Yard-Man 540 User Manual

Safety • Setup • Adjustments • Operation • Maintenance • Troubleshooting • Parts Lists • Warranty
21” Rotary Mower — Model Series 540
PRINTED IN U.S.A. MTD Products Ltd., P. O. Box 1386, KITCHENER, ONTARIO N2G 4J1
This Operator’s Manual is an important part of your new equipment. It will help you assemble,
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prepare and maintain the unit for best performance. Please read and understand what it says.
Table of Contents
Slope Gauge........................................................ 3
Safe Operation Practices ................................... 4
Set-Up & Adjustments ........................................ 6
Operation ............................................................. 8
Maintenance ...................................................... 10
Finding and Recording Model Number
BEFORE YOU START ASSEMBLING YOUR NEW EQUIPMENT, please locate the model plate on the equipment and copy the model number and the serial number to the sample model plate provided to the right. You can locate the model plate by standing at the operating position and looking down at the rear of the machine.
Off-Season Storage .......................................... 11
Trouble Shooting .............................................. 12
Warranty ............................................................ 13
Illustrated Parts Lists ....................................... 14
Customer Support
Please do
If you have difficulty assembling this product or have any questions regarding the controls, operation or maintenance of this unit, you can seek help from the experts. Choose from the options below:
1. Visit www.yardman.ca for many useful suggestions, click on Customer Support button.
2. Call a Customer Support Representative at 1-800-668-1238.
3. The engine manufacturer is responsible for all engine-related issues in terms of performance, power-rating, specifications, warranty, and service. Depending on the engine manufacturer, more information is included in this publication or packed separately with this product.
Please have your unit’s model number and serial number ready when you call. See previous section to locate this information. You will be asked to enter the serial number in order to process your call.
return the unit to the retailer from which it was purchased,
without first contacting Customer Support.
Sight and hold this level with a vertical tree...
or a corner of a building...
or a fence post
Fold along dotted line (represents a 15° slope)
Use this page as a guide to determine slopes where you may not operate safely. Do not operate your lawn mower on such slopes.
Do not mow on inclines with a slope in excess of 15 degrees (a rise of approximately 2-1/2 feet every 10 feet). A riding mower could overturn and cause serious injury. If operating a walk­behind mower on such a slope, it is extremely difficult to maintain your footing and you could slip, resulting in serious injury.
Operate RIDING mowers up and down slopes, never across the face of slopes.
Operate WALK-BEHIND mowers across the
face of slopes, never up and down slopes.
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.
Your Responsibility
Restrict the use of this power machine to persons who read, understand and follow the warnings and instructions in this manual and on the machine.
WARNING: Engine Exhaust, some of its constituents, and certain vehicle components contain or emit chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
DANGER: This machine was built to be operated according to the rules for safe operation in this manual. As with any type of power equipment, carelessness or error on the part of the operator can result in serious injury. This machine is capable of amputating hands and feet and throwing objects. Failure to observe the following safety instructions could result in serious injury or death.
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 controls and 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. Your unit has been designed to perform one job: to mow grass. Do not use it for any other purpose.
4. Never allow children under 14 years old to operate this machine. Children 14 years old and over should read and understand the instructions in this manual and should be trained and supervised by a 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 which could be tripped over or picked up and thrown by the blade. Thrown objects can cause serious personal injury.
7. Plan your mowing pattern to avoid discharge of material toward roads, sidewalks, bystanders and the like. Also, avoid discharg­ing material against a wall or obstruction which may cause discharged material to ricochet back toward the operator.
8. To help avoid blade contact or a thrown object injury, stay in the operator zone behind the handles and keep children, bystanders, helpers and pets at least 75 feet from the mower while it is in operation. Stop machine if anyone enters the area.
9. Always wear safety glasses or safety goggles during operation and while performing an adjustment or repair to protect your eyes. Thrown objects which ricochet can cause serious injury to the eyes.
10. Wear sturdy, rough-soled work shoes and close-fitting slacks and shirts. Shirts and pants that cover the arms and legs and steel-toed shoes are recommended. Never operate this machine in bare feet, sandals, slippery or light weight (e.g. canvas) shoes.
11. Do not put hands or feet near rotating parts or under the cutting deck. Contact with the blade can amputate hands and feet.
12. A missing or damaged discharge cover can cause blade contact or thrown object injuries.
13. 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.
14. Never pull the mower back toward you while you are walking. If you must back the mower away from a wall or obstruction first look down and behind to avoid tripping and then follow these steps:
a. Step back from the mower to fully extend your arms.
b. Be sure you are well balanced with sure footing.
c. Pull the mower back slowly, no more than half way toward you.
d. Repeat these steps as needed.
15. Do not operate the mower while under the influence of alcohol or
16. Do not engage the self-propelled mechanism on units so equipped while starting engine.
17. The blade control handle is a safety device. Never attempt to bypass its operation. Doing so makes the safety device inoperative and may result in personal injury through contact with the rotating blade. The blade control handle must operate easily in both directions and automatically return to the disengaged position when released.
18. Never operate the mower in wet grass. Always be sure of your footing. A slip and fall can cause serious personal injury. If you feel you are losing your footing, release the blade control handle immediately and the blade will stop rotating within three seconds.
19. Mow only in daylight or in good artificial light. Walk, never run.
20. Stop the blade when crossing gravel drives, walks or roads.
21. If the equipment should start to vibrate abnormally, stop the engine and check immediately for the cause. Vibration is gener­ally a warning of trouble.
22. Shut the engine off and wait until the blade comes to a complete stop before removing the grass catcher or unclogging the chute. The cutting blade continues to rotate for a few seconds after the engine is shut off. Never place any part of the body in the blade area until you are sure the blade has stopped rotating.
23. Never operate mower without proper trail shield, discharge cover, grass catcher, blade control handle or other safety protective devices in place and working. Never operate mower with damaged safety devices. Failure to do so, can result in personal injury.
24. Muffler and engine become hot and can cause a burn. Do not touch.
25. Never attempt to make a wheel or cutting height adjustment while the engine is running.
26. Only use parts and accessories made for this machine by the manufacturer. Failure to do so can result in personal injury.
27. When starting engine, pull cord slowly until resistance is felt, then pull rapidly. Rapid retraction of starter cord (kickback) will pull hand and arm toward engine faster than you can let go. Broken bones, fractures, bruises or sprains could result.
28. If situations occur which are not covered in this manual, use care and good judgment. Call customer assistance for the name of your nearest servicing 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. For your safety, use the slope gauge included as part of this manual to measure slopes before operating this unit on a sloped or hilly area. If the slope is greater than 15 degrees, do not mow it.
Mow across the face of slopes; never up and down. Exercise
extreme 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. If you feel you are losing your balance, release the blade control handle immediately, and the blade will stop rotating within 3 seconds.
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 as shown on the slope gauge.
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 children. Children are often attracted to the mower and the mowing activity. They do not understand the dangers. Never assume that children will remain where you last saw them.
1. Keep children out of the mowing area and under the watchful care of a responsible adult other than the operator.
2. Be alert and turn mower off if a child enters the area.
3. Before and while moving backwards, look behind and down for small children.
4. 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.
5. Keep children away from hot or running engines. They can suffer burns from a hot muffler.
6. Never allow children under 14 years old to operate a power mower. Children 14 years old and over should read and under­stand the operation instructions and safety rules in this manual and should be trained and supervised by a parent.
Safe Handling Of Gasoline:
1. To avoid personal injury or property damage use extreme care in handling gasoline. Gasoline is extremely flammable and the vapors are explosive. Serious personal injury can occur when gasoline is spilled on yourself or your clothes which can ignite. Wash your skin and change clothes immediately.
2. Use only an approved gasoline container.
3. Never fill containers inside a vehicle or on a truck or trailer bed with a plastic liner. Always place containers on the ground away from your vehicle before filling.
4. Remove gas-powered equipment from the truck or trailer and refuel it on the ground. If this is not possible, then refuel such equipment on a trailer with a portable container, rather than from a gasoline dispenser nozzle.
5. Keep the nozzle in contact with the rim of the fuel tank or container opening at all times until fueling is complete. Do not use a nozzle lock-open device.
6 Extinguish all cigarettes, cigars, pipes and other sources of
7. Never fuel machine indoors because flammable vapors will accumulate in the area.
8. Never remove gas cap or add fuel while the engine is hot or run ning. Allow engine to cool at least two minutes before refueling.
9. Never over fill fuel tank. Fill tank to no more than ½ inch below bottom of filler neck to provide for fuel expansion.
10. Replace gasoline cap and tighten securely.
11. If gasoline is spilled, wipe it off the engine and equipment. Move unit to another area. Wait 5 minutes before starting the engine.
12. Never store the machine or fuel container near an open flame, spark or pilot light as on a water heater, space heater, furnace, clothes dryer or other gas appliances.
13. To reduce fire hazard, keep mower free of grass, leaves, or other debris build-up. Clean up oil or fuel spillage and remove any fuel soaked debris.
14. Allow a mower to cool at least 5 minutes before storing.
General Service:
1. Never run an engine indoors or in a poorly ventilated area. Engine exhaust contains carbon monoxide, an odorless and deadly gas.
2. Before cleaning, repairing, or inspecting, make certain the blade and all moving parts have stopped. Disconnect the spark plug wire and ground against the engine to prevent unintended starting.
3. Check the blade and engine mounting bolts at frequent intervals for proper tightness. Also, visually inspect blade for damage (e.g., bent, cracked, worn) Replace blade with the original equipment manufacture’s (O.E.M.) blade only, listed in this manual. “Use of parts which do not meet the original equipment specifications may lead to improper performance and compromise safety!”
4. Mower blades are sharp and can cut. Wrap the blade or wear gloves, and use extra caution when servicing them.
5. Keep all nuts, bolts, and screws tight to be sure the equipment is in safe working condition.
6. Never tamper with safety devices. Check their proper operation regularly.
7. After striking a foreign object, stop the engine, disconnect the spark plug wire and ground against the engine. Thoroughly inspect the mower for any damage. Repair the damage before starting and operating the mower.
8. Never attempt to make a wheel or cutting height adjustment while the engine is running.
9. Grass catcher components, discharge cover, and trail shield are subject to wear and damage which could expose moving parts or allow objects to be thrown. For safety protection, frequently check components and replace immediately with original equipment manufacturer’s (O.E.M.) parts only, listed in this manual. “Use of parts which do not meet the original equipment specifications may lead to improper performance and compromise safety!”
10. Do not change the engine governor setting or overspeed the engine. The governor controls the maximum safe operating speed of the engine.
11. Check fuel line, tank, cap, and fittings frequently for cracks or leaks. Replace if necessary.
12. Do not crank engine with spark plug removed.
13. Maintain or replace safety labels, as necessary.
14. Observe proper disposal laws and regulations. Improper disposal of fluids and materials can harm the environment.
Do not modify engine
To avoid serious injury or death, do not modify engine in any way. Tampering with the governor setting can lead to a runaway engine and cause it to operate at unsafe speeds. Never tamper with factory setting of engine governor.
Average Useful Life
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this product has an Average Useful Life of seven (7) years, or 60 hours of operation. At the end of the Average Useful Life, buy a new machine or have the machine inspected annually by an authorized service dealer to ensure that all mechanical and safety systems are working properly and not worn excessively. Failure to do so can result in accidents, injuries or death.
This machine is equipped with an internal combus­tion engine and should not be used on or near any unimproved forest­covered, brushcovered or grass-covered land unless the engine’s exhaust system is equipped with a spark arrester meeting ap­plicable local or provincial laws (if any).
If a spark arrester is used, it should be maintained in effective working order by the operator. A spark arrester for the muf­fler is available through your nearest engine authorized service dealer.
Notice regarding Emis­sions
Engines which are certified to comply with California and federal EPA emission regulations for SORE (Small Off Road Equipment) are certified to operate on regu­lar unleaded gasoline, and may include the following emission control systems: Engine Modification (EM) and Three Way Catalyst (TWC) if so equipped.
Setup and
Disconnect and ground the spark plug wire as instruct­ed in the separate engine manual.
IMPORTANT This unit is shipped WITHOUT GASOLINE or OIL. After assem­bly, service engine with gasoline and oil as instructed in the separate engine manual packed with your unit.
NOTE: This owner’s manual covers various models
of lawnmowers. The units illustrated may vary slightly from your unit. Follow only those instruc­tions which pertain to your model lawnmower.
On models with 2”
wide rear wheels only.
Figure 1
Handle Bracket
Figure 2
1. Attaching Rear Wheels
a. Place rear of the mower deck on raised blocks.
Remove the hex flanged nut on the rear axle from each side and place the rear wheel on the axle. (On select models, these may be included
separately in a plastic bag).
On models with 2” wide rear wheels, make sure
the spring washer is on the inside of the wheel between the wheel and the lawnmower, cupped side towards the bracket. See Figure 1.
d. Reinsert the flanged nut into
and tighten securely. Repeat on other side.
2. Remove loose parts and any packing material which may be between upper and lower handles.
a. Pull up and back on the upper handle to raise the
handle from position A into the operating position. See Figure 2.
b. Tighten knobs securing upper handle to lower
handle. Make sure that each carriage bolt is seated properly in the handle.
3. Locate hairpin clip in one hole on the weld pin on each side of lower handle.
a. Remove hairpin clip from this hole. Using a pair of
pliers, insert hairpin clip into the other hole on the weld pin. Repeat on other side. See Figure 3.
b. Place one carriage bolt (found in the hardware
pack included with your unit) in the upper hole of the right handle mounting bracket from the inside outward. See Figure 3. Secure with one wing nut. Repeat process on the left side.
4. Rope guide Setup as follows, see Figure 4:
a. Hold the blade control against the upper handle.
Position A.
b. Slowly pull starter rope out of engine. Position B.
c. Slip starter rope into the rope guide. Position C.
d. Tighten rope guide wing nut (star knobs).Position D.
(If Not Already Attached)
the axle as shown,
Make sure to route cable outside the lower handle. Do not crimp cable while lifting the handle up.
Figure 3
Figure 4
5. Insert post on cable tie into hole provided on the lower handle. Pull cable tie tight and trim excess. See Figure
Figure 5
Setup and
Each wheel has a height adjustment lever to change
6. the cutting height of the mower. To change the height of cut, squeeze adjuster lever toward the wheel, moving up or down to selected height. See Figure 6.
7. To assemble the grasscatcher:
a. Place bag over frame (black plastic side is the
bottom of bag.) Insert the hooks on the frame through the holes in the side plastic channels of the bag. See Figure 7.
b. Secure bag to frame by working the plastic
channels on bag over frame as shown in Figure 7. All of the plastic channels except center top of bag attach from the outside of bag. Center top of bag attaches from the inside of bag.
8. Attaching Grass Catcher to Mower
a. Lift the rear discharge door on the mower, and
place the grass catcher on the pivot rod. Let go of discharge door so that it rests on the grass catcher. See Figure 8.
WARNING: Never operate mower
unless the hooks on the grass catcher are firmly seated on the pivot rod, and the rear discharge door rests firmly against top of the grass catcher.
9. To remove grass catcher and utilize the mulching feature:
a. Lift rear discharge door on the mower as shown in
Figure 8. Lift grass catcher up and out, off of the pivot rod. Release rear discharge door to allow it to close rear opening of mower.
Figure 6
Figure 7
Figure 8
NOTE: Make certain
bag is turned right side out before assembling (warning label will be on the outside).
NOTE: Make certain cables are routed to the
outside of the handle so they are not in the way when attaching the grass catcher.
Never operate mower unless the hooks on the grass catcher are firmly seated on the
pivot rod, and the rear discharge door rests firmly against top of the grass catcher.
All mowers are equipped with a rear protective guard. The guard helps eliminate projectiles thrown by the blade from injuring the operator. DO NOT REMOVE THIS GUARD.
Blade Control
Grass Catcher
Spark Plug
Mulch Plug (optional)
Cutting Height Adjustment Lever (for each wheel)
Side Deflector
Your Lawn
Read, understand, and follow all instruc­tions and warnings on the machine and in this manual before operating.
Know Your Lawn Mower
This blade control mechanism is a safety device. Never attempt to bypass its operations.
Use extreme care when handling gasoline. Gasoline is extremely flammable and the vapors are explosive. Never fuel the machine indoors or while the engine is hot or running. Extinguish cigarettes, cigars, pipes and other sources of ignition.
Blade Control Handle
The blade control handle is located on the upper handle of the mower. See Figure 9. The blade control handle must be depressed in order to operate the unit. Release the blade control handle to stop the engine and blade.
Recoil Starter
The recoil starter is attached to the right upper handle. Stand behind the unit and pull the recoil starter rope to start the unit.
Mulching Plug (optional)
The mulching plug is used to close the side discharge chute opening when mulching or bagging grass. Do not remove the hinged mulching plug at any time, even when you are not mulching.
Cutting Height Adjustment Levers (If so equipped)
One adjustment lever is located on each wheel and is used to adjust the cutting height. All four levers have to be at the same relative position to ensure uniform cut.
Figure 9
Before Starting
1. Service the engine with gasoline and oil as instructed in the separate engine manual.
2. Attach spark plug wire to spark plug. If unit is equipped with a rubber boot over the end of the spark plug wire, make certain the metal loop on the end of the spark plug wire (inside the rubber boot) is fastened securely over the metal tip on the spark plug.
To Start Engine
1. If your unit is equipped with a primer, prime engine as instructed in the separate engine manual packed with your unit.
2. Standing behind the unit, depress the blade control handle and hold it against the upper handle as shown in Figure 10.
3. Grasp the starter handle as shown and pull slowly until resistance is felt, then pull rapidly to start engine and avoid kickback. Return it slowly to the rope guide.
To Stop Engine
1. Release the blade control handle to stop the engine and blade.
WARNING: The blade continues to rotate for a few seconds after the engine is shut off.
2. Disconnect and ground the spark plug wire as instructed in the separate engine manual to prevent accidental starting while equipment is unattended.
Using Your Lawn Mower
WARNING: Never operate your mower without either the rear door or the entire grass catcher assembly firmly secured.
Be sure the lawn is clear of stones, sticks, wire, or other objects which could damage the lawn mower or the engine. Such objects could be accidently thrown by the mower in any direction and cause serious personal injury to the operator and others.
WARNING: If you strike a foreign object, stop the engine. Remove wire from the spark plug, thor­oughly inspect the mower for any damage, and repair the damage before restarting and operating the mower. Extensive vibration of the mower during operation is an indication of damage. The unit should be promptly inspected and repaired.
Operating Tips
1. For best results and effective mulching, do not cut wet grass.
2. New grass, thick grass, or wet grass may require a narrower cut.
3. For a healthier lawn, never cut off more than one-third of the total length of the grass.
4. Your lawn should be cut in the fall as long as there is growth.
5. Adjust ground speed according to condition of lawn.
6. If the grass has been allowed to grow in excess of 4 inches, mulching is not recommended. Mow using the grass catcher to reduce the grass height to 3-1/4 inches or less before mulching.
WARNING: Wait for the blade to
stop completely before doing any work on the mower or to remove the grass catcher.
Figure 10
NOTE: To operate your unit using the grass catcher, mulcher or optional side discharge refer to page 7.
The side discharge is an optional feature.
If converting to side discharge, make sure grass catcher is off unit and rear discharge door is closed.
a. On the side of the mower deck, lift the hinged
mulching plug. See Figure 11.
b. Slide the two hooks on the side discharge deflec-
tor under the hinge pin on the hinged mulching plug assembly. Lower the hinged mulching plug.
NOTE: Do not remove the hinged mulching plug at any time, even when you are not mulching.
Figure 11 - Optional Feature (If equipped)
Your Lawn
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.
Be sure no one other than the operator is standing near the lawn mower while starting engine or operating mower. Never run engine indoors or in enclosed, poorly ventilated areas. En­gine exhaust contains carbon monoxide, an odorless and deadly gas. Keep hands, feet, hair and loose clothing away from any moving parts on engine and lawn mower.
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