The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Briggs and Stratton flywheel removal

Working on a tip I got from the local hardware store last week I went out this morning in search of the Flywheel Wizard. I was not only lucky enough to see him without an appointment but was able to record the short sequence of events that needs to transpire before the flywheel will finally yield its secrets.

It was a father and son team, and I asked them about flywheel puller tools. It seems they both agree that a special tool is needed if you're an amateur, but if you perform each step with care the old pry bar and hammer trick will work without doing any damage.

What you need is:

  • long, hard screwdriver/prybar. (20 dollars)
  • heavy mini sledge hammer. (20 dollars)
  • replacement flywheel nut.(?)
  • someone to help apply pressure to opposite side.
  • flywheel shaft key

mower on golf cart bed

The flywheel nut should be positioned at the very top of the flywheel shaft so it will receive the brunt of the hammer pounding which helps to protect the flywheel shaft threads.

What you don't see in the short video is the flywheel nut being replaced due to something going wrong. I suspect he should have had his Dad pulling since the first hammer hit.

The Wizard only charged 18 bucks and had me on my way within minutes.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Despite trying to DIY as much as possible, sometimes it makes sense to call in a professional. This is definitely one of those cases. The real trick is to learn when it makes sense to just stick with it yourself or when someone who does that kind of work every day can make better use of your time and money by getting it done right away.
Comment by David Wed May 26 18:42:50 2010
That really is the trick question --- DIY or consult an expert. Around here, the expert usually comes in after a great deal of beating our heads against the wall and swearing. I suspect sooner would be better. :-)
Comment by anna Wed May 26 20:37:45 2010
Not sure, but I think they were hitting the the nut to protect the threads on the shaft. Also it looks like they were using a ball-peen hammer, but couldn't quite tell. If they had used a copper hammer or a brass drift, they could have saved the nut. If the nut isn't too badly damaged, just chase the threads with a tap. Because we also live a good distance from town, having a good collection of tools and hardware is important to keep things running. Zimmy
Comment by zimmy Thu May 27 06:13:02 2010
Get Larry Clark to show you how to do it. I've watched him many a time using just a hammer and screw driver.
Comment by Errol Thu May 27 07:20:09 2010
We're definitely going to have to take all of your advice into consideration and learn to do it ourselves. After months of me being unable to start the lawnmower, I can now start it with a single pull! It's so empowering to no longer have to say, "Honey, I want to mow the lawn. Can you start the mower?"
Comment by anna Thu May 27 13:42:39 2010

Really enjoy this blog. There is a lot of great info on this site.

I watched the video on lawn mower flywheel removal that was linked on today's update. I've done quite a bit of work on lawn mowers (used to be my job) and couldn't help but notice something in the video.

The mechanic put the nut back on the flywheel shaft, but it looks like it wasn't down far enough (hard to tell in this video). The top of the nut should be flush with the top of the crankshaft, this helps prevent destroying the nut and the shaft when you smack it with a hammer. You reference having issues with the nut, I suspect that is what happened.

Common symptoms of a sheared flywheel key include low power, very difficult starting, and the pull rope may snap back towards the mower when pulled.

Thanks again for the great blog.

Comment by andrew Tue Mar 27 21:30:45 2012
Andrew --- Thanks for your insightful comment. It's hard to tell from the video whether that's the case, but I suspect the problem really is that our "lawn" is only five years distant from being woods, so there are lots of things to hit the blade on and break the key. Mark's been working hard on cleaning it up, with the result that we haven't had to replace a flywheel key for over a year!!
Comment by anna Wed Mar 28 13:36:40 2012

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