Repair or replace Craftsman lawn mower

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Old 02-16-05, 06:42 AM
ldollar
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Repair or replace Craftsman lawn mower

I have a Craftsman self propelled mower that I bought 10 yrs ago. I've had trouble with the self propel feature for the past few years and the transmission has finally gone out completely. I'm trying to decide whether to repair the mower or buy new.

The cost to repair this mower will be $140. I can buy a new Craftsman mower for approx $300. To repair this mower I have to purchase the transmission and two new wheels.

Its my understanding that this model of transmission Craftsman uses has not been known to be very dependable. From what little info I've found, I may have been very fortunate that mine lasted as long as I did. I have purchased the new transmission and it has a hard plastic case, compared to my the steel case of my old transmission.

Before I proceed with repair, I'm wondering just how long it will be before I put another transmission in this mower or have some other major repair. The engine is starting and running fine, but it is 10 yrs old.

I would appreciate any help with this decision.

Thanks
 
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Old 02-16-05, 07:04 AM
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Since you already bought the trans. you might as well install it. Everything is turning to plastic now-a-days. Most things are getting more expensive but built cheaper. Craftsman has even changed a lot of the things they replace on the extended warranty. Old doesn't really mean bad. I had a brand new Craftsman rider that was worked on (by their techs) more than I used it. Ended up getting most of my money back after 10 months because it had so many problems.
Personal opinion: Fix it and start saving and researching other mowers. I am looking right now for a rider and checking all the warranty and ease of service items. Also looking at Consumer Report articles for the Pro's and Con's of different brands. Good luck.
 
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Old 02-16-05, 07:25 AM
ldollar
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I should've added that I can return the transmission and wheels.
 
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Old 02-16-05, 07:48 AM
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You'll have to look at the rest of the mower then and decide if other things are going to go wrong. Deck rusting? Wheels wobbling? Vibration (abnormal) inthe shaft? Getting harder to start and keep running? Using oil?
In the end, it is your choice whether to invest in a new one . You are the only one that knows all of the things that bother you about the mower and may want to upgrade. Good luck.
 
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Old 02-16-05, 09:10 AM
ldollar
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If I really get to the bottom line, its this transmission or gear box that concerns me. I'd like to have more info on how long I can expect one of these things to last. The rest of the mower is fine and I expect no problems.

Its the same ole dilemna though, repair or replace. Whether its a dishwasher or a refrigerator. Only difference is a mower doesn't have nearly the number of things to go wrong.
 
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Old 02-16-05, 09:45 AM
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There is NO way to tell when a part will go bad and need replacement. Brand new parts can last for years or days. There is really no way to give you an answer in exacts. New cars can go bad within a few months or last for many many hundreds of thousand miles. In my opinion you should install the new parts and hope for the best. Continue watching this post as others may have other opinions.
Good Luck
 
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Old 02-16-05, 10:31 AM
ldollar
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Here's the info I've found that has me concerned. This is the exact part I'm replacing.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Toprake says these tranaxles ( or gear boxes or transmisssions ) will last only a few seasons. He rebuilds these Sears transaxles for about $30 less than Sears sells them for, he's very familiar with them.

I was just hoping to get other opinions, maybe someone else will have some info.

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Old 02-16-05, 03:45 PM
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However, I am cheap, so I go to the "Mower Boneyard" and buy old transaxles to rebuild so I have fresh ones ready at all times. I did "re-add" a segment on proper, periodic maintenance that should be performed to the older models (but NOT to the new ones). After the original posting of those instructions, I was afraid it might invalidate someone's warranty, and I would face liability issues. Disclaimers have since been added.

But hey, you coulda used the forums there...
 

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  #9  
Old 02-16-05, 04:54 PM
ldollar
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I guess the internet is a small world ...........

Your site is great ! Its been a tremendous help to me and I was gonna send you a note of thanks when I was done with this project. I didn't notice till today you had forums. I found your site through a Google search and it took me directly to your troubleshooting page. Your step by step troubleshooting is great.

Since I had to buy new wheels also, I just bought the new transaxle from Sears from their local repair center here in Oklahoma City. And from reading your assessment of those, I was hoping it would be an improved design.

I decided this afternoon to just finish repairing my mower. I don't know what I've done, but when I finished the wheels were locked up tight. It appears to me that this new axle is hair shorter than my old one, when I install the E-Clips to hold the pinions in place its too tight .......... or at least thats what I think it is right now. I've had a distraction and haven't gotten back to the project.

At any rate, I know it has to be the transaxle and the pinions that are locking up the wheels.

I also broke an E-Clip when I was dis-assembling the transaxle and Sears wanted $2.25 for one of those and they weren't in stock. I found 1/2" E-clips at the hardware store for $0.25. I'm pretty sure those are 1/2", would you know for sure what size they are?

Again, your site has been invaluable. Its saved me a ton of time and trouble. I might still end up sending you this old transaxle.
 
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Old 02-16-05, 06:45 PM
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When I wrote those pages, I had no idea if they would help or not. Apparently they have helped at least you, which makes it worthwhile. Thank you for visiting and ... reading.

The lengths of the new axle "halves" are identical to the old model; I don't know how they could be in such a bind in your particular case. I have tried the new model transaxle on several different older versions of mowers and it always worked fine. Be sure to let the new one "float" in when remounting, as the entire spring system has been changed.

If you were to look inside the new version, you would see the improvment. Once I opened it and saw the design, I knew my rebuilding business model was toast, but left the pages there just in case...On one of my test mowers, the new one has held up for about 6 years worth of non-commercial usage, though on another, I added extra gear lube and resealed using the recommended 3M product. Conclusive results for that experiment are not yet available.

About E-clips: they should be standard, according to Machinery's Handbook. How do you think I make any money on a rebuild if the E-clip needed changing

Anyways, if you have any other problems post here or there (you don't have to register there, but please use the same name so I know it's you).
 
  #11  
Old 02-17-05, 11:18 AM
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I got lost nearing the last few posts, but...What is your units model# and what is the part number for the tranny you got? The unit# likely starts with 917. I'll do a look-up and confirm if you have the correct tranny assembly. This will help in determining if the binding is you or the part. Furthermore, I suggest you keep the tranny area clean and keep all moving parts (cable(s), bushings/bearings, pivot points)well lubricated. It will not be reasonably feasible to disassemble the tranny each year to grease up, but if you keep the outside clean of grass debris, it will run cooler and thereby extend the life. Never use water to clean any part of any mower, use compressed air. I think you made the right decision in repairing the unit, by the way.
 
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