View Full Version : Self Propelled trim mowers that free roll in reverse?

04-01-2007, 02:53 PM
My old Toro Super Recycler got so it's self propulsion would cause resistance when I tried to back it up. It was a simple belt to gear box system where the the rear gear axle would pivot to loosen or tighten pressure on the belt. But even loose that belt would still want to turn the pulley creating some resistance to rolling it backwards. I'd try and adjust it looser but then the mower would loose pull.

What I'm wondering is do other mowers or self propelled systems solve this problem? I don't want front wheel drive – it just makes the mower heavier to tilt and stuff. But most rwd (rear wheel drive) mowers are driven by belts turning gear boxes it seems, and I don't want another Toro Recycler experience with the mower not free rolling in reverse.

Some people praise those blade brake clutches that let the blade disengage from the running engine, but is there any similar thing for drive systems, a clutch that can freely disengage the drive for free roll reverse? (Heck I always thought it would be nice to have finger controllable reverse on a 21 or 22 inch mower like the hydro walk behinds have). Any way are there mowers that can pull backwards with out resistance from the drive system?

04-01-2007, 09:07 PM
I just bought a rear wheel propelled Snapper 21". I've only tested it out so far on one lawn, but it pulls back easily when the drive is disengaged. No resistance at all as it completely disengages the drive system when released.

04-01-2007, 09:41 PM
I second the snapper. I've always used snappers for this reason. Good mowers.

04-01-2007, 10:00 PM
I have a LawnBoy commercial 21" hand mower, self-propelled. And, I have a Toro ProLine 21" hand mower, self-propelled. I think they both work the same way on reverse. The LB wheels have been apart so often, I could take apart/put back together blindfolded. They use a rocking key on the outboard drive shaft. When the drive shaft has power to rotate for forward motion of the machine, the key rocks on a spline, engaging on the inner race of a gear. The gear engages a gear on the inside of the drive wheel. When the power is released from the outboard drive shaft, the key rocks (that is rotates slightly) in a way that it disengages from the inner race of the gear. This makes the mechanism free-wheeling in the reverse direction.

If your Toro machine has the gear hard-fastened to the outboard drive shaft, then when you pull the mower backwards, the power is being transferred from the drive wheels to the gear, then to the shaft, back to the transmission. The shaft would be spinning.

In the case I described above, the rocking key engages the shaft only in one direction of rotation, and is released from the other direction. This enables the transmission to transfer power to the outboard shaft, to the gear, to the wheel, but not in the reverse direction.

I hope this is clear. It is really much simpler than I've described!

I can offer one suggestion to investigate further. Find the model number, go to the Toro website, input the model number to find the parts diagram for your mower. You should easily be able to determine exactly how the drive mechanism works for your model.

04-01-2007, 10:15 PM
Another Snapper owner here.
Mine has the Kawasaki FJ180 engine. Like lqmustang said above, no resistance when the drive is disengaged. :)

04-01-2007, 10:18 PM
I have the Billy Goat 24" High Wheel mower and it pulls back with no problem ... that's one of the reasons I got it.

04-02-2007, 01:08 PM
Lifetree - Arn't those billy goats blade speed slowed down for cutting tall lots of grass? Are you doing trim mowing with it? does it have multiple speed choices?

Roger - thanks, I'll look at the diagram to see if something was frozen up maybe on the toro. I just assumed bad engineering, are you saying there is some thing besides just taking belt pressure off the pulley that disengages forward grab on the wheels?

Snappers - yes they have that totally alternative drive system with the pressure or disc plate drives, where as long as one plate isn't touching the other you are free to roll. I'm shopping around for used snappers but those steel decks make them kind of beastly for the tilting and turning. Does anyone know any other brands that use that drive system?

04-02-2007, 01:36 PM
My Toro Super Recycler 20057 does the same thing. The wheels lock up half the time when I pull it back.

lawnboy dan
04-02-2007, 04:10 PM
just try mowing a side hill or long slope with a snapper and you will curse that freewheeling desighn!

04-02-2007, 07:26 PM
just try mowing a side hill or long slope with a snapper and you will curse that freewheeling desighn!
On the other hand you will curse the positive drive Honda that is great on hills but bad on flat land because you can't slide it on turns. No perfect mower apparently....but both the Snapper and Honda can be pulled easily backwards with drive off.

04-02-2007, 08:27 PM
Lifetree - Arn't those billy goats blade speed slowed down for cutting tall lots of grass ? Are you doing trim mowing with it? does it have multiple speed choices ?

That's how it's marketed, as a "high weed mower" ... however, it also does well as a finish mower.

04-03-2007, 12:01 AM
What does Lawn boy dan mean? That if you are climbing and let off the drive it will roll back toward you? And what do you mean Ed when you say Honda's won't slide on turns? That the "positive drive" creates resistance on one of the rear wheels when you tilt it up to turn? And do any of those Honda's have side discharge chutes? Thanks.

04-03-2007, 06:48 AM
Honda HRCs and Exmark Metro 21's will also free roll in reverse.

I know what you mean. My Metro 21 will do this when I push forward or pull back on it while it's in gear [though, not engaging the drive bail]. If I shift it to "N", it will free roll.

04-03-2007, 10:22 AM
[QUOTE=Ronlawn;1777321]What does Lawn boy dan mean? QUOTE]

You are mowing a pass on a steep bank with a snapper the drive wheel that is facing uphill when going side to side has a tendency to spin a lot. I have experience this first hand. It is nice though for flat surfaces because it turns much better due to it not being a "straight axle" drive. When you make a sharp 180 deg turn only the outside wheel drives so you aren't fighting with it and sliding the mower to turn sharp.