When Bad Boy mowers came on the scene in 2002, they were an instant success. Two decades later, the Bad Boy brand still arguably makes the best commercial zero-turn mowers on the market.
However, even a brand known for reliability will still have some issues. Fortunately, most of the Bad Boy Mowers problems are relatively easy to fix.
Their lawn mowers are built for easy maintenance so that you can do a lot of it yourself.
We have highlighted the ten most common problems with Bad Boy tractors and how to fix them. So, then, let’s cut into it.
10 Most Common Bad Boy Mowers Problems
In this list, we are only focusing on Bad Boy zero-turn mowers. The company recently unveiled a walk-behind mower, but they are not as popular yet and sadly, we are yet to have a Bad Boy tractor for mowing.
1. Bad Boy Mower not Starting
We begin our list with a problem that would make anyone freak out. Bear in mind that Bad Boy mowers are not cheap, so if your rather hefty purchase fails, it can put you in a comma.
However, the problem is usually not difficult to solve. The most common reason for your Bad Boy mower not starting is you not following the proper starting procedure.
For example, if it’s cold and you don’t choke it, the lawn mower won’t start, or it might stall shortly after.
Other things like the brakes and PTO being in the wrong position will also prevent it from starting.
If you have followed the starting procedure and your zero-turn mower still isn’t starting, here’s what you need to do.
How to troubleshoot Bad Boy Zero turn mower starting problems
Check your fuel tank
If you haven’t used your Bad Boy mower in a month, chances are the fuel has gone old, and you need to drain the fuel tank. Old gas can also clog the fuel line, so you should check this too.
Your Bad Boy lawn mower also won’t start if there is water in the tank – you forgot to close it, and you washed it, or rain fell on it, or you use the same jerry can for water.
Check the battery charge and connection
Bad Boy mower parts are easy to access, which also makes it easy to mistakenly snag a connector on the battery while servicing.
Check the spark plug
No spark, no start. Remove the spark plug and check for carbon buildup. If the buildup isn’t too bad, you can clean it, and it will work just fine.
Depending on the engine, you should also change spark plugs every 25 hours or 100 hours.
Check the air filter
When the air filter is clean, it prevents air from entering the engine and the fuel from igniting.
Unlike other brands, Bad Boy recommends that you check your air filter daily. A clogged air filter makes it hard for air to get into the carburetor and get the engine started.
Check all visible wires, connections, and in-line fuses
When you open up the engine, check to see that the fuses, wires, and relays are all pushed in.
You might also want to swap the relays around to see if one of them is faulty. Also, check the connections under the control panel.
Chances are, before you get to the last option, you would have identified the problem. If you haven’t yet diagnosed or solved the problem, you should then take it to the dealer or a repair shop.
2. Blades won’t Engage
Bad Boy mowers have become popular because they are some of the best heavy-duty lawn mowers with the ability to chop down 6-ft tall weeds.
So, when you find that your lawn mower is barely cutting little grass or nothing at all, don’t write this off.
If you find that the blades aren’t engaged – they aren’t cutting – there are three things you need to do.
- See if the safety switch is plugged in on the bottom of the seat. The safety switch ensures that the blades don’t work when you are off the chair.
- Check underneath the PTO engager to see if the plug is secure.
- Check the control panel or under the seat for any unplugged wires and connections
- Check the battery. If the battery is too weak, it won’t power the blades, even though the Bad Boy mower comes on.
- Check the deck belts. Ensure the deck belts are aligned and not damaged. Bad Boy recommends that you check the belts daily. If the belt is loose or damaged, replace it.
One other cause for the blades not engaging is a faulty clutch. If diagnosing this is above your pay grade, call a professional.
What if the blades have a problem disengaging? Here’s a guide on why riding mower blades won’t disengage.
3. Uneven Cut
One of the most common complaints we’ve heard about early iterations of the Bad Boy mowers is the grass not cutting evenly. This occurred with people with both new and old mowers.
In some instances, it would appear as though one of the blades wasn’t cutting anything, even though it was spinning.
In most of these cases, the solution was pretty simple, and we’ll highlight it below. But first, let’s walk through the different steps you should take to ensure an even cut.
How to get your Bad Boy mower to cut evenly
- Check the tire pressure. Complex problems usually require simple solutions. If the pressure is uneven, the cut will be uneven. Ensure your tires are pumped according to the specifications in the operator’s manual.
- Check the blades. Blades need to be sharpened after every ten hours of use. Many owners find this tedious, but it actually saves a lot of time and money in the long run. Dull blades not only lead to an uneven cut but it makes the spindle work harder, which can also wear out the belt and, eventually, the engine. Besides sharpening, also ensure the blades are fitted correctly.
- Check the tension in the spring and belt. When you’ve owned a mower for a long time, it’s natural for the spring and belt to lose a bit of tension. In some cases, you can fix the spring, but it’s worth replacing if you’ve used the mower for hundreds of hours.
- Run your machine at full throttle. In most cases of uneven cutting that we’ve seen, this was the problem. Depending on where you bought your Bad Boy mower, this might not have been calibrated properly. If your mower is new, take it back to the dealer and let them fix it.
- Get rid of any debris. Clean the mowing deck after every use or whenever grass begins to accumulate. The excess grass will reduce airflow, which affects the blades. The grass itself can also get in the way of the blades.
- Keep a steady pace. We know you have a lot to cover, but speed kills quality. Moving too quickly could also cause the mowing deck to bounce, which will also yield uneven cuts.
- Double back as needed. You won’t always get a perfect cut on the first pass, so you might need to go over it again. Remember to vary your cutting pattern as you do to ensure you don’t miss any blades of grass.
4. Shaking Mower Deck
One of the main selling points of Bad Boy mowers is their sturdy construction. The mower deck is reinforced with fully fabricated and welded steel, making it one of the strongest and heaviest in its class.
However, after hundreds of hours, the mower deck might begin to vibrate or shake. That is because the screws and bolts that attach to the deck get loose over time.
Check the screws on the pulley system and the belt adjustment at the back of the drive pulley.
If you have missing screws or loose screws, that could be the reason your mower deck is shaking. Putting too much weight on your mower deck could also cause it to vibrate.
However, considering the electric deck lift can handle 3,000 pounds of static weight, this shouldn’t be a problem unless you have been abusing your Bad Boy mower.
Something else that could cause cutting deck vibration also happens to be our next problem.
5. Spindle Problems
The spindle is what holds the blade and well, spins it around so it can cut. So, when the spindle gets bad, your Bad Boy mower becomes useless.
That is why even though spindle problems lead to uneven cuts, this deserves its own section because of how serious it is.
Besides the issue with the blades, a problem with the spindles can also cause the mower deck to vibrate.
How to tell if your spindle is bad
- Weird noises start coming from the mower deck. Whenever you hear a new, unnerving sound from your mower, you should always inspect it. In this case, it might sound like metal constantly clanging against each other. This is the result of the ball bearings moving out of place or the spindle shaft coming loose.
- An uneven cut. If the blades are sharp, fitted tightly, and you’re still getting uneven cuts, chances are the spindle has a problem.
- Vibrating mower deck or vibrating mower. When the spindle problem is really bad, it can cause vibrations to spread throughout the entire Bad Boy mower.
- The belt comes off the pulley. If the spindle is bent out of shape, it won’t be able to hold the belt in place, so it will keep coming off.
- Blades don’t start cutting immediately. If you find that you need to leave your bad boy mower running for a few minutes before the blades engage, chances are the spindle has a preload issue.
Once you notice any of these, you need to either get the spindle fixed or replaced. Bent or misshapen spindles have no hope.
Sometimes, all you need is a bit of engine oil to get it spinning right. If you’re not sure what to do, contact a mechanic.
6. Battery Drains Quickly
There are many reasons why you need to monitor how many hours you use your Bad Boy mower.
The first is to know when to perform routine maintenance. Another reason is to monitor how long the battery lasts.
On average, you are meant to charge your Bad Boy lawn mower battery once a month.
If you find that you need to charge it more often, it could mean the battery either isn’t charging properly or it is draining quickly.
Provided you have a good battery charger that you use correctly, the battery will charge just fine, meaning that isn’t the problem.
There are many reasons why the battery would drain quickly, including but not limited to the following:
- Leaving the components on when the motor is off
- Loose or faulty battery cables
- Failing voltage regulator
- Bad battery
Some problems can easily be fixed, such as not running the lights when the motor is off. You can also tighten loose cables or clean dirty battery cables.
However, if you have defective mower parts like the voltage regulator and battery, just get new ones.
7. Electric Deck Lift not Working
There is a lot to brag about the electric deck on a Bad Boy mower. It is one of the strongest on the market, weighing 250 pounds and being able to lift 1,000 pounds. It is also very reliable and hard to damage.
So, when the electric deck lift on your Bad Boy mower stops working, it’s time to buy a new one. Kidding.
There are different things that could cause the electronic lift to stop working, such as a problem with the lift motor, the actuator, and the hydraulic.
However, the most common point of failure is on the switch itself. Dust and dirt can get trapped in the deck switch underneath the operating panel.
This could be mud or dirt deposits from when it rains on when you’re mowing wet grass. What you need to do is pop it open and clean it using a pick for large debris and an air duster for smaller bits.
Depending on where you live or how often you mow, you might need to do this once every season.
If this doesn’t solve the electronic lift problem, you can then check the actuator housing to see if water has gotten in or if it is sealed properly.
8. Alignment Problems
We often hear complaints of a Bad Boy mower pulling to one side. When this happens, it is difficult or impossible to steer the mower to where you want it.
If your Bad Boy mower has alignment issues, you would usually notice this before the warranty runs out and within the first few hours of riding.
However, if you bought it used, or this is a fault that developed over time, here is what you need to check:
Tire pressure on all tires, as well as traction
Flat tires are a problem for cars, but they are a nightmare for lawn mowers. Low tire pressure will cause your Bad Boy mower to rely more on the other tires, which then affects your traction.
You should also check that all the tires are good and none of them is going bald.
Hydraulics and shock absorbers
Hydraulic leakage will prevent the transaxle from shifting power evenly. It will also affect other systems, such as the pulleys and the deck.
Shocks also give a more even ride, so when one is bad, it’ll cause your Bad Boy mower to skew.
If the problem is from the hydraulics, you might need to call a mechanic, as they will also hello you realign your Bad Boy mower after fixing it.
9. Problems With the Transaxle
Of all the Bad Boy mower problems, this is one of the most serious. When you begin to throw around big words like transaxle problems, customers often get scared, especially if they are new to riding lawn mowers.
The job of the transaxle is simply to divert power to forward or reverse movement.
In the case of the Bad Boy mower, the transaxle is part of their patented EZ-Ride® GEN2 3-Link Trailing Arm Suspension System, which delivers a very smooth ride, even on uneven surfaces.
It is the reason bad boy mowers deliver some of the best cuts on mild slopes. That is why it is a bit of a nightmare when the transaxle has a problem.
Common Bad Boy mower transaxle problems
- Leaking hydraulic fluid
- Mower creeping on neutral
If you notice any of these, you will need to purge the transaxle. That involves draining the hydraulic oil, cleaning the transaxle and replacing it with fresh oil, and adding a new oil filter.
While you can do this yourself, it may be best to seek professional help, especially if you’re still under warranty.
It’s important to mention that this isn’t a common problem and typically only happens when people don’t use their Bad Boy mowers, as stated in the operator’s manual.
You can also prevent this by replacing the hydraulic oil and filter, as recommended. The first change is at 100 hours, while subsequent changes will be every 400 hours or every season, whichever comes first.
10. Poor Traction in Wet Conditions
If you do a bit of lawn care after it rains, you may have noticed some issues with traction. Of course, this is to be expected, much like how cars lose traction in winter.
However, it can be a bit confusing if you’ve used other zero-turn mowers and didn’t experience this issue.
When this happens, you might think it is a problem with the hydraulics not taking power to the wheel, only for you to look behind and see that the wheel is spinning.
The DIY solution, or rather a suggestion we got from another professional, was to cut grooves in the tire to give it better traction. However, this can be a bit risky.
The other option is to buy new tires with better-wet traction. Changing the two rear tires will set you back a couple of hundred bucks.
If you are using your Bad Boy mower for commercial work, then it’s worth it. However, if it’s for your own lawn, you can just wait it out.
This will slow down your work, but it won’t cost you much. Of course, you could also decide not to use it at all when it’s wet, especially if you’re cutting on slopes.
Other Related Post: Simplicity Zero Turn Mower Problems
There you have the ten most common Bad Boy Mowers problems. You will have noticed that most of them have to do with how it cuts and the others with how it runs.
What that means for you as an owner is as long as you keep up with routine maintenance and inspect your mower daily according to the operating manual, you shouldn’t have any serious Bad Boy mower problems for years to come.
However, if you happen to own a defective Bad Boy mower, you should take advantage of the warranty, which lasts two years.
Now that you’ve seen the problems check out our review of the best Bad Boy mowers.