Honda HRR Models: Rear Wheels Locking Up When Pulling Backwards

Briantii

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The idea is that I should be able to periodically push fresh grease into the bushing hopefully keeping most dirt and grit out. I aligned the fitting with the wheel mount on the adjuster so that if you adjust the wheels to the highest setting then the fitting points down and is easily accessible to pump grease into, otherwise it just points sideways/ up during normal use. I disassembled drilled and tapped it the put it back together and installed the zerk fitting with locktite. It’s a pain, but fingers crossed it’ll work well for a while.
 

Briantii

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Re: Honda HRR Models: Rear Wheels Locking Up When Pulling Backward.

Same exact problem. Replaced the adjuster assembly using the part numbers from the bulletin, lubed it with lithium grease. Worked for one time and problem is back. It will backup but is harder than just after I reassembled it.
Yep, and will only get worse. I’m on my 2nd set of the “new” bushings that comply with the bulletin. Honda should have used sealed bearings IMHO.
 

Briantii

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Took mine out for it’s first mow with the zerk fittings pumped up with some really old Yamaha Marine grease (just what was in my gun). Wow! So much better. I could turn on a dime, self propelled was faster, whole thing felt lighter and more maneuverable. Fingers crossed that shooting grease in there once a month or so will keep it like this. I forgot how good these things are on the rare occasion they’re actually working correctly. Will update everyone later this season with status. Hopefully this is a long term solution since Honda sure doesn’t give us one.
 

Mow'N Weeds

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I like that grease fitting idea, that should have been a factory installed deal, for as over-complicated design of those things.. why wasn't it??
I shy away from Honda mowers, do not like. Motors yeah of course, everything else, not one bit. I got another one laying about, but I have no money invested into it thus far, it was a freebie someone beat to snot then finally pushed to the curb. Motor may be a runner, it's free at least. That's the most I'll pay for an actual Honda mower though ;)
 

Briantii

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I like that grease fitting idea, that should have been a factory installed deal, for as over-complicated design of those things.. why wasn't it??
I shy away from Honda mowers, do not like. Motors yeah of course, everything else, not one bit. I got another one laying about, but I have no money invested into it thus far, it was a freebie someone beat to snot then finally pushed to the curb. Motor may be a runner, it's free at least. That's the most I'll pay for an actual Honda mower though ;)
I wish they would have used sealed ball bearings. The zerk fitting for the non sealed bushing seemed like the next best thing. I like my mower when the self propelled isn’t messed up. Unfortunately due to their horrible design I feel like I’m re-engineering more than mowing. So frustrating. If this continues to work I’ll be happy though.... just not with Honda. :)
 

minndogs

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Seems to me this lock up of the rear wheels is a design problem.
I have experienced it on 2 hrr216 series mowers and my brother has the exact problem on his hrr216 series mower. THe Honda dealer recently replaced the bushings on one of mine under warranty. The mower still has the issue.

My thoughts are that when the clutch is adjusted so that the rear wheels do not lock up, the mower does not have enough torque on the rear wheels to go up steeper hills. Fine for flat lawns with mild hill angles.
If the clutch is adjusted so that there is enough clutch tension to keep the wheels going for steep hills, the rear wheels lock up when pulling the mower backwards with the engine running.

I think this is due to the stiffer tension adjustment needed for steeper hills. With the stiffer tension, when the clutch is released to pull the mower backwards, there is still slight tension on the transmission pulley so the rear wheels will not turn freely when pulling backwards.
I tested this out by changing clutch adjustments in my driveway and sure enough, the rear wheels lock when the clutch adjustment is tightened adequately for steeper hills. There does not seem be solution to this issue. It is caused by the design of the drive system.
 

Mow'N Weeds

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Briantii said:
I wish they would have used sealed ball bearings. The zerk fitting for the non sealed bushing seemed like the next best thing. I like my mower when the self propelled isn’t messed up. Unfortunately due to their horrible design I feel like I’m re-engineering more than mowing. So frustrating. If this continues to work I’ll be happy though.... just not with Honda. :)
Sealed bearings sound like a better idea too. I had the joy of tearing one down on both rear wheels, cleaning/sanding down parts, cleaning every bit of old grease and re-greasing w/new blue marine grease. It worked again when finished (wheels didn't lock up anymore), but it was a PITA job and I honestly don't know if it was any sort of permanent fix to the issue or not. I sold it before I found out yes or no. The buyer asked if the wheels locking up would come back and I told 'em IDK, but that if he had a problem with them doing that anytime soon, that he could get in contact with me and I could do the job again if need be. I wouldn't have charged 'em to do it, would have just been a courtesy. Thankfully I never heard from him again, so I'm also hoping it's still mowin' along just fine for 'em. I've read that bushings were made too small from the factory (or wheel shafts too big, depending on how you wanna look at it), and if still under warranty they'd replace with new up-sized bushings and that was supposed to fix it. But here we have testimony of that still not fixing the issue. Though I'm no official Engineer, I don't think it's the best design either, clearly. If they were cheapie mowers a guy might not gripe so much, but these things purchased new are far from 'cheap' in price for a walk behind mower IMO.
 

Briantii

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Sealed bearings sound like a better idea too. I had the joy of tearing one down on both rear wheels, cleaning/sanding down parts, cleaning every bit of old grease and re-greasing w/new blue marine grease. It worked again when finished (wheels didn't lock up anymore), but it was a PITA job and I honestly don't know if it was any sort of permanent fix to the issue or not. I sold it before I found out yes or no. The buyer asked if the wheels locking up would come back and I told 'em IDK, but that if he had a problem with them doing that anytime soon, that he could get in contact with me and I could do the job again if need be. I wouldn't have charged 'em to do it, would have just been a courtesy. Thankfully I never heard from him again, so I'm also hoping it's still mowin' along just fine for 'em. I've read that bushings were made too small from the factory (or wheel shafts too big, depending on how you wanna look at it), and if still under warranty they'd replace with new up-sized bushings and that was supposed to fix it. But here we have testimony of that still not fixing the issue. Though I'm no official Engineer, I don't think it's the best design either, clearly. If they were cheapie mowers a guy might not gripe so much, but these things purchased new are far from 'cheap' in price for a walk behind mower IMO.
Yep, EXACTLY. It seems to me to be related to how much dust you have. It gums up pretty quickly if there is a lot of dust. If it's damp or I stick with the front yard where the grass is in a lot better shape, then it's fine. The zerk fittings so far are still working great. Just hit them with a shot of grease any time I start to feel any drag. This is the best the mower has EVER been, even new. I'd highly recommend the "zerk fitting mod" as it seems to be the only real way to maintain them without tearing the whole thing apart each time.
 

Briantii

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Seems to me this lock up of the rear wheels is a design problem.
I have experienced it on 2 hrr216 series mowers and my brother has the exact problem on his hrr216 series mower. THe Honda dealer recently replaced the bushings on one of mine under warranty. The mower still has the issue.

My thoughts are that when the clutch is adjusted so that the rear wheels do not lock up, the mower does not have enough torque on the rear wheels to go up steeper hills. Fine for flat lawns with mild hill angles.
If the clutch is adjusted so that there is enough clutch tension to keep the wheels going for steep hills, the rear wheels lock up when pulling the mower backwards with the engine running.

I think this is due to the stiffer tension adjustment needed for steeper hills. With the stiffer tension, when the clutch is released to pull the mower backwards, there is still slight tension on the transmission pulley so the rear wheels will not turn freely when pulling backwards.
I tested this out by changing clutch adjustments in my driveway and sure enough, the rear wheels lock when the clutch adjustment is tightened adequately for steeper hills. There does not seem be solution to this issue. It is caused by the design of the drive system.
Assuming you're talking about the newer versions there really isn't a "clutch" per say - the cable pulls up on the transmission which rotates and tightens the belt. I always thought it might be drag from the belt and did similar experiments to yours, but it's really drag from those stupid bushings. It also can be affected by heat. As the plastic bushings inside the metal adjuster heat up then it gets tighter, causing more friction and heat and drags even more. It actually seems to put a pretty big load on the transmission from the drag and friction. I overheated / locked up my transmission with the bushings dragging so much one time. The temp differences do lead to inconsistent results of the tests as well. I HIGHLY suggest trying the zerk fitting mod that I showed in the picture. It's really working great with the bushings remaining well lubed. Like, it freely rolls backwards down hills without ANY hint of tearing up grass! How sad that they couldn't get this right from the factory. The only thing I'd do differently is epoxy the inside dust shield to the metal adjuster to keep the pressure from the grease from wanting to pop it out which can happen if you pump a shot of grease in them quickly.
 

jahn

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Honda issued a Service Bulletin on this problem earlier this spring; the issue is the bushings may be undersized, causing increased friction between the bushing the the transmision's axle.



The fix is to replace the adjuster arms, which have countermeasure bushings.

Step 1: First, verify your mower is in the affected range; if it is NOT, you have a different problem.
Affected model list is as follows:

HRR216K9VKA serial numbers MZCG-8670001-9933580
HRR216K9VLA serial numbers MZCG-8670001-9933580
HRR216K9VYA serial numbers MZCG-8670001-9933580

Step 2: Normal warranty applies; if your mower is still under warranty, is having a pull-back issue, and is in the above range, Honda will replace the adjusters under warranty. All Honda dealers are authorized to do this warranty repair, even if you didn't buy it from them. Beware that some dealers may offer more flexible repair schedules for those customer who did.

Find A Honda Dealer

If the dealer doesn't seem aware, tell him to look at Honda Power Equipment Lawn Mower Service Bulletin #107.

Step 3: If you're out of warranty, a dealer can still do the repair. Most will charge about 45 minutes to 1 hour of shop time for this job, but that's totally up to them. List price for each adjuster is $12.10.

Step 4: If you'd like to DIY, it's not a bad job. You need to remove the rear wheels and all the parts on the drive axle, which include a couple of circlips, so you may need to buy a circlip pliers. A bench is a big help to hold the mower in an easy-to-work-on position; note this requires the fuel and oil to be drained:





I'd be happy to share some detailed instructions, just drop me a PM with your full email address.
I had my mower parts replaced and after 2 weeks it still won't pull backwards..........I bought a Toro that always works.
 
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