For over three decades, Ferris has had one goal: to make the best commercial zero-turn mowers.
While there is some debate about whether they have, they undoubtedly make the most comfortable mowers.
Ferris mowers are so good that they were acquired by Briggs & Stratton, and they continue to make phenomenal Z-T mowers from New York. However, even great brands have issues.
Fortunately, most of the Ferris zero turn mower problems are mild and can easily be fixed by you. We’ve outlined the most common issues and how to solve them.
10 Common Ferris Zero Turn Mower Problems and Their Quick Fixes
1. Ferris mower starting problems
The average Ferris zero-turn mower can last a decade without requiring mechanical fixes. If there is a problem during that time, it is usually due to the user.
However, if you’ve owned your Ferris mower for a while, you might experience starting problems. Suppose you only recently bought a Ferris zero-turn mower.
In that case, the problem might be due to not following the proper starting sequence. If you are certain you’ve done everything right, you need to troubleshoot the cause of the problem.
How to troubleshoot Ferris zero-turn mower not starting
Check the fuel
Bad gas is a common problem for mowers not starting. If you let gas sit in your fuel tank all winter and didn’t put in fuel stabilizer, the gas will now be bad. So empty it, put in some fresh fuel, and see how it runs.
Check the fuel filter and fuel lines
If you have bad gas, it can cause a plugged fuel filter and fuel lines. It could also clog the carburetor and that would take a bit of effort to clean, but always start with the easiest checks.
Check the battery connections
If there is any corrosion, the battery won’t be able to power up properly. Clean corrosion with a brush or sandpaper. If any wire is burnt or broken, swap it out.
Check the spark plug
Spark plugs are often the reason why lawn mowers don’t start. If you haven’t changed your spark plug this season, it might be due. However, if it’s just dirty, you can clean it and try it again.
Check all connections
Look under the hood and ensure all the wires and fuses are in place. Don’t forget the safety switch and PTO switch.
Check the air filter
Without sufficient airflow, the engine won’t start. Unfortunately, for some Ferris zero-turn mowers, you have to swap out instead of clean the air filter, so consult your manual to know what to do.
In some instances, the reason the engine isn’t starting is due to a voltage drop. If you suspect an electrical issue, use a volt meter.
Once you trace the fault, you can easily swap out the part or call an expert because electrical faults can be tricky.
2. Brake not working
Given how fast Ferris zero-turn mowers move, failing brakes is one problem you don’t want to have.
Unfortunately, zero-turn mowers account for a considerable number of accidents and deaths each year, and a number of them have to do with the parking brake.
In the case of Ferris zero-turn mowers, you can expect the brakes to last as long as the mower unless you push them to their limits by working at high speeds on a slope or you have a faulty brake.
Whatever the cause, there are usually two things to do when you suspect a broken brake.
- If the brake lever is failing, you should tighten the bars and bolts connecting the lever to the brake cable.
- If a part of the brake cable is broken, replace the entire cable immediately.
Even though it sounds like a huge job, you can replace the brakes yourself.
3. Won’t cut wet grass
Most of the complaints about Ferris zero turn mower problems are usually exaggerated or common to most zero-turn mowers, and this is no different.
Mowing wet grass is a problem for all mowers, including zero-turn mowers from other brands. Besides that, Ferris explicitly tells owners not to mow wet grass.
However, there is a rumor that Ferris zero-turn mowers are meant for dry and wet grass, which has led to customers being upset.
If you MUST mow wet grass, get the Gator mulching blades. These are a game changer, but don’t use them on tall wet grass because that will still clomp up the cutting deck.
4. Unable to raise the deck
One of the advantages of a zero-turn mower is its speed. That is why Ferris and other brands make it easy for you to adjust the cutting deck on the fly, so you can get to your preferred cutting height in seconds.
Unfortunately, a few Ferris zero-turn mower owners have noticed slight or significant delays in this process. In some cases, the cutting deck didn’t raise at all.
This is usually due to a problem with the deck linkage. After a while, the linkage may not move as freely as it did and might require a bit of WD-40.
However, you should also check the springs, deck mounting points, and any arms for damage.
5. Engine runs poorly
Ferris zero-turn mowers are famed for their reliable engines. That’s because they only use the best of the best: Kawasaki or Briggs & Stratton.
So, if your engine isn’t running properly, there’s a good chance you have not been servicing it properly. Of course, it may also be a faulty engine or old age.
How to troubleshoot Ferris zero-turn mower engine problems
- Check the oil level
- Check the engine’s air filter
- Check the engine’s oil filter
- Check the engine’s fuel filter
- Check the PTO switch
- Ensure you are running at the highest engine throttle speed
- While driving, ensure you adjust the levers evenly and avoid jerky movements
- Ensure you used the right engine oil
- Ensure you’re using the right fuel mixture
- Check the spark plug gap
Chances are whatever is wrong would be cleared by these. You can also prevent engine problems by keeping up with the required maintenance and not running the engine beyond its normal speed.
That will put unnecessary pressure on the engine and shorten its lifespan.
6. Excessive vibration
Feris Zero-turn mowers have fantastic suspension and one of the best riding experiences. That is why it is quite shocking when you begin to feel the lawn mower vibrate excessively, especially the mower deck.
The cause of this is usually loose bolts and connectors, which is normal when you’ve ridden a machine for hundreds of hours.
However, we’ve also noticed that this complaint is more frequent after the owner has removed the cutting deck perhaps to sharpen the blades.
If you don’t reinstall the deck correctly, it will lead to this problem.
7. Problem with the hydro-gear system
Ferris zero-turn mowers use a hydraulic system with patented hydro-gear technology. The hydro-gear uses hydraulic fluid to power the mower instead of gears.
This is part of the reason why you get a smoother ride and the part requires less maintenance.
Despite how great the hydrostatic transmission system is, it can be undone by something as basic as air.
For example, if there is a broken connection or you just changed the hydraulic fluid and air is trapped inside, the hydro-gear won’t work.
You would need to bleed out the air before you can get your zero-turn lawn mower back in the yard.
8. Uneven mowing problems
One of the most frustrating Ferris zero-turn mower problems is when it can’t do what it’s meant to do.
Of course, getting uneven cuts is not new with a lawn mower, but you don’t expect that from a commercial zero-turn mower that costs thousands of dollars.
However, it is abnormal to get uneven cuts from a Ferris mower if you have done everything right and are working on level ground.
It is slightly more common on slopes, but that’s to be expected from a zero-turn. If you aren’t getting the right results, you can troubleshoot the cause.
How to troubleshoot uneven mowing problems on a Ferris lawn mower
- Check the tire pressure. Different models require different tire psi’s, so ensure you follow what’s in the manual.
- Ensure the blades are sharp. Dull blades will scalp or pull up grass instead of cutting. Cut them every 25 hours or more often if there are a lot of rocks on your property.
- Run your zero-turn mower at full throttle. Not only is this good for the engine, but it also ensures a level cut.
- Keep the deck clean. When there’s a lot of debris in the deck, the airflow is compromised, and it won’t be able to suck up the grass for a straight cut.
- Check the belt and pulley system. When the deck belt gets weak, the power becomes inconsistent, which affects the cut. Ensure you replace damaged belts and also check the springs.
- Don’t rush. This is particularly important when cutting slopes. Moving too quickly will cause the mower to bounce, which then compromises the cut.
Besides these, ensure you double back when mowing and don’t cut wet grass.
9. Traction problems
Ferris zero-turn mowers are built with traction that is good enough to handle relatively steep inclines. It even gives a smooth ride on wet grounds – driving, not cutting wet grass.
However, if you have owned a Ferris zero-turn mower for a few years, you will notice that it will begin to develop traction issues.
There are several reasons for it, but the most common is your tires going bald. If you use your Ferris zero-turn mower in wet conditions, you should also consider getting tired with better wet traction.
And, of course, you should keep them pumped to the required pressure because this can also cause traction issues.
Low hydraulic oil could compromise the hydro gear and affect steering and traction, as well as broken or worn pulleys and loose connections.
It is critical that you solve the traction problem because this can lead to accidents if you lose control at the wrong time. If you can’t solve it yourself, call a mechanic.
Last but not least is a Ferris zero-turn mower problem that is unbearable for a professional landscaper.
When you scalp your own land, it is inconvenient, and it is mildly annoying. However, scalping a commercial lawn can cause harm to your reputation.
If your lawn mower is leaving chunks of brown dirt as you cut, you need to inspect it right away, and here’s how.
How to troubleshoot scalping on a Ferris zero-turn mower
Adjust the deck
Ensure that your deck has been properly installed from all angles. So check the alignment and the height from front to back and from side to side.
Make sure the mower blades are straight
No matter how good of a landscaper you are, a bent cutting blade will scalp. Disfigured blades are more common with commercial lawn mowers because you are more likely to hit rocks, logs, and other hard objects on different properties.
Check the height of the anti-scalp wheels
Firstly, ensure the wheels are in good condition. Secondly, you may need to lower the wheels to provide better protection.
Inspect the terrain before cutting
If the lawn is very bumpy and slopey, there is a higher chance of scalping. By studying the terrain ahead of time, you’ll know when to adjust your speed accordingly and the angle to come at.
Check the suspension
If the suspension has a problem, it will likely affect the angle and quality of the cut. So, if you’ve been noticing a slightly bumpier ride than usual, the suspension could be compromised, and it’ll need help from an expert.
Check the hydraulic system
The hydrostatic transmission on Ferris zero-turn mowers affect everything. It could compromise the motion control levers, which could make you lose traction at the wrong time and end up digging into the lawn.
Are Ferris Zero-Turn Mowers a Burden?
Ferris makes some of the most reliable zero-turn mowers on the market, just as they have done for years and will hopefully keep doing.
The only reason we see a lot of problems is because of their impressive longevity – the longer they last, the more room for problems.
However, with the right maintenance routine, you may not experience these Ferris zero-turn mower problems.
One other thing we forgot to mention is some problems arise because you’re using the wrong deck size or the wrong zero-turn mower.
If that might be the case, see our blog on how to choose the right size mower for your lawn.