11 Most Common Ferris Zero Turn Mower Problems

While leaning more towards commercial and business use, Ferris mowers offer incredibly high-powered lawn mowing equipment that boasts many innovative features that will keep you on the cutting edge of lawn mowing.

From the coveted ICD cutting system providing the best cut possible to their low-maintenance oil changes that last five times longer than competitors, it’s a prime choice for businesses needing a mower that can handle the heaviest of workloads.

But with all that being said, users have reported experiencing several issues with their Ferris mower. So today, we’re going to go through all the most commonly reported problems, see how to fix them, and finally share our thoughts on whether we think Ferris mowers are worth their price.

The most common problems with Ferris Zero Turn Mowers

While Ferris Mowers is undoubtedly a trusted and respected brand, as with all mowers, and especially ones that will be handling commercial-level workloads, they will inevitably run into some problems which, as a prospective buyer, you should be aware of.

These issues range from starter and cut quality issues to turning and operational problems.

Don’t let this put you off, though, as many of these problems can be circumvented with a good maintenance routine and are not necessarily indicators of flawed design. We see these kinds of issues occur on many different riding mower brands.

So let’s consider what problems you can expect as a Ferris Zero Turn riding mower owner.

1. The mower doesn’t start or struggles to start

While a mower struggling to start or not starting at all is a fairly common issue that is usually relatively easily solved. The challenge it presents is diagnosing the cause, as so many potential failure points can lead to this issue.

The first thing to check, particularly if the machine will frequently start and stop, is that the spark plug is ok. This generates a small electrical current that starts the internal combustion process. So if this component breaks, your engine will not be able to operate. You can replace it if it’s not working as it’s very cheap.

The next thing to check is the air filter. Over time these can become clogged and not be able to provide an adequate amount of air to the engine. When the engine is starved of air it is likely to shut down by itself. If possible, clean the air filter out, or if it’s already quite old, you may need to replace it.

You should check that the carburetor is performing correctly. This might also be clogged and need servicing.

Finally, check the hydraulic system for leaks or bad connections and repair them accordingly.

2. The mowing quality is poor and uneven

For a riding lawn mower designed for commercial-level workloads, you should expect the cut quality to be exceptional. And for the most part, Ferris mowers are exceptional.

But sooner or later, the cut quality will degrade and will start to produce uneven mowing. This is normal and expected.

To ensure that cut quality remains as good as possible, the blades should be re-sharpened roughly every 25 hours. This will help maintain that nice, precise finished quality you should expect.

But what happens if the blades are sharp and you are still experiencing issues with the cut quality? Well, there are a few potential culprits:

  • The riding lawn mower needs to be leveled according to specification. You will see uneven lengths between cut strokes if the machine is leaning to one side.
  • The blades should be inspected for dents or gouges caused by rocks or debris kicked into the blade system. Unfortunately, this may present a safety issue, and they should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
  • You should also check the mower bearing as it may become clogged up with dirt or debris, inhibiting the blades’ smooth motion and resulting in poorer cut quality.
  • Finally, if the blades are already exceptionally old, they should just be replaced.

Once you have addressed each mower problem above, we are confident your mower’s superior cut quality will be restored.

3. Poor traction/driving experience

While these machines have been designed with larger yards or plots of land in mind, you would think they should be more than capable of keeping consistent even after prolonged use.

However, many users have reported that the mower develops these slipping/traction problems caused by certain parts getting clogged up with dirt or debris over time.

You should check the blades and entire lower chassis for built-up dirt/grass and scrub them with a brush to improve the mower’s traction.

If you find this doesn’t help, it may also be a power/engine mower problem being misinterpreted as a traction problem. You should check the engine/fuel levels to ensure they are also operating optimally.

4. Excessive vibration

This can be a reasonably common problem found in any zero-turn lawn mower due to the precise nature of the mechanisms. Hence, as components loosen or come out of alignment over time, you will feel the offset weight around the lawn mower.

So the general way of approaching this is to ensure everything is securely locked down and balanced to provide as smooth an operating experience as possible. Of course, some vibration will always be associated with these large, powerful mowers. You shouldn’t be left feeling uncomfortable because of it.

The first thing to check is, once again, the mower blades. For these not to introduce excessive vibration into the lawn mower, they need to be correctly angled, as well as the bearing they turn on, to be free of any grit or dirt that might inhibit their ability to spin freely. Clean/maintain as needed.

5. Poor engine efficiency

Suppose you find that over prolonged periods of use or after long periods of storage, the engine doesn’t seem to operate as efficiently as it once did. It may be due to an engine/high heat problem.

These are relatively easy-to-solve problems with some basic troubleshooting steps.

The first thing to check is the air intake filter which can become clogged up over time. This prevents the mower from providing adequate air to the engine throwing off the fuel/air mixture and thus resulting in poorer performance. Clean if you can, or if it’s already too worn out, you should replace it.

You should also check the idle speed and throttle position to ensure they are set correctly. 

Finally, you should check that the spark gap is set correctly. This indicated the difference in distance between the spark plug electrode and the ground strap. This process is called ‘gapping’ your plugs. It is possible to do this yourself, but if unsure, we recommend having a mechanic look at it.

6. The Ferris Mower struggles to cut wet grass

In commercial scenarios where time is an issue, you don’t always have time to wait for that perfect weather to cut grass. Sometimes you will need to work with wet grass and have confidence that your mower can handle it.

The good news is that Ferris mowers generally can deal with it. But you might have to adjust your process slightly to accommodate the wet.

The first thing is to make sure the blades are nice and sharp. You can get away with duller blades on dry/brittle grass, but if you plan on working on wet grass, you need them as sharp as possible.

The second thing to do is to slow your engine down and allow the blades more time to cut the grass. This applies even more to any sloped/uneven terrain, an area larger mowers can sometimes struggle with.

7. Issues with the hydrostatic transmission

One of the big selling points of Ferris mowers is the hydro-gear system which uses hydraulic fluid in place of gears to transmit energy. It’s often considered more reliable, efficient, and less prone to component wear down over time.

However, one of the issues you might face with a hydrostatic transmission, much like any other hydraulic system, is that air may find its way into the line through a break in a connection.

This compromises the system’s ability to build adequate pressure and operate efficiently.

To fix this, you must clean the transmission system by purging it of air. This is a fairly standard process that a user can do themselves with a bit of guidance. If you find the hydro-gear system still has issues after the air has been removed, you should take it to an authorized dealer, as it may indicate a problem that’s not user-serviceable.

8. Poor brake functionality

A very troublesome issue to deal with when you need to make tight and precise cuts. The most common cause of the brakes operating poorly or not at all is the brake calipers being worn out of they are not correctly adjusted.

To fix this, the braking system should be inspected, and the calipers replaced accordingly.

9. The mower doesn’t raise

Raising the mower is essential to dealing with uneven terrain, yet some users have reported that their mower decks will either be slow to raise or not raise at all.

Damaged or worn lifting linkages commonly cause this, and those components need to be replaced. We recommend getting a qualified repairer to do this as it’s a little more involved.

10. The wheels are unable to turn

If you are having trouble with the wheels on your Ferris Mower not turning, you should check that all the wheels are level and have equal pressure to ensure the mower’s as stable and even as possible.

You should also check that the lawn mower has adequate steering oil.

11. Poor unit handling

Even when your brakes and steering are technically working, sometimes they will feel off and like the lawn mower is not handling very well.

This can often be due to the steering linkage being loose or, once again, improper tire pressure. You should check the steering linkage carefully and re-tighten any loose connections to improve this and ensure adequate pressure in the tires.

Ferris Zero Turn Mower Problems: Are they a deal-breaker?

At first glance, it might seem like there is a lot to contend with if you own one of these mowers. But we want to stress that these are common issues that will crop up on any zero-turn mowers you purchase.

We see the benefits of using such a well-respected company. We have no doubts about recommending Ferris Mowers as an excellent purchase choice for anyone needing a solid mower for commercial applications.

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