Craftsman drive cable replacement

Jan 8, 2009
I bought a 20+ year old lawnmower from my neighbor. It had spent all but 3 years of its life in storage while he was overseas. It is a craftsman 6.6 hp self propelled.

Last month the drive cable got frayed and the self propel wouldn't work. Sears no longer carries the part, but I found it on Amazon.

First unit came and I installed. Pulled the lever once and it worked. Second time, something snapped in the module and the cable no longer seems to be connected to the lever although the lever itself remains spring loaded.

Ordered a second unit. It seems to fit and easy install, but nothing happens when I pull the lever. The mower stays in drive mode and doesn't release. This "second" lever doesn't seem to be spring loaded.

On closer inspection, it seems like the "clutch" on the pulley is stuck in the engage mode. The cable is fully retracted and that's why it doesn't do anything. It needs to release first.

Any thoughts if I'm on the right track and what to do? While I was waiting for the part, I put a small vise grip on the broken cable so it was permanently engaged. Seems like it got stuck in the engage clutch mode.