How to Fix the Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Cable, step by step


A self-propelled lawnmower is a machine that performs drives itself. There is no need to push it. If you have a larger or more challenging yard, it can save you a lot of energy. For many users who don’t want to push their mowers around, the self-propelled lawnmower proves to be a great machine to cut their grass.

The drive cable from a self-propelled lawnmower is an important component that controls the transmission. A faulty drive cable can lead to a difficult-to-control lawnmower or even one that can not be controlled at all. When this is the case, it is probably time to replace the faulty drive cable with a new one. In this blog post, we will take you through the step-by-step procedure of a drive cable replacement.

How to fix the Self-Propelled Lawn Mower cable, step by step:

  • Step 1: Disconnect the spark plug
  • Step 2: Release the cable from the mower handle and drive control lever
  • Step 3: Remove the drive cover using a screwdriver
  • Step 4: With the drive cable released and the drive cover removed, take the drive cable out.
  • Step 4: Install the new cable
  • Step 6: Reinstall the drive cover carefully
  • Step 7: Route the new drive cable around the engine properly.
  • Step 8: Reconnect the spark plug and test run your self-propelled lawnmower

Preparation for the drive cable replacement

This article will help you with the drive cable replacement for a self-propelled lawnmower. The general procedure is similar for most self-propelled lawnmower brands, but different models may have some parts in slightly different locations. Please consult the manual that came with your lawnmower for the most accurate information. If you do not have it, search online for it. With your brand and model number, it should be easy to find.

If the cable is difficult to move but still works ok you can try lubricating it first. Spray some lubrication on the inner cable, like WD40. Move the handle up and down so the inner will move. If you notice that, it helps repeat it again until it works fine. If that does not work, replace the cable.

Before starting with the job, it is a good idea to collect the various tools that you would need:

  • Pair of work gloves for your safety from sharp edges
  • A plastic bag that you would need to seal the gas tank to avoid fuel loss
  • A wire cutter
  • Small needle-nose pliers
  • A screwdriver set

You can easily find these items at any local tool or hardware shop or order them online according to your comfort.

You also need a good-quality replacement drive cable. If you can find the part number of the current cable, it is easier to find the correct one. Always ensure that the cable is the correct length, shape and that both ends will fit.

Steps to Follow for Drive Cable Replacement:

Follow these steps to replace the self-propelled lawnmower cable:

● Step 1: Disconnect the Spark Plug

Park your mower on an open flat area, turn it off, and let it cool down. Remove the key from the ignition switch and locate the spark plug. Disconnect the spark plug by disconnecting the spark plug lead. This ensures that the mower will not unintentionally start when working on or close to the moving parts

● Step 2: Release the Cable from the Mower Handle and Drive Control Lever

The drive cable is routed over different parts in the mower and needs to be freed up. Here’s how:

The cable needs to be freed from the mower handle so that you can take it out. Please locate the cable clip, which will help you release the cable from the mower handle. The cable clip pivots upward.

The next step would be to release the zone control cable from the bail control bar. Consult the manual for the accurate location of the cable clip and the bail control bar.

Once this is done, locate the drive control lever. Then discharge the drive cable from it carefully. You can do this by depressing the release tap. With the release tap depressed, you will drag out the zone control clip of the cable.

The final step is to cut the cable ties. With the cable ties cut, you will be able to release the cable from the mower handle.

● Step 3: Remove the Drive Cover

To remove the drive cable, the drive cover has to be removed first. Follow these steps to remove the drive cover:

For most lawnmowers, you have to tile the mower to remove the drive cover. To prevent gas loss in the tilted position, seal the gas tank with a plastic bag. Remove the fuel tank lid, put the plastic bag over the fuel tank opening, and reinstall the fuel tank lid. With this done, the fuel tank is secured. Or empty the gas tank.

Now tilt your self-propelled lawnmower to expose the drive cover. Lift the front wheels handling your self-propelled lawnmower with extreme care. You may use a hydraulic jack for this step if your mower is too heavy to be lifted by your hands. You should lift the mower enough to expose the bottom mounting screws.

These screws are holding the drive cover at the mower’s bottom. Remove these screws and discharge the mower handle. Bring the mower back to its upright position.

The next step is to release the top drive cover. For this, you need to remove the top mounting screws and discharge the height adjustment lever. With this done, you can pull off the drive cover with a little force.

● Step 4: Remove the Cable

With the drive cover removed, the cable is ready to be removed. You can do this by freeing the cable’s end from the anchor post.

Once this is done, depress the release switch and pull the drive cable sheath out of the transmission lever. Now the drive cable is free from all the components it was connected to, so you can pull it out.

Pulling the released cable off won’t require much force, but it is still attached to some components if it is not coming out easily. So, instead of pulling on it with force, thoroughly go through the above steps to check if you missed a connection. Free the cable from that connection, and you will be able to take it out easily.

● Step 5: Install the New Cable

Installing the new cable is simply the reverse process of removing the old one. First, connect the new cable’s end to the anchor post. Then push the new cable sheath over the transmission lever, and there you have it, a new drive cable is installed.

● Step 6: Reinstall the Drive Cover

Put the drive cover back at its position and readjust the height adjustment lever. With this done, screw all the top mounting screws and make sure they are tight.

The bottom mounting screws need to be put back too. So, tilt the mower and tightly screw the bottom mounting screws. Then lower the mower. You can remove the plastic bag sealing of the gas tank now.

● Step 7: Route the New Drive Cable

The new drive cable needs to be routed around the engine. For this, connect the zone control cable to the drive cable clip. Connect the bail control bar to the zone control cable. Then connect the new drive cable to the drive cable lever.

Snap the drive cable clip and connect the new drive cable to the handle by installing the new cable ties.

● Step 8: Reconnect the Spark Plug, and Test Run your Self-Propelled Lawnmower:

Once you are done with the cable replacement procedure, you can reconnect the spark plug, and your mower is ready to go.

Start and run your mower and check the speed. If all works well, and you don’t observe a speed loss, you have successfully fixed the faulty drive cable issue.

Keep in Mind:

  • Consult the manual: The procedure explained above is generally applicable to any self-propelled lawnmower, but for the most accurate info on the location of various parts involved, consult the manual. Also, make sure that drive cable replacement doesn’t clash with your machine’s warranty.
  • Safety first: If you work on sharp parts of the mower, use of safety equipment such as work gloves, safety goggles, and long boots.

Related Questions:

● Where to buy a self-propelled lawnmower drive cable?

Lawnmower drive cables are usually available at lawnmower parts stores. Drive cables are also available at various websites such as eBay and Amazon. A drive cable will cost you between 10 to 25 dollars, depending on product quality. Ensure that the replacement-driven cable matches the one being replaced in dimensions, shape and has the correct cable endings. Also, ensure that the replacement drive cable is of good quality. Otherwise, it will fail soon, and you’ll have to replace it again.

● What does the bail of a self-propelled mower do?

The bail or the handle of a self-propelled mower, when pressed, engages the drive system and starts the blades. Once the bail is pressed, the mower will take off and start cutting; the user will not have to push. All the user needs to do is to provide direction.

Final Remarks

Fixing the cable problem on your self-propelled lawnmower isn’t a troublesome assignment, especially if you know your way around. Replacing an old, loose, and broken drive cable will considerably increase your mower’s speed and efficiency. Remember that the replacement drive cable should match the one being replaced. Besides the step-by-step guidelines provides in this blog post, we would recommend you to consult your mower’s manufacturer manual too.

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