How to Repair a Self Propelled Craftsman Lawn Mower


Jeffrey Tung on Jan 1, 2024

Thick green grass

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If you have a traditional walk-behind lawn mower for a medium-sized yard, then you might start having a difficult time. Look for a self-propelled lawn mower to ease your exhaustion. Self-propelled lawn mowers are equipped with a drive system in which a bail or a squeeze bar on the handle operates. Squeezing that bar will allow the blades to rotate on a self-propelled and rotary-style mower, while the mower itself begins to push forward on its own. This would take away the majority of the physical effort you would normally put into a traditional walk-behind lawn mower. Moreover, this won’t hurt your wallet as much as it would be a convenient and easier option for you!

The majority of self-propelled lawn mowers have similar, or basically the same, features as traditional lawn mowers. Some of which include grass-bagging, side-discharge, and safety features. There are also three-in-one models available that have mulching options as well. However, most self-propelled lawn mowers have a feature that manually shuts the blade off. This is convenient if you want to keep the engine running, but also want to turn off the blade from spinning. Doing so would allow you to safely remove debris, such as rocks and branches, that are in the way of your mower, and also to empty your grass bag.

Craftsman Self Propelled Lawn Mower Troubleshooting

Craftsman is a brand that has been reputable ever since 1972, the year when they first started selling tools. They carry a series of lawn and garden tools and equipment, as well as work-wear items that Stanley Black and Decker also control. Craftsman, as hinted by its name, offers its products to people who are professional mechanics to those who have the tenacity to do things themselves. They also have a series of self-propelled, electric, push, and reel lawn mowers that you can avail of. Ultimately, Craftsman offers a wide array of products that range from clothing, replacement blades, flashlights, and other utilitarian tools.

However, much like in most outdoor equipment, these are not exempt from facing issues. Learn how to repair self propelled lawn mower Craftsman through the tips and instructions below:

How do you fix a Craftsman self propelled lawn mower?

Issue 1: Motor

Before anything, you would first have to locate where the self-propelled motor is. The motor would be in between the front wheels on the deck if it is a front-drive. If it’s a rear-drive, it would be between the two rear wheels. Using a flat screwdriver, you can put the casing off. Inside it, check first if there are any clogs in the gears. If there are, use a screwdriver to remove them. If the gears have any cracks, you will have to replace them. To do this, use a screwdriver again to remove the gears. Replace it with a new one and use a screwdriver to tighten it into place.

Issue 2: Wheel

Check for any more cracks by spinning each wheel. If a wheel seems bent, tighten the bolt in the center of the wheel with a ⅜-inch wrench in order to tighten the wheel. If that doesn’t work and the wheel still looks bent, replace it with a new one; unscrew the bolt to slide off the wheel before replacing it with a new one. Tighten it with a bolt as well to put it in place.

Issue 3: Spark Plug

Check out the spark plug on the side of the motor. You should see that a black hose encases it. Simply remove it with your hands before checking it for cracks or for clumps of dirt and other debris. If there are cracks on the plug, or if there are too many clumps of dirt, throw it away and replace it with a new one. Using just your hands, you can put a new plug into the hosing.

Issue 4: Blades

First, turn over the mower until the handle is lying across the ground and you can see the mower blades. Check the blades to see if there are any dents and dirt buildup in the arbor, which is responsible for connecting the blade to the mower. If there is a buildup of dirt, remove them using a screwdriver. If there are dents in the blades, remove the bolt located in the middle of the arbor to unscrew it by also using a ⅜-inch wrench. Then, slide off the blade from the arm and replace it with a new one. Then, put back the bolt over the blade and tighten it using a wrench.

Why has my self propelled lawn mower stopped working?

Issue 1: V-Belt

The V-Belt is responsible for rotating the drive pulleys in order to drive the wheels of the lawn mower. if this part is broken or worn out, it means that your lawn mower wheels won’t be able to turn. To resolve this, check your V-belt first if there are damages. If there are, replace it completely.

Issue 2: Drive Pulley

The drive pulley is the part that is connected to the engine crankshaft. The transmission will not be able to engage the wheel assembly if this part is broken or worn out. If it is defective, replace it immediately with a new one.

Issue 3: Wheel Assembly

The wheel assembly consists of a series of gears that engage with the transmission drive gear. This will help engage the wheel assembly if these gears are in pristine condition and are working properly. If they are worn out, replace the wheel assembly with a new one.

Issue 4: Transmission and Transmission Assembly

The drive belt powers the transmission, while it also connects to the engine crankshaft. When the transmission is powered by the drive belt, the lawn mower wheels will engage and turn. To ensure that your transmission is properly working, check and observe it while the lawn mower is up and running. The lawn mower wheels should be turning while the transmission pulley spins. If not, this means that your transmission is damaged or defective. Replace it completely as the transmission cannot be repaired.

Issue 5: Traction Control Cable

If your Craftsman self-propelled lawn mower suddenly stops working, it might be because the traction control cable is misadjusted or broken. Check if the traction control cable moves freely to see if it’s working properly. If it doesn’t, lubricate it by putting a small amount of oil into the end of the cable. If this doesn’t work, replace the traction control cable.

Craftsman self propelled lawn mower wheels lock up

Issue 1: Obstructions in the blades

If there is something lodged between the blade and mower deck, it won’t be able to start. The recoil starters connect to the engine crankshaft, which is connected directly to the blade. Given that, you will not be able to pull the starter rope if there is an obstruction that stops the blade from turning. It could be something as small as a small rock or a clump of debris. This could also happen if you run over a large object, like a stump, and the blade could be bent. Before you start to inspect your lawn mower blades, don’t forget to remove the spark plug and to put on gloves that are leather.

Issue 2: Hydro-Lock

A hydro-lock can happen when the piston-cylinder is full of oil. This usually occurs when you tilt the lawn mower forward and hold it for a couple of minutes. In normal working conditions, the piston should move when you pull the starting rope. However, if it’s full of oil, the piston will have to work against the oil and because of that, it can lock. To resolve this issue, try draining the oil by removing the spark plug and cranking the engine. You will see the oil spraying out of the spark plug hole.

Issue 3: Seized Engine

If your lawn mower is in wet conditions for long periods of time, or if you usually forget to put oil in the crankcase, then the piston of your lawn mower can seize. To free the piston, a step you can do is to remove the spark plug and manually rock the blades. Use a penetrating oil or spray lubricant and spray it onto the spark plug hole. Wait for about ten minutes before you rock the blade. When the blade seems to start running, spin it more a few times in the direction that it generally would rotate. Put the plug back on and start your lawn mower to check.

Issue 4: Recoil Starter

When the recoil starter is put into tangles in the pulley, you will not be able to pull it. Moreover, the spring that is responsible for retracting the rope can break as well. These will prevent your lawn mower’s pulley from retracting or turning. To resolve this issue, remove the starter housing before fixing the rope or spring. To do this, you might also need to remove other engine parts. Take extra caution when servicing the spring especially since it is under tension. It can injure you when you release it too quickly. You might need to seek professional help to get this issue resolved to ensure its functionality and safety as well.

Wrapping Up

Given that these self-propelled lawn mowers suit nearly every yard size, this is one of the most sought after lawn mowers in the market. There will also definitely be great brands out there that offer the lawn mower for you. One of those brands is Craftsman. Remember, lawn mowers are also prone to facing issues no matter how small due to their heavy-duty work. Learn how to repair self propelled lawn mower Craftsman and you won’t have to worry as much!