Lawn mower drive gear. Honda Lawn Mower Self Propelled SlowSolved

US2871647A. Lawn mower wheel. Google Patents

Publication number US2871647A US2871647A US589629A US58962956A US2871647A US 2871647 A US2871647 A US 2871647A US 589629 A US589629 A US 589629A US 58962956 A US58962956 A US 58962956A US 2871647 A US2871647 A US 2871647A Authority US United States Prior art keywords wheel ring gear lawn mower teeth pinion Prior art date 1956-06-06 Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.) Expired. Lifetime Application number US589629A Inventor William A Schrade Richard D Clemson Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.) CLEMSON BROS Inc Original Assignee CLEMSON BROS Inc Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.) 1956-06-06 Filing date 1956-06-06 Publication date 1959-02-03 1956-06-06 Application filed by CLEMSON BROS Inc filed Critical CLEMSON BROS Inc 1956-06-06 Priority to US589629A priority Critical patent/US2871647A/en 1959-02-03 Application granted granted Critical 1959-02-03 Publication of US2871647A publication Critical patent/US2871647A/en 1976-02-03 Anticipated expiration legal-status Critical Status Expired. Lifetime legal-status Critical Current


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  • A01D34/00 — Mowers; Mowing apparatus of harvesters
  • A01D34/01 — Mowers; Mowing apparatus of harvesters characterised by features relating to the type of cutting apparatus
  • A01D34/412 — Mowers; Mowing apparatus of harvesters characterised by features relating to the type of cutting apparatus having rotating cutters
  • A01D34/42 — Mowers; Mowing apparatus of harvesters characterised by features relating to the type of cutting apparatus having rotating cutters having cutters rotating about a horizontal axis, e.g. cutting-cylinders
  • A01D34/46 — Mowers; Mowing apparatus of harvesters characterised by features relating to the type of cutting apparatus having rotating cutters having cutters rotating about a horizontal axis, e.g. cutting-cylinders hand-guided by a walking operator
  • A01D34/47 — Mowers; Mowing apparatus of harvesters characterised by features relating to the type of cutting apparatus having rotating cutters having cutters rotating about a horizontal axis, e.g. cutting-cylinders hand-guided by a walking operator with motor driven cutters or wheels
  • A01D34/475 — Driving mechanisms
  • A01D2101/00 — Lawn-mowers


fi/CHARD Q QEMSON, l/umnfi. jaw/mas BY United States Patent LAWN MOWER WHEEL William A. lchrade, Clemson Park, and Richard D. Clemson, Middletown, N. Y., assignors to Clemson Bros, Inc., Middletown, N. Y.

3 Claims. (Cl. 55-249) The present invention relates to lawn mowers and more particularly to an improved drive wheel adapted for use in a lawn mower.

Heretofore, it has been considered necessary to make lawn mower drive wheels of metal to give them the required strength. Such metal wheels are either cast from iron or other metals or alloys or pressed from sheet steel. Metal wheels are quite heavy and must be subsequently finished by separate machining or assembling operations, and usually require a coat of paint to protect them from corrosion. The wheels have intermeshing ring and pinion gears, usually of steel, which produce considerable noise during operation. The metal ring and pinion gears require lubrication, and sometimes the wheels are packed with a heavy grease to reduce frictional resistance and noise as much as possible. Furthermore, metalvgears when made strong enough to prevent breaking are unyielding and shock resulting from a stone or the like being caught between the rotating and stationary blades is apt to cause a permanent deformation of a blade.

One of the objects of the present invention is to provide lawn mower wheels that have the strength and durability required and avoid objectionable features of pressed and cast metal wheels.

Another object is to provide a Wheel of the type indicated having its ring gear and teeth thereof molded as an integral part of the Wheel with smooth accurately finished surfaces.

Another object is to make a lawn mower drive Wheel adapted to absorb shock without breaking or permanently deforming the ring gear, its teeth or the cutting blades.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a lightweight wheel of the type indicated, having a pleasing appearance, requiring no lubrication, quiet in operation, and adapted for economical manufacture.

In this specification and accompanying drawings, we have shown and described a preferred embodiment of our improved lawn mower wheel applied to different types of lawn mowers, but it is to be understood that the illustrated embodiments are not intended to be exhaustive nor limiting of the invention. On the contrary, the description and drawings are for the purpose of disclosing the invention to others skilled in the art so that they may fully understand the principles thereof and the manner of applying it in practical use so that they may modify and adapt it in various forms, each as may be best suited to the conditions of a particular use.

Figure 1 is a side elevational view of the exterior of a lawn mower drive wheel incorporating the novel features of the present invention;

Figure 2 is an enlarged elevational view of the 0pposite side of the wheel showing the integral ring gear;

Figure 3 is an elevational view, with parts broken away and shown in section and with proportions somewhat distorted, of a portion of a lawn mower wheel and power ice drive therefor and showing the contour of the wheel in end elevation; and

Figure 4 is an elevational view, with parts broken away and shown in section, of a manually propelled lawn mower and showing the wheel of the present invention mounted thereon.

In accordance with the present invention, the lawn mower wheel and ring gear are composed of a tough, rigid resin of the synthetic rubber type, i. e. a composition of styrene or acrylonitrile or the like in proportions and degree of polymerization which make the product substantially rigid for practical purposes although bordering on the elastomeric condition so that it has good resiliency in yielding to shock while normally withstanding full load with little deformation. Such materials available commercially, can be injection molded to final form and finish. One such material is sold by the Naugatuck Chemical division of the U. S. Rubber Co. under the trade name Kralastic B. Such a plastic compound has properties superficially similar to hard rubber, but unlike hard rubber being abrasion-resistant, tough and strong, not brittle, without tendency to deform or warp and having much greater capacity for elastic yield.While substantially retaining its rigid form. Thus, a one-piece drive Wheel, including the internal ring gear teeth, is made in substantially finished form by injection molding. Surprisingly, such a molded plastic Wheel is so strong and durable that it withstands the continual bumping and pounding inherent in the operation of a lawn mower and the excessive shocks which result when the blades are blocked by a stone or a nail, etc. Nevertheless, the teeth of the ring gear, formed as an integral part of the wheel, have suilicient strength to transmit the powerrequired under all conditions of operation and sufficient elasticity to absorb shocks without shearing, breaking or eroding from wear. The resulting wheel is of light weight, requires no subsequent machining, has a smooth, finished surface of pleasing appearance in any desired color, is

The ring gear may be used with a driving or driven pinion of steel or nylon. A plastic ring gear andnylon pinion combination is especially advantageous as it pro duces a low friction, a high resistance to wear and is quiet in operation. One important advantage of the drive gear of my invention is that by cushioning the shocks and hammering, such strong materials wear longer and Weaker materials, e. g. die castings, are made feasible.

lawn, mower, drive, gear, honda

Referring to the drawings, the wheel 5 comprises a hub 6, a disc portion 7 extending radially and axially of the hub, a rim 8 at the outer periphery of the disc, and a ring gear 9 having integral teeth 10 projecting laterally from the disc in radial spaced relation to the rim. The hub 6 is in the form of an annular, cylindrical sleeve having an axial hole 11 to form an axle box. Hub 6 has an offset, annular flange 12 adjacent one end and connected thereto by a radial wall 13 to provide a recess 14 in the outer surface of the wheel co-axial with the hole 11. The disc portion 7 of the Wheel is of concave-convex form and projects radially from the offset flange l2 and axially toward the opposite end of the hub 6, so that its outer periphery is located in a plane normal to.the axle of the hub and intermediate its ends. The rim 8 projects laterally from opposite sides of the disc 7 at its outer periphery to overlie the hub 6 and the rim has a centrally located rib is projecting radially therefrom. The internal ring gear 9 projects laterally from the side of the disc 7 adjacent its outer periphery and is spaced radially from the rim 8 to provide an annular slot or recess 16 therebetween. Teeth 10 project axially from the disc 7 at one end and inward radially from the gear ring and, of course, form an integral part of the gear asrnear ring and disc. Strengthening ribs 18 project radially fi’om the hub in angularly spaced relationship at the inner side of the wheel. Ribs 18 extend a substantial distance along the hub 6 with their outer edge inclined toward the concaved side of the disc 7 and then radially to the base of the ring gear 9 to provide a clearance for the pinion later to be described. Similar radial ribs 19 are positioned in angularly spaced relation between the ribs 18 and project radially from the annular flange 12 to the base of the ring gear 9 and axially from the concave side of the disc 7. As stated above, the entire wheel is made by a single injection molding operation to form the hub 6, disc 7, rim 8, ring gear 9 including the teeth 10, and strengthening ribs 18 and 19 in a one-piece integral structure.

The wheel of the present invention is adapted to be used on any geared type of lawn mower. As illustrated in Figure 3, the wheel of the present invention is mounted on a fixed axle 20 projecting laterally from the frame 21 of a power-driven lawn mower. Sunice it to state herein that axle 20 is in the form of a polished steel stud having one end anchored in the frame. The plastic hub 6 of the wheel may directly contact the metal axle, but, preferably, a nylon bushing 22 is provided in the wheel which rotates on the polished steel axle 20. It has been found that steel and plastic make an acceptable bearing combination, but nylon and steel are superior and produce less wear. Ball bearings are used on the larger power mowers.

Wheel is held on the axle by retaining means here illustrated as a spring clip 23 engaging an annular recess in the axle and outside face of the wheel. It will be noted that the outer end of the axle 20 and retaining means 23 are located in the annular recess 14- so as not to protrude beyond the flange 12.

A plastic cover plate 24 is detachably mounted on the flange 12 by means of spring fingers 25 to cover the recess 14 and provides a pleasing continuous surface at the exterior of the wheel. A- soft resilient tire 26 of rubber or the like is mounted on the rim 8 and retained in position thereon by the rib 15.

The wheel 5 of the power mower is driven by a pinion 27 having teeth 28 meshing with the teeth 10 on the internal ring gear 9. As stated above, pinion 27 may be composed of nylon and is driven by the power shaft 29 through an over-running clutch to accommodate the differential rotation of opposite wheels. With power mowers of larger size, it may be necessary to reinforce the nylon with a metal insert, but provided with a nylon bearing surface for the shuttle of the overrunning clutch, or a steel pinion may be used. Shaft 29, in turn, is mounted for rotation in anti-friction thrust bearings 30 in the frame 21.

Shaft 29 is driven from a gear 32 rotatable on the shaft and connected thereto through a clutch 33. Engagement of the clutch member 33 with the driving gear 32 is controlled by a rotary cam mechanism 34 operated by a radial arm 35, as described more in detail in our prior application, referred to above. Thus, the wheel is positively driven from the driving gear 32 through the clutch 33, shaft 29, pinion 27 and ring gear 9 to rotate the wheel on the axle 20 and thereby propel the mowing machine.

A reel 36 mounted in bearings 37 on the frame 21 has a pinion 38 connected thereto through an over-running clutch which meshes with the internal ring gear 9. The reel 36 has fly knives 39 cooperating with a bed knife (not shown) to constitute a rotary shear as is usual in such mowers. A dust cover 4% is positioned on shaft 20 at the inner side of the wheel. Dust cover 4% col.- prises a pair of metal discs with each having a hole to accommodate one shaft 29 and 36, respectively, and another elongated slot to accommodate the other shaft to permit adjustment of the cutting unit. The periphery of this cover is embraced by a ring 41 attached to the wheel for rotation therewith.

Ring 41, in addition to providing a dust seal by an overlap fit with the dust cover, also gives rigidity to the outer free edge of the ring gear 9 permitting a thinner section and a saving in the amount of plastic used. The ring 41 has a flange portion 42 overlying the outer periphery of the ring gear 9 with a close fit and a flange portion 43 closely overlying the side of the dust cover 40 adjacent its outer edge. The ring 41 may be made of metal or any strong rigid material, but advantageously is composed of the same plastic material as the wheel. As illustrated, the ring is fastened to the ring gear 9 by self-threading screws 44 which bite into the material of the wheel; but these serve only to hold it in place, the forces which it resists are transmitted directly by its peripheral engagement with the gear 9.

During operation of the mower the reinforcing ring 41 adds rigidity to the outer free edge of ring gear 9 to prevent distortion of the ring gear which would permit the teeth of the pinions 27 or 38 to slip over the teeth of the ring gear, while the teeth 10 will still yield to absorb shock.

The resilient plastic, which yields in the gear teeth enough to protect the cutting edges and mechanism against shock, is made rigid in the wheel disc by the radial ribs 18 and 19, but that leaves the opposite side of the ring gear too flexible. The ring 41 corrects this and supplies the rigidity which makes use of the resilient plastic wholly effective and satisfactory.

Figure 4 illustrates the wheel 5 mounted on the axle ZIia of a manually propelled lawn mover. The axle 20a projects laterally from a side frame 21a which also mounts a reel 36a. A pinion 33 on the end of the reel shaft meshes with the internal ring gear 9 of the wheel 5. Helical cutting blades 39 of the reel engage a stationary bed knife 56 to shear the grass. A ground roller 57 is rotatably mounted at the rear of the frame in parts 58 which are adjustable to regulate the height of the bed knife above the bottom of the roller.

When the lawn mower, illustrated in Fig. 4, is manually propelled, the rotation of the wheel 5 relative to the pinion 38, drives the shaft 36a and the reel thereon. It has been found that a nylon pinion 38 operates satisfactorily with a hand driven mower under all conditions of operation and together with the plastic teeth 10 of the internal ring gear 9 provide sufiicient elasticity to absorb the shock resulting from a sudden stopping of the reel, without shearing, breaking or deforming teeth on the ring gear or pinion and without permanently deforming the cutting blades. The wheel is provided with a dust cover 60 having a flange 61 projecting into the annular recess 16 in the wheel to make it seal. With the hand mower a reinforcing ring is not necessary.

It has been found that plastic wheels made in accordance with the present invention are sufiiciently strong and durable to Withstand the strains and shocks of mowing operations. This is due in part to the use of the particular type of elastomer and in part to the form of the wheel. The elastomer provide resiliency and toughness with such rigidity and strength as to provide the durability as above described when used on a lawn mower wheel. The integral, molded teeth of the ring gear have such toughness and resiliency as to transmit power and absorb shock without shearing or breaking. The concave-convex shape of the web provides for limited flexing in the wheel to accommodate shocks. The rim also may flex without transmitting its distortion to the ring gear, due to the annular space therebetween. The molded plastic wheel without machining has the precise form and the same polished finish as the mold in which it is formed so that bearing faces in the hub and on the gear teeth are substantially perfect when removed from the mold. Pigments of any desired color may be used in the plastic, which together with its polished surface, provides a wheel of pleasing appearance. As the plastic wheel is not subject to corrosion, there is no need of coating the wheel with paint or the like. The accurate dimensions and the character of the smooth molded surfaces of the ring gear teeth, especially when used with the molded nylon pinion, reduce friction to a minimum and thereby the power required to propel the mower. Because of the inherent qualities of these plastics, no lubrication is required between them. The smooth, accurately contoured surfaces of the gear teeth and the nature of the plastics used, substantially eliminates noise produced by the gears during operation.

While a single embodiment of a lawn mower drive I wheel is herein illustrated and described and is shown applied to two different types of lawn mowers, it is to be understood that changes may be made in the construction and arrangement of the parts of the wheel without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention.

An integral one-piece lawn mower drive wheel comprising a hub, a disk, a rim at the outer periphery of the disk, an internal ring gear projecting laterally from one side of said disk in radially spaced relation to the rim and extending beyond the rim at one side, said ring gear having teeth at its inner periphery, and the entire wheel, including said internal ring gear and teeth, consisting of a homogeneous mass of a tough, rigid resilient plastic.

A one-piece lawn mower drive wheel in accordance with claim 1 in which a reinforcing ring is attached to the outer edge of the ring gear extending beyond the rim.

A one-piece lawn mower drive wheel in accordance References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 820,789 Hutchins May 15, 1906 1,499,809 Duke July 1, 1924 1,653,331 Atwood Dec. 20, 1927 2,199,144 Tegarty Apr. 30, 1940 2,338,735 Person Jan. 11, 1944 2,432,621 Grobowski Dec. 16, 1947 2,509,949 Worthington May 30, 1950 2,513,309 Grobowski July 4, 1950 2,513,310 Grobowski July 4, 1950 2,669,485 Newman et al Feb. 16, 1954 2,764,034 Hotine Sept. 25, 1956

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Honda Lawn Mower Self Propelled Slow.Solved!

There’s nothing more frustrating than a slow internet connection, but having to push a slow self-drive mower is a close second – it DRIVES ME CRAZY. So it ends today, we’re going to fix it, and it will pull as good as the day you bought it.

So what’s the problem with a Honda lawn mower that moves slowly? A slow-moving Honda mower is commonly caused by a slack drive cable. Adjusting the tension will fix it.

Other possible causes include:

Don’t concern yourself with these other possible causes just yet. They are less likely. We’ll get to the most likely cause, adjusting the drive cable tension.

Self Drive Types

The Honda self-propel system is good, but like all mechanical equipment, it needs maintenance. Diagnosing a drive system incorrectly is an expensive mistake. A new Honda transaxle will cost several hundred dollars, so we’ll avoid jumping the gun.

Tests are not difficult, but you’ll need to execute them correctly to avoid burning time or replacing parts needlessly.

Whichever type you have, the cable will be adjustable.

If you need video help, check out “Self drive common faults video.” It walks you through the diagnosing process step by step – Adjusting the drive system, replacing drive belts, wheels, drive pins, and axle drive gears.

Adjusting The Drive Cable

I love working on Honda mowers. The designers are a thoughtful bunch. It’s rare that an engineer ever thinks about the guy fixing them. Anyway, before adjusting the drive cable, we’ll first need to locate it. Honda uses a few different types of setups. The HRX uses a bail lever as stop/start control and a speed adjustment lever beside the throttle lever.

The Honda Smart Drive uses a single control on the handlebar; this type of self-drive is a little less difficult to adjust. I have included pictures of each type set up, together with the adjusting procedure.

Disable Mower – For safety, let’s remove the plug wire and turn off the gas. Turn the mower over with the carburetor side facing up; stops gas from leaking on the floor.

Adjusting The Honda Smart Drive

The problem is, as you know, likely to be a stretched cable. In other words, the cable is too long. The whole procedure is made simple by the nice people in Japan, and adjusting won’t take more than five minutes.

Drive cables are made up of an outer cable and an inner braided cable. The inner braided cable does all the work and stretches over time. The solution is simple, remove the access cable. Honda’s solution – fit an adjusting screw in the middle of the cable.

The adjuster works by splitting the cable into two, and by adjusting the screw anticlockwise, it pushes the two halves of the drive cable away from each other, taking up the slack on the inner braided cable.

Smart Drive – The Smart Drive self-propel system has an adjuster built into the cable, and it’s located halfway down the left-hand handlebar.

Adjusting – First, open the lock nut. You’ll need two open-ended 10mm or 3/8s or adjustable wrenches. Screw the long adjusting nut anticlockwise – this takes the slack out of the cable and gives you more drive power.

If you over-adjust it, you’ll find pulling the mower backward difficult. So just back it off until you find the sweet spot. Tighten up the lock nut when you’re done with the adjusting. This keeps it dialed in.

Adjusting The Hrx

The HRX has a self-drive cable adjusting screw mounted on the speed control panel. As you have turned off the gas and pulled the plug wire, it’s safe to turn your mower to the side.

Before adjusting, set the speed to high. The adjusting screw has a lock nut that must be loosened and backed off to allow for the cable slack take-up. When adjusting, pull the cable until the cable slack is gone, run in the lock nut, and tighten.

As with all self-drive mowers, if you over-adjust the cable, it will make reversing the mower difficult. The wheels bind. To fix this, back off the adjuster a touch until the mower is free to reverse.

Adjust – Set speed to high, loosen the lock nut, and pull the cable.

Loosen – You’ll need two 10mm or 3/8 wrenches or adjustable wrenches.

Tighten lock nut – pull out the slack and tighten. Test reverse and readjusts if necessary.

Drive Belt May Be Loose

Lawnmower drive belts have a difficult job, and they work in a hostile location. But they’re pretty tough. It’s not unusual for a drive belt to last years and years. But they do eventually wear, they stretch, and the walls get thinner, which makes them even longer.

A belt that’s too long will slip, and a slipping belt won’t transfer the engine power to the wheels. This is especially noticeable going up hills or in heavy grass. If you have a blade engage control on your Honda, you’ll really notice it as you apply the blade.

A worn belt will often be noisy and can cause vibration. To check the belt, we’ll need to turn the mower over, but before we do, let’s make it safe to work on.

Remove the plug wire and turn the gas off.

Now turn the mower on its side with the air filter cover facing the sky. If you turn it up the other way, gas will leak from the carburetor, and you’ll need to replace the air filter.

Loose – The belt should deflect by no more than 1/2 inch. will cause the belt to slip and result in a slow drive.

The belt may be difficult to see, a cover will likely need to be removed, and old dry grass will cover the transmission and belt, so we’ll need to clear it first. I use shop air to blast it, but a small clean paintbrush works too.

Now that you can see the belt check it for wear. You’ll need an inspection light. Since you have removed the plug wire, it’s safe to turn the blade.

This also turns the belt which allows you to inspect all the way around it. If your model has a blade engage lever, put it on and have a helper hold it or use a clamp. This allows you to turn the belt by turning the blade.

If the belt is in good shape, check the deflection. About 1/2 inch is good. But you don’t need to get caught up in measurements. Just use old-fashioned common sense. If it looks really loose when you squeeze both sides of the belt together without much effort, then it’s loose.

Drive Axle May Be Worn

The drive axle on a mower is simple, really. It should be referred to as a trans-axle, though. By trans-axle, we mean axle and transmission combined. I wrote a more detailed explanation of trans-axles here for those that are interested (internal link).

The axle is connected to and driven by the transmission. These are all one unit, and parts aren’t available, so when they fail, which is pretty rare, you just swap out the whole unit. Check out the Amazon link below for drive system parts delivered to your door.

Trans-axle – Honda transmission and axle combo are known as trans-axle.

Drive Pins – Wear out on older mowers and cause the drive to slip. Drive pins are crucial to the whole trans-axle assembly.

An axle drive pin, as its name suggests, is a pin that transfers power from the axle to the wheel. It’s spring-loaded and, combined with the drive gear, allows the mower wheels to move backways with little resistance when reversing the mower.

The axle pin is under extreme stress as it carries all the torque from the transmission to the wheels. These little guys wear out all the time.

The rear wheels are made from plastic and employ metal gears on the inside. The gear is driven by the axle drive metal gear. They wear out as the mower ages. Check out replacing wheels video here.

And if you need new wheels, check out the Amazon link below.

Transmission May Be Worn

Honda transmissions are tough; yes in my workshop, I have replaced a few, but to be fair to Honda, the mowers were old and driven like a hire car. When you’re fixing mowers for as long as I am, you can spot an unloved mower from across the valley.

The transmission, as you know, are solid-state units; no parts are available. If it fails, the whole unit gets changed out.

Replacing the tranny isn’t very complex, but it will require a selection of wrenches, some C clip pliers, and some patience.

Tranny – Honda transmissions are pretty good, and they need to be.

Related Questions

How do you adjust the throttle on a Honda lawn mower? The throttle is controlled by a cable. The cable can be adjusted at the rear of the throttle housing on the handlebars, also on the engine where the cable meets the throttle linkage.

Honda lawn mower rear wheels locked up? If the drive cable is over-adjusted, the rear wheels will lock when pulled backward. Release some tension on the adjuster. It’s located halfway down the left handlebar.

How Four-Wheel Drive Works

The main parts of any four-wheel-drive system are the two differentials (front and rear) and the transfer case. In addition, part-time systems have locking hubs, and both types of systems may have advanced electronics that help them make even better use of the available traction.

Differentials A car has two differentials, one located between the two front wheels and one between the two rear wheels. They send the torque from the driveshaft or transmission to the drive wheels. They also allow the left and right wheels to spin at different speeds when you go around a turn.

When you go around a turn, the inside wheels follow a different path than the outside wheels, and the front wheels follow a different path than the rear wheels, so each of the wheels is spinning at a different speed. The differentials enable the speed difference between the inside and outside wheels. (In all-wheel drive, the speed difference between the front and rear wheels is handled by the transfer case.- we’ll discuss this next.)

There are several different kinds of differentials used in cars and trucks. The types of differentials used can have a significant effect on how well the vehicle utilizes available traction. See How Differentials Work for more details.

A typical part time four-wheel drive transfer case: The planetary gear reduction can be engaged to provide the low-range gearing.

Transfer Case

This is the device that splits the power between the front and rear axles on a four-wheel-drive car.

Back to our corner-turning example: While the differentials handle the speed difference between the inside and outside wheels, the transfer case in an all-wheel-drive system contains a device that allows for a speed difference between the front and rear wheels. This could be a viscous coupling, center differential or other type of gearset. These devices allow an all-wheel-drive system to function properly on any surface.

The transfer case on a part-time four-wheel-drive system locks the front-axle driveshaft to the rear-axle driveshaft, so the wheels are forced to spin at the same speed. This requires that the tires slip when the car goes around a turn. Part-time systems like this should only be used in low.traction situations in which it is relatively easy for the tires to slip. On dry concrete, it is not easy for the tires to slip, so the four-wheel drive should be disengaged in order to avoid jerky turns and extra wear on the tires and drivetrain.

Some transfer cases, more commonly those in part-time systems, also contain an additional set of gears that give the vehicle a low range. This extra gear ratio gives the vehicle extra torque and a super-slow output speed. In first gear in low range, the vehicle might have a top speed of about 5 mph (8 kph), but incredible torque is produced at the wheels. This allows drivers to slowly and smoothly creep up very steep hills.

Locking Hubs

Each wheel in a car is bolted to a hub. Part-time four-wheel-drive trucks usually have locking hubs on the front wheels. When four-wheel drive is not engaged, the locking hubs are used to disconnect the front wheels from the front differential, half-shafts (the shafts that connect the differential to the hub) and driveshaft. This allows the differential, half-shafts and driveshaft to stop spinning when the car is in two-wheel drive, saving wear and tear on those parts and improving fuel-economy.

Manual locking hubs used to be quite common. To engage four-wheel drive, the driver actually had to get out of the truck and turn a knob on the front wheels until the hubs locked. Newer systems have automatic locking hubs that engage when the driver switches into four-wheel drive. This type of system can usually be engaged while the vehicle is moving.

Whether manual or automatic, these systems generally use a sliding collar that locks the front half-shafts to the hub.

Advanced Electronics

On many modern four-wheel and all-wheel-drive vehicles, advanced electronics play a key role. Some cars use the ABS system to selectively apply the brakes to wheels that start to skid.- this is called brake-traction control.

Others have sophisticated, electronically-controlled clutches that can better control the torque transfer between wheels. We’ll take a look at one such advanced system later in the article.

First, let’s see how the most basic part-time four-wheel-drive system works.

How To Troubleshoot a Riding Lawn Mower That Won’t Move in Gear

Have you ever experienced a situation where you are mowing, and suddenly your lawn tractor stopped moving in gear? If yes, you might have wondered whether it is possible to troubleshoot such issues and if possible, how to troubleshoot a lawn tractor that won’t move in gear?

Firstly, gather up all the necessary tools and materials. Then, thoroughly inspect the drive cable, cable connection, drive belt, drive wheels, and transmission. Repair or replace the faulty elements.

Read the article till the end and learn the ways to troubleshoot a lawn tractor won’t move in gear.

What Causes the Problem?

If your lawn mower fails to shift or move in gears, there must be a motion drive failure issue that prevents the gear system from working smoothly.

That’s the most common reason most mowers experience such failure.

Your lawn mower might also fail to move in forward or reverse gears due to a blocked fuel filter and damaged or clogged air filters. They mainly cause the engine to overheat. As a result, the mower fails to move in any gears accordingly.

But you cannot verify the actual problem without a thorough investigation.

Steps To Troubleshoot A Lawn Tractor That Won’t Move In Gear:

Nothing can be more annoying than encountering such circumstances, and in such a situation, all you need is a useful yet quick-fixing DIY method.

However, several DIY ideas are available on several online consumer forums, blogs, and YouTube vlogs. But all are not dependable and cost-effective.

That’s why I have decided to present an easy-to-do DIY method of troubleshooting your lawn mower when it refuses or fails to move in gears:

lawn, mower, drive, gear, honda

Things you will need:

Have a glance at the checklist of the required tools or materials for this troubleshooting task:

Step 1- Check Drive Cables:

As soon as you see that your lawn tractor is not shifting or moving in gears, you should check the current state of the drive cables.

Remember, a broken, loose, or disconnected drive cable will fail to pivot the transmission.

Inspect whether there’s a slack drive control lever. If you have a faulty drive cable, it will freeze up inside its sheath, and you won’t be able to pull up the lever. As a result, the drive cable won’t pivot the transmission forward to engage the drive belt.

If the drive cable looks broken, replace the Drive Cable.

Note: Work on a well-ventilated area that is free from open flame or sparks.

Step 2- Check the Drive Cable connection:

Now, if the drive cable looks perfectly intact and not frozen up, you should check whether the connection between the drive cable connection and the transmission has any loose or disconnection trouble.

To check that connection, carefully disconnect the spark plug wire first.

Then, remove the fuel tank cap and place a plastic sandwich bag over the fuel tank opening.

Next, reinstall the fuel tank cap to avoid gasoline leaking.

After that, tilt your tractor back to lift the front wheels.

Also, secure the tractor handle to keep the tractor steady.

Now, use a screwdriver to remove the bottom mounting screws and release the tractor handle.

lawn, mower, drive, gear, honda

Then, lower your tractor to the upright position to remove the top mounting screws of the drive cover.

Next, release the height adjuster lever to pull the drive cover off.

Check whether the drive cable is disconnected from the anchor post or not, and if it’s disconnected, connect the drive cable properly.

In case the anchor post looks broken or damaged, replace the Front Deck Tray.

Step 3- Inspect the Drive Belt and Drive Wheels:

A worn or broken drive belt fails to engage the engine pulley and fails to spin the transmission pulley.

Thus, the next thing to check and service is the drive belt which rarely fails. If the drive belt is broken or worn out, replace the Drive Belt.

Next, you need to inspect the condition of the drive wheels.

First, pry off the hubcaps and use the wrench to remove the wheel nuts.

Then, pull both wheels off the front axle, and you will see that build-up debris inside those drive wheels.

To prevent further damage, thoroughly clean the wheel gears and remove the build-up debris.

But if the wheels look severely damaged or worn out, you should replace the Drive Wheels.

Step 4- Replace the Transmission if needed:

After that, you need to check the current condition of the transmission.

Start by pulling the belt keeper off and disconnecting the drive belt from the transmission assembly.

Then, thrust the transmission lever forward to engage the internal gears. At the same time, use your hand to rotate the transmission pulley.

If you see that the transmission pulley is not turning, it means the transmission is locked up.

If you notice that the pulley is turning while you thrust the transmission lever, but the transmission is not rotating the front axle, it means your transmission is the main culprit causing such troubles.

In both cases, you need to replace the Transmission.

Undertaking such repair or maintenance to the lawn tractor can be hazardous. Therefore, always read the instructions manual of your lawn tractor first before operating, servicing, or troubleshooting it. Make sure you have the standard mechanical expertise to handle this type of troubleshooting task.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes a lawn tractor to stop moving forward or reverse?

A lawn tractor might stop moving into forward or reverse gears if the transmission bypass lever is engaged or because of a loose, worn, or broken pump belt and tensioner pulley.

What causes the lawn tractor to lock up?

This can arise due to seized piston of the lawn tractor. In general, the piston can seize when you keep your lawn tractor standing for a long time in wet conditions or if the crankcase does not have enough oil in it.

Why my lawn tractor only shifts in reverse?

Often users complain that sometimes their lawn tractors only go in reverse, which mostly happens due to the drive belts slipping.

Lawn tractors are equipped with drive belts. These drive belts are responsible for connecting the engine-generated energy to the axle of the drive wheels. But when the drive belt turns old, excessively worn, or broken, it tends to slip and causes such issues.

Final Verdict

Now that I have explained all the steps to troubleshoot a lawn tractor that won’t move in gear, you can easily get your lawn tractor running again in no time.

Besides, the earlier mentioned reasons, such commotion can occur due to some other faulty areas.


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.

lawn, mower, drive, gear, honda

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.

How to fix Honda lawnmower self propel

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

Key Specs

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

Key Specs

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

Key Specs

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.

Honda HRR 216 Replace Wheel And Drive Gear Pinion

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 M220

Key Specs

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

Key Specs

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.

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