Self Propelled trim mowers that free roll in reverse?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Ronlawn, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. Ronlawn

    Ronlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    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?
  2. lqmustang

    lqmustang LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 620

    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.
  3. mojob

    mojob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 515

    I second the snapper. I've always used snappers for this reason. Good mowers.
  4. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    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.
  5. craglawnmanor

    craglawnmanor LawnSite Member
    Messages: 136

    Another Snapper owner here.
    Mine has the Kawasaki FJ180 engine. Like lqmustang said above, no resistance when the drive is disengaged. :)
  6. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    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.
  7. Ronlawn

    Ronlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    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?
  8. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Messages: 1,657

    My Toro Super Recycler 20057 does the same thing. The wheels lock up half the time when I pull it back.
  9. lawnboy dan

    lawnboy dan LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,716

    just try mowing a side hill or long slope with a snapper and you will curse that freewheeling desighn!
  10. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,596

    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.

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