Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mak2, Sep 18, 2005.

  1. mak2

    mak2 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    this is my first year (actually since mid august) in hte buisness. I have learned a lot from this site but I have yet another question I have not seen directly addressed. How much slope does it take to flip a ZTR mower? I have a ditch in front of a church that is very long. I have a 21" I have been mowing it with which adds about 35 min to mowing time. I just wonder if I am being too paranoid. How do you determaine if the slope is dangerous to mow? My z goes up and down it eaisly without slipping.
  2. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    "Slope" and "ditch" are pretty subjective terms. What is steep for one person isn't hardly a bump for someone else. Normally, a ditch isn't a real problem, unless the sides are extremely steep, because you don't normally have far to slide if something goes awry. If the ditch is 15 feet deep, then that is another matter, but if you think it is safe, always work into the bottom of the ditch, either approaching from the end, other side, whatever works, sometimes even backing in at an angle, and mow a strip. Then you can gradually work your way UP the sides, if it is too steep, you'll have trouble keeping control.

    If you start at the top, and it is too steep, then things can get nasty in a hurry. Better to always start at the bottom so you don't have far to slide if you lose traction. ZTR's can be turned over, and I don't know what you are operating, but if you are easy on the controls, and use the lower wheel to apply power, using the upper to mostly just steer, with a light touch, in my experience, you'll slide long before there is a chance of rolling.

    Just use your head and if it "feels" unsafe, it probably is.
  3. mak2

    mak2 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    Hey thanks for the tip, makes a lot of sense and I will try it from the bottom up on Thursday. It is not real steep but I have to keep an elbow on an armrest to keep my rear from sliding over in the seat, but even when it is wet I have not slid or have trouble controling my Hustler 60" Z. Thanks again.
  4. jtrice11

    jtrice11 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    Hey, thanks for the tip. Its my first year too and I get a little nervous once in awhile on some slopes. But a guy that works for me zips around like nothing on our ZTR. Its amazing how stable they really are, I'm just not comfortable enough yet.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    It is funny, the manual says to NEVER turn UP a slope but even with a Wb I find turning down is the faster way to lose control still the reason they mention it for the Wb is safety: When you turn a Wb UP a slope, you're standing BELOW the machine and if things get nasty, the mower comes TO you!
    I would think with a Ztr somewhat the same thing holds true, again things would get nastier faster turning DOWN but be careful when turning UP you really need to watch your rear tires - A sudden spin OR a sudden grip will likely rear your front-end and before you know it you'll flip end over end. I second the recommendation with starting at the bottom AND always, if you don't feel it is safe, better safe than sorry.
    Have I ever lost a Wb? More than once, lol most of it in my first 2-3 years, with time comes practice. A ztr? No, don't have one :)

    The only other question I have is, what do experienced Z-drivers do when they lose the Z? Do you hang on for the ride or do you get the h3ll away from it (and how, I mean, can you?).
  6. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,002

    the steeper, the better! never had one i couldnt do with one of my walkers. going sideways and then the tire breaks and you start to slide backwards... quick spin & pull back to get back up the hill! i luv the rush! dont know much bout other ztrs but ive only ever heard of one walker mower tiping over... and its one of mine... before the merger a lawnmaster employee was mowing an easy ditch at the bottom and hit a bump or something and just laid it over.

    walkers will normally slide before they tip. it can be a wild ride the first time, though. kid at another local company last year mowed too close to a retaining wall on a slope and went for an 8 foot free fall. kid crapped his pants but was ok. only hopper was damaged on their walker.
  7. Fubba

    Fubba LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 360

    I cut the grass at my Church. There's a ditch at the end of the yard, but it's more like a slope or one sided ditch. I just go up and down it. I've tried backing down, but the front casters come off the ground like that. I just go up and down always facing forward and I've been ok. Now there's no way I could do it sideways. It would definitely flip.
  8. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    Z's will lose traction and slide before rolling over IMO.
  9. mak2

    mak2 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    Thanks everyone for the info, safety first and Z's are just too durn expensive to damage.
  10. nelbuts

    nelbuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    from SW, FL
    Messages: 1,053

    The truth of the matter is it all depends on the size of your deck and the wheel stance of your mower. I personally do not care for the saddle tanks. I have a 48" Scag ZTR and it does not take hills for spit. Dumb saddle tanks allow for no weight shift to up hill wheel. I have a 52" Scag ZTR that does a great job on hills and it has tank below seat. I just purchased a 61" Scag ZTR with the 29hp KW engine and it is great on hills too. But honestly a good tractor will beat any ZTR.

    As far as walk behinds I like starting at the bottom and I always turn up hill as it is easier.

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