Bought my first zero turn today...

Messages
389
Location
VA
I have a Ferris IS700 with the 61" deck and ZT3400 transaxles. I cut 9 acres with it. I run M1 Euro 0-40 in the engine and a FL400 filter. I buy the genuine hydrogear filters as some of the aftermarket ones have ADBVs in them and hydro filters don't have adbvs. I changed all the fluids after 5Hrs initial run time, I used M1 15-50 in the axles. Yes, it is less stressful on the deck belt to engage the blades at something less than full throttle.
 
Messages
582
Location
WV
You can't go wrong with a Kawasaki engine, they're pretty nice. HydroGear xaxles are pretty good also, so sounds like a good mower. As to the engaging the blades, I dunno. I've had belt drive decks and always thought that part throttle would help not "instantly" throw a belt off, but then I had mowers that wouldn't stay running unless it was full throttle when you engaged the deck so who knows what's right. Do whatever works for you. I never had any belts ruined by full throttle starts. My current JD 425 has the largest deck for the model 60", and I keep the bearings lubed well. It will start the blades easily when cold at full throttle, but it might not at part throttle, don't remember trying it. It doesn't even shutter when starting them cold, so I dunno, it's shaft drive to the deck though.
 
Messages
82
Location
Kansas
Amsoil is an excellent choice. Keep your air filter clean by tapping out the debris from time to time. Engage the blades at half or a third throttle. This will greatly extend the life of your clutch.
 
Messages
4,348
Location
Southeast
congrats on the ariens. I have their smallest ZTR, it's about 7 years old now. It's on its 3rd stamped deck but besides that has been a great machine. I can't blame all of the deck wear on the mower - it's our first rider, we have lots of roots, and that's been a learning curve. @ Win - that sounds awful, mine has never thrown a belt. Sounds like something is not in alignment, or the idler pulley has inadequate tension on it. Regarding the clutch, on mine it's the clutch that slips as the unit engages, not the belt. I know this because once the blades jammed, and during this time the belt stayed put but the clutch slipped. The idea with mid-throttle engagement is to reduce clutch wear. Mine just has the 1-lung brigs, but it's fine with either full speed or part-throttle engagement. Your twin shouldn't care. Note - when it was new, partial throttle engagement had a lot of vibration. After it broke in, it was fine. It rarely needs any kind of adjustment. After 1-2 years, I had to back the idle speed waaay off. As the engine broke in, it spun more freely and quicker, with a humorously notable increase after it got its first dose of synthetic oil.
 
Last edited:
Messages
1,057
Location
WV
Originally Posted by thastinger
I have a Ferris IS700 with the 61" deck and ZT3400 transaxles. I cut 9 acres with it. I run M1 Euro 0-40 in the engine and a FL400 filter. I buy the genuine hydrogear filters as some of the aftermarket ones have ADBVs in them and hydro filters don't have adbvs. I changed all the fluids after 5Hrs initial run time, I used M1 15-50 in the axles. Yes, it is less stressful on the deck belt to engage the blades at something less than full throttle.
What engine do you have? I have the same mower with the Briggs Commercial engine. I really like it but changing the ZT3400 oil was a real pain. Yes you drain the oil by removing the filters but filling it requires taking out the fill plug on top of the case. It is impossible to get to it. It's to let out the air out when you fill it. I even asked the Ferris mechanic at the shop and he laughed and said he had a special made allen wrench to get to it. Plus he has a lift to get it as high as he wants. Not removing it took a long time to fill and get the air out. I had it on jacks with the wheels off running the air purge method for 2 days.
 
Last edited:
Messages
1,057
Location
WV
I would run it for about 15 hrs. before changing the oil. I changed mine @ 5 hrs. and then again 5hrs later and it still had a lot of metal in it. At about 15 hrs it started running smoother as in being "broken in". I have Hydrogear 3400's and on my Ferris they were a real pain to change the oil. Hopefully yours won't be that hard. I just run 5-30 Syn in my Briggs Commercial engine.
 
Messages
3,946
Location
The land of USA-made Subies!
Thread starter
Thanks guys for all the input.... my wife has previous experience with driving the ZT, but none in maintenance. I'm sure I'll probably end up seriously over maintaining it; to me, it isn't unreasonable to change oil, filter, air filter, transaxle oil, and transaxle filters every year. I was actually pondering some much heavier duty mowers but the prospect of a $14k mower vs. this $4.2k mower kinda worked themselves out. Exmark looked very nice, but with a 10% sale, a 10% military discount, and 24 months at 0% financing on the Lowe's card made the $10k savings decision very easy. My wife gave me "the look" when about two minutes after my ZT purchase I looked at her and said, "Honey, I think this is the first time in my life that I've ever been excited to go cut the grass!" LOL I have to wait until the 28th for delivery though. frown
 
Messages
1,322
Location
Central Oklahoma
I cannot preach highly enough about Kawasaki small engines. My (2016..? Hustler Raptor 52") zero-turn has the 23HP FR691V (same owner's manual as yours). 900+ hours later, it still runs like brand new and I've literally never used the choke. Yes, it has that many hours because it does double duty on two large properties (about 3 acres combined). And because we never can seem to get the mower between both properties at the right time, the mower suffers the tall grass coming and going. It takes it like a champ. What I've learned on these engines? Do NOT listen to Kawasaki regarding oil specs. They're clueless. Anything newer than SL will cause immediate implosion. Also, and I quote, "Using multi grade oils (5W-20, 10W-30, and 10W-40) will increase oil consumption. Check oil level more frequently when using them." smirk2 They'd have an aneurysm if they found out I've been running SN Valvoline Synpower 5W-30 since the 8 hour dump without so much as being a few drops low (while running on average 100-125 hours per OCI, longer than the recommended 100). And before the 40 and 50 grade wackos attack, it specifies 10W-30 or SAE 30 on the dipstick, and has been running flawlessly on it. The plastic dipstick isn't even discolored. Don't screw the dipstick on to check the level, just "dip" the "stick" duh Figured that one out after 15 minutes at the 8 hour change. Also, I've run WIX 57035 filters every oil change (not every other like the manual recommends), only used NGK plugs (BPR4ES/7222), and have strictly used E-0 87 (with a light dose of Techron added every 4th or 5th fill up). Stay on top of the air/fuel filters & do even a fraction of what I've done, and you'll have one seriously happy engine. Congrats on your purchase!
 
Messages
5,986
Location
Connecticut
Originally Posted by Win
I bought a new, slightly smaller Ariens zero turn last year, and it's the second biggest POS I've ever owned, second only to a Honda car I had in college. The Honda was really, really, bad, otherwise this POS would be in first place. I use mine to mow my commercial property, and EVERY time I take it out of state to mow one of my outer properties, it tosses the drive belt. Every time. It's impossible to replace in the field. On my local property, it's better - it only fails half the time. The only positive thing is that the local dealer is a few hundred yards from my warehouse of junk. So that's sort of convenient. Edit : in fact, it's in the shop right now, and has been for at least the last three weeks. If you trailer it, be sure to have a strong come along with you. You'll likely need it. Hope yours works better for you, than mine does for me.
If it is going through that many belts something is seriously wrong with it. I'd check all pulleys, their alignment, belt guards, and bearings.
 

JTK

Messages
12,955
Location
Buffalo, NY
Super nice looking machine! Kawasaki engines are great, but the engine is only part of the picture. To me, the drive system, cutting deck and overall machine are more important than the engine. Sorry if I missed it, but I'm assuming this has the HydroGear ZT3400 drives like they pretty much all do these days. There's commercial duty drives right up to the ZT5400 now. They're nice. I had one of the first machines back in 2009-10 with ZT2800 series drives being used. It was a Cub Z-Force with a fab'd 44" deck.
 
Last edited:
Messages
11,912
Location
North Carolina
Originally Posted by tony1679
I cannot preach highly enough about Kawasaki small engines. My (2016..? Hustler Raptor 52") zero-turn has the 23HP FR691V (same owner's manual as yours).
My toro has the fr651v, but the odd thing is, it and the 691v seem to be the same engine. The specs are the same, and if i remember, the part numbers for replacement carbs, and valves were the same part number. same bore and stroke, even the same weight, the only difference is the stated horsepower. I think they are identical except for the engine cover. https://www.engine-specs.net/kawasaki/fr651v.html https://www.engine-specs.net/kawasaki/fr691v.html
 
Last edited:
Messages
386
Location
Owego, New York
I bought a Gravely ZT HD 52 with 23 HP Kawi last year. It replaced a Simplicity Citation XT. The Gravely mows the pants off the Simplicity, and it came leveled. Really like it, and that causes me to mow real often. Ariens leans more towards the residential market, and is very good product as well.This is my third Kawi engine, and the first two were trouble-free, but this one would often give a puff of oil when starting it after it sat a while (hot or cold). I put Mobil 1 15w50 in it, and zero smoke or oil odor. I would buy another Gravely for sure.
 

Win

Messages
4,701
Location
Arkansas
Originally Posted by jeepman3071
Originally Posted by Win
I bought a new, slightly smaller Ariens zero turn last year, and it's the second biggest POS I've ever owned, second only to a Honda car I had in college. The Honda was really, really, bad, otherwise this POS would be in first place. I use mine to mow my commercial property, and EVERY time I take it out of state to mow one of my outer properties, it tosses the drive belt. Every time. It's impossible to replace in the field. On my local property, it's better - it only fails half the time. The only positive thing is that the local dealer is a few hundred yards from my warehouse of junk. So that's sort of convenient. Edit : in fact, it's in the shop right now, and has been for at least the last three weeks. If you trailer it, be sure to have a strong come along with you. You'll likely need it. Hope yours works better for you, than mine does for me.
If it is going through that many belts something is seriously wrong with it. I'd check all pulleys, their alignment, belt guards, and bearings.
So, I got it back from the dealer yesterday, and they said .... wait for it .... they couldn't duplicate the problem, and couldn't find anything wrong with it. So I drove it down to my warehouse of junk, and it did successfully knock out a couple of acres of tall stuff. Which means it will fail the next time I mow anything. Hopefully OP's is working like a champ for him.
 

JTK

Messages
12,955
Location
Buffalo, NY
Win, are we talking the belt that drives the transaxles, the belt that drives the deck or the belt that drives the blades? Assuming we're talking about the belt to the deck, If the tensioners and sheaves are all where they should be and in good shape, are you cutting with the deck mashed down onto the ground? That can put a drastic angle on the belt and all deck jostling while mowing can cause the belt to jump off. Pay attention to the deck. It should hang from the machine, with the gauge wheels only contacting on occasional rough/high spots. Commercial duty machines tend to be the ones designed to allow the deck to actually ride on the ground.
 

Win

Messages
4,701
Location
Arkansas
I usually cut at 4 to 4.5 inches. It's the transaxle belt - worst case scenario for belt throwing; it's dead right there and time to get out the come along and winch it on the trailer. It doesn't matter if it is working hard, or hardly working - it's tossed it when mowing, and when getting ready to drive it on the trailer. I haven't worked on it at all, other than to determine that transaxle belt cannot be practically replaced out in the field with the mower on the ground. Practically, it's my problem, since the machine is not fit for its intended purpose and causes me a lot of commercial inconvenience, but I have an extended warranty on it so it will be several years before they can blow me off for good. I'm getting ready to overhaul the old JD and use it for my out of state property. it was dependable.
 
Messages
5,986
Location
Connecticut
Originally Posted by Win
I usually cut at 4 to 4.5 inches. It's the transaxle belt - worst case scenario for belt throwing; it's dead right there and time to get out the come along and winch it on the trailer. It doesn't matter if it is working hard, or hardly working - it's tossed it when mowing, and when getting ready to drive it on the trailer. I haven't worked on it at all, other than to determine that transaxle belt cannot be practically replaced out in the field with the mower on the ground. Practically, it's my problem, since the machine is not fit for its intended purpose and causes me a lot of commercial inconvenience, but I have an extended warranty on it so it will be several years before they can blow me off for good. I'm getting ready to overhaul the old JD and use it for my out of state property. it was dependable.
Is there another dealer you can take it to? Seems like they are not running it enough to duplicate the problem. I'm sure they are just starting it inside a shop and driving it around for 5 minutes saying it is fine. I had a customer with a tractor that would only throw the drive belt on a hill. No dealer could find the problem. First hill I drove it on and sure enough the belt comes off. It ended up having a crack in the frame allowing the transmission to flex enough and the belt would get misaligned and come off.
 

Win

Messages
4,701
Location
Arkansas
There was, in the next town over, but they went out of business. This dealer is more convenient, anyway, because it is just a block from my warehouse of junk. Last time they had it, they used it enough to run the gas tank almost completely dry. I took it in with at least half a tank, and it had enough gas left to drive a block and mow about thirty feet. Fortunately there is a gas station next to my warehouse of junk, and I had an empty milk jug.
 

JTK

Messages
12,955
Location
Buffalo, NY
That is an unusual one given the transaxle drive belt spins any time the engine is running and angles and tension shouldn't change on them. Like jeepman suggested, I wonder if there is some flexing or movement happening on the machine.
 
Top