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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a John Deere Z225 zero turn presenting with a hesitation issue in the right hydro. (I recently replaced the seal on the left one, and I'm told these hydro issues come in pairs). To describe what happens, I'll start with when I first noticed an issue. On an incline, I would have the lap bar engaged forward and then go into reverse. The left hydro behaved, propelling me rearward, but the right side would remain stationary(yes it stopped going forward as normal), and suddenly jerk rearward like it is going to catch up to the left one in short order. Once on level ground, this behavior was much less prevalent. Now it is happening all the time, sluggish forward and hit-or-miss rear travel. If I hold it in reverse long enough, it will suddenly launch backward with a vengeance and literally spin the machine in circles swiveling on the left tire, whether or not it is moving.

What I've tried: checked oil level and topped off with new oil. Only about 2 ounces. No improvement. (side note here: I fabricated a very effective removal tool for the fill cap using a hex bit originally purchased as a square bit driver and ground down the square end so the 1/4-in socket on a 3/8 ratchet could get enough bite on it. Insert the drill end of the bit into fill cap opening and seat firmly. Use 1/4 in socket with 3/8 swivel/extensions as needed, if you have 1/2-in, it seems to be overkill but will still work.)

Is there a way for these to clog? Any advice is appreciated. (oh yeah, one more symptom: I suspect the hydro belt is the culprit of the burning rubber smell that recently started.)
 

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Welcome to MTF Randscaping! I moved your thread to the Zero Turn forum as folks there are more in tune with issues of the ZTR's. Lots of info here and great members to help, enjoy the site! Here is some site navigation help in case you need it:

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Welcome to MTF, Randscaping!

First thing to check for delayed reaction is the linkage controlling the hydros. A bit of wear could be the cause your issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you. Linkage is good, only 300+ hr on machine. I know it’s the hydro because it intermittently stops working and the groaning noise and bogging down of the engine goes away when I move the lap bar to stationary.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I read somewhere on another site for another machine that this could be a check valve issue where the oil is going through loose threads rather than where it should be going.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I took the machine out to mow yesterday and it mowed fine for about an hour, albeit sluggish in the right hydro as normal. Until I got to mowing a slope. I came to a stop at the bottom of the roadside slope and the problem hydro is dead-on-arrival. No engine bog, the lap bar goes all the way forward and all the way back as far as the gas struts will allow. No response from the mower, even groaning. The left hydro will pull the mower in circles around it. Pulley is spinning, belt is intact spinning both hydros. I dragged the unit out of the uneven earth to level ground. No difference.
 

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Sounds more like a gear reduction problem between the hydro and the wheel than a hydro problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I finally found the problem. The original slowdown issue was a broken bracket between the frame and the axle, creating a distance issue for the linkage, leading up to a linkage failure and remaining bracket failure (front mounting bracket for the hydro).
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