Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)/Issue with changing gears


I have a 1990 Murray lawn tractor, 12hp Briggs and Stratton, 38" deck.  I have had this mower for about a year and I've been working on it for...about a year, lol.  First off, I know very little about small engines, but I try to fix whatever I can myself.  The problem that is stumping me is that it is EXTREMELY difficult to change gears/speed.  It takes all my might (and I'm a fairly strong woman) to move the shifter, then I have to make sure it is in gear perfectly before the mower will move.  The biggest issue is that it will now not go into reverse.  I push and push but it just will not 'catch'.  Is my tranny bad?  The belts and pulleys all look fine, and when its in gear it rides perfectly.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks!

Most likely the trans has rust or really old grease in it.

The trans is not a Murray...they do not make transaxles.

Check out this manual and let me know if you have a Peerles and what model you have.

The model number will be on a plate or sticker on the transaxle.

Will the mower shift easier if the engine is off?

Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)

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Eric A. Jones


Lawnmower Repair . Certified Master Service Technician from B&S. Have 23 years experience on B&S, Lawn Chief, Weed Eater, Echo, Peerless, Wheel Horse, Snapper, Atlas, MTD, McCulloch, Homelite and many other numerous brands. Specialize in electrical repair.


Born and raised in the midwest. Started tinkering with engines when I was about 14 on my Suzuki RM-80. I began lawn mower repair at a small hardware store. I knew absolutely nothing. I read lots of repair manuals and met an older fellow who taught me many lessons. I continued working on small engines through high school and paid my way through college working on mowers at the same hardware store. Decided to get away from the midwest and mower repair so I joined the Air Force. I repaired air traffic control electronic equipment and ended up in Hawaii where I got a part time job at Small Engine Clinic. I gained a lot of experience from the Small Engine Clinic and had a blast repairing small engines. I then took the Briggs and Stratton Master Service Technician test and earned my MST. I then traveled to Wisconsin where I attended the factory update training seminar and received formal training. Continued working on mowers part time as I completed 20 years of military. Retired from the military on a Friday and continued in the lawn and garden industry the next Monday.

MAS Aerospace Operations BA Mathematics AAS Electronic Communications AAS Electronic Technology

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