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.

Repair difficulty:
Time required:

Less than 30 min.

Parts Required

  • Blade clutch cable

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Tools Required

  • Wrench set
  • Pliers
  • Work gloves

Before you Begin

Let the engine cool.

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

Wear work gloves to protect your hands.


 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.

How to Replace a Blade Clutch Cable on a Riding Lawn Mower

Step 1: Disconnect the spark plug

Turn the ignition switch off and remove the key.

Lift the tractor hood and disconnect the spark plug wire.

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

Step 2: 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.

Step 3: 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.

Step 4: 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.

Step 5: 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. 

Step 6: 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.

Step 7: 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.

Step 8: 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.