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I am having a problem finding the issue with one of my mowers. It's a Shanks 553 HRS, which is the same machine as the Lawnflite and Honda of the same model number.

I've just finished changing the gearbox parts and control cable and the mower pulls like a train now.

However the roller on right hand side, the side without the lever adjustment, just sags. I just cannot see what I've done wrong in reassembling the rear drive roller.

The left side roller is fixed due to the adjustment arm, the right side simply has a bracket which bolts to the deck and allows the arm and roller to pivot.  

I can see that in principal this is to enable the right side of the roller to move in line with the left side adjustment, however as soon as any weight is put on the machine, the right side simply pivots on the bolt.

I hope I've explained it in a way that helps identify what school boy error I've made.



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  • There's a "woodruff key" (small semicircular piece of steel) that locates in the end of the roller shaft  and  slots into the end piece................ if this has fallen out, you'll have this problem.  The slot in the shaft that the key sits in, can also wear so the  key isn't locked securely in place.    Basically, you'll  need to remove the shaft and  check the key is there and located correctly..... if it is, check the key is a tight fit in the slot. 

    • Hi Graham,

      I bet that's the issue. I wouldn't have believed that such a small component one end could impact on the other. I've ordered one and will strip it at the weekend and see if you were correct.

      Appreciate your help,



      • agree there....................seems a bit of a design fault that so much relies on that tiny "key"             On mine, I had to replace the shaft as the key slot had worn badly so the key wasn't a tight fit in it..

        • Thanks Graham,

          You were bang on. Key inserted and all runs true now.

          Appreciate your help.


  • Definitely the missing key, I'm pretty sure when we drop these bits they just run off and hide under something.
    I've spent hours crawling round doing looking for things.
    • Thanks John,

      Inserted a replacement key yesterday and all running perfect now.

      Thanks for responding.


  • Is there much complex to overhauling the roller? I really want to do mine this winter and I've tried in the past but only got so far and failed to get everything apart. I've now got circlip pliers and hopefully everything else that might be needed.

    I wish there was a decent youtube video of how to do it!

    • Not really but then I cut my teeth working on mowers 25 years ago so have done my fair share.

      The hardest part as you say is getting it apart, it will fight you every step of the way.
      Emery tape the shafts before starting to disassemble, this will help a little to get it apart, the fun is how much of it is in bad shape, catch the roller bearings early and you will save the roller shaft from wear, don't and you'll be replacing a lot.

      Most common is bearings, this causes the splined shaft and roller to wear, then the selector fork and pinion can wear.

      Not keeping the cable adjusted can cause premature wear.

      Im in Cheshire if you want help if you are local.
      • PRO

        Hi John,

        I have got a couple of this mowers and was wondering can they go any faster? as the cut the best but so slow compared to Hayter lawnmowers.

        Do please let me know if there is any way to improve the speed of these machines.


        Cheers Nigel 

        • PRO

          Get a cheap digital tacho from eBay/Amazon and tweak engine to near it peak power curve according to the handbook is the first thing I would do.

          Dont exceed, otherwise you’ll reduce engine life, create more vibes and noise.

          Ensure you have a high-lift blade fitted ( not much to do with speed, but increases efficiency )

          When you replace the mowers make sure you choose the new high(er) speed versions.

          Search LJN and you’ll find many a thread about this....

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