How to Fix/Adjust Toro 20017 Self-Propel Cable
I was mowing my front yard this morning with my three year old Toro 20017 Model Personal Pace 22" rear drive self propelled lawn mower when snap, the self propel function stopped working. I was able to fix it myself today. Since it was a bit of an ordeal, not to fix it, but to find information on how to fix it, I thought I'd post my experience.
First, let me state that I triaged the problem correctly that the self-propel cable was broken. This is the cable that runs down the left-hand side of the mower. I was not able to get a replacement cable at HD but I was able to get some replacement plastic handle screws that I needed as well so at least the trip was not a waste ($3). I headed back home and tried a lawn repair shop near my home and they carried the cable ($12). Ok, so plastic screws and new self prople cable in hand ... I headed home.
Second, let me say before I started the actual repair, I googled around and found *some* help but nothing that really articulated what I wanted to know - so here's my effort to fix that for the next guy.
YOU CAN REPLACE THE CABLE WITHOUT REMOVING THE WHEELS AND REAR ASSEMBLY OF THE MOWER. I didn't have to remove anything from the mower. Start by removing the cable from the mower's handle. In my case, the small metal tip had broken off that latches the cable to the mower, so the cable was just hanging there. I loosened the tension adjustment screw until I was able to pull the cable out of it by pulling it down through the hole. At the time, I didnt even know that was used for adjusting the tension, I could just tell I had to loosen it to remove the cable. If you follow the cable down to the mower housing itself, you'll find a small plastic round piece next to where the cable passes through the housing. Take this off! You'll find you can push the cable through a slot and the plastic piece reveals a bigger hole that you can pull the other end of the cable out of. This cable has a spring at the end which is will fit through this hole. My next step is hard to decribe but I'll do my best. I flipped the mower upside down. You'll see a plastic piece that prevents you from getting your hand in to pull the cable out. The plastic peice is a barrier from the grass cutting area and where the transmission is. You don't need to remove this! This plastic piece is held in with 4 screws. You don't need to remove them, but you do need to loosen the screws closest to you with the mower turned upside down. Or if the mower is right side up, you need to loosen the ones closest to the ground. These two screws hold a metal bar in place that runs the diameter of the mower and obviously provides structural support. Once the screws are loosened, you can pivot the bar out of the way and get your hands on the transmission lever that the spring connects to. I'm sorry for not using the right words to describe this ... With the bar out of the way, you can pull up on the lever and get your hands on the spring and unhook it from the level. Once this is done, you can remove the old cable! From this point on it's easy. Put the new cable on the same way you found the cable. Rotate the bar back. Tighten the screws the way you found them. Put the plastic piece back. Run the cable through the cable support plastic peice. Run the cable through the plastic adjustment piece (this is right near the top of the mower handle). If you look at the cable on the right, you'll see a hole where that cable hooks to the mower's handle. On the left side, you'll see a similar hole. Don't hook the self propel cable into that hole! If you do that, the self propel will engage when you pull up NOT when you push down. If you look at the underside of the mower plastic handle at the top, you'll see another hole where the top of the cable needs to attach. Once it's attached, tighten the cable adjustment screw pulling up on the cable to remove any slack. You should be good to go. I know this is a long description but if you can follow it - it will save you a repair bill.