I've used a socket but you need to make sure the inside of the socket does not come in contact with the shaft. it would be easy to score the shaft and cause some damage. I have used PVC pipe sections depending on the size. Also make sure you drive the seal to the right depth. sometimes you can go to deep depending on the application. I do not have the specifics on your particular model so you'll have to find the specs from a service manual or someone will chime in. If you are sliding a seal over a threaded shaft make sure you put some electrical tape over the threads to prevent them from cutting your seal.
Is this a Dura Force engine? If so, I think you probably have to split the crankcase and there is a groove the new seal fits into, if I remember correctly. Don't let that scare you, it's not too bad. I did mine a few years ago and it was about an hours job, start to finish.
If it's not a Dura Force, you won't have to split it, I don't think. Good luck and let us know if you have any problems or questions.
IM not sure what this means but nowhere on the mower does it say duraforce.Its a 5 hp commercial gold series which looks almost new.One day i was mowing and it just stopped and i could not pull the starter rope.Since then i have sprayed alot of lubricants in it and now i can turn it over and fairly easily.The flywheel key is fine but sometimes when i'm turning it over with a socket it seems to catch for some reason and then keeps turning.I doesn't seem to be in the engine but i have no idea what that little catch while turning it over is. Thanks for any ideas.
Only because I just went through this I'll suggest something. Take your spark plug out, shine a light in the hole and see if you can see the piston. turn it over and see if the piston moves. You may have a thrown rod and that catching feeling you are getting is the broken rod hitting the back of the piston. Also the fact you can pull it over easily now also leads me in this direction as well. Let us know how it turns out.