How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Robert P Your Own Question
Robert P
Robert P, Small Engine Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 631
Experience:  40 years experience in 2 & 4 stroke eng. 6 1/2 years Tech 3 Georgian College Small Motors Division
Type Your Small Engine Question Here...
Robert P is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a Toro rear wheel drive mower (model 20017). The small

Resolved Question:

I have a Toro rear wheel drive mower (model 20017). The small die cast connector to the handlebar on the cable on the left hand side broke. If I can purchase the cable, is it very difficult for me to replace it? One question would be how do I make the adjustment of the cable connection up at the handlebar?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  Robert P replied 7 years ago.

Thanks for using Just Answer

Good morning , can you give me the serial number or the year of unit .?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

There is a bar code 21038 20017


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I know that there is more information under the rear shute door but it is getting pretty beat up and hard to read. Is the above bar code sufficient?
Expert:  Robert P replied 7 years ago.
Go to click on toro type in your model # XXXXX to find your serial number or the year , click on the handle group the number for your cable is(NNN) NNN-NNNN, the part can be order threw parts tree , it's $13.07 . It's prettyn easy to reinstall , just watch how you disassemble or take a picture .Good luck Robert P
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Is there any trick to the adjustment of the cable? It seems that the harder you push on the main handlebar, the more you extend the cable and the more (or less) power is transmitted to the wheels. Where do you start?


Expert:  Robert P replied 7 years ago.
You just take the play out of it , but if it slips you just tighten up a little . Good luck Robert P
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

You got any hints as to hooking the spring on the traction cable to the transmission arm? You have to fish the spring and turn it 90 degrees in order to hook it on the arm.

There must be a simple technique, I just haven't found it yet.



Expert:  Robert P replied 7 years ago.
You need to hook it up first , did you try a pair of needle nose pliers . Good luck Robert P
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I finally fished the hook on the spring onto the transmission arm. However, now there seems to be way too much slack in the cable up at the handlebar. There is a clamp to adjust the cable sheath below the handle but I cannot tell what is correct or not. At some point in the adjustment the mower cannot be pulled in the reverse direction. (That obviously is too much!) At the other adjustment positions there seems to be way too much slack and I can't tell when it is giving me assist or not.


Seems like there ought to be an adjustment procedure.



Expert:  Robert P replied 7 years ago.
I usually just hook it up and move the cable in the clamp until the slack is out and tighten it , also are you sure you ordered the right cable .
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I went to Parts Tree and the number matches the part that I purchased locally.


This Toro traction assist system has me stumped! When the original cable broke I had no assist. (The cable was now perfectly slack.) More on this later.


There are two cables (one on each side) that are attached to a small diameter handle. The one on the left (traction control) is the one that broke. The sheath of the traction cable is attached to the stationary push bar on the mower. You must squeeze the small diameter handle up against the main handlebar in order to even start the engine. When you squeeze the small handle you are pulling on the traction cable. With the engine just running there does not seem to be any assist.


Now when you begin to push on the large handlebar it begins to slide down the push bar toward the mower and tension is eliminated from the traction cable. (At this time I do not seem to feel any assist even as I push the mower on my driveway pavement.)


I do know that adjusting the cable sheath and placing too much tension on the traction cable does not allow me to pull the mower backwards. It feels as if the transmission is locked or at least fully engaged. So this adjustment is obviously too far.


Here is the thing that has me confused. If eliminating tension from the cable provides assist. I should have had assist 100% of the time when the original cable broke. That definately was not the case.


So I know that too much tension engages the transmission. Too little tension or no tension does not seem to provide any assist. So there must be a "sweet spot" where the tension and the cable sheath adjustment needs to be located.


I am concerned that either extreme could damage the transmission. Where is the "sweet spot."



Expert:  Robert P replied 7 years ago.
Jim I'm going to have to run out to Home Depot so I can have a look , I don't have any in the shop at this time , I will get back to you . The thin bar you have to pull down is the zone brake which just pulls a brake pad off of the flywheel and ungrounds the coil to start , I'm a little confused about not being able to pull it backwards . When you start it up and engages the wheels , just lift the drive wheels off the ground and see if they are driving , I know when you push the drive bar forward, it pulls the spring tight on the transmission arm and engauges the transmission , it doesnt need to pull with alot of force it just pulls it into drive . Another thing is have you checked to make sure the belt is on the pullies ? Good Luck Robert P
Customer: replied 7 years ago.


I appreciate the time you are putting into my question(s). The Toro system is quite subtle in that you never get the impression that you are chasing the mower. You are always putting some effort into making the mower go forward.


Before the cable broke there were many times that I wondered if the assist was actually working. However, when the cable attachment broke, it was a real bear pushing the mower around.


So maybe I am making too much of having to make the cable adjustment. There is at least 1 or 2 inches of wound bare cable sheath on the handle end of the cable that allows for that much adjustment. (The mower deck end is just a plastic snap-in connection with no adjustment possible.)


Expert:  Robert P replied 7 years ago.
Again Jim if you lift the wheels off of the ground and the wheels engage , it's working .Robert P
Robert P and 2 other Small Engine Specialists are ready to help you