6 Reason Why Zero Turn Mower Is Not Working On One Side

A zero-turn riding lawn mower is a normal riding lawn mower that can achieve a virtually zero turning radius. The radius becomes virtually zero when the two drive wheels revolve in the opposite direction of the mower’s forward motion. 

One of the most common problems with these mowers is one side not working. It may pull, drag or slug at the weaker side. It occurs mainly due to traction issues. But the reasons don’t cease at that. 

Wondering why the zero turn one side not working? You’re in the right place! I have summarized the reasons for you in this article. Read in full to find out! 

Reasons and Solutions at a Glance:

Reason of Zero Turn One Side Not WorkingSolutions
1. Displaced Freewheeling RodFix displacement, check hydraulic health and fix them.
2. Spline Stripped/DamagedReplace the spindles.
3. Bad DampersReplace the dampers; replace the springs.
4. Traction AdjustmentProfessional help, precautions.
5. Dragging BrakeRebuild the brake, free the brake from the seized state.
6. Lack of Tire Compression on One SideFill tire on the lacking side.

6 Reasons For Zero Turn Mower One Side Not Working and the Solutions:

You may experience zero turn one side not working due to many reasons. Here are some of the reasons and how to solve them.

1. Displaced Freewheeling Rod

In the zero turn mowers, the hydrostatic unit is a sealed unit. They are also separate units that provide power to each side. A seal can blow, causing a leak. However, due to low fluid levels, this can damage both sides. 

This problem may happen because of a freewheeling rod that had partially failed. It works perfectly when thoroughly inserted.

The Fix:

Take a look at the freewheeling rod on each side. In case you don’t recognize them, they are the rods you pull to disconnect the hydraulic motors. Each side should have one. 

Check to see whether it was coming out a little on the weak side. Then, check both hydraulic motors. The pumps are fed by a single hydraulic tank. 

Check the fluid level first, then the filter on the weak side. Each hydraulic pump is equipped with its own filter. In case of visible issues, it should be replaced first. 

The pump is the next thing to examine. Each side of the room has its own pump. The valve system would be sturdy enough to not be a problem. Moreover, this issue is probably because of the disengagement lever. 

2. Spline is Stripped

A spline is a key that fits into grooves in a wheel’s hub and shaft. Especially one that is created integrally with the shaft and permits the wheel to move on the shaft.

In the zero-turn mower, you can find this on the pulley. It has to do with speed and torque. As a result, after a while, these little things get stripped. Weak splines can cause zero turn one side not working. 

The Fix:

Replace the spindles. The primary steps to do this is the following:

Loosen three bolts with the 1/2-inch wrench to remove the mower deck spindle assembly cover and remove the cover from the socket.

Using a 1/2-inch wrench, remove the mower deck belt. To loosen the tensioner pulley and lower the belt, use a socket wrench and cheater bar.

Using the 1-1/8″ wrench, remove the nut on the top of the spindle’s spline with an adjustable wrench or socket. 

This video may help further. 

3. Bad Dampers

The dampeners aim to prevent unexpected loads on the pumps as well as jerky drive control action. The control arms of units that return to a neutral state are normally pulled back by springs.

Your mower will jerk to one side when moving forward if the dampers are bad. It may even pull on one side. 

The Fix:

The straightforward and single fix is to replace the dampers. You could replace the springs as well. Because sometimes, the steering arms are not automatically pushed back by the new dampers.

4. Traction Adjustment

When both throttles that control the back wheels are pushed forward with the same effort, one wheel may transfer power more efficiently than the other. This leads the mower to push towards the weaker side. 

The Fix:

For specifics on your model, you’ll need to examine your operator’s manual. Depending on the mower, this can be a complicated procedure that is best left to an expert.

To improve the traction in the future, you can try reducing tire pressure. Choose larger tires, and avoid abrupt turns or rapid stops on a hill as well. Mowing on damp grass is also a no-no. Moroever, slopes more than 15 degrees should not be mowed.

This supplementary article may help.

5. Dragging Brake

If your riding mower has disc or drum brakes, pulling to one side can be caused by one brake not releasing as cleanly as the other. Or it can cause by a frozen brake caliper. 

The piston may become stuck inside the caliper. Brake pads can get misaligned and seize as a result of this. The slide pins on single-piston calipers can sometimes seize.

The Fix:

This will require the removal of a tire to take a look at the brakes themselves. 

A specific tool is supplied to exert force and retract the pad for seized caliper pistons or sliding pins. A simple C-clamp is frequently used. The hydraulic pressure of the brake system itself can be used to dislodge a seized caliper piston. 

Even if you liberate a stuck brake, there’s a good chance it’ll seize again. The corrosion that caused the device to become stuck remains.

And it will only be a matter of time until it becomes stuck again. Rebuilding the brake for less money is a better choice here.

6. Lack of Tire Compression on One Side

If the tires on your zero turn mower are not properly filled, this can also result in the machine leaning to one side. This is a good reason for the mower to pull on one side. 

The Fix:

To avoid a weak side on your zero turn mower, ensure that the tires are inflated to the optimum pressure. Be careful to check the recommended tire pressure for your specific equipment. Inflate the tires to the proper pressure. 

What Majority of the Users Feel about Zero Turn Mower?

While more expensive than a riding mower, zero-turn mowers cut your lawn faster and more efficiently than a riding mower. 

A riding mower’s top speed is roughly 4 MPH, while a zero-turn mower’s top speed is around 8 MPH. The users enjoy this the most.

Your grass will be cut with the same expertise but at a faster pace. This gives the users more time in the day to do what they want.

On very flat wide lawns, zero turns are fantastic and really fast. It’s great for mowing grass, but that’s about it. Yet users tend to pick this over trucks. 

According to a user, a four-wheeler will struggle to navigate a 750-foot driveway, especially if it is prone to drifting. To plow snow, four-wheelers rely on speed. 

Final Thoughts

Zero turn mowers can deliver more power than a four-wheeler without being crushed because of their gearing and weight for traction.

It is common to pick a zero turn mower if you routinely work with flat but detailed landscaping, need speed, or want the best blades and a precise cut. 

This is why zero turn one side not working is a problem many people face. Hopefully, this article was a help to you in fixing this issue. So you can utilize your zero turn mower to the fullest.

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