Ransomes/Textron/Bobcat Mower Z-Turn problem

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by MoGreen, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. MoGreen

    MoGreen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 88

    Hello all,
    I was on the forum a few months ago and was having a problem with my mower. Thanks to you, I found out there was a recall on my B&S ELS 500 motor (16.5hp?) and took it to the dealer to have the compression relief valve replaced because it burned up 3 starters. This is NOT a commercial mower and it has a total of 230 hrs on it! I really like the mower itself, and it has a commercial duty steel deck on it. The overall build of it is very good. The motor......
    I am trying to decide if I should take it back in or just ditch it, and buy a new motor.? I am not very happy with the motor. 16.5hp isn't enough for this mower with a 38"? deck.(3 blades) I have very thick grass and it isn't enough to really cut through it very well. I'm not concerned with speed.
    Should I bite the bullet and buy a new motor? or take it back again?
    IF I go with a new motor, what should I be looking at? Vertical mount? Is there a special bolt pattern that will only fit my mower, or will just about any motor fit? I'm thinking a 20hp will be an acceptable size motor for me. I will be aerating/rolling/slit seeding in the fall, and would like a little more hp to help pull these. I have 1/2 acre of grass to cut and the cut is excellent and perfectly level-the motor is like the little engine that could-or could not.....hahahaha
    Thanks for any opinions you may offer. (I bought the mower for $1,000). I figure if I dump another $1,000 in the motor I could potentially have a pretty nice mower.?
  2. khouse

    khouse LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,465

    Do you know if your high idle is running at 3600 rpm? I have seen countless engines with low rpm's right from the factory. Even more that has a few hours on them. Usually the correct rpm's breathes a little more life in the old engines. Just a thought. It costs nothing to try. Well it might cost the price of a tach if you don't have one.
  3. MoGreen

    MoGreen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 88

    Thanks for the rpm recomendation. I would like to get the motor running before I try that. It is very hard to turn on the compression stroke, and has burned a few starters up. Supposedly got it fixed and it worked good for awhile, but now it's back to the same old motor.
    I have even tried turning the top by hand counter-clockwise to just after the compression stroke so the starter would have a good way to get it going-no luck!
    What the heck could it be? Anyone motorheads care to enlighten me on this?
    Thanks again for your help!
  4. pugs

    pugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,025

    What mower is this first of all? 38" 3 blade? Never heard of a Bobcat with a deck setup like that. They make 36" 2 blade or 48" 3 blade.

    Is this a Leo?
  5. MoGreen

    MoGreen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 88

    Yes, it's a 48" and it's a Leo. (I wrote 38" instead of 48")
    It's a 3 blade.
    I've been a few places and can't dig much info up on the Leo. I KNOW people had issues/problems with them-I can't be the only one. B&S rep even told me they had the common problem with the compression relief valve
    Thanks again.
  6. khouse

    khouse LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,465

    I assumed the engine was repaired because you said you took it to the dealer. So your having a cranking problem not a running problem. Have you tried a new battery? Are the battery connection crimps good? Are the battery connections clean and tight? Are you buying after-market starters? Sometimes you can find a high resistance connection by feeling the connections to see if they are hot just after cranking. Be careful because you can get burned.
  7. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    If the compression release (complete cam shaft) was replaced and it ran fine for a while I would tend to think when the cam was replaced and valves re-adjusted they were not torqued to factory spec. and backed off.

    Sounds like the valves need re-adjusting so the compression release will function properly and let the engine roll past compression stroke.

    Also, Khouse is right on with checking high speed RPM. 3600 is spec. but it can be taken up to 3750 no load as long as you don't run it wide open without the deck engaged.
  8. MoGreen

    MoGreen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 88

    There you go restrorob!!
    You are the man I am looking for!
    When running, the motor runs fine.....Listen up-When I turn the motor top over BY HAND, it is VERY HARD to turn past the compression stroke-this is the reason I am burning up starters. The compression relief valve does just that-it relieves the pressure at Top Dead Center so the starter doesn't have to strain to get it over to the down stroke. I think you might be correct in assuming the valves backed off again. I will also take your suggestion into account khouse. I will mention this to the tech (I guess) when I drop it off tomorrow. Again, I love the mower. When I work under it, I can see where some thought was put into it when it was made. The motor-umm, well.....
    I guess i'll see what they say when I take it in again.
    They replaced the cam and the comp relief valve with the "new" one. Funny thing is that it had the exact same part number as the old one, and looked exactly the same as the old one. Thanks again for your help. :clapping:

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