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Need help with steep slopes.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jugdishoh1, May 25, 2006.

  1. jugdishoh1

    jugdishoh1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    I just bought a 48" 21 hp Kaw Ferris IS 1500 (2006).

    Anyway, I wanted a zero turn b/c my lawn has a lot of trees on it but the problem I'm having is that I have a couple of steep slopes to negotiate. I do approach them going sideways but the problem I'm having is when I go to make a turn to do the next row, it causes the ZTR to lose traction and slide down the slope (problem is there is a creek at the bottom of the slope and I often come close enough to get the tires sinking in the soft adjacent land and it takes a lot of maneuvering to get out. So 1st of all, any advice on technique to avoid this? Are there upgrades in tires that I might have a better chance holding ground.

    Also, I've attempted going up the hill straight on and can see the front tires lift off (immediately chicken out and reverse) The dealer said there is a guard that prevents you tipping end over end (has anyone tested this out and is it true). I do have a seatbelt on as well as the roll bar but I still rather not find out the hard way that it can be tipped over.

    Thanks :)
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I've had a walk-behind rear the front end on a steep slope and you have the right attitude by being a chicken is all I got to say, so keep being about that afraid if for no other reason than your safety.

    Try a lower gear, I find 2nd or 3rd helps reduce slip considerably. Also take your time is what I find works best, I got to where I can stripe the crazy slope diagonally but it took me years to get there, really the secret is to go nice and easy, if you can't select a lower gear then perhaps reduce the throttle some.
  3. DEEJ

    DEEJ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 230

    I understand your problem totally. There is no feeling like the one where your zero turn gets a mind of its own on a slope. No matter what you do, it is going where it wants to go - down!! I find everything is just fine - then bam, the ZTR hill devil takes over!!

    Slow is certainly the key. One of the guys here has weights on the front of his Exmark (to counter the weight of the Ultra-Vac). These help in going straight up the hill. Maybe you can weight the front and try that?

    Other than care, practice, weight, and big cahones, I am not sure there is a clear cut solution.

    Hustler has a unit with a very low center of gravity, just for doing steep slopes.

    There has been a lot of discussion here about using more aggressive tires to help with this problem - a search would help find the discussions.

    Lastly, if you are new to handling a ZTR - time in the seat will help a lot. The ZTR seems easy to drive, but time in the seat allows you to become one with the controls. You will work your way out of bad situations without even thinking.

    You mentioned getting the aero turn because of the trees. Careful. You will find that zero turning (or near zero turning) around trees will very quickly leave permanent bare spots where the inside tire hugs the trees. been there, done that!

    Enjoy the new machine!!

  4. jugdishoh1

    jugdishoh1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Thanks for the advice.
  5. Daner

    Daner LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,307

    oooooo boy the ztr on the hills...my advice like the reast of the gang here... take er slow and be carefull...I run mine on some real steep ditches and she slides side ways...I,m alway ready ready to turun down hill iff the wheels start to lift...as far as going up and down the slope...LOL BE MIGHTY CAREFULL THERE AS WELL THE WORST TING THAT CAN HAPPEN IS A FLIP OVER AND TRUST ME I HAVE SEEN IT happen the the man was killed.
    Just the small hills going up and down watch out foe the back end getting caught up in the turf ...man that is so imberising trying to lug a 1500lb machine out of a ditch by hand....
    Just be carefull on that ditch... me being an old tyme farmer has lerned some leasons the hard way.
  6. TriplePLandscaping

    TriplePLandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 166

    ive got the same machine you do, and had an account that had a steep back yard, not as steep to lift the front end but still bad enough. the right side of the backyard was less of a grade and the more left youd go the steepr it got, what i would do was start at the steepest side going uphill then once i got there turned right and rode the crest all the way to the small sloped side, then rode down then went back to the steep side and just repeated that, i once tried to ride down the steep side, had my tires lock up and slide the whole way down, was ready to jump off anytime. these turf masters are meant to slide over grass not really dig into it to get traction, so you might consider different tires.
  7. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    For your own lawn?

    Return the dang thing. It's just absolutely, positively, NOT worth the aggrivation. Any benefits of the ZTR are just null and void to you if these slopes are of any size. Any time you save in the other areas will be lost right back due to having to drag another machine out there to cut those areas.

    Believe me... I have pushed ZTR slope performance to the extreme maximum, and I can tell you from experience.... on ANY given ZTR, once you are to the point of the front tires lifting... you are AT THE MAX of what can be done to the machine to improve performance. That IS the limiter.

    If you think about it a second you will understand. If you add weights on the front of the machine to stop the front tires from lifting. But then you will not be able to cut across the slope to begin with. So you are set going up and down. You'll be able to go up, but you will NOT be able to come back down. You'll sled to the bottom.

    So return it now before it's too late. Then go get yourself a Kubota GR2000 with that money.
  8. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,910

    Our slope machine is a 4x4 Steiner with duals and a 72" deck.
  9. pondfishr

    pondfishr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 115

    Dixie Chopper Run-Behind RB2700 works well.
  10. mr mow

    mr mow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    oh i hope this helps...if you can make it to the top and have a another machine(w/b) or you can modify this technique a bit. if you can make one pass around tricky spot and get to top of hill again,start cutting going horizontial till you reach the bottom keeping your body always pointed uphill(shifting weight in my case 200# to tire that is most up hill). forgot the most important part when you turn, turn up hill not perpendicular but mayby 45-55 Degrees and back down slowly with the same arc you made to go uphill and make your next pass, this would be alot easier to draw or show than explain.but its worked for me in the past.trim missed stuff with w/b or trimmer

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