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View Full Version : Who Has Mowed Steepest Hill on a Zero Turn Rider?


mhaley927
04-04-2010, 05:17 PM
Hey everyone, I have large, potentially very lucrative account with a huge hill, I'd call it 100 ft across at its widest, and 200ft (including 15-20ft of flat at the top and bottom) top to bottom. I'd estimate the slope to be between 35-45 degrees. 2 man crew, with plenty of other areas to mow on this lawn, so one could take his time on the hill if necesary. I have a little experiance mowiong my hill with the tiger cub, comparable in size, but only 20-30 degrees.

Here are my options:

19 hp Scag Tiger Cub (48" deck)
72 inch deck Zero Turn Kubota
20" John Deer self propelled wb
(Or let the account go eslewhere)


I'll try to get pics up soon, but here are my requests:

1. By the numbers, would you even attempt it on one of the zero turn riders I have and which one?
2. Post pictures (and any good videos if they exist) of a ZT rider mowing the steepest hills out there.


Any pics, videos, or advice will be appreciated, but PLEASE DONT go out and video tape yourself rolling your rider down a hill that you shouldnt be. Thanks!

grassman177
04-04-2010, 05:40 PM
if the kubota is the older zd28 i would go that route, i loved those on hills, very stable but not i had trans issues due to mowing hills, so i guess maybe not,hmm

mhaley927
04-04-2010, 06:14 PM
if the kubota is the older zd28 i would go that route, i loved those on hills, very stable but not i had trans issues due to mowing hills, so i guess maybe not,hmm

It is older, not positive which model (its not mine and its not in my garage)would you mow it straight up and down, across, or angled?

ALC-GregH
04-04-2010, 06:31 PM
Hey everyone, I have large, potentially very lucrative account with a huge hill, I'd call it 100 ft across at its widest, and 200ft (including 15-20ft of flat at the top and bottom) top to bottom. I'd estimate the slope to be between 35-45 degrees. 2 man crew, with plenty of other areas to mow on this lawn, so one could take his time on the hill if necesary. I have a little experiance mowiong my hill with the tiger cub, comparable in size, but only 20-30 degrees.

Here are my options:

19 hp Scag Tiger Cub (48" deck)
72 inch deck Zero Turn Kubota
20" John Deer self propelled wb
(Or let the account go eslewhere)


I'll try to get pics up soon, but here are my requests:

1. By the numbers, would you even attempt it on one of the zero turn riders I have and which one?
2. Post pictures (and any good videos if they exist) of a ZT rider mowing the steepest hills out there.


Any pics, videos, or advice will be appreciated, but PLEASE DONT go out and video tape yourself rolling your rider down a hill that you shouldnt be. Thanks!

You need a good 52in wb with sulky. No way in hell I'm taking a ztr on a 40-45 degree slope. You're asking for trouble.

EvenCutLawnCare
04-04-2010, 06:40 PM
I mow a very steep hill, probably 30-40 degrees that is 300 foot long by about 75-100 feet up and down. I use my 60" diesel gravely to mow it. Take your time, and go up and down. Its hard on the hydro system, but I really have no other choice on a hill that size. The problem with the hill I do is that there is no landing on top, the hill ends with a chain link fence on top. I personally would still bid on the account, but take into account the extra time it will take you to mow the hill taking your time and price it accordingly.

rcslawncare
04-04-2010, 06:59 PM
Id walk it and like said above, bid accordingly for the extra time and more importantly, the risk...

LandscapeSavannah
04-04-2010, 07:13 PM
I will have to get a picture of this hill next week to show yall. It is probably a good 40 degree slope and 400+ feet long. The hill slopes is around 50-60 feet down to a pond. I am the only one that has been able to mow it because of the slope and it is very bumpy. It is either that one string trim the majority of it which would take the guys forever. I use a Toro 52" ZTR and go very slow on the first pass by the water and get as close as I can to cut down on string trimming and after the first three or four passes its not that bad. I go across, not up and down.

BlueRidgeLawnService
04-04-2010, 07:20 PM
I mow alot of step hills I use a m60 tank it works just fine and I mow them cross ways

Mickhippy
04-04-2010, 09:01 PM
post some pics

mhaley927
04-04-2010, 09:03 PM
Thanks guys...

what I'm hearing is go with the bigger ztr if i do decide to ride it... Just curious on this question: has anyone ever tried mowing straight down and going up backwards (to prevent flipping over backwards on the way up)? Would that be a viable option if all else fails?

I'd like to see some pictures of what you have rode or wouldnt ride.

rcslawncare
04-05-2010, 12:21 AM
I would think you would spin out backing up a hill light that and if you lose traction while going down, you will be going for a ride. Id get some good pictures of it at different angles and there will be some decent feedback!!

demhustler
04-05-2010, 12:46 AM
consider also - large hills are very hard on your hydros (pumps and motors)- and it would take it's tall

mowerbrad
04-05-2010, 12:51 AM
I've done some pretty steep hills in the past but none near 40 degrees. And honestly, I wouldn't touch a hill that was 40 degrees or steeper with a ztr, it would have to be a wb.

I'm pretty sure that most ztr manufacturers say not to use a ztr on a slope more than 15 or 20 degrees. I've done hills about 30 degrees, maybe slightly steeper, but my mower was sliding when going sideways and had a heck of a time going straight up the hill (almost stalled the engine when cutting). That was the steepest hill I would have wanted to cut with my bob-cat ztr.

From how your describing the hill you have to mow, I would get a wb. If you flip that ztr while mowing, that is going to be one hell of a ride to the bottom of the hill. If you do decide to do it, have an employee have 911 on speed-dial...better yet just call your local FD and ambulance service and have them standby on site because I know what's going to happen and you'll want a quick response from them.

Stay safe out there!!

rcslawncare
04-05-2010, 01:00 AM
Just get a Hustler with the roll cage, then you would be set!!

topsites
04-05-2010, 03:20 AM
Sorry you can't pay me enough to use a Z on a steep hill, I'd rather trim an
acre worth of that with a dang string trimmer before I chance it.

It's just not worth it, depending how steep but once it gets to a point, no way.

Just curious on this question: has anyone ever tried mowing straight down and going up backwards (to prevent flipping over backwards on the way up)? Would that be a viable option if all else fails?

Yeah, pull that stunt and you'll head straight down hill face first and fast, in fact so fast you'll be lucky if circumstance gives you
the chance to somehow pull out of it, I would suggest getting a larger deck Wb and practice with those for about 5 years or better.

Richard Martin
04-05-2010, 06:21 AM
http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb56/RMartin631/smilies/worthless.gif

ALC-GregH
04-05-2010, 07:47 AM
Here's one for you Richard. It's not the steepest hill ever mowed but it steep enough to lose control if it's wet.http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/americanlawncare/DSC01456.jpg?t=1270467978

Richard Martin
04-05-2010, 08:37 AM
The next time I go back to MD (in July probably) I'm going to get pics of the steepest hill I used to do with my Dixie. We don't have any hills to speak of here in Eastern Carolina.

mhaley927
04-05-2010, 08:54 AM
Here is one pic from the road. It doesnt do the hill much justice. From here it looks more towards the 30-35 range to me. But Ive been just on the other side of those trees looking at it and I'd call it 35+ from there.

Richard Martin
04-05-2010, 09:34 AM
Here is one pic from the road. It doesnt do the hill much justice. From here it looks more towards the 30-35 range to me. But Ive been just on the other side of those trees looking at it and I'd call it 35+ from there.

I put a protractor in your hill. It's about 16°.

mhaley927
04-05-2010, 09:36 AM
I put a protractor in your hill. It's about 16°.

I said when i posted it that the picture doesnt do it any justice. At its steepest points its 35+, upwards of 45

Richard Martin
04-05-2010, 09:44 AM
I said when i posted it that the picture doesnt do it any justice. At its steepest points its 35+, upwards of 45

You do know it's very difficult to just walk on a 35° hill, let alone ride a ZTR on one, right? The steepest banks in NASACAR are 33° and the track crew has difficulty walking up those. Trucks slide sideways down them.

mhaley927
04-05-2010, 11:01 AM
Not a NASCAR fan, but an ME student trying to pay his way through college. I know angles all too well.

Check this video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkhkpHKVWHg ) out at 7 minutes.... maybe i'm off but it looks around 30 to me. His bad boy seems to have no toruble with it.

And here is a pic just so we have something acurate to compare to... Still, despite the previous bad photography. I would call the hill (the steepest part, not including the decreases in slope at the top and bottom) between 30-35. I just want to know if anyone has ever mowed anything close to a 35 on a rider and how. (Special thanks to mathisfun.com)

IdahoGrass
04-05-2010, 11:44 AM
Man, you guys have some big steep "hills" out there!

MJB
04-05-2010, 12:18 PM
Not a NASCAR fan, but an ME student trying to pay his way through college. I know angles all too well.

Check this video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkhkpHKVWHg ) out at 7 minutes.... maybe i'm off but it looks around 30 to me. His bad boy seems to have no toruble with it.

And here is a pic just so we have something acurate to compare to... Still, despite the previous bad photography. I would call the hill (the steepest part, not including the decreases in slope at the top and bottom) between 30-35. I just want to know if anyone has ever mowed anything close to a 35 on a rider and how. (Special thanks to mathisfun.com)

Start out creeping downhill and let the hydros hold you back. Let it gradually increase in speed and DO NOT try to slow it down or you will start sliding. If that happens you have to speed up and regain traction and let the hydros hold you back. You need 25 ft at the bottom to slow down gradually don't want to wreck your pumps.

jarabe1
04-15-2010, 09:47 PM
Here's one for you Richard. It's not the steepest hill ever mowed but it steep enough to lose control if it's wet.http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/americanlawncare/DSC01456.jpg?t=1270467978

That looks pretty flat to me, If is wet and you slide down is because when you are going downhill all the traction and weight goes to your front wheels. If you mow side to side or diagonal it will help.

FastMan
04-15-2010, 10:05 PM
The steepest hills are best done by driving straight up, the backing straight down. It keep the weight/traction on your drive wheels. Doing the opposite, as you asked about, is a recipe for disaster. You'll never make it up, and you'll be a run away train going back down. Going sideways you risk tipping, and you'll leave more slip marks in the turf. Sideways can be good, but there comes a steepness threshold where the technique needs to be abandoned.

Doing steep hills on a ZTR is one of those, "don't try this at home" deals. It takes practice to learn the limitations of your machine and ability, and the learning curve can be harsh.

cutterschoice24
04-15-2010, 10:08 PM
i mow some pretty steep hills and but i would have to see some pics of the hill i prefer the scag 48 lets some pics.

topsites
04-16-2010, 12:15 AM
Slope is not calculated as an angle,
slope is calculated as a ratio.

Slope
The slope of a line is the steepness of the line.
It is measured as the change in Y associated with a change of one unit on X.

For example, a line with a slope of 0.5 involves a change of 1 on the X axis associated with a change of 0.5 on the Y axis.
So as X changes from 2 to 3, Y changes from 3.5 to 4.
Lines with positive slopes go from the bottom left toward the upper right.
Lines with negative slopes go from the upper right to the lower left.

In the below graph, m gives us the actual steepness of the slope:

topsites
04-16-2010, 02:37 AM
Actually I just noticed that is wrong too LOL but it really isn't calculated by angles.

FastMan
04-16-2010, 12:51 PM
Topsites, it can actually be expressed both ways. As a ski coach I deal with slope steepness on a daily basis. In that arena it's generally referred to in degrees. A 45 degree slope is pretty dang steep when sliding down it on skis.

Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grade_(slope)

grassman177
04-16-2010, 01:06 PM
i mowed a 40 degree slope bothup and down and sideways with my kubotas. you have to be very easy on controls and be insanely careful of bumps and holes as it will send you sliding

Aaronnc
04-16-2010, 07:30 PM
Not to argue with a protractor but they say Bristol Motor Speedway has 36 degree banks in the turns, and there's NO way a ZTR would make it straight up and down without sliding backwards or tipping. I walked up the banks myself and had to put my hands out directly in front of me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdnOg_QjkTU
http://www.nascar.com/races/tracks/bms/

mhaley927
04-18-2010, 09:41 AM
Actually I just noticed that is wrong too LOL but it really isn't calculated by angles.

Yout right technicallly topsites, but for dscussion purposes comparing the hill as being at an angle to flat makes more sense. People are just more familiar with angles.

mhaley927
04-18-2010, 09:46 AM
grassman and aaronnc.... ive walked Bristol too and thats a great benchmark for me to compare to, thanks for the opinion. and arronnc, what size kubota, and could you post some pics?

its sounding like i'll have to go out one day and just roll it down the hill and hope i can find a way back up it. lot of varying opinions on this one.

Aaronnc
04-18-2010, 11:10 AM
Sorry mhaley927, I don't own a Kubota. I run a Bobcat. Would love to have a Kubota one day, but my closest dealer is over an hour away.:cry: I think that was grassman177 with the Kubotas. Anyways, you could always use a Ventrac: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yn6SPjhtpk4&NR=1

93Chevy
04-18-2010, 12:11 PM
It's not steep unless your front end picks up (with weights) while going uphill.

DKJLawnCare
04-18-2010, 12:31 PM
My front yard is on a 23* angle (according to my angle finder) and one of my properties is I cut them both with my Tiger cub, they do fine on it. Now my in laws have a VERY steep yard Im gonna guess it at 33*-34* There is no way I would even chance my rider on it. I use the walk behind on them.

Penscape Landscaping
04-18-2010, 08:34 PM
wright sentar will stick it!

crossthreaded
04-19-2010, 11:55 AM
The problem I have mowing steep hills is if you try to go straight across and start turning just a bit the front end on my gravely will pivot around and then I'm facing downhill and I start sliding. When facing downhill you can't get any traction so you have to get stopped and then pull a quick 180 and hope you get turned around and get facing back uphill.

I have 2 yards that I mow with very steep sections and I mow those parts straight up, turn a bit and back down, turn a bit straight up, etc. Makes my stripes look a little funky but no one has complained yet as I guess they are just happy they don't have to mow the steep part themselves.

ajslands
07-10-2010, 10:15 PM
thought i'd bump this to the top,

tacoma200
07-10-2010, 10:32 PM
Smithco's youtube video of the Wright ZK might not be the steepest but I like watching it. Pretty impressive stoppin going down the slope.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E72a_jqwZkA

YardFarmersLLC
07-10-2010, 10:36 PM
http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/ff12/2strokeman/DSCN0357.jpg

http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/ff12/2strokeman/DSCN0361.jpg

http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/ff12/2strokeman/DSCN0341.jpg

none of these pics represent the steepest parts, but I can mow them any direction I want to.

milkie62
07-10-2010, 10:49 PM
Not very computer savvy even though I use to work on large mainframes back in the late 70's and 80's but one hill I have my 32 hp ferris is grunting pretty good near the top.

milkie62
07-10-2010, 10:51 PM
Hit the send button too fast ....Not savvy enough to post pictures but I know I need that 150lbs worth of front end weight on my mower.