Hello Autolite and Welcome to MLMF!Good day. I have a used Sears Craftsman 'Eager One' model number 944.369340 push mower that has a problem with the rear wheel drive clutch assemblies.
The two mechanisms (sprag type clutches) that engage the drive shaft to the drive wheels seem to engage and disengage intermittently. When the mower is selected to 'drive', the clutches will randomly disengage. When the mower is selected to 'free wheel', the clutches will randomly engage (particularly when backing up).
As per the operators manual instructions, I've disassembled, cleaned, inspected and lightly lubed the drive pawls/drive pinion assembly but the problem persists.
What I would like to ask if there is anyone else who has had similar trouble with this particular drive system and whether or not buying new drive pawls/drive pinions would rectify the problem?
I am reluctant to go through the bother and expense of obtaining new parts to fix the problem that, for what I suspect, might be due to an inherently faulty design...
All I can say is Wow!
You're obviously very familiar with your machine and the way you've presented your suspicions of what may be failing are so detailed...I'm not sure what to suggest from this point on. Depending on how fond you are of the mower and trying replacements parts one by one is probably more expensive then the residual value of the machine's net worth.
The only option I can think of is a visit to your local repair facility that specializes in models like yours as they may either recommend the most common (suspect) parts that fail or (perhaps) a salvaged unit in their inventory.
I hope someone here has experienced the same problems with the identical model (or something very close) and can add something more useful that what I've offered. I hope you stay in touch and let us know if you resolve the problems and your progress.
Thanks for posting,