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#4792560 - 06/20/18 09:10 PM How Fast to Run a ZeroTurn Mower
Gebo Offline


Registered: 09/18/02
Posts: 2153
Loc: VA
I've always had rider mowers where they say to run them full throttle when mowing grass. Well, I did that today with my ZTurn and I am assuming it was very entertaining for my neighbors. At what speed do I run a ZTurn?
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#4792567 - 06/20/18 09:16 PM Re: How Fast to Run a ZeroTurn Mower [Re: Gebo]
spasm3 Offline


Registered: 05/30/10
Posts: 8763
Loc: North Carolina
I run my toro zturn at full throttle. But the hydro's control forward speed. I have a two speed selector for fast/slow.
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#4792569 - 06/20/18 09:16 PM Re: How Fast to Run a ZeroTurn Mower [Re: Gebo]
motor_oil_madman Offline


Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 4893
Loc: Houston, Texas
The sales guy at the mower dealer said they're designed to run at top speed. Assuming it's smooth enough and the grass is at your standard weekly 3" long. Now this is only if you have a side discharge. If you have a mulch kit, you'll probably have to slow down a bit. I find a mower is like a boat, it's usually too bumpy to run them at full speed.


Edited by motor_oil_madman (06/20/18 09:17 PM)
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#4792571 - 06/20/18 09:17 PM Re: How Fast to Run a ZeroTurn Mower [Re: Gebo]
doitmyself Offline


Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 6269
Loc: MI
You run the engine at full throttle for the steering pumps and blade speed to operate correctly. You adjust your traveling speed via the control handles to match your conditions (grass height, ground roughness, etc.). Commercial ZTR's have faster blade speeds (and other attributes) to handle faster mowing.

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#4792582 - 06/20/18 09:28 PM Re: How Fast to Run a ZeroTurn Mower [Re: Gebo]
GravelRoad Offline


Registered: 05/30/15
Posts: 170
Loc: Virginia
The same. Full throttle for fastest blade speed and adjust your driving speed according to grass/terrain.

What were you doing "entertaining for my neighbors"? Spinning in circles? crackmeup
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#4792590 - 06/20/18 09:32 PM Re: How Fast to Run a ZeroTurn Mower [Re: Gebo]
spasm3 Offline


Registered: 05/30/10
Posts: 8763
Loc: North Carolina
Just be aware that while you can " zero turn" , doing so on wet grass at the shortest turning radius will tear the grass.
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#4792605 - 06/20/18 09:43 PM Re: How Fast to Run a ZeroTurn Mower [Re: Gebo]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 10653
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Are we talking max ground speed or max governed engine RPM?

Running the engine at max RPM is recommended for pretty much all OPE.

For ground speed, you can go as fast as your terrain, mowing and safety needs dictate.
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#4792788 - 06/21/18 06:57 AM Re: How Fast to Run a ZeroTurn Mower [Re: Gebo]
Gebo Offline


Registered: 09/18/02
Posts: 2153
Loc: VA
I am talking about the engine speed. It seemed hard to control the ground speed and turning and such when I had the engine RPM's at full throttle. And I do have a mulching kit.

I felt out of control but it was my first time using the ZTurn.
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#4792878 - 06/21/18 08:28 AM Re: How Fast to Run a ZeroTurn Mower [Re: Gebo]
motor_oil_madman Offline


Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 4893
Loc: Houston, Texas
You just have to learn with time. Practice with knowing where neutral is on the sticks and that will help.
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#4792882 - 06/21/18 08:39 AM Re: How Fast to Run a ZeroTurn Mower [Re: Gebo]
Eddie Offline


Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 9643
Loc: Florida, Cape Coral
Max engine RPM is required for engine cooling according to my John Deere.
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#4792884 - 06/21/18 08:44 AM Re: How Fast to Run a ZeroTurn Mower [Re: Gebo]
old1 Offline


Registered: 01/04/11
Posts: 1006
Loc: Columbus Nebraska
As others have said, you control your ground speed with the transmission, not the engine rpm. Practice, practice, practice.
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#4792900 - 06/21/18 08:58 AM Re: How Fast to Run a ZeroTurn Mower [Re: Gebo]
Zee09 Offline


Registered: 05/05/18
Posts: 466
Loc: Tri State Conservative
Most repeat full throttle as most ZT makers suggest that.
Mine says a minimum of 3000 rpm- I found about 3150 rpm the sweet spot for great cutting and maximum fuel efficiency.
That comes in handy when your lawn is literally a country mile.
I do have a built in tach and it makes it easy to remember your calculated "sweet spots" when you move over to other areas.


In the end you will know after you get used to it. Same with actual speed- your terrain dictates that.
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#4792939 - 06/21/18 09:27 AM Re: How Fast to Run a ZeroTurn Mower [Re: Gebo]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 10653
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Gebo, when I had my Cub Z-Force ZTR, it felt the same way at full throttle. The drives put out max torque at max engine RPM, so ground speed and direction changes will be more herky-jerky unless you use a softer touch.

I get it that the manufacturers recommend full throttle for "proper engine cooling", but you don't need to run them at full throttle. You'll burn less fuel throttled down a bit and IMO, it's easier on the equipment and you throttled down some.


Edited by JTK (06/21/18 09:27 AM)
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#4793009 - 06/21/18 10:36 AM Re: How Fast to Run a ZeroTurn Mower [Re: Gebo]
Gebo Offline


Registered: 09/18/02
Posts: 2153
Loc: VA
I'm leaning towards JTK. One thing I have noticed is that it still creeps forward in neutral with the bars laid out. I need to do a little research. IT's a Snapper/Simplicity from 2008 I purchased from my neighbor.

Since I'm running all Amsoil, that's all I need for cooling. wink
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'00 LEX GS300 195K
'02 4Runner 225K
'05 Lex LS430 85K
'06 Toyota Highlander 145K
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#4793048 - 06/21/18 11:05 AM Re: How Fast to Run a ZeroTurn Mower [Re: Gebo]
dwendt44 Offline


Registered: 05/17/06
Posts: 3982
Loc: Central Wisconsin
Doesn't the cut look rather ragged when mowed at a
really fast pace? I usually mow at a moderate speed and the
'cut' looks pretty good after.


My 2
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