Cub Cadet ZT1 50 Problems (Detailed Description)

Although being an outstanding lawnmower, even the Cub Cadet ZT1 has some problems.

You might have problems starting your Cub Cadet ZT1 50. While you are mowing, it may totally stop moving. Smoke may come out from the lawn mower and cause you to worry. Lastly, the hydrostatic transmission in your mower might also be faulty and cause an improper energy supply.

But, there’s still much more to know about it. Don’t worry cause we’ve tried to provide as much detail as possible. 

Cub Cadet ZT1 50- Problems and Solutions

Problems Reasons Solutions
Starting Problems Low Fuel Level and Old Fuel Fill the tank with fresh fuel.
Bad Spark Plug Replace spark plugs.
Dirty Carburetor  Clean carburetor.
Bad Safety Switch  Replace safety switch.
Stops while mowing Clogged Air Filter Clean or replace air filter.
Dirty or damaged cooling fan Clean or replace cooling fans.
Smoke coming out of lawnmower Oil in cylinder Drain engine oil. 
Contact mechanic.
Hydrostatic Transmission Issues Worn out drive Belt Replace drive belt.
Old hydraulic oil Change hydraulic oil.

Problem 1: Starting Problems

One of the main problems users face is the mower doesn’t start. Even if everything feels alright, these are the typical reasons you should look out for: 

Reason 1: Low Fuel Level and Old Fuel

If your fuel tank is empty, the mower won’t be able to start. Sometimes, the fuel tank might be filled with old broken down fuel. This might also cause starting problems. 

Solution: Refill fuel

The solution is also pretty simple, which is to refill the fuel. If your fuel tank isn’t empty but has old fuel, drain it first.

You’ll need the following materials to drain the fuel:

  • Fuel storage can.
  • Siphon hand pump.
  • Screwdriver.

Now, you can follow the steps below:

Step 1:

Open the fuel filter door and remove the fuel cap. Insert the end of the siphon pump into the fuel filter neck.

If you have trouble inserting the pump, use a screwdriver to push it down. Make sure it reaches the end of the vehicle’s fuel tank.

fuel filter door
Step 2:

Now, insert another end into the fuel storage tank. Start pumping until you can see the fuel moving through the tubing. Continue pumping until all the fuel is drained. 

Once it has been drained, refill the fuel tank with new fuel. 

Reason 2: Bad Spark Plug

Bad spark plugs delay the combustion effect. Thus, the engine misfires and is unable to produce enough power. If the spark plugs are in too bad of a condition, the engine will fail to start. 

Solution: Replace Spark Plug

Replacing a bad spark plug is the best choice rather than cleaning or repairing it. So, how to replace spark plug on cub cadet zt1? First, you’ll need the materials below:

  • Socket.
  • Ratchet.
  • New spark plug.

Now, you can follow the steps below:

  • First, make sure the key is pulled out and the battery is disconnected. Then, pull out the spark plug. 
  • Using a ratchet and socket, remove the old spark plugs. 
  • Take the new spark plug. Here, you have to adjust the gap according to the recommendation in your vehicle’s manual.
  • Now, put the new spark plug in place and hand-tighten it until it’s snug. Then use your ratchet and socket to properly tighten it. Finally, reattach the spark plug. 

Reason 3: Dirty Carburetor

If the carburetor is dirty, the mixture of fuel and air won’t pass to the engine. Without it, your lawn mower won’t be able to start. 

Solution: Clean Carburetor

Thus, you have to clean the carburetor. But to clean it, first, you’ll have to remove the carburetor from your lawn mower.

You can watch this video which will explain how to remove the carburetor.

Now let’s get onto the cleaning process. Here, you’ll need these tools: 

  • Carburetor cleaner.
  • Cloth.
  • Penetrating oil.
  • Car cleaner.
  • Brush.
  • Air compressor.

Now, just follow these steps:

  • Take a carburetor cleaner and spray it on the carburetor. Be sure to spray all the sides.
  • Then, take a cloth and wipe the carburetor with it. Now, take the penetrating oil and spray on the bolts. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then, take the carburetor bowl off by unscrewing it. 
  • You can also take off some parts inside the carburetor if they look unclean. Then, take the car cleaner and spray it on the bowl and the carburetor’s interior. Let it sit for a while. Although, instantly wipe off the cleaner from just the seal of the bowl.
  • After a while, take a brush and clean the parts with it. All the dirt should come out. Finally, use an air compressor to clean any little particles left behind.
carburetor should be clean

With that, your carburetor should be clean. Just reassemble it and put it back into the vehicle.

Reason 4: Bad Safety Switch 

When your vehicle is parked or neutral, the safety switch prevents it from starting. But, due to a faulty safety switch, the lawn mower might not start at all. It also causes damage to the mower’s engine and transmission. 

Solution: Replace the Safety Switch

Here, the solution is to just replace the safety switch. Although it’s a bit of a complicated process, you should be able to do it. But, if you aren’t confident, you can contact a professional.

Problem 2: Stops While Mowing

Another problem is the mower stops while you are mowing. It won’t mow or even move. There are quite some reasons for it.

Reason 1: Clogged Air Filter

If the air filter is clogged, the air supply will be restricted. Thus, the fuel won’t be able to burn properly. It’ll eventually lead to soot-like residues on the spark plug.

Thus, the spark plug’s ability to create sparks will decrease. It’ll affect the combustion process.

Solution: Clean or Replace the Air Filter

If the air filter isn’t too dirty, you can just clean it. Otherwise, you’ll have to replace the air filter. You can clean the air filter by just tapping the filter.

The dirt should come out. Thus, we’ve rather described how you can replace the air filter:

  • Remove the key from the ignition and disconnect the spark plug wires.
  • Remove the air filter cover. Take out the air filter from the engine air intake. 
  • Take the new filter and attach it to the air intake. Reattach the filter cover and reconnect the spark plugs. And, you’re done!

Reason 2: Dirty or Damaged Cooling Fan 

When the engine temperature rises to a certain extent, the cooling fans automatically turn on. Thus, they help to keep the engine temperature at bay.

If it’s faulty, the engine will overheat. Thus, the mower might stop working at one point. 

Solution: Clean or Replace Cooling Fans

If the fan or the connection to the fan is dirty, cleaning it should solve your problem. But, if it’s damaged, you’ll have to replace the cooling fan. You’ll need the following tools: 

  • Channellock
  • Wrench
  • Cooling fan

Here’s how you can do it: 

  • First remove the deck from the lawn mower. You can watch this video for instructions.
  • Using stands, lift up the lawn mower so it’s easier to work on. Now, get under the mower and locate the cooling fan on top of the transaxle. 
  • Take the Channellock and grab the post with it. While holding the pulley with it, take a wrench and loosen the nut on top of it. 
  • Now, take the new fan, and slip it on the post. Fit the washer on the fan. 
washer on the fan
  • Then, tighten the washer with the lock nut.

lock nut

With that your new cooling fan is installed. It might be that the cooling fan isn’t damaged and rather dirty. In that case, just clean it using an air compressor. 

Problem 3: Smoke Coming Out of Lawnmower

Another problem users have faced is smoke coming out from the mower while mowing. 

Reason: Oil in Cylinder

The most common cause is engine oil getting into the cylinder. This oil burns off and causes the smoke you see. This can happen if there’s too much oil in the crankcase. 

Excessive clearance between the valve stems and guides may also cause this.  Here, usually, the valve guide and seals are worn out, cracked, improperly installed, or missing.

Solution: Drain Engine oil

Here, the best solution is to drain a bit of engine oil. This will reduce the extra pressure in the engine. Thus, the oil won’t go into the cylinder. For this you’ll need: 

  • Wrench
  • Oil pan

Now, follow the steps below:

  • Park the mower and engage the parking brake. Turn off the engine and pull the key out. Unplug the spark plug cables.
  • Clear any dirt or debris from the engine and remove the dipstick.
  • Remove the oil drain from the latch and place an oil pan under it. 
  • Unthread the stopper from the oil outlet with a wrench. After draining a little oil, reattach the stopper and put it on the latch.
  • Using a cloth, wipe off any oil residues. Remove the pan and re-enter the dipstick. Finally, plug in the spark plug cables and you’re done!

If there is a problem with the valve guides or seals, it’s better to contact a professional. 

Problem 4: Hydrostatic Transmission Issues

The hydrostatic transmission in your mower allows the transmission of energy using hydraulic fluid. Thus, a weak hydrostatic transmission is bound to cause sluggish operation.

Reason 1: Worn Out Drive Belt

One of the most common reasons for this problem is a faulty drive belt. Over time, the drive belt gets worn out and is unable to work properly. 

Solution: Replace the Drive belt

The only way to solve this problem is by replacing the worn-out drive belt with a new one.

First, get these tools:

  • Impact Gun.
  • Hammer.
  • Driving Belt.

Now, follow these steps:

  • Like the cooling fan, first, you’ll have to remove the mower deck in the same way. Then, the place stands underneath the mower. 
  • Now, you have to drop the electric PTO. For that, first, unplug the wiring harness of the PTO.
unplug the wiring harness of the PTO
  • Then, take the impact gun and remove the bolt of the PTO. If it doesn’t come off, remove the engine cover and place a screwdriver into the flywheel teeth.
breaker bar and socket to break loose the bolt first

Then, use a breaker bar and socket to break loose the bolt first. Then, use the impact gun.

  • Move the bracket to get the PTO off. Then, take a hammer and with it, pull off the pulley. Then, you can just take the belt off. 
  • Take the new belt and put it in the reverse process. Reattach everything as it was and the drive belt has been replaced!

While removing the pulley, if you see it’s damaged, just replace it with a new pulley.

Reason 2: Old Hydraulic Oil

You’ll face hydraulic issues if the hydraulic oil is too old. There might also be other problems that you can identify by a diagnosis.

Solution: Change Hydraulic Oil

If the oil is too old you’ll have to replace it. Although, check the operator’s manual for the specific oil model you need. 

Cub Cadet ZT1 50 Maintenance Tips

Proper maintenance can significantly increase the lifespan and performance of your lawnmower. So, here are some must-follow maintenance tips: 

Tip 1: Follow the Maintenance Schedule

There’s a manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule for your Cub Cadet ZT1 50. Be sure to follow it for a safer and better user experience. Be careful not to miss a step or it might cause a malfunction.

Also, be sure to maintain a calendar for each maintenance check. 

Tip 2: Keep Mower Blades Sharpened

Be sure that your mower blades are sharpened. If they’re not sharpened then you’ll have to mow the same area more than once.

It’ll not only waste your time but also fuel.

Tip 3: Keep Mower Deck Cleaned

An unclean mower deck might damage your mower. Due to use, it may be filled with grass clippings, dirt, and debris.

These foreign materials hold moisture which can corrode the metal of your mower blade. Thus, we advise keeping the mower deck clean.

Is Cub Cadet ZT1 50 Worth It?

Yes, it is. In fact, the Cub Cadet ZT1 is quite popular for its all-around experience. Not only does it have an aesthetic design, but its 23-horsepower engine also provides outstanding performance.

It has a wide cutting path and can cut up to about five acres. 

Its 3.5-gallon fuel tank also helps to finish your work. We can also refer to cub cadet zt1 50 reviews.

The Cub Cadet ZT1 50 has 4.6-star reviews on Home Depot. About 93% of the users recommend using it. It’s quite sturdy and thus, really reliable. 

Thus, if you want to purchase a lawn mower, the Cub Cadet ZT1 50 might be a good choice. 


How Long Will a Cub Cadet Zt1 last?

The average lifespan you can expect from your Cub Cadet Zt1 is 10-15 years. If you convert it to hours, then it’ll be about 500-1000 hours. Although, proper maintenance can of course extend this lifespan. In the same way, if it’s not properly maintained, then the lifespan might be lesser. 

Is it Better to Store a Lawn Mower with or without Gas?

If you are storing your lawn mower then drain all the gas off. Storing your lawnmower in your basement or storage unit without draining the fuel causes a fire hazard.

Bottom Line

Hope you got to know everything about cub cadet zt1 50 problems. Still, we have one last tip for you.

Closely monitor your mower’s tire pressure during rapidly changing temperatures. Thanks for going through the whole article!

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