How to Make A Push Mower Self-Propelled?

20 minutes read

Converting a push mower into a self-propelled mower can be a practical and straightforward project for those who enjoy DIY. Here is a general idea of how to make a push mower self-propelled.

Step 1: Gather necessary materials

  • Self-propelled drive mechanism or kit (available online or at hardware stores)
  • Wrenches, screwdrivers, and other basic tools
  • Safety goggles and gloves

Step 2: Prepare the mower

  • Disconnect the spark plug to ensure safety and prevent the engine from accidentally starting.
  • Flip the mower on its side to access the blade and underside of the mower deck.
  • Remove the blade and any other obstructions that may interfere with the self-propelled mechanism.

Step 3: Install the drive mechanism

  • Carefully read and follow the manufacturer's instructions that come with the self-propelled kit.
  • Locate the designated area on the mower deck where the drive mechanism should be installed. It is typically towards the rear of the mower.
  • Assemble the self-propelled drive mechanism according to the provided instructions.
  • Mount the drive mechanism onto the designated area, aligning it properly with the mower deck.
  • Secure the drive mechanism in place using the hardware provided with the kit.

Step 4: Connect the self-propelled drive to the engine

  • Locate the drive belt or transmission pulley on the mower's engine.
  • Using the appropriate tools, detach the existing belt or pulley from the engine.

Step 5: Install the new drive belt

  • Take the new belt provided in the self-propelled kit, ensuring it is the correct size and type.
  • Thread the new belt around the drive pulley on the self-propelled mechanism.
  • Route the belt to the engine, sliding it onto the transmission pulley or creating a new connection point according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 6: Adjustments and final touches

  • Double-check all connections and ensure everything is properly aligned and secured.
  • Reattach any accessories or components that were removed during the installation process.
  • Check the tension of the drive belt, making any necessary adjustments as per the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Test the self-propelled function by starting the mower's engine and engaging the drive lever or control.

Note: Always exercise caution when working with machinery and follow all safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer. If you are unsure about any step of the process, consult a professional or seek guidance from experienced individuals.

Best Push Lawn Mowers of 2024

YARDMAX 21 in. 170cc 2-in-1 Gas Walk Behind Push Lawn Mower with High Rear Wheels

Rating is 5 out of 5

YARDMAX 21 in. 170cc 2-in-1 Gas Walk Behind Push Lawn Mower with High Rear Wheels

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PowerSmart Gas Lawn Mower 21 Inch 2-in-1 with 144CC 4-Stroke Engine, Push Mower Gas Powered DB2321CR

Rating is 4.9 out of 5

PowerSmart Gas Lawn Mower 21 Inch 2-in-1 with 144CC 4-Stroke Engine, Push Mower Gas Powered DB2321CR

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BILT HARD Gas Lawn Mower 20 inch, 2 in 1 170cc 4-Stroke OHV Engine Cordless Lawnmower, 8 Adjustable Cutting Heights Push Mowers for Lawn, Yard and Garden

Rating is 4.8 out of 5

BILT HARD Gas Lawn Mower 20 inch, 2 in 1 170cc 4-Stroke OHV Engine Cordless Lawnmower, 8 Adjustable Cutting Heights Push Mowers for Lawn, Yard and Garden

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  • Mowing Convenience - 7" rear/6“ front double ball-bearing wheels achieve smooth movement, comfortable foam-wrapped angled grip eliminates grasp fatigue.
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Greenworks 40V 16" Cordless (Push) Lawn Mower (75+ Compatible Tools), 4.0Ah Battery and Charger Included

Rating is 4.7 out of 5

Greenworks 40V 16" Cordless (Push) Lawn Mower (75+ Compatible Tools), 4.0Ah Battery and Charger Included

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  • VERSATILE – Battery powered lawn mower has a single lever 5-position height adjustment with a cutting height range from 1-1/4" to 3-3/8" for the best cut in all environments. The 2-in-1 feature offers versatile use with mulching and rear bagging options.
  • MAINTENANCE FREE – This walk behind lawn mower is virtually maintenance free, with no gas, no oil and no emissions. It starts instantly and is quiet but delivers gas-like power for your toughest projects.
Yard Machines 11A-02BT729 20-in Push Lawn Mower with 125cc Briggs & Stratton Gas Powered Engine, Black and Red

Rating is 4.6 out of 5

Yard Machines 11A-02BT729 20-in Push Lawn Mower with 125cc Briggs & Stratton Gas Powered Engine, Black and Red

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BLACK+DECKER Electric Lawn Mower, 10-Amp, Corded (BEMW472BH)

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CRAFTSMAN Gas Powered Lawn Mower, 21-inch Push Mower, 140cc (M105)

Rating is 4.4 out of 5

CRAFTSMAN Gas Powered Lawn Mower, 21-inch Push Mower, 140cc (M105)

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  • HEIGHT ADJUSTMENT: Dual-lever, 6-position height adjustment makes it easy to change cutting heights from 1.25 in. to 3.75 in. high
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BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 String Trimmer/Edger & Lawn Mower, 6.5-Amp, 12-Inch, Corded (MTE912) (Power cord not included), Black/Red

Rating is 4.3 out of 5

BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 String Trimmer/Edger & Lawn Mower, 6.5-Amp, 12-Inch, Corded (MTE912) (Power cord not included), Black/Red

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  • 6.5 AMP MOTOR – Supplies the ideal amount of power when trimming grass, weeds, and overgrowth.
  • GEAR DRIVE TRANSMISSION – For tackling tougher, thicker grass without getting bogged down.
  • AFS AUTOMATIC FEED SPOOL – Continuously feeds trimmer line without bumping for seamless, uninterrupted trimming.
  • ADJUSTABLE MOWER DECK AND TRIMMER HANDLE – Lawn mower deck and string trimmer handle are adjustable for ideal grass- cutting height and added comfort.
  • CORDED – Corded design offers unlimited runtime for even the biggest jobs.
  • INCLUDES – (1)GH912 trimmer/edger, (1) MTD100 detachable mower deck, (1) AF-100 spool, (1) auxiliary handle, (1) guard.
  • Note: Item requires power cord. Power cord not included

How to make a push mower self-propelled?

While it may require some mechanical skills and tools, you can make a push mower self-propelled by following these general steps:

  1. Gather the necessary tools and materials: You will need a self-propelled engine, which typically includes an engine, drive belt, pulleys, and a control mechanism. You may also need additional tools such as wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers.
  2. Choose the appropriate self-propelled engine: Consider the size and power of the engine, ensuring it is compatible with your push mower. You may want to consult with a professional at a local hardware store for guidance.
  3. Remove the existing engine or drive system: Disassemble the push mower and remove the original engine and drive system, including the handle, belt, and pulleys.
  4. Install the self-propelled engine: Fit the self-propelled engine onto the mower deck, ensuring it aligns properly with the drive wheels.
  5. Connect the engine to the drive wheels: Attach the engine's drive belt to the pulley on the engine and then connect it to the drive wheel pulley. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper installation.
  6. Adjust the tension on the drive belt: Ensure the belt has the correct tension by adjusting the position of the pulleys or using tension adjustment mechanisms provided by the self-propelled engine.
  7. Reassemble the push mower: Put the mower back together, ensuring all the components fit correctly and securely.
  8. Test the self-propelled feature: Start the mower and test the self-propelled feature by engaging the control mechanism. Ensure that the mower moves forward smoothly and the self-propelled function works correctly.
  9. Adjust and fine-tune if necessary: If there are any issues with the self-propelled function or if adjustments are needed, consult the manufacturer's instructions or seek professional help.

Note: It is important to mention that altering a push mower to become self-propelled may void any warranty and can be more complex than described here. If you are not confident in your abilities, it is recommended to consult a professional or purchase a self-propelled mower instead.

How to troubleshoot issues in a self-propelled push mower?

  1. Check the fuel: Ensure there is an adequate amount of fuel in the mower's tank. If it is low, refill with fresh, clean gasoline. If the fuel is old or contaminated, drain it and replace with new fuel.
  2. Examine the spark plug: Remove the spark plug and inspect its condition. If it is dirty or fouled, clean it or replace it if necessary. Ensure the spark plug wire is securely connected.
  3. Clean or replace the air filter: A clogged air filter can restrict airflow and cause performance issues. Remove the air filter and clean it using compressed air or replace it if it is too dirty or damaged.
  4. Check the oil level: Ensure the oil level is at the specified range indicated on the dipstick. Add or replace the oil if necessary, following the manufacturer's recommendations.
  5. Inspect the drive belt: If the mower's self-propelling function is not working properly, the drive belt may be worn or damaged. Examine the belt for any signs of wear, fraying, or cracks. Replace the belt if needed.
  6. Adjust the self-propel drive control: If the self-propel feature is malfunctioning, adjust the drive control cable to ensure it is engaging properly. Refer to the mower's manual for specific instructions on adjusting the drive control.
  7. Clean the underside of the mower deck: Grass clippings, debris, and built-up dirt can impede the mower's performance. Remove the blade and clean the underside of the mower deck thoroughly with a brush or hose.
  8. Sharpen or replace the blade: A dull or damaged blade can affect the mower's cutting performance. Sharpen the blade using a file or replace it if it is excessively worn or bent.
  9. Verify wheels and drive system: Check the wheels and drive system for any obstructions, damage, or loose parts. Clean dirt and debris from around the wheels and ensure they are properly aligned and secured.
  10. Seek professional assistance: If the above troubleshooting steps do not resolve the issue, or if there are more complex mechanical problems, it may be best to consult a professional mower repair service for further diagnosis and repair.

What are the key components of a self-propelled push mower?

The key components of a self-propelled push mower include:

  1. Engine: It is the power source of the mower, typically a small gasoline or electric engine that generates the power to turn the cutting blades and drive the wheels.
  2. Cutting Blades: These are the rotating blades responsible for cutting the grass. They are typically attached to a spinning horizontal shaft powered by the engine.
  3. Wheels: Self-propelled push mowers have wheels that enable them to move forward. They can be driven by the engine directly or through a transmission.
  4. Transmission: The transmission system transfers power from the engine to the wheels, enabling the mower to move forward. It can be a belt-driven system, a gearbox, or a combination of both.
  5. Drive Control: This is a mechanism that allows the user to control the speed and direction of the mower. It could include a throttle lever, speed control, and a clutch to engage or disengage the self-propelled feature.
  6. Deck: The deck is a housing that encloses the cutting blades. It not only protects the user from potential injuries but also helps to direct grass clippings into the collection bag or discharge chute.
  7. Height Adjustment: Most self-propelled push mowers offer adjustable cutting heights to accommodate different grass lengths or user preferences. This feature is typically controlled by a lever or a set of knobs.
  8. Collection Bag: Many self-propelled mowers come with a bag or a basket attached to the rear to collect grass clippings for easy disposal. The bag can usually be detached for emptying.
  9. Safety Features: Self-propelled push mowers often include safety features such as dead-man switches that automatically shut off the engine if the user releases the handle, shields to prevent debris from being thrown, and blade override systems for enhanced safety.
  10. Handle: The handlebar provides a grip and control for the user to guide the mower. It often has additional features like adjustable height, cushioning, and folding capabilities for easy storage.

What safety precautions should be taken while working on a self-propelled push mower?

  1. Read and understand the owner's manual of the self-propelled push mower before operating it.
  2. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety goggles, ear protection, and gloves to protect yourself from flying debris and loud noises.
  3. Ensure the mower is on a flat and stable surface before starting it.
  4. Clear the working area of any obstacles like rocks, branches, or toys that could be picked up and thrown by the mower.
  5. Before starting the engine, check that all safety guards, shields, and devices are in place and functional.
  6. Check the fuel level and add gasoline only when the engine is cool and not running. Avoid refueling near sparks, flames, or other sources of ignition.
  7. Do not wear loose-fitting clothing or jewelry that could get caught in the mower's moving parts, and tie back long hair.
  8. Only start the mower when you are standing behind the handle, and never start it indoors or in an enclosed space.
  9. Keep a firm grip on the handle with both hands while operating the mower, and maintain good footing to avoid slipping or falling.
  10. Do not leave the mower unattended while the engine is running.
  11. Keep children and pets away from the operating area to avoid accidents.
  12. Do not use the mower on wet grass or in wet conditions to prevent slipping and loss of control.
  13. If you need to unclog the discharge chute or perform any maintenance or repairs, make sure to disconnect the spark plug wire to prevent accidental starts.
  14. Allow the engine to cool down before refueling, inspecting, or performing any maintenance tasks.
  15. Regularly inspect the mower for damage, loose parts, or any other issues, and promptly address them before using it again.

It is important to note that each individual should carefully read and follow the specific safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer for the particular model of self-propelled push mower they are using.

What are the different self-propelled systems available for push mowers?

There are several different self-propelled systems available for push mowers, including:

  1. Front-wheel drive: In this system, the power is delivered to the front wheels, which provide the propulsion for the mower. This makes it easier to maneuver the mower, especially on flat or even terrains.
  2. Rear-wheel drive: In this system, the power is delivered to the rear wheels, which helps with better traction and maneuverability, especially on hilly or uneven terrains. Rear-wheel drive mowers are generally more stable and easier to control.
  3. All-wheel drive: This system delivers power to all the wheels of the mower, ensuring maximum traction and maneuverability. All-wheel drive mowers are suitable for steep terrains or when dealing with thick grass.
  4. Variable-speed drive: This system allows the user to adjust the speed of the mower according to their preference or the conditions of the lawn. It offers more control and versatility, allowing the user to vary the speed based on different grass lengths or obstacles.
  5. Electric drive: Some push mowers are equipped with electric drive systems, where an electric motor provides the propulsion. These mowers are generally quieter and require less maintenance compared to gas-powered mowers.
  6. Hydrostatic drive: This advanced self-propelled system uses a hydraulic transmission to deliver power to the wheels. Hydrostatic drive mowers offer continuous speed adjustment without the need for shifting gears or belts.

It's worth noting that not all self-propelled systems are available on every push mower model, and the features may vary depending on the brand and manufacturer.

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