Can't Pull Mower Backwards - HRR216VLA to bearing conversion

civic

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civic

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Briantii, you mentioned you used ATF in the trans. when you did this did you replace the o ring seal? I wonder if I open mine up I will need to replace it. This o ring is close to $20 might as well buy a new trans. for $30 more.
 

Briantii

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Briantii, you mentioned you used ATF in the trans. when you did this did you replace the o ring seal? I wonder if I open mine up I will need to replace it. This o ring is close to $20 might as well buy a new trans. for $30 more.

Nope, it was in good shape and has never leaked.
 

Westman

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Part II

Pulled the rear wheel assembly to see if I could press the needle bearings into the wheel side of the adjuster's. The machine shop pressed the needle bearings flush to the wheel side, not allowing the insert of the grease/oil seal. I pressed it with my 6 inch vise using a 3/8 socket that would press the bearing without doing any damage. I was unsuccessful. That needle valve was really in tight, it would not move. I damaged the outer edge of the bearing making it unusable. Time to implement Plan B. I pulled the trans assembly and sanded down the entire axle. It was badly pitted toward the center with lots of rust. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the axle on the wheel side had damage in the area where the needle bearing was. Two concentric rings, I could feel the edges with my fingers. Looks like one of the needle valves was failing and scoring the axle. See first 2 pics below. This was surprising, as the needle valves were only in a few mowings. I sanded the axle down and installed the new adjusters with bronze oillite bushings. Both ends of the bushings are sealed with the Honda grease/oil seals (epoxied). Plenty of Redline CV2 for additional lubrication. I attempted to install the shrink tubing to cover the axle, but that was a failure. The shrink tubing would not shrink to seal the 1/2" axle. The shrink tubing was 5/8", which should have been ok, but it just wouldn't shrink down. I used a hair dryer. It was a good idea, but it just didn't work out. One plus, using the 5/8" oillite bushings allowed me to insert them into the stock Honda adjusters without drilling/modification. That allowed the Honda grease/oil seals to seat very well. I epoxied them anyway. After getting everything back together, the mower offered about the same resistance on pull back (4.5- 5 lbs) as the previous needle bearings did. Got my fingers crossed, I'll report back how things go as this summer mowing season progresses. Thanks guys.
 

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civic

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Thanks for the update. I am still on felt only and holding up. Too frigging hot to mess with it now.
 

Briantii

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Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the axle on the wheel side had damage in the area where the needle bearing was. Two concentric rings, I could feel the edges with my fingers. Looks like one of the needle valves was failing and scoring the axle. See first 2 pics below. This was surprising, as the needle valves were only in a few mowings.

I really think the seals are a must with the needle bearings considering how much junk gets in there without them. I was gumming up the bushings in just a couple mows.
 

Briantii

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This mower is going to change a life-long habit I have of washing down the top and undersides of the mower when finished. I like to keep my stuff clean, but the introduction of water potentially past the grass/oil seals and into the bearing causing rust and corrosion simply isn't worth it. End of season I'll take a wire brush and clean off the grass clippings from the under carriage and vacuum them out. I'll probably take a damp rag and wipe off the top after every mowing, but no more water. Honda should be taken to the wood shed for manufacturing such a defective rear wheel assembly and selling it for 8-10 years? The axle should have been made of higher quality steel. The rust and corrosion on my axle was terrible. Those plastic bearings used in the adjusters would have probably worked better if Honda would have provided another grease/oil seal on the wheel side. I know, I'm peaching to the choir. Thanks, Briantii for opening this thread and creating dialog on how we can collectively try to make this product better, and to Civic for his input, especially the felt seals mod. The felt I bought was too think and stiff to use, it was really hard to cut, so I ended up using a Scotch-brite scouring pad I cut to fit the opening on the wheel cover. It was just thick enough to work and easy enough to cut and shape to fit the opening. (y)

Regarding cleaning - I use my leaf blower to blow it off. I wash it every few years... maybe. As long as you’re not mowing in the rain it gets it pretty clean. I don’t worry about the underside of the deck. I’ve not had any rust issues. Mild surface rust at worst. And no problem- I’m hoping we can get this thing sorted. I love civics ball bearing option, but mine is still doing great with the needle bearings. I’m on the fence if I should run to failure or tear down and inspect at the end of the season. Leaning towards running it to failure, but at some point it’s probably good to regrease it... so I’m not sure.
 

Westman

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I am going to wait it out and see how the bronze oillite bushings do. Not as good an option as needle or ball bearings, but time will tell. Like you, if I have to go back in, I'll opt for ball bearings.
 

civic

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Regarding cleaning - I use my leaf blower to blow it off. I wash it every few years... maybe. As long as you’re not mowing in the rain it gets it pretty clean. I don’t worry about the underside of the deck. I’ve not had any rust issues. Mild surface rust at worst. And no problem- I’m hoping we can get this thing sorted. I love civics ball bearing option, but mine is still doing great with the needle bearings. I’m on the fence if I should run to failure or tear down and inspect at the end of the season. Leaning towards running it to failure, but at some point it’s probably good to regrease it... so I’m not sure.
Cleaning, I always use a leaf blower too. I never or very rarely use a hose. I have only cleaned under the deck a few times once just a few months ago when I changed the belt. Not much grass but I do think it improved the mulching. My mower looks well used a few surface rust issues but not worried. Remember this thing has been under water twice. I have a thing about keeping my stuff instead of buying new every few years so I maintain all my equipment more so than anyone else or close to it. I am dying to install the sealed bearings but so hot here in upper 90's and very humid plus all is working well. Between all of us here we will find a fix and it is nice that all of us has done something different and reporting their findings.
 
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