Lawn tractor blade engagement cable broke 3 times in 3 years

Stelcom66 Posted By Stelcom66, Oct 6, 2018 at 1:10 PM

  1. Stelcom66

    Stelcom66
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    Nov 6, 2014
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    I thought I'd post this here since many members of this forum seem to be do-it-yourselfers and are mechanically inclined. That sort of goes along with owning a wood stove and everything involved.

    I have an MTD/Bolens lawn tractor I purchased new in 2006. The blade engagement lever is to the right of the seat. The cable first broke in May of 2015, again in September 2016, and again 2 weeks ago. The cable brand I installed last week is 'Genuine Parts'. I believe that's what I got the other 2 times. I wonder what could cause the frequent breaking? It's always at the part that hooks into the lever. Could it be just the OEM was of better quality? That seemed to be what the guys at the parts shop thought.

    Someone on a tractor forum said they somehow fixed it, re-attached the cable onto the lever and it's been fine since. I don't know how in the world that was accomplished, but I'd consider doing something like that next time. The price for the cable has gone up every year, now with tax it's over $50. Not just the money - but it seems like these replacements are not of great quality.
     
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  2. heat seeker

    heat seeker
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    Feb 25, 2011
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    Where are the cables breaking - at the very ends?
     
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  3. Stelcom66

    Stelcom66
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    Yes, at the piece that hooks into the lever.
     
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  4. heat seeker

    heat seeker
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    Used to have a similar problem with motorcycle cables. An old timer taught me this: look at the very end of the cable while actuating it. See if the cable flexes as the lever moves. If it does, it's just a matter of time until the cable fatigues and breaks. Lots of us would go through at least one clutch cable a year, until we modified the clutch lever so it wouldn't bend the ends of the cables. I never broke a clutch cable since. It's the little things...
     
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  5. Stelcom66

    Stelcom66
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    That must be what mine is doing, but the lever simply pulls the cable up. The other end is attached to a spring, which is hooked into the pulley.

    The person who mentioned he repaired his cable said the spring compensates for the cable being slightly shorter. Maybe the broken cable end could be put back into the lever hole, then maybe bent and secured somehow? Doubt that would work. I recall trying that the first time with no success. It seems the cable itself is strong enough, it's just the junction where the end is attached is the weak point.
     
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  6. blades

    blades
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    Typically a crimp connection which mashes the threads of wire , if enough room solder a new connector to end of cable then use a small ring ( like those spread apart wire rings for keys) as a junction between the too. allows to flex without flexing cable back and forth. or something similar as of course I can't see exactly what you are up against. and yah those oem cable prices are insane
     
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  7. zrock

    zrock
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    Picture would help... but im thinking the spring that pulls teh cable back to keep tension on it may not be pulling it back all the way causing the cable to kink and slowly break the strands..
     
  8. Stelcom66

    Stelcom66
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    I still have the broken cable, will try to get a picture here this week.
     
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  9. mustash29

    mustash29
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  10. Stelcom66

    Stelcom66
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    Yes that would be the way to go. I saw the swagging tool (that I never heard of) that Home Depot carries too.
     
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  11. Ashful

    Ashful
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    I like this. Crimp-on ring terminal with a key ring, if space and lever design allow for it.

    If replacing the cable, and assuming this is the usual cylindrical lead slug at the end type rig, make sure the slug can pivot in its hole, and that the slot the cable rides in isn't chafing against the cable (burrs).
     
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  12. Stelcom66

    Stelcom66
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    Nov 6, 2014
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    Here's a photo of the broken cable and end. I installed the replacement but am still planning for next time. I'm thinking when, not if it'll break.

    Blade engagment cable broke.jpg

    Closer shot of the end that goes into the lever. I'm thinking loop through the lever then crimped may not be a good idea due to possible chafing. I was thinking route the cable into the lever hole (where the broken end normally goes) then install a ferrul. The crimp would have to be pretty strong though.

    Cable end.jpg
     
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  13. Ashful

    Ashful
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    So, that end piece should be pivoting freely in the hole in the lever. Is there something that’s causing that to hang up, and thus the cable to bend where it’s breaking?
     
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  14. Stelcom66

    Stelcom66
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    Nov 6, 2014
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    Yes, that should move freely in the hole. I can say it did when I first installed it, but based on your thought it's something I should check again.
     
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