Sears 21" Front Wheel Drive Mower-Wheels Frozen

I have a Sears front wheel drive lawn mower, 21 inch 6.75HP, model # 917376551, that is about 6 years old. Today while mowing, when I engaged the front wheels by squeezing the lever on the handle, I heard something “POP” and then the wheels froze up. The drive wheels had been making a “slipping- as if a gear inside wheels was slipping and then re-engaging” noise periodically for the past few months. I took the plastic cover off the drive assembly area and the cable from the handle lever is not broke, it stills seems to move the lever that is attached to what appears to be a gear box. Both wheels are frozen and will not turn by hand. I read some of the previous posts in the forum, but still getting educated on mower repair. Any ideas on further troubleshooting to see 1) what problem might be 2) is it something I could repair(reasonably handy) 3) not cost effective to repair 4) or any other things I failed to think of ? thanks in advance for your help.
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On 11/29/2011 02:49 PM, Paul wrote:

alt.home.repair
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I've always found out if it's broke it won't hurt to take it apart to see what happened ! Might need a new gear box but hay they aren't that hard to replace ! You can't hurt it. Even if you can't fix it you can take the gears off the wheels & just push it !
Jerry
http://community.webtv.net/Grandmother300/Urn2011
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Grandmother300webtv.net wrote:

Except that self propelled mowers are heavy and cumbersome to push. If the engine is running well then it pays to bring it to a Sears repair shop and get a free estimate. Mowers are pricey nowadays, it may pay to have it repaired and serviced... if you diy by the time you buy the necessary parts it may cost less to have Sears make the repair. Might cost $100 to repair but a new one can easily cost over $400. That said I don't like self propelled mowers, if your lawn is of such a nature that you need self propelled (hilly) I'd choose a riding mower, otherwise I'd choose the lightest weight push mower I can find... 18" push mowers used to be common, were light weight, were very manueverable, and were capable of getting into small spaces, but now 20" is the smallest. I have a 20" Sears push mower, been running fine for 15 years and I've only had it serviced once just recently, last year, they couldn't figure out how it was able to run with how clogged the air filter was... I have on occasion sharpened the blade and changed the oil 2-3 times, that's it... it starts on the first pull every time... I use it to do the edges, around trees, and the small spaces where my tractors won't fit. My previous Sears mower was self propelled, nothing but trouble and I hated that it was so heavy. I would never buy a self propelled mower again.
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