Common Kubota Zero-Turn Mower Problems
Although Kubota zero-turn mowers are durable, efficient, built to last, and comfortable to use.
It is possible for your Kubota zero-turn mower to develop a fault at any time and this can be frustrating, especially when you have an overgrown lawn that needs trimming.
In this article, we share well-detailed Kubota zero-turn mower problems and practical fixes to ensure smooth mowing operation.
But before we jump right into the possible solutions…
- Some of the most common problems with Kubota zero-turn mowers are:
- Kubota Zero-Turn Mower Problems: Causes and Solutions
- 1. Kubota Mower Fails to Start
- 2. Mower Loses Power and Dies
- 3. Kubota Zero-Turn Mower Smokes
- 4. Weak Hydrostatic Transmission
- 5. Mower Won’t Steer Correctly Or Drive Straight
- 6. Kubota Zero-Turn Mower Won’t Move
- 7. Vibration Problems
- 8. Uneven or Bad Cut
- 9. Engine Overheats
- 10. Leaking Gas
- 11. Stiff Handles
- 12. Blade Problems
- 13. Tire Problems
- 14. Kubota Zero-Turn Mower is Difficult to Start
- Troubleshooting Tips
- How Do You Clean the Carburetor on a Kubota Zero-Turn mower?
- Spray Carburetor Cleaner Into The Air Intake
- Take Pictures for Reassembly
- Turn off the Fuel Supply
- Take off Choke Cable and Throttle Cable
- Remove the Filter Housing
- Take Off the Springs
- Remove the Float Bowl
- Inspect the Stem for Plugged Holes
- Inspect the Carburetor for White Crusty Build-up
- Reassemble the Carburetor
- Fill the Gas Tank with Fresh Gas Mixed With A Fuel Additive
- Tools Required For Cleaning Kubota Carburetor
- Top Recommended Handy Tools for Troubleshooting Servicing Your Lawn Mower
Kubota Zero-Turn Mower Problems: Causes and Solutions
Kubota Mower Fails to Start
If your Kubota mower won’t start, it might be because of air or gas restrictions not allowing the engine to get the required air and gas to run.
This can occur as a result of a defective spark plug, a bad solenoid, a failed electrical component or a dead battery.
Mower Loses Power and Dies
Your Kubota zero-turn mower can lose power when the air or gas systems are compromised, affecting the mower’s operation.
This problem may be related to clogged fuel lines, a dirty carburetor, a bad air filter, and bad gas.
|Cause||Reason for Problem||Solution|
|Bad Gas||Gas degrades over time making the fuel less efficient and liable to engine damage and clogging the fuel system||Drain the gas tank and fill it with fresh gas. Use fuel additives to stabilize fuel|
|Broken or dirty cooling fins||The cooling fins may be filled with oil, grass, and dirt which will not allow the air to properly cool the engine block||Clean the cooling fins orreplace them with new ones|
|Blocked air filter||Grass and dirt can block the air filter to prevent air flow||Remove the filter andclean it. Replace it if it is in a bad condition|
|Clogged fuel lines||Dirt and gas deposits can accumulate and block the fuel lines, causing the engine not to get the required gas||Clear the clog out the fuel line by using compressed air and carb cleaner|
|Dirty carburetor||This may be caused by bad gas and ethanol deposits which prevents the flow of fuel||Clean all the parts that make up the carburetor or replace if needed|
Kubota Zero-Turn Mower Smokes
Your Kubota zero-turn mower can smoke when the oil gets into the cylinder and starts to burn off.
How-To fix a FLOODING Carburetor on YOUR riding lawn mower/ lawn tractor.
Some parts begin to burn as a result of increased friction from low oil capacity. This can also result in internal engine failure.
|Cause||Reason for Problem||Solution|
|Internal problems including engine gasket, piston ring or valve train||Internal engine problems may cause serious effects if they are not quickly detected and fixed||Take the mower to a local small engine shop for fixing|
|Low engine oil level||Lack of oil may increase friction in the engine, causing extreme heat in the engine||Take the mower to a small engine repair shop to check for engine damage|
|Blocked air filter||Grass and dirt can block the air filter which prevents air flow||Take off the air filter and clean it or replace it if it is bad|
|Excess oil in the crankcase||Too much oil can cause pressure to build in the engine, enabling oil to gain access into the cylinder through the valve train||Drain a little engine oil until it meets manufacturer’s recommended oil level|
Zero-turn mower gone bad
Weak Hydrostatic Transmission
A weak hydrostatic transmission may occur due to a worn or broken drive belt or tensioner pulley.
|Cause||Reason for Problem||Solution|
|Faulty tensioner pulley||If the tensioner pulley fails, it fails to keep the tension on the drive belt||Replace the pulley and grease the tensioner arm|
|Old or low hydraulic oil||Old or low hydraulic oil may not lubricate the hydraulic system, causing the hydraulic system to be weak||Check the hydraulic oil periodically to be sure thatThe hydraulic fluid is full. Change the hydraulic oil regularly in line with the recommendations of Kubota|
|Bad drive belt||A bad drive belt may prevent the pump from functioning well||Replace worn, cracked, or frayed belt|
Mower Won’t Steer Correctly Or Drive Straight
Your zero-turn mowing machine may experience these problems as a result of bad dampers, worn steering parts, and incorrect tire pressures.
The tracking may be off on your Kubota zero-turn mower, causing it to veer off to the left or right.
Kubota Zero-Turn Mower Won’t Move
This is one of the common problems of a Kubota zero-turn mower.
This can occur as a result of a missing idler spring, bad drive belt, or worn tensioner pulley.
If the drive release lever and transmission bypass rod aren’t in the right position, it may cause the mower not to move.
The Kubota zero-turn mower may vibrate because of unbalanced or damaged blades, or failing components including bearings in the clutch, spindle housings, and pulleys.
Other possible causes include loose components and hardware on the mower, and debris lodged under the mower’s pulleys and other places where small items can get stuck in the mower.
Uneven or Bad Cut
Your Kubota zero-turn mower may cut unevenly because of defective components such as a damaged or worn blade, unleveled mower deck, uneven tire pressures, clogged mower deck and slow engine speed.
The engine of your Kubota zero-turn mower can overheat due to low engine oil level or restricted airflow, affecting the operation of the mower.
|Cause||Reason for Problem||Solution|
|Low engine oil level||The engine may overheat because the oil level is low.||Fill the crankcase with the right amount and weight of oil.|
|Restricted airflow||There is a restriction in the air flow||Clean debris and grass clippings from and cooling fins and blower housing.|
This issue may occur if the carburetor bowl gasket is damaged. This will affect the operation and functionality of the Kubota zero-turn mower.
|Cause||Reason for Problem||Solution|
|Damaged or missing Carburetor bowl gasket||A damaged carburetor bowl gasket can cause gas to leak||Replace the carburetor bowl gasket|
Some Kubota zero-turn mower owners have complained about the stiffness of the handlebar. This occurs because the bolts are too tight or they are not well lubricated.
|Cause||Reason for Problem||Solution|
|Bolts are too tight and not well lubricated||The bolts are too tight and not properly lubricated, causing the handlebars to be stiff||Loosen the bolts and lubricate them|
If your Kubota zero-turn mower isn’t cutting grass well, it means that the blades have become loose and need retightening.
The major reason for this is wear and tear which won’t make the blades won’t spin well.
|Cause||Reason for Problem||Solution|
|Loose blades||The blades may gradually wear in the deck, causing it not to spin well.||Ensure that the blades are tightened. Sharpen the blades regularly to ensure nice cuts|
Kubota zero-turn mowers come with large tires that can run into different types of obstacles such as stumps and rock.
This may also cause damage to one or more tires.
It is advisable to replace tires if you notice wear on them. In addition, ensure that the tire pressure is even on your mowing machine.
|Cause||Reason for Problem||Solution|
|Wear on Tires||Tires can run on obstacles such as stumps and rocks which can damage them||Replace tire(s)|
Kubota Zero-Turn Mower is Difficult to Start
Some Kubota owners have complained about the mower taking much time before starting. This may be due to a clogged carburetor.
When gas is left for a long time, it becomes sticky and clogs your carburetor.
Kubota Zero-turn Mower Not Getting Gas
If your Kubota Z231 or any other Kubota zero-turn lawn mower does not get gas, the problem may be due to:
- Bad Fuel
- Plugged fuel filter
- Clogged fuel lines
- Bad fuel pump
- Dirty Carburetor
- Use a siphon pump to drain the gas tank and refill it with fresh fuel. Ensure that you add a fuel additive to the fresh gas to clean and stabilize the fuel system.
- Replace the clogged fuel filter with a new one.
- Replace the fuel line with a new one.
- Replace a damaged fuel pump with a new one.
- To clean the dirty carburetor, spray the carburetor cleaner into the air intake.
Kubota Zero-Turn Mower Blades Won’t Engage
A Kubota zero-turn owner once complained that the blades didn’t engage after pressing the “Blade Engage Button”.
This problem may come from faulty components like kill switch, transmission cable and throttle/choke control cable.
Fix: To test this, remove the spark plug and push the mower blade to engage the button with a power cord.
If it engages, it means that you need to replace the transmission solenoid.
Check for any faulty or damaged wiring of the kill switch.
This is located behind the front panel, below the engine compartment or underneath the seat. Replace the kill switch if it is faulty.
Lastly, ensure that the throttle/choke control cables are okay and are properly seated in their base. Replace them if they are defective.
How Do You Clean the Carburetor on a Kubota Zero-Turn mower?
Here are the steps for cleaning the carburetor of your Kubota zero-turn mower:
Spray Carburetor Cleaner Into The Air Intake
The first step to take is to remove the air filter from the air filter housing. Spray the carburetor cleaner into the air intake.
Check if the engine will start and continue to operate. If the engine does not start but shuts down, you need to disassemble the carburetor for cleaning.
Take Pictures for Reassembly
It is advisable to take photos while you disassemble it. Some components might come apart and you may find it difficult to remember their position when you have disassembled them.
Taking photos of this process will enable you to reassemble them with ease
Turn off the Fuel Supply
To shut off the fuel supply, you need to use pliers or a fuel hose pinch to crimp the fuel line. You can also turn off the fuel shut-off valve. After that, take off the fuel line from the carburetor.
Take off Choke Cable and Throttle Cable
Remove the choke cable and throttle if your mower has one.
Remove the Filter Housing
Take off the nuts and screws that attach the carburetor to the filter housing.
Take Off the Springs
Slowly remove the springs but you need to be careful not to stretch them out.
To remove the springs, you have to twist the carburetor a bit. Ensure that you do not tear the gasket that is found between the carburetor and engine block.
Remove the Float Bowl
You can locate the float blow at the base of the carburetor. The float bowl is where the gas is stored in the carburetor. This component is held by a screw.
Before removing the bowl, ensure that you clean around the outer part of the carburetor bowl to eliminate dirt. After that, remove the screw from the bowl’s base.
Make sure that you get a rag to catch the remaining gasoline in the bowl.
Do not damage the o-ring while trying to remove the bowl. In addition, make sure that you do not get the carburetor cleaner on the o-ring.
Inspect the Stem for Plugged Holes
A clogged stem will prevent the carburetor from bringing fuel to the jet. Locate the holes with a flashlight and disconnect them with a thick wire.
Inspect the Carburetor for White Crusty Build-up
Use a carburetor cleaner to remove white crusty material. It is quite impossible to get all the white deposits out of the carburetor.
Reassemble the Carburetor
After cleaning, you can now reassemble the carburetor. Check the photos that you took earlier to be sure that the parts are in the proper position.
Reattach parts to the carburetor including choke and throttle cable( if it uses one), fuel line, filter housing, and springs.
Fill the Gas Tank with Fresh Gas Mixed With A Fuel Additive
Fill the gas tank with fresh gas and mix it with a fuel additive. Allow the gas to fill the carburetor’s bowl and start the engine.
Note: You may need to replace the carburetor if it is in a bad condition.
If you notice that your Kubota zero-turn mower is giving you issues, the first step to take is to figure out the causes. Some of the problems include vibration problems, weak hydrostatic transmission, and starting issues.
Follow the recommended fixes to get your Kubota zero-turn mower working again. If your mower does not work properly after trying these troubleshooting tips, it might be best to seek a technician’s help.
Top Recommended Handy Tools for Troubleshooting Servicing Your Lawn Mower
|Multimeter – This is useful for checking voltage, continuity current to identify electrical problems in your mower||Filter Wrench – For loosening your mower’s filter.|
|Carburetor Cleaner – Choke and Throttle Body Cleaner for cleaning clogs buildup in the fuel system.||Blade Balancer–Balances Blades After Sharpening.|
|Fuel Stabilizer – This stabilizes cleans your fuel to reduce fuel system buildup||Battery Inflator – This helps to ensure your mower tires stay inflated to prevent steering or uneven cutting issues.|
|Socket Allen Wrench Set – These tools are needed to service troubleshoot your mower problems||Tachometer– Evaluates your mower’s engine performance and provides accurate data about the status of the engine|
|12-Volt Battery Charger – This is useful for charging your mower battery.||Lawn Mower Blade Sharpener– Adjustable Lawn Mower Blade Sharpener for Right and Left Hand Blades.|
Sam has over a decade experience in landscape and yard maintenance. He enjoys testing and reviewing different yard tools.
14 Zero-Turn Mower Preview
A look at key trends in commercial zero-turn riding mowers, along with what leading manufacturers are introducing for this season.
It appears as though manufacturers of commercial zero-turn riding mowers have had their engineers working overtime as of late. Many mower makers are offering numerous updates, improvements and brand-new models for this season. It’s no wonder. With commercial riding mower shipments to distributors and dealers expected to see double-digit growth this year, new products sporting improved features and new technologies will be first to grab landscape contractors’ attention in the lead-up to spring.
An overarching trend in the commercial riding mower category relates to fuel. Electronic fuel-injection engines (primarily from Kohler), which help to significantly reduce fuel consumption, have become common. Propane-powered mowers are also on the move. The Propane Education Research Council ( PERC ) says 16 mower manufacturers now offer propane models. Kohler has even developed a double whammy: an EFI propane engine initially offered to Exmark and Toro but soon expanding to other manufacturers. And then there’s John Deere, who collaborated with Kohler to develop a flex fuel zero-turn compatible with ethanol blends up to E85.
In addition to fuel efficiency and alternatives, mower manufacturers continue to emphasize productivity. Some of this year’s new models feature larger drive systems (14cc or 16cc pumps and wheel motors) for faster speeds. A variety of suspension systems are designed to improve both operator comfort and cut quality.
Rear-discharge decks are also getting more attention. Several manufacturers—including Exmark, Toro, Hustler, Walker and Grasshopper—have expanded their offerings of rear-discharging mowers over the past couple of years.
Finally, high-tech is finding its way to commercial mowing equipment. For example, Husqvarna’s SmartSwitch allows for key-less operation, while also offering real-time feedback on battery performance. Technology from Exmark (RED) and Toro (Horizon) also offer real-time feedback. These technologies constantly measure a host of mower vital signs to guard against catastrophic engine and equipment failure. RED and Horizon can also make important decisions for the operator, such as which performance mode to select depending on mowing conditions.
Here’s a look at what some of today’s leading brands of commercial zero-turn mowers have been up to.
New for this year. The Altoz line of zero-turn mowers was first introduced at GIEEXPO this past October. Thus, they’ll be seeing their first season of action this spring. The mowers feature an Aero Deck cutting system with adjustable baffles for an enhanced cut quality. The TorqFlex suspension system, 26-inch tires, vibration and engine isolation systems, and 10-way adjustable seat with lumbar support help to provide greater rider comfort. The frame, I-beam front arms, drive system, deck spindles, fork casters and wheel bearings are all heavy-duty for durability. Dual-range Hydro-Gear transmissions and a large range of horsepower options allow for speed, while models with two 7-gallon gas tanks allow for greater productivity. The Altoz mowers also have a patent-pending design, in addition to a race car-inspired style. Request more information
New for this year. For the 2014 model year, the Challenger and Defender have remained largely unchanged. The Charger has been upgraded with larger hydraulic pumps and wheel motors, allowing the unit to run cooler while increasing the ground speed. These components have also been positioned for easier removal for service. The hydraulic belt system has been redesigned to increase belt life. Additionally, the 2014 Charger has an improved parking brake, along with improved weight and balance, giving operators a lower center of gravity.
What makes Country Clipper mowers different. Only Country Clipper offers a joystick steering option. This feature provides a unique operating experience, while leaving operators with a free hand for moving low-hanging limbs or enjoying their favorite beverage. Country Clipper’s exclusive stand-up deck allows quick, easy access to the underside of the deck for routine maintenance and cleaning. Request more information
New for this year. Several new models are being introduced for 2014, specifically in the residential and entry-level commercial families. The Zee 2 welcomes two new high-performance models with bigger transaxles, better engines and an upgraded seat. The Magnum series has been divided between residential and entry-level commercial. The Residential Magnum series includes 44-, 50- and 60-inch models all powered by Kawasaki FS engines. The Magnum HP series includes a 50- and 60-inch model powered by a Kawasaki FX engine, and a 50-inch option with a Kohler EFI.
What makes Dixie Chopper mowers different. Dixie Chopper mowers feature stainless steel fenders which cover the fuel tanks. Dixie Chopper has patented several other features including the exclusive Turf Boss Tires and Operator Controlled Discharge Chute (OCDC). Springer Forks and suspension seats found on some models are designed to greatly improve operator comfort. Request more information
New for this year. Exmark has introduced a number of innovations for 2014, highlighted by the expansion of the company’s exclusive RED technology (introduced in 2013) to 52-inch Lazer Z X-Series models. The company has also made its new UltraCut Rear-Discharge cutting deck available as an option on its popular Lazer Z S-Series zero-turn rider. Exmark has also introduced a powered dump option to the Navigator dedicated bagging mower, and a new Air Ride seat option for Lazer Z and Navigator models. The Air Ride seat allows easy, from-the-seat adjustments of pneumatic pressure for operators of varying weights.
What makes Exmark mowers different. The Exmark Lazer Z is the number one zero-turn rider with landscape professionals. In fact, it’s preferred more than two-to-one over its nearest competitor, Exmark says—and that’s because Exmark mowers are designed to cut better and last longer than other options. Exmark mowers feature innovations that make contractors more productive and profitable, including exclusive RED Technology, patented operator comfort technologies, and industry-leading EFI-propane zero-turn and wide-area walk-behind models. Exmark says that innovation is obsessively tested to deliver the performance, cut quality and durability landscape professionals demand. Request more information
New for this year. Ferris introduced its new six-model IS 2100Z lineup at GIEEXPO 2013 in October. “The IS 2100Z offers commercial cutters great flexibility in terms of engine and mowing deck options so they can easily add units that fit in with their existing fleets,” says Bill Shea, vice president of commercial sales, Briggs Stratton Power Products Group. The six models are:
- 26 gross-HP Vanguard V-twin with 52-inch deck
- 25.5 gross-HP Kawasaki FX801V with 52-inch deck
- 26 gross-HP Vanguard V-twin with 61-inch deck
- 25.5 gross-HP Kawasaki FX801V with 61-inch deck
- 32 gross-HP Vanguard Big Block with 61-inch deck
- 29 gross-HP Kohler Command Pro EFI with 61-inch deck
- Ferris iCD cutting system for improved airflow, discharge and quality of cut
- Patented Ferris independent suspension with rear-coil-over shocks and front, adjustable shocks
- Hydro-Gear ZT-5400 powertrain
- Easily removable floor pan
- Heavy-duty bumper
- Ergonomic control panel
- Adjustable seat
- Foldable ROPS Request more information
New for this year. Grasshopper will offer a new PowerVac collector for select Front-Mount power units—Model 15B HighLift—which allows operators to raise the collector and empty clippings from the seat with ease, putting clippings precisely where they want them: into the center of a pickup bed or trailer. Grasshopper has also expanded its fuel-efficient mower line with the addition of two electronic fuel injection models: 327EFI and 727TEFI powered by second-generation, Delphi-based 747cc Kohler Command Pro EFI engines. EFI enhances fuel efficiency by monitoring and adjusting for external and internal engine factors, and speeds resolution of service issues with plug-in, automotive-style diagnostics.
What makes Grasshopper mowers different. Grasshopper says its True ZeroTurn mowers are designed with the operator in mind, providing the lowest center of gravity, easiest control and most comfortable ride while delivering the finest quality of cut. Cutting-edge design and manufacturing processes combine to create machines that are lighter on turf, heavier on power and easier on the environment. Design-matched transmissions with best-in-class fluid change intervals, commercial components and service-friendly designs make Grasshopper mowers built to last while reducing overall cost of ownership and operation, season after season. Grasshopper also offers a range of all-season implements for increased productivity and profitability all year long. Request more information
New for this year. SmartSwitch is bringing the convenience of one-touch starting, real-time feedback and “key-less” security to Husqvarna riding mowers. SmartSwitch is a microprocessor-enabled electronic interface designed for use with Husqvarna’s exclusive Endurance Series engines featuring ReadyStart automatic choke systems. SmartSwitch will initially be available on select RZ series zero-turn and GT series garden tractors starting in February 2014. Other features include:
- Key-less operation eliminates potential for lost keys or dead batteries when keys are left on (since the system automatically shuts down after a period of inactivity)
- Button shows current battery status and/or charging system malfunctioning
- Microprocessor-controlled display indicates if parking brake, cutting deck or steering levers need to be corrected prior to a start attempt
What makes Husqvarna mowers different. Husqvarna says its new M-ZT series zero-turn mower takes performance, productivity and comfort to a whole new entry-commercial level. The intuitive operator interface, heavy-duty steel frame and commercial-rated hydraulic system are packaged to create the ultimate mowing experience. With a rugged fabricated steel deck that is mulch- and collection-capable, the M-ZT is practical for all of your property maintenance needs. Plus, the high-back seat with armrests and adjustable ergonomic steering levers will provide a more comfortable ride. Request more information
New for this year. Hustler has introduced the Raptor SD for 2014. This is a residential mower that features a Kawasaki V-twin engine, heavy-duty fabricated frame, fully welded steel deep decks, and large 20-inch rear and 13” x 6.5” front tires. Deck sizes include 48, 54 and 60 inches. The Raptor SD is backed by a three-year limited warranty.
What makes Hustler mowers different. All Hustler mowers have fabricated steel frames and fabricated steel decks. All mowers feature a patented automatic park brake system built into the steering levers. Hustler says its mowers are built with simplicity and ease of maintenance designed in, and all offer industry-leading warranties. Request more information
New for this year. The Z950 joins the M Series of ZTrak commercial mowers. With a 27-HP engine, the Z950M has a top speed of 10 mph. The model is offered in 60-inch, 60-inch Mulch On Demand, and 72-inch widths, and comes equipped with a 7-Iron deck for maximum durability. To enhance operator comfort, the new model offers the option of an isolation seat or a fully adjustable suspension seat. For easier cleanup on the jobsite, an optional, integrated material collection system provides a Dump-From-Seat option to increase ease of use. The Z950M comes with a three-year/1,200-hour warranty.
What makes John Deere mowers different. The industry-exclusive Mulch On Demand option puts the power to choose mulching or side-discharge at the operator’s fingertips. This saves time, increases efficiency and keeps every surface—from driveways to sidewalks to flowerbeds—looking neat and clean. With a handy lever, operators can switch from side discharge to mulching without ever leaving their seat. Additionally, John Deere’s 7-Iron decks are stamped from a single sheet; there are no welds or corners on the underside, and no place for clippings to collect and clump. The deep deck provides enhanced airflow so material can be processed quickly and efficiently. Request more information
New for this year. As Kubota’s fastest zero-turn mower, the Z700-Series is designed for easy operation and increased productivity to deliver professional-grade results. New features include a wide operator platform for more legroom; a padded, high-back, adjustable seat for added comfort; and a convenient storage box and cup holder to help keep operators hydrated and productive.
Additionally, Kubota’s line of revamped front-mounts includes the F3990 with the highest-ever horsepower among all Kubota front-mount mowers. All models are designed to offer powerful yet more economical and cleaner performance, greater safety, easier maintenance, superior operator comfort, as well as a higher level of productivity and reliability.
What makes Kubota mowers different. Kubota’s Z700-Series features powerful Kohler Command V-twin engines and integrated Parker 14cc pump and wheel motors. Mowers also feature a convenient deck height adjustment dial.
The F90-Series offers multiple innovations for enhanced comfort, power, traction and versatility with cleaner emissions. Each model has a 16.1-gallon fuel tank and single speed-pedal hydrostatic transmission for quicker response and increased working speed, while the auto-assist 4WD forward/reverse ensures greater efficiency with appropriate traction while preventing landscape damage. Heavy-duty implement options include a snowblower, debris blower, front blade, grass catcher, 100-inch flexdeck and rotary sweeper. Request more information
New for this year. The ZT3 was introduced mid-year in 2013. For 2014, the seat has been upgraded to one of the most comfortable in the industry, according to Land Pride. Beyond those cosmetic changes, the unit will remain unchanged in 2014.
What makes Land Pride mowers different. Land Pride says this ZT3 incorporates a heavy-duty frame into a zero-turn mower that’s easy on the operator. The floating front axle and Tele-Caster suspension, both standard features, allow the wheel forks to absorb the rough terrain, helping to keep the deck level. The Land Pride ZT3 also features a 27-HP, air-cooled Kawasaki engine for lasting performance. The blades spindles are 1-3/8-inch Stressproof shafts with cast iron housing. The drive system is manufactured by Hydro-Gear. Drive belts are Gates. The ZT3 comes with a three-year, 750-hour limited warranty. Request more information
New for this year. The 8000 Series Direct Collect Z is designed to provide a manicured cut thanks to a powerful blower that moves more air, allowing large volumes of material to be thrown into the hopper. The rear-discharge deck lets operators trim on either side. Toro is also offering the new Z Master Professional 5000 Series EFI rear-discharge models, which provide for higher fuel efficiency and the ability to handle taller grass and maintain clippings.
Select Z Master Professional 6000 EFI models now feature Horizon Technology, an onboard intelligence platform that improves fuel efficiency and productivity. This new feature allows communication between key systems on the machine to enhance performance in a wide range of conditions.
What makes Toro mowers different. Select Z Master models feature the patented adjustable discharge baffle on the Turbo Force deck which modifies the cutting chamber for a superior cut. The fully welded, high-strength steel construction and bull-nose front bumper help resist impact damage. On EFI models, closed-loop EFI technology improves fuel efficiency by up to 25% and offers easier starting, lower emissions and longer run time. Deluxe suspension seats feature thick cushions, large bolsters and 3-D isolator mounts that absorb bumps and vibrations. Request more information
New for this year. The MT25i uses an OHV V-twin, air-cooled Kohler engine with Delphi EFI technology that delivers responsive, fuel-efficient performance—and a savings of over 30% compared to similar engines with a carburetor, Walker data shows. Designed for powerful acceleration and quick throttle response, the mower also features built-in diagnostics and a service light on the instrument panel to simplify troubleshooting. The tilt-open body and tilt-up deck allow easy access to the engine compartment and under the deck. The 10-bushel catcher and 10.5-inch grass-handling blower simplify leaf and debris collection. The MT25i is compatible with all Walker collection decks and most side-discharge and mulching decks. A number of implements and attachments are available.
What makes Walker mowers different. The compact size of the Walker allows it to get in and out of compact spaces. Plus, Walker says the unique steering configuration makes its mowers more agile than its competitors’ machines. An internal grass-handling system collects grass through the center of the mower and delivers it into a catcher box in the rear of the mower. Walker’s trademark beautiful cut and a variety of versatile year-round attachments help make the Walker different for the right reasons, the company says. Request more information
Worldlawn Power Equipment
What makes Worldlawn mowers different. Worldlawn Power Equipment says reliability and value are the cornerstones of its mowers. Engineers strive to combine new and emerging technologies with world-class components to create a highly dependable product with a surprisingly affordable price point, the company says. Honda and Kawasaki FX engines are combined with Hydro-Gear powertrains. Triple-laminate cutter housing mounts, double-row sealed bearings, 11-gauge steel floating decks and maintenance-free spindles are just a few of the many cutting-edge features found in the Worldlawn product lineup. With a proud workforce in Beatrice, NE, Worldlawn Power Equipment says it will continue to deliver exceptional value with world-proven performance. Request more information
What makes Wright mowers different. While Wright is not offering anything new this year in the sit-down zero-turn riding mower category, the company says its existing mowers do have an advantage. According to Wright, the engines in all of its commercial mid-mount, zero-turn mowers are nearly 3 inches lower than most mid-mounts. The hydro drive pulley is mounted on the bottom of the engine drive shaft, which allows the hydro pumps to be mounted 6 inches lower than most mid-mounts, significantly lowering the center of gravity. An undercarriage cage protects the transmissions and their filters, and an exclusive transmission interlock is built into the controls, eliminating the need for a separate parking brake. The rear wheel motors can be moved fore and aft through three different settings. This keeps the proper weight balance with collection systems. Request more information
Kohler vs. Kawasaki Engines: Which One Is Better?
Trying to decide between a Kohler and a Kawasaki engine? Kawasaki engines are the most reliable, but Kohler often has better support services. Let us help you compare the two, so you can be sure that you end up with the engine that is best for your needs.
If you mow your grass, use a pressure washer, or similar DIY tasks, then you need hardworking, reliable machines. Your equipment’s usefulness is only as good as the engine, and Kohler and Kawasaki are some of the best.
Many popular mowers, pressure washers, and other devices, like John Deere and Craftsman, use Kawasaki and Kohler engines. Both engines are an excellent choice with many strong qualities, although Kohler tends to have better support service. Alternatively, Kawasaki tends to take the lead on consistent quality over the years.
No matter what your reason for needing a new engine, Kawasaki and Kohler are both viable options. However, take a closer look at both before deciding which is the best choice for you.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Small Engine
Before jumping into purchasing the first engine you see, consider all of the pros and cons of each. Several factors are essential when choosing a lawnmower, pressure washer, or any other machine using a small engine. You’ll want to look at things like reliability, fuel-efficiency, cost, and expected lifespan, among others, before making your final choice.
Power: Kawasaki vs. Kohler
Kawasaki is known for its Critical Power engines that follow SAE J2723 standards. This standard ensures that engines provide users with at least 98% of their rated horsepower. A standard of SAE J2723 Critical Power provides Kawasaki engine users with a more precise measurement of horsepower.
To ensure Kawasaki Critical Power engines are up to snuff, they go through rigorous testing done by TÜV Rheinland Group. Kawasaki utilizes a third-party testing group to prevent biases as well as guarantee precision in ratings. During testing, equipment and calculations are set to the SAE J2723 rating; tests are run, then the group assigns horsepower ratings.
Kawasaki’s Critical Power engines have more precise testing and ratings than other engines. In Kawasaki FX engines, horsepower ranges from 15.5 HP to 38.5 HP.
Comparatively, Kohler engines are not as well known for the accuracy of their horsepower ratings. Kohler’s gasoline engines have a wide variety of engines, ranging in horsepower from 3hp to 38hp.
The Winner: Kawasaki. Its engines are better known for the accuracy and precision of their horsepower.
Comparison Video: Kawasaki Kohler Engine Teardown
Reliability: Kawasaki vs. Kohler
In terms of reliability, Kawasaki is known for the precision of its horsepower ratings. When purchasing a device with a Kawasaki engine, you get the horsepower you expect. Users cite experiencing fewer problems with Kawasaki engines compared to other models.
Kohler engines are reasonably reliable, depending on the model you purchase. Certain models have had issues with oil leakage, but this is easily fixable. The new Courage model has a part that has a tendency to peter out in 50-100 hours. Kohler engines also have issues with cranking but not starting.
The Winner: Kawasaki. Users cite fewer problems with Kawasaki engines than Kohler engines.
Efficiency: Kawasaki vs. Kohler
Kohler offers users a variety of fuel options for its engines. Although some of its engines use gasoline, its most fuel-efficient models run on propane without a carburetor. Kohler’s Command PRO® EFI engine can save you up to 600 per year on fuel.
Some of Kawasaki’s lawnmower engines also forgo the use of a carburetor and utilize EFI instead. These engines allow users to speed up the pace and often feature high and precise cutting power. However, people describe Kawasaki as using more fuel than its counterparts.
The Winner: Kohler. Although both utilize EFI technology, Kohler has a reputation for using less fuel than competitors.
Brands That Use Kohler and Kawasaki Engines
You can find Kohler engines in a wide variety of brands, including Dixon, Toro, Cub Cadet, Ariens, and Husqvarna. You’ll also find Kohler engines in Gravely, Dixie Chopper, Craftsman, Westinghouse, and Simpson power equipment.
Kawasaki engines are not as widely used as Kohler engines. You can find them in brands like Ariens, Gravely-Pro, Snapper-Pro, Dixie Chopper, Toro, Husqvarna, Cub Cadet, and Swisher.
The Winner: Kohler. A broader range of companies uses its engines.
Maintenance: Kawasaki vs. Kohler
Kawasaki recommends you perform regular maintenance on its engines. Follow your user manual’s instructions to maintain the air filter, oil oil filter, and cooling system. Kawasaki engines use open-loop control, which requires less maintenance due to fewer parts.
Kohler also says to maximize your engine’s life perform regular maintenance as outlined in your product’s user manual. Perform routine maintenance on the air filter, oil and oil filter, and cooling system.
The Winner: Kawasaki due to its open-loop control system. This has fewer parts to maintain than Kohler’s closed-loop counterparts.
Lifespan: Kawasaki vs. Kohler
The lifespan of any engine is dependent on how well you maintain it. Motors will last longer if they are well taken care of and if you use them regularly. However, if you use your engine daily, it will experience more wear and tear and likely peter out earlier.
If well maintained, you can get almost 3,000 hours of use out of a lawnmower using a Kawasaki engine. Some users have maintained their Kawasaki engines well enough that they’ve lasted 15 years.
The jury is out on exactly how long a Kohler engine will last you. Some of its air-cooled engines will last about 2,000 hours, if that. Other users claim their Kohler engines have been long-lasting, going for nearly 4,000 hours with no problem.
The Winner: It’s a tie. Depending on how well you take care of your machinery, these engines can last for a long time.
Warranty: Kawasaki vs. Kohler
A 36-month limited warranty accompanies Kawasaki engines. If any part of the engine fails during this period, the company will cover repairs or replacement. However, an official Kawasaki engine dealer must do the repair for it to be free of charge.
Kawasaki’s warranty does not cover parts broken due to misuse, accidents, or poor maintenance. You can also purchase Kawasaki Protection Plus for additional coverage on a Kawasaki product.
The warranty on Kohler engines depends on the type of use intended for the product. The warranty period for residential use is typically longer than the warranty period for commercial or rental use.
Kohler’s residential warranties vary from one year to five years. Its commercial and rental use warranties range from 90 days to 3 years. The length of Kohler’s warranties is also dependent on what type of engine you purchase.
The Winner: Kawasaki, for a flat three-year warranty. Depending on what Kohler product you buy, you may get a more extended warranty.
Customer Service: Kawasaki vs. Kohler
Both brands have relatively similar customer service availability. Kohler’s customer service is available every Monday to Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. Kohler is known for its exceptional customer support service, being a bit friendlier than competing brands over the phone.
Kawasaki is available at the same time via phone as well as email. However, it will only respond to emails concerning repairs and warranties.
The Winner: Kohler. It’s known for better and friendlier customer service.
Cost: Kawasaki vs. Kohler
Kawasaki small engines for mowers range in price from 360 to 3,000. Kohler small engines range in price from 219 to 3,450.
The Winner: Kohler. You’ll find mower engines for about 140 less than Kawasaki engines. However, the two are very close in price, so weigh the features of each engine before purchasing.
When is it worth replacing the engine instead of buying a whole new mower, pressure washer, or another device?
It is essential to weigh the cost of repairs against the price of a new device. If there is extensive internal damage, it may cost more to repair than it’s worth. Extensive damage to pistons or the crankshaft can cost almost 1,000 to repair. Buying a new riding lawn mower may only cost 1,000 more than that. If you’re willing to shell out a bit more for a new mower, do that instead of replacing the engine, but make sure you know which brands to avoid.
Consider repair when the issues are smaller, like making repairs to the carburetor. Smaller problems are usually a result of maintenance procrastination. Be sure to do maintenance as recommended, so you don’t have to buy a new lawnmower.
What are some other high-quality engine brands and some of their top qualities?
Alongside Kawasaki and Kohler, Honda, Briggs and Stratton, and Generac are well-known brands that make reliable engines.
Honda engines are best known for their reliability in push mowers. Briggs and Stratton has been making engines since the early 1900s and make reliable equipment. It also has parts readily available for replacement should your engine break down.
Generac makes durable industrial engines that have long lifespans.
Our Final Take
Both Kohler and Kawasaki offer superior engines, so consider the details when choosing the one that is best for you. If price is more important to you, Kohler has cheaper small engine options available for purchase. If power is more important to you, Kawasaki has precise ratings and high levels of horsepower.
Both brands have different things to offer you and your devices. Make your engine choice depending on what qualities are most important to you.
Now That We Know About the Engines, Let’s Learn Which Mowers Are The Best
Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent’s former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.
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