lawn mower won't self propel

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I have a Toro 22" Recycler Model 20331 walk behind self-propelled lawn mower. A few weeks ago the front wheels stopped turning when the lever was engaged. I checked the belt while holding the lever down and it seemed awfully loose so I guessed it had stretched too much. I couldn't find a belt locally so I had to order one off Amazon.
Yesterday I installed the new belt and tested it. Holding the lever down engages the front wheel transmission and the wheels spin, but this only works for a few seconds. It doesn't matter if the wheels are on the ground or tipped up in the air. Is there an additional adjustment I must fix?
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On Thursday, August 21, 2014 6:54:26 AM UTC-4, badgolferman wrote:

I'd go look at an online parts diagram and figure out what makes it go. Most common is just a belt drive that slips to adjust speed. More expensive models may have a tranny. Hopefully, yours doesn't. Then you need to follow the actuators and see what's wrong. They usually have an adjustment for the pull cable and possibly for the idler arm that applies tension to the belt.
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On 8/21/14, 6:54 AM, badgolferman wrote:

There is an adjustment procedure for the self-propel cable on page 14 of this copy of Toro manual
http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pdfImages/f3/f308ad14-af11-4890-84ca-2a4cfc1803bc.pdf
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Retired wrote:

Thank you! I didn't know about that. I'll try it later today.
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Retired wrote:

Well, I tried that and got the cable taut. Unfortunately the wheels stopped turning after about 15 seconds. Not sure where to go next....
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On Thursday, August 21, 2014 7:05:08 PM UTC-4, badgolferman wrote:

Is it possible to see what's going on with an access cover off? On my Sears there is a cover plate that gets removed on top of the deck to get access to the tension pulley, etc. Have you inspected the various parts of the drive system to make sure something isn't broken, worn out, etc?
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On Thu, 21 Aug 2014 23:05:08 +0000 (UTC), "badgolferman"

the gears are not stripped, or the pulley loose on the shaft, or????
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I messed around with the cable adjustment some more yesterday and loosened it a bit. I elevated the front wheels off the ground and engaged the wheels. It seemed to work for as long as I held it. Then I lowered it to the concrete and it still seemed to work. I haven't had a chance to try it out on the lawn yet though. Hopefully setting the tension properly is all that was needed.
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badgolferman wrote:

There's been no success in getting this lawn mower's front wheels to work properly. It worked for about half the lawn, but then just quit. I have adjusted the cable's tension to what it was before all this started and it doesn't work at all anymore.
If I lift the mower off the ground and turn the wheels by hand there is no binding or grabbing, both wheels turn together. If I turn the pulley where the belt attaches, the wheels will not turn.
I tried to dissasemble the gear box to see if it was stripped inside, but after taking all the screws off the cover wouldn't come off. I think it's sealed with an adhesive to keep it water tight.
Any ideas what to do next?
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On 8/31/2014 10:40 AM, badgolferman wrote:

I'd either surrender, at this point. Or pry the top off the gear box, figuring what you got to lose?
My sense is the gear box is stripped, and you've got nothing to lose.
--
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The belt goes around a pulley that is part of the transmission. When you t oghtened the belt did it get tight enough tu turn/rotate the pulley? If th e pulley was rotating and the wheels turned, all was good at that time. No w, when you tighten the cable, does the pulley turn? If it turns and the w heels do not turn, the transmission is at fault.
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On Sun, 31 Aug 2014 14:40:49 +0000 (UTC), "badgolferman"

finding repair parts is VERY slim. The transmission assembly is Toro part # 115-1992 and is not a serviceable part. The fact that both wheels turn together rules out stripped pinions on the outer ends of the drive assembly or stripped inner teath on the front wheels.
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On Sunday, August 31, 2014 3:16:30 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

+1
From the description, that sounds like the likely problem. If he's turning the pulley that's on the gearbox and it won't move the wheels, sounds like the gears are stripped. The best mower I ever owned from a cutting/mulching standpoint was a Honda. It has a double blade, mulched better than any other, left the grass with a smoother cut. But Honda, instead of using a simple belt/slip arrangement, had an actual 3 speed transmission. After about 6 years the tranny went kaput. A new one was $130. Even worse, taking the old one out was a real project. There were so many spacers, widgets, that had to come off. In the end, it's sitting in parts in the garage. For $180 I bought a new Sears that someone was selling locally on Ebay. That sucker doesn't cut as nice, but 10 years later, it's still running. It also has more power than the Honda, able to go through taller grass easier. The drive mechanism in that did stop one day too. I took of two screws from the cover plate, saw where the end of a spring had broken off. One zip tie and 3 years later it's still going great.
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badgolferman wrote:

Okay, I took off the gear box cover and used brake cleaner to get all the grease out so I could get a good look at it. Now you can get a good look at it too: https://www.dropbox.com/s/29qh4rxr9o7n8nq/photo.JPG?dl=0
You will see there is a large yellow gear that is made out of plastic and its teeth are stripped. The worm gear at the bottom of the picture is attached to the pulley on the outside of the gear box, which in turn is driven by the belt. This is why turning the pulley wouldn't turn the wheels. The two enmeshed gears on the right are the ones that attach to the wheel shafts.
You may notice the rest of the gears are made out of metal, but this one is made out of plastic. Is this how they protect the wheels if you keep the handle engaged and don't move or even go backwards?
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If you could wait until next Spring, there are always lawnmowers that won't start that are thrown out with still-functioning transmissions. I have a spare that I picked up that way several years ago, and luckily have not nee ded it - yet!?!.
Looks like you may just have to buy a new transmission, unless the mower is a name brand that has good spare parts availabilty. I don't know it Toro meets those qualifications or not. That's the one reason I stick with Sear s Craftsman, they have always been aboe to come up with a spare part for an ything that I needed.
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On Tue, 2 Sep 2014 19:20:16 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net"

brands.
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On 9/2/2014 11:07 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I lost a lot of respect for Sears, over the years. First, when I figured out they make off spec parts for their mowers. A Tecumseh flywheel won't fit a Sears Tecumseh engine. Same with breaker points.
Second, I worked for Sears for a couple weeks, and lost even more respect.
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On 9/2/14, 11:07 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

from resellers like Amazon and others (including Sears :-)
(115-1992 supersedes to a new number) ( maybe they changed to a metal gear ?)
http://www.toro.com/en-us/parts/pages/partslookup.aspx (start with model # 20331, then Front Axle view)
also http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=toro+115-1992
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On Wed, 03 Sep 2014 07:43:26 -0400, Stormin Mormon

engine. It had a "Craftsman Eager 1" engine - which just HAPPENED to be made by tecumseh. So why would you expect tecumseh parts to fit???
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badgolferman wrote:

Yesterday I replaced the gearbox/axle assembly. Got it on eBay for $57. The wheels and associated hardware had to come off both sides as well. There were two retaining/snap rings on each axle. The small one I got off with a screwdriver, but the big one was too thick and strong for that. I was forced to buy a tool for taking off those clips with the two holes on each end -- $20. I think the new belt was around $20 too.
I mowed the lawn today after all the rain we've had the past 3-4 days so it was nice and thick. The mower performed admirably, although it seemed to propel itself too fast compared to the way it used to work. There is only one adjustment available that is used for the tension of the belt. Does that also control the speed? I want to slow it down a bit.
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