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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Friends!

I have a Cub Cadet Pro Z 100 54". It's about 250 hours old. It's a beast and I love it, but recently, it's started to lose power - motor is running fine, but it slows down mowing uphill.

I suspected the transmission as I found the oil reservoir was low, but it only needed 200ml of oil to bring it right back up. Still, the power deficit is in evidence. Now I must drive the mower uphill, then engage the blades to mow downhill.

I'm planning to take it into the shop for a service, but I'm interested in the thoughts of anyone in this community too!

Cheers, and thanks in advance.
 

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It's not clear if the engine is having a problem or not. You say the motor is running fine, but then you say you need to drive uphill, then engage the blades and go downhill. To me, those conflict, as if the motor is running fine, the blades could be engaged all the time (going both uphill and downhill), and you just go slower uphill due to loss of power somewhere, but if the motor isn't running fine, then you would have to disengage the blades to go uphill, then at the top, you engage the blades and go downhill, as if you went uphill with the blades engaged, the engine would slow down/stop.

Which is it? Does the engine slow down when you go uphill, or does it stay at full speed, but the zero turn just goes slower?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Dave, thanks for your prompt response.

Sorry if my post was unclear. My mower has the hydro drives and the 27hp Kohler runs at a constant speed.

Since my power issues, the motor speed has not changed. I used to be able to run it up a hill mowing all the way. Now, it barely crawls up a hill - even with the blades disengaged. I certainly cannot mow going up a hill - even on a slight incline, the mower slows down (ground speed) and I need to disengage the blades.

This is all pretty new as until recently, the mower would just go straight up a hill mowing all the way! I'm sure something has changed, but until I get it into the shop, I am guessing.

Cheers, Joe
 

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Do you go faster with the blades turned off? It would be weird if it does, given that the engine isn't changing speed, as while I don't know your specific ZT, most of them have 2 belts, one always being driven by the engine, going to the two hydro's, and the second on an electric pto, that goes to the mowing deck. If the engine doesn't slow down, then it shouldn't make a difference if the blades are on or off when going uphill, you go the same speed.

Anyway, if the engine isn't changing speed, but the ZT goes slower uphill, I would suggest checking the belt to the hydro's. It may have oil on it, or be worn/damaged, or the tensioner may need adjustment or fixing, or possibly the tensioner pulley is seized. It would be very unusual for both hydro's to fail at the same time, and at only 250 hrs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Dave,

Yes, it does go a bit faster with the blades turned off - but on the flat, mowing performance is basically unaffected. This is a heavy mower and the strain of pushing up the hills AND mowing simultaneously is the issue.

The hydros are supposed to be sealed and maintenance free, so I reckon they're OK - its the power going to them when the load of weight is increased by the uphill, or the blades running - or both.

I'll have to check the belt to the hydros - great suggestion. It's not a part I have ever seen, but I will be searching for it first thing tomorrow! (it's just gone dusk on the East coast of Australia!)

Cheers, Joe
 

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Then the motor is slowing down when the blades are engaged & going uphill, and then when the mower is level again, the engine speeds up? Because that literally has to happen, for the mower to slower when the blades are engaged vs the blades not engaged.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nope! the engine speed is unaffected - it's a power transfer issue. I think your idea re the belts slipping/tensioner issue is probably the likely solution. Thanks so much for your suggestions!
 

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I agree with Dave, your explanation seems a bit arbitrary. But maybe we can help you explain it more succinctly. If the engine doesn't change RPM wise, might it miss as if a coil was cutting out and spark to one cylinder.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi Bill

sorry if I’m not explaining clearly. The motor is running strongly and not misfiring.

I seem to have normal speed and power when mowing on the flat. When I put the mower under extra load by heading uphill, it slows down (ground speed only) but the motor is still running strongly.

The only way to keep it moving uphill is to stop the blades, then I get more power to the wheels. If it’s very steep, the mower is barely moving.

I’ll just have to stay off the slopes until I can get it into the repair shop.

Thanks for your interest! Joe
 

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I think Dave's suggestion on starting with a very careful examination of the belt and pulleys of the transmission drive system is in order. Any looseness in tensioner pulley or oils on the belt will allow slippage.

I believe that the CC Z 100 use the HydroGear ZT3400 transmissions which are commercial use rated, serviceable, and with filters. Not that they can't be defeated, but at 250 hours, I'd think that they are barely approaching broken in status.

You didn't mention whether the machine favors pulling to one side or the other as it loses forward power. It would be highly unlikely that both transmissions are showing exactly the same problem, consistently, and at exactly the same time. The only thing they have in common besides you at the control, is the drive belt. Also double check that any hydro motor release levers are in the fully engaged position and haven't crept toward the disengaged position (that allows the machine to roll when being pushed). Again this is highly unlikely as both transmissions would have to see the same issue at the same time. Lastly, I am not familiar with CC's steering wheel configuration that controls the transmissions. Someone might be able to comment on whether there is something in there that might cause limitation of forward speed in some circumstances. And of course, is the forward speed control moving in its full range or is something stopping it from full forward speed.

If your machine doesn't have the plastic expansion tanks for trans oil, you might have newer 2020 production ZT 3400 transmissions. I have ZT 2800s and those changed from the external tanks to internal expansion chambers. As I found out, there were few if any updates to the CC or retailer's advertising of these machines to reflect that change. If you are checking oil levels be sure NOT to remove the breather plug to check or fill the trans. HydroGear believes doing so may damage it. Use ONLY the fill plugs for oil checks and fills.

You might try the air purge procedure in the owner's manual just in case some air got introduced into the hydro system. Have you done the filter and oil changes on them yet?

If all else fails, I think CC has a 5 year/500 hours warranty, you might want to look into and verify that.

Good luck, hope it is just a loose or greasy belt. That's what it sounds like.
 

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I believe your model has an idler pulley to keep the belt tight for both transmissions. There is a spring that keeps constant pressure on that idler pulley. Check to see that it has not slipped out of its hole or has broken or stretched. If you mow where sticks can push up, they can dislodge or break springs.

Hope this is the right diagram but it references the possible issue:
Font Schematic Slope Parallel Engineering
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I believe your model has an idler pulley to keep the belt tight for both transmissions. There is a spring that keeps constant pressure on that idler pulley. Check to see that it has not slipped out of its hole or has broken or stretched. If you mow where sticks can push up, they can dislodge or break springs.

Hope this is the right diagram but it references the possible issue:
View attachment 2525925
I think Dave's suggestion on starting with a very careful examination of the belt and pulleys of the transmission drive system is in order. Any looseness in tensioner pulley or oils on the belt will allow slippage.

I believe that the CC Z 100 use the HydroGear ZT3400 transmissions which are commercial use rated, serviceable, and with filters. Not that they can't be defeated, but at 250 hours, I'd think that they are barely approaching broken in status.

You didn't mention whether the machine favors pulling to one side or the other as it loses forward power. It would be highly unlikely that both transmissions are showing exactly the same problem, consistently, and at exactly the same time. The only thing they have in common besides you at the control, is the drive belt. Also double check that any hydro motor release levers are in the fully engaged position and haven't crept toward the disengaged position (that allows the machine to roll when being pushed). Again this is highly unlikely as both transmissions would have to see the same issue at the same time. Lastly, I am not familiar with CC's steering wheel configuration that controls the transmissions. Someone might be able to comment on whether there is something in there that might cause limitation of forward speed in some circumstances. And of course, is the forward speed control moving in its full range or is something stopping it from full forward speed.

If your machine doesn't have the plastic expansion tanks for trans oil, you might have newer 2020 production ZT 3400 transmissions. I have ZT 2800s and those changed from the external tanks to internal expansion chambers. As I found out, there were few if any updates to the CC or retailer's advertising of these machines to reflect that change. If you are checking oil levels be sure NOT to remove the breather plug to check or fill the trans. HydroGear believes doing so may damage it. Use ONLY the fill plugs for oil checks and fills.

You might try the air purge procedure in the owner's manual just in case some air got introduced into the hydro system. Have you done the filter and oil changes on them yet?

If all else fails, I think CC has a 5 year/500 hours warranty, you might want to look into and verify that.

Good luck, hope it is just a loose or greasy belt. That's what it sounds like.
I believe your model has an idler pulley to keep the belt tight for both transmissions. There is a spring that keeps constant pressure on that idler pulley. Check to see that it has not slipped out of its hole or has broken or stretched. If you mow where sticks can push up, they can dislodge or break springs.

Hope this is the right diagram but it references the possible issue:
View attachment 2525925
I think Dave's suggestion on starting with a very careful examination of the belt and pulleys of the transmission drive system is in order. Any looseness in tensioner pulley or oils on the belt will allow slippage.

I believe that the CC Z 100 use the HydroGear ZT3400 transmissions which are commercial use rated, serviceable, and with filters. Not that they can't be defeated, but at 250 hours, I'd think that they are barely approaching broken in status.

You didn't mention whether the machine favors pulling to one side or the other as it loses forward power. It would be highly unlikely that both transmissions are showing exactly the same problem, consistently, and at exactly the same time. The only thing they have in common besides you at the control, is the drive belt. Also double check that any hydro motor release levers are in the fully engaged position and haven't crept toward the disengaged position (that allows the machine to roll when being pushed). Again this is highly unlikely as both transmissions would have to see the same issue at the same time. Lastly, I am not familiar with CC's steering wheel configuration that controls the transmissions. Someone might be able to comment on whether there is something in there that might cause limitation of forward speed in some circumstances. And of course, is the forward speed control moving in its full range or is something stopping it from full forward speed.

If your machine doesn't have the plastic expansion tanks for trans oil, you might have newer 2020 production ZT 3400 transmissions. I have ZT 2800s and those changed from the external tanks to internal expansion chambers. As I found out, there were few if any updates to the CC or retailer's advertising of these machines to reflect that change. If you are checking oil levels be sure NOT to remove the breather plug to check or fill the trans. HydroGear believes doing so may damage it. Use ONLY the fill plugs for oil checks and fills.

You might try the air purge procedure in the owner's manual just in case some air got introduced into the hydro system. Have you done the filter and oil changes on them yet?

If all else fails, I think CC has a 5 year/500 hours warranty, you might want to look into and verify that.

Good luck, hope it is just a loose or greasy belt. That's what it sounds like.
I believe your model has an idler pulley to keep the belt tight for both transmissions. There is a spring that keeps constant pressure on that idler pulley. Check to see that it has not slipped out of its hole or has broken or stretched. If you mow where sticks can push up, they can dislodge or break springs.

Hope this is the right diagram but it references the possible issue:
View attachment 2525925
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Alien5044,

Your advice is very welcome. I got under the mower this morning and found the drive belt quite slack. No wonder the hydraulic drives are underperforming! I was unable to adjust it unfortunately, but I’ve booked it in for a service, and I’ll get the professionals to sort it out.

Regards, Joe
 

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Very happy for you that it is a belt and not transmission issues.
 

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great news i thought it mite be the drive belt had simlar problem with an older z force it was worn out drive belt
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hello everyone! Here's the latest on the CC Pro Z 100. It's been in the shop for a service and to investigate my power issues.

I spoke to the service tech and he said the drive belt is loose until the accelerator is pressed - then the tensioning pulley control arm moves and the belt tightens. So an apparently loose belt is NORMAL. I asked him to double check the power to the wheels and he tested the power by using the mower to push a 3 tonne fork lift. He's convinced that ample power is getting to the wheels, so I am looking forward to testing by driving the mower up the hill when it gets delivered home later today.

I have really felt a bit silly throughout this process. The CC owners manual tells you next to nothing - which is very annoying. Here's me thinking a loose drive belt is an obvious fault, when it is in fact a design element of the drive system. Still a bit sceptical though as apart from telling me how the drive works, the tech has basically admitted that he doesn't know why my machine loses forward power going up hills. He's actually found and fixed NO specific fault so far, so my fingers are firmly crossed!

I am so grateful to the MTF community for your advice and suggestions! I'll post again when I know if it's fixed.

Cheers, Joe
 
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