Just some lawn mower maintenance conversation

Things are so slow around here, just thought I’d ramble a little about riding mower maintenance. Now that leaves are mostly mulched for the season and I have about 500 hours on my rider, I started to plan some maintenance on it for over the winter. I like to just replace stuff ahead of time to avoid problems during the growing season, and makes me feel better. So will probably OH the carb, pull the heads and clean carbon, replace the blade spindles, etc.

In addition I thought I would pull the transaxle and put new bushings in that. Its a Peerless (as about all of them are) bought out by Tecumseh, then bought out by Husquvarna when Tecumseh went south. Reading up on it a little in the last couple days, it appears the grease for the transaxle is pretty important. I never knew there were such things as clay based and soap based grease. Peerless wants clay based grease for heat, etc. and the two are not compatable. My owners manual says to use Shell Darina #0 grease which is no longer available. My shop manual says to use lithium which I really think is very wrong, and the Peerless transmission repair manual says to use Benoline. I believe the Benoline 920 is the updated version of the Shell Darina and sells for $20 for 8 oz.

At any rate from what I have read, you just have to bite the bullet and pay the $20 for compatable grease or all of the existing grease has to be cleaned out thoroughly so you can use a soap based grease. But I don’t think the soap based like what would be used in CV joints etc. will stand up, so what the hey? One guy on youtube did an overhaul demo using regular grease and had his gear freeze up on the shaft. I don’t think it ever dawned on him that his was using the wrong grease. Maybe the rest of you know all about the different types of grease but I had no idea and find it very confusing. I just like to go to the parts store and buy the more expensive stuff and be done with it.

So no real question unless someone can shed some light on the various greases and what the numbers mean and where you really can just by the stuff. But a word of caution if you are going to do any work on these Peerless transaxles and transmissions. Also some of the Peerless models call for the clay based gear oil and not the grease, which is a little cheaper. Never thought I’d pay as much for grease though as for the parts.

I have always felt that when machinery needs “special” lubricants to keep it alive, the manufacturer is trying to cover up a design problem…When the part fails, they will tell you “Ah, you didn’t use the correct oil/grease” knowing the specified product is virtually unobtainable…

If you plan on storing your carborator riding lawn mower, drain the tank, run it dry then add Trufuel or any non ethanol based gas with additives and idle it through the system. If you do this, you will never have carb trouble other then wear. If you don’t, you will be having to clean and replace parts regularly.

As far as greasing critical parts in the drive train, any quality grease made for that purpose will work. Wear is more a result of infrequent greasing then the type of grease used for joints if the gease is a universally accepted type for that use. It need not be special and expensive. If anyone one had a seized joint because of the wrong grease, it’s likely that more frequent greasing would cure the problem. That is, greasing it mid season instead of just once a year would solve the problem. This is the advice I got for maintence of my tractors over the years. Not sure, just inspect and grease or lube more frequently. My contractor friend with hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment would not think of using any special expensive greases instead of more frequent inspection and frequent greasing to combat wear.

Verify this is the right stuff. Check out the mendingshed.com. They list it as follows:
KitchenAid Stand Mixer Gearbox Grease - Benalene 930-2 - 4176597. This is a 30 oz can that may be the amount you need. $20.95

This website comes up pretty easily when you search for the Benalene.

Just my opinion,but I think about any fairly heavy weight waterproof grease would work-provided you clean out all the old grease(so you wont have a conflict with the chemistries of the metallic bases,the oil suspended in the grease does most of the lubricating,the soap base I would imagine helps keep the various constitutes in suspension and gives it enough body and adherence to stay were its intended)I would imagine anything that anything used in a kitchen appliance would have to be basically nontoxic and food grade?-Kevin P.S I believe old style wheel bearing grease would work)
Just an afterthought,you may find exactly what you need in an oldtimers repair shop or an old country service station.

Frankly, I would not open the gearbox at all. If you do, yo will find the grease in excellent condition and the inside of the gearbox in pristine condition. My current rider is a 97 model.

The biggest issue I have with riding lawn mowers is the deck. Blade bearing go out, you can replace just the bearing or the spindle. Next is rust that forms on the underside of the deck from the wet grass sticking to it.

Remove all the grass and rust, then prime and paint the underside of the deck. I use a hammered paint for that but if you can get it powder coated, that would be better. I am considering trying a truckbed liner paint next time. Then sharpen or replace the blades.

Your plans for the engine sound good, but after 500 hours, you might consider a new muffler.

I am with @keith too considering rust prevention measures of the deck. Riding mowers, unlike push, are much more difficult on many models, to keep grass clippings cleaned out when using. Winter storage is a great " rusting" time of the year if it’s not stored dry. Lucky you if it’s aluminum but they should still be cleaned. I will have to disagree with using a bed liner material as deck mower surfaces should not be interfered with in the flow of grass clippings. Also, any crack in this substance leaves a permanent rust area, almost impossible to scape clean. Trust me, if that stuff worked, it would come with it already on in every mower. It will get abuse…that’s the nature of the beast.

Noted, it was just a thought.

Yeah I looked at that 930 mixer grease but the book calls for 920. Don’t know what the difference is. Its not really a problem getting it. Its available under an MTD part number, just a little pricey, but for $20 I’ll just use the recommended stuff. Pulled a wheel off to check the play in the axle and there is some significant play, so the bushings should be replaced. Those bronze bushings aren’t the best and in my experience need to be replaced from time to time.

I plan to just replace the bearings in the spindle if they’ll come apart. The spindles are about $50 each and can’t believe the bearings would be more than $10. Carbon should be cleaned every 100-200 hours so while I’m at it I’ll just refresh the carb. Oh and might as well wax it too while I’m at it. It’ll be a long winter anyway. This is maybe a January/February project though.

I just had never realized the differences in grease is all and just something to be aware of when doing work on the transmissions.

The OP would be amazed at the soups that are poured into gear boxes of agricultural and industrial equipment. And I found that over packing bearings will cause them to fail. Space is needed for grease to migrate in and out of the bearings according to the bearing experts. I am curious about finding replacement bushings for that piece of equipment.

Bearings for a Murrey or MTD riding mower might be this size, a real odd ball size


If different, this is the site to use for those spindle bearings.


I get a lot of small engine stuff from “Jacks Small Engine” in Mass I think. Their prices are competitive, have both OEM and after-market parts, have tons of parts in stock, and never been burned by them. All of the parts diagrams are on line to look at and click on the parts you want. The only issue is the shipping so you just try to get everything at once. The trans bushings, gears, etc. are all readily available and at a reasonable cost. Actually, Ace hardware carries a good selection of the bronze bushings too but matching is an issue and think its best and easiest to go OEM.

For bearings, I’ve used Gopher Bearing and Minnesota Bearing in Minneapolis/St. Paul. As long as you can read the number on the bearing, matching is no problem. For trailer hubs and bearings though, I usually try to go to Pioneer Rim and Wheel in St. Paul. You can get the whole hub with bearings ready to go for about the price of bearings at Napa or others. Also been on the list for a while.

But if you can’t read the number on the bearing, or it isn’t there, just measure the ID, OD and height of the bearing and punch it into the search engine at vbx.com. The bearings I ordered were metric OD and height, but inch ID. 35mm x 11mm x 1/2", that is what I put in the search box.

There are only two small engine shops near me, one is run by a crazy guy who has no access to parts other than the hundreds of junk lawnmowers in his shop. The other on no longer sells the small stuff like bearings and carb kits. He only sells the whole carb or the whole shaft assembly.