Front Brakes on a Zero Turn Mower!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by ted corriher, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. razor1

    razor1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,985

    Ted, great idea! I just hope Uncle Sam doesn't force us to pay for any more safety equipment. For example, ROPS are a good idea, but many landscapers don't ever use them but get stuck with the additional production costs.
  2. zman2307

    zman2307 LawnSite Senior Member
    from OR
    Posts: 328

    Ted, you need to design a setup for hydro walkbehinds and stand-ons, especially hydro walks. We've all seen how hydros can get away from us when we have to bail on them. If the braking system could be set up to actuate when a driver bailed, that would keep the machine from running into whatever it is they were gonna run into (pond or whatever).
  3. JimQ

    JimQ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,139

    You can thank our litigious society for that. There is no law that says ZTRs must be equipped with ROPS. ROPS being installed as standard equipment is the result of litigation brought against one of the largest manufactures in the industry. They made the decision to make ROPS standard. As a result, the rest of the industry was forced to follow. There is now an unwritten rule that anything over 800lbs gets a ROPS.

  4. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    1. I think it's pretty understandable that this is in prototype stage and it would be feasible to route things where they're less vulnerable.

    2. I'm not getting the 4 wheel braking necessity. Is it for when the engine dies on a slope? Because I'm sure we all know hydros will reverse and stop a mower the same as brakes would.

    3. I think your real market is selling the patent/idea to manufacturers who then refine it to work on their machines. My experience with these "add it on yourself" products is that the technical nuances of matching aftermarket products to various mowers is too much for those of us who are less technically inclined. You engineering/fabrication wizards take it for granted that the rest of us can do what you can sometimes. Even some simple OCDC's are a PITA to mount. Imagine the liability aspect of having users improperly install your product and then they rely on it and it fails. And costs to manufacture would go way down if done on an assembly line in a custom designed way vs a "one size fits all" kit that has to be tweaked for each machine.

    4. Hydraulics seem to make sense, I assume it even means you have to apply less foot pressure. Perhaps semi-armored lines could be used.

    5. Surely you're not suggesting that you need to run run-flats to avoid your tires being worn through when this is used, or even than significant wear will result from routine use? That makes it an emergency-only type product.

    6. I agree getting them to make it original equipment is the way to make it feasible and affordable. But $60? I doubt it. They charge $150 for a much simpler item like a mulch kit. I think you're forgetting to account for more than parts. The install labor and added warranty claims have to be accounted for with any accessory, as well as development costs, engineering costs, added liability costs due to a small percentage of fools abusing its abilities, etc, etc. My guess would be it'd be a $300 item at least. Remember, they take $50 of nylon mesh bags, some plastic moulded housing, and $50 of tubing along with a $500 impeller housing and charge $2000 or more for a bagging system. These guys don't sell anything for just the cost of the parts.

    6b. Yes, I can't say I can clearly see exactly how it works, though I think I understand the concept. A closeup would help.

    I think this is a major step in the right direction, though it is a valid point that it could backfire and create a situation where operators take more chances. I personally just do not mow steep slopes where I have to worry about dying with the ztr. But yes, in some circumstances for some users it would be a time saver to do so.

    (to a previous poster....YES. This is exactly what happens when you add safety features or capability to anything. Like how sports car drivers drive faster rather than use the braking and handling merely to remain safer. But the idea that airbags and abs make us reckless on the road is not quite the same thing as driving down hills on a ztr, an idea previously thought insane. It's just not a good analogy)

    I would also advise redoing the video so you're not rip roaring around at the bottom of the hills, it gives the impression this wouldn't be useful on nice turf or that it's designed with high speed hill mowing in mind. It just gives the wrong impression about recklessness on hills.

    Also "notorious" has a negative connotation, I think "famous" would be the better choice of word concerning badboy hillholding ability.

    Yet my previous criticisms still stand. Mowers turn over on hills for reasons other than a downhill runaway. I once nearly lost it merely by backing up on a mild slope and the rear end caught a large exposed root and the mower reared up and my momentum on the handles made the mower rear up pretty darn far.

    So if one is insistent on using ztrs on hills, this is a help. But my choice if I had employees would to be to break out the wb's. It has its place, it's just not for everyone and it's not a panacea.
  5. NINER

    NINER LawnSite Member
    Posts: 204

    man i was thinking about this a coulple of months ago. guess i missed out on taking that idea and making it work. ted is this useing the existing drive pumps? if so does the mower lose blade tip speed while applying the brakes as in just applying enough pressure with your foot to keep you mowing at a slower pace going down hill? or did you have to use a certain hp motor?
  6. razor1

    razor1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,985

    Thanks for the update.
  7. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,937


    I was under the assumption that it worked just like a car brake system does.

    Master cylinder, brake lines, and actuators (slave cylinders) at the wheels.

    No pumps needed.
  8. sweetz

    sweetz LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,597

    and your race car driver analogy was good?:hammerhead:
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    These brakes might save a life if they auto-engaged when the Z points down a hill at too steep an angle, maybe...

    Because the problem is, once the brakes are engaged the operator and the machine are still in that predicament,
    even if the Z is at a full stop. It's the fact that there you are, but there's no way out but down.

    We should unmount with the sticks in lock, get the truck and the chain and pull it...
    But, time is money, plus damage to the turf.

    Inflation, supply and demand.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Yeah, keep our tire pressure in check :p

    Hell if that were the case accidents wouldn't happen, plus even if I check it
    before each and every lawn there are still no guarantees the tire will hold the
    air for the duration.

    You'll need solid rubber tires.

    And one more time:
    It's not for inability to stop the machine that machines go in the ditch.
    Maybe if it's way steep, but it still doesn't matter.
    The fact is whether the machine is at a stop or not, when it's steep enough
    and the machine points wrong then there is no way out but down.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009

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