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How well do ZTR's do on hills ?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by THEoneandonlyLawnRanger, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. THEoneandonlyLawnRanger

    THEoneandonlyLawnRanger LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 291

    I am thinking of purchasing a ZTR next year but have heard alot of people around my area put them down because in East TN, we live in the mountains and hilly yards are quite common and people say that they are too dangerous on hills? I could see where they could be dangerous but then again anything is depending on how someone operates it. I just would like some Pro's and Con's from guys using them on lawns with hills or banks. I know hustler makes a special model for hilly conditions. And i would imagine a roll bar would be a good idea if im looking to purchase ? Any advice would be great!
  2. Total.Lawn.Care

    Total.Lawn.Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 841

    I have a John Deere 727 with 54" deck and while I live in the flatlands of SouthEast Georgia, we have some ditch banks that woudl classify as some of your hills as far as a sloped surface. Most of mine do fine, but there are some inclines that I would not cut with it if the grass were wet. If others have more hill expereince to offer up here, please feel free.
  3. MTR

    MTR LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,280

    We don't have many slopes to cut here in Central FL, but new subdivisions do have some hills and that only walkbehind got used, otherwise the Z rules.
    Don't cut hill or slope, big or small with Z cause you will take lots of chance rolling over and injure or kill life, especially it rains like crazy here, besides turf being damaged as Z trying to hold on to the slope.
  4. johnscag

    johnscag LawnSite Member
    from Balt md
    Posts: 57

    I am new to zero turns, and mine (Tiger cub) is doing pretty good on hills, can not stress enough that you have to watch it in the wet!! Mine is doing great in the dry though and I mow a couple decent hills. I have found though that straight up and down is best, I was use to running walkbehinds across...but I am still getting use to the machine in general. Would appreciate any insite on how you guys run hills?
  5. Total.Lawn.Care

    Total.Lawn.Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 841

    The few hills (slopes) that I have a run them across, they are not REAL steep and the machine holds well. I will tell you that the John Deere Manual tells you to run your Z across the slopes, and not to mow up and down. Just food for thought.
  6. Daner

    Daner LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    The wide stance makes It hold good on the hills....I run them across all the time never up and down...turff damage can ocure though.
    Taker real slow and easy.
  7. David Grass

    David Grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 485

    I would get a Walker without bagging option, and a 52 side discharge deck, you can do more than any Z altho you CANNOT accomplish what a WB can. I have to mow a bank for an Exmark guy between our 2 yards, he cannot do it, (pisses him off), and I could not put a Hustler Z on the same places that I easily mow with the WIDER 52 on the walker. If you compare a 48 bagging deck on a walker, well you end up losing all that wide stance stability.
  8. mythntr

    mythntr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    Walker mowers are really good on hills. They also make a special hill climber model called the super bee that is longer and I think a little wider and comes with some crazy knobby tires. I watched one in action and instead of going across the hill, this thing could go up and down. I think they even built the whole frame lower also.
  9. scfalconry

    scfalconry LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    So you know what my experience is ..... I've got a M54" Cub Cadet TANK w/ 23hp kawasaki. I live in the foot hills of the Blue Ridge Mtns. Plenty of hills around here. I've only been in the biz for 2yrs (both season fulltime) and I've never land hands on a walkbehind... and I've never wode any other z-mowers... so I have little to compare to. With all of that said and out of the way.

    I don't recommend a Z-for hills... but since I don't own a walk behind YET!

    I use my Z on hills all the time... Maximum of about 35-40 degrees of angle. Never when it's wet! Sometimes across sometimes straight up and down.

    In bone dry conditions...When going across the tire on the high side can tear the turf if you do much with the control stick for that side. It is because this tire has virtually no traction. The mowers weight is shifted off of it. If you turn on a hill... the tire that is on the low side bearing most of the weight... is the one you will want to make 90% of all you manuvering with. Occasionally this wheel on the low side will slip... and the whole mowers' rear end will shift and inch or two down hill... tearing up the turf as it slips.

    *** i don't recommend this but.... *** Here is my worst case scenerio...and my personal limit... anything beyond this is for someone else.... or different equipment.

    Going straight up a hill... I don't do anything much over 35 degrees... and it always makes me a lil nervous. (The one hill imparticular I'm visualing is at a church.... 35 degrees and 12 foot straight up in well established centipede.)

    Going straight down (same hill from above paragraph) At the top of the hill... I virtually come to a stop and then creep over the edge... I let the mowers weight work against the hydro... the mower is inching down the hill slowly picking up speed the furhter down the hill it goes. The only manuvering I'm doing is keeping the mower stright down the hill and I'm attempting to keep the foward speed to a minimum. Trying to slow foward momentum results in the rear tires sliding. Every time a go down this hill I think about.. WHAT IF the hydrulic line blows? I'll have no steering!

    This hill and a few others that are similarly daunting have me browsing the local papers looking for a walk behind to add to my equipment.

    At the same church in the side lawn.. is about a 7ft tall hill on a 35-40 degree slope. The top of the hill has a cement curb and parkinglot above it. When I get the caster wheel to the top of the hill there is no where to go except .... BACKWARDS. I ease back down the hill backwards... Any sudden deacceleration would help the mower do a wheely... and possibly roll end over end w/ me. So the contengency plan in the back of my mind thus far has been to accelerate in reverse should I ever feel the front end lift off the ground. To date... I've not wet my pants yet.. <smile> but there is a pucker mark in the mower seat. I would weedeat or use self propelled 21" on the hill if it weren't 80 feet wide.

    Upstate S.C.
  10. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    I have the 60" Lesco (same thing as Cub Commercial) and I can do some pretty mean slopes with it in the right conditions. It's the best I've been on so far and will cut anything you 'should' be mowing. It has more ability than I have nerve left.

    With that said, I still don't push ZTR's for slope mowing when I talk to others. I'd rather see them on something with a steering wheel, or something they can just step off of or let go of.

    Your current equipment list sounds pretty good for hills to me.

    Have you checked out Kubota's GR series???
    GR2000 and GR2100???

    I want one BAD.

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