Testing my new 34Z

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Husky03, Nov 8, 2004.

  1. Husky03

    Husky03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 432

    The dealer delivered my Gravely 34Z on Friday and I have had the chance to try it out. It had 4.5 hours on it when I got it and it now has 9.5. I have cut my own lawn and the neighbors and it seems to cut very well without the mulch plate. I still plan to get it though for safety reasons. I have some things that concern me with this being my first commercial mower. I am still working on turning without tearing the grass, but I am not perfect yet. Any tips would be great. I appreciate anyone who takes the time to help answer these.
    1) The book says to change the oil at 8 hours. When will it be safe for me to run full synthetic? Should I drain the oil and leave the crankcase empty for the winter?
    2) The mower has been difficult to start when cold, will it loosen up and become easier to start soon?
    3) When the engine is running at any less than 1/2 throttle it wants to rev up and then idle down continuously. Is this normal?
    4) The control arms that you push to move and turn are off slightly. In neutral the left one is about one inch behind the right. This makes it a little harder to control. I have read the manual and it tell how to adjust this, but I am scared to go anywhere near the hydraulics. I can't decide if I should fix this myself or not.
    5) Are the hydro pumps supposed to make a loud whining sound? I have checked the oil.
    I also need to tell you guys that I had an accident. I was practicing behind my house. There is a huge factory called Rea that makes magnet wire. They have huge fields with several large hills. I was practicing on the hillls and I was going down at about 3/4 speed, I tryed to stop at the bottom and the grass was damp. I continued to slide right into the side of a parked semi. The only thing that hit was the front left castor and it only hit the tire of the semi. I hope it is alright. I have inspected it and I can see is a black scuff :angry: I will be more careful on damp grass. :rolleyes: If I think of any other questions I will post.

    Thank you... :)
  2. CathyLynn

    CathyLynn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 77

    1) never ever aim a hydro machine downhill unless you want some serious excitement.
    2) Your dealer should help you with all teh actual machine questions you have--develope that relationship!
    3) good luck in your new venture!
  3. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,353

    If it's anything like my 44 lazer you don't even want to think about hills up and down is out of the question but side to side can get you in trouble too. Best way to do steep hills drive up the hill back down the hill go as slow as you need to. If you do that you should be fine.
  4. Travis Followell

    Travis Followell LawnSite Silver Member
    from KY
    Posts: 2,207

    It is normal for the hydro's to make a whinning sound. After you change the oil in the engine after about 8 hrs. you should wait 50-100 hours before switching to synthetic oil. If the levers are out of adjustment about an inch go talk to the dealer and see if he will adjust them for you. It is normal for the levers to be off a little because its near impossible to get them perfect but an inch is a little too much. For most of your questions ask the dealer to get your relationship established as said earlier.
  5. Husky03

    Husky03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 432

    I would take it to the dealer in a heartbeat to get the control arms adjusted, but my trailer does not have ramps put on yet. That is why it was delivered. Can anyone help me on the engine questions. They should be easy for any of you guys that use on of these machines every day. Thanks for the replies so far. :)
  6. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 4,662

    Your Kawasaki engine should crank right up with the choke on. I have seen some come from the factory, where the choke cable was not adjusted right. At full choke on the lever, the actual choke on the engine was not fully closed. Have your dealer check that. The Kawasaki, and also many Kohlers will surge up and down at mid to hi idle. Sometimes this will work itself out as you get the engine broken in. However, sometimes the governor needs a little adjusting. It will not hurt the engine, but I would get my dealer to check it out if it bothers you.
    Something else you need to check is your tire pressure. The Gravely manual calls for too much air, leading to a rough ride. Set your front tires at about 12PSI, and the back about 12 - 15PSI. you will get a better ride, and better traction. :)
  7. Husky03

    Husky03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 432

    Mowingman: the surging does not bother me, I just wanted to make sure it was not something wrong. It would sound better if it did not do it, but I guess it's all right. Is there a way I can check the choke thing since I have no way of getting the mower to my dealer for antoher couple of moths when my trailer is finally ready? I can smell gas when I try to start it with it at full choke. It takes about 3-4 5 second cranks for the engine to finally start. Once warmed up it starts in less than 2 seconds.

  8. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 4,662

    If you smell gas, then you might be overchoking it. Try just a partial choke at cold startup. I don't think I can describe the choke mechanism without being there to show you about it. Have someone move the choke control while you watch the linkage down at the engine. You may be able to see how much that is moving, and figure out if it is fully engaged.
    You did not say how cold the temps are in your location. If it is really getting cold, like in the 30's, then that Kawasaki could require more cranking than usual.
  9. twwlawn

    twwlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 283

    Husky03, Congrats on getting a 34Z. I have a 34Z and I changed the oil at 28 hours to Mobil full synthetic 10W 30 and also changed the oil filter. Always change the oil filter with every oil change, thats dirty oil in that filter if you don't change it. Don't leave the crankcase empty for the winter, put clean oil in it and it will be ready next spring. I crank all my equipment two to three times a month and I use Sta-bil gas treatment. The starting issue is the same with mine when it is around 30 degree's, in warmer temp's, starts right up. The engine rev up and down only does that when cold, after warming up it stops. You need to get your dealer to fix the control arms adjustment for proper control, or try it yourself. Your dealer should have went through your mower to make sure everything was good to go. I bought my 34Z used and took to the Gravely dealer here and they went through it to make sure everything was working right. Stay away from hills, the mower turns into a sled as you found out the hard way. I asked the previous owner about the hydro pumps making those loud whining sounds and he said the hydro pumps did make whining sounds for 6 hours (hour meter), after that the noise stopped. Hope this helps.
  10. Husky03

    Husky03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 432

    Thanks for the replies. I tryed to start it today and it started after about 3 seconds of cranking. It is getting better. It has been around 60 degrees when I have been driving it. After I started it today I let it fully warm up and the surging only happens at 1/4 throttle or less. As far as I am concerned I will not be using it at this low of speed anyways. As long as this is not a defect I will not worry about it. The hydro pumps still whine pretty loudly with 9 hours on the meter. ;)
    Should I change the oil filter with the first oil change after only 9 hours or just wait until about 30 hours when I change the oil again?


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