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Honda self-propelled 21" mower (HRB216TDA). Will not self-propel. Not sure which part is bad.

When I start the motor, it kinda wants to move forward without engaging the drive clutch, but doesn't move, just lurches slightly forward in place. When I engage the drive clutch, it won't self-propel. When I engage that clutch handle and hold it up against the top handle bar, then release it, it does not snap back down. It just slowly goes down, and does not go down the whole way. But the cable does move when the clutch handle is moved up or down. I recon either a bad belt, cable, or the gear box. I suspect the belt is stretched or has slipped off. Bad time of year for this. All help appreciated.

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  • Honda Master
  • 1,039 Answers

If belt is ok, then likely the rear wheel dogs have seized. Review the following PartsTree diagram, what they call ratchet key item 3. .
When the mower is off, you would normally hear the dogs click as you pushed the mower. These get dirty from debris and then rust up and seize (no longer click). Once seized, the transmission drive shaft just spins inside the drive gear. Remove bolt wheel and wheel to access and clean out all the dirt and debris. Inspect inside side of rear wheel and verify wheel gear is in good condition. If all looks good then onto the drive gear. You could try penetrating oil, but if dogs are seized you'll likely need to remove the gear... the key is spring loaded so take not to loose the key and spring. They're small pieces and once they launch they may be lost forever.
I don't remember if the "cover" has to be removed. If it does, there are a lot of small parts, be careful not to loose and keep in correct order. Consult diagram frequently.

Posted on Mar 09, 2019

  • 4 more comments 
  • Allen Meyerhoff
    Allen Meyerhoff Mar 09, 2019

    Didn't occur to me before, but I don't hear the dogs! So your suggestion is encouraging. I know there must be all kinds of debris in there given the years I've had it, and one of the wheels has some rust inside that I can see because that wheel is difficult to height-adjust. I'll try and get to it over the weekend. Thank you, Carl.

  • Allen Meyerhoff
    Allen Meyerhoff Mar 09, 2019

    My mistake. Just pushed the fellow on the garage floor. The dogs do click. I reckon I thought they no longer did just because I couldn't remember hearing them yesterday. So while they do click, the click sound is less sharp/tight than I recall it used to be. I still plan to have at it over the next couple days, just to clean up those parts and see what happens. IIRC, I may need to buy some snap ring pliers.

  • Carl Rock
    Carl Rock Mar 09, 2019

    Drive Clutch Cable Adjustment
    1. Measure free play at the top of the lever, as shown. Free play
    should be 1/16 ~ 3/16 in (1 ~ 5 mm). If adjustment is necessary:
    2. Loosen the lock nuts with a 10 mm wrench, and move the adjuster
    up or down as required.
    3. Tighten the lock nuts and recheck free play.
    4. Start the engine outdoors, and operate the drive clutch lever.
    Check that the drive clutch engages and releases properly.
    If the drive clutch does not operate as it should, with correct cable
    adjustment, take the mower to an authorized Honda servicing
    dealer for repair.

  • Carl Rock
    Carl Rock Mar 09, 2019

  • Allen Meyerhoff
    Allen Meyerhoff Mar 10, 2019

    Hey Carl,

    Belt seems fine, gearbox is dry, and ratchet key dogs are clicking when rolling the mower. Because the drive clutch, when fully engaged then released only moves back maybe 10% of the way down to normal, the problem seems like the cable. I'm going to order one and see what happens.

  • Carl Rock
    Carl Rock Mar 10, 2019

    Check both clutch cable and shift cable adjustments. See pages 41 and 42.


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  • Contributor
  • 37 Answers

Replacing the drive wheel is the likely problem. The drive wheel has a geared/notched inside surface. I have extended the life on a drive wheel by grinding or cutting down the inside spacer hub, allowing the geared surface to contact the unused/not worn down, portion of the geared surface.

Posted on Mar 10, 2019

Testimonial: "Thank you, Doug. I should have mentioned earlier I checked that. Both the pinion gears and the gear surfaces on the inside of the rear wheels are in very good shape, edges are sharp, hardly any wear, and barely any debris in there."

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  • Honda Master
  • 23,288 Answers

The obvious choice here is to at least check the belt

Posted on Mar 08, 2019

Testimonial: "Belt appears intact and has decent tension. A tad dry but no visible cracks."

6 Suggested Answers

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

  • 246 Answers

SOURCE: Troy bilt lawn mower. Will not engage self propell, front wheels


Send me the Model and Type or Spec Numbers Off the Engine and the Mower Model Numbers, Please. With these I can Locate the Proper Manual and Better Assist you. The Engine Model Numbers May be Stamped Into the Blower Housing (metal engine cover) Above the Spark Plug. The Mower Model Numbers are Usually Located Under the Seat on a Sticker on the Body of the Mower.
>>If you Hit a Snag or this Does Not Correct the Problem, I am Here if You Require More Assistance. Hope this Helps. Let me Know What Happens, Please. May the All Mighty Bless You and Yours. Be Safe and Happy.



Posted on Apr 21, 2009

  • 486 Answers

SOURCE: craftsman self propelled walk behind lawn mower

Normally grass and debris are clogged under the belt/transmission cover, preventing the full engagement of the transmission cable/lever.

The cover is located on the topside, left front corner of the mower shell. Clean debris, try it again. If OK, re-install cover, If not, there is a cable adjustment (threaded portion with a nut on either side of a fastening arm) move the cable adjustment towards the rear, this will tighten the cable. Sometimes the cable assembly (includes the cable and the control box) needs to be replaced

I’m happy to assist further over the phone at

Posted on Nov 08, 2009

  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: how do I replace the clutch cable on my honda self

I fixed the drive cable just yesterday. If the model is exactly hrx217hxa with the serial number between MAGA–1000001 and 139999 as mine is, it can be quite involved to replace the cable if this is the first time, because honda wants to replace the "control arm" as well. You can find a detailed instruction to replace the drive cable from the following link.

The part number that you need to order is 06225-VH7-305, which comes with a very brief instruction on how to replace based on the service manual (not the user manual). The above link will guide you to how to replace the cable, but since the transmission end of the cable changed, you need to replace the "control arm" as well. This requires to disengage the drive "belt", which is the first challenge. Once you disengage it, it is relatively straight forward to replace the "control arm" if you have the right tools (1/8" pin punch and a challen lock plier which are described in the instruction that came with the cable kit).
Engaging the drive belt back on is the biggest challenge in the whole process, unless you have the right tool to handle the powerful spring that pulls the whole transmission to give friction to the drive belt. I spent two hours to try to engage the belt without the right tool (probably you need a "brake spring tool"), and I finally did it.
The rest of the assembly process is straight forward if you memorize what you did for disassembly. The above link can help you as well.
I took pictures of every step, and am going to post it somewhere soon, but if you want to replace it soon, please send me a message if you need help.

Posted on Nov 24, 2009

  • 23 Answers

SOURCE: The self propel on my 22" troy-bilt mower works

put belt dressing on the belt

Posted on Aug 17, 2011

  • 1 Answer

SOURCE: I have a Husqvarna model

If the belt bis turning the pully, and the axel is turning, how could the real solution be the bbelt??

Posted on Mar 21, 2012

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