I need to re-invent the wheel! LITERALLY! (Well, almost literally.)

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Old 05-25-14, 08:19 AM
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I need to re-invent the wheel! LITERALLY! (Well, almost literally.)

Hi, everyone! Here's my situation, best summed up with one "big" and two "littles".

The "big": the size of my problem--if I don't solve it, I can't use this tool anymore, and I'm forced to spend money I would rather not.

First "little": I've got a baby lawn mower--the "Lawn Pup", which is an electrically powered mower of very small size that has served me very well for quite a few years.

Second "little": The amount of technical knowledge I have. And because that amount is skimpy, I find it hard to explain the nature of the problem with great precision.

It concerns the left rear wheel of the "Lawn Pup"--it has come off, and while putting it back on is simple, keeping it on is not. The problem is that I can't for the life of me figure out how it has remained on all these years--there doesn't seem to be any mechanism to accomplish that.

First of all, unlike all other wheels I've dealt with over the years (automobile wheels, shopping cart wheels, bicycle wheels), there is no "nut" or its equivalent that, when fastened, keeps the wheel attached. Other parts of the "Lawn Pup" have "disguised" nuts--fancy thingamajigs that don't look like nuts but serve the same purpose, and can be replaced by nuts. But the rear wheels are a different story. They simply fit over each end of the axle. And the outside of the wheel provides no opportunity to affix anything to it (whether that "anything" be a nut or something else), or to remove anything from it (to gain access to some inner sanctum more amenable to working with).

And to clinch the matter, let me report the following observation: when the rear wheel is off and I can examine the end of the axle, I can see that it is entirely smooth--there's not the slightest thread on it at all.

So, the question is: how have both rear wheels remained attached all these years, without a problem until now?

Well, I guess it's possible that originally they fit so tightly that when the wheels turned (as I pushed the mower along), the wheels didn't turn on the axle but instead the wheels and axle turned together, as one unit. And now, that tight fit is no longer tight enough to hold the wheel on when the terrain is the slightest bit rough (which it constantly is).

Or conceivably, the wheels not only fit tight but were actually glued onto the axle, and now the glue bond has been broken with the left wheel.

Here's one piece of evidence that a loosened fit (with or without glue being involved) is the problem: about two weeks ago, when I mowed the lawn for the first time this season, the wheel came off just once. But this past Friday, when I mowed for the second time, it came off repeatedly, and with decreasing time between each failure, suggesting a rapidly accelerating loosening of the fit.

In any case, what do I do now? I've thought of a number of possibilities but none hold much promise of a long-lasting solution, so I turn to you people for suggestions that don't require much technical skill on my part.
 
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Old 05-25-14, 08:29 AM
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You need a "push on axle nut".
Example here;
Shop Standard (SAE) Axle Nuts at Lowes.com

RR
 
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Old 05-25-14, 08:58 AM
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Rough Rooster, when the rear wheel is on, I have no access to the end of the axle to attach the "push on axle nut". So I'd have to buy a wheel that's the approximate size of the existing wheel, assuming such wheels are sold somewhere.

By the way, what keeps the push on axle nut on? Just friction?
 
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Old 05-25-14, 09:09 AM
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Is this an accurate diagram of your mower?

If so, it looks like there is a cover that pops off the front of your wheel to expose the friction nut that rough rooster is suggesting.
 
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Old 05-25-14, 09:12 AM
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Pull the center cap off of one of the other wheels. All four wheels use the same retainer clip.

It's pictorial part # 18 in the link below. Unfortunately it shows as no longer available.

Sears parts direct/walk-behind-lawn-mower-parts/Model-LAWNPUP1000
 
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Old 05-25-14, 09:22 AM
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The nut is made of stamped steel and has little fingers or fins on the inside diameter. They are bent slightly so that when they are pushed on to the axle, the tips of the fins grip the shaft and resist sliding off.

Just do a Google image search for "push on nut".
 
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Old 05-25-14, 10:18 AM
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Guys, I guess I'm feeling what many neophytes feel when dealing with experts--really, really dumb!! Somehow I managed to get to this point in life without ever having heard of push nuts. What a great concept!!

I immediately went to my Lawn Pup, this time armed with a screwdriver instead of my bare hands, and I saw that yes, that wheel does have a removable cover!

And once I removed it, I saw, sliding around inside that cover a real live push nut!! Upon closer examination I saw that the push nut had a barely discernible break (from the perimeter all the way in) that explains its failure.

So I guess all I have to do is go to the local hardware store with the broken push nut and get a replacement in that exact size. The fact that Sears no longer supplies replacements shouldn't present a problem, right?

And I assume that after putting the wheel back on, I should affix the push nut so that the fins are facing away from mower, am I correct?
 
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Old 05-25-14, 10:36 AM
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Yes, most any hardware store with small parts bins will have it. Also, yes, the fins face out.
 
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Old 05-25-14, 11:26 AM
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I want to thank all of ya!! I'm very appreciative of your analysis and advice, Rough Rooster, XSleeper, PJmax, Gunguy45!

I came to this forum a few hours ago fearing I might well have to put my Lawn Pup to sleep, and instead I now anticipate it'll be frolicking and yelping for years to come!!
 
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