignition key is taken out, wait for the mower to cool down. Then remove the protecting covering of the spark plug and use its wrench to remove it as a precautionary measure.
Then you must place a jack under the mower and pull it upwards to access the deck and the pulleys. Remember that it is important to have a plastic coating is usually protecting the mower belt that must be removed.
Loosen the belt using the screws holding it in place on both sides to gain access to the clutch underneath. Once the belt has been loosened and removed, you can see the clutch connected to two wires. These wires connect the clutch to the engine and the blade, make sure this step is done neatly.
Ask someone to help you remove the bolt that connects the clutch to the top of the mower. Once this screw is loose, remove the flywheel cover and screw it back on. Remove the clutch as the final step and replace it with a new one.
Put everything back as you did before and restart the engine to see if it works, and adjust the grip, and make sure you turn it on and now see the way that it would be running.
Now that we have discussed the problems and the solutions associated with faulty mower clutches, here is a brief recap before we go.
- A faulty solenoid that is either fused, not getting the right voltage, or corroded might cause clutch problems and must be replaced.
- The clutch might get overheated from friction when not lubricated regularly and will not engage properly.
- When the releasing mechanism of the clutch is affected, the clutch stops working properly.
From the steps we have mentioned, you must first figure out what is wrong with the clutch. Once you know what is wrong with the clutch, you can take the necessary steps to fix it through our guide.
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The Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers in 2023 for Making Your Yard Work Easier
These lawn mowers drive themselves, taking the load off you in the process.
By Roy Berendsohn Published: Mar 21, 2023
One of the perks of the warm-weather season is getting to spend time outside. If you own your own home and have a yard, it’s very likely that in order to enjoy your outdoor space, you need to mow the lawn. The larger the yard, the more work it will be to maintain. If you have a lot of grass to cut, you’d be wise to consider a self-propelled lawn mower especially now that there are a ton of sales just in time for Memorial Day.
The primary difference between a standard push mower and a self-propelled mower is that the former moves when you push it, and the latter essentially moves itself with only your guidance. Once the engine is running, all you have to do is squeeze a handle or push a lever and the mower will start moving forward with you as you walk.
Turning the mower around is your job, but once you have your heading, just keep the drive handle squeezed and escort the mower down the path, no pushing necessary.
Self-propelled law mowers take power off the engine and route it via a belt to a pulley on the transmission and axle. When you move the drive control lever on the mower handle, you tension the belt, causing the pulley to turn, and this drives the transmission, moving the mower forward.
Move the drive control lever back and the tension is released, the pulley stops turning, and the mower stops moving forward. The belt-driven transmission is a time-tested design to power the mower and take the load off you in the process.
What to Consider
A mower is like many consumer products in that the more features a manufacturer adds, the more expensive it becomes. But a longer or more eye-catching list of features isn’t necessarily better. Sometimes less is more. Here are the most important to keep in mind.
Front-wheel drive mowers tend to be less expensive than rear-wheel drive units. They can be easier to turn because you don’t have to disengage the drive wheels to do so. Simply push down on the handlebar to raise the front wheels off the ground. However, their traction isn’t as strong on hills or when the bag is full, as there isn’t as much weight over the drive wheels.
Rear-wheel drive mowers do cost more and aren’t as easy to turn, as you do need to disengage the drive—but this isn’t too much of a hassle. Rear-wheel drive mowers shine on hills and inclines, and when the grass bag is full. In either scenario, weight is shifted rearward and over the drive wheels, which enables superior traction, thus making the self-propel more effective.
An engine as small as 125 cc can power a mower, but most are somewhere in the 140 cc to 190 cc range. A large engine helps when powering through tall, lush grass or in extreme conditions, such as with a side discharge chute in place and mowing tall weeds in a border area. Also, the extra torque provided by a larger engine can improve bagging when the going gets tough (tall, leaf-covered grass in the fall). But if you mow sensibly and pay attention to deck height—and especially if you don’t let your lawn get out of control—an engine between 140 and 160 cc has more than enough power to get the job done.
A mower can have all four wheels the same diameter (7 to 8 inches), or it may have rear wheels that range from 9.5 inches to 12 inches in diameter. Larger rear wheels help the mower roll more easily over bumpy ground.
With some mowers you can start the engine with the twist of a key or the press of a button. It’s a great option, but a luxury. Keep the mower engine tuned and use fresh fuel with stabilizer added to it, and you’ll never have trouble starting.
Any number of mechanisms can control a mower’s ground speed—a squeeze handle, a drive bar that you press forward, even a dial. There’s no single right answer here. Look at the design and think about how you like to work. For example, if more than one person will be using the mower (and not all of them are right-handed), a drive control like that on a Toro Personal Pace mower might be the answer. Just push down on the bar to make it go faster. Let up on the bar to slow down.
A mower that can bag, mulch, and side discharge is known as a three-function mower, the most versatile kind. Two-function mowers bag and mulch or mulch and side discharge.
Mowers will typically have one, two, or four levers to control the deck height. Single-lever adjustment is the easiest to use, but it requires more linkage, which adds weight and complexity. If, for some reason, you find yourself varying deck height frequently, it’s a good option. Otherwise, two or four levers work just fine.
Only Honda makes a gas-engine mower with a high-impact plastic deck (there are battery mowers that have plastic decks). Otherwise, mowers generally have a steel deck, and a few manufacturers—Toro, for one—offer a corrosion-resistant aluminum deck. An aluminum deck won’t rot the way a steel deck will, but you still need to keep it clean.
This is a hose fitting mounted on top of the mower’s deck. When you’re done mowing, hook up a hose and run the mower to power wash the underside of the deck. We’ve had mixed results with these, but they’re better than just letting a mass of dried grass clippings accumulate.
expensive mowers come with a more durable bag with more dust-blocking capability. If you bag a lot, especially leaves or other lawn debris in the fall, then you need a mower with a higher quality dust-blocking bag. Having said that, if you rarely bag, the standard one that comes with a mower will last you the life of the mower.
Also called wide-area mowers, machines in this subgroup help homeowners better reconcile their need for more power and speed with the fact that they may not have enough storage for a tractor or zero-turn mower. A typical residential walk mower has a single-blade deck that cuts a swath from 20 to 22 inches wide. Wide-cut mowers (built for homeowner use) have either a single blade or, more typically, a pair of blades, cutting from 26 to 30 inches with each pass. Some of these are rated for light commercial use and have larger decks, in the 32-inch range, and engines that start at 223 cc and go up to about 337 cc.
Wide-cut mowers typically employ gear or hydrostatic drive transmissions, and they have top speeds of about 4 to 6 miles per hour. At their fastest, they move so quickly you have to trot to keep up with them. Needless to say, they’re overkill for small yards; only opt for one of these if you’ve got a significant plot of land that you need to keep tidy, but not one so large that you’d be better off going with a full-on riding mower.
How We Tested and Selected
We compiled this list based on Popular Mechanics mower testing and our knowledge of the lawn mower market at large. For our testing, we put mowers through the paces using our standard Popular Mechanics methodology: We cut turf grasses such as fescues and blue grass and rougher non-turf grasses like Timothy, clover, orchard grass, and wild oats, all in both normal and shin-deep heights. We mow uphill, downhill, and across the faces of hills. The maximum slope we cut is about 30 degrees.
That may not sound like much, but it’s about all you can do to stand on it, let alone push a mower up it or across it. We mow damp and wet grass to test general cutting performance and whether clippings accumulate on the tires. And we cut dry and dusty surfaces to see how well the bag filters under less-than-optimal conditions.
Honda HRN 216VKA
Honda mowers enjoy a sterling reputation. Having tested their walk and self-propelled mowers for the last 30 years, we feel confident that Honda’s entry level mower is a great choice for homeowners looking for power and durability. The HRN features a GCV 170 gas engine that’s built to withstand long hours of operation.
If you do your own maintenance (and most owners who buy this class of product do), you’ll appreciate the easily accessible spark plug and the fuel shutoff valve that enables better winter storage. Close the fuel shutoff and run the mower until it sputters to a halt. This will clear the carburetor of any gasoline, which will prevent the ethanol in it from disintegrating and causing running issues later on. Open the shutoff valve in the spring, add some fresh gasoline, and the mower should start easily.
All this maintenance stuff is great, but we can also tell you that our past test findings on other Hondas prove that their cut quality is outstanding for cleanliness. Sharp blades deliver a velvet-like finish. And their bagging ability is also quite good, in the same league with other well-bagging mowers from Toro.
In all, if you take mowing seriously, you should enjoy this Honda. If you have a little wiggle room in your budget, consider the Honda HRX, which features a mower powerful engine and a composite deck that won’t rust and is renowned for its durability.
One note is that Honda has announced that it will cease selling lawn mowers in the United States after this year—so if you’re considering buying one, best do it sooner rather than later.
Toro Recycler 60-Volt Max Lithium-Ion
Toro mowers have garnered more recommendations from us than any other brand for two reasons: build quality and cut quality. These were amply demonstrated in our testing as the Recycler turned in the best ratio of cut area per amp-hour of battery in the self-propelled category, while at the same time not skimping on cutting, mulching, or bagging quality.
We attribute this outstanding mower performance to three features, all upgrades to the previous version of this machine. First, the air vent at the front of the mower deck seems to improve mulching and bagging performance. Toro calls it Vortex technology, a design that increases air flow under the deck. This helps to stand the grass for a cleaner cut, which improves mulching performance, and also allows better airflow into the bag when collecting the clippings.
Next, the company’s redesigned “Atomic” blade configuration appears to assist the air flow and clipping movement. Finally, the three-phase, 60-volt motor is exceptionally efficient, resulting in a large cut area for a single battery.
Toro has maintained features that make this mower work: rear wheel drive, a one-piece deck that’s all steel (no plastic nose), 11-inch wheels to help it roll over roots and crevices, and the same fold-forward handle that was an industry breakthrough when it was introduced some years ago.
Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Self-Propelled Mower
This is one of Ryobi’s top-of-the-line mowers, and it’s American-made construction is something we wish we saw more of. It delivers a tremendous cut area with its two 6-Ah batteries providing a total of 12-Ah of capacity, and its X-shaped blade leaves a pristine surface in its wake.
Ryobi estimates the design should provide 70 minutes of run time; we didn’t time our cut, but it strikes as plausible. Its rear-wheel drive and reasonably aggressive tire tread pattern provide good hill climbing and sidehill cutting performance, and its bagging on all surfaces (level, sidehill, and uphill) is also commendable.
Other ease-of-use features include an easily installed or removed bag that mounts and dismounts straight up and down through the handle; deck adjustment is quick and easy thanks to a single-level deck height adjustment. The straight edge deck is polypropylene; it will never rust and needs very little care other than basic cleaning.
Toro TimeMaster 30 in. Briggs Stratton Personal Pace
The Toro Timemaster 30-in. mower has been around for several years and has earned a reputation as a sturdy workhorse for homeowners who want to cut down on their mowing time. It’s also used by some professionals as well. A few years ago the Timemaster got a slightly more powerful Briggs and Stratton gas engine, so it should have no issues powering through most demanding mowing jobs.
The Timemaster is rear-wheel drive and features Toro’s Personal Pace drive system that’s used on many of its self-propelled mowers. This allows the mower to move at your speed by simply pushing down or releasing the handle, which is spring-tensioned.
With a 30-in. deck, Toro claims the Timemaster will help you reduce your mowing time by about 40% compared to using a standard-sized mower. You can mulch, back, or side discharge with the Timemaster, and the handlebar can be locked in a fully vertical position to reduce space consumption in storage.
If you have half an acre to a full acre of lawn to mow and prefer the experience of a walk-behind mower versus a tractor or zero-turn, the Timemaster is worth a look.
Craftsman mowers have been doing very well in our tests, so we can recommend this one because it’s so much like the many other of the brand’s models that we’ve tested. If you’re looking for a good blend of maneuverability and power, you’ll get it with this mower. Its front drive helps move it along and makes it easy to turn.
It’s important to note that front-drive mowers do lose some traction when running uphill, particularly with a full grass bag. But if your slope is less than 20 degrees, and you’re not bagging uphill, you’ll be fine. The side discharge will also help you handle tall grass. Adjust the two deck levers to bring the mower up to full height and have at the rough stuff.
The fact that this mower bags, mulches, and side discharges is a plus, enabling you to handle a wide range of mowing conditions, from early spring and late into the fall. Three-function mowers like this are our preference for that versatility.
Toro Super Recycler Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
This is a beauty of a mower, with a cast-aluminum deck and a smooth-running Briggs Stratton 163-cc engine. We tested the Honda engine-equipped version, and it was effective at both bagging and mulching, even in moist grass.
Equipped with rear-wheel drive and the Personal Pace system (the farther you push the drive bar, the faster the mower goes), it’s an effective hill climber and moderately effective on sidehill cutting. It has relatively small 7.5-inch tires on all four corners, which causes this Toro to bump up and down a bit on washboard surfaces. But the good news is that it’s equipped with a far higher quality tire than we’re used to seeing these days. We didn’t notice them pick up any grass on moist surfaces.
Other features we like include its forward-fold handle that has a built-in shock absorber that Toro calls a Flex Handle Suspension, and a high-quality grass bag that loads through the handle, from the top.
Are there special maintenance considerations with self-propelled mowers?
Yes. Both front- and rear-wheel drive mowers typically feature a drive belt, which can crack or wear out over time. Fortunately these belts are not difficult or particularly expensive to replace.
Secondly, you may have to replace the drive wheels occasionally. These wheels are driven with gears. there are typically teeth on the inside diameter of the drive wheel that line up with a gear on the axle. These teeth can wear out, especially if they are made of plastic. Higher-end mowers may feature drive wheels with a metal gear that meets the metal axle gear, which improves longevity of these components.
My lawnmower says I don’t ever have to change the oil, but just add oil when needed. Is this OK?
It’s not a good idea to never change the oil in your lawn mower. In a lawn mower, same as a car, oil degrades over time and is less effective at reducing heat and friction in metal components. Changing the oil in your lawn mower is easy to do and will significantly increase its service life. For most homeowners, changing the oil at the beginning or end of each mowing season should be sufficient, though there is certainly no harm in doing it more often.
Roy Berendsohn has worked for more than 25 years at Popular Mechanics, where he has written on carpentry, masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical, woodworking, blacksmithing, welding, lawn care, chainsaw use, and outdoor power equipment. When he’s not working on his own house, he volunteers with Sovereign Grace Church doing home repair for families in rural, suburban and urban locations throughout central and southern New Jersey.