Can't pull Honda HRR216VKA lawn mower backwards anymore

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It's a walk-behind with a variable speed transmission that powers the rear wheels. Works okay forward, but can no longer pull it backwards. If I turn it on its side, I can turn both rear wheels in the forward direction only, and I hear a ratcheting sound from each wheel. Try the reverse direction, and they lock firmly, without even the slightest movement in the reverse direction of the drive axle.
Thanks for you suggestions.
R1
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On 10/10/2011 2:50 PM, Rebel1 wrote:

No suggestions, but this is a good example of why I'll never buy a self-propelled mower (unless it is a tractor, of course.) I suppose for some people with large flat unobstructed lots, they make sense, but I have to do so much backing and pulling to get around all the obstructions in my yard, the self-propelled would just get in the way.
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aem sends....

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On Monday, October 10, 2011 at 9:30:04 AM UTC-10, aemeijers wrote:

Sorry, but this reply isn't helpful in any way.
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On Mon, 16 May 2016 22:43:02 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I would not buy a self propelled mower either, and for the same reasons mentioned. Plus they are a lot heavier. And when I mow and push manually, I can control the speed the mower moves, depending on how thick the grass is, and if I'm trying to chop up a large burdock or other weed. I may be cutting a part of lawn thats only 4in tall and then run into a section that's 15in tall.
As far as the OP's problem. I'd check to make sure the lever that shifts the self prop. is moving the lever properly. It could be as simple as a cable needing adjustment, or might be stripped gears that require a complete rebuild. If nothing else, take off the cable and shift that lever by hand, being sure to push or pull it as far as it goes. If that dont do it, you may have to take it to a mower shop, unless you're handy enough ti rip apart the "transmission" that shifts the wheels. (I call it a "transmission" for lack of an actual name for that part)!
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On 5/17/2016 2:18 AM, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moo wrote:

The OP wrote in 2011, five years ago. Do you think the OP 1) has the same mower, and 2) is reading this group eagerly for ideas how to fix the five plus year old lawn mower? I think we've been had by another Google Groper.
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On 05/17/2016 06:34 AM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

AND that no one else could possibly have a similar problem, and be reading this.
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replying to Sam E, Jimmy wrote: I have the same problem. work great for the first couple of months the one day it locked up.
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replying to Sam E, rabbitinred wrote: Von that would never happen! and so far all I've gotten was nothing but reviews by the men's home shopping network. maybe I should have just stuck with the "*repair clinic" site, where the responses are actually helpful.
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A standard push mower might be OK for a small flat yard, but when you've got close to an acre of hilly yard a self-propelled mower is a necessity. The alternative is a riding mower which: a) Takes too much storage space. b) Is harder to work between plants and in narrow areas. c) You don't get the exercise of walking behind the mower.
(Side note: Using a pedometer and a GPS tracker, I discovered I walk a bit over a mile each week mowing our yard.)
I have had a Honda HR214 self propelled mower for over 27 years. It is a shaft drive (no belts to stretch, slip, or clog with grass) and has been very reliable. About the only thing I've done to it is replace the control cables a couple of times, the pull cord assembly, and I've put a couple of grass bags on it. I also put a new rear wheel on it last week since the tire was cracked. It still starts on the first pull and runs great.
Mine has two forward speeds, slow for working in tight areas, and fast for the open areas of the yard. I can always push it faster if I want to (going downhill for instance), or disengage the self-propel and manually push it at any speed I want to.

If you can't pull the mower backward easily, remove the rear wheels and clean out the ratcheting mechanism. Don't lose any parts. :) Lubricate it well before putting it back together. Unless you have a broken part, it should work fine after that.

I can pull my self propelled Honda backwards just as easy as a standard push mower. Just release the propel level. For that matter. I can release the lever and push it forward just like a standard mower. There are no downsides in tight areas, but a huge advantage over long distances or on hills.

I rinse off my mower after every use. If I don't return the levers to the off position (putting the cable back in the sheath) the exposed cable can corrode and sieze up inside the sheath. I went through a couple of cables in a short time before I figured out that simple trick. On the Honda's, the cables control the forward speed and the propel lever. Backward movement is provided by ratcheting gears behind each rear wheel. The bolt holding the wheel on can be tricky to remove, but it comes off easily with an impact wrench.
Anthony Watson www.watsondiy.com www.mountainsoftware.com
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replying to HerHusband, rabbitinred wrote: thank you for the info about the back wheels! it's exactly what I was looking for! the lawn Gods are smiling down apron you as we /speak?/
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replying to phillipsdf, Roger32713 wrote: My Honda self-propelled rear wheels were stuck as stuck could be. However, this is only a minor problem. Some people are mechanically inclined, others are not. I cleaned and lubricated the rear wheels and the shaft that drives them (I don't really know if this was necessary or not), then I followed the simple procedure for adjusting the drive cable. You may have to adjust two or three times to get it right, but a 5th grader can do it. My mower now works like brand new and has not had any problems so far this season (since May 1). If the wheels do bind again, I may utter a blessing (S***!), but I know it can be fixed with a simple adjustment.
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replying to aemeijers, sandlersh wrote: I have the same problem, apparently this is a common issue with these Honda mowers. Mine is only 4 months old and all of a sudden the back wheels locked up when I pull it in reverse.
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For what it's worth, you are not alone.
This thread mentions "tranny replacement" for the symptoms that you describe.
http://www.lawn-mowers-review.com/honda-hrr216-lawn-mower.html
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On 10/10/2011 3:34 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Mine's OK. Is nice to be reminded/know that there is 4 year warranty. I think manual says there should be cable adjustments and the like done at dealer after a year, but who pays attention to these things?
If this is a known problem, maybe Honda can be persuaded to do it under warranty even after warranty period. I had a similar situation with my car and manufacturer rebated about a third of cost.
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I had a Honda Harmony and the transmission failed after not too many years and not all that much use. The tranny is a real bitch to replace. Lot of little parts to take off and hopefully get back together again if you put a new one in. Took it apart and found that the main drive bearing just wore out and fell apart. It sounds like the tranny on this one is shot too.
I even bought the service manual, and I'm good at doing all kinds of mechanical work, but given how complicated it was and the cost, $135, I never did put one in. Mower is still here in pieces. I bought a Sears for $175 instead. The Honda does the best, neatest cut and the twin blade design is the best mulcher I've seen. But at $600 I expected it to last longer than it did. The Sears has significantly more power and uses a belt slip system to give infinite speed control. And there is no transmission to crap out.
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replying to DerbyDad03, Michael Clarke wrote:

I have abused the heck out of my HRX217 for 5 years and just started to have issues
1 wheel would not go backwards and then the left wheel would not propel. Take off both rear wheels and the gears that drive them. Take out the keys from the drive shaft grease them up and make sure they are loose, put back together and problem was solved! p.s. the keys have a spring don't lose it!
This mower has not let me down, but the gears and keys need to be greased every couple of years, it is a shame that Honda does not make this clear in the owners manual!!!!
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replying to Michael Clarke, rabbitinred wrote: that's because Honda likes to juice its loyal customers for aftermarket "ad-ons" that aren't generally necessary it would seem but in the long run if not purchased a $89. auto rain guard could prevent needed your whole trunk/gas tank mechanism/cable from falling apart.(I know we are talking about movers but I am bitter)
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On 10/10/2011 2:50 PM, Rebel1 wrote:

Since posting my initial message, I spend 50 minutes cutting the lawn. For whatever reason, most of the time I was able to pull it backwards. I couldn't find a pattern (eg. pulling while on a slight up slope vs. a down slope).
After finishing, I turned the mower on its side and turned the rear wheels. The axle between each wheel and the transmission in the middle of the mower now turned. Suggests something in the gear box.
Caution: The gear box is filled with oil, not grease, and it will come running out unless the mower is completely inverted. Before inverting, drain the engine oil. If there is a little gasoline in the tank, the tight-fitting cap will probably prevent it from leaking out. But be prepared, and work outside.
R1
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wrote:

On my Honda HHR217HXX there was a black plastic flap that hung down and dragged behind the rear wheels. When the mower was pulled backward, the flap would dig in to prevent such action.
The flap was removed. Now, pulling backward is no problem.
Not what you describe; however, it might be worth a look should you have a similar flap.
Gary
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On 10/10/2011 6:51 PM, G Mulcaster wrote:

Gary,
I do have that flap. And often times it does fight me when pulling back, because it folds under the mower. But I had the problem on a concrete garage floor and with the mower on its side, as I manually tried turning the wheels backward.
R1
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