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Hustler Z - Can't make the grade?

Discussion in 'Hustler Turf Equip (Archived)' started by MJfromMD, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. MJfromMD

    MJfromMD LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    I bought my new Z with the 60" deck and 25 hp Kaw engine this spring. It was the most engine my local "new dealership" had in-stock. I say this because I did initially wanted more engine but he would not give me the same deal on ordering a machine as he would on buying current stock. I was willing to pay the "list" difference for the larger engine, but he quoted $1k more and assured me that the 25 kawasaki would do fine. Unfortunately, he never saw the terrain I use it on. I think he was just moving his stock mowers before ordering more.

    Before getting to the issue I am having, I need to say that my Z ranks far above any mower I have tried or owned in its quality, construction, and design. I am amazed at the perfect cut it provides, even at higher ground speeds. Its fuel efficiency, control, ease of maintenance, and just overall layout overwhelmingly prove that it's truly a great mower. I wash it, check it over completely, and maintain it by-the-book before and after each use.

    The limitation it seems to have is only experienced on one steep grade I must climb while mowing each week. But this problem is a potential threat to my safety as well as possibly stressing pumps, etc on the machine. It is a problem I would like to resolve - if possible.

    I climb this hill only straight-on, because it is very steep. When I reach about 10 ft. from its crest, the engine is nearly choked out - even though I pull back my ground speed as much as possible to try to relieve it. I don't dare come to full stop for fear of stalling and sliding backward. I can tell by the way the machine shutters that it is straining hard to stay alive. Even though this period is brief, it is less than comfortable - and I like the Z too much to think I might be abusing it.

    I don't know what options I have. It only has about 25 hrs on it and I can't really afford to consider upgrading it and taking a loss. I considered buying the Super Z at first but it exceeds my budget. Any suggestions for remedy?
  2. mowerconsultant

    mowerconsultant LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Syracuse, NY
    Messages: 9,769

    Your mowing pattern on a slope as well as the slope angle / degree makes a big difference.
    What is the slope degree?
    Is the engine losing power do to being underpowered? or fuel starvation at the angle you are working it?
    I would contact the dealer and get them to come take a look at the slope and see what he says.

  3. MJfromMD

    MJfromMD LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    "Your mowing pattern on a slope as well as the slope angle / degree makes a big difference.
    What is the slope degree?
    Is the engine losing power do to being underpowered? or fuel starvation at the angle you are working it?
    I would contact the dealer and get them to come take a look at the slope and see what he says."

    Altering the mowing pattern is no option here. As I said, this is steep. You go up or down. But I use to cut it with my former Husqvarna 50" deck garden variety, powered by a 22 hp Kohler without an issue. Understand - that is no comparison. The husky was also much lighter and steered from the front wheels.

    It is not acting like fuel starvation either, (the old Husky sucked through a carb as well) and as I slow the ground speed, the engine recovers regardless of the slope. As far as the angle, it doesn't matter. I no longer have another mower at this property and the hill has to be cut.

    The under-powered theory was my concern before I even bought the mower. Since my so-called dealer was the one that told me the machine was fine for my application, despite my insistence that my 'scape was steep, I won't be bothering him to come see. I have been mowing this land for over 35 years now, and it no longer has any mysteries for me.

    Perhaps I was subconsciously hoping for a miraculous response where the president of Excel-Hustler swoops down and delivers me the newer - more powerful Z to blow us all away with killer customer service. This is why I don't buy lottery tickets.

    I am sorry to have bothered you/everyone with this post. I can see that its telling cannot help my situation. Thanks for offering your help just the same.
  4. mowerconsultant

    mowerconsultant LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Syracuse, NY
    Messages: 9,769

    How steep?
    I would seriously consider not mowing it with any ZTR depending on how steep it is.
    Your safety has to come first.

  5. MJB

    MJB LawnSite Silver Member
    from Wa
    Messages: 2,869

    This happens a lot with my Hustler too with a 30 hp Kohler. I do not know about the slope degree but in my case every mower I've used Kubota, Exmark, Gravely, Bushhog will go right up the slope but the Hustler really struggles. Since I got the heavier duty wheel motors installed it helps but I know exactly what MJfromMD is talking about. We get jobs that have to be mowed and we use what will work if we've always used a Z we expect the same results from Hustler as say Exmark. I've gone up these hills for yrs with Exmarks no problems.
  6. user5953

    user5953 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    I've got two hustler Super Z's a 60" w/27hp Kohler and a 54" w/25hp Kawasaki.

    Never experienced any problems like your describing and I cut all kinds of yards with inclines.

    I think a ZTR is the safest thing to cut on slopes with because of the balance and stability you get. I have mowed some rediculous slopes with mine and the worst that has ever happed if I get on a slope to steep is I SLIDE. I have NEVER come close to tipping mine over and I have tested it.
  7. user5953

    user5953 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    I can undertsand your frustration of your situation. Some of the lawmower dealers can be dicks. They can be pushy and influential 9not to mention arrogant) , but you HAVE to stand up to them and get what you want!

    When your spending between $6000 to $12000 on a freakin LAWN MOWER you need to make sure you get what you want and not what the DEALER wants/needs to get rid of.

    chalk this up as a lesson learnd for ALL of us!!
  8. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943


    You mentioned it was a Hustler Z.

    But more specifically, is it a SUPER Z or just a Hustler Z?

    A 25 Kawi should be fine for the Hustler Z. Are you sure your but isn't coming out of the seat and causing the engine to cut out?

    What are your free load RPM's?

    What are your mowing RPM's?

    Reply to my questions above if you want more help.

    I think you may simply be under revved.
  9. Mickhippy

    Mickhippy LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,274

    Im with TLS, sounds to me like a few extra rev's may be helpful!
  10. MJfromMD

    MJfromMD LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    I appreciate all your ideas and certainly feel fortunate to have your consideration at all, since most of you are full-timers when I am merely the weekend warrior type.

    As I stated, my machine is the lesser Hustler "Z" as opposed to the Super Z that some of you operate (lucky dogs). Concerning the primary afore-mentioned issue of "the decline on the incline", I am personally convinced that the thread posted by MJB has nailed it most accurately- to the "T".

    The machine performs fantastic for most of the course, but steep hills (the ones you have no choice but to mow heading straight up due to the angle) are the "heel" of this model.

    BTW: No safety switch is being activated by loss of pressure on the seat - plus I wear the belt anytime I am on a slope with the ROPS up (It stays "up" unless on the flats where low branches have to be tolerated).

    The R's are fine while mowing and rolling as well, until you engage a fairly steep climb.

    The crowning peak I originally sited on this particular property is worse case but there are others that show the same type of weakness but their angles being less steep, the resulting bog-down is also not as severe.

    I have only 41 hours on the meter now and it performs overall like day 1, but this one negative characteristic does thorn me in the side as just being a fact of life I have to accept.

    For any who still feel tempted to suggest an operator technique, engine adjustment, or malfunction is the "true" problem here, I would be glad to send pics of the terrain, machine, etc. whatever - to an email address, if you care to provide me one. (My email is mark_joy7@comcast.net for those who have an such an interest).

    Thank you all for your support in consideration of this querk. It is more than anyone from Excel had to offer. It was much easier to just say, "You should not use any ZTR on slopes that steep". Maybe they're right, so far as a Hustler is concerned - but that was not told to me on the showroom floor and it's very hard to accept that a $3K hardware store machine can do anything that an $8K Pro's mower cannot.

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