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Florabest 46 BA / 08 rear wheel drive problem.

I have found the Florabest 46 BA / 08 to be a good little grass mower. It is relatively light, easy to manoeuvre  and the Briggs & Stratton engine has proved to be an easy starter. (If the engine, after several seasons of work, starts to belch black smoke and to run erratically this may be a signal that the carburettor diaphragm / gasket needs replacing. There are Youtube films on this subject and it is not too difficult a job for the average person to tackle). 

The rear wheel drive problem.

Over the last couple of years I had noticed that the rear wheel drive system was becoming less efficient, until one sunny day I found that having to push the mower uphill and over lumpy ground was becoming tedious. I first checked the drive belt. This was somewhat loose, so I ordered a new one. Fitting this did not solve the problem.

I suspected a problem with the differential but before trying to strip this I decided to show the complete drive mechanism to my mechanical guru and friend, H. He inspected the parts and found that the mechanism sported two unusual bearings. The pinions (numbers 305 and 314 in the diagram below)  which drive the rear wheels contain "one way" roller bearings.

The efficient  operation of these bearings is critical to the drive mechanism. When the mower is working properly, the pinions can rotate freely in one direction but they lock on the drive shafts when rotated in the other.  In the case of my mower, the bearings had become unreliable - perhaps because of the ingress of tiny particles of dirt. I removed the pinions with their bearings (it's good to have circlip pliers to hand for this job) and gave them both a good clean. H. advises plugging the central orifice before cleaning the exterior, to prevent debris from falling onto the rollers. Once the exterior is clean, the foam or paper plug can be removed and the rollers should be liberally sprayed with WD 40 or a similar product.  

Because I had removed the pinions, after spraying with WD 40 I was able to hold them under a hot water tap an an attempt to flush out any debris that might have been loosened by the spray but was invisible under the rollers. I then dried them on a radiator before treating them to another shot of WD 40. On re-assembly I once more had power to the rear wheels!

It is just possible that problems with these one way bearings could be cleared up without removing them. I think it would be worth removing the rear wheels and the internal plastic shields (303 in the diagram) before liberally spraying the centres of the pinions and hoping that this would restore their function. It is easy to check - if the pinion rotates easily in both directions the bearings will need more thorough attention.

I hope this note will help get your mower working like new again. Let me know ...

Florabest mower 46 BA

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