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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    6
    Location
    Vermont
    Mower
    Kubota

    Zero turn on wet hills.

    Hi I am a newbie to zero turns and hope I have not gotten the wrong machine. I have made due for 15 years with a Craftsman lawn tractor. It had done well and it finally rusted out enough so that it needed replacement. I felt it was taking way too long to mow my 3 acres so splurged and got a beautiful Kubota zg227.

    My problem is that if there is any wetness to the grass at all I have little or no control going downhill. The turf tires simply have no grip whatsoever. And in Vermont there is usually some moisture. I spoke with the dealer about a more aggressive tire but they think I would damage my transmission. They did suggest I load the tires but I don't see how this will help much, lack of friction is just lack of friction.

    I don't want to burn out my transmission but I also don't want to kill myself or really damage this nice machine.

    Any suggestions for some after market tires. It is a bit frustrating spending so much and finding my old lawn tractor being so much better on the hills.

    Thanks in advance,

    Mike in wet Vermont

  2.  

  3. #2

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    5,445
    Location
    Kansas, Butler county, Just east of DooDah
    Mower
    CTL

    Re: Zero turn on wet hills.

    Hello Mike.... WELCOME to LMF...

    Wish you could have been here earlier, as there have been several discussions about ZTR use on hills and slopes... No mower is going to be at it's best on wet inclines... but I'm afraid that what you have found is the truth ...A ZTR downhill is the least traction, not much weight on the drive tires, your mower is no lightweight at 1200 pounds, but going downhill a lot of that weight is pushing toward the front... I'm sure that ballast in the rear will help... but most folks want to keep their footprint as light as possible..
    I'm don't think the drive will suffer with an aggressive tire, But the turf surely will, you will peal it right off the dirt...
    You can (cautiously) try some temporary weight in the rear to see if it helps enough... KennyV

  4. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    6
    Location
    Vermont
    Mower
    Kubota

    Re: Zero turn on wet hills.

    Thanks for the reply Kenny. Doing more research reveals to me that this seems to be a "known issue" with z-turns. I did a lot of investigation on which z-turn to get and I am thrilled with the power, cut and mechanical beast that the zg227 is, but I didn't do a search on the downside of z-turns as a group. In fact TedBrakes seems to address this issue on an industry wide level and I wish him well, I put in my 2c to Kubota.

    For my own safety I have ordered a more aggressive turf tire from Northern Industries, it has good traction reviews and is not a bar or lug tire, just a deeper , sparser turf. It will probably do some damage but I bet I can adjust my mowing to its characteristics. I'm not doing this for a living so it is my lawn that will be torn up and I MUCH prefer that to ending up in the hospital or worse!

    Thanks again,

    Mike Z

  5. #4
    Ventrac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    79
    Location
    Orrville
    Mower
    Ventrac

    Re: Zero turn on wet hills.

    Looks like Kenny nailed it on the head and you did some research. Tearing up your turf and being safe is better than freewheeling out of control Let us know how the new tires work, and Kenny's suggestion of rear ballast should also assist.

  6. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    6
    Location
    Vermont
    Mower
    Kubota

    Re: Zero turn on wet hills.

    Ventrac, I will keep everyone posted on my z-tales and z-trials. I don't appear to be the only one so I figure my seeking out a work around will be beneficial for all. I normally inhabit a guitar builder's forum so am well versed on taking photos and will do so when the new tires come in.

    Thanks a bunch, I love the internet!!

    Mike Z

  7. #6
    Briana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    1,550
    Location
    California
    Mower
    Looking to Buy :)

    Re: Zero turn on wet hills.

    Hey there - WELCOME to LMF!

    I moved your thread to the General Mower Discussion Forum.

  8. #7

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    549
    Location
    Indiana
    Mower
    725 Grasshopper JD 430 diesel JD 180 JD Z445

    Re: Zero turn on wet hills.


  9. #8

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    6
    Location
    Vermont
    Mower
    Kubota

    Re: Zero turn on wet hills.

    I have written to Ted and await an answer. From his website I think he has the answer but it is currently a concept, not an aftermarket product. He rightly wants the manufacturers to use his or some concept.

    This actually looks like a class action suit waiting to happen It is like selling a car without brakes- go figure. Despite VERY slow and careful descents of a mild slope I have slid into the garden, slid into a blueberry patch.......If weights and new tires don't help I plan to sell the zg227 despite its beauty and probably take a huge financial hit.

    Mike Z

  10. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    6
    Location
    Vermont
    Mower
    Kubota

    Re: Zero turn on wet hills.

    Hi Folks, I spoke to Matt at Kubota for a long time. He had a lot of good things to say about adapting to the z-turn. Bottom line is that I added a 40lb bar to the rear weight bracket. Also I added 5 gallons of winshield washer fluid to each of the rear tires. This gives 40 lbs per wheel with great low center of gravity. This seems to have cured my problems. I will still check out the new tires but the stock ones seem to work with this additional weight. I put the zg227 through its paces on some wet grass and it did very well.

    So for now I guess I'm satisfied. I still think there is something inherently flawed about a device that has to be tweaked to be safe. But I am so glad I can hang onto this beautiful machine.

    Thank you all very much for your input and advice.

    Mike Z.

  11. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    6
    Location
    New York
    Mower
    Wheel Horse

    Re: Zero turn on wet hills.

    well i kept my faithfull wheelhorse of 19 years to mow the steep banks at my house when i dont feel like getting the bejesus scared out of me doing it with my zero turn. i bought a new craftsman zts 7500 four years ago and i have had it scare me silly a few times mowing the banks and side hills. now i back it down the hill real slow and then let it climb out. but you have to be carefull backing it down because it can develop a little wheel hop going backwards and the front end will hop off the ground leaving in your mind how ugly this accident could be. truth is even with that i love it. i mow between 2 and 3 acres in under 2 hours and its fun except for that steep bank that i really have no reason to mow other than insanity and a segment on funniest or dangerous home videos. usually i can lose control and it will stop and with both tires spinning backwards the rear will scoot around enough that you can gingerly gain control of it and get out. well a couple of weeks ago i lost it and i could not stop it. it went over the bank down about 75 yards of hill all forward like i was driving it over the bank. all i could do it kill the deck and hang on till it was over which lasted about 30 seconds and almost all the way in a stream. well another thing mowing wet ground is a no no because i have dragged this mower out probally 20 times in the last month because i sunk it in mud. they have so little clearance and are so heavy if the ground is soft you can grow to hate it then. good thing i just bought a grizzly with a winch it has come in very handy.

    jim in ny

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