Troy-Bilt Riding Mower Moves Too Slow? (We Have A Fix)

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante
Troy-Bilt riding lawn mowers are among the best on the market, but it can be disappointing when they slow down and you can’t bring them up to speed. Your Troy-Bilt mower can slow down for several reasons, such as a worn upper drive belt or traction belt. Whether it be the speed shift lever or upper drive belt, let’s take a look at what you can do when your Troy-Bilt riding lawn mower moves too slow.

Riding lawnmowers can save some serious time and effort when it comes to lawn care. Troy-Bilt is known as one of the top riding mower manufacturers and is the choice of many homeowners. Sometimes, however, homeowners are left scratching their heads when their Troy-Bilt mower is not up to speed, literally.

Sometimes, Troy-Bilt riding mowers move slowly because the traction belt is worn down, especially from heavy use. Low-speed mowing can also occur with Troy-Bilt riding mowers if the upper drive belt is damaged or obstructed. One of the most common causes for your Troy-Bilt riding mower going slow, however, is the shift speed lever is stuck due to low transmission fluid.

Troy-Bilt makes a great riding mower, but hiccups in the hardware of one of their units can cause it to slow down. Whether you have a standard Troy-Bilt riding mower, or a variable speed model, you can likely get it back up to speed on your own.

Let’s explore why your Troy-Bilt riding mower is moving too slow and what can be done to fix it.

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Why is My Riding Mower Slow?

Your Troy-Bilt riding lawn mower could be moving slow for one of several different reasons, including:

  • Damaged upper drive belt
  • Shift speed lever is stuck
  • Idler pulley spring damaged

More often than not, Troy-Bilt riding mowers slow down because the upper drive belt is damaged or worn out. However, that is more of a problem with variable speed riding lawnmowers, but traction and upper drive belt problems are universal. If it is a matter of a part, such as the idler pulley spring, you can try to get a replacement from Troy-Bilt.

Now, say you have a Troy-Bilt TB200, since this is a self-propelled lawnmower, you may be facing a different issue. You won’t want to follow this guide for the fix. Check our article out on how to fix a Troy-Bilt TB200 that won’t start.

Damaged Upper Drive Belt

If your Troy-Bilt mower’s upper drive belt is damaged, chances are that it will move too slow. The upper drive belt is connected to the transaxle pulley, and the belt guide. If it is a variable speed riding mower, the belt guide will be connected to the variable speed pulley.

Before you replace your damaged upper drive belt, purchase a replacement. You can find upper drive belts for $20-$30, and your best bet is to buy a Troy-Bilt made replacement. Once you buy a replacement upper drive belt, you can make the repair and speed up your riding mower.

How To Replace Upper Drive Belt on Troy-Bilt Riding Mower

First things first, park your Troy-Bilt riding mower on an even surface, and turn it off to cool down. If the mower is taking too long to cool down, try popping the hood to let it air out. It is also recommended that you remove the spark plug as a safety measure before starting.

1. Detach the Cutting Deck

Set your cutting deck’s height position to the lowest option, then push the lever forward and to the left. On many Troy-Bilt models, such as the Pony, this lever is on the rear of the mower. Remove the belt-keeper rod that sits above the cutting deck using a socket wrench, remove the PTO and its pins, and pull out the cutting deck.

2. Disconnect the Battery

Carefully remove the black battery cable. Now, disconnect the red battery cable and carefully pull the battery out of the mower.

3. Remove Spring From Anchor Bolt and Adjust Transaxle Pulley

Use a socket wrench to make the transaxle pulley nut looser. Next, carefully remove the spring from the anchor bolt so that the upper drive belt will come out easier. The anchor bolt and spring are on the left side of the riding lawnmower.

4. Disconnect Upper Drive Belt

Carefully pull the upper drive belt from the loose transaxle pulley near the battery. Use a socket wrench to remove the belt guide after removing the upper drive belt.

5. Install the New Upper Drive Belt

Connect the new upper drive belt to the transaxle pulley, and repeat steps 3 and 4, but this time, work backward. You’ll need to reinstall the spring for the anchor bolt, tighten the transaxle pulley, and reattach the belt guide. After that, reattach the cutting deck, battery, and spark plug, and the mower should be good to go!

Speed Shift Lever Is Stuck

If your Troy-Bilt riding mower is moving slowly, it could be because the speed shift lever is stuck, or the mower needs lubrication. Your speed shift lever could easily be holding your Troy-Bilt riding lawn mower back. Luckily, however, you can make a few quick fixes to get your speed shift lever in working order.

Gears Are Stuck

More often than not, when it feels like your variable speed shift lever is stuck, it is actually the gears that are stuck. When gears become dried out from a lack of transmission fluid, there is more resistance. That resistance makes the gears grind together and get stuck.

Check your Troy-Bilt mower’s transmission fluid level. Your transmission fluid levels are likely low and need to be refilled. For new riding mowers, you should change the transmission after 75-80 hours of mowing. After that, you can let it go 400 hours before adding more transmission fluid.

Too Much Tension On Drive Belt

If your speed shift lever is sticking preventing you from mowing faster, it could be due to the drive belt. Naturally, there is always some tension on the drive belt in any riding mower. Sometimes, however, there is too much tension on your mower’s drive belt, and it can either get stuck or break.

You can replace the drive belt using the steps above, or simply loosen the trans-axle slightly to see if that loosens up the tension on the belt and speed shift lever. Your speed shift lever will never fully shift if the drive belt is stuck or damaged.

Using Too Much Force When Shifting

It is all too easy to exert too much force when shifting gears on a riding mower. Troy-Bilt riding mowers are designed for gears to be shifted according to their manual. Failure to shift gears as instructed, i.e. putting light pressure on the brakes and clutch while shifting, can cause a hard shift.

Hard-shifting is when you shift gears improperly, so the transmission knocks into the gears. It is quite bad for your Troy-Bilt riding mower if you continually hard shift. The safest bet is to gently shift gears and follow Troy-Bilt’s instructions to avoid hard-shifting and transmission damage.

Idler Pulley Spring Damaged

If your idler pulley spring is damaged, it needs to be replaced. Floating idler pulley springs cost $5-$10 and are easy to replace. Follow the steps detailed above for replacing an upper drive belt on a Troy-Bilt mower.

After removing the battery, cutting deck, and spark plug, remove the idler pulley spring. Use a spring puller to safely remove the pulley spring. Then, you simply install the new one and test its tension by pulling on it carefully.

Reinstall the battery, spark plug, and cutting deck, and see if your new pulley spring makes your mower speed up.

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Summing it Up

If your Troy-Bilt riding mower is moving too slow, it is likely due to the upper drive belt. Replace the upper drive belt, and your riding mower should speed up. Otherwise, it could be that you are low on transmission fluid, are hard-shifting, or your pulley spring is damaged.

Avoid bad habits such as hard-shifting and use transmission fluid after 75 hours for new mowers, and 400 hours for seasoned ones. Good luck getting your Troy-Bilt riding mower back up to speed!

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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