Honda HRR Models: Rear Wheels Locking Up When Pulling Backwards

Roymg

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I can't take ownership for this fix and I can't find where I got this article from to be able to give credit to the originator. But I tried the fix he suggested and it worked for me. Why I'm not sure, but heck I was willing to try something to take care of the problem. I have a HRR216K9VKA Honda mower. I got my thrust washers from ACE and even though they were not an exact match, they worked. So far I cut my yard only once with this fix and ran this mower for an hour and one half, with good results.



14 year old HRT216 would no longer backup (rear wheels would not release when the drive handle was released, and the wheels just "locked". My remedy below is uniquely different from any others I have seen on this subject. Honda Mower Rear wheel xmission has a unique design that uses Thrust Washers to help release the drive from the rear wheels so that the operator can easily back up the mower when the Drive Handle is released.
As the machine ages, these washers lose their load Thrust and the rear wheels will not properly release to enable an easy back up. This makes the mower very hard to operate due to its "braking weight in reverse". A Simple Fix in lieu of replacing the entire transmission ($175 or so) and repair bill of $175 (total xmission repair is very difficult and time consuming) is to place two thrust washers (Pt # 90505-VG3-000) (13 x 27mm) in series and add one more spacing wheel washer (Pt # 90455-VA2-000 (13 x 27 x 1mm) to each Rear Wheel Assembly instead of just one thrust washer and spacer washer.
These are items #16 and #19 in Jacks-Parts-Lookup/Model-Diagram. Adding these washers "in series" will double the Thrust Force and aid the wheels to release. I used the existing Thrust Washer and Spacing Washer from the existing mower and added one Thrust Washer and One more Spacing Washer to each Wheel Assembly and got excellent results. Put the Spacing Plain Washers on each end of the Series Assembly of two Thrust Washers (i.e. Top and Bottom Sandwich with Thrust Washers "back to back" as shown in the Solon diagram referenced below: **. Be sure to orient the Washer Assembly as shown in Solon Belleville Spring Features via **.
One of the Thrust Washers Convex Head must be oriented to point towards the Wheel Axles Bolt Head, the other Trust washer Convex Head must point towards the Wheel Cover Item #6. Two Thrust Washers and two Wheel Washers will cost about $6.00. Time to un-assemble and re-assemble each wheel is about ten minutes each. Clean the large driver perimeter gear(s) on each inner wheel if badly caked with lubricant, grass, and dirt. Apply a thin coating of Gear Grease or Heavy Motor Oil to each driving gear
 

Briantii

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Is there any definitive best lube for these? I’ve been using grease and frankly it cakes up with dirt and gunk and I’m back to the same old infuriating lawn mower again. I get about a years worth of homeowner use no matter what. I’ve replaced the bushings 2 or 3 times too and the latest version even has been locking up... just like all the prior ones. I took it apart and cleaned them all out again this weekend and reassembled with powdered graphite this time. Feels great right now, but as always, who knows how long it will last. These mowers are awesome except for this stupid design. Why they didn’t use a sealed ball bearing is beyond me.

Robert, any chance you can comment about what lube (if any) is supposed to go in these bushings? I literally installed the new bushings last August and come July 2018 I’m ready to throw this thing off a cliff again. I can’t help but think it’s somehow me and using the wrong lube.
 

gotomow

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I used Motorkote spray with good results. You could also try a graphite based spray like EZ-Slide. I picked up a can of EZ-Slide at an estate sale for a great price so I'm going to try that if the Motorkote is no longer effective. Honda chose to save $$$ on cheap bushings instead of putting bearings in. On a trip to Home Depot I noticed a HRX217 reduced on the sales floor so I thought I'd pull back on it and WOW that thing was hard to pull back practically brand new! If I had a lot of pulling back to do with a mower the Honda's would not be on my list.
 

Briantii

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Thanks, I may have to try one of those if the graphite powder doesn’t hold up. I’ll update the thread when I know. In a year if graphite still works I’ll sing it’s praises here.

This design is just so infuriating. It’s literally the only part of this mower that’s substandard. I can’t help but wonder how hard it’d be to machine the adjusters to accept a standard ball bearing. Looks like all current non-commercial models use the same design. I guess as always if you want the good stuff gotta pay for commercial grade, though my yard really shouldn’t need it. And I agree, half the brand new ones are hard to pull backwards too.... insane.
 

bertsmobile1

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Go to a push bike shop, the ones inhabited by MAMILS and get some DRY cable lube.
The stuff is expensive but you will only use a few drops.
I use Tri-FLow.
Do not get the spray cans.
When I started in the repair business 5 years ago I had 1/2 a 4oz bottle because I use it for lubing motorcycle control cables
Despite using it on mowers & bikes I still have about 1/10 of the bottle left.
Just give it a really good shake before you apply 2 to 3 drops then assemble and roll the mower a few feet to distribute the lube.
leave it for about 1/2 hour for the solvent to evaporate before you mow.
Do it every season as part of your annual season end service and you will never have to replace them again.
 

Briantii

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Threads
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115
Go to a push bike shop, the ones inhabited by MAMILS and get some DRY cable lube.
The stuff is expensive but you will only use a few drops.
I use Tri-FLow.
Do not get the spray cans.
When I started in the repair business 5 years ago I had 1/2 a 4oz bottle because I use it for lubing motorcycle control cables
Despite using it on mowers & bikes I still have about 1/10 of the bottle left.
Just give it a really good shake before you apply 2 to 3 drops then assemble and roll the mower a few feet to distribute the lube.
leave it for about 1/2 hour for the solvent to evaporate before you mow.
Do it every season as part of your annual season end service and you will never have to replace them again.
Awesome, sounds like the perfect product. I'llpick sone up if graphite fails me. Disappointing the labor to get to them though and that it's required. Thanks!
 

Roymg

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Aug 3, 2018
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I can't take ownership for this fix and I can't find where I got this article from to be able to give credit to the originator. But I tried the fix he suggested and it worked for me. Why I'm not sure, but heck I was willing to try something to take care of the problem. I have a HRR216K9VKA Honda mower. I got my thrust washers from ACE and even though they were not an exact match, they worked. So far I cut my yard only once with this fix and ran this mower for an hour and one half, with good results.



14 year old HRT216 would no longer backup (rear wheels would not release when the drive handle was released, and the wheels just "locked". My remedy below is uniquely different from any others I have seen on this subject. Honda Mower Rear wheel xmission has a unique design that uses Thrust Washers to help release the drive from the rear wheels so that the operator can easily back up the mower when the Drive Handle is released.
As the machine ages, these washers lose their load Thrust and the rear wheels will not properly release to enable an easy back up. This makes the mower very hard to operate due to its "braking weight in reverse". A Simple Fix in lieu of replacing the entire transmission ($175 or so) and repair bill of $175 (total xmission repair is very difficult and time consuming) is to place two thrust washers (Pt # 90505-VG3-000) (13 x 27mm) in series and add one more spacing wheel washer (Pt # 90455-VA2-000 (13 x 27 x 1mm) to each Rear Wheel Assembly instead of just one thrust washer and spacer washer.
These are items #16 and #19 in Jacks-Parts-Lookup/Model-Diagram. Adding these washers "in series" will double the Thrust Force and aid the wheels to release. I used the existing Thrust Washer and Spacing Washer from the existing mower and added one Thrust Washer and One more Spacing Washer to each Wheel Assembly and got excellent results. Put the Spacing Plain Washers on each end of the Series Assembly of two Thrust Washers (i.e. Top and Bottom Sandwich with Thrust Washers "back to back" as shown in the Solon diagram referenced below: **. Be sure to orient the Washer Assembly as shown in Solon Belleville Spring Features via **.
One of the Thrust Washers Convex Head must be oriented to point towards the Wheel Axles Bolt Head, the other Trust washer Convex Head must point towards the Wheel Cover Item #6. Two Thrust Washers and two Wheel Washers will cost about $6.00. Time to un-assemble and re-assemble each wheel is about ten minutes each. Clean the large driver perimeter gear(s) on each inner wheel if badly caked with lubricant, grass, and dirt. Apply a thin coating of Gear Grease or Heavy Motor Oil to each driving gear

Update:
I guess it was too good to be true. Second go around cutting my yard the problem returned. I had high hopes this would work. I did not use the exact parts he did in his fix but should not have mattered.
 

Briantii

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Update:
I guess it was too good to be true. Second go around cutting my yard the problem returned. I had high hopes this would work. I did not use the exact parts he did in his fix but should not have mattered.
Yeah, sorry it didn’t work. If that model is like most Honda’s then I believe the theory of operation is quite wrong. The wheels don’t release at all ever. The ratcheting pinion gear allows the wheel to “overrun” the speed of the drive shaft but only in the forward direction. This allows you to turn the mower to turn while self propelled is engaged. If the wheels were locked to the shaft always then there would be no turning since I think most are like mine and have no differential in the transmission. Pulling backwards allows you to see ALL the drag in the driveline assembly.

I believe those washers on the wheels simply help keep it on tight as well as ensure the plastic guard doesn’t interfere with the wheel.

So far have one mow completed with graphite in the bushings. So far so good.
 

Briantii

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So quick update. 2 - 3 hours in on ONLY cleaning and re-lubing with powdered graphite and we're sticking again when hot. Guess it's new adjuster / bushing time. I wonder if Amazon has a "Subscribe and Save" option for adjusters / bushings... I swear it's an annual deal it seems. SO ANNOYING.
 
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