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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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I have been trying to see one of these i-series zero turn tractors. But I'd like to see one in person before I plunk down my money. I have contacted every dealer for as far away as a hundred miles and nobody has any.
[...]
Is there a problem with these tractors that I should know about.
Rickkop,

Cub used to sell a 42", 46" (not 44), and 50" deck i-Series. I didn't realize they have dropped the 46 until your posting and I checked the website. I don't think this series took off like Cub wanted so I'd guess dropping one model is a way of cutting overhead (less expensive to have less variation).

I have the i-1050 and have had no significant issues, but I do stay on top of the preventative maintenance pretty religiously. I use it to cut, vacuum, core aerate, snowplow and snowblow. See the links in my sig for examples of these.

Having steerable front wheels opened up the ability to have front attachments which is specifically why I chose the i-Series instead of a standard ZTR with lapbar and front casters. That said, I have seen postings and youtube videos about ZTRs with casters that have front attachments like a snowblade, so it can be done but I think doing so is not advisable due to having less control.

Problems I have not had myself but read about tend to be with the linkages, drive pedal travel, and steering component toughness. the first two can be chalked up to poor assembly (usually at a Big Box Store) or adjustment. As you might guess the steering mechanics is complex in this design and there are a lot of moving parts. As long as you don't ram a wheel straight into a tree or your house foundation at full speed you should be fine.

One issue I did have which I've also read of others having was front wheel alignment, but I was able to adjust this easily myself with a couple wrenches. Pictures of this in an earlier post of mine, down around Post 21.

Also the i-Series is not a "garden tractor" grade design, so don't plan on moving earth with it. It's tougher than Cub's 1000 series but not as tough as the 2000 series. It's main function is to do routine jobs quickly because it is so manueverable. It also has a wide stance and low center of gravity so it's especially good on hills where other tractors feel less stable.

There aren't a lot of i-Series owners out there compared to standard Cub models and lap-bar type ZTRs in general, so I've been keeping a list of other i-Series owners on MTF in case I had questions I could PM one of them. As of last count there were just under 30: 15 i1042's, 8 i1046's, and 5 i1050's (including myself). I can't attest that all of these people still own them. This is gathered from postings as early as April 2008.

There are quite a few threads on MTF about using an i-Series to plow or blow snow. For example Plowing Snow with a Cub i1046. You can use the MTF search feature to find more.

Not sure where in NY you are, but I'm just south of Rochester. You're welcome to come by and test drive mine sometime if that's not too far for you. PM me if you're interested.
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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[...] considering the half acre lot that I have the 42 should be ok. I Don't think the size of my yard would justify they ZTT50
Yep, my lot is 1/2 acre and I can say the 50" deck is probably overkill. Plus that size deck rules out driving through a 48" door (most sheds) or putting into a 48" wide pickup bed or trailier without removing the deck, which gets easier the more times you do it but is never a picnic.


[...] I have two questions for you about your tractor. First one is does your tractor have cruise control?
Nope, but I find that the drive pedal and corrugated footpad design sort of has the same effect as cruise for me and prevents tired ankles/legs. See this post "i1050 reviews", down at post #20. That thread also has some review type comments on this model in general.

Second one is about the snowblower attachment. I think yours would be a two stage. Anyway the website says the 42 excepts attachments and gives a list of them but the snowblower isn't on the list. They guy at the dealer here says you can get one but when I press him he also says it's not listed. I'd like to know for sure before I buy it.
Ah, the snowblower.

New (Cub part 19a-126, a 2-stage) from my local dealer was going to be something like $1300. No thanks on that.

So I did some research on "compatible" attachments (MTD 190-823, aka 770-10279, was supposedly one of them) and put a "looking for a snowblower model 190-823 or equivalent" in my MTF signature. Another member spotted one on clearance at an ACE hardware store for $250 *5 hours from me*. I bought it and had it shipped for another $100. It was also a 2-stage. Long story short, it wasn't exactly compatible and I had to do some modifications of my own with a metal-cutting jigsaw, but eventually made it work.

I'm located in Syracuse and I did get an e-mail from a dealer, I don't have the address right here in front of me but he's in a town in south west form here about 70 miles or so.
Wow, 70 miles.. a bit of a stretch. What's funny about that is my local Cub dealer (Saxby Implement Corporation) is just a few miles from me, but he's 75 miles from your area. So you could actually go to my dealership way out here and it would be a wash. You might call them to see if they might still have (or can get ahold of) an i1046. Google them for the number.

He has a 42 and a 50 so am seriously thinking about taking some time off this week to ride out and see them. I also thought about calling Cub Cadet and see how long the 46 has been out of production. Can't have been all that long as it's listed in the bruchure I have and if I'm lucky maybe can point me to a leftover someplace. Thanks again, Rick
Besides asking your dealer (or mine) about finding a used one, you might try Deere's MachineFinder.com . I know a Cub is not a Deere, but believe it or not, that's where I found my i1050 (it was at a dealer in Nebraska... shipping on that bugger was a bit more than $100 I can tell you). You can find all brands of used tractors on that site. I just ran a search for used Cubs, model "i1046" and got 3 hits (see attached screenshot, modified to meet MTF attachment size limits). You can also try ZTT46 or other variations on the model.
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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I am now the proud owner of a slightly used 2007 Cub Cadet i-Series ZTT lawn tractor model i-1046.
Good deal.. welcome to the club! Hope it measures up to your expectations. Of course now you'll have to post some pictures...
:wwp:

I'd say 40 hours in 3 years is pretty low mileage. Free pickup/dropoff is pretty nice too.. my local dealer doesn't offer that.

I know you said your dealer did a once-over before selling it to you, but I'd still hit each zerk with a grease gun just to be safe. If your dealer already did it, it shouldn't take more than a few pumps on each one before the grease oozes out.

Did they provide the owners manual with it? If not you can download a PDF and print it. The tractor's service manual is another matter.. I think the only way to get that is to cough up $25 (which I haven't bothered to do yet). Note the *engine* service manual is available free from Kohler.

Now that you've got the machine, I'd suggest keeping an eye out for your snowblower attachment early. Come the snowy season either the prices will be higher or the selection fewer.
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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I think I read that the zerk fittings on the mower deck should be done after every ten hours of mower? Does that sound right?
She looks nice a clean in the pics!

Here are my maintenance notes for the i1050, your needs might vary slightly due to model differences. Most of this came right out of the owners manual, some from suggestions on MTF. I found it easier to follow in summarized form.

Deck spindle lube is shown as every 10 hours. I do it every time i take the deck off to clean the underside, which tends to be less than 10 hours.


Cub i1050 maintenance:

Oil
change oil and filter every 100 hours
use wt - Below 32*F: 5w20, 5w30, Above 0*F: 10w30

lube
Use Cub 251H EP grease or #2 lithium

lube spots:
Every 10 hrs of mowing:
- deck spindles
- deck idler bracket
Every 25 hrs:
- front wheel bearings
- steering axle pivot bars
- steering arms (see manual p.22)
- steering gears and linkage
Every 50 hrs
- deck front ball wheels
Once a season
- rear axles and rims (w all-purpose grease)
- all pivot points and linkages (w light oil)

Tires
rear: 10psi. Front: 14 psi. 25 psi max any.

Deck
spindle bolt torque: 70-90 ftlb

cooling
Blower housing and cooling shrouds: clean every 100 hrs.

hydros
sealed - no maint (!)

Belts
Trans drive belt: have dealer do. Req's removing linkage and readjust.
Deck belt

plugs
regap (.030 in / 0.76 mm) or replace every 100 hrs
torque to: 18-22 ft lbs

air filter ("pre cleaner")
wash and reoil (engine oil) every 25 hrs (or more if dusty)
replace every 100 hrs or annually
paper element: check every 50 hrs, replace 100 hrs or annually

fuel filter - check every 100 hrs.

Battery charging
- min 1 hr at 6 amps, do in ventilated area

Mow blades
Sharpen frequently
Make sure tips align with adjacent blades, both ends
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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Jab -

I've got gator blades.. although I don't bag with them.. I usually mulch, or sometimes side discharge with them. Have you tried "high lift" blades with your bagger.

I don't even have the bagger attachment... I couldn't see spending $350 on what amounted to just a bunch of plastic that probably costs MTD (or a supplier) $3 to manufacture. Mulching or side discharge works fine for me and no clippings to contend with. I just make sure to cut the grass often enough so that I'm cutting no more than say 1 inch at a time. That's supposed to be healthier for the lawn anyway. For bigger cleanup jobs I pull a Cyclone Rake.

The other thing to consider is your RPM. MTD recommends cutting at 3600 RPM. Your governor may not be set properly and full throttle may be producing significantly less than 3600. I put a tach on mine and found it had been set to 3200 at max throttle. I did my own governor adjustment and can run it at near 3600 now although I really don't need to (again, I usually just mulch). Plus at 3600 it burns through gas a lot faster.
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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Could you possibly give me some more insight on the governor adjustment. How easy is it? What tools are needed? where is it located?
The max RPM adjustment itself was fairly easy (just threading a little set screw in or out and tightening a nut). However taking off a bunch of parts to get access to the governor and get enough room to get pliers around the nut was not so easy, at least not on the i1050.

The governor is located at the front of the engine just behind the muffler. So I had to remove the hood, front bumper, muffler shield, muffler itself, and a few mounting brackets, before I had clear access to the governor controls and linkage.

Tools required were socket set and needle-nose pliers. Not necessary but handy was a cordless impact driver with a 12" flexible extension rod with socket driver on the end for removing brackets where the bolts were tucked away in impossible tight spots. Barring the flexible socket extension, you can use small crescent wrenches instead, but with very short strokes, so plan on being there a while.

If you haven't already, download the Service Manual for your engine from the Kohler website manuals download page. For the i1046 this should be the 20 HP Kohler Courage OHV, 2 cylinder, which is Kohler engine model SV710. Put that model in the entry field and it will provide links to PDFs of both the service and the owners manuals for the engine. Here's a direct link to the engine service manual at the time of this writing. If that direct link doesn't work, go the model number route above.

Then go to page 5.18 in the engine service manual. Myself I jumped right to the "High Speed (RPM) Adjustment" section since that was my issue, but you might want to do all the steps to get the full dynamic range of RPM. I basically adjusted the "High Speed Adjusting Screw" shown in figure 5.35.

Obviously it helps to have a tachometer handy during the adjustments. I just used the one I had already installed in the tractor earlier.

Again, MTD recommends running at a max RPM of 3600, not just for optimum cutting but also to make sure sufficient air cooling is provided to the hydros. However my local Cub dealer routinely sets all their tractors they service to 3200. So I guess opinions vary. I noticed 3200 definitely sucks less gas than 3600...
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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You're welcome!

On the new gator blades, they should come pre-balanced and sharpened, but they'll also be fully powder coated with thick paint - including over the cutting edge - which will make them seem dull. I would at least remove the paint from the cutting edges with a file or wire brush before using.

I would also scrape/brush away the paint around the mounting hole so that they stay tight once mounted. Otherwise that paint might wear off on it's own and make the nut loose.
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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[...] Thanks again Toolin for this post. I now look forward to mowing again. Rick
You're welcome, glad I could help.:fing32:
 

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Sounds like an opportunity for another modification...

I haven't thought this through yet but if there's not enough takeup in the cable, possibly removing some of the outer sheath would give it more range.

Is the limiting factor the size of the slot in the dash that the throttle lever travels through, or is the cable "bottoming out" (something hitting the outer sheath) at each end?
 
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