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mak2
09-18-2005, 09:54 AM
this is my first year (actually since mid august) in hte buisness. I have learned a lot from this site but I have yet another question I have not seen directly addressed. How much slope does it take to flip a ZTR mower? I have a ditch in front of a church that is very long. I have a 21" I have been mowing it with which adds about 35 min to mowing time. I just wonder if I am being too paranoid. How do you determaine if the slope is dangerous to mow? My z goes up and down it eaisly without slipping.

MOturkey
09-18-2005, 10:48 AM
"Slope" and "ditch" are pretty subjective terms. What is steep for one person isn't hardly a bump for someone else. Normally, a ditch isn't a real problem, unless the sides are extremely steep, because you don't normally have far to slide if something goes awry. If the ditch is 15 feet deep, then that is another matter, but if you think it is safe, always work into the bottom of the ditch, either approaching from the end, other side, whatever works, sometimes even backing in at an angle, and mow a strip. Then you can gradually work your way UP the sides, if it is too steep, you'll have trouble keeping control.

If you start at the top, and it is too steep, then things can get nasty in a hurry. Better to always start at the bottom so you don't have far to slide if you lose traction. ZTR's can be turned over, and I don't know what you are operating, but if you are easy on the controls, and use the lower wheel to apply power, using the upper to mostly just steer, with a light touch, in my experience, you'll slide long before there is a chance of rolling.

Just use your head and if it "feels" unsafe, it probably is.

mak2
09-18-2005, 12:06 PM
Hey thanks for the tip, makes a lot of sense and I will try it from the bottom up on Thursday. It is not real steep but I have to keep an elbow on an armrest to keep my rear from sliding over in the seat, but even when it is wet I have not slid or have trouble controling my Hustler 60" Z. Thanks again.

jtrice11
09-18-2005, 12:39 PM
"Slope" and "ditch" are pretty subjective terms. What is steep for one person isn't hardly a bump for someone else. Normally, a ditch isn't a real problem, unless the sides are extremely steep, because you don't normally have far to slide if something goes awry. If the ditch is 15 feet deep, then that is another matter, but if you think it is safe, always work into the bottom of the ditch, either approaching from the end, other side, whatever works, sometimes even backing in at an angle, and mow a strip. Then you can gradually work your way UP the sides, if it is too steep, you'll have trouble keeping control.

If you start at the top, and it is too steep, then things can get nasty in a hurry. Better to always start at the bottom so you don't have far to slide if you lose traction. ZTR's can be turned over, and I don't know what you are operating, but if you are easy on the controls, and use the lower wheel to apply power, using the upper to mostly just steer, with a light touch, in my experience, you'll slide long before there is a chance of rolling.

Just use your head and if it "feels" unsafe, it probably is.

Hey, thanks for the tip. Its my first year too and I get a little nervous once in awhile on some slopes. But a guy that works for me zips around like nothing on our ZTR. Its amazing how stable they really are, I'm just not comfortable enough yet.

topsites
09-18-2005, 01:05 PM
Hey thanks for the tip, makes a lot of sense and I will try it from the bottom up on Thursday. It is not real steep but I have to keep an elbow on an armrest to keep my rear from sliding over in the seat, but even when it is wet I have not slid or have trouble controling my Hustler 60" Z. Thanks again.

It is funny, the manual says to NEVER turn UP a slope but even with a Wb I find turning down is the faster way to lose control still the reason they mention it for the Wb is safety: When you turn a Wb UP a slope, you're standing BELOW the machine and if things get nasty, the mower comes TO you!
I would think with a Ztr somewhat the same thing holds true, again things would get nastier faster turning DOWN but be careful when turning UP you really need to watch your rear tires - A sudden spin OR a sudden grip will likely rear your front-end and before you know it you'll flip end over end. I second the recommendation with starting at the bottom AND always, if you don't feel it is safe, better safe than sorry.
Have I ever lost a Wb? More than once, lol most of it in my first 2-3 years, with time comes practice. A ztr? No, don't have one :)

The only other question I have is, what do experienced Z-drivers do when they lose the Z? Do you hang on for the ride or do you get the h3ll away from it (and how, I mean, can you?).

Brianslawn
09-18-2005, 01:16 PM
the steeper, the better! never had one i couldnt do with one of my walkers. going sideways and then the tire breaks and you start to slide backwards... quick spin & pull back to get back up the hill! i luv the rush! dont know much bout other ztrs but ive only ever heard of one walker mower tiping over... and its one of mine... before the merger a lawnmaster employee was mowing an easy ditch at the bottom and hit a bump or something and just laid it over.

walkers will normally slide before they tip. it can be a wild ride the first time, though. kid at another local company last year mowed too close to a retaining wall on a slope and went for an 8 foot free fall. kid crapped his pants but was ok. only hopper was damaged on their walker.

Fubba
09-18-2005, 03:15 PM
I cut the grass at my Church. There's a ditch at the end of the yard, but it's more like a slope or one sided ditch. I just go up and down it. I've tried backing down, but the front casters come off the ground like that. I just go up and down always facing forward and I've been ok. Now there's no way I could do it sideways. It would definitely flip.

rodfather
09-18-2005, 03:23 PM
Z's will lose traction and slide before rolling over IMO.

mak2
09-18-2005, 05:06 PM
Thanks everyone for the info, safety first and Z's are just too durn expensive to damage.

nelbuts
09-18-2005, 08:09 PM
The truth of the matter is it all depends on the size of your deck and the wheel stance of your mower. I personally do not care for the saddle tanks. I have a 48" Scag ZTR and it does not take hills for spit. Dumb saddle tanks allow for no weight shift to up hill wheel. I have a 52" Scag ZTR that does a great job on hills and it has tank below seat. I just purchased a 61" Scag ZTR with the 29hp KW engine and it is great on hills too. But honestly a good tractor will beat any ZTR.

As far as walk behinds I like starting at the bottom and I always turn up hill as it is easier.

dh500
09-18-2005, 09:03 PM
There was a long thread about this including some impressive photographs

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=68647

dh500

Jason Rose
09-18-2005, 09:38 PM
Generally, like others have said a Z will slide long before it can turn over. HOWEVER. How many slopes do we mow that are perfectly smooth, with no bumps and dips on them??? Not too many I see... It's not the actual slope that can get you, it's the hole on the slope that your lower drive wheel falls into suddenly that can throw you!

Ditches are simple, like stated, start at the bottom and work your way up. The only bad scenerio here is if there's water or mud at the bottom to slide into! In my area ditches are pretty much the norm everywhere, and hills? What's a hill? I have been to other cities, St. Louis for example. I just LOOKED at some of the HILLS these guys mow there and about crapped myself. I wouldn't want to WALK on some of theose, much less ride a mower on them!!! Yet they are all beautiful grass and striped nice and stright. Now I know why they make double what I can!

Envy Lawn Service
09-19-2005, 12:50 AM
Slope work on ZTR's can be dangerous.
It takes a lot of time and experience.
Plus you need to get experience and progress in small increments.

Someday you'll experience what your mowers limits are and I hope it's in a safe spot and you are ok after the fact.

As far as individual mowers and their abilities, I can tell you it is nowhere near as cut and dried as some type it out to be here. One or two specifications do not equal a good slope cutting ZTR.

topsites
09-19-2005, 02:40 AM
Z's will lose traction and slide before rolling over IMO.

Yes and no, I mean it's not something I would count on. I always thought a Wb couldn't flip because it's flat like a pancake and going sideways it almost always slides... Still, I went to turn UP one time and one tire gripped hard and the front end came up and that was all she wrote, I got the hell away from it as it flipped end over end.

One thing I have done (and still do), on all my Wb's I disable the operator presence safety switch. Yes this makes it even more dangerous as the blades will spin after the mower is let go (I like the rush, too) but also it makes it to where I can put the Wb at the top of the hill and let it roll down on its own while I calmly WALK down and pick it up at the bottom... Then ride it up the other side and let it go down again, 3-4 feet over from the last free-fall. You DO need an expanse of flat terrain at the bottom so the mower can roll out to a stop, but straight down and up the other side (whether you stick with it or not) is another viable option, perhaps it works with Ztr's if you can disable/over-ride the seat switch?

By the way, you GOT to try charging an extra 5 bucks for the really tough stuff... If it's really bad, you'll get the extra.

dh500
09-19-2005, 03:53 AM
Not far from where I live is a house whose front lawn slopes down towards the road. Nothing unusal in that except that the slope gets progressively steeper till it suddenlly turns into an almost sheer drop of a couple of metres into a muddy ditch alongside the carriageway.

I do not know who mows but he looks like a contractor with an obviously commercial ztr. I guess he must know what he is doing because as far as I know there has never been a problem but I certainly would not be willing to mow that lawn using any sort of a rider. It would be so easy to go past the "point of no return"

dh500

PMLAWN
09-19-2005, 07:29 AM
Hey, thanks for the tip. Its my first year too and I get a little nervous once in awhile on some slopes. But a guy that works for me zips around like nothing on our ZTR. Its amazing how stable they really are, I'm just not comfortable enough yet.

It's amazing how easy it is to "zip" around when the mower you are going to wreck is not your own. Some of the guys that USED to work for me did the same.

MAK2, do you have a walk behind as it is safer to do hills with them and they will hold the slope better.

mak2
09-19-2005, 08:18 AM
I am seriously looking at WB's now. I will probably pick one up this winter. Again thanks everyone for the info