When your zero turn won’t move.

We occasionally have Z-turns brought in to our service department at MT&T for “no movement” Lets take a few minutes and discuss the system and the probable issues.

The drive system of any basic residential or commercial zero turn lawn mower consists of 2 separate transmission systems and a single belt system that drives both of them. The rear wheels are bolted to these transmissions and control forward-reverse and stopping.

The 2 most common issues I see are ” It only goes in 1 direction” OR “it won’t move at all” The latter is the easier to diagnose of the two. In 30 years of professional repair experience I have never known both transmissions to go out in the same way and at the same time. So, that only leaves the belt and pulley system that propels both transmissions, The one common denominator. Look for a broken belt, a spring or a belt tension issue.

When a machine only goes in one direction, or is slower on one side, I look at the transmission system on the side that is slow or non-functional.

Over the years I have witnessed  that the right hand transmission is usually the issue. Why?…The mower deck discharge is almost always on the right hand side. So we find ourselves almost always turning left to get close to trees, foundations etc.. To turn left the right transmission must work harder and faster.

The causes of transmission issues are so varied that I won’t even attempt to list them all here. Most commonly though, the problem is an internal fluid pump failure.

BUT, over the years I have diagnosed and repaired issues as simple as….

  • Low tire air pressure on the slow side.
  • A worn drive belt that is too loose on the trans. farthest from the tensioner.

So before you fear the worst, cover all the basics.

Hope this helps! Until next time. Thanks for reading.


12 Comments Add yours

  1. wendell says:

    yes this helped a lot , will look at the ten, pully.


    1. When you get a chance, I’d really like to know how everything turned out. Thanks, LP


  2. Larry Gilbert says:

    I just bought my JD 42″ Z335E ZTrak zero turn riding mower, after having to charge the battery for almost 2 hours. I finally got it to start. But now it will not move in either direction ! I mean it was just delivered yesterday, and I can’t even mow my darned yard now ! HELP !!


  3. you nailed it.the belt came off


  4. Ronald says:

    Thank you. The problem was the belt came off, probably the spring. This was the only site with a logical and usable explanation for the problem.


  5. David Melfe says:

    Thank you. I didn’t think it was a big issue.. although I haven’t gone back out to check this out… I’m guessing tension spring right now because the belt is still in tact.. yet the mower stopped immediately.. no drive either side


  6. Mike Dudek says:

    What would cause a Husqvarna ZTR to screech at times when turning. Does not do it all the time. Thanks


    1. I would start with the mounting bolts. A loose HST can get in a bind and squeal. Also take notice of whether or not it only does it when turning 1 direction. That will narrow down which side has the problem.


  7. Harry says:

    Yep broken belt ! Won’t move

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Al Qenton says:

    My Toro 4218 ZTR trans was locked on both sides. tried unlocking with the rear leavers but still locked with the key on or off. I usually keep the mower under roof but left it out over night and it did get rained on. I figured it was the electric parking brake, jacked it up and looked at the actuator right under the battery. When the handle bars are moved from the park position while the key is on the actuator should make one revolution. It did not. So I took this opportunity to remove the battery, then the solenoid, then unplug the actuator. Using a compressor I blew out the actuator male receptacle and the female plug. Added some dielectric grease to the female plug. I cleaned the electrical connections on the solenoid and the battery. Reassembled and every thing now works great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great work. I have seen times where, on the electronic brake systems, even the slightest bit of corrosion can cause them to not operate.


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