Nearly killed myself.

   #1  

Grrrr

Platinum Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
800
Location
Devon, UK
Tractor
John Deere!
I had a very bad experience yesterday involving a ride on mower and thought I'd post to just remind people how dangerous these seeming safe things are.

I've been operating proper ag tractors since 12 or 13 and have a fair ammount of experience. We've had the same ride on mower for a little over a year now.

Our front garden is quite slopey but not real steep. Maybe 10 - 15 degree slope. At the bottom of it is a sunken fence. Basically a 5 foot deep ditch about 10 feet wide with a fence in the bottom of it. Keeps the sheep out without ruining the view.

The grass was quite damp, but it needed cutting badly. Was very long. I would not have said the conditions were at all dangerous.

I always mow the lawn up and down the slope, in stripes because the mower has a roller built into the grass collector so you get nice looking stripes.

It is a Countax A20-50, which is 23HP, has a hydrostatic transmission with a forward and reverse pedal and a brake pedal. It has a big built in grass collector on the back with can hold a fair weight of grass and the machine is fairly heavy as it is.

Anyway, I was about 2/3rds of the way through mowing, having started in the middle and moved to the far side. I completed this half and the collector box was pretty much full.

Instead of shutting the blades of to drive back to dump it, I decided to cut and collect the bits of grass that had been left where I had turned around at the end of each stripe just above the ditch. That went fine.

As I got to the end of the line of the ditch, I turned back up the hill, now actually cutting fresh grass again that hadn't allready been cut.

As I went round the turn and started back up the hill, something happened.

The machine just stopped going forwards. Very weird I thought. So I pressed harder on the pedal which should have made it go faster.

But no, it just started rolling backwards and started rolling faster and faster.

I instinctively stamped my other foot on the brake pedal, which is operated by your left foot. But, to my horror, my foot just went flat to the floor, but the mower kept of speeding backwards.

This all happened in about 3 seconds, by which time I was going backwards very fast.

The next thing I instictively thought was to get out of the seat ASAP. But there was a problem. I had to lift the armrests up, which is more difficult than you think when you are in this sort of predicament with so little time. I managed to get them up and leap out of the seat, but by this time the mower had slipped around because it was going so fast and was now facing parallel to the ditch.

At the same time I think the steering wheel got spun around as I jumped out of the seat and the mower started to flip over, with the up hill side leaving the ground. This had the effect of projecting me out downhill.

I landed in the ditch, having hit the fence hard, and the mower was now about to come flying down on top of me, blades still running.

I could not actually see the mower come down, becasue I was facing away from it, but the next thing I felt was getting hit on the head.

What actually happened was the as the mower went into the ditch, it flipped all the way over, so did a full flip before landing beside me roughly the right way up. What hit me was the bull bar on the front.

As I clambered out the way, I heard the blades automatically cut out. They take about 2 seconds to cut off from when you leave the seat, so that shows how fast this went. The engine was still running when I got up, completely uninjured, allbeit with a big bump on my head.

The mower is pretty bashed up now, with damed front axle, and a busted collector on the back, but I think it can be fixed up quite easily. The bigger problem is what caused the problem in the first place.

I have checked all the belts and linkages etc and it all seems fine. What I do know is that the mower will no longer move at all, and the brakes have zero effect. I have not had chance to further inspect it yet since dragging it out.


So the moral of the story... these things can be very dangerous, even if not directly caused by the operator. The mower also literally just had a ï½£300 service.

It all happened so fast that I could not really have done anything else. Had I not tried to immediately get off, and had kept on trying to brake, then I most certainly would be dead.

It has also taught me never to use it in the damp again, and even if it wasn't the cause of it in the first place, it certainly didn't help and contributed to the flip.

I will update when I find out what went wrong with the mower to cause such a malfunction. I didn't get any pictures of the actual even, I had other things on my mind, but I will try to take some of the mower, if it hasn't already gone for repair.
 
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   #2  

texasjohn

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Oct 11, 2005
Messages
6,003
Location
Central Texas, Jarrell
Tractor
Kubota Grand L5030HSTC
Wow:eek:

SOOOOOO glad you are not injured any worse than you are..... it truly is amazing how fast things happen.... thanks for the post reminding us :)
 
   #3  

JDeerekid

Platinum Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2004
Messages
877
Location
P-Town, Upstate New York
Tractor
Montana 4340C w/Loader, JD GX345 w/54in. mower
wow glad you are OK. I am curious what caused the malfuction. Please keep us updated when you find out.
 
   #5  

bontai_Joe

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Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Messages
834
Location
northeast PA
Tractor
Deere 316 (Kohler) Deere 316 (Onan) Deere 210
Glad you are ok. I cringe every time I see an adult with a kid in their lap on a tractor cutting grass. An accident can happen so fast as you discovered.
 
   #6  

locknut

Platinum Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2006
Messages
533
Location
Greensburg Indiana
Jake,you're one lucky guy.I googled your mower and it looks like a very nice machine for fairly flat mowing conditions.It also appears as though it could be unstable in hilly terrain with a bag full of wet,heavy grass hanging 3ft behind the rear axle.The tractor may have been asked to go beyond its pulling and braking ability with the total weight and the uphill grade involved.Sure glad you weren't seriously hurt.
 
  
  • Thread Starter
#7  
OP
Grrrr

Grrrr

Platinum Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
800
Location
Devon, UK
Tractor
John Deere!
I just realised I never replied to this thread before. Sorry to bring it back up.

What had happened was that all of the gears in the transaxle had completely stripped out. So the axle was just free wheeling. Since the break works on the transaxle, it was no longer functional once the other gears had stripped out.

What caused this is still beyond me, there was no noticeable wear.

It had a brand new transaxle in it which wasn't cheap, but it definitely feels newer and quicker to reverse / manoeuvre.

We were afraid that the engine would have been damaged from running upside down, but it does not seem to have been a problem.
 
   #8  

SPYDERLK

Super Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2006
Messages
9,929
Location
VA
Tractor
JD2010, Kubota3450,2550, Mahindra 7520 w FEL w Skid Steer QC w/Tilt Tatch, & BH, BX1500
Wow! I wonder how many other tractors have a setup that can result in loss of brakes if the transmission fails.
larry
 
 
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