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SafeOperationPractices•Set-Up•Operation•Maintenance•Service•Troubleshooting• Warranty








Form No. 769-06425A

(October 21, 2010)

To The Owner





Thank You


Thank you for purchasing a Troy-BiltReel Mower. It was carefully engineered to provide excellent performance when properly operated and maintained.

Please read this entire manual prior to operating the equipment.

It instructs you how to safely and easily set up, operate and maintain your machine. Please be sure that you, and any other persons who will operate the machine, carefully follow the recommended safety practices at all times. Failure to do so could result in personal injury or property damage.

All information in this manual is relative to the most recent product information available at the time of printing. Review this manual frequently to familiarize yourself with the machine, its features and operation. Please be aware that this Operator’s

Manual may cover a range of product specifications for various models. Characteristics and features discussed and/or illustrated in this manual may not be applicable to all models. We reserve the right to change product specifications, designs and equipment without notice and without incurring obligation.

If you have any problems or questions concerning the machine, phone a authorized Troy-Biltservice dealer or contact us directly.

Troy-Bilt’sCustomer Support telephone numbers, website address and mailing address can be found on this page. We want to ensure your complete satisfaction at all times.

Throughout this manual, all references to right andleft side of the machine are observed from the operating position

Table of Contents

Safe Operation Practices.........................................


Illustrated Parts List................................................


Assembly & Set-Up...................................................








Maintenance & Adjustment...................................




Record Product Information










Before setting up and operating your new equipment, please



































locate the model plate on the equipment and record the


















information in the provided area to the right. You can locate



































the model plate by looking near the machine’s right wheel. This










information will be necessary, should you seek technical support









via our web site, Customer Support Department, or with a local



































authorized service dealer.









































































Customer Support

Please do NOT return the machine to the retailer or dealer without first contacting the Customer Support Department.

If you have difficulty assembling this product or have any questions regarding the controls, operation, or maintenance of this machine, you can seek help from the experts. Choose from the options below:

Visit us on the web at

Call a Customer Support Representative at (800) 828-5500or (330)558-7220

Write to Troy-BiltLLC • P.O. Box 361131 • Cleveland, OH •44136-0019


Important Safe Operation Practices





WARNING:This symbol points out important safety instructions which, if not followed, could endanger the personal safety and/or property of yourself and others. Read and follow all instructions in this manual before attempting to operate this machine. Failure to comply with these instructions may result in personal injury.

When you see this symbol. HEEDITSWARNING!

DANGER:This machine was built to be operated according to the safe operation practices in this manual. Carelessness or error on the part of the operator can result in serious injury. This machine is capable of amputating fingers and toes and throwing objects. Failure to observe the following safety instructions could result in serious injury.

General Operation

1.Read this operator’s manual carefully in its entirety before attempting to assemble this machine. Read, understand, and follow all instructions on the machine and in the manual(s) before operation. Keep this manual in a safe place for future and regular reference and for ordering replacement parts.

2.Be completely familiar with the proper use of this machine before operating it.

3.This machine is a precision piece of power equipment, not a plaything. Therefore, exercise extreme caution at all

times. This machine has been designed to perform one job: to mow grass. Do not use it for any other purpose.

4.Never allow children under 10 years of age to operate this machine. Children 10 and over should read and understand the instructions and safe operation practices in this manual and on the machine and should be trained and supervised by an adult.

5.Only responsible individuals who are familiar with these rules of safe operation should be allowed to use this machine.

6.Thoroughly inspect the area where the equipment is to be used. Remove all stones, sticks, wire, bones, toys and other foreign objects.

7.To help avoid blade contact, stay in operator zone behind handles and keep children, bystanders, helpers and pets away from mower while it is in operation. Stop machine if anyone enters area.

8.Wear sturdy, rough-soledwork shoes andclose-fittingslacks and shirts. Shirts and pants that cover the arms and legs andsteel-toedshoes are recommended. Never

operate this machine in bare feet, sandals, slippery or lightweight (e.g. canvas) shoes.

9.Do not put hands or feet near rotating blades. Contact with blades can amputate fingers and toes.

10.Many injuries occur as a result of the mower being pulled over the foot during a fall caused by slipping or tripping. Do not hold on to the mower if you are falling; release the handle immediately.

11.Be careful when pulling the machine backward. Look down and behind to avoid tripping. Be sure you are well balanced with sure footing.

12.Do not operate the mower while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

13.Never operate the mower in wet grass. Always be sure of your footing. A slip and fall can cause serious personal injury.

14.Mow only in daylight or good artificial light. Walk, never run.

15.The cutting blade may continue to rotate for a few seconds after the mower has stopped moving. Never place any part of the body in the blade area until you are sure the blade has stopped rotating.

16.Use safe lifting practices when moving mower.

17.Only use parts and accessories made for this machine by the manufacturer. Failure to do so can result in personal injury.

18.If situations occur which are not covered in this manual, use care and good judgement. Contact Customer Support for assistance or the name of the nearest service dealer.

Slope Operation

Slopes are a major factor related to slip and fall accidents, which can result in severe injury. Operation on slopes requires extra caution. If you feel uneasy on a slope, do not mow it. If the slope is greater than 15 degrees, do not mow it.


1.Mow across the face of slopes; never up and down. Exercise caution when changing direction on slopes.

2.Watch for holes, ruts, rocks, hidden objects, or bumps which can cause you to slip or trip. Tall grass can hide obstacles.

3.Always be sure of your footing. A slip and fall can cause serious personal injury.


Do Not:

1.Do not mow near drop-offs,ditches or embankments, you could lose your footing or balance.

2.Do not mow slopes greater than 15 degrees.

3.Do not mow on wet grass. Unstable footing could cause slipping.


Tragic accidents can occur if the operator is not alert to the presence of small children. Children are often attracted to the mower and the mowing activity. Children younger than 10 yearsold do not understand the dangers. Never assume that children will remain where you last saw them.

1.Keep children younger than 10 years-oldout of the mowing area and under watchful care of a responsible adult other than the operator.

2.Be alert and stop mowing if a child or others enter the area.

3.Use extreme care when approaching blind corners, doorways, shrubs, trees, or other objects that may obscure your vision of a child who may run into the mower.

4.Never allow children under 10 years of age to operate this machine. Children 10 and over should read and understand the instructions and safe operation practices in this manual and on the machine and be trained and supervised by an adult.


1.Mower blades are sharp and can cut. Wear gloves, and use extra caution when servicing them.

2.Keep all nuts, bolts, and screws tight to be sure the equipment is in safe working condition.

3.Never tamper with safety devices. Check their proper operation regularly.

Safety Symbols

This page depicts and describes safety symbols that may appear on this product. Read, understand, and follow all instructions on the machine before attempting to assemble and operate.




Read, understand, and follow all instructions in the manual(s) before attempting to assemble and operate


To reduce the risk of injury, keep hands and feet away.


Do not mow when children or others are around.



Section2 — ImportantSafeOperationPractices





Assembly & Set-Up





Contents of Crate


One Upper Handle

Two Mid Handles

One Lower Handle

Six Carriage Bolts

Six Wing Knobs

Six Saddle Washers

One Grass Catcher (TB R18 Only)

One Operator’s Manual

One Product Registration Card

Mower Set-Up

Attaching the Handle

1.Secure the upper handle to the mid handles with two

carriage bolts, two saddle washers and two wing knobs.

See Fig. 3-1.




four carriage bolts, four saddle washers and four wing knobs. See Fig. 3-2.

3. Positionthecompletehandleassemblyoverthestudsonthe rear of the mower frame. See Fig. 3-3.



Adjusting the Cutting Height

The cutting height can be adjusted to between approximately 3/4-inchand21/2-inches.

1.Move the right-handheight adjustment lever outward and then position it forward (to lower the cutting height) or rearward (to raise the cutting height) before releasing it into the notch for your desired height. See Fig.3-4.


2.RepeatStep1ontheleft-handsidemakingsuretoreleasetheheight adjustment lever into the corresponding notch.

Attaching the Grass Catcher (Model TBR18)

1.Expand the grass catcher from its collapsed position by opening up the hinges found on the inside of its frame.

2.Position the grass catcher hooks over the rod on the rear of the mower. See Fig. 3-5.


3.Positionthestrapthroughthegrasscatcher’shandleandover the mower’s lower handle crossbar to support the rear

of the grass catcher. See Fig. 3-6.Adjust the length of the strap so that the bag is low to the ground but not dragging on the ground.




Section3 — Assembly& Set-Up






Using Your Lawn Mower

Please observe the following when operating your reel mower.

Be sure lawn is clear of stones, sticks, wire, or other objects which could damage lawn mower or engine.

WARNING:The operation of any lawn mower can result in foreign objects being thrown into the eyes, which can damage your eyes severely. Always wear safety glasses while operating the mower, or while performing any adjustments or repairs on it.

Mow the lawn when the grass is relatively dry. Attempting to mow wet grass can result in an uneven cut.

Maintain a consistent walking pace while pushing the mower in straight passes.

Slightly overlap each pass to even the cut and avoid leaving uncut strips.

Mow the lawn regularly, at least once a week during the growing season. Mow more frequently than you would with a conventional rotary lawn mower.

Always mow with the blade height adjusted to cut no more than 1/3 the total height of grass.

If the height of your lawn’s grass exceeds four inches, adjust the blade height to its highest position before mowing. After mowing, readjust the blade to your preferred cutting height and mow the lawn a second time within the next one or two days.

Using Grass Catcher (Model TB R18)


Transporting the Mower

During normal operation, the blade reel will turn anytime the mower’s front wheels are turning. To safely move the mower from one location to another without the blade reel turning, simply pivot the handle over the reel and push the mower


You can use the grass catcher to collect clippings while you are operating the mower.

1.Attach grass catcher following instructions in the Assembly & Set-Upsection. Grass clippings will automatically collect in catcher as you operate the mower. The faster you push the mower, the more effectively it will collect clippings.

Operate the mower till grass catcher is full.

2.Remove the grass catcher’s strap from the lower handle’s crossbar and lift the grass catcher up and away from the mower to remove the bag. Dispose of the grass clippings and reinstall the bag when complete.

WARNING:If you strike a foreign object, thoroughly inspect mower for any damage. Repair any damage before operating.

from the opposite side. See Fig. 4-1.Pushing the mower in this manner (transport mode) prohibits the blade reel from turning.


Maintenance & Adjustments


General Recommendations

Always observe safety rules when performing any maintenance.

The warranty on this lawn mower does not cover items that have been subjected to operator abuse or negligence. To receive full value from warranty, operator must maintain the lawn mower as instructed here.

All adjustments should be checked at least once each season.

Periodically check all fasteners and make sure these are tight.

Regularly apply lubricant to mower’s cutting surfaces, cutting reel axle shaft and wheels.

Cleaning the Mower

To prevent the build-upof grass clippings or other debris, clean the mower by wiping it down with a damp cloth after each use.

Scrape and clean the mower with a suitable tool (e.g. a plastic scraper or brush).

Do not use a pressure washer or garden hose to clean the mower.

Remove deposits from the wheel tread.

Blade Care

WARNING:Mower blades are sharp and can cut. Wear gloves, and use extra caution when servicing them.

Periodically sharpen the blades as follows:

1.Spread a thin layer of lapping compound (100 - 240 grit) on the front edge of the reel blades.

2.Adjust the cutter bar so that the blade has light but firm contact across the full width of the cutter bar. Refer to Blade Clearance Adjustment later in this section.

3.Operate the mower on a paved surface until the front edge of the cutter bar blade is polished.

4.Clean any grinding compound or debris from the cutter bar blade, reel blade, pinions, and pawls.



WARNING:Mower blades are sharp and can cut. Wear gloves, and use extra caution when servicing them. Any wheel rotation can cause the blade reel to rotate.

Blade Clearance Adjustment

The blade reel is adjusted for proper clearance from the cutting bar at the factory. However, after extended periods of mowing or as part of annual maintenance, it is recommended that the blade clearance be readjusted.

If blade clearance is too wide, the cutting pattern will be rough and uneven.

If blade clearance is too narrow, the machine will be noisy and difficult to push while operating.

To adjust blade clearance, proceed as follows:

1.Locate the adjustment bolts found on the underside of the cutting bar on the rear of the mower.

2.Using a 13mm wrench, tighten the adjustment bolts (one on each end) 1/4-turn.See Fig.5-1.

Caution:Do not overtighten the adjusting screws, as this could damage the cutter bar. Tighten both screws during final adjustment.



3.To test for proper adjustment:

a.Lean the mower all the way back so that it’s resting on the handle.

b.Use one hand to slowly rotate the wheel of the mower, causing the blade reel to slowly turn. If the wheel is too difficult to turn, slightly loosen each adjustment screw.

c.While the blade reel is turning, insert a sheet of paper between the blade reel and the cutting bar. See Fig. 5-2.The paper should shear evenly along the entire length of the cutter bar, as if being cut by scissors. If the paper doesn’t shear, slightly tighten each adjustment screw and repeat the test.


Section5 — Maintenance& Adjustments







TB R16 & TB R18