Small Engine Troubleshooting Problems? Ask a Mechanic Now.
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I am sorry that you are having trouble with your machine. Although, this seems to be a problem that I see and hear about all too often.
As for the wheel locking up sometimes, this is normally caused from the pinion gear on the axle not moving freely. You can remove the gear from the end of the axle, clean the axle, lubricate the inside of the gear and the axle and put it back together. Normally this will solve the wheel locking up problem.
As for the transmission, it really hasn't been a big problem however if you do see a problem it is usually the bearing on the input shaft that causes your trouble. Most dealers don't want to provide just the bearing for you, they like to sell the complete transmission. This is most caused from the input pulley speed and the speed that this bearing is turning besides the fact that it is a sealed bearing which doesn't help.
The wheels do have a tendency to wear really fast if you have anything more than just flat ground. Mowing on hillsides especially across the hill will kill these tires extremely quickly. You might consider looking for an aftermarket wheel instead of going back to Toro if you can find one.
I have this similar model only in a Lawnboy brand(still made by Toro) I purchased in 2004 new. I have never had to replace the belt, wheels or transmission on it. The only thing that I have done is routine maintenance, change oil, replace air filter, spark plug. It has been very dependable, but having said that Toro may have changed the material that the parts are made of on the newer machines.