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Leave aside all the puffery about 3-1 and such, you described a front wheel drive (pull) walk-behind (FWD), but are asking why the rear wheels won't propel. When you push down the hand grip the front wheels should spin free. Whan you lower from wheels by releasing pressure on hand grips, turning wheels lowered to ground should propel the mower along with its unpowered rear wheels now turning be ground contact. Reminder, never, ever lift rear drive wheels of any mower off the ground while walking behind with engine running:
You could be struck by blade propelled object.
You could pull mower and spinning blade backward onto your feet.
You could lose balance and be pulled forward in a fall.
Contemporary FWD mowers are recognized by a black chain housing on deck top leading from engine to left front of deck. RWD propelling chains are situated underneath deck so cannot be seen from above.
sounds like you need a new rear wheel as the wheel locking mech has been stripped or damaged where the cog is at. Can you move the wheel forward and backward with out the chain moving? If so that is your problem.
turn it off,let the drive handle go,pull mower backwards.does it lock the back wheels?if you push it forward,can you hear a clicking noise from the wheels?you should do.lift mower,spin back wheel,should either lock,or click,depending which way you spin it.they have spring loaded pawls that drive the wheel.usually easy to fix.usually dirt,or too much grease.take wheels off,have a look