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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just bought a new Cub Cadet FMZ50 (really cheap, great bargain). So far it mows great. I love the front-mounted deck. One BIG problem: Any time I go up a moderate incline, the deck shuts off. This is a safety "feature", but it is a royal pain. I've done enough mowing in my time that I don't need this "feature".

The dealer indicated it could somehow be "bypassed", but he couldn't tell me how to turn off a safety feature. Another customer who has the same mower told me he just leaves two wires near the deck unhooked, and doesn't have the problem, but when I do that I can't start the mower.

I like the mower enough (and got a good enough deal) that I won't return it over this. But it is quite frustrating...

Anyone familiar with the FMZ 50 who can help me?
 

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.. Any time I go up a moderate incline, the deck shuts off. This is a safety "feature".....
Are you positive this is a safety feature of this particular machine? It's not on any other that I am aware. I'd be more inclined (no pun intended:drunkie: ) to think it has to do more with the seat safety switch being triggered as you shift in the seat due to the hill. Either way, on the deck, seat, etc.. these switches can normally be bypassed by repositioning part of it or jumpering them to remain a constant normally closed, etc.. 'Course you'll get flak from the "WHAT!! You can't do that" crowd.

Joel
 

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I also haven't heard of a feature that disengages a deck once the tractor passes a certain tilt limit. Like Joel I also think it's your seat safety switch.

It's likely you can fix this by strategic bending of the switch contacts to make them require more seat hinge travel before opening, or by repositioning the entire switch so that it still does it's job of disengaging the deck if you get out of the seat without engaging the brake, but waits until you're further up out of the seat before doing so. I would rather modify a safety feature (in this case to make it work better) than disable it entirely.

The other concern is, how much of a slope are you trying to mow with that ZTR? A rear-engine ZTR can easily tip over backward if you're mowing up a slope that's too steep, especially if you gun it and add a dynamic acceleration moment to the static one created by the slope. I've heard of at least one person (a professional lawn service employee no less) being killed by this.

Edit: Just checked the pics of this model.. looks like mid-mount engine (rear casters) so less of an issue tipping, but still be careful.

Per Cub website, safety systems for this model are: Neutral start, operator presence, reverse safety switch, brake pedal lock, RevTEK™. I dunno what the RevTEK feature is but I don't think any of these are incline-cutout features.

Welcome to MTF by the way!
 

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OP has a legit prob - machine's manual sez deck will disengage if deck tilts up >7 degrees relative to wheels plane. So, if he starts up a short sharper incline and the deck front starts to rear up first, the deck PTO clutch kicks out by design.
Would guess there's a dedicated sw/interlock that senses that angular change. Mebbe OP can obtain a schematic from CC service for info/help.. ?
 

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I dunno what the RevTEK feature is
The ability to mow in reverse. The i series mowers have the RevTEK feature also.
 

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OP has a legit prob - machine's manual sez deck will disengage if deck tilts up >7 degrees relative to wheels plane. So, if he starts up a short sharper incline and the deck front starts to rear up first, the deck PTO clutch kicks out by design.
Would guess there's a dedicated sw/interlock that senses that angular change. Mebbe OP can obtain a schematic from CC service for info/help.. ?
Wow.. Corporations have to go through ridiculous lengths to protect themselves today.:banghead3 Regardless, it's just a matter of locating the switch and taking it out of the picture.

Joel
 

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OP has a legit prob - machine's manual sez deck will disengage if deck tilts up >7 degrees relative to wheels plane.
Good catch rcbe, interesting feature... sounds like that deck linkage has some good contour-hugging ability if it can tilt that much w/resp to the tractor itself.

I'm guessing that cutoff feature would be to save the deck drive belt from popping off or chewing itself up when it's too far out of alignment with the PTO pulley.

BigGuy2, do you think this is what's happening? Or is it cutting out even when on the flat part of the slope where the deck and tractor should be in line with eachother?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow, thanks for all the input!.. rcbe is right. It was this >7 degree switch that was causing the problem (not the seat). And yes, it probably is there to prevent problems with the deck drive belt, as much as any tipping issues. But in my case, I'm not mowing any real severe slopes... the switch was killing the deck every time I went over small dips or small drainage ditches, etc.

I spent some time under the mower yesterday, and found the switch. It's actually just a small button that is pressed when the deck frame rises up too far. I disconnected the plug going into the button/switch, and that has solved the problem!

Thanks again for all your help, everyone!
 

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..I disconnected the plug going into the button/switch, and that has solved the problem!
Good deal. I figured it would be some type of spring loaded button switch since 'mercury switches' are no longer. It's unusual that unplugging the switch disabled it as most are normally closed circuits, if that was the case, all you do is 'reposition' what ever hardware mashes against the switch to trigger it.

Joel
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks rcbe... And I'm sure this drive belt is spendy (longest belt I've ever seen on a mower). But I'll take that chance, as I just don't have that many sharp inclines (just dips and small ditches).

There is also one place on the tractor (in front of the steering wheel) where the deck lifts up and touches the tractor... that is already bent. But it doesn't seem consequential.
 

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I wonder if it would be worth (and if there's room) fabbing up a couple vertically-oriented guide pulleys to help keep the deck belt in line with both the PTO and the spindles even when the deck is at a significant angle?

If no room for additional pulleys, maybe even just a horizontal length of thick walled 3/4" steel tubing to act as a guide bar to do the same thing (polish it up nice and smooth). As long as the contact with the belt is just brief when you're hitting the base of a rise I would think it would be ok.. at least better than having the belt ride up on the lips of the existing pulleys...

Maybe even put one piece of tubing inside another.. so the outer tube would be free to rotate as the belt slides across it instead of rubbing.. kind of like a long narrow continuous pulley. Must be a name for that kind of thing. Bushing, I guess. If the two sides of the belt aren't parallel when they intersect the line of that tube you'd want to bend the inner tube and just use shorter sections of outer tube. Not sure you can visualize what I'm talking about. I'll make up a sketch if you want...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Interesting idea... I think I understand what you're saying. There is already a smooth metal rod there. I can't remember if the belt runs under or over that... I'll have to check.

I'm not much of a welder, so if it didn't come from the factory, I'm afraid it will have to work as is.
 

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Big Guy 2
Would like to know how you like your FMZ 50. Had any problems other then the switch? I just bought one a new one a few weeks ago and won't get to use it till spring. Just woundering what to expect. It appears to be a sturdy built machine for a MTD product. I was always a John Deere man in the past but could not find a front mounted mower with a steering wheel at a good price.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hey Snowfitter,

We like our FMZ 50 a lot. It has cut our mowing time down from 5 1/2-6 hours to 3 1/2-4 hours. And let me tell you, mowing is actually quite fun with this mower. Most of the time I have to go tell my wife "it's my turn!" or she would do it all herself! :)

Other than fixing the switch on the deck (which isn't even an issue now), I would say these are my only complaints:
1) The deck wash system doesn't work at all for me. I think our yard just has too many weeds that stick too much. So I take the deck off after each cutting. Which brings me to
2) The deck is a little tough to get off. Once you remove the belt from under the mower, there are only two pins to remove. But one pin has something in the way when I try to pull it out to remove the deck. I guess it's kind of hard to explain, but you'll see what I mean the first time you try to remove the deck.
3) The rear wheels can really seem to swing wide if you're coming from a traditional riding mower. The first day I used it, I was mowing in my trees (it is awesome in there) and I wasn't paying attention to the rear wheels and one hit a tree at an agle so that the rubber actually came off the rim! I was able to get it back on fairly easily, but I have learned to keep an eye on the rear wheels when turning sharp near trees/buildings.
4) This last one is really minor, but I'll mention it... the drive tires on this mower are smallish and don't have great tread (probably to save your lawn). That causes me to lose traction occasionally. Like if I'm trying to turn on a slope/ditch, I can actually get hung up where the wheels just spin.

All that being said, this is still the best mower I've ever operated. I would have saved myself hundreds/thousands of hours over the course of my life if I had this mower 30 years ago.

Best of luck with yours. Let me know how it goes.
 

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I just saw one of these for the first time recently. I thought they were new, I guess not. Do these have a diff lock? I haven't found mention of it so I will assume that there isn't one. I have ran my neighbor's JD F725 on a few occasions and he has a diff lock. I haven't needed it when I used it, but he has some accounts when he has used it. I'm thinking of one of these units for our cabin, but we have some decent hills. I'm amazed at how many times a diff lock can get you out of a pinch.
 

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I just saw one of these for the first time recently...... Do these have a diff lock?
I believe they use independent zero turn style transaxles for each drive wheel. That being the case, anytime you're going straight, it's a 50/50 'diff-lock' split to the drive wheels.

Joel
 

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It does have 2 transmissions, 1 for each drive wheel. I believe they were only made for 1 year. Mine and the ones I have seen are 2008 models. My yard is level but there are a couple of small dips and everytime I hit them it kicks the mower off. Its the tilt switch on the deck and I will have to unhook it. Mower is great and I'm still getting used to the steering. The machine is heavy enough that it rides decent and goes fast as you want. Motor runs smooth and is not to loud. I have only used it twice and look forward to the next time.
 

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Big Guy 2
I put my FMZ50 to the test 2 weeks ago. Bought a 1/2 acre lot next door to my lot and the grass was 3' tall that I needed to mow. I figured it would be tough being the mower all the way up would cut it at 6". I was very supprised as I took on the task of mowing and it did it ease. Engine or mower deck never bouged down taking a full cut each time. I did end up making 3 cuts to get it down to 2" but I was flying on the 3rd cut. The only small problem I had was the fine cuttings packed in under the blade guard on the mower deck. I removed it and cleaned it out and then greased the spindals for the blades. I only have 12 hours on it so far but this is the next to the best mower I have ever owned. 10 years ago I owned a Deere 332, Diesel with all the attachments you could get. I ended up moving to the lake and sold it. That was the best mower I ever had. How is your doing? I'm sure you have more hours on yours.
I forgot to say I found out about the deck switch as I have a very small dip in the yard in one spot and it would kill the mower blades every time. I to found the switch and pulled the wires and it works great now.
 
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