View Full Version : How do ZTR's do on steep hills?
01-17-2001, 09:50 PM
I'm thinking about swapping two JD tractor mowers in on a Lazer. The only problem might be one large commercial property. This property has some pretty serious slopes, steep enough that even laying over on the fender sometimes they slide or try to roll. I have no experience with ztr's , but they look less stable than a tractor with 4 controllable wheels. I can mow these slopes now without using a walkbehind, and really don't want to have to use one. If I swap will I be able to mow my slopes with the Lazer? Thanks.
01-17-2001, 10:06 PM
MUCH better than you can with a tractor! Make sure you get a full sized Lazer, and you can't go wrong for hillsides.
01-17-2001, 10:07 PM
you can mow it vertically straight up and down,but if it's that steep you'll just slide right off.
01-17-2001, 10:11 PM
I've heard guys talk about mowing steeper slopes than 45 degrees without slipping or loosing time.
Just what I've heard.
01-17-2001, 10:16 PM
Demo it, that's the best way for you to find out if it will handle it. I can take my Choppers on any hill I could with the John Deere 430 with a 60" deck. I had the wheels reversed on the JD too, for a wider wheel base. The wider the wheel base, the better you are off on them hills. Get a 60", not a narrow one to stay on hills.
01-17-2001, 10:56 PM
Sorry but I can't mow up and down these slopes because they drop off into deep concrete ditches. They have to be mowed side to side. LCO who used to mow this property said it was dangerous to use ztr because if one drive tire got a little ahead of the other ztr would turn downhill and slide; either forwards or backwards into ditch. I helped him retrieve his ztr 3 times out of these ditches and once he rolled his Kubota tractor into one.
01-17-2001, 10:58 PM
Maybe you should get the ztr and new accounts. :cool:
01-17-2001, 11:30 PM
I've had my 725 Grasshopper w/52" deck on some pretty steep drainage retention areas. I'd guess about 45*. As far as side to side mowing on such slopes is concerned, I've done it without problems, but I've felt really luck when doing it.
01-17-2001, 11:33 PM
I have a 72" Lazer Z EPS and it does great on hills. I feel it will hang with any other riding mower once you have some experience cutting hills with one. I recommend finding a safe hill (one with some open area at the bottom) to learn on though. Basically I have found that I can cut any hill up to the point that it literally slide down it as long as I keep the nose of the mower going either side to side or up hill. I can go side to side turning uphill with no problem. I can cut up and reverse back down hills so steep that the mower slides when going side to side and still stay in control. The only real problem I have found with mine is when you turn the nose down hill. You can go down hills with no problem if your careful and don't try and stop before you get on a flat, but if you ever get the nose going down hill and try and stop on the hill you better grab hold of something because your going to the bottom in a hurry.
01-18-2001, 12:44 AM
Just a note of interest on the steepness of slopes. Slopes can be expressed in degrees as a few of you have done, but more commonly they are expressed as a percentage. Those of you who've driven in the mountains have seen the signs "STEEP GRADE - 6% SLOPE". Well guess what? A 45 degree slope is a 100% grade! There isn't a ZTR, lawn tractor or even a push mower with a person behind it that can mow a 45 degree [100%] hill! Think about it in terms of roof pitches if you're familiar with them. A 12/12 pitch is a little steeper than you could even think about standing on isn't it? Well, that's a 45 degree slope, or as I said before, a 100% slope, 12/12=1.00 [x 100 to express it as a percentage] = 100%.
So you don't think I'm trying to be a know it all, I admit that I'm not sure how you back into the number so that the STEEP GRADE of 6% can be expressed as a degree, but if 45 is 100%, then 6 which is steep for a truck is a heck of a lot less of a slope than 45 degrees. I think it might be about 13 degrees, which is a heck of a long way from 45. Homer knows a math major who might be able to help us out here. Will
01-18-2001, 12:52 AM
If you go for the lazer, do go for the full size. the 72" lazer has even a wider wheeltrack than th 60".If you do go this route, do yourself a favor and spend the $750 for the roll over protection. It's cheaper than the hosptal bills in the end.
01-18-2001, 01:40 AM
Make damm sure its it dry!! All you need is one drop of moisture and you might as well put grease on your wheels! and Jay is right don't even think of stopping while your wheels are pointed down hill or you be there faster than you can say Aww #$%&. If that doesn't get you thinking, then maybe this will. Try putting chains on your rear wheels???? It might even be good for aeration. Wow you might might even be able to charge them more for it!!!LOL
01-18-2001, 02:37 AM
I would demo first, but in all honesty I would not try the slope you are talking about as part of the demo it takes awhile to get used to the ztrs. One hint never on a steep slope do you turn down hill always up hill if you want to stay on the slope. We had a bad experience with a Lazer on a slope next to a 10 foot drop off, the machine started to slide and the operator couldn't stop and went over embankment, ended up with a hairline fracture in his leg $500.00 damage to machine, don't know how it didn't kill the operator the machine it rolled over with him still in the seat lucky it did not break his neck or back, so now we don't put machine on slopes with dangerous drop offs it is not worth the risk, if there is nowhere for the machine to slide off to safely, it does not go on that slope. Just a warning to all. We had cut that property 20 times before with no problems so you never know when it could get out from under you. Also like Jim said if it is damp don't get on it, the slope that is.
01-18-2001, 02:38 AM
I posted this topic in another thread, but I have a older Toro Z-master that is worthless on steep slopes unless you really do not care about your own safety. On a dry hill of course is better than wet, but on a wet hill forget it. Once that nose drops at all, there is no regaining it, it is all down hill with little to no control.
I found with mine, I could mow up and back down hills with control. Mowing down is like skiing and mowing sideways is just an accident waiting to happen. If there is nothing but grass at the bottom I feel safe, but put a lake or a concrete drop off and I would be very careful.
I have paid alot of attention to the newer breeds of ZTR's in the last couple years. They are much the same as mine except they have gotten taller back tires and alittle wider, I knew this stability was much of the reason, so I asked the Scag rep at the Green Expo in Indy. It took awhile but, he did finally admit they are still not good on slopes and that once the nose drops, there is no regaining it. It is just the way they are! Of course some are better at holding longer, but once they drop, it's lost.
If the old LCO had problems I would say chances are you would also. If you are like myself, I work alone, there is no one to help pull it out if it gets in a ditch. ZTR's are like anything, it has it's place on the job, and dangerous hills is not one of them!
01-18-2001, 04:44 AM
You might think about a mid size walk behind for that type of a situation.I us mine on some real steep slopes and havnt lost it yet.But if you did lose control of the machine (a walk behind) you arn't likely to get crushed in a roll over.Problem is its not a ztr.Guess you could invest in a sulky too.
01-18-2001, 07:22 AM
The turns at Talladega are 33 deegrees. If you've ever seen a man trying to walk up them you realize it's pretty darn steep! I tend to get a litle anal pucker :D going when I get on any steep hill! My 72" Chopper has taken most of the pucker away, I have never felt uncomfortable on it sideways, but the same advice applies to it, don't point the nose down hill cause if she ever gets slidin' your a$$ is what your cuttin'! Another point to ponder: Is any account that valuable that you risk life and limb over?
01-18-2001, 08:54 AM
to reply to runner
your wrong, the track is wider by almost 6" from the 60" to the 72"
Scag or Dane or someone smart will adress this problem
im sure.Or mabe someone else smart like you or I.
But we don t need the money.
01-18-2001, 09:13 AM
What do some of ther guys in our area say the steepest slopes they can run on are.
Say Dovatron in Kirkwood next to the PILOT.
possible or not?
01-18-2001, 09:17 AM
Forget that account,unless your going to buy a wb,that is what you need,or a 4wd steiner with duals all around,no way you'd slide down then.There must be better accounts out there than this one,i bet if your insurance carrier seen that account,they'd raise your rates or drop you.
01-18-2001, 09:26 AM
I use a belly mower on steep hills where I have to aim the mower nose down from time to time. Because with a z your instincts are to pull back on the sticks going straight down and you will slide like a down hill skier. I do a couple of yards with a steep hill going side to side with no problem with a 60" deck. But if there is a dangerous drop off at the bottom it (like said about) not worth even trying once. Don't take but one time to get your neck broken.
I guess thats why I only use w/b's. I mow some slopes that are tough to walk on let alone take a rider on. Also I would probally be heavier than I am now if I rode all the time. I have a velkie in case I get tired of walking. I need to walk to stay in half way decent shape. Summer weight:155, winter weight:175.
01-18-2001, 06:53 PM
it will slide no matter how good of driver you are.the people who say you can are lucky-because it will eventually slide,i would get different accounts,you will never buy another steering wheel after the ztr. i love mine,but i have one account with a steep hill and use the ole john deere on it,once that weight of the ztr starts sliding theres not much gonna stop it,i was on one that the bottom of the hill had a 3 foot drop to the highway and the deck was on 2" and the deck was low enough to snag the concrete retaining wall before i went into the road-i consider myself lucky to have not gotten seriously hurt, and the guys that are agging you on to try it,they need to rethink what they are saying.
01-18-2001, 07:12 PM
I've mowed the hill above the sports feilds at johnson city high school with a 60" lazer
01-18-2001, 10:07 PM
01-18-2001, 10:16 PM
I do some real steeps hills with a walk behind Toro, I wear spiked shoes for safety. Never ever when it's wet.
01-18-2001, 10:20 PM
Thanks for the advise everyone. I think the best option is to keep one of my deeres for the hairy work. I AIN'T gonna give up this account, its worth too much and I've been able to handle it so-far alright. I'll just have to make-up the trade-in with cash. After I get used to the ZTR, I may find that I can use it on these slopes anyway, but I can still use the tractor to pull spreader and aerator and as a back-up mower.
I know it isn't practical for the kind of mowing on this forum, but I thought you would get a kick out of seeing this.
I ran across a web site for the most unique tractor I have ever seen. Among other things like front and back 3 pt hitch, front or rear or 4 wheel steering factory air, ETC. The ad says it is a great machine for mowing hills including SKI SLOPES! (It is made in Switzerland) Here are some links to get started.
Quoting now. " Mowing on steep slopes is no problem, even at an incline of 60-65%!" Note that is % not Degree.
01-18-2001, 10:42 PM
Good thinking, a tractor is handy to have around. I kept my JD 430 and use it for a lot of things.
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