Z950R PTO Issue
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Thread: Z950R PTO Issue

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    sennister's Avatar
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    Z950R PTO Issue

    I have a 2015 Z950R that I bought in Jan 2016 so the good news is that it is still under warranty and currently at the dealer. I have racked up a whopping 150 hrs on it. Actually a little less than that. It is my personal mower for my yard so it doesn't see commercial use. The PTO has been acting up and I was wondering if anyone else has seen this issue. I apologize for holding the camera at the wrong angle but I caught it in action on my phone.

    https://youtu.be/aYUEUG8JtsA

    It seems fine when it is first started up cold. The PTO engages as it should. This is happening after mowing for maybe 30-45 minutes. If I keep cutting it is fine and once I get it to stabilize it is fine. However once things heat up, if I get off the machine to move a stick or chat with a neighbor, there are times the PTO will not start at all or it does what is in the video where it starts and stops on its own. Once I get it running again I can finish the yard. I wouldn't say it does this every time which is why I am glad I caught it on video to share with them. In fact I had to record it four times before I caught it. The Service Manager was shocked when I said I would send him a link to a video of it as I was concerned they couldn't reproduce it. He went on to say how much technology can help them see an issue.

    Of course the dealer is busy this time of year as they have a lot of turf (golf courses) customers but they have been working on it for the last week. I could put my mower deck back on the X585 but I would rather not. I probably would ask for a loaner before getting out my old deck.

    So far they have replaced the PTO Clutch but the issue was still there. At least they can reproduce it. They are now thinking it is electrical. They inspected the wiring harness and that looks good. So now they ordered a new PTO switch which is what I initially said I thought might be. However he said it might also be a safety switch. I doubt it is a safety switch as when they open it would kill it and not allow the PTO to restart unless I reset (turn off and back on) the PTO switch. I would have to look at the wiring schematics again but once it opens the safety relay a full reset of the switch is the only way to reset the relay. Same goes for the PTO kill switch on the control stick. I also want to say the safety will also trigger a diagnostic code. Though I don't recall if that is only on start. For instance if I have the parking brake set and try and start the PTO I think it flashes a code on the hour meter. There are no fault codes being displayed.

    I did notice that on the newer ones (2016+) they changed the PTO switch to a rocker style. I asked that since they are changing the PTO switch, can it be changed to the rocker style if there have been problems with the push/pull style. He said he didn't think it could be because the cutout would be different. He went on to say that while they did have some issues with the push/pull switches that the one I had was the updated one which resolved those issues.

    So far I like this dealer better than my old one still. While it is a longer haul to bring a machine in for stuff like this, I don't plan on doing it often as I normally do my own maint and rebuild work unless I am absolutely swamped. I say it isn't a big deal because it is a couple miles from my office and I drive by it every day vs a couple miles from my house. The only problem with stopping in is I keep drooling over the new machines. I was talking with the sales manager yesterday about trading in my X585 for a new 2038R. My wife would kill me though.
    Last edited by sennister; 06-23-2017 at 08:40 AM.


    JD Z950R 60" Deck with DFS Collection System

    JD X585, 54C deck,
    CTC Model X4750 F.E.L - Modified Imp Pressure Relief from 900 to 1175PSI, Power Flow and MC519 cart, 54-inch Quick-Hitch Front Blade, 47-inch Quick-Hitch Snow Blower, 3-pt hitch, HF Quick Hitch, Heavy Hitch, 48" box blade/rear blade, Dethacher, 3pt Sprayer

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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    The PTO switch and ignition switches are considered wear and tear items. They are cheap and easy to replace. I would start there.
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    sennister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieselshadow View Post
    The PTO switch and ignition switches are considered wear and tear items. They are cheap and easy to replace. I would start there.
    Yeah, I originally stopped in the dealer to ask them about bringing it in. I wasn't sure if I had to schedule an appt or what. I mentioned the switch as a starting point and they asked if I just wanted a switch so I could replace it myself. Well we bought a new camper this spring so we have been going out pretty much every weekend so I honestly didn't know when I would get to it. It has been a huge pain trying to fit in cutting grass evening after work with all the rain we have been getting and heading out on Thursday night, camping through Sunday afternoon.

    When discussing with the service manager he didn't initially think it was the switch. He could here is click on. Where they normally would see problems is when someone doesn't fully click it all the way on or when going over rough terrain the switch drops back down. However I have only 150 hrs on the machine and I was stationary so he didn't think it was the switch. Valid points on his side and as I mentioned once it is fully running it is fine. He did say that the PTO clutch was failing or bad but I didn't see it and he didn't say how/why it failed. I want to say I have read here or elsewhere that there is an adjustment that might be needed on some of them. I guess getting a new $500 clutch under warranty is fine by me. On my dime I might question it a bit more.

    I agree that I think the problem is the PTO Switch. I don't see how it can be the PTO kill switch on the stick or a safety switch based on how the safety system works. As a side note that is how the PTO kill switch works on the control stick. It trips the safety relay which is why that also requires resetting the PTO switch. If they want to replace the seat switch or parking brake switch though have at it.

    The other benefit of having them do the work is it validates that this issue is preset before the warranty is up. I have a year and half left on that though.


    JD Z950R 60" Deck with DFS Collection System

    JD X585, 54C deck,
    CTC Model X4750 F.E.L - Modified Imp Pressure Relief from 900 to 1175PSI, Power Flow and MC519 cart, 54-inch Quick-Hitch Front Blade, 47-inch Quick-Hitch Snow Blower, 3-pt hitch, HF Quick Hitch, Heavy Hitch, 48" box blade/rear blade, Dethacher, 3pt Sprayer

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    Bradfordfarmer's Avatar
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    The PTO switch do indeed wear out. The push/ pull switch do indeed wear from use. The video you posted exhibited an intermittent contact condition IMHO so I think you will be up and running very soon. Good luck !
    JD M665
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    sennister's Avatar
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    Got the call today that the ZTrak was ready for pickup. I was at work and didn't drive the truck or have the trailer. I knew my Father in Law was sitting around bored so I gave him a call asking if he wanted to pick it up or I would to it tomorrow. Didn't matter to me much but he was asking about it over the last week or so. He uses it more than I do. I called the dealer and asked if there were any charges or if it was all on warranty. The main reason it was there was the PTO issue but I also mentioned a missing bolt on the muffler and the rubber flap that they add to the discharge chute was torn. That rubber part is technically part of the collection system which I think is only covered by a 1 year warranty. Not sure. Anyhow the service rep said he ran everything through the warranty so no bill. I didn't ask what they did thinking I would get paperwork. I mentioned my FIL would be by to pick it up later today or I would be by tomorrow afternoon. I get home and see the machine in the shop and looked it over. Everything looks fine, PTO switch looks new but something looks different about the engine. I could have sworn that the engine had a sticker on it that said something like 27HP Kawasaki on the top of it. There are no stickers on the top now. Kind of odd. I looked over the engine and there is what looks like old dust around the oil drain from the oil residue from the last oil change so I don't think they did an engine swap. It is cleaner than it was when I took it in. Don't see why they would being it was a PTO issue. I checked with my FIL if they gave him any paperwork. He said that they couldn't even find the machine. They were walking up and down the rows of machines and finally found it. There was no paperwork, he just hopped on it and drove it over to the trailer and loaded it. I think I am going to stop by and get a print out of the work performed for my records.

    EDIT: I just went out to look at the machine again. I was pretty sure they gave me back the right one because I know I looked at that flap on the discharge chute to see if it was replaced which it was. They don't sell many with a collection system so it would be rare to mix up the machine with another. Anyhow I flipped up the seat and guess what was stuck to the prop for the operator's seat. The 27HP John Deere Sticker. It must have been blown off when they pressure washed the machine before working on it. It was pretty dusty. When done mowing I blow it off with my blower and clean up the sidewalks but I have never washed it. I still want to get a list of work performed for my records so I will stop out there on the way home tomorrow. PTO Clutch and PTO Switch is all I know about other than the rubber flap and exhaust bolt.
    Last edited by sennister; 06-28-2017 at 10:03 PM.
    Gizmo2 likes this.


    JD Z950R 60" Deck with DFS Collection System

    JD X585, 54C deck,
    CTC Model X4750 F.E.L - Modified Imp Pressure Relief from 900 to 1175PSI, Power Flow and MC519 cart, 54-inch Quick-Hitch Front Blade, 47-inch Quick-Hitch Snow Blower, 3-pt hitch, HF Quick Hitch, Heavy Hitch, 48" box blade/rear blade, Dethacher, 3pt Sprayer

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    sennister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bradfordfarmer View Post
    The PTO switch do indeed wear out. The push/ pull switch do indeed wear from use. The video you posted exhibited an intermittent contact condition IMHO so I think you will be up and running very soon. Good luck !
    Yeah that was my initial diagnosis for them when I dropped it off. The only odd thing was that it never failed when I first start up the machine. Only after running it for a while.
    Gizmo2 likes this.


    JD Z950R 60" Deck with DFS Collection System

    JD X585, 54C deck,
    CTC Model X4750 F.E.L - Modified Imp Pressure Relief from 900 to 1175PSI, Power Flow and MC519 cart, 54-inch Quick-Hitch Front Blade, 47-inch Quick-Hitch Snow Blower, 3-pt hitch, HF Quick Hitch, Heavy Hitch, 48" box blade/rear blade, Dethacher, 3pt Sprayer

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    xcopterdoc's Avatar
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    The switch is THE most likely suspect. But I have seen clutches that drew too many amps and it effected the switch down the road. Several times I have discovered wires backed out of the pto switch connector that would make it cut out. Running down a problem like that can be a task for some.
    The new switches are alot harder to pull up and snap. Make sure you are pulling it all the way up. Its like it has 2 clicks.

    Sent from my LGL52VL using Tapatalk
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    Bradfordfarmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sennister View Post
    Yeah that was my initial diagnosis for them when I dropped it off. The only odd thing was that it never failed when I first start up the machine. Only after running it for a while.
    The intermittent condition happens after the machine warms up due to the fact that as the machine is running. Current flow is continually going to and through the PTO switch, as the current flows the switch heats up and that is what causes the failure. The heat generated from the current flow expands the metal contact within the switch causing it to open and close as it heats and then cools....simple failure really if you think it through. The cheap switch usef is the issue! The rockers switch is a Much better design and far less prone to this particular failure...
    Last edited by Bradfordfarmer; 07-04-2017 at 08:01 AM.
    Gizmo2 likes this.
    JD M665
    JD 970R
    JD 4700 MFWD
    JD 5440 MFWD
    JD 6420 X2
    JD 9XR Jolly Green Giant on tracks
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    sennister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bradfordfarmer View Post
    The intermittent condition happens after the machine warms up due to the fact that as the machine is running. Current flow is continually going to and through the PTO switch, as the current flows the switch heats up and that is what causes the failure. The heat generated from the current flow expands the metal contact within the switch causing it to open and close as it heats and then cools....simple failure really if you think it through. The cheap switch usef is the issue! The rockers switch is a Much better design and far less prone to this particular failure...
    That makes sense. I asked about changing to the rocker design and he said that cutout was different. I don't think it is though. The round PTO switch actually has a rectangular opening about the size of the rocker.
    Gizmo2 likes this.


    JD Z950R 60" Deck with DFS Collection System

    JD X585, 54C deck,
    CTC Model X4750 F.E.L - Modified Imp Pressure Relief from 900 to 1175PSI, Power Flow and MC519 cart, 54-inch Quick-Hitch Front Blade, 47-inch Quick-Hitch Snow Blower, 3-pt hitch, HF Quick Hitch, Heavy Hitch, 48" box blade/rear blade, Dethacher, 3pt Sprayer

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