Is a heavier ZTR worse for handling hills?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by UGA, Jun 24, 2003.

  1. UGA

    UGA LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 326

    I've done many searches and read a lot of info on steep slopes and everyones opinion about which mower is better and which isn't but I wanted to know everyone opinion on whether or not added weight makes a big difference on the mowers ability to handle slopes and wet ground; example (diesel engine instead of gas is anywhere from 200 to 600lbs more on the mowers I've been looking at). It seems to me that lighter is better but I really love the idea of all that torque on the diesels. feedback ,Thanks

  2. mowerconsultant

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

    It depends on where the weight is on the mower.
    recently some one posted a pic of a Grasshopper with a diesel hanging a pretty steep incline.
    The engine is placed over the rear wheel and adds a lot of weight to the rear tires, this with the right tire combo and pressure, makes for great hill handling characteristics.
    Now think about this....
    Hustler has taken the Super Z and added weight on the frame and added wheel weights, and lengthened the frame for better stability, this combined with the already low setting of the Hustler Super Z's makes for awesome hill performance.
    We have changed the hydraulic components in the Hustler ATZ to accommodate the increased pressure and stress that comes with hillside mowing and added a 6 point roll cage and seat belt for safety.
    This unit will be a foot longer than our Super Z (the Super Z is already the shortest Z in its class on the market), so you will still be able to use this mower in everyday mowing applications along with hillside mowing.
    I hope to have some pricing and availability info soon, I will post when I do.

    Here is a pic


    atz ls pic.jpg
  3. mowerconsultant

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

    Oh, I forgot to mention this is done with air cooled engines currently, this helps keeps the cost down.
    As we add more engine options in our line I am sure you will see more available in ATZ.

  4. UGA

    UGA LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 326

    :) PJ, You know I want a Super Z, I just cant' figure out if the new Kubota diesel is gonna handle those hills the same. What engine combos will be on the ATZ? That's one cool machine.
  5. DaveVB

    DaveVB LawnSite Member
    Messages: 95

    I run a 72" Z-master toro which in my opinion almost has to be the lightest mower on the market. They are build as simple as can be, yet rugged enough for my use to be sure. Put me on a hill either direction is really fine as long as I don't try to turn, then I will slide. Going across a hill or up and down it- no problem because the wheel base is so wide, but it just isn't heavy enough to not slide on a hill when turning. We have some fairly steep hills here at Calvary (Bible College) and I don't worry about tipping when I mow, but I don't bother trying to turn either. right or wrong-my.02
  6. karlInSanDiego

    karlInSanDiego LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Dave VB- Assuming you don't live at the North Pole, how do you cut a hill without turning? Can you turn a mid mount ZTR (which I'm presuming are the only ones with the tendency to go rogue if pointed downhill) by pointing it up the hill as you turn?

    I've read, "once it gets going downhill, you're dead", enough here to conclude that a midmount ZTR when pointed downhill, transfers all of its weight to the castors which are have neither brakes, nor steering. Does this result in a runaway machine, where you're stuck under the sticks and if so, is this why many on these boards say they won't use them on hills? It doesn't seem that any of the commercial mowers are prone to tipping? Why does the ATZ use this design if that's the case? Sorry to be so blunt, but I think it's an important issue when discussing the handling of ZTR's on hills.
  7. Kirk Kempen

    Kirk Kempen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    I noticed in the picture that you posted, that the chevron pattern on the drive tires is pointed backwards. I've never seen these tires mounted this way before. Have you guys found that mounting them backwards is better than forwards?
    In general, have you found this tread pattern to be the best out there, or are there better choices? (I'm nearly ready to replace the chevron style tires on my ZTR, and would like insight on this.)

    Thanks for your response!
  8. The Center of Gravity (COG) with you on the machine is more important than heavy or light. On a side-slope, once your mower is rotated to where straight down from the COG is over one of the tires, then the other tires will lose their grip, and the mower will slide or tip. The lower the COG, the more the mower has to rotate to slide. So theoretically, additional weight as low as possible on the mower should help.

    However, COG also effects weight distribution on the wheels. Again, with you on the machine, the drive wheels need to carry most of the weight to push the castor wheels. Too much and you’ll pop a “wheely” going up-slope. Too little weight on the drive wheels, and you’ll slide-skid when you point down-slope.
  9. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,909

    I use a bobcat Diesel...its HEAVY! but it holds hills just like any other Z. I start at the top and when turning its easier when you are working your way down the hill not up.. if I feel the wheels slipping I go ahead and turn the mower facing down the hill and make my way straight down it prematurely I take no chances.
  10. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    I agree with bluesteel.

    A low-low center of gravity, plenty of weight over the drive tires, short wheel base, wide rear track, great weight bias and good controls make for great hill handling manners.

    No one thing makes a Z good at hills.

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