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new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

Posted by bill_e_bob (My Page) on
Fri, May 18, 07 at 15:23

I just got a used Poulan 14.5 Hp 42" hydrostratic tractor, and I'm trying to find out if something is wrong with it or if I just expect too much. It runs smooth & cuts great & seems perfect, as long as I'm on a PERFECTLY flat piece of my land. Any hill at all, and the thing will barely move forward. In fact, I can't mow the grass up by the street because my driveway is a steep hill and it won't go up there. There are 2 hills in the lawn that are about 5% grades, which it will barely climb if I rock back & forth to help it along, and the driveway is nearly 10% and it just comes to a complete stop there no matter what I do. So basically, this mower is useless unless I can fix the problem. The tires don't spin when it decides the hill is too steep, it just sits there like when you're in a car and the clutch pedal is half engaged on a hill. So I figure one of 3 things is the problem:

1) The transmission/clutch is slipping, so as soon as its under extra load it can't propell the mower. If this is the problem, how do I fix it? I'm not at all familiar with lawn mower transmissions, particularly not hydrostatic ones.

2) 14.5 HP just isn't powerful enough for a yard with my topography (there are 2 hills in the lawn that are about 5% grades, and the driveway is nearly 10%). If this is the problem, how much horsepower do I need?

3) my yard is just not suitable for a riding mower and this was a bad idea.

So, what are your opinions? What can I do?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

I'm not an expert- but have you checked the fluid level in the trans? If it had barely enough, once you got on an incline, it might be too low. If the engine was too weak, it would bog down, but if the engine is keeping its RPM's up, than it's a trans problem. I have a 10 Hp Cub Cadet (old) that easily climbs a steep (at least 25%) loading ramp w/ a hydro trans. As far as your yard being suitable for a rider- that's what riders are FOR- so you don't have to kill yourself mowing hills!


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

You're right, the engine keeps its RPM's. It doesn't bog at all when it gets to a hill...just won't climb. I know this is really dumb to ask, but do you know how to check the trans fluid? I bought this used, so there's no owners manual, and I've never owned a rider before so I don't know a whole lot about 'em.


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

Horsepower is not the issue. If this unit is several years old, I would first check condition of the drive belt. If the drive belt is stretched, worn, or contaminated (with oil/grease), it is probably slipping. Cheap fix; replace the belt. If it is not the belt, then the next suspect is the hydro. Could be a linkage adjustment issue, low/contaminated hydraulic fluid issue, or kaput! Before you worry about a worst case scenario, check the cheap and easy stuff first.

One other thing you may want to check is presence of keys in the rear axle keyway. This is what locks the wheel to the axle. Since the tractor works OK on flat areas, this is likely not the cause of your problem.

Post the age, and model number of this tractor, and someone may be able to give you a more specific diagnosis.

t


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

14.5 hp is plenty to get you up those hills. I would 1st check the drive belt that goes to the trans. The belt should be tight on the pulley, if its loose this is a problem. Adjust the belt if its loose. If the belt is tight, check the fluid level, some trans have a viewing glass and some have a dip stick. Viewing glass type, you should see trans fluid through the glass. Dip stick type will be marked full / fill.


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

This may sound silly, but try backing up the hill. If it does with no problem, you may have an adjustment issue on the transmission.
Not an expert by any means on hydros, but it's my understanding that "some" have what would be considered to be a "centering" adjustment between F & R.
Most likely, your trans is considered "not serviceable", but sometimes there are work arounds for that.
You do need to IDENTIFY the transmission however. There's just too many brands & models to give "generic" fixed.
There should be a tag or numbers on the trannie.


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

Its a 2001(I believe) Poulan HD145H42. The metal plate under the seat also shows model#733-864. Where should I look for the viewing glass or dipstick to check the fluid level and the (can't believe I'm about to ask this...) drive belt? The only belt I see underneath is the one that drives the blades, which looks brand new. The guy says he just replaced it about a month ago.

I know its scary that I can't find the belt on the thing, is it up under the frame where I'll have to jack it up in the air to see? Once I find it, how much play should it have, and where will the adjuster be if its too loose?

There are little rubber dustcaps on the hubs so I can't see if there's a key in the axle, but I can't imagine it woulod move at all if that was missing...right? When I tried to pull one of the caps off it started to rip...is there a trick to removing them, or just be more careful than I was?


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

Oh, and I tried to go up the hills backwards, its actually worse in reverse than forward...but I think thats because forward I can get it going fast enough that there's a little enertia to help me along.

The modle numbers in my last post are for the mower itself, should I look for some on the transmission specifically? Do I need to start pulling body panels off for that? I can't really get a clear view of the transmission as it is now...


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

The belt will be up high, just under teh top deck, and you probably need to remove varous things to change it.
Amount of play in belt depends on how it is engaged. If you have an electric PTO, it should be fairly snug all of the time. However, if it is manual PTO, the belt will be pretty loose when disengaged and pretty tight when engaged. If manual, engage lever with motor off before you get under it to check belt tension. Moweer deck will have to be removed to see up there at all.

If belt is good, I'd look closely at transmission fluid. If full, it could just need a change. old fluid often causes slippage. However, 2001 isn't very old as far as fluid goes, so probably a belt or adjustment. My 20 year old JD 165 with 12.5 HP and hydro would easily run up ramps to load on a regular utility trailer - much steeper than any normal lawn or driveway.


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

"The modle numbers in my last post are for the mower itself, should I look for some on the transmission specifically?"

Well, it's a "transmission" problem and we aren't "psychic":-)

Some may know exactly what transmission you have, while others aren't going to spend their time web searching to try to figure it out.

Hopefully it's just a loose belt, but when you jack it up, look for ID.
Maybe it's in the owners manual?
Maybe you can download an owners manual from the Hus. website?? if you don't have one?


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?1

Maybe this link will help identify it?

Here is a link that might be useful: Link


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

Sounds like the belt is slipping. Worn out or incorrect belt.
Also, On hydrostat drives
there is a disengage lever somewhere, so that the mower
can be pushed easily when not running, make sure it is
fully closed, if it is partially opened, it could behave as
you describe

Fish


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

2001 isnt old, but since no one has said it, it can be the owner before you screwed the hydro. I had a new yard man 15 hp koler engine model. When i got it, it felt as good as a manual tranny model. 2 years of plowing dirt and snow, hauling a dump cart around loaded with dirt, etc. It got bad enough to not want to back up a slight hill at all when warm, and barely do it when it was cold, and forward motion you could feel it lag too.I opended the hydro and found the alumiumn 'pump' or whatever you call it, where it mated to a revolving part, all scarred and totally screwed, the bottom of tranny full of alum. particles.
Sure i abused it more than i should have, didn't know the cheap hydro's were built so cheap back then and treated it like a manual gear drive i was used to using. So the guy that owned the one you bought might have done the same thing as i did.


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

Wheel keyways can break and still be inside there all crushed up. I would be checking this if it were me. I like fishers advice on the hydro disengage lever somewhere.


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

Ok guys, I'm back. Sorry I didn't respond all weekend...I was out of town. Anyway, here's an update:

Bill, sorry I wasn't giving enough info. I'm a complete newby with these things & had no idea that a Poulan tractor wouldn't have a poulan transmission, kind of figured there was just 1 type of tranny for all hydro poulans or something. Since I was out of town, I have not yet gone under the mower to find a tranny model#, but the folks at Poulan tell me the transmission is a Peerless if that helps any.

Fisher, the disengage lever on mine is right between the wheels on the back of the tractor. You pull it out, stick a kotter pin in the hole, and its disengaged...then to reengage it you just pull the cotter pin out & let it fall back into place. I disengaged it to roll it off the truck, I'll try pushing the bar in further when I get home...but its spring loaded so I'm pretty sure it re-engaged completely already. Great thought though, and an easy fix if its right...so thats first on my list of stuff to try when I get home from work tonight.

John, I sure hope he didn't abuse it. He has a few different mowers, knows the capability of 'em all, and has a big ol' 26hp (?) craftsman 5-lug that he uses for all his towing and grading and all that stuff. Plus, there are no scratches in the paint around the hitch so I don't think he ever towed anything with mine. At least I hope not...if its shot, I'll be very unhappy.

Poulan gave me the part number for a replacement owners manual...part # 157469 if anyone else reading this has the same tractor & needs to order one...and gave me a contact number for Peerless so I'll call them on break & see what I can dig up. In the meantime, here's what I want to do tonight. If its general enough that anyone can give me tips on how to do each step even though I can't give you all the specifics, that would be a huge help.

1) make sure that disengage lever is fully engaged. I'll pull the kotter pin, push it into place, look to see where it sits, then pin it once I'm convinced its where it needs to be & try driving again. That's easy enough even I can handle it, so hopefully that'll fix it.

2) check for good keys in the rear axles. Since the tractor runs on flat surfaces I'd be a bit surprised if this is the problem...but it sounds easy to check and cheap to fix, so I'll check it out first. I assume to do this I just unbolt the wheel, slip it off, and make sure the key is intact and still where it belongs in the keyway. My only question is how to get those stupid little rubber dust caps off so I can unbolt the wheel. They're too tight to remove by hand, and I bet I'd destroy 'em if I used a wrench or pliers or anything. Is there an easy way past them, or do I just wrestle? If I destroy 'em, do they need to be replaced or is it okay as long as I keep the tractor clean between uses and well maintained?

3) If #1 & #2 are a bust, I'll look at the belt. From what you say, its up higher under the frame than I was looking, which is why I hadn't found it. Once I can see or feel it, do the same rules apply as a fan belt in a car? Flexible, no cracks, no contamination, roughly 1 1/2" or less of play? If its in good shape but loose, where will I find the adjuster? Engine pully? Transmission? Maybe an idler in the middle? Do I need to remove the deck to get in there? If the deck has to come off...how are they usually mounted? I'm imagining like 4 mounting points with kotter pins...is that what I'll be looking for?

4) If the problem hasn't been found yet, I'll check the trans fluid level. According to Angus, this would be done with either a dipstick or viewing glass. There's no dipstick on the fenders or under the seat, so I assume mine has a viewing glass, I don't have the trannies model# but its a Peerless if that helps anyone. Where do I find the viewing glass? If I were designing a mower, I'd put it on the back near that disengage lever so its easy to check...but theres not one there. It looks like I have to remove some body panels to find...does anyone know where to start? Sides, back, front? Once I find that, what should I check for other than level & obvious contamination such as debris? What color should it be? What type of fluid is used? If I find that the level is low, is there a typical place I might find my filler?

5) If I haven't found the problem yet, it sounds like its not going to be a "user serviceable" problem & I'll need to take it in to a shop. Am I right, or are there other things to check first?

Thanks so much for all your help, I know I'm asking dumb questions...but I'm new to all of this lawn mower jazz. Hopefully I'll be able to pass on some value too sooner or later.


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

Well, saying it's a Peerless is kind of like saying it's a Chevy. Lot of different models.
Here's a link to a Peerless service manual. Maybe you unit is in there???

http://www.cpdonline.com 691218.pdf


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

Ok, I've been digging on Poulans website, and from what I can tell...it looks like my model HD145H42 is the same as PP145H42, the pictures on the parts diagrams all look the same...and the owners manual is the same part number that the customer service rep told me I needed for my mower...and it also has a Peerless hydro transaxle, so hopefully thats the same one.

IF its the same, the transaxle is a Peerless Model 204-027B.
The schematic also a big arrow that says "MODEL and SERIAL NUMBERS HERE" pointing to a plate on the back of the trans (like it was meant for me), so I'll see if I can find that same plate on my mower when I go home tonight. Everything look the same as mine, but I'll confirm it for sure when I get home from work tonight.


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

Ok, I've been digging on Poulans website, and from what I can tell...it looks like my model HD145H42 is the same as PP145H42, the pictures on the parts diagrams all look the same...and the owners manual is the same part number that the customer service rep told me I needed for my mower...and it also has a Peerless hydro transaxle, so hopefully thats the same one.

IF its the same, the transaxle is a Peerless Model 204-027B.
The schematic also a big arrow that says "MODEL and SERIAL NUMBERS HERE" pointing to a plate on the back of the trans (like it was meant for me), so I'll see if I can find that same plate on my mower when I go home tonight. Everything look the same as mine, but I'll confirm it for sure when I get home from work tonight.


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

try the belt.....


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

Thanks Fisher, I'm going to try that right after the suggestion you made about the disengage switch.

It sounds to me like a slipping belt is the most likely problem. So if someone could give me some specifics on what I'm looking for here, that'd be awsome. How much play should be in the belt? Obviously, I can tell if its damaged cracked or contaminated, but I need someone to help me figure out how much tension should be there and how to adjust it if its not the right tension. V-belts on cars typically call for 1" to 1.5" of play in the center of the belt. Is this true of a mower drive belt also? This thing has got to be a big belt, running from the center of the motor back to the center of the transaxle, I'm guessing its nearly 6 feet in diameter...so 1" of play would be incredibly tight over such a large diameter...I don't want to try tightening it to that point if its not supposed to be that snug and I'll destroy something with too much tension.

I'm mechanically inclined & all, and if this were an old Chevy or a VW I could have it running like a champ overnight, but I have ZERO experience with these things, which is why I need y'alls help getting my feet wet. I need some specs if I'm ever to diagnose this thing properly. Just gotta learn what I'm supposed to be looking at...


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

If you can turn the trans pulley/fan by hand, then that is your problem, you might also check and make sure
the brake/clutch pedal return spring is not broken.

Try this, when you are riding, and start to go up a hill, and the mower starts slowing down, pull back on
the foot pedal with the top of your foot and see if you
have more traction.

Fish


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

An older "V" belt with 1 to 1 1/2" of slack will slip most likely for sure.JMHO tbk


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

ok guys, I think I found the problem. The belt has a couple burrs in it and seems to be stretched. When I check its tension while the clutch/brake is engaged it can easily come off the engine pulley, when the clutch is disengaged it stays in place but is VERY loose. Looks to me like thats the problem.

When I fire it up & immediately try driving up the driveway, it makes it...but barely. So that tells me that the problem gets worse as the belt warms up and becomes more flexible, causing it to slip more. Right? So it looks like a new belt is the solution.

By the way, I don't think its a Peerless transmission. The ID tag wasn't where that online schematic said it would be for a peerless, its on the front side of the tranny & says the following:

HYDRO-GEAR
Sullivan, IL U.S.A.

140607 319-0500

8098T2258

If I just go to Poulans website & order the belt and an owners manual, will the manual have detailed instructions on how to change the belt, or should I just say screw it & take the thing to a shop to have it done?


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

Do it yourself. You'll feel better about it, and get more acquainted with the machine....


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

It's a Hydro Gear 319-500
The tractor is made by AYP, which also makes Husqvarna & Craftsman tractors. Look at the link for parts.

AYP-MODEL-CHD145H42C

Google-
165813 belt

You can find a lot of places to buy.

Here is a link that might be useful: AYP


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

awsome, thank you all for your help! I'm gunna study the diagrams in that link to figure out how the mower is assembled while I wait on the belt. This monster is quickly becoming less of a mystery to me, couldn't have done it without ya, thanks!

(and now, sooner or later, I'll even mow my lawn! lol)


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RE: new rider can't go uphill. whats wrong?

I have a Poulan Model XT195H42LT purchased new about 2010 that had the same problem. I tried replacing the drive belt but no improvement. Finally found the problem. Dirt and grass had built up a solid cake just under the L-shaped pivot of the clutch brake linkage...just enough to prevent the brake from returning to the unbraked position. Looking underneath the mower, I could not see the problem but I could feel the buildup with my finger. I had to scrape out the buildup with a screwdriver as I was not able to blow it out with compressed air. Mower works good again...climbs steep hills!


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