When Cub Cadet established their first line of small-format tractors in 1960, they created robust machines that could withstand the rigors of heavy workloads across various applications while still being small enough to maintain, maneuver, and store easily.
The LTX 1050 was introduced as an upgrade to the already popular LT1018. Although the 1050 is now discontinued, many still circulate on the second-hand market and are certainly worth consideration as a new purchase.
But, like many mowers, the model has its share of problems and issues you should be aware of.
The most common problems with the Cub Cadet LTX 1050
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The LTX1050 uses the powerful Kohler 24hp V-twin engine and Tuff Torq hydrostatic transmission, which is well known for its performance and reliability.
There are also many convenient options, including a cruise control lever essential when dealing with larger plots of land. And it even utilizes their popular RevTEK technology to allow reverse mowing – perfect for the moments when you need a quick second pass but don’t want to waste time turning around.
Sounds ideal, right? Before you make a purchase, let’s take an in-depth look at all the common problems users have reported running into with this tractor. These usually concern the engine and electrical system, but there are also some concerns with the mowing portion.
We’ll also look at how to fix them and share our thoughts on whether these problems are a deal-breaker for this tractor.
1. The battery doesn’t charge
It’s pretty standard for the battery to drain by itself if the tractor has been in storage or remained unused for a while, for example, through the winter.
But if you find that even after charging the battery, it seems not to function well or lose its charge, it may indicate a problem with the battery or one of its connections.
But before you go throwing the old one out, you should inspect all the terminals and connection points to see if anything has come loose or is dirty/corroded. Clean any terminal and re-attach the cables as needed.
If you find that even after checking the connection points, the battery is running out of juice too fast, then it’s a good indication that the cells inside the battery are failing and can no longer retain a charge. In this scenario, you should remove the old battery and replace it with a new one.
2. Faulty starter
The starter is responsible for cranking the engine so that when the spark plug ignites the fuel, it can start to run under its power. Without this, you will not be able to get the engine started.
However, this part can often have problems with a few potential causes.
- The first thing to check is if the fuse is blown. These are standard components to fail and should be replaced with a new one.
- Once again, if the battery contacts and terminals have become corroded, that will prevent the starter from working. Clean the terminals to ensure a steady power flow.
- Likewise, all connections should be inspected to check no wires have come loose that might prevent the starter from working.
- There may be a problem with the ignition lock to where the starter isn’t even getting the chance to work. This might need replacing or repairing.
- Finally, you should check the starter itself as sometimes these will fail and require replacing.
Once you have addressed all the above issues, your starter should operate smoothly.
3. The engine is not able to start
While not an inherent issue with the LTX 1050 itself, problems with the engine not being able to start can arise on any tractor. So informing yourself of the potential causes and how to fix them will make your life much easier in the long run.
Many causes of engine starting issues should be addressed during your regular maintenance and upkeep routine, so the problem doesn’t occur at an inopportune time, such as when you’re ready to start working.
The first thing to check is that there is enough gas in the tank. For an engine to start, there needs to be enough fuel. But you could also be mindful of the fuel you are using.
Over time fuel quality degrades and can affect the performance of the engine. So if you haven’t used the lawn mower in a while and suspect the fuel may have gone bad, discard it and replace it with fresh, high-quality fuel.
Next, you should check the fuel filter. This prevents dirt or debris from entering the engine and affecting performance. However, if it’s not cleaned regularly,t debris can build up to the point where it restricts fuel flow into the engine.
So clean it out if possible, or if the filter is already too old, then it should be replaced.
There’s also the potential of the spark plug breaking. The spark plug generates a small electrical spark that ignites the fuel. So if this breaks, then the engine combustion process cannot begin. Fortunately, spark plugs are very cheap and easy to replace.
4. The engine keeps overheating
An overheating engine is a problem because it not only slows down the machine’s efficiency but also severely speeds up component degradation. You’ll make frequent trips to the repair shop if you don’t address this reasonably fast.
A quick and easy initial solution to cool your engine down is simply reducing the machine’s load. This includes slowing the engine down, lowering its carrying weight, and driving on more flat and even terrain where possible.
Of course, this isn’t ideal long-term, and you should take steps to address the underlying issue to protect the health and longevity of the engine.
- You should first check the cooling fins and air inlet as this may have become blocked or restricted, thus reducing the engine’s ability to take in cool air and dissipate hot air. Clean and unblock these as needed.
- Check the oil level. If the tank’s oil is too low or too high, it will affect the pressure, which can lead to overheating.
- Likewise, the oil’s viscosity should be checked, as it can be affected by weather changes or age. If the thickness of the oil seems off, discard the old oil and refill it with fresh, new oil.
- Adjust the idle speed, so it’s not as fast.
- Finally, check the internal bearing clearance to ensure it matches the specification.
5. The engine is lacking in power
Sometimes even when an engine starts and appears to run ok, it lacks power—struggling to lift heavy loads or deal with uneven terrain.
The primary cause of a lower-powered engine is a faulty fuel pump unable to deliver enough fuel to the engine to keep it running optimally. Inspect the fuel pump and either repair or replace it as needed.
This tractor also uses an engine ‘governor,’ responsible for maintaining a consistent speed even when under load. Sometimes the setting of this governor is off (or perhaps it isn’t very accurate), which will cause the engine to run slowly when it shouldn’t. Adjust the governor’s settings accordingly.
You should also check that the oil is not overfilled, affecting the engine’s performance.
6. The cut quality isn’t up to par
Finally, many users have reported that as they continue using the machine over a prolonged period, the cut quality degrades and starts producing unwanted results, such as stripping the grass instead of cutting it and creating an even cut.
Of course, the most common culprit of this is due to the blades dulling over time. This is very normal, and resharpening the blades is something you will need to take into consideration. A good general rule of thumb is to resharpen the blades every 25 hours of use.
However, sometimes you will still find cut quality problems even when the blades are sharp.
The first thing to check is the drive belt, as it may be worn or slipping. Inspect the belt for any signs of wear, such as cracks or fraying; if the belt looks old and worn, replace it with a new one. But if the belt looks good, you may need to increase the belt tension to prevent any slippage.
You should check the cutting height and tire pressure if it’s stripping grass. If the tire pressure is even, it will make the lawn mower lean down on one side, affecting the cut quality. While if the deck is set too low or too high, it won’t be able to produce an effective cut.
Other issues that may degrade the cut quality are bent or damaged mower blades. As you mow, the tractor may pick up rocks or objects that can cause damage. Inspect these closely; if there is noticeable damage to the blades, replace them with new ones.
Cub Cadet LTX 1050 Problems: Are they a deal-breaker?
Do not be fooled by the understated appearance of this lawn tractor; it punches far beyond its weight and offers boatloads of power, accessibility, and adjustability to make this your ideal mowing machine.
While it may not be able to handle large workloads with the ease that a more commercial lawn tractor might be able to handle with ease, it’s a premium workhorse for its price.
While it does have some problems and will require a solid maintenance and upkeep routine, if you take care of this machine well, you should have an exceptional experience with it.
Therefore, we have no problems recommending the LTX 1050 for small format operations.