Mower moaning sound

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by 4-Leaf, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. 4-Leaf

    4-Leaf LawnSite Member
    Posts: 89

    So I have this old Toro 118 --- 52 inch deck --- 18HP Kohler.
    It's probably about 10 years old but I had a new engine put in it about a year ago.

    When I first got it (very used), it worked fine but, when going up hills, it would make a low, moaning sound .... sort of like it was straining. I never gave it much thought because the mower (same type) I ran on golf courses, years ago, did the same thing.

    A couple of months after I had the new engine put in, I noticed it making the "low moaning" sound all the time. The engine runs fine and the "moaning" only happens when you press the "go" pedal. As soon as I release the pedal, the moaning stops. The moaning sound gets a little louder when going up hills or going up the trailer gate.

    I checked the hydraulic fluid and it was almost empty so I thought I had found the problem. Filled the fluid but ... no difference.

    I can't tell if it's a belt or the hydraulic system. I took it to the dealer and he didn't seem too concerned. He thought it was something to do with hydraulics and just took a "they do that when they get old" attitude.

    Does anyone know what this sound is --- or, more importantly, how to fix it? --- Thanks so much for any input.
  2. KenH

    KenH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,622

    If the hydro. res. was that low, try bleeding the system. Just a shot in the dark.
  3. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,937

    Don't know much about your machine. Don't even know what one is.


    If it's hydro, does the pump(s) get powered by a BELT(s)? If so, this sounds like your problem. Try checking the idler pulley. Sometimes they sieze up. New belt could help as well, as the old one could be glazed. Try some belt dressing first.
    Also, are you running the proper hydo fluid? If its REAL old and worn, try using a thicker viscosity hydo fluid. May make up for clearances that are worn.

    Can you explain the drive system a bit more.

    Is it a front mount? Wheel motor or differential drive?
  4. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    Tommy I am pretty sure he is talking about a Groundsmaster which is a front deck hydro drive machine with rear wheel steer and engine out back- like the JD F series.
    That problem sounds more like a hydraulic problem to me because it doesn’t make the sound unless under load- which means it’s not an idler most likely. It COULD be a belt, check to see that it’s tight. I’m putting my money on the hydraulic system though. Our Wheel Horse hydro tractor makes this sound alittle big especially when it’s not warmed up and or when pulling a heavy load or going up steep hill. If you all notice- if you put your ZTR’s engine to idle and move the levers forward to drive forward it will probably make a small moaning sound like this. I would:

    1) check the belt and pulleys since this is quick and easy and cost nothing.
    2) If nothing seems wrong with that then I would drain and flush the hydro system replacing the filter too and use alittle thicker fluid when filling it up. When you fill it up fill it slowly so it doesn’t trap air bubbles in there. After it appears to be full, start it up and about at ½ throttle drive it around slowly for a minute or two and then stop it and shut it off and check the hydro fluid again, top off if necessary.

    If that doesn’t fix it then I probably can’t help any more without seeing it in person but that’s just something you can try. A lot of hydro’s are like that when it’s colder out usually also. I wouldn’t worry about it really as long as the belt and pulleys seem fine. I think it is just something that goes along with many hours but nothing to be concerned about. All hydros I have been around are like that if you put the engine to idle. Think it has something to do with the RPM’s being too low for the hydraulic system to properly circulate the fluid.
    Good luck.
  5. 4-Leaf

    4-Leaf LawnSite Member
    Posts: 89

    WOW -- thanks everyone --- I'll try all the above. I really appreciate your taking the time to reply.
  6. Farmer

    Farmer LawnSite Member
    Posts: 62

    I have a Cushamn out front and its "moans" and "groans" Any OutFront I have ever seen moans like that if I recall, I wouldn't worry to much if the above solutions don't fix it.....
  7. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,544

    She'll scream for me.:cool2:

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