Sunlawn Reel-Mowers’ Reel-Bad Customer Service

Last June, I sold our gas-powered mower and bought a manual reel mower. Our yard is small, and without a shed or garage I didn’t have any place to keep the gas mower, so it seemed like a great fit. I ended up buying the 16″ Sunlawn LMM40. The big sell to me was blades which rarely need sharpening. After one season they’re still sharp, so I guess that’s good.

Last week when I mowed for (hopefully) the last time this year, I noticed the blades didn’t want to engage properly. The mower has a 2 year warranty, so I tried to contact Sunlawn through their website. Both e-mail addresses bounced and there is no phone number. Fortunately I had purchased it through Reel Mowers USA, and they have agreed to send me the parts.

I definitely appreciate Reel Mowers USA honoring Sunlawn’s warranty, but based on the complete lack of contact methods, I would caution anyone out there from buying any of Sunlawn’s products.

Update:

It seems Sunlawn and Reel-Mowers-USA have both gone out of business.

I couldn’t find parts, but I managed to “fix” it.  Effectively this converts the “clutch” into a fixed gear.  Instead of spinning freely backwards (and forwards, when broken), this will lock the wheels to the blades.  I was worried it would make cutting awkward, but it works amazingly well.

If you’re a bit handy, here’s how:

  1. Set the mower on its side.
  2. Remove one wheels.  You’ll need to pop the plastic yellow caps off with a flat screwdrivers or knife, then remove the clips and the wheels.
  3. Slide off the hard plastic gear.
  4. Slide the small (1″x1″) metal plate out from the spline

I believe the problem is that the gear wears down slightly, and this metal clip no longer engages properly.  To “fix” it:

  1. Reinsert the metal plate at a slight angle
  2. Slide the hard plastic gear back on.  It should slide part way, but not completely, since you’ve (intentionally) misaligned the plate.  For good measure before I did this I cleaned the grease off the spline and applied a few drops of gorilla glue to the gear
  3. Tap the gear on with a hammer

Now the gear should be fixed to the spline.  Put it back together and repeat for the other side.

Good luck!

2 Comments

  1. Great article/blog!

    I spent half of one morning trying to find a solution to the same problem (erratic engaging of blades) with my SunLawn push reel and I stumbled upon your blog. I got mine as a gift and the giftors bought it through Plow & Hearth. Rather than chase down whether or not they would honor the warranty, would you be able to tell me what part(s) you needed to buy? Or do you think I can find same info via contacting Reel Mowers USA?

    Please e-mail if you can. I would appreciate it IMMENSELY!

    Thanks,
    A

  2. First off, I don’t think you can begin to understand how much this post means to me. I have been struggling with my dang sunlawn mower for the past year; it probably only worked as designed for the first month or two, and then I kept thinking it was just me not operating it correctly. So it’s good to hear others have had the same issue. But even better that someone is handy enough to know how to fix it! I am but a sensitive artist type with no mechanical skills to speak of, so the fact that I could fix this thing and get it working is close to a miracle! Thank you thank you thank you. Works better than ever. Didn’t need to use glue; and yes – do it only to one wheel and then you’ll still have the other one if you want to “lean” on it to roll it backwards without engaging the blades, though it hardly seems necessary. In fact, I wonder why they designed it without a fixed gear in the first place. Anyway, thanks for the post and the help. Any chance you want to come by and fix our wood stove and dehumidifier?!!!