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James W
James W, Small Engine Troubleshooting Expert
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 3700
Experience:  7 years as Mechanic & Parts Manager for Brother who has Owned Lawn & Garden Repair shop for 35 years
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my rzt 50 is very very slow

Customer Question

my 2005 rzt 50 is very very slow moving, after it warms up, it goes a little faster but nothing like when it was new. any ideas
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  James W replied 3 years ago.

James W :

Greetings, My name is James W, and I am here to help the best I can. My goal is 100% satisfaction. Let's get started.

James W :

These units have a serious history of needing the tranmission replaced on one side or the other or both

James W :

Below is a service manual

James W :

I would check the drive belt itself and make sure it is adjusted properly

Customer :

why do they need replaced?

James W :

Examine any pulleys as well,

Customer :

i have changed pulleys and belt

James W :

Because Cub cadet Used to be a very well manufactured product when they were owned and made by International harvestor

James W :

That is past tense

Customer :

what happends in the gear box

James W :

Bolens, troy-bilt, yardman, yard power, as well as cub cadet all went oout of business

James W :

and MTD bought all the rights to put their "quality name" on their very cheaply made products

James W :

the transmissions are not serviceable

Customer :

i dont care who went out of business or why i just want my problem fixed

James W :

MTD even tells the reair techs to just replace them

James W :

I understand

Customer :

what breaks in the gear box

James W :

It is a very complicated piece just like an automatic transmission in a car

James W :

the answer is ANY one piece that brakes in the transmission makes it to be junk

Customer :

i am a millwright and auto tech so i understand how it should work

James W :

please do not kiell the messenger

James W :

just a moment

Customer :

have you had one a part or you ready from book or?

James W :

We have 37 years experience in our shop

James W :

we have one service man who specializes in these units

Customer :

have you had one a part/

James W :

MTD does not even makie replacement parts available for the transmissions

James W :

There is no reason to take it apart if there are no parts to replace

James W :

Here is an example of ALL the parts MTD makes available for their ZTRs

Customer :

i have fixed a lot things that were not "servicable" I can make the parts.

James W :

Not only do you need to find what is broken on one of these

James W :

you Have to determine exactly why they broke in the first place

Customer :

thats what being a mechanic is all about

James W :

I am 49 years old and have been involved since age 12 in my brothers shop

James W :

The problem cascades

James W :

you can replace 12 parts, miss one, and then all 12 brake again

James W :

And still be back introuble

James W :

I will opt out, if you want a second opinion

Customer :

I was hoping to get some tech advice about the gear box that comes on the RZT 50 I started when I was 12 and now 55.

James W :

Perhaps there is someone who has been around them more than 37 years whose advice you wish to take

James W :

My point is, they are Not worth fixing and the average time we have seen before they start acting up and causing problems is about 2 to 4 years

Customer :

sorry i was hoping for more help than "just replace the trans'

James W :

They are not made well at all.

Customer :

So you say junk the mower?

James W :

If you call cub cadet themselves and speak to the engineers, you will get exactly the same answer

James W :

they know the quality of what they make

James W :

the service school is 1 /2 days long for just these

James W :

at the end they say, OK, you know how to determine the problem.

James W :

Now, do not even bother trying to fix them.

James W :

The Main reason for the school is ONLY to help to prevent you from replacing one that is NOT bad.

Customer :

So you are saying junk the mower?

James W :

It is not like the Old Eaton or Sundstrand Hydo static drive transmisions from years ago

James W :

NO I am not

Customer :

so what are you saying?

James W :

My actual advice is to list the mower while it is still running on craigs list

James W :

tell them that the transmission is starting to go out

James W :

and sell it

James W :

the resale value on these is quite high

James W :

because the ZTRs look so nice

James W :

The still look brand new when mostly worn out and sell well

Customer :

so sell it to someone and let them figure out i hosed them. That is no way to do business. I have been in the equipment selling business for 24 years. I dont work that way.

James W :

The other choice is to USE it until it will not work any more

James W :

I undestand

James W :

I was saying be honest with them

James W :

Tell them the transmission is going out but may last for a while

James W :

The only other possibilty is to take it apart

Customer :

you forgot it moves very very slow, i think they will figure out it

James W :

and to change the oil

James W :

sometimes changin the oil will improve the problem

James W :

the oil gets overheated and then breaks down

Customer :

that was going to be my next move

James W :

replacing the oil can buy you some more time

James W :

but do not expect it to be a perm fix

James W :

all you are doing is buying time

Customer :

i was hoping for better tech help

James W :

There is no better answer in this case.

James W :

Are you 100% sure the belts are not slipping at all

Customer :

i may try to part it out, i just put $250 in other parts for it last fall

James W :

Good answer

James W :

If you do not feel comfortable "sticking" someone else with it, that is not a bad decision

Customer :

yea i just went thru it all last fall hoping to "fix" it

James W :

If you want a good ZTR, look at an Exmark, or a Toro or a snapper or a Simplicty

Customer :

I have enough problem customers i dont need one more.

James W :

Most other brands below $4000 are just not made well in the case of a ZTR....

James W :

We always tell our customers do not buy a used MTD ZTR

James W :

(or new one)

Customer :

ok

James W :

because they seem to always bring them to us crying

James W :

I am on the phone getting a 2nd opinion

James W :

from the Owner of the dealership

James W :

37 years doing just this

James W :

He has just said that He agrees with my assessment, and said to apologise for being a bit blunt.

Customer :

i think i will pull trans apart

James W :

He says, you are not going to make it worse....

Customer :

blunt is the only way to be thats how i am

Customer :

thanks

James W :

Then to say Bluntly, we have more trouble with the MTD ZTRs than all other brands added together and especially the transmissions

Expert:  James W replied 3 years ago.
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Expert:  James W replied 3 years ago.

I wish I could tell you what you wanted to hear, but sometimes the best answer is Don't

 

I will opt out and let someone else have a chance to chime in

 

 

Expert:  Ranwell1 replied 3 years ago.

Alright, I will summarize everything that has been said about this unit and add my two cents worth.

 

I am actually the owner of the shop that Jim used to work in and have been advising him on this question for the last couple of messages he sent to you.

 

Here is what has actually happened.

 

The hydros will wear on all parts as it is used. They are built to very exacting specifications. If there is even the slightest wear on the internal parts, the oil will tend to bypass these parts and leak the pressure. Jim did get one part wrong in his answer. There is very little chance that there is a part broken inside the hydro. They usually do not break parts. But even the slightest amount of wear will cause them to malfunction. In order to repair hydros it is imperative that you replace ALL of the parts inside the case that has any contact with the oil. This means the pump motor parts...etc. If any of these parts are not replaced, they will cause the pump to leak internally because of the wear and it will not move as it is supposed to. Hydro parts are EXTREMELY expensive and it usually costs nearly as much for the parts to repair them as it does to replace the entire hydro. I have been to many hydro repair schools and even after we have spent time tearing down the units so we can see how they work, the instructor then says to basically forget everything we have just learned and just replace the hydro. Most of the less expensive hydros do not even have parts available for them.

 

The only thing that I see that you can do is to drain the fluid out and clean the inside, and then install new fluid. When these hydros start to go bad, the slipping that they do creates a lot of HEAT and it tends to burn the oil inside the hydro. It then thickens to the point that it does not flow well through the system. If the oil is changed, you might have a chance that it would work a little better for a short while.

 

I do NOT recommend that you try to sell this unit to someone else UNLESS you disclose all of the information that we have talked about here. As you and James said, that would not be the right thing to do. But you will find that there are many people that think they can fix anything and will want to try. But if they know that they may have to replace the hydro before they buy it, then you have done your job and can still sleep at night.

 

Many of these hydros can go bad also if the customer washes his machine with water or leaves it outside. The water will be drawn into the hydro through the seals and contaminate the oil and cause it to wear out prematurely. Most people and even many dealerships do not really know the DANGERS of washing mower with water. In fact many dealerships are still washing them with a pressure washer before they try to repair them for customers. Washing mower is the second leading cause of catastrophic Lawnmower failure.

 

If you do not want to spend the money to replace the hydro, then after you do some of the simple things I recommended, the I would suggest that you sell it as described above. Remember that even replacing the hydro would be much less expensive than replacing the entire mower.

 

I hope that I have cleared things up a little.

 

As James said, please do not shoot the messenger as I am just trying to help you. Even if it turns out that you can get it working, what we have given you is the information that applies to most of these units when the act as yours does.

 

Keep me informed as to what you find as I would be very interested to see if you find anything other than what I have suggested.

 

Feel free to contact me here at this question anytime ...even after you hit the "ACCEPT" button ...and I will try to help further.

 

Please click "ACCEPT" or I won't get paid.

You may also consider sending a bonus if I have been helpful, Please leave POSITIVE feedback for me as this is how I'm rated. Remember, a neutral is nearly as bad as a negative. If not satisfied, contact me and I will make it right. Thanks

 

Expert:  James W replied 3 years ago.

I agree that I had a poor choice of words using brake instead of wear. I know better.

My use of Breaks, was in direct answer to your question "what breaks in the gear box".

 

The better way to phrase it is that they just wear out.

 

One huge problem is that many homeowners have seen a professional cutting lawns with the big Commercial ZTRs as fast as they possibly can.

 

And, of course, these users are interested in cutting as many lawns per day as they can. They know they are going to buy new equipment every 2 or 3 years, and that is acceptable to the pro. It is a cost of doing business.

Plus, the unit looks so pretty after 2 or 3 years, they can sell it for large bucks when they are done with it so they can buy their new ones.

 

The Cub cadets can not be driven this way by the homeowner. But, they do, and they wear them out very quickly.

They go bumping around the yard, and spinning around the turns (sliding even), and cut as fast as they can.

The transmissions and the decks and the frames just can not handle this.

 

 

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