March 1, 2017

How to replace a blade clutch cable on a riding lawn mower

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a blade clutch cable on a riding lawn mower

This DIY riding mower repair guide gives step-by-step instructions for replacing the blade clutch cable on a riding lawn mower. If the blade clutch cable is worn or broken, the blades won't spin when you shift the blade clutch lever. Examine the cable when the blades won't turn and replace a worn or broken blade clutch cable with a manufacturer-approved replacement part.

Use these repair steps to replace the blade clutch cable on common Craftsman, MTD, Toro, Troybilt, Husqvarna, Snapper and Ariens lawn tractors and riding mowers.

Quick links
Tools required
Wrench set
Pliers
Work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
30 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
30 minutes or less
Replacing a blade clutch cable on a riding lawn mower

This video explains how to replace the blade clutch cable on a riding lawn mower.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Disconnect the spark plug

    Park the tractor on a level surface in a well-ventilated area and set the parking brake.

    Disengage the cutting blades.

    Turn the ignition switch off and remove the key.

    Wear work gloves to protect your hands.

    Lift the tractor hood and disconnect the spark plug wire.

    Tip: Disconnect both spark plug wires if your tractor has 2 cylinders.
    Disconnect the spark plug.

    Disconnect the spark plug.

  2. 02.

    Disconnect the cable from the lever

    Pull off the clutch lever handle.

    Remove the air duct mounting screws and pull off the air duct.

    Carefully move the fuel tank out of the way.

    Remove the clutch lever assembly mounting screws.

    Push the lever through the dash opening to release the clutch lever assembly from the dash and access the cable connection.

    Release the tension spring from the pin.

    Remove the washer and release the cable from the pin.

    Release the cable retainer locking tabs and remove the cable from the support bracket.

    Tip: Empty some fuel from the tank into an approved container to make the tank easier to reinstall.
    Warning: The spring is under tension. To minimize tension, disengage the cutting blades before removing the spring.
    Pull out the lever assembly.

    Pull out the lever assembly.

  3. 03.

    Pull off the mower deck

    Lower the mower deck to its lowest position.

    Roll the blade belt off the engine pulley and release the belt from the belt keepers.

    Remove the front lift link support retaining pin and washer, and then detach the support from the deck.

    Remove the left suspension arm retaining clip and washer, and then detach the arm from the tractor frame.

    Remove the left rear deck bracket retaining clip and washer, and then release the bracket from the deck.

    Repeat the process on the other side of the deck to disconnect the right suspension arm and right rear deck bracket.

    Pull the deck out far enough to access the blade cable attached to the deck.

    Tip: On some tractors, you can replace the blade without removing the mower deck.
    Warning: After you disconnect the rear lift links, the spring-loaded attachment lift lever exerts more tension on the lever so don't use the lever until you reinstall the mower deck.
    Pull out the mower deck.

    Pull out the mower deck.

  4. 04.

    Remove the blade clutch cable

    Release the locking tabs and pull the blade clutch cable retainer out of the deck bracket.

    Disconnect the blade clutch cable spring from the idler arm.

    Release the blade clutch cable from the keeper on the frame and remove the cable.

    Release the cable from the deck.

    Release the cable from the deck.

  5. 05.

    Install the new blade clutch cable on the deck

    Connect the new blade clutch cable spring to the idler arm.

    Push the blade clutch cable retainer into the deck bracket and engage the locking tabs.

    Connect the blade clutch cable to the keeper on the frame.

    Connect the cable spring.

    Connect the cable spring.

  6. 06.

    Reinstall the mower deck

    Push the deck under the tractor frame.

    Reconnect the front lift link support to the deck using the washer and retaining clip.

    Reconnect the left-side suspension arm and deck bracket using the washers and retaining clips.

    Repeat the process to reconnect the right-side suspension arm and deck bracket.

    Route the blade belt through the belt keepers and roll the blade belt onto the engine pulley.

    Check the blade belt routing on the mower deck and adjust the belt if it slipped off pulleys or out of belt keepers.

    Tip: See your owner's manual for more on routing the blade belt.
    Reconnect the mower deck.

    Reconnect the mower deck.

  7. 07.

    Install the new cable on the lever

    Position the new cable end on the lever bracket pin then reinstall the washer.

    Reattach the tension spring to the pin.

    Snap the cable retainer into the bracket, engaging the locking tabs.

    Push the lever through the dash opening and position the clutch lever assembly in the dash.

    Reinstall the mounting screws.

    Reinstall the handle on the lever.

    Position the tank on its brackets and then position the air duct above the engine, lining up the mounting holes.

    Reinstall the mounting screws.

    Install the cable on the lever bracket.

    Install the cable on the lever bracket.

  8. 08.

    Reconnect the spark plug

    Reconnect the spark plug wire and lower the tractor hood.

    Tip: Reconnect both spark plug wires if your engine has 2 cylinders.
Warning: Undertaking repairs or maintenance to appliances or power equipment can be hazardous. Should you choose to undertake repairs or maintenance, you are assuming the risk of injury to your person or property. In an effort to reduce the risk, use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the applicable 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 or maintenance, however, 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: dead battery, stale fuel, bad starter solenoid, ignition system problem, bad ignition interlock switch, clogged carburetor
Main causes: damaged cutting blade, worn deck pulley, damaged mandrel pulley, loose fasteners on mower deck components
Main causes: shift lever needs adjustment, neutral control needs adjustment
Main causes: engine overfilled with oil, leaky head gasket or sump gasket, damaged carburetor seals, cracked fuel pump, broken fuel line
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: unlevel mower deck, dull or damaged cutting blades, worn mandrel pulleys, bent mower deck, engine needs tune up
Main causes: worn or broken blade belt, broken belt idler pulley, blade clutch cable failure, bad PTO switch, damaged mandrel pulleys
Main causes: clogged carburetor, damaged flywheel key, dirty spark plug, stale fuel, improper valve lash, engine needs a 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.

How to replace the air filter on a riding lawn mower

Get your mower running smoothly again by replacing the air filter—it's a quick job you can do yourself, following these steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
How to replace the starter motor on a riding lawn mower

If you hear the solenoid click but don’t hear the starter motor spin when you turn the key, follow these steps to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
January 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a riding lawn mower blade

If a blade on your mower is dull or bent, replace it following the steps in this repair guide.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all riding mowers & tractors

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your riding mower or lawn tractor.

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