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Kubota Zero Turn Mower Problems (DIY Zero Turn Mower Troubleshooting)

Kubota is a known brand in the lawn mowing industry as it offers some of the latest zero-turn mowers with solid features. These mowers come with powerful engines ranging from 19 to 32.5 horsepower and deck width ranging from 43 to 72 inches. Buying one of these units is a significant investment; like any other mower, Kubota has its shortcomings. Let’s look at some of the Kubota zero turn mower problems.

Kubota Zero Turn Mower Problems and Solutions 

Whenever you encounter problems with your zero turn mower, don’t worry. All you need is to troubleshoot. So instead of calling an expert, you can solve the issue yourself and avoid attracting extra costs. 

That said, below are the common problems with Kubota zero-turn mowers. 

  • Kubota Zero Turn Mower Won’t Start

A zero-turn mower that doesn’t start is a common problem with most mowers, especially if it has stayed idle for a while. This happens due to bad gas, a faulty spark plug, or a dirty carburetor. Also, a blockage in the fuel line is another possible issue as it starves the engine gasoline; so that the mower won’t start.

Solution

Luckily, there is a quick remedy to this problem. First, assess your air filter and clean it properly if it’s dirty. If that doesn’t work, check if your mower has enough fuel or gas, then refill if necessary. 

Lastly, check the spark plug. If it’s dirty, uninstall it and clean it thoroughly. Also, check for dark deposits or cracked porcelain. Your plug color should be amber. If it’s darker than this, replace it with a new one.

Tip

Ensure you gap the plug according to your manufacturer’s recommendations while replacing. 

  • Noise Problem

The annoying noise on your Kubota zero-turn mower is caused by mowing with a loose blade, a dirty mower deck, or dirty oil. 

Solution

The noise issue is not a big deal. You can resolve it by tightening the mower blades. And since there is no exact torque specification for tightening the blades, you will want to rotate the blades until you feel firm resistance. 

Another solution is to clean the dirt and grass under the mower deck. Alternatively, you will need to lift the cutting deck to its highest position. The belt might have slipped off if it doesn’t engage at all. So use a socket set to loosen the belt tensioner bolt and slide it slightly to the left. 

If the old belt has slipped off, reattach it or loop a new belt along with the pulleys if the existing one is damaged. After that, slide the tensioner to the right and fasten it with the socket set. This should solve the noise problem. 

Lastly, replace the oil for your mower to resume operating almost silently. 

  • Overheating Problem

Overheating in Kubota zero-turn mower is most likely caused by a blocked filter, preventing cool air from spreading through the engine to cool it. Also, insufficient oil can cause the engine to overheat due to poor lubrication. 

Solution

You can solve the overheating issue by ensuring your mower has enough oil before starting the engine. Still, you will want to clean your air filter thoroughly or replace it if necessary. That should solve the overheating issue. 

  • Smog Problems 

A smog problem implies that your Kubota mower produces more pollution than usual. This issue is mainly caused by careless and improper refueling. 

Solution

The smog problem is very harmful to you and the environment. Therefore, you need to fix it very fast. You can achieve this by refueling your mower according to the instructions laid out in the user manual.

Also, follow regular maintenance procedures on your mower, such as replacing oil, air filters and doing periodic inspections. 

  • Hydraulic Transmission Problem

Transmission problems in your zero-turn mower starts with the air in the system. When the pump is filled with air instead of oil, it can’t produce the pressure needed to offer power. This is common if your mower has stayed idle for a while during winter. 

Solution

The surest way to handle this issue is to purge the transmission system using the steps given below: 

First, move your mower to level ground and engage the parking brake. Ensure the oil reservoir is filled according to the specs before disengaging the transmission. 

After that, start the engine and position the motion control levers in neutral and disengage the brake pedal. Follow with pushing the motion control levers forward and holding for five seconds.

Also, you will want to pull motion control levers to the full reverse position and hold them for a few seconds. Repeat this three times to purge air from the hydraulic transmission system 

  • Uneven Cuts

A lawn mower in use. But Is Mowing a Good Workout?Another common problem with Kubota zero turn mowers is uneven cuts. This leaves your lawn looking visually unappealing with wavy patterns. It usually occurs under various circumstances, but the most common causes are: 

  • Damaged mower spindle.
  • Damaged blade. 
  • Improper leveled deck. 
  • Dull blades. 
  • Blade installed incorrectly. 
  • Broken deck shell. 
  • Deck plugged with clippings.

Solution

The best way to prevent wavy troughs on your lawn’s surface after mowing is by practicing regular maintenance checks on your mower’s blade, deck, spindle, etc. Ensure all these parts are in good working order.

  • Streaking

Streaking occurs when thin beams of uncut grass are left behind your mower. This happens due to the following aspects: 

  • Mowing with dull blades. 
  • Worn blades. 
  • A clogged mower deck. 
  • Not overlapping cutting rows. 
  • Low engine speed.

Solution

You can prevent lawn mower streaking by overlapping correctly, cleaning your mower, mowing at an appropriate speed, and sharpening the blades.

  • Cooling Fan For the Hydraulic Pump Issue

Your Kubota zero-turn mower cooling fan can stop working after using the pump for 8 to 10 hours. This issue almost goes without saying, but you can fix it quickly.

Solution

You can solve the cooling fan problem quickly by handling the brush carefully or replacing the pulley system if it’s damaged beyond repair. 

  • Engine Speed Too Low

Zero-turn mowers are powered by combustion engines that use liquid fuel, meaning they are more susceptible to clogging. When clogging occurs, the engine speed slows down, compromising the mowing convenience. 

Solution

You can restore your engine’s performance by replacing the air filter and the gas cap if the air vent is blocked. Besides, you can replace the old gas. 

  • Stiff Handles

Most users complain that Kubota zero turn mowers have stiff handles and are hard to use. That shouldn’t worry you, as you can handle it by adding some lubrication or loosening the bolts slightly.

  • Bad Safety Switch

Kubota zero turn mowers use various safety switches in the operator’s control system. These switches are meant to stop the engine if the operator leaves the seat. However, this safety switch can get defective and cause your mower not to start because it can’t sense the operator.

Solution

A quick fix is to bypass the safety switch or replace the switch temporarily. 

  • Zero Turn Mower Won’t Drive Straight

It isn’t delightful to always have to compensate for your mower dragging a little to the left or right. Fortunately, you can make simple adjustments to get your mower driving in a straight path when on a level surface. 

First, check if you have the correct tire pressure as unequal tire pressure can pull your mower to one side. If any tire has reduced pressure, fill it to match the others. 

If it’s tracking adjustment issues, locate your speed adjustment bolt below the lever you use to move the mower forward. Then if your mower veers off to the right side, adjust the left side adjustment bolt.

You can achieve this by unfastening the nut, twisting the adjustment bolt counterclockwise, and refastening the nut. 

But if your mower leans on the left, adjust the right side adjustment bolt by unfastening the nut securing it, then turn the adjustment bolt counterclockwise and tighten it. After that, test the mower by driving it on a level surface. If it’s not moving straight, make further adjustments.

Who Makes the Most Reliable Zero Turn Mowers? 

Zero-turn mowers make mowing large lawns easier, more fun, and comfortable. Having the best zero-turn mower can save you time and effort as most of them are built to withstand years of heavy use.

However, deciding on the best zero-turn mower can be difficult because many brands have occupied the market, claiming to offer the best mower. As such, you need to know who makes the most reliable zero-turn mower so that you can make a good purchase. 

Ideally, Husqvarna makes the most reliable zero-turn mowers. This brand has years of experience producing quality and high-performance zero-turn mowers.

Here is a list of some of the top zero turn mowers they offer, and the ranking is based on engine power, price, and speed. So if you’re on a budget or shopping for a premium model, you will find the perfect option for you in this guide. 

Husqvarna Z254 Mower

Husqvarna lawn mower lives up to its reputation as the most trusted lawn mower brand by producing elegant equipment like the Z254 mower. This model incorporates a 26 horsepower Kohler engine that runs smoothly to reduce the mowing time.

This model is also designed to dispose of grass clippings through mulching, discharging, or bagging. However, you will need to buy a bagger and mulching kit separately. 

Additionally, the brand’s patented brake activates and deactivates independently when you twist the lap bars inward or outward. It also uses air induction technology to guarantee a clean cut in the mower deck. 

What’s even better? You enjoy these premium features at an affordable price. 

Specs

Power: 26 horsepower. 

Cutting width: 54 inches.

Fuel capacity: 5 gallons. 

Max speed: 6.5 mph. 

Husqvarna MZ61

The Husqvarna MZ61 model has an expansive cutting deck and powerful engine for large jobs. But its central selling point is comfortable high-back seats, vibration dampeners, and armrests making for a comfortable mowing experience with this mower. 

Like other mowers, this model features a hydrostatic transmission for easier ignition. It can also discharge, mulch, or bag grass clippings, but the bagging and mulching attachments are bought separately. 

Specs

Power: 27 horsepower.

Cutting width: 61 inches. 

Fuel capacity: 5 gallons. 

Max speed: 8.5 mph. 

Husqvarna Z248F

 

This model has the exact specifications as other mowers in this list, only that it features a foot-operated deck lift system. It also comes with a self-adjusting belt technology and a padded high back seat and armrests, designed for long commercial applications.

Specs

Power: 26 horsepower.

Cutting width: 48 inches. 

Fuel capacity: 3.5 gallons. 

Max speed: 6.5 mph. 

Considering that you have brief knowledge about the best zero-turn mowers, you can use the following parameters to settle on your desired model. 

Power

A mower with a powerful engine means it can take on more demanding jobs effortlessly, such as rough terrain, inclines, wet or overgrown grass. So if your lawn is difficult to mow, please consider investing in a powerful mower. 

Cutting Width

The deck size determines a mower’s cutting width, and it tells how much grass you can mow with one pass. It’s best to opt for a zero-turn mower with a large cutting width considering it won’t need many passes to cover the entire lawn.

On the other hand, a mower with a smaller cutting width is advantageous because it can store easily and get into limited spots. 

Fuel Capacity

Mowers with large fuel capacity allow you to mow for a long time without refueling. This attribute is convenient as you won’t run out of gas in the middle of long and demanding jobs. 

Max Speed

This aspect depends on your lawn’s size. For instance, if you own a large lawn with plenty of open space, you will need a mower with a high max speed to cut down the mowing duration. 

How Many Hours Will a Kubota Zero Turn Mower Last?

The number of hours a Kubota zero turn mower can withstand depends on how you optimally care for it. If you practice good maintenance and periodic inspection, expect your mower to last for over 4500 hours. 

Many Kubota mowers come with a 2000 hour warranty. This is critical for prolonging your mower’s lifespan, as it can exhibit severe signs of wear if you’re unwilling to care for your mower optimally. 

Why Would My Zero Turn Mower Won’t Start? 

What’s more annoying than a mower that won’t start? Several things can make your mower encounter start-up problems, but the most common culprit is fuel restriction caused by clogged fuel components. Other aspects that prevent your zero turn mower from starting include: 

  • Clogged Air Filter

Using a clean air filter allows your engine to have the clean air it requires to run smoothly. It also restricts the penetration of dirt entering the cylinder causing severe damage to the engine. However, if it gets dirty, it can keep your zero turn mower from starting because the engine is denied air. 

So if you have a clogged air filter, remove it from its housing. Then wipe out the excess dirt remaining in the air filter housing using a dry cloth. Next, tap the air filter lightly against a solid surface to remove the stubborn dirt.

After that, hold the filter high to a light source and watch out for shining light through the paper element. If you can see the light, reuse the filter; if not, replace the air filter with a new one. 

  • Faulty Fuel Pump

Another reason your zero-turn mower won’t start is a bad fuel pump. The essence of the fuel pump is to operate against gravity and pump fuel to your carburetor. If it fails, the carburetor receives insufficient fuel, and the engine won’t start. 

So if your mower won’t start, check for fuel leakage. If you can’t see any leakage or visible signs of damage, perform several tests to determine the problem. 

First, disconnect the fuel supply using the fuel shut-off valve below your fuel tank. Alternatively, you can use clamps to pinch the fuel line to stop fuel flow. 

Disengage the hose from the inlet port on the pump and place it in a container lower than the fuel tank. This way, fuel will flow into your container using gravity.

This step confirms if your fuel pump is getting the fuel. After that, begin the fuel flow. If fuel flows into the container, you get fuel flow to the pump. If not, there is a fuel restriction. 

Next, shut off the fuel flow and replace the hose on the inlet port. You then remove the hose from the carburetor and place it in a carton to ascertain your fuel pump’s condition.

Once you’re through, start the fuel flow and ignite the engine. Watch for a steady flow of fuel out of the fuel line and replace the fuel pump if the fuel flow is not steady.

  • Plugged Fuel Filter 

The fuel filter in your zero-turn mower can get clogged with dirt and the deposit it filters from the fuel. So you will need to check your fuel filter for clogging.

I highly recommend replacing the fuel filter annually, so you don’t run into this problem. Ensure you install it correctly with the fuel flow matching the arrow on the fuel filter. 

  • Bad Battery, Loose Cables, or Corroded Terminals

A bad battery with corroded terminals and loose connections can keep your zero-turn mower from starting. So you will want to ensure your battery terminals are securely in place, free from corrosion.

Also, assess the battery to ensure it can keep a charge. Use a multimeter to test your battery. If the reading is less than 12.3 volts, place your battery on a battery charger. 

You will also need to clean the battery terminals with a baking soda solution containing 2 cups of water if they are corroded. Then use a stiff wire brush to rub the terminals clean. 

How Do You Test a Starter Solenoid on a Zero Turn Mower? 

The starter solenoid on a zero-turn mower is essentially an electromagnetic switch. It closes when you turn the ignition key, allowing the flow of electricity to the starter.

After the engine starts, you release the key, the solenoid switch opens up, disconnecting the electricity flow to the starter, yet the engine runs normally. So in all respect, this switch is the key component between the starter and the ignition. 

So how do you test a starter solenoid on your zero turn mower? This procedure is straightforward if you follow the tips in this guide.

Step  1: Perform the Initial Troubleshooting

Sometimes your starter solenoid might be working perfectly, but the fault may be somewhere in the electrical circuit. You may regret uninstalling and replacing your starter solenoid after finding out the issue lies in the battery. That’s why it’s recommended to start testing from the absolute basic steps. 

First, check the battery voltage. To achieve this, connect the multimeter’s positive and negative ends with the battery’s respective ends and set it to DC volts mode. If your reading exceeds 12.3V, your battery is functioning perfectly. After that, you can now move on to test the starter solenoid. 

Step 2: Locate, Remove and Check Your Starter Solenoid.

The next step is to locate the starter solenoid and check it. The starter solenoid is present between the starter motor and the battery. You need to lift the mower hood to access these parts.

Then trace the electrical wire leaving the engine. If you see a black cylindrical gadget with metallic posts and is seated before the starter motor, that’s your starter solenoid. 

Next, remove the starter solenoid by unfastening the bolts securing it on the mower surface. Please don’t touch the solenoid’s electrical posts to avoid being electrocuted. Now that you have removed the starter solenoid, move on to test it with a simple multimeter. 

Check its terminals. If it’s a three-post solenoid, the ground terminal might be corroded because it was attached to the body. If that’s the case, don’t proceed with testing the solenoid as that fault suggests the need for replacement. 

Step 3: Check the Starter Solenoid for Clicking Sound

The next step is to examine the solenoid for a clicking sound. To achieve this, connect the positive terminal of your 12V DC power supply to the solenoid’s positive terminal and the ground to the negative terminal on your battery.

If you hear a clicking sound after engaging the electrical connections, your solenoid Is getting excited, meaning you can go on to the next step. But if you don’t hear the sound, your solenoid isn’t working, and you need to replace it. 

Step 4: Test for Continuity In the Terminals.

After proving that the solenoid is working, the only fault left can be the terminals not jumping the circuit as expected. You will want to perform a continuity test in the terminals by connecting the solenoid’s posts with the voltmeter’s corresponding terminals.

Ensure the DC power supply is attached to the solenoid through the terminals. 

Then set the voltmeter to resistance measurement. If the meter displays some reading, it implies that the terminals jump the circuit well; therefore, your solenoid Is in good working order. But if you don’t see any reading, replace your solenoid. 

The method I have discussed above involves independent testing and complete removal of your starter solenoid. You can decide to use a shortcut method to test your starter solenoid. This method involves using an insulated screwdriver to jump the solenoid posts exactly when the key is turned in the ignition switch. 

Tip

You have a defective solenoid if the engine ignites after short-circuiting the posts. 

Even though this is a convenient method, please be careful due to safety precautions. That’s because it produces many sparks, which can be dangerous primarily under the presence of the battery and fuel tank. 

How Do You Manually Push a Kubota Zero Turn Mower? 

Kubota zero-turn mowers use hydraulic fluid pressure to rotate the wheels. So even an idle mower has hydraulic pressure at the wheels. The pressure is so much that you can’t just push the machine manually.

However, this problem is easily remedied as every hydraulic pump system incorporates a pressure release mechanism. 

All you need is to locate the levers behind each drive and flip it over a quarter turn. 

Reminder: residential mowers have two rods at the front of the drive wheels that you pull to engage the freewheel mode. 

After that, try pulling your mower back and forth. If it doesn’t move, call an expert to examine your mower for any damage. 

Here’s How to Manually Push a Zero Turn Mower:

How Do I Know If My Zero Turn Mower Has a Pump or Wheel Motor? 

Hydraulic pump and wheel motor in zero-turn mowers are essential components with the same working principle. But how can you tell if your zero-turn mower has a pump or wheel motor? 

It’s easy to tell if your mower has a pump or wheel motor. First, examine the gear motor teeth. You will notice that a gear motor has more teeth than a gear pump. Also, the gear pump incorporates a large oil suction port and a small oil discharge port. 

Ideally, the hydraulic pump has a higher working speed than the output speed of the wheel motor. 

With these few differences mentioned above, you can quickly tell if your zero-turn mower has a pump or wheel motor.  

Final Thoughts On Kubota Zero Turn Mower Problems

As mentioned in this guide, Kubota is a reputable brand with years of positive track record. They offer both commercial and residential lawn equipment, including Kubota zero-turn mowers. But that doesn’t mean their mowers are 100% perfect.

These mowers suffer mechanical damage with time, and you need to know how to repair them to save you from hiring expensive experts to mend the mower for you. Common Kubota zero turn mowers problems include streaking, uneven cuts, and a clogged deck. These issues are easily remedied using the tips discussed in this guide. 

I hope you found this information helpful before and after investing in your desired zero-turn mower. Meanwhile, I wish you luck, and please reach out in the comment section to address any concerns.

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