I have my eye on a 40" 12hp Murray riding mower, it's maybe 10 years
old or so, regular front-engine standard tractor mower. My house is
built on a hill, and I'm wondering if the slope is too great. Due to
the shape of my yard, I can't really go up and down the hill, I have
to go across the hill. I'd guess the hill is a bout 20 degrees, and
I'm nervous that the mower with me sitting on it will be too top-heavy
and flip. Or is the center of gravity pretty low in these things?
Looks like a great investment, that mower:
"Remedy: Consumers should stop using this product immediately and discard or
destroy it. The firm is out of business, and a remedy is no longer
Will you still be able to get parts for that mower?
On Thu, 12 Jul 2007 15:45:39 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"
Hazard: Plastic components on these lawn mowers and lawn tractors can
crack if they are struck by an object thrown from the blade. Objects
can be ejected from the mower unexpectedly and could hit nearby
Incidents/Injuries: None reported.
A) "could hit nearby consumers". Apparently only consumers' safety
is important. If you don't have have money, it's ok if objects hit
B) I'd like to know what plastic parts could crack and what objects
could be ejected. Once I went over my yard a could times, there was
nothing new to hit. Plus it happens there is never anyone around when
I mow my lawn.
The CPSC is pretty much obliged to take a hard line, but everything
has its risks. If I had kids who ddn't know how to stay away from the
mower discharge, or mowed by a sidewalk or street where people walked
or often drove, and I had reason to think there could be stones in my
yard, etc. I'd sell it to someone who wasn't in that situation. I'd
tell him about the recall and expect to get not much money.
Recently my next door neighbor gave me a beautiful portable baseboard
heater, and only because I didn't understand one word, or one light,
on it, I googled it and found that it was recalled for burning the
carpet on 20 rugs and starting two fires because it gets too hot below
part of it. If I had had a use, I would have found the hot spot and
just put a ceramic tile under it. I kept calling my neigbhor, writing
emails and leaving notes on his door, telling him about the recall and
asking him if he wanted it back. He never got back to me and I just
left it on his front step.
We had a neighbor in our condo whose small child like to throw rock out
into the law - the mower picked one up and it broke the slider on second
floor above us. It sounded like a car had hit the building.
When I worked in operating room, we regularly had foot and hand injuries
from mowers - folks push mowers uphill and it rolls back, or they try to
grab something from underneath - really hard to imagine - while it is
Just in the past week or so, there was a guy killed mowing near a pond
in a park. Mower rolled over into the pond with him under it. All one
needs on a hill is a soft spot of ground, even without steep incline, to
roll it over.
Based on my experiences I wouldn't have believed it was possible, but I
actually knew someone who lost an eye from a stone thrown from a lawnmover.
I can't picture how it is even possible, but I saw him before and after, and
it really happened.
Accident here when a rotary gas mower flicked a piece of metal (wire
or nail?) some 30+ feet into someone's chest. Can't recall if it was
See people mowing in sneakers, even sandals etc. We always wear steel-
toed boots etc. and wear safety glasses.
My brother is a writer for the Ontario Ministry of Environment (press
releases etc). He told me that tractor rollovers or flips is one of
the largest causes of death or major injury short of road accidents.
While some of that is related to farm tractors rather than yard/lawn
tractors, the stats for those are pretty high on their own.
Our Cadet is very heavy, holds slopes pretty well, and most of
our property is pretty flat. But there's a couple of places
where we use a weedwacker instead.
Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
Good idea to be nervous and, no, the COG isn't low when you're on it.
It is actually probably more stable sideways than going up the hill as,
unless it's got some serious front-end weights, your weight is probably
at or behind the rear axle and the startup torque will tend to flip you
That said, I had a fairly steep slope yard in TN and used a JD
rear-engine mower w/ rear bagger on it for years and never had a problem
(nor ever felt I was near to tipping it). It was, however, smaller and
probably better balanced.
I can't actually estimate the slope really accurately of that lot -- it
dropped sufficiently steeply that standing on the road in front let you
look at the top of the roof ridge. That would be about 16-ft rise but
eyeballs are 5-1/2-ft so more like 10-11 ft actual elevation drop. I'm
thinking it was about 50-ft setback(?), maybe. If so, that would be
about the 1:5 you're talking.
W/ that, I'd say if you could, see if you can give it a trial run and
see how it feels...if it seems spooky, probably a message there... :)
Once he's dead, why would he care? :)
Sorry, couldn't resist...
Came back to add one thing on the stability -- the mid-engine I had
meant was sitting well _in front of_ rear axle. As noted before, the
position of the seat on a lot of the little tractor-style is at or even
behind the rear axle...
THere are several problems with mowing hillsides with riding mowers. The
first is the obvious risk of tipping over. No one can really tell you if
your exact situation would be safe or not without seeing it and seeing the
mower that you are going to use. As a rule, you should always mow a hillside
"up or down", and not "across" it. The type of soil that you have is also
an important factor because it will determine the amount of traction that
the rear wheels of the mower will get while mowing. Your size can also
affect the stability od the mower. If you are heavy, you will get more
traction, but will also add more weight high up on the mower which will make
it more likely to tip. Lastly you have to be concerned about the engine not
getting oil when it is running on a slope. Mower engines have either an oil
"flinger" which is a little metal scoop on the crankshaft that throws oil up
to the top of the engine while running, or an actual oil pump that pumps oil
around inside the engine. If the flinger or oil pump are out of the oil in
the engine because it is tilted, the engine won't get oil and will quickly
be damaged. There really isn't any easy answer.
I live on a 3 acre lot on a hill. THere are various slants and plataues on
the property. I ended up getting a large, older Cub Cadet mower, and added a
lot of weight to both the front and the back to make it stable. I looked at
the literature for the engine to determine which directions I could mow and
not starve the motor of oil. My personal feeling is that using a hydrostatic
mower is the only safe way to mow on hills. I've seen several people flip
mowers because they popped the clutch too fast on a slope. I only mow up and
down my hills because I have rather sandy soil and when I tried to mow
across some areas the mower wanted to slide sideways, which is obviously
VERY dangerous. In some areas I have to mow up, then stop, and reverse back
down because of bushes or a fence at the top of the slope. My neighbor mows
across his slopes. He hangs off the side like a motorcycle racer to keep
from flipping, but still flips his mower at LEAST once a season. He just
buys $50.00 rummage sale riding mowers all the time, and laughs about
flipping them over. Not only is it going to hurt (or kill) him some day, but
his lawn look like crap, and he spills a bunch of gas and oil on his yard
whenever he flips it. Again, there is no easy answer, and you are going to
have to do some more research if you want to be safe.
This thread got me wondering, although I don't mow or have a mower. So,
I did a quick google search. One link, to Briggs-Stratton, says mow
across incline with walk-behind, up/down on a rider. It would be
interesting to see if other major mfgs. advise otherwise. Seems
possible for different sizes to have different issues, but I certainly
am sure of the walk-behinds to be used across inclines. Helped sew up
lots of feet when I worked in surgery. Some folks still let the kids
ride, and, somehow, a fair number of people used to stick their hands
into the way of the blade. Don't know why.......
Apart from the recall which I think by now you are aware of due to all
the posts, I think that this sort of lawn tractor is not suitable for
hilly mowing. I have the same problem as you and my hill is about 20
degrees. That is too steep for this sort of machine. Most
professionals do not use Ride-On's or those zero-turn ride on's for
this type of situation, they use Walk-Behinds.
They also attach a "Dolly" behind them. This is a small trailer with a
small seat on it. The walk behind tows this trailer. The operator can
stand, and often does
on the small platform beneath the seat. That way on slopes the person
can maintain a vertical stance. If the situation looks tough, you can
easily let go
and step off / jump clear. I have seen these used by guys on the IBM
Headquarters corporate site that has rolling lawns on slopes. Most of
the time they are standing on the dolly. These guys go fast too ....
If your hill is not that steep, and I think 20 degrees really is too
steep for this, you can try these zero turns.
Note on all these mowers have roll bars to protect the operator as
well as seat belts.
As for me I use a 21-inch Honda HRC 216 mower with Hydro-Static drive.
But even with that I was almost run over once by loosing my footing
due to a golpher hole. The mower rolled back onto me but the blade
brake stop the blades as soon as I released the controls. I also
managed to stop the mower rolling down hill into a wall / trees. For
the really steep stuff I use a Weed-Wacker, Honda HLST31.
"Consumers Reports" (monthly magazine) has a specific section in every issue
that has many of these recalls, etc.. It makes for some hilarious reading.
"Steering wheel may come off at over 110km/h....", "Electric cooler may
overheat and cause fire".
My local hairdresser had a sandwich board that I wish I had taken a picture
of for National Lampoon mag.
To answer some q's, parts are readily available at the Fleet Farm by
my house. I can get tires, filters, bearings, belts, all the regular
maintenance stuff. The entire lot is about 33,000 square feet, -
house - driveway - deck - some little garden areas, I estimate the
lawn area to be around 26,000-28,000 sq. ft, I mowed it several times
with a push mower, and it takes about 1.5 hours if you're really
haulin ass, sweating, panting like a dog.. Pushing a mower a lot of
I noticed a neighbor down the street with what looks like weights on
his wheels, they look like solid metal, about 15" around and a few
inches thick. If it IS metal they must weight at least 100 lbs
apiece. His yard was about the same slope as mine, I was watching him
flying around his yard real fast, turning up hill, it appeara that
extra weight really makes him stick well.
I think I might also like a counterweight in the front.. In one of
the spots on my yard, where I CAN go up and down the hill, it's also
the steepest part of the hill. I started at the bottom and went
straight up. I got about 2/3 of the way up, back wheels spun out. I
just let the rider roll backwards down the hill. I felt the front
wheels would come up and potentially flip over backwards if I popped
the clutch too hard. IF the wheels didnt spin out again anyway.
BTW, I bought it.. It's worth it, good condition, runs and cuts great.
So even if it doesn't work out I can sell it and I'm sure break even.
Anyway, I did my yard with it once so far, and it's not too bad, I
lean like a motorcycle racer and it stays up.. It's easy to get a
wheel off the ground though, so I'm still a little nervous.. I'd like
to try out some of those weights, see how much of a difference it
Comments? How much will weights help? What are 'outriggers'?
Google's not helping me figure that one out...
Weights will help, particularly the front weights for balance, rear for
traction (although if it's rear engine and you're sitting back there
too, not likely to help a whole lot more on traction). For traction,
more aggressive tire tread and/or larger profile tire might help
noticeably if they're kinda' small and not very knobby. Of course,
trying to not mow until grass is dry (if you're in one of those places
where that's even possible :) ) will go the farthest--hardly anything
slicker than damp/wet fresh-cut grass...
Outrigger is like the rear wheels behind a dragster for rear turnover,
an extended arm w/ a wheel for sideways--much more difficult to rig up
than something behind. Best trick for that I've seen is an extension
ring for the rear wheels to spread the wheelbase some -- even an inch or
two on each side can make a big difference if the wheelbase is pretty
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