January 1, 2015

How to adjust the neutral control on a zero-turn riding mower

By Lyle Weischwill
How to adjust the neutral control on a zero-turn riding mower

This step-by-step repair guide gives instructions for adjusting a zero-turn riding mower’s neutral control. If your zero-turn riding mower creeps forward or backward when both lap bars are in the neutral position, adjust the neutral control following the instruction in this repair guide. See all our riding mower and lawn tractor DIY repair guides for more step-by-step instructions.

Use this process to adjust the neutral control on common Craftsman, Husqvarna, Troybilt, MTD, Cub Cadet and Toro zero-turn riding mowers.

Quick links
Tools required
Floor jacks
Chocks
Jack stands
Allen wrench
Repair difficulty
Time required
45 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
45 minutes or less
Adjusting the neutral control on a zero-turn riding mower

This video explains how to adjust the neutral control on a zero-turn riding mower.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Loosen the lug nuts on both rear wheels

    Move the mower to a work area on a hard, level surface. Don’t set the parking brake.

    Loosen the lug nuts on both rear wheels, but don’t remove them.

    PHOTO: Loosen the lug nuts.

    PHOTO: Loosen the lug nuts.

  2. 02.

    Jack up the rear

    Place wheel chocks in front of and behind both front castor wheels.

    Jack up the back of the mower to raise both rear wheels off the ground.

    Place jack stands under both sides of the rear frame to support the mower.

    PHOTO: Chock the front wheels.

    PHOTO: Chock the front wheels.

    PHOTO: Jack up the mower.

    PHOTO: Jack up the mower.

  3. 03.

    Remove both rear wheels

    Remove the lug nuts from the rear wheels and pull off both rear wheels.

    PHOTO: Remove the lug nuts.

    PHOTO: Remove the lug nuts.

    PHOTO: Remove the wheels.

    PHOTO: Remove the wheels.

  4. 04.

    Start the engine

    Place both lap bars in the neutral position.

    Pushing the bars outward to lock them in position.

    Start the engine and set the throttle to full RPM.

  5. 05.

    Adjust the neutral setting

    Check which wheel hub is moving.

    On the side that moves, remove the linkage mounting screw and pull the control linkage off of the bracket.

    Loosen the neutral adjustment screw.

    Adjust the control bracket to stop the wheel hub from moving.

    Tighten the neutral adjustment screw.

    Shut the engine off.

    Reconnect the control linkage.

    PHOTO: Remove the linkage.

    PHOTO: Remove the linkage.

  6. 06.

    Reinstall the rear wheels

    Reinstall the rear wheels on the hubs. Reinstall the lug nuts and finger tighten them.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the rear wheels.

    PHOTO: Reinstall the rear wheels.

  7. 07.

    Lower the mower

    Jack up the back of the mower and remove the jack stands.

    Lower the rear of the mower to the ground.

    Remove the front wheel chocks.

  8. 08.

    Tighten the lug nuts

    Set the parking brake and firmly tighten the rear wheel lug nuts.

    PHOTO: Tighten the lug nuts.

    PHOTO: Tighten the lug nuts.

Warning: Undertaking repairs to appliances can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms common to all riding mowers & tractors

Choose a symptom to see related riding mower and lawn tractor repairs.

Main causes: punctured tire or inner tube, leaky valve stem, damaged wheel rim
Main causes: worn or broken ground drive belt, bad seat switch, transaxle freewheel control engaged, transaxle failure, dirty carburetor
Main causes: shift lever needs adjustment, neutral control needs adjustment
Main causes: worn or broken blade belt, broken belt idler pulley, blade clutch cable failure, bad PTO switch, damaged mandrel pulleys
Main causes: damaged cutting blade, worn deck pulley, damaged mandrel pulley, loose fasteners on mower deck components
Main causes: engine overfilled with oil, leaky head gasket or sump gasket, damaged carburetor seals, cracked fuel pump, broken fuel line
Main causes: clogged carburetor, damaged flywheel key, dirty spark plug, stale fuel, improper valve lash, engine needs a tune up
Main causes: faulty battery, bad alternator
Main causes: unlevel mower deck, dull or damaged cutting blades, worn mandrel pulleys, bent mower deck, engine needs tune up

Repair guides common to all riding mowers & tractors

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your riding mower or lawn tractor.

January 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
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January 1, 2015
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Repair difficulty
Time required
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Repair difficulty
Time required
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