View Full Version : Problem with my Scag ZTR

10-27-2009, 05:49 AM
As some of you know, I've had my Scag ZTR for 5 years now. It has worked flawlessly, until now.
Last night I went out planning to accomplish the last mow of the season, start her up, pull out of the pole building and lift up on the knob to engage the mower deck ...and nothing happened. The blades did not even try to turn. I played with the emergency break, which has a safety switch in that it cannot be engaged and the mower deck running, plus there is a seat safety switch in that the mower deck cannot be running when you get up out of the seat or the mower dies. I presume it is one of these safety doohickeys that is stopping it from running.
Anyone know a way to check these out or have a clue as to what else I should try to further narrow down the problem?

10-27-2009, 08:27 AM
the Dixon I used to use had a connection under the switch for the blades that would occasionally pop just enough loose to stop working. There was a second connector behind the seat that would do the same.

10-27-2009, 10:06 AM
Doc, to troubleshoot the switches I would disconnect the wires and manually test them with a jumper wire. Be careful that you don't get electrocuted or short the wrong wire.

I would start with the safety switch first and then try the main switch.

I'm no expert though - that's just what I would do.

11-01-2009, 08:31 AM

11-01-2009, 12:05 PM
Thanks Hardy. That makes sense. The mower deck is not even trying.to start up.

11-01-2009, 11:37 PM
Try checking the fuses.

11-02-2009, 06:26 AM
Try checking the fuses.
Another good idea. I've never seen the fuses on the Scag, never had a reason to look. I'm glad I saw your post before going out to check it out. Been busy moving web sites. I hope to get out to the Scag later today or tomorrow.

11-02-2009, 02:35 PM

My ZTR (not a scag) also has a safety switch somehow connected to the lever that's used to loosen the belt for removal. Mine has a stand-up deck so for quick belt removal, there's an arm that loosens the belt for removal from the engine. If I don't put that handle fully into the locked position, it won't engage the blades.

You can probably test the seat switch quickly. With the engine running and you're moving, sit up (off the seat). If that switch is working, the engine will quit.

For the emergency brake switch, something similar may happen. Try engaging the emergency brake when you're moving. My guess is the engine should get killed.

To turn on your deck, is it a mechanical or electrical engage from the seat? Do you pull a little knob (ele) or do you pull a long lever (mech). If the former, check that switch.

11-02-2009, 05:58 PM
Good thoughts Brian. I do pull to turn the mower deck on. It got dark so quick on me tonight I didn't have a chance to check it. Hopefully I can get home earlier tomorrow night.

11-02-2009, 06:03 PM
Might also check the belt....if it slipped off or broke just as you quit using it last time, the clutch would engage, but you would never know it. (That happened to the drive belt on my Dixon while my brother was using it.)

11-02-2009, 06:18 PM
Doc, on your Wildcat there is a brake safety switch and a seat safety switch. Both connect back to an interlock module. Either will prevent the Scag from engaging the blades. According to the electrical schematic, there are 2 20 amp fuses which are a part of a sealed fuse assembly. Then you also have the PTO clutch, which has a 600V 2 Amp diode connected to it.

I would check for power at the PTO switch on the red wires, there may be up to 4. The darker blue wire on the PTO switch energizes the blade clutch.

11-02-2009, 06:20 PM
Might also check the belt....if it slipped off or broke just as you quit using it last time, the clutch would engage, but you would never know it. (That happened to the drive belt on my Dixon while my brother was using it.)
You're right Larry, a belt missing and you'd never know whether the clutch engaged or not.

11-03-2009, 05:59 AM
Good stuff Larry and Jerry. First thing I checked was the belts. One spot had a bit of grass build up so I cleaned that out and checked that they were a okay. All is good with the belts.
You are right on with the safety switch Jerry. If today goes right I should be able to tear into it tonight. I'll post a follow up once I know something.
Thanks all!!!!!

11-06-2009, 08:17 AM
Well, I'm embarrassed. Here it is Friday and I have not gotten a chance to so much as look at the ZTR let alone check it out. I made that internet DNS change last night that I thought was simple but took up most of my evening and it's getting dark so darn early.....I could go on but no one wants to hear excuses.
I'll be visiting friends and granddaughters in Cols Fri and Sat ...so Sunday will be my next window of opportunity to see what I can figure out. I'll update this thread as soon as I know anything for sure.

11-18-2009, 02:19 PM
So what did you find out Doc? I see that you got a bill for the repair in another thread, but I don't see what you said as the cause. You shouldn't keep us in the dark like this.

11-18-2009, 05:28 PM
I'll fill you in up to now I checked the fuses and the switch at the clutcch. That test was questionable. My SIL's uncle works on ExMarks and Scags but he is 100 miles away. I put the Scag on the trailer and met the SIL halfway one day last week. I just got word today how much the total repair was. 340.12. They asked if I wanted him to do a once over and I agreed as I had not had it to the shop ever. It was just barely ready for a hydraulic fluid change and an oil change. I had him do both of those and anything else he found. The initial problem was the pull switch which turns on the mower deck. He had to order the assembly for it. I'll have the receipt in hand either this weekend or Thanksgiving day so I'll be able to pass on more details then.

12-05-2009, 04:27 PM
it was 63 degrees here last Sunday so I finally was getting in my final mow of the season. The Scag was running great when again the mower deck just stopped. I had been mowing about 1 1/2 hours at the time. :confused:
I talked to the guy who fixed it and he's surprised. He tested the fix and it worked for 1 1/2 hours before failing. Just today I took it to an authorized Scag dealer about 40 minutes from my house. The repair guy was deer hunting so I won't know anything until later next week.

12-06-2009, 11:11 AM
Don't ya just LOVE it what that chit happens!!:shitHitsFan:

Good luck, hope it's nothing serious.

12-06-2009, 05:25 PM
Thanks Larry!

12-12-2009, 03:28 PM
Got the Scap back today. $400.61 to replace the clutch and switch. It seems the clutch was overheating and would eventually burn out the switch. Works okay. I mowed some today with frost still on the grass. It was 43 outside, so not to cold but the house had kept some of the grass in the shade and it was still frozen. I just mowed where I was putting lights up and stringing cords around .....it needed mowed bad.
The Scag is put away until next year now.

12-13-2009, 06:10 AM
Thanks for the update & Glad Ya gotter fixed finally Doc , Sounds like Yer good to go for next season .

Ouch on puttin out 740 bucks on it though , That would a bought a nice little noisemaker . :hide: . :tiphat: . Bob

12-13-2009, 08:50 AM
Glad ya got 'er fixed. But I think ya need to use it some more before the warranty runs out on the new parts.........if your grass isn't tall enough, you can bring it down here, mine's abut ready to cut again.:poke:

12-13-2009, 12:25 PM
Red, I would love to bring it down your way and let you use it while I spent some quality time on the beach. :D
Cowboy you are so right. it will be longer until I can get my next noisemaker now, Darnit. :D

12-13-2009, 06:32 PM
It WAS beach weather, but I had to get some seat time. Heat index had to have been mid-high 90's. I was sweating just getting ready to ride.

12-13-2009, 08:15 PM
I wish we had that problem up here :hide:

12-14-2009, 01:25 AM
I wish we had that problem up here :hide:

Me too. It's been cold, wet and miserable here.

Doc, apart from your recent problem with the Scag, how do you like the machine? The reason that I'm asking is that I'm really tempted to get a zero turn late next year. I must admit that I got the hots for the diesel model at the Kubota dealer when I was there a couple of weeks back but I can't decide if I can really justify/need a diesel or if a gas model will work just as well for me. Realistically, I would be putting 150 to 200 hours a year on it and probably be using it for (hopefully) 10 years or so. What do you think? Any insight would be helpful as I know very little about zero turns but I have noticed that most of the commercial yard cutting companies around here run gas powered Scags.

12-14-2009, 07:42 AM
ETF - How much do you have to mow?
What's the ground condition (smooth, bouncy...)
Obstructions (trees and such)
Flat ground, hilly?

12-14-2009, 11:58 AM
Hey Frank. BC asked some pertinate questions ...I'l answer them for me. On the old tractor site I used to go to folks advised me against a zero turn because most of my yard is an old tomato field. Very very bumpy. The parts that aren't bumpy have hills. Nothing to serious, but they are hills.

I cannot mow at full speed across the bumps or it jars my teeth and back pretty bad. But varying speed is simple with a ZTR so going slower over those areas is a breeze. It also handles my hills with no problem, as long as they are dry. If wet, stay off the hills. :eek: I have seen ZTR on landscapers trailers with a R4 type of tread instead of turf tread like most ZTR's come with. IOW, even if you have serious hills, there are ways to make the ZTR handle them.

I didn't have to many obstructions before getting the Zero Turn but since getting it I have not hesitated to add trees or whatnot in the yard. Before, when mowing with the Kubota using a 6' 3PH pull behind I cringed at the mention of adding new landscaping tot he yard. Now I welcome it. :D

Mowing is actually fun, or as fun as mowing can be. I always where shades or clear safety glasses when I mow now because with the ZTR a quick turn can end up putting grass and dust in your face. Much more than sitting high up on the Kubota. No biggie, just something to be aware of.

I love the Scag. I shoppped and shopped before buying it. I was leaning to an Exmark but when I found there were no local dealers I looked hard at the Scag and other offerings in the market. I like how rugged Scag was built. It was far from the cheapest but I was buyin a 10 year mower, like you plan to do. I'm at 5 years in and I'm sure I'll get more than 10 years out of it. 15 or 20 seem reasonable, but I don't put 200 hours on it a year. I'm more like 100 hours.
The gas engine has plenty of power, so from that angle I think the Scag would do you fine. At 200 hours a year, where the diesel would pay off is longevity. At the time I bought I also dreweled over the Kubota diesel. Very nice ZTR. The price difference between the gas powered Kubota and the deisel power Kubota was 3k. I could not justify that difference, and if I were buying new again today, I would make the same decision and buy the Scag Wildcat (it was listed at 8500 marked down to 7500 when I bought it). The Wildcat is more of a commercial mower, a middle of the line offering 1500 or so more than the Tigercat Scag.

If you have any other questions just fire away Frank. :thumb:

12-14-2009, 04:21 PM
ETF - How much do you have to mow?
What's the ground condition (smooth, bouncy...)
Obstructions (trees and such)
Flat ground, hilly?

I mow about 4 acres of "yard" at the house every week and about 5 acres for the local library every second week.

Both places are far from smoothe. "Bouncy" might be a good word with the occasional rough patch. At present I use the B2400 with 5' rear finishing mower at the house and use both it and the L4740 at the library. At both places I tend to go fairly slow 'cos I'm too old to be bounced around and there's no sense in beating the crud out of the equipment. At both places I probably mow about 1 acre an hour and that includes cutting some parts twice to get all the bahia.

There are slopes on both places. Nothing to terrify you but enough to force you to be careful and pay attention. There's one small part in both places that I won't run across the slope but have no problem running up and down.

I live in East Texas, there are trees everywhere. I've never counted them but there must be at least 20 at the house and even more at the library. So I spend a lot of time backing up to get close to the trees and also running over the surface roots.

Doc, the problem I'm having is the same one that you had. The price tag on the diesel Kubota at the dealer was just under $11,900 and at my age I'm not sure I'll live long enough to justify that extra $4,000 over the gas powered one. :)

All the commercial ZTR's I see around here are all gas powered and when I can get a gas one AND a backhoe for the B2400 for approximately the same price as the diesel, it's something to think about. I say think about because the CFO isn't aware of my master plan yet. :)

Doc, thanks for all the information you've given already.

12-14-2009, 05:20 PM
You're going to find that your mowing time will easily be cut in half from your current system.
At my house, I do about 2 acres with lots of hills and obstacles. Even going around everything, I can still do it in about 45 minutes.

At my other property, I have to mow about 4-5 acres. Very bumpy which slows me down. That takes me about 2.5 hours.

If you do consider a ZTR, I'd propose you get it demo'd at YOUR property to test it out. Some you'll like, others you wont. One will rise to the top.

12-14-2009, 05:22 PM
Before we bought the Scag I mowed with the Kubota 3PH pull behind mower and the wife mowed with a 17hp Simplicty around the house. It took us 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours to finish up mowing. The Simplicity literally blew up. I knew it was on it's last legs and sure enough, when she was done, that was all she wrote. I finished the season with the Kubota w/ 3PH pull behind mower. Then it took me 3 to 3 1/4 hours to mow.
The next season we bought the Scag. The 3PH pull behind mower has not been used since. I can finish all mowing in less than 2 hours. 1:50 usually, sometimes 2 if I mow part of the neighbors lawn. As mentioned before over 1/2 of my yard is bumpy. I do not go full speed but even the slow speed on the ZTR's is faster than most mowers. Zipping around trees and obsticles saves a lot of time. I do think the time is so much quicker because my blades are cutting grass 95% of the time. I suspect the Kubota was actually cutting grass about 60% of the time. Lots of manuvering around stuff.

My point is that no matter what ZTR you get I suspect you will cut 1/4 or more off of your mowing time ....even when you have to go slow because of the rough terrain.

For as much as you are mowing I would go with at least a 5' deck. I have 61"s on the Scag and it's the perfect size for me.

12-14-2009, 05:27 PM
BC's ZTR is one that you can drive with a joystick (one handed) where most ZTR's use the two handle system. I forget the make but it sure is worth a look. What make is it BC?

12-14-2009, 10:56 PM
Thanks for all the input. I didn't mean to highjack the thread but when you have people who have the experience that you don't, I always think that it's a mistake not to take advantage of them. :respect:

Zoomer ... a joystick, tell me more.

12-15-2009, 08:00 AM
Mine is a Country Clipper Charger

In the picture, you'll see a joystick on both sides. The one on the right handles all movement, the left one is fixed and just something to hang on to if you want. I like the setup for a few reasons. It keeps my left hand free for moving low-hanging branches out of my way; I can hold my "beverage" easily and my arms are on the armrests instead of sticking out in front of me (which can get tiring when doing large areas or when bouncing a lot).

The other main reasons I went with the Country Clipper:
It holds hills better than any other I tried. Where others would slide down the hill (especially when traversing a hill), this one keeps going.
The mower deck flips up in a matter of seconds for cleaning or sharpening blades.

Like others, it has an articulating front end and suspension seat.