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I cannot get the rear wheel off the tractor. Question... the ''square key''... I thought mine was missing & secured another one, but WHAT DO I DO WITH THE SQUARE KEY ? Is the original still in the hub part by chance? What do I do with the new one I got ? What's the purpose of the square key ? What do I do with the square key to get the wheel removed ?

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Here is what my manual says. It is for a 14 hp 42" mower deck. 6 sped transaxle.
Block up axle securely.
Remove axle cap, retaining ring and washer to allow wheel removal (rear wheel contains a square key. Do not lose).
Repair the tire and reassemble.
On rear wheels only: align grooves in rear wheel hub and axle. Insert square key.
replace washers and snap retaining ring securely in axle groove.
Replace axle cap.
If you send me your email address I can send you a picture as I do not know how to post pictures on here yet.

Posted on Apr 25, 2009

  • kpowell22 Feb 06, 2011

    what grroves?



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LX-178..replaced rear wheel and found a 2 inch pin on the floor. The clutch will not work..spins..where does this pin go?

It is likely a roll pin that attaches the shift clutch arms to the trans-axle. These pins do not usually remove easily. Look carefully at each arm assembly to find the one missing. Replace with a new pin.

Hope this helps?


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Tractor will not move under it's power.

Make sure you routed the drive belt correctly there might be an idler pulley you missed, make sure the belt is firmly on the trans axle, if so, put the rear end up on blocks and see if the wheels turn then, if they do put pressure against both rear wheels and see if you can stop them. If these wheels are on keyed axles and one key shears it wont drive because the drive wheel is the one that turns the easiest. so pull the wheel and check for a missing or sheared key. Replace key for an easy fix.

Jan 07, 2016 | Husqvarna Garden

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did you have the rear wheels off or one of the rear wheels off to do something?...sounds like one of the square keys that drive the wheels is missing. I did it myself once.pulled and wheel and forgot to put it back in. same response. check both rear wheels to make sure the key in still in both slots of the wheel. its a 2 or 3 inch piece of 1/4 x 1/4 inch square stock. if you lost it you can buy square stock 1/4 inch at a good hardware store.

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When you removed the rear wheels did you remember to put the square drive keys back into the axle shafts, it is quite possible they fell out whilst you were changing the tyres, if only one is missing from either side it will not move .

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1 Answer

How to replace a square key on a lawnmower axle

Marc, if the wheel does not have the channel for the square key, then you have a mismatch and the wrong wheel. Put a new tire on the old wheel, or take it in to a mower shop and ask for an exact replacement.

May 07, 2013 | Murray Garden

1 Answer

I took my mower wheel off my riding craftsman mower and now it wont spin since i put it back on

If this is the rear wheel there should be a long square key that fits into a slot in the axle shaft, which then drives the wheel.

Jan 15, 2013 | Craftsman Garden

1 Answer

Craftsman lt1000 stuck in neutral

The rear wheels are keyed to the axle shafts with a sqaure key, if the last owner forgot to replace one of the keys the axle will just turn in the centre of the wheel and not turn it, because the gearbox has a diff it means neither wheel will turn if either side has the square key missing, pull the wheels off and check the key is there.

Jul 08, 2012 | Craftsman 17.5 hp 42 in. Deck Lawn Tractor...

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Lawn tractor will not engage or move

If you pulled one of the rear wheels off, it is very importent to make sure the square key is put back into the key way in the axle, or the axle will turn, but the wheel will not, check the key did not fall out when the wheel was removed and is now sitting on the floor.

Jun 07, 2012 | Craftsman Garden

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I just changed the rear tires and now, coincidently, I have no drive from the engine to the tractor. It looks as if the clutch is not engaging. Also, the foot brake has just slopped around for some time...

I am assuming that you are working on a lawn tractor.If so then one of you rear wheels is now missing the wood-ruff key(square key-stock that goes between the wheel and the axle),and now the easiest wheel to turn is the one with no load so your axle on that side is just spinning inside the wheel.The brake rod needs to come off and the end turned in a couple of turns to fix your other problem.

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Remove the center dust caps from the rear axles, start the tractor up and put it in gear and observe the axles, if one of them is spinning freely inside the wheel, you have lost the 1/4" square key that pins the wheel to the axle. Replace the key and you can go back to mowing. This often happens when a flat has been repaired and the wheel pushes the key out the back as you slide it back on the axle. Sometimes it will just barely catch at the edge of the wheel and work for a while then fall out and you not even know it

Sep 14, 2009 | Craftsman 42 in. Deck 19.5hp Lawn Tractor

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