21' craftsman repair options

flatratMay 12, 2010

A friend gave me a Craftsman 7hp Briggs 21" REAR drive Hi-Tunnel mulching mower with bagger and chute that she thinks they purchased ten years ago. She recently replaced it with another mower. The gear box in the Craftsman seems to have gone out of it after I replaced the belt and checked all the other cable tension adjustments it only goes into drive intermittently, the motor still runs fine and with a newly sharpened blade it cuts passably well. I took the mower home to play with it and see if it can be restored.

My dilemma is that if there was a sticker with the MODEL NUMBER on the mower it has been removed or fell off, the manual of course is non-existent too. I wonder if anyone can suggest how I can find a model number for the mower to ascertain what gear box it may need. I have read that the gear box will likely be around 80 bucks but given the condition of the mower...I might be willing to spring for that to restore it.

I'd be interested in hearing others advice about how I might go about repairing this mower to self-propelled or finding other options to use the otherwise functional engine [as a LAWNMOWER, I don't need a mini-bike etc.]. Hate to just throw it in the dumpster and parting it out isn't really something I care to take on.

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You should call or visit your local Sears parts shop with all of the numbers that you can find on your mower.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 10:08AM
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Thanks anyway. I have scoured this thing from top to bottom, it's pretty clean actually but I can only find the Briggs & Stratton number on the heat shield but nothing on the mower or bag or anywhere inside, under the bagger flap...nowhere. Our Sears repair place in town closed years ago, not even sure where one is now. I was inquiring here to see if anyone knew of a website where I might research it and maybe do a visual identification and then find the part.
I got the rear axle off this morning, took the 7 torx screws out of the gear box but you can't crack it open. It's glued together with a really strong sealant. I can turn the pulley and it kind of turns the axle but doesn't seem to turn the wheels so it may be stripped at that end too.
Anyway, it has hit the point of diminishing returns for me. Need to get on to other projects now. I'm screwing it all back together and storing it until I find another mower with a blown engine possibly or it's going in the next yard sale for 25 bucks.
Thanks for the advice.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 11:41AM
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Does the gearbox look like that from the top? On the bottom it has straight rows of ribs. Bolts enter from the top on this model. This was a very common gearbox.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 7:07PM
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This was a very common gearbox. Does it look like this? The bottom was all straight ribbed fins and the bolts entered from the top.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 7:09PM
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I presume you've checked with http://www.searspartsdirect.com -- they may be able to assist.

And by all means, take a picture of the gearbox and mower and post them in this thread -- baymee is correct that most Sears mowers use very common parts, so chances are somebody will be able to ID the gearbox or the mower.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.searspartsdirect.com

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 10:25AM
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I want to thank everyone for the great advice. If I decide to pursue this further I may try and post a pic of the gearbox if I'm sure it is the gearbox or send Sears or a parts dealer a photo of the part.
The gears that drive the rear wheels via the grooved inside wheel rim seem like they have a clutch or ratchet I guess to allow the mower to roll faster than the drive shaft when pushed or going downhill. Is there some kind of ratchet or friction plate between the gear and the shaft that can wear out or is still more likely to be a shot gearbox?
Anyway, the left rear wheel is cracking also and has a flat spot so when I looked up a replacement for that it may cost between 18 and 25 bucks plus S&H and if this driveline or gearbox replacement ranges around 80 bucks plus shipping and handling I'll be almost halfway to the cost of purchasing something like a brand new Troybilt with a Honda motor that is lighter and quieter. This will most likely just stay a push mower with an intermittent driveline to be used as a an emergency spare. Cost of that route = 0 Dollars. Or placed in the next yard sale with a sign reading 30.00 obo.
I may also find another cool project for a kind of heavy/noisy 7HP B&S someday.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 8:45PM
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