Honda Mower HRT 216 Wheels Slipping

cdnaJuly 29, 2008

My honda mower model HRT216 S3DA appears to have the transmission slipping when in self propel mode. While running, if I lift the back end, both wheels will be spinning, however, once all wheels are on the ground is when it starts slipping and I have to maunally push to get in going and more than occasionally, to keep it going. The wheels spin while in the air but once on the ground (where some resistance is applied) it feels as if the transmission is slipping when pushing the mower.

I would appreciate any advice on where to look to first to diagnose the real problem.

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The first thing I would do is adjust the the drive control cable to get about 3/4" free play on the drive control bail. You may have a combination of cable stretch and belt wear.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 6:06PM
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Saxman1: Thanks for your post. Do you have or are you aware of any instructions on how to make the adjustment to the drive control cable? Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 10:40AM
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canguy(British Columbia)

Some models have replaceable tires instead of a complete wheel and the wheel spins inside the tire. This seems to happen most often in wet conditions. If this is the problem, remove the tire and spray Permatex Hi Tack or something similar on the rim.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 11:04AM
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Cable adjustments are in the owner's manual, but you just observe which cable moves with the drive control bail, loosen the jam nut and turn the housing adjuster (all at the top end of the cable housing) - just like bicycle brakes. Turning the adjuster 'out', which in effect makes the cable housing longer, should give less free play on the bail. I suspect you have too much now, and the drive belt isn't being pulled tight enough. The mower should start moving after about 3/4" - 1" of bail movement. Let us know if this works or not on your problem.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 11:45AM
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Saxman1: I don't have an adjustment on the drive control cable other than it sits next to the gas/chock lever and is tightened against that lever control. I suppose I could loosen the lever control and then move the drive cable, then retighten the lever control. However, I seem to have about 1 inch of play in the drive control bar and when the bar is fully closed against the main handle, it apprears to fully engage the transmission as there is no additional extension available for the cable.

Any other suggestions other than buying a new transmission? Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 11:26AM
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I am having the same problem. Spent $50 to get the service manual from Helm. The 'frigging' manual(3 books) does not cover the transmission. There is no adjustment possible on the cable.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 8:26PM
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nevada_walrus(Boulder City)

cdna, early models had the throttle/drive cables tied as one where they mount on the upper handles. Latter models seperated them so the drive could be adjusted. They're still bolted at same point but the drive cable holder has a split in the bottom that allows the cable to be slid for adjustment when the mounting bolt is loosened. If indeed your two cable holders are physically molded together you have no adjustment.

Honda found the error in their design and replaced this single molding and there is a retro-kit that includes the two cables and a re-designed drive bale lever. About 25-30 bucks for the kit. When the mowers were under warranty Honda would replace it at no charge but they haven't made that early design for 4 or 5 years now so you'll have to pay for the kit as well as installation if you need a shop to do the installation. Instructions come with the kit so if you have basic tools and mechanical aptitude you should be able to do it.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 8:51PM
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'I suppose I could loosen the lever control and then move the drive cable, then retighten the lever control.'

Yes, that's how you do that type. You'll notice that they cut of a section of the cable housing sheath in the clamp area which provides a positive grip so the adjustment doesn't slip. Move the cable housing 'down' about half an inch and see if it helps. It's entirely possible that it needs a new belt. It may have one of the pulleys worn out, or just need a general drive system 'check and fix'.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 9:57PM
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I strongly believe that all this is wasted time and effort. I dismatelled the transmission. Looks like it was designed by a moron. It is not lubricated with oil like most others I have seen. It uses a worm & gear mechanism with plastic bushings on either side.

What a mess! The bushings on either side were totally melted. The gear which is bronze was wasted, as the worm and the gear are of dissimilar hardnesses. Honda authorized dealers sells the whole unit for around $100. Internal parts are not sold separately. Watch out for the 'dog's and springs on the pinion on the drive shaft when you take them out. The large circlips holding the wheel assemblies onto the body would have to be replaced as they rust.

All-in-all not a good design at all. It is designed to fail. I am amazed Honda released this unit into the market place. Buy a John Deer or a Hasquvana next time.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 10:30PM
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There have been many complaints here on the Honda drives (all of them). It is very hard to beat the Toro/Lawn-Boy 'Variable Speed'. This is why I bought a LB 22271 - Honda commercial engine, aluminum deck, bearing wheels and 'Variable Speed'.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 9:07AM
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Saxman1: Thanks for your advice. I moved the drive cable down (towards the engine) about 1/2" and now the self propelling works like it should. I made the mistake of assuming that my transmission was slipping (as it was sporadically engaging/disengaging) but instead I was probably not fully engaging the transmission because the drive cable was not properly adjusted to do so. Again, thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 10:11AM
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The Honda HRT216 has a clutch arm that engages the wheels. The arm sometimes comes out of it location and engages at an angel instead of straight on. You can check this out by taking out the four screws on the bottom of the gear box. The clutch should be resting on the square nut inside. If it isn't you will have to disassemble the drive system and correct or replace the through out lever.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 1:23PM
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Bend the Handle.

If squeezing the installed V-belt flexes the transmission, the belt is as tight as it can get and replacing it won't do any good.

But on ours the clutch cable had stretched, and as there is no adjustment, we simply removed the clutch handle and bent the arms slightly in a vise to obtain more cable throw. It worked.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 4:20PM
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I had the same problem. My unit has a cone-shaped spring at the handle-cable interface. The cable has a ball-head. I disconnected the spring, took (2) #10 lock washers, opened them up and wrapped them around the cable, then closed them. When i reattached the spring, it took up the cable slack and now my transmission engages as before. 20 min fix!!!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 3:26PM
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bill.ludwig, I'm sure glad I read all the post, and yours was last. I used 4 of the #10 lock washers and I am propelling strong. Thanks a lot for the info.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 4:22PM
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