Throttle cables are a simple part of a lawn mower and resemble a brake cable on a bicycle. They consist of nothing more than an inner metal cable inside the outer sleeve. While they are simple, they are very important. Without a working throttle cable, your lawn mower isn’t of much use. So, how do you fix a lawn mower throttle cable? Well, let’s take a look.
Why You Might Need to Repair Your Lawn Mower Throttle Cable
What happens to your lawn mower’s throttle cable that makes it hard to adjust your throttle lever or makes the cable unusable?
A common problem with throttle cables is water getting in between the outer sleeve and the inner metal cable, creating rust. Additionally, at either end of the throttle cable are usually two Z bends where the cable connects to the carburetor and the throttle lever.
Unfortunately, the Z bend can straighten out or break over time, causing the cable to disconnect. If these problems occur, nothing happens when you pull the throttle lever.
Tools & Parts To Replace a Lawn Mower Throttle Cable
Before you get started replacing your lawn mower’s throttle cable, you’ll need to gather some tools. Here is a list of everything you will need.
- Replacement Throttle Cable
- Screwdriver Set
- Nut Driver Set
- Channel Locks
- Small Cutters
- Thread Lock Glue
- Cable Ties
How to Fix a Lawn Mower Throttle Cable (18 Simple Steps)
Regardless of what type of throttle lever and cable assembly you have, the fix is pretty much the same across all mowers, whether it be a ride-on, tractor, zero-turn, or the occasional push lawn mower.
Therefore let’s look at the steps you need to follow to install a lawn mower throttle cable replacement.
Steps to Remove an Old Lawn Mower Throttle Cable (Step Summary)
- Remove the Throttle Lever Cover Plate
- Remove the Throttle Lever Knob
- Remove the Throttle Lever From the Cover Plate
- Disconnect the Throttle Lever from the Throttle Cable
- Disconnect the Cable Clip From the Throttle Lever Cover Plate
- Loosen the Throttle Cable from the Carburetor Mounting Bracket
- Detach the Throttle Cable From the Carburetor
- Remove the Clips Holding the Throttle Cable to the Lawn Mower’s Frame
- Remove the Cable Completely From the Lawn Mower
Steps to Install a New Lawn Mower Throttle Cable (Step Summary)
- Connect the Inner Cable to the Throttle Lever
- Connect the Cable Clip to the Throttle Lever Cover Plate
- Attach the Throttle Lever to the Cover Plate
- Reattach the Throttle Lever Knob
- Reinstall the Throttle Lever Cover Plate
- Connect the Inner Cable to the Carburetor
- Attach the Throttle to the Carburetor Cable Bracket
- Secure the New Throttle Cable to the Lawn Mower’s Frame
- Check the Cable Works Correctly
Steps to Remove an Old Lawn Mower Throttle Cable (The Steps)
Now let’s take a closer look at each of the steps individually. Here are the steps to remove the old throttle cable.
Remove the Throttle Lever Cover Plate
Take a screwdriver or nut driver and remove the fixings that hold the throttle cover plate in place. This will give you access to the rear of the cover plate.
Remove the Throttle Lever Knob
Next, remove the knob from your throttle lever. Sometimes these can be tight, so a pair of channel locks come in handy.
Remove the Throttle Lever From the Cover Plate
Take either your nut driver or screwdriver and remove the fixing holding the throttle lever to the cover plate. You might need to use the screwdriver on one side of the plate and the nut driver on the other. This is because, usually, the nut isn’t fixed to the throttle cover plate.
Disconnect the Throttle Lever from the Throttle Cable
With the throttle lever removed, slide out the cable. If you have a Z bend at the end of the throttle cable, twist it, and it should come free.
Disconnect the Cable Clip From the Throttle Lever Cover Plate
Next, you’ll want to remove the small plastic clip that holds the cable to the cover plate. This can be tricky, so try to use a screwdriver to push the clip out of its mounting point.
Loosen the Throttle Cable from the Carburetor Mounting Bracket
Now if you look down at the carburetor, you will see where the throttle cable is attached to the carburetor bracket. Use a screwdriver to loosen off the bracket screw to slide out the cable.
Detach the Throttle Cable From the Carburetor
With the cable free of the bracket, remove the wire from the carburetor. Again, a twist of the Z bend should allow the cable to become free.
Remove the Clips Holding the Throttle Cable to the Lawn Mower’s Frame
Next, look along the throttle cable for any mounts securing the cable to the mower’s frame. Finding the cable secured in place with a few cable ties is pretty common. So, use a pair of pliers to cut the ties.
Remove the Cable Completely From the Lawn Mower
After finishing all the steps, you should be able to remove the old throttle cable from your lawn mower.
Steps to Install a New Lawn Mower Throttle Cable (The Steps)
Now that you have removed the old cable, let’s go over how to install the new replacement lawn mower throttle cable.
Connect the Inner Cable to the Throttle Lever
Thread your new cable through the Z bend into the mounting point on the bottom of the throttle lever.
Connect the Cable Clip to the Throttle Lever Cover Plate
Next, clip a small plastic clip into the throttle cover plate in the same place where the original cable was located.
Attach the Throttle Lever to the Cover Plate
Grab the nuts and bolts you removed from the cover plate and use them to reattach the throttle lever.
Reattach the Throttle Lever Knob
It seems that whenever I remove a throttle knob for the first time, I remove some kind of glue that stops the knob from falling off, even though it is threaded tightly. So, I always use a few drops of thread lock glue to stop the knob from falling off. This step isn’t necessary, but it saves you from having to hunt around the lawn when the knob falls off. I’ll leave this step up to you.
Reinstall the Throttle Lever Cover Plate
The final step at this end of the throttle cable is to reinstall the throttle cover plate back onto your lawn mower. So, use the fixings to secure the cover plate.
Connect the Inner Cable to the Carburetor
Next, grab the carburetor end of the cable and attach the Z bend to the carburetor.
Attach the Throttle to the Carburetor Cable Bracket
With the cable attached to the carburetor, place the cable into the carburetor bracket and tighten the fixing.
Secure the New Throttle Cable to the Lawn Mower’s Frame
Finally, if you removed any cable ties from your lawn mower securing the throttle cable, install new ties. You don’t want the cable flapping around since it could get damaged.
Check the Cable Works Correctly
All that’s left to do after installing the new lawn mower throttle cable replacement is to give your mower a try. Hopefully, everything will be working just right.
Things to Be Careful of When Fixing a Mower’s Throttle Cable
One of the main problems I see people make when doing this fix is not setting the cable correctly in the carburetor bracket. Failing to do this properly will result in the lawn mower throttle cable not working since the cable will be stuck, or the mower won’t be able to throttle correctly.
So here are a few things to be careful of to make sure your throttle cable works correctly.
Setting the Cable In the Right Position
If your throttle can’t move the entire range of full RPMs and Idle, you’ll want to loosen off the carburetor cable bracket and make an adjustment.
For example, if the outer cable sleeve is too close to the carburetor, you won’t be able to get idle RPMs; if it is too far, you won’t be able to get full RPMs. So you’ll need to move the outer sleeve back and forth until it can move the full range.
Don’t Over Tighten the Carburetor Bracket
The last item to be careful of when following my how to fix a lawn mower throttle cable steps is to make sure you don’t over-tighten the carburetor throttle cable mounting bracket. If you tighten the cable too much, you risk crimping the cable and pinching the inner wire, resulting in the cable being unable to move.
So, tighten the cable just enough to hold it firmly in place.