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This seems to be a pretty common problem with this machine (26 inch, 2-stage thrower). Rust seems to be the culprit since it was sitting for a couple of months before I tried to move it. I checked the common troubleshooting items (cable tension, broken gears, etc.) and it seems to be in the bearings. I am curious to see that all the gears move when I separate the hex shaft gears from the wheel axle gears, but lock up when they are engaged. So, which gear is the problem? Why does one of the wheel axle gears free-wheel (not fixed to the axle)? Someone mentioned that this gear uses needle bearings and he had to replace it (why?) How about the bearings at the end of the hex-shaft? They seem to be working (shaft spins freely inside), but I'm not sure if the outer bearing needs to rotate. Thanks for taking the time to read this very wordy post.
 

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I'm not familiar with that model, it would help if you could post some pictures of your machine and where the problem areas seem to be. Many machines are similar in some areas and maybe someone already has resolved your issue.
 

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I have a 26-inch, two-stage, MTD Yard Machine (model 31AE6FFF700). Pictures included to help visualize the gearing assembly (note the rust). I hope this helps whoever has an idea. Thanks again.
 

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you probably already checked but i had one that was sitting and the friction wheel adjustment went out. the friction wheel was against the plate even when disengaged. wouldnt budge i i tried to roll the machine around. and of course if you started it up and it wasnt in neutral it would move..but in neutral it would start but would just sit there because the friction wheel would be dead center on the drive plate but still in contact.
 

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I did check the adjustment cable and the friction wheel is not in contact with the plate (although picture gives that appearance). What's interesting is that it does move when I start it up and put it in forward gear. The gears do spin when gears of the top, wheel axle are apart from the gears of the bottom, hex-shaft. When meshed, the gears don't rotate a bit. It must be a bearing problem, but where? Thanks.
 

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Froze up

I've not had one like that apart so this is just a guess. From the looks it appears one gear on each axel is fixed while the other acts like an idler & reduction gear (spins). Using some basic assumptions here: the friction wheel moves on the shaft while the friction plate pivots enough to contact the friction wheel.
That being said, look at which shaft both gears (one is a reduction so 2 sets of teeth on a single gear most likely) is stuck on the same shaft. If you find one like that, that's your problem area.
Whether it's a bearing or bushing, you want to swap them out especially if it's a bearing because it's probably rusted. If it's a bushing and in good condition it can probably be cleaned up and regreased, that goes for the problem shaft also.
You also might try using some penetrating oil like PB Blaster to get it loose, not a fix but definitely will help getting it apart to replace the bad parts.

Best guess based on what I see. Good luck.
 

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I had an MTD that wouldn't budge no matter how hard I pushed or pulled on it. Turned out that the bearings where the shaft passes through the frame, that bearing just above and front of the wheels on either side, were rusted. I soaked them down with Liquid Wrench, then was able to put a wrench on the shaft inside, and with a little back and forth effort, they broke free.
 

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These videos should give you an idea of how it works and how it goes together:

With any luck you can fix it without having to buy new everything
 

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Hey guys,

Have the same machine and same problem. Left it in the barn on a somewhat warm day and then we had those cold days here in the Northeast, and i went to move it and it locked up. I did try HCBPD's advice and used a screwdriver to move a gear and it freerolled once again, but with some lag. I did oil and ran it across the yard under the pool to let excess oil drip and tried to FR it and it Rolled fine. So maybe the gear moved. I remember i left the unit in R2 when I last put it in the barn and now it's in F4 under the pool. Maybe the gear was too far over and hit another gear when I stopped it!

Any suggestions! Working fine so far. Will check today and let you know.

Thanks much for the post. Came up first on Google!

shawn
 
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