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How to Grease a Lawnmower Spindle, step by step

If you have been using a riding lawnmower for quite some time, you know how it sounds. When you notice a squeaking sound every time the blades are turning, you probably need to grease your blade spindles. Lubricating the spindles ensures a smooth operation, improves the blades’ cutting performance, and enhances overall service life. It also minimizes the noise and vibrations while you are mowing.  For an in-depth guide regarding the greasing of lawnmower spindles, you can follow our step-by-step approach.

How to Grease a Lawnmower Spindle, step by step :

  • Step 1: Park your riding lawnmower on a flat surface and lower its mower deck to the lowest setting.
  • Step 2: Remove the mower deck completely by detaching the connecting links.
  • Step 3: Load the grease gun. Locate the spindles on the deck and grease them through the fitting provided. Repeat this procedure on the remaining spindles.
  • Step 4: Reattach the various parts and test the mower.

On riding lawnmowers, the pulleys that drive the blades are connected to them via spindles. These spindles ensure a smooth rotation of blades. The spindles are enclosed in a casing and are secured from both ends with ball bearings. Typically, a lubricant is present in the clearance between the spindle and its casing. This lubricant (usual grease) ensures a smooth rotation between the bearings and the spindle shaft. The grease is inserted into this assembly through special openings provided that are known as grease fittings.

For getting further elaboration on the steps mentioned in bold, please keep reading the main article below.

Greasing a Lawnmower Spindles, Step-by-Step:

The spindles are located on the mower deck of a riding lawnmower. Before they can be greased, the mower deck has to be taken off. The steps for the entire procedure are listed below:

Gather your supplies:

Before we move any further, let’s list some of the tools you’ll be needing for the job. You shall need:

  • A grease gun with a grease cartridge
  • Wrench set
  • Screwdriver
  • Cotton rag

With all the equipment at your disposal, it won’t take much time, provided you follow the steps correctly.

● Step 1: Perform initial steps

To start, you need to perform some preliminary steps on the lawnmower before the mower deck can be removed. These steps are:

– Remove the ignition key and spark plug cable:

Make sure the ignition key is removed, and the spark plug wire is disconnected. This prevents an unintentional engine start when you are working on or close to moving parts. This step always needs to be done whenever you repair your lawnmowers.

– Engage the parking brakes:

It is better to perform the repairs on a flat floor such as that of your driveway, as the screws and other small items are easier to locate when fallen. Also, engage the parking brakes of your mower.

● Step 2: Remove the mower deck

We shall carry out the mower deck’s removal to perform the greasing easily in the next step. This step is a little technical, so it is better if you follow all the steps mentioned. If you are already familiar with performing deck removal, you can move directly to step 3.

– Lower the mower deck:

Before its removal, the mower deck should be lowered to the ground fully. This lowering is done by pushing the lever for the mower deck’s level adjustment. The lever is normally present above the left rear wheel. However, before you lower the deck, you need to pull the blade engagement lever so that the blades aren’t connected to the ground.

– Remove the belt from the engine pulley:

The belt that connects the idler pulleys to the engine pulley should be removed from the engine pulley and the belt keepers. It would be best if you rolled the belt out of the engine pulley to perform this step.

 The following parts/linkages need to come off to ensure that the deck is entirely separated from the mower.

– Lift links supports at the front:

The deck is secured to the mower frame using various brackets and links. At the front, these links are called lift links. To detach them, you need to unscrew the nuts that secure the link in its place.

– Suspension arms:

The suspension arms connect the deck’s center to the frame. They can be detached by pulling their retaining pins and washers out. Make sure you detach the arms from both the right and left sides of the mower deck.

– Rear deck bracket:

Much like the lift links at the front, the rear deck brackets connect the deck from the rear end to the mower’s frame. Pull them off by removing their clamps and retaining pins.

Your deck is free to be separated from the mower’s frame with all these mechanical connections removed. Slide it out from underneath the mower’s frame.

● Step 3: Grease the spindles

Now we come to the most important step for which you tuned into this article, and that is, greasing the spindle assemblies.

– Locate the spindles and remove their casings:

With the mower deck separated and right in front of you, tilt it slightly to see how many blades and their respective spindles are visible below. This step gives you an indication of where the spindles that need to be greased are located.

Once identified, remove any plastic cover or casing to visualize the grease fitting on a spindle assembly. Use an appropriate wrench or a screwdriver to pull the plastic cover out.

– Load the grease gun:

A grease gun helps you perform this procedure with considerable ease. Along with the grease, purchase a suitable grease cartridge. You can find some information regarding the grease type on your lawnmower’s manual. Both the cartridge and the gun can be purchased from a hardware store. The steps for loading the grease gun are mentioned below:

  • Step 1: Detach the gun’s barrel: Take the gun and rotate its barrel anti-clockwise to remove it from the head.
  • Step 2: Pull the plunger back: Pull the plunger of your barrel back to its lowest position.
  • Step 3: Insert the cartridge correctly: Insert the cartridge into the barrel so that the plastic side points downward. This prevents the formation of air bubbles. The cap side is facing upwards. Now, remove the cap securing the cartridge by pulling its handle.
  • Step 4: Connect the gun’s head: Connect the gun’s head back to the barrel, ensuring that it’s tightly fit. Also, push the follower rod of the plunger back to the top.

The grease gun is now loaded with grease, which can be pumped out from its nozzle. A hands-on demonstration can be seen from this video:

– Connect the gun with the grease fitting:

The gun’s hose has a nozzle that should be connected to the grease fitting on a particular spindle. Attach the nozzle to the fitting and pump the grease by pressing its lever. Keep pumping the grease until you see some grease coming out of it. This means that the grease has been pumped entirely into the spindle assembly.

Wipe this extra grease that has come out of the spindle assembly. Repeat the same procedure on the other spindle assembly as well. If it’s the first time greasing the spindles on the lawnmower, it will take many pumps (typically 50) to lubricate the spindle thoroughly.

● Step 4: Reattach the various parts and test the mower

When the spindles have been greased, you can reattach the various parts and test the lawnmower.

Related Questions:

1. What is the best grease for lawnmower spindles?

Some of the users’ most recommended picks for best grease for lawnmower spindles are listed below:

  • Valvoline – VV985 Full Synthetic Grease
  • Lucas Oil Products Red ‘N’ Tacky Grease
  • John Deere Original Equipment Grease
  • Mobil 1 MOBIL GREASE XHP 222
  • Wolf’s Head Red Grease Tubes

2. How often should you grease mower spindles?

Spindles on a lawnmower should be greased regularly. Generally, the greasing is done once a month, depending on your usage. More usage causes more wear and tear of the moving parts. For domestic use, they should be greased every month ideally. Commercial mowers that operate hundreds of hours monthly need to be greased more often.

3. How do you know if a lawnmower spindle is bad?

If a lawnmower spindle needs greasing, it will make sharp noise while rotating. Actually, if you hear the noise, it means you are too late. Optimally you do it before you hear the noise. If the spindle has bent due to fatigue or an impact with a hard object, it causes the cutting blades to wobble at their pivot and make a cracking noise. You may also notice the grass being cut in a disorganized fashion.

4. How long do lawnmower spindles last?

The average service life of lawnmower spindles is about 2-3 years, depending on your use case. After that, they might get bent slightly, and the fatigue may also induce failure in them, thus affecting the cutting performance.

Final Remarks:

Greasing lawnmower spindles is relatively easy, and can be performed in less than an hour, provided all the equipment and tools are available to you. It would be best if you greased the spindles on your mower once or twice every season to guarantee a smooth operation. It also reduces the maintenance that needs to be carried out on the blades and the mower deck. You can save yourself some decent amount of money if you know how to perform this greasing yourself. Just make sure that all the tools are at your disposal and you follow the safety precautions.