Bush Hog ZTR- anyone else have problems?

D Felix

LawnSite Bronze Member
My father mows "on the side" and has a Bush Hog ZTR with 72" deck. The mower is going into it's third season, and has less than 500 hours on it.

He's had some problems with it, and I'm wondering if anyone else has had similar.

For instance, I was helping him mow back in July, I stopped to ask him something and when I got back on the ztr, the blades wouldn't re-engage. Kept trying, but eventually just took it to the truck. As I got to the truck, I saw the belt go tension-less, and found out that the clutch had literally fallen apart.

I know he hasn't had any issues with the motor (I think it's a 20 hp Kohler, 2 cyl), but he has been through 2 or 3 deck belts (one was his fault, didn't get it back on right), I think he's also had problems with the tensioner either for the deck or the deck belt.

His dealer is telling him that Bush Hog is telling them that he is the only one having problems (didya follow that?:D).

Is anyone else finding this to be the case? I know he likes the mower, and it cuts well. I need to get a new mower to use at home and like the price of the Bush Hog vs. Exmark/Dixie Chopper, but don't want to buy something that's going to give me as much trouble as the one that Dad has...

Much thanks in advance!



LawnSite Bronze Member
Southern Indiana
Doesnt sound like its a lemon or anything. Of coarse the blade clutch went prematurely. Sometimes thing like that happen. Going thru two belts in 500 hours is normal wear. Dont know what exactly tensioner problem you had, but overall, other than the clutch, it sounds as its a decent mower if he likes the cut.


LawnSite Fanatic
I would not say 500hrs is normal wear on any belt. I have never replaced a deck belt on any of my 72" or 60" ZTR's until they had over 1000hrs. I have owned 6 different brands of ZTR's. I have never had one actually come apart, I just replaced them as they were starting to show serious wear, and I did not want downtime during mowing season. I think you probably have some misalignment that is ruining the belt. Or, you could have too little tension and the belt is slipping.
The clutch should not have failed at those low hrs either. I have never replaced a clutch on any machine I have owned. I think you should expect at least 1000 - 1500 hrs from an electric clutch if you don't abuse it.:)


LawnSite Senior Member
Southern LA
Don't consider myself an expert on governing engine to deck size requirements, but a 20 hp engine on a 72" deck seems extremely underpowered. If this is the true horse power, this could very well be your problem.