Help me pick- ZT mower maintenance

So, I finally got my Ariens Apex ZT mower after a fiasco with Lowes. It has the 24HP Kawasaki FR730V engine and the ZT-3100 hydros. Let's start off with money: since I plan on changing the oils and filters once a year, $100-125 for fluids & filters is not going to be a big deal even if it means I am over maintaining it. But I have several oils on the shelf that "would" possibly work. So here's my choices, let me know what you think. Kawasaki 10W30 oil, Kawasaki button-sized oil filter, Kawasaki air filter, HydroGear 52114 filters and HydroGear 15W50 hydro oil is OEM. 1. Delo XLE or Rotella T5 oil or Motul 4100 15W50, VPB 10W30 (all currently on my shelf), Amsoil 10W40 Small Engine Oil, or? 2. XG3614 oil filter (OTS), NAPA Gold 7035 hydro filters, or? 3. Amsoil 20W50 hydro oil, or? I'd imagine yearly usage will be somewhere around 100 hours; I know the manual says oil change every hundred hours and filter every 200 hours, but this is BITOG and I want something to do in the garage once winter hits, so I will be changing all three filters and oils every winter. Do I go all-out and get Amsoil fluids and low-micron filters, or use cheaper "spec" oils and filters which are rated 25-28 micron? For reference, oil change is 2.2 quarts with filter, and hydros are about 2.5 quarts each with filter. So three filters and 2 gallons of fluid total per winter. Who has the most hours on an FR730V and/or ZT-3100s, and what was your maintenance regimen? smile
 
Messages
3,169
Location
Outer Banks, NC
I had a Kawasaki motor on my 2005 Wright 52 inch ZTR, and I always used 5w-30 synthetic PCMO and Baldwin filters. I didn't see any reason to overdo it. My son still uses the mower in his business 14 years later with no engine work ever done.
 
Messages
1,637
Location
Americus, GA
You probably won't be operating the mower in sub-freezing weather so, 20W50 engine oil will be fine. 20w50 for the hydros as well. Super Tech will be fine in both applications. Use whatever engine oil filter that you like. For the hydros, use a WIX/NAPA Gold hydraulic filter. WIX makes the Hydro-Gear OE filters and many other brands. You can probably pick up the Rotary branded filter a little cheaper. Change the engine oil and filter after the first 5 hours and every 100 hours thereafter. I have included the service manual for the ZT-3100. I changed the hydraulic oil in my Toro at first 75 hours. https://www.hydro-gear.com/54ca412913_sites/hydro-gear.com/files/BLN-52441_P19.pdf
 
Messages
839
Location
AR
Most popular choice I know of and what I use is Mobil 1 15W-50 and the hydrogear filters 1 5gt jug will do both sides. The OEM filters dont have a drainback valve, so didnt feel like inviting any problems for myself.
 
Messages
1,637
Location
Americus, GA
That's right, there is no ADBV on the hydraulic filters. You're asking for trouble if you run a filter other than a purpose built hydraulic filter.
 
Messages
1,637
Location
Americus, GA
WIX hydro filter WL 10102 is the same as the Hydro-Gear 52114. Engine oil filter should be FRAM TG4967 or XG4967 or NAPA Gold 1394
 
Last edited:
Messages
1,322
Location
Central Oklahoma
FR691V here that sees 200 hours a year between 2 properties totaling 4 acres. Stellar engine. Been using 5W-30 Valvoline SynPower SN (still have a stash) it's whole life since the 8hr change and WIX 57035s @100-125hr OCIs. Literally runs identical to the day we got it. Never once even had to use the choke. A little splash of Techron here on rare occasion and maintaining the rest of the stuff like Kawasaki recommends, and it still runs like a champ. It's almost at 1000 hours. Wouldn't trade it. Stellar engine.
 
Last edited:
Messages
839
Location
AR
Forgot to say I usually use the Mobil 1 15W-50 in the small engines too, now having a diesel I buy 15w-40 in bulk so will just use that in the engines. I don't like the big plume off startup smoke I get from my new Kawasaki FR651V or 20yo B&S 21hp Intek that I get with 10W-30 or thinner.....the thicker winter grade seems lo leak less by the rings of the horizontal cyliners when sitting, and have less startup smoke.
 
Messages
1,322
Location
Central Oklahoma
Originally Posted by tundraotto
Forgot to say I usually use the Mobil 1 15W-50 in the small engines too, now having a diesel I buy 15w-40 in bulk so will just use that in the engines. I don't like the big plume off startup smoke I get from my new Kawasaki FR651V or 20yo B&S 21hp Intek that I get with 10W-30 or thinner.....the thicker winter grade seems lo leak less by the rings of the horizontal cyliners when sitting, and have less startup smoke.
You have plumes of smoke on a new Kawi? Never once in 1000 hours here... not even a little bit, using synthetic 5W-30. Perhaps it's the oil choice...? shrug
 
Messages
6,639
Location
South Florida
Ive done hundreds of oil changes on commercial Kawasaki engines and I always put in 15W40 unless the owner requested otherwise. These motors seem to REALLY like a 40 weight. (In south Florida) SAE40 or 15W40 is my choice for this engine.
 
Messages
798
Location
Cave City KY
you can use a wix 51348 filter on the engine and you don't need hydrogear oil mobil 1 15w50 is fine. 10w40 is fine for the engine as well that is what i use.
 
Last edited:
Messages
839
Location
AR
Originally Posted by tony1679
Originally Posted by tundraotto
Forgot to say I usually use the Mobil 1 15W-50 in the small engines too, now having a diesel I buy 15w-40 in bulk so will just use that in the engines. I don't like the big plume off startup smoke I get from my new Kawasaki FR651V or 20yo B&S 21hp Intek that I get with 10W-30 or thinner.....the thicker winter grade seems lo leak less by the rings of the horizontal cyliners when sitting, and have less startup smoke.
You have plumes of smoke on a new Kawi? Never once in 1000 hours here... not even a little bit, using synthetic 5W-30. Perhaps it's the oil choice...? shrug
Just one plume of smoke on the Kawi - depending on how long it sits....over a week=pretty big plume. Staring as per instructions (1/2 choke, 1/2 throttle). On the oil that it came with, and with the Mobil 1 10W-30 that I changed in, at 8hrs per Kawi manual recommendation. Of course like said - its new (12hrs) so the rings may not be seated all the way yet. On the Briggs there is always some startup smoke since it sits longer, but its way less with the Mobil 15W-50. If I leave it parked on a hill for a few weeks - big cloud. I think as per bubbatime - 15W-40 will be the ideal oil viscosity for my climate - Arkansas has super-summer and thats when the mowing gets done...15W is great for startup at 85-100°F, and 40 weight will take the heat without thinning too much.
 
Messages
1,322
Location
Central Oklahoma
We have "super-summer" too... 5W-30 has been great and "10W-30" is what is recommended on the dipstick. I don't think mowers are under CAFE rules... shrug FWIW, I've literally NEVER used the choke, and always start it with the throttle at minimum. Starts quickly, no hesitation, just like new. I'm thinking it's the half throttle affecting the plume. After all, you don't start your car with the gas pedal halfway to the floor, do you?
 
Top