How to Troubleshoot a Task Force Reel Lawn Mower

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A Task Force reel lawn mower is powered by the forward motion of the wheels, so no gas or electric motor is needed.
A Task Force reel lawn mower is powered by the forward motion of the wheels, so no gas or electric motor is needed. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

A Task Force reel lawn mower is a 20-inch-wide mower with spiral blades that rotate and cut the grass against a stationary cutting bar. Because these spiral blades are rotated by the forward motion of the two large front wheels on the mower, there is no electric motor or gasoline engine required to cut the grass, making this reel mower a popular choice among environmentally conscientious homeowners. You need only a flat-head screwdriver and some newspaper to troubleshoot a Task Force reel lawn mower and keep it cutting cleanly and efficiently.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Strips of newspaper

Place the mower on a work table to make it easier to access the blades and cutting bar of the mower.

Remove the rear handle of the mower and set it aside.

Position the mower so that it is resting on its left side, with the right-side drive wheel facing upward. Pop off the plastic cap in the center of the wheel with a screwdriver. Pry off the C-clip holding the wheel onto the axle, and lift the wheel off the axle. Set both the wheel and the C-clip aside.

Lift out and inspect the drive gear (which was located behind the wheel you removed in the previous step). If the gear is damaged, replace it with a new genuine Task Force drive gear. If the current drive gear is in good working order, replace it on the drive axle, then replace the drive wheel, C-clip and plastic cover.

Set the mower back onto both wheels. Push the mower forward, engaging the spiral-shaped blades. Observe how the blades glide along the rear cutting bar. If any gaps appear between the blades and the cutting bar, tighten the adjustment screw on either or each side of the cutting bar to move the bar closer to the blades. If the blades appear to be binding against the cutting bar, back the adjustment screws off until the blades just glide across the cutting bar.

Tear some 12- to 14-inch-long strips of newspaper, about 1 to 2 inches wide. Push the mower forward once again and slip a strip of newspaper into the blades so that the paper is cut by the blades against the cutting bar. The mower should be able to cut the newspaper cleanly at any point along the length of the cutting bar. If any point on the bar the blade doesn't cut the newspaper cleanly, adjust as before.

Replace the handle on the mower and take the mower to the yard to test the cut in the grass. The mower should cut the grass cleanly and evenly.

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