Hustler Fastrak ZTR up in flames

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by 71gearhead, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. 71gearhead

    71gearhead LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    Mowing along today in my 2 year old, 84 hour Hustler 48" Fastrak. I am under the pine treeline on the property adjacent to 1000 acres of timber. The engine sputters and dies, as I look over my shoulder it's a sheet of flame.

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    So the pine tree above the mower ignite too, I run for the hose and I'm glad to find I can put out the fire in the trees and keep them wetted down, but I can't put out the fire. The fire is also now on the ground. I yell for the wife to call the fire department and settle in to keep the trees wet and the full saddle tank cooled down as it burns.

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    Fire department shows up, dispatches of the fire

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    Daugher gets her pic taken with a fireman's sweat bucket.

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    A fireman asks, "Howdya like the mower?" I like it a lot when it's not on fire.


    I bought this mower new with 1 hour on it from the original owner in June of 2009. It only has 80 hours on it, I have had it 22 months, I don't know if I have the paperwork to prove the warranty on this mower. SUCKS. has anybody had anything like this happen and what did you do?

    I know this is totally wrong - near commercial grade mowers just don't blow up and burn at 80 hours, that is practically new - but what can I do?
     
  2. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 4,647

    Contact Hustler directly and tell them what happened. See if they will do anything. If they seem unwilling to help, it might be a good idea to tell them you are thinking about reporting this to the Federal Consumer Protection Agency. so they can see if a recall is necessary on all these Hustler Fastracs.
    Also, contact your insurance company. Homeowners ins. may cover this loss.
    Glad you were not hurt.
     
  3. IS500Z

    IS500Z LawnSite Member
    Posts: 246

    The above is good advice. If Hustler will not help you also let them know you will 'spread the word' about their incredible flaming mower. Do not underestimate the power of bad press. You can also pay to have a lawyer write a letter to the company, as well, describing how their product endangered your life and property. Hopefully Hustler will step up and none of the aforementioned will be necessary.
     
  4. Capemay Eagle

    Capemay Eagle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,750

    Just my opinion but not a great thing to post till you talk to the company. I am almost for sure that Hustler would compensate you somehow. They are a straight up fantastic company to deal with. I bought my second mower from them on the fact that they are a stand by their product company.
     
  5. MS_SURVEYOR

    MS_SURVEYOR LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,002

  6. 71gearhead

    71gearhead LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    I agree, I would prefer not to post until I talk to the company but I need some kind of indelible record of the event, therefore this posting and one other in another, non-lawn forum. If the event or the timing is ever in question I can refer to these postings.

    I did post on the Huster form to ask the Hustler advisor what to do about this but he can delete or refuse that post from ever happening.

    I have heard Hustler is a good company. Because of that and the construction of this machine (I am an ex-mechanical engineer and can appreciate many of the approaches they took in the construction) I purchased a Hustler. But I don't have any claim experience with them and can't vouch for that.

    We will see I guess.
     
  7. 71gearhead

    71gearhead LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    Well I read through some of the other posts for the other fires. I guess I am fortunate I was not burned or killed, sitting between two gas tanks, although the nearly empty one on the operator right stood the best chance of exploding. The other tank is full, the gas valve was switched that way and I think this full tank was feeding the fire somehow.

    With this initial event "over" I have a few thoughts

    One, that what to me was a carefully considered megabucks purchase went up in flames, I am having a hard time accepting that. I really thought I was making an investment here or at least a good expenditure. My usual saying around my home and employees is "buy it once and only once" with the idea to purchase a robust product in the first place.

    Two, holy ****, I just sat on something on fire in between two 5-gallon plastic gasoline tanks. To their credit this plastic material didn't burn very easily. The full tank has a bulge on the corner visible in the picture because it was in the flames, the other empty one when the cap popped off, it made a little fireball and was on fire on the inside for a moment, and that was it. So these tanks are made of some kind of material that appears to be quite fire resistant.

    Three, I think the only thing that could have caused this was for something to fall apart in the fuel system and pour fuel onto the exhaust. it's dark, the mower is still out in the yard under the trees and I haven't had time to look it over yet.

    Four, when I get a retrieval strap I will tow the mower behind the house and cover it. I would think Hustler would want to look at this. Whatever went wrong should still be right there to look at provided whatever broke wasn't plastic and burned away.
     
  8. dbear

    dbear LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 606

    Wow, that sucks, but then you already know that. What engine did it have? I couldn't tell from the pics. I'm wondering about the fuel filter. I got a recall about the inline fuel filter on my DC a couple years ago. Something about if it was clear, it needed to be changed out asap to one that was opaque.
     
  9. 71gearhead

    71gearhead LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    It has the 19hp Kohler Courage. The fuel filter is still intact on the fuel line, I found that today. What seems to be totally destroyed is the carburetor and the fuel line leading up to that.
     
  10. 71gearhead

    71gearhead LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    The daughter says today, "Daddy, I have a movie of the mower fire". She shot it with her little pink Flip I bought her before Christmas. Other than having the back of my head singed, this is what worried me the most

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    If conditions were dry, this could have been bad, thankfully we have had weeks of rain prior to this and although this tree tried to flash when the green stuff burned off it dampened down somewhat and allowed me to get the tree out with a hose.
     

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