View Full Version : LawnBoy 10304 questions

08-20-2009, 09:07 PM
I picked up a free LB 10304- sorted out most of the problems. I found I like mowing with it due to it being so lightweight and me recovering from a shattered wrist. So, here are my questions:

#1- Left drive wheel stopped pulling. Dealer said it was likely a small plastic disk and a small rubber friction disk. Cheap parts, I replaced them. Worked for a bit, now wont pull again. Right wheel pulls fine. that little trip dog that engages the sprocket seems fine too. I also checked the sprockets, and they look fine, not slipping.

#2- someone else repaired the carb while my arm was in a cast. High speed is fine, but low speed is still pretty high- not a normal idle. How do I get "idle" to be slower?

I am using Echo synthetic 2 cycle oil since I have an Echo trimmer. One small bottle to a gallon of regular gas. My dealer says it is the best two cycle oil he carries. I not it doesn't smoke, and hardly smells, but then again, this is an "under the deck" exhaust.

08-21-2009, 07:37 PM
If what you mean by "trip dog" is the metal rocking key that fits into the axle, I'll bet that's your problem. Too much grease can sometimes cause them to stick in the folded down position. Here's a link to a picture at lawnboy.com


08-21-2009, 08:45 PM
In the diagram, I have replaced at the advisement of a dealer:

#7 friction ring
#15 washer clutch

This worked for a while, then stopped working. I tried it with light lube- no go. I tried cleaning it off totally- no lube/no go. It seems to me the friction ring would need NO lube to operate properly.

#5 rocker key looks fine, but I guess I will replace it next.

So the question is, should it have any lube anywhere in that assembly?

And what about adjusting the idle speed on that carb?

08-21-2009, 09:23 PM
The assy needs some grease, lightly coat it when reassembled. Normal maint is one or 2 pumps of grease on the wheel adjuster zerk, no more. If you want to bother you could compare the parts from the operating wheel with the non-operating one and that may target in on the worn part. Note the rocking keys are seperate parts for the right and left.

On the carb it could be mounting bolts to tight distorting the plastic carb body that will jamb the throttle, just snug gets it there. Could be trash in the gov spring. I'd just check the mounting bolts and if that doesn't grt it take it off and check it for binding somewhere.

Lots of help in the mowers forum at gardenweb.com and the walk behind mowers section at mytractorforum.com

08-21-2009, 10:29 PM
I could see the original white plastic washer clutch was worn where it engaged the rocker key. Replaced it and the friction ring.Rocker looked OK.

I had lubed the zerks before working on the wheels. It seemed most of the grease went to the axle and its bearing, and some spilled out either side, with some getting to the pinion drive gear. Mostly this just gummed up the works after mowing, filling with grass clippings and dirt. I cleaned all that out and put light lube on it. I am thinking the lube on the friction ring could be causing the problem. I cleaned it all off but no results yet. Could be the friction ring (rubber?) absorbed the lube and is still not "sticking" against the plastic washer clutch, which tips the rocker over and engages the pinion.

I suspect the idle issue has to do with that governor spring or that white plastic air vane adjusting collar. I read somewhere the engine speed can be changed by rotating this collar. Maybe it is just adjusted too far in one direction, not allowing the throttle plate to close enough. I haven't got to that yet, hoping someone will give me wise counsel before I dig into it.

As for Gardenweb, and MyTractorForum, I have inquired there too, just no response yet. Also a LB specific site I found yesterday.

08-22-2009, 12:45 AM
You can take what I tell you for what it's worth and only you can be the judge of that. In my 6 years in a Toro/LB shop I rebuilt numerous of the drive assemblies with the same problem you describe. Keep in mind that a shop does not want any more comebacks than absolutely necessary.

When we rebuilt drive assemblies, we replaced all components with the exception of the pinion and engagement dog and we replaced them as well if they showed obvious wear.

You may want to double check the clutch washer/engagement dog alignment since the clutch washer is used on both sides. With the clutch washer and dog installed rotate the clutch washer and it should rock up the dog if installed properly. If not, rotate the the clutch washer 180 degrees and it should.

I've never seen a pivot arm get so much grease that it would not function. The biggest problem with too much grease, too fast, is that it will blow out the friction washer. It will not take a great deal of time for an unlubricated plastic clutch washer to take on an almost melted condition where it contacts the clutch washer--it will develop a sharp edge on its circumference as a result of the heat developed. As a previous poster indicated, a couple of squirts every 25 hours should be sufficient.

I'll not put down your free mower, but that series of mower was one of Lawn Boy's poorer efforts. They were notorious for not being able to hold bolts in the shrould/tank as well as breaking blower housing bolts off in the block. For some reason, unknown to me, that mower just seemed to develop a lot of vibration. As a result the tanks developed a lot of seam seal leaks and I frequently found engine mounting bolts loose.


08-22-2009, 11:15 AM
Thanks for the advice. I now understand the friction ring should have SOME lube on it- heavy grease as would be supplied from the grease zerk- not light penetrating oil.

I will check the friction ring for proper orientation. It SEEMED obvious how it was to fit- the arm on the rocker has the same shape as the cutout in the ring- but maybe I was wrong.

I can agree with you that this is not the greatest mower, and likely not the best LB. It seems to me a cheapened version- transitional between the great mowers and the re-badged green Toro decks with 4 stroke Briggs being sold today at Big Box Mart. I myself am an under employed industrial sales rep moonlighting by repairing distressed lawn equipment. I love to take broken stuff and make it work again. so in the past two years I ahve seen a lot of mowers, and I test them all on my yard, and can develop a sense of what is quality design and quality build fairly quickly. I suspect the older LBs are really great machines. I like Snappers too as they are very durable- usually outlasting the engine, and they are easy to work on. but my favorites are older cast deck Hondas.

It is my first experience with LB- got this one and a 10323 for free. I discarded the 10323 as the rod seemed to have an obvious looseness when I rocked the blade back and forth- could hear it knock. However, I have enjoyed mowing with it since I shattered my left wrist back in April, and found my BBC cast deck Honda way to heavy and cumbersome- requiring my left hand to engage the blade- which was not going to happen. The LB just had a bail that can be used by either hand and it is very light weight, so mowing with one hand is easy enough.

08-22-2009, 12:33 PM
OK, I went out and disassembled, cleaned and relubed through the zerk two pumps. I saw the grease come out of a hole that is INSIDE the ID of the friction ring. This would indicate that the grease does not actually directly lube the friction ring, but rather wold work itself out to the rocker and pinion.

I cleaned the friction ring and plastic clutch washer. I then examined the friction ring against the old part, and the new part seemed thinner. I reassembled with the old part, figuring thicker is better for achieving friction required to rock the rocker.

I fire the thing up, and what I get is "chatter" from the left wheel. Right goes like it should, but left is seeming to want to engage, but cant ever quite make it.

While I had it apart, I examined the rocker and inside the pinion, and they looked OK- no obvious heavy wear. But what do I know? I am thinking my next move is to replace both the rocker and pinion, since I am GUESSING the chattering is the friction parts working as they should, but the rocker and pinion never fully engaging.

That is, unless someone else here has any ideas about this. I hate to keep buying parts on a mower that is going to end up on CL anyway, unless I really NEED the parts.

08-22-2009, 09:56 PM
If it clicking/chattering and you believe the washers are engaging, you may want to make sure that the pinion has not been put on in reverse.


08-23-2009, 11:11 AM
How does one know the correct orientation of the drive pinion(s)? They appear to be ambidextrous in the design- with three uniform shaped indentations for the rocking key to engage. I suppose they could have had a different shape at one point, and what I am looking at has worn to this more uniform shape?

08-23-2009, 10:37 PM
Swap the pinion end for end and check to see if the wheel will drive. The pinion can be used on both sides of the mower(ambidextrous) but it does make a difference how it works on one side--installed one way it will drive the wheel and the other way it will not. If it does not drive the wheel after swapping end for end then you have worn parts and it could either be the pinion or the dog or possibly both.


lawnboy dan
08-24-2009, 10:03 PM
this lawnboy model is a total pos-dont waist your time on it and look for a 10515 if you like lawnboys

08-29-2009, 09:53 PM
Solution: I pulled my 10323 out of storage, removed the rocker and sprocket and compared them to the parts in the 10304. Now it is easy to see the wear on the 10304 parts. The good rocker actually seems to have a hardened surface where it will contact the inside of the sprocket. The good sprocket has almost vertical sides, not the smooth slopes of the worn part. Replaced these two parts and everything pulls fine.

Now my problem in this area is the wheels dont want to unlock, even after pushing forward without SP engaged. They may pull back a bit, then lock up again.

I also figured out the throttle. The little star wheel can adjust so when the throttle lever is in "low" it will allow the throttle to close down. but when I do that, it also slows the top speed in WOT. Now with the top speed slower, it doesn't mulch nearly as well-and oddly throws clippings out behind the right front wheel, which it never did before. I will be speeding it back up!

Yeah, I knew it was a POS when I started on it. I was just not going to let THIS POS get the best of me. LOL