How to Replace a Mandrel Assembly on a Riding Lawn Mower



This DIY riding mower repair guide gives step-by-step instructions for replacing a mandrel assembly on a riding lawn mower. The mandrel assembly attaches to the deck and spins the blade. The bearings in the mandrel assembly wear down through normal use. An unbalanced blade speeds the wear on the bearings, as does hitting rocks while mowing. The mandrel assembly in this repair guide includes the blade shaft and bearings. Other mandrel assemblies can include different parts, so check the parts diagram for your mower for a complete list of parts included in the mandrel assembly (enter the model number above to find the diagram). Replace the mandrel assembly with a manufacturer-approved replacement part if the blade shaft vibrates or doesn't spin freely inside the mandrel.

Use this repair guide and video to help you replace a mandrel assembly in common Craftsman, MTD, Troybilt, Husqvarna, Ariens, Cub Cadet and Snapper riding lawn mowers and lawn tractors.

Repair difficulty:
Time required:

Less than 30 min.

Parts Required

  • Mandrel assembly

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

Tools Required

  • Wrench set
  • Pliers
  • Wood block
  • Torque wrench (optional)
  • Work gloves

Before you begin

Let the engine cool.

Park the tractor on a level surface and set the parking brake.

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 Mandrel Assembly 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: Remove the mower deck

Lower the mower deck to its lowest position.

Disengage the cutting blades.

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.

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

Disconnect the blade cable spring from the idler arm and move the cable aside.

Pull the deck out from under the frame.

 Warning: Because the spring-loaded attachment lift lever exerts more tension on the lever the after you disconnect the rear lift links, don't use the lever until you reinstall the mower deck.

Step 3: Remove the mandrel assembly

Put a wood block between the blade and mower deck to keep the cutting blade from moving.

Remove the pulley mounting nut and detach the pulley.

Pull out the wood block and flip the mower deck over.

Put the wood block back in place.

Remove the blade mounting bolt and pull off the cutting blade.

Remove the wood block and flip the deck upright.

Remove the mandrel mounting bolts and pull the mandrel out from under the deck.

Step 4: Install the new mandrel assembly

Thread the mandrel mounting bolts into the new mandrel to thread the mounting holes and then remove the bolts.

Position the new mandrel assembly in the deck opening and install the mounting bolts. Tighten the bolts firmly.

Put the wood block between the blade and mower.

Reinstall the pulley on the new mandrel assembly with the blade belt properly attached to the pulley. Tighten the mounting nut firmly.

Remove the wood block and flip the deck over.

With the correct side of the blade facing up, attach the blade to the new blade shaft and hand tighten the blade bolt.

Put the wood block back in place and tighten the blade bolt firmly.

Remove the wood block and flip the deck upright.

 Tip: Use new mounting bolts.

 Tip: The lower side of the blade is clearly labeled for easy installation.

Step 5: Reinstall the mower deck

Push the deck near the tractor frame.

Connect the blade clutch cable spring to the idler arm.

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

Position the deck under the tractor frame.

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

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

Repeat the process to reconnect the right 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 blade belt if needed to route the belt over all pulleys and through all belt keepers. 

 Tip: Refer to your owner's manual for more on routing the blade belt

Step 6: 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.