Zero Turn Traction - Help!

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by leeave96, Jun 19, 2004.

  1. leeave96

    leeave96 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    My Dad bought a Simplicity Consumer-Z zero turn mower and in the process of learning this new type of steering after about 40 years of a steering wheel - he is finding this machine has a tendency to spin the rear wheels when working a modest slope - bumpy yard. A bit of dew on the grass and it's very difficult at best to get traction. He thought that one of the benefits of a motor for each wheel, he would have in positive traction. Prior to this purchase, he was considering a garden tractor with the positive traction pedel to help out with wheel slip.

    My question is - what are you doing with your zero turn mowers to minimize wheel slip? Are you using fluid in your tires, wheel/frame weights or chevron (ag) tires?

    I've read a lot of great things about these zero turn riders and can't recall anyone swapping one back the other way - to a garden tractor yet - but if things don't improve with this zero turn rider, that's what will happen.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. JHE

    JHE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 102

    The zero turns slip in wet grass on a hill - they all do it. I live on a hill and use to cut the grass with a Gravely Garden Tractor. When my wheels started slipping I could still steer to where I needed to go because the front wheels had no brakes/drive. With the Hustler Z that I know use, the rear wheels that slip are also the steering wheels. So once you break traction you are done until you get to a spot where you can regain control. What do you do? Don't cut the grass wet - let it dry out as much as you can. Cut across the hill and not up and down. I think the experts in this forum recommend cutting from the bottom and going up as you are cutting across the hill. If you do break lose don't try and fight it. Feather the control's so the wheels start rolling again and guide the mower to a place where you can stop - just like driving a car you should always be planning your escape route. Finally, if you can get them for your size rim, try bar tires. They are going to tear the lawn up a little more but will give you alot of traction. Good luck.
  3. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    Bill Weight the rear down with something.
  4. BigDave

    BigDave LawnSite Member
    Messages: 148


    ZTRs have pros and cons on hills compared to lawn tractors. A pro is that they have a lower center of gravity, but a con is that their front wheels provide less lateral support because they are free-turning.

    My perception is that the smaller the ZTR, the worse it is on hills. Whenever Consumer Reports tests small Zs, they always complain about their lack of lateral hold when mowing across a hil. Larger Zs, on the other hand, have bigger wheels, better balance, etc., and in fact, Hustler has a full-size Z rated for slopes up to an astounding 25 degrees.

    Tires do make a difference. I put bar tires on mine, and it has made a very noticeable difference. Of course, the more aggresive the tire, the more careful you need to be when the gound is soft so as not to tear the turf.

    For your Dad's situation, I would recommend that he get used to the machine a bit. One tip is to mow hills diagonally instead of straight across or straight up & down.

    If your Dad can make it work, great. If not, and if you can't spend more on a larger Z, I would do what you said and take it back for the lawn tractor.

  5. chuckers

    chuckers LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 657

    lower the tire presure to about 8 or so
  6. Del9175

    Del9175 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 352

    Yea, what chuckers said.
  7. shivelyt

    shivelyt LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 24

    I mow hills and drive up and back down with a Hustler zero turn. I had to do this with a heavy Toro tractor, also. We live in a woods, so waiting for it ti dry out isn't always an option.

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