Frequently Asked Questions about Power Equipment and our Company.

Why buy from B T South instead of a Big Box Store?

What is ASAPS Priority Service?

What does "Commercial Mower" mean?

Engines: Which Engine should I choose for my Zero Turn Lawnmower?

Is the TORO V-Twin Commercial Engine a Solid Reliable Engine?

Zero Turn Advantage: What are the advantages of a Zero Turn mower over a Riding Tractor mower?

What is MyRIDE and who needs it?

GrandStand: What are the advantages of a GrandStand Zero Turn Stander?

What Advantages does the GrandStand Multi-Force Blower have over Dedicated Stand On Blowers?

Why do most customers choose Ventrac's Gasoline Engines over the Kubota Diesel Engine?

How well do Ventrac Tractors handle Slopes?

How well do Ventrac Tractors handle Wet Soggy Conditions?

How much does a Ventrac Tractor Cost?

How do Toro and Spartan compare to each other?

TireJect Tire Sealant -VS- Tube

What are the Advantages of TWEELs over Tires?

Other Brands: Why doesn't B T South carry more brands to choose from?

How and why does B T South have the SCAG brand?

Maintenance: What is recommended for Zero Turn Mower Seasonal Maintenance?

My Z does not travel exactly straight when the arms are aligned.

Fuel: Do I need to use a Fuel Stabilizer? Do I need to buy Ethanol Free Gasoline?

Oil: Why shouldn't I use Automotive Oil in my Lawnmower Engine?

Backpack Blowers: What matters most in blower performance, MPH or CFM?

Are there Equipment Discounts for Churches, Schools, and 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organizations?

About B T South

About B T South

B T South is a locally owned and operated family business.

The Founder's Story / Company History

The products we offer and service include:
Zero Turn Mowers from TORO and SPARTAN
Blowers, Trimmers & Chainsaws from STIHL
Flex Frame Tractors from VENTRAC

B T South is a STIHL ELITE Dealer, a TORO Master Service Center and an Authorized Service Center for SPARTAN and VENTRAC.

Why buy from B T South instead of a Big Box store?

Selection. Big box stores usually stock the 3 to 6 models in a mower brand that can best sell themselves. At B T South the entire Toro line is available to you. That means about 80 different TORO zero turn mower models available to you. We typically stock around 50 unique TORO zero turn models.

Knowledge. With all these models to choose from you may be looking for someone who can point out the differences and pros & cons. Because we specialize in power equipment we are prepared to provide you with the information you are looking for to help you make an informed decision to meet your needs.

Service. We not only sell these products, we service them, we carry parts, and we fulfill the manufacturer’s warranty when needed. With over a hundred thousand dollars worth of parts on the shelf combined with skilled technicians and a knowledgeable helpful staff, we are prepared to take care of our customers. On most of the riding equipment we sell we offer
ASAPS, our priority service program which basically gives you a "break in line free card" at our service department for fast turn around time.

Price & finance options. While we have more to offer, we don't ask you to pay more, you will find we have the same low prices as the the big box store. If you find an exception, please bring it to our attention. We offer very competitive
finance options on riding products as low as 0%. Please ask us for details and current promotions.

Who we are. As a locally owned conservative family business, we hope to be the kind of business you want to patronize. If you value having a local parts & service center for your equipment then help ensure that these small businesses remain in the community by rewarding them with your purchases.

We mean no disrespect to the big box store corporations. With the hundreds of thousands of products and brands they offer from doors & windows to paint & caulk, shrubs & trees, bird feed & rat poison, to lawn mowers & rental equipment, it is a marvel that they are able to do their job as well as they do. Fortunately our focus can be much narrower, allowing us to have a deeper offering of products, knowledge, parts and services pertaining to power equipment.

What is ASAPS?

Even if ASAPS was not included in your original purchase, you can still add it later. ASAPS assures B T South will:
➤ Allocate Service: Make room for your equipment even during our busiest season.
➤ Priority Service: give your equipment priority over other equipment making it move through our service queue faster.

Q&A:Can ASAPS be purchased separately for Z's that were not purchased at B T South?
YES (see the pricing chart below)

Does ASAPS expire?
No, Not as long as you own the equipment and we remain an authorized dealer / service center for the equipment.

How fast is the turn around time for ASAPS machines?
It does vary some with how complex the job is and how quickly mowers are coming in our door. Our goal, which we usually meet, is for ASAPS Landscape Contractor to be here no more than 3 work days and for ASAPS consumer equipment to be here no more than 5 work days.

Are all ASAPS machines treated with equal priority?
No, our service queue algorithm takes into account ASAPS status as well as other factors, some of which are:
➤ How long the machine has been waiting in queue.
➤ How old the machine is and whether it is still in its warranty period
➤ The equipment’s build quality level eg. commercial vs mid-grade vs consumer.

The cost of ASAPS ranges from $350 to $660

TORO Titan
TORO Titan Max
TORO Z-Master 2000
TORO Z-Master 4000
TORO GrandStand
TORO ProLine

SCAG Liberty
SCAG Freedom
SCAG Patriot
SCAG Tiger Cat II
SCAG Cheetah II
SCAG Turf Tiger II
ASAPS for Life Pricing


There are some models within these categories which we do not sell and for which we do not offer ASAPS.
B T South Shop Picture

What does "Commercial Mower" mean?

In the mower world, the word commercial is used loosely. And the standard for which mowers are called commercial varies widely. The word “Commercial” has the connotation of being heavy duty, so marketing departments frequently use the word in a way that implies something is commercial without actually saying it is commercial. 

In our book “Commercial” should mean something that is built to a standard that will reasonably withstand the typical use of a professional. A professional being someone that uses the equipment for their job making a living. 

So while a true commerical mower should be made to withstand the full time use of a landscaper, a homeowner grade mower may be able to perform a similar task, but is designed to be used for an hour every Saturday morning by a homeowner.

Just because you see the word “Commercial” used in the description of a mower, does not mean it is a “Commercial Mower”. Marketers often say things like, “Commerical Features” or “Commercial Inspired” or Commercial Style this or that. None of these terms would be used to describe a true commercial mower. Sometimes a residential grade mower will have a commercial component in which case it may be marketed as having a “Commerical Engine” or commercial this or that. While that one component is commercial it does not make the entire mower commercial grade.

Most of the mowers that are described as having “commercial this or that” are homeowner mowers that typically have a 3 year homeowner use warranty, but probably only have a 30 or 60 day warranty for someone cutting multiple yards. 

One more way the word “Commercial” is frequently used is “Commercial Use Warranty”. This is actually meaningful because it is being backed up with a warranty for commercial use by the manufacturer. This is often used on mid-grade / semi-commercial mowers that are intended for part time commercial use, or for the homeowner with acreage, or for the homeowner without acreage that wants a longer lasting better performing mower.

Commercial use warranties are usually stated in hours and years. For example “3 years or 300 hours, which ever comes first” is common for mid-grade machines. Where as higher end commercial machines might have a 5 year 1500 hour warranty. Sometimes residential mower warranties are stated in this format as well, a common one being 3 years or 120 hours, which ever comes first. Of course a manufacturer warranty is only as good as the manufacturer that stands behind it, which is why it is important to go with a manufacturer that will take on responsibility by authorizing reasonable warranty work to be performed at their expense and with a dealer that is competent to thoroughly execute the work authorized. 

Even with a clear warranty period of so many hours and so many years, there will still be exclusions which would typically include maintenance items, problems caused by lack of maintenance, etc. Also typical is for certain items to have separate warranty terms. For example the machine may have a 5 year warranty, but the warranty on the engine may be limited to 3 years and the warranty on the battery limited to 1 year.

Which Engine Should I Choose for my Zero Turn Mower

We get asked all the time which engine is best. Or just as often for confirmation that a brand is the best. (eg. “Brand X” is the best right?)

If I were to ask you, “is Chevrolet the best choice?” it would be hard to answer without knowing which Chevrolet we are talking about. There is a world of difference between a Corvette and a Chevette, yet they are both Chevrolet.

It’s much the same in the engine world. When we are talking about the very best each company has to offer, they are all solid commercial engines that are extremely unlikely to disappoint. These top model engines include:

➤ Briggs & Stratton Vanguard
➤ Kawasaki FX
➤ KOHLER Command Pro

If all these companies can make a great engine then why does Kawasaki’s reputation seem to be so favorable and Briggs & Stratton’s reputation poor?

The difference is where they draw the line at the bottom of price and quality. Kawasaki’s bottom is their FR model which is a high end residential engine. Briggs & Stratton on the other hand will build an engine for almost any budget and it’s the cheapest lowest quality models that they tend to sell in the greatest volume and end up hurting their reputation.

Because we often have customers walk in the door and say literally, "don't show me anything with a Briggs engine" we are hesitant to carry Briggs powered Z's unless it is their very best, the Briggs & Stratton Vanguard. Most of the mowers we stock are powered by a Vanguard, Kawasaki, KOHLER, or TORO engine.

The FX series is their best and also the model you will see the most of in the Toro line. The FT & FS series are also commercial, just not their very best. The FR is their high end residential engine which is basically a cheapened version of the FS, and still a very solid engine.

The Command series is their best and many of the Command models have hydraulic lifters (no valve adjustments needed) and closed loop fuel injection (+/- 25% fuel savings). Under the Command is the ZT (Confidant) which is also commercial just not their very best. Then the 7000 PRO mid-grade engine & 7000 consumer engine which has proven to be a reliable consumer engine and shares many of the same core components found in the ZT. Below that is the Kohler Courage which has a poor reputation mostly due to the single cylinder versions, many of which had problems years ago.

Most people don’t think of TORO as an engine company. But in fact they were founded for the sole purpose of building engines and later got into the mower business. Along the way they’ve manufactured many types of equipment even including cannons and maritime mechanical parts for World Wars I & II. They have quite a few small engines for Walk Power Mowers & Snow Blowers but just two core designs for Zero Turn Mowers. The TORO SX is a 16HP consumer engine that has proven to be reliable after several years on the market.

In 2015 TORO released the ZX engine which has become the most widely used engine in the Toro Z lineup. B T South has sold over 1400 pieces of equipment powered by this commercial engine and its outstanding  performance has pushed it into the same league with other top tier engines. There are three versions of the ZX, a 22.5HP version, a 24.5HP version, and a 24.5HP with a canister air filtration system. All three are the same core engine but have different carburetors and air filter components. Read more about the TORO ZX Engine’s features at this link.

The biggest advantage the TORO V-Twin has over other top tier engines is that TORO can have it produced less expensively than buying similar quality engines from Kohler and Kawasaki which frees up dollars to offer a lower mower price or to invest that savings in making the mower better in other areas like the frame, deck, spindles and tires. Part of the manufacturer's cost of an engine is the cost of standing behind the warranty. That cost is clearly very small for TORO as we see them continuing to offer longer warranties than competing engines of up to 5 years.

We often get asked if the TORO V-Twin is a re-branded Kohler, Kawasaki or Brigggs. It is not. Toro developed and tested this engine's design for their own use. TORO has it produced by an industrial machining company to meet their exact design and standards. TORO calls it the TORO V-Twin. Exmark calls it the Exmark V-Twin and you might see it used by some of TORO's other brands as well.

What about HONDA?
Honda is a major player in the single cylinder engine market for products such as walk behind mowers and other small power equipment. But for whatever reason, their larger twin cylinder engines, which are a size more suitable for riding products, have just never caught on and are not prevalent in our industry.

Engine Life:
First, realize that a big part of an engine’s life is maintenance. In particular changing the oil, changing the air filter, and cleaning debris from the engine as needed to allow it to properly cool. Also very important is proper fuel management and using the correct engine oil, as most automotive oils manufactured after 2009 do not meet the specifications for air cooled engines resulting in higher operating temperatures and reduced engine life. Commercial engines are of course designed to last for more hours of use, but even good consumer engines can last for decades when maintained well and not used excessively.
Likelihood of manufacturing or design defect.
Every manufacturer has an occasional problematic model or defective unit. Kohler for example had issues with its early models of the Courage engine, the single cylinder model in particular. Kawasaki had inexplicable problems with some of the early models of the water cooled FD series. Toro, while I don’t recall a problematic engine from them, their 300 Series Z-Master was a problematic mower. The point being, even the best of the best companies are not perfect. All three of these manufacturers make solid products that are very reliable for the overwhelming majority of their customers. At B T South we are very selective about the products and manufacturers we choose to carry because in the event there is a problem, the customer comes to us for a solution. We are not like the big box store where they just hand you an 800 # to get rid of you. It is a rare and unusual situation that we would have to send someone out the door for a solution somewhere else. Our business model is to sell quality products that work and to be able to provide any needed parts, service and warranty in our store.

In the event of an engine defect, how will the manufacturer stand behind the product.
When it comes to warranties you can count on most manufacturers to step up and take care of the problem when there is a clear “black and white” defect. Unfortunately there is a lot of potential for gray area in warranty coverage. One of the things I admire about Toro and Kohler is their traditional American customer service attitude. They understand the customer paid for their quality product and even in the "gray areas" are typically willing to step up to get things right in situations where other manufacturers would not. When they have a known defect they admit it, and in such case often help the customer even beyond the expiration of the warranty. Of course if there is evidence a failure was caused by abuse or lack of maintenance then we need not expect the manufacturer to be responsible. Many of the other manufacturers of engines and of lawn mowers don’t tend to be so generous. Japanese companies in particular tend to be resistant to admitting problems and hence taking responsibility for failures. Years ago when when Honda lengthened their warranty by an additional year, there was a spoof document sent around among dealers as a practical joke that said “Good News! your Honda warranty claims will now be denied for an additional year” That of course is not true. Honda certainly does approve some warranty claims, but there is a grain of truth in most jokes including this one. And the grain of truth is that with some companies it feels like the customer is guilty until proven innocent and that we have to fight tooth and nail to get the manufacturer to step up.

Is the Engine the most important part of selecting a good Zero Turn?
While the engine is a very important part of a lawnmower, it takes more than just a good engine to make a good lawnmower. Like quality hydraulic components for smooth operation and long life. A rigid mowing deck built heavy enough to stand years of rust and impacts. A mower frame strong enough not to break or warp. And there are qualities that can’t easily be measured by numbers, like weight distribution balanced to optimize traction, maneuverability and hillside stability. Deck aerodynamics to maximize cut quality and clean cutting speed. Expensive quality components alone don’t assure performance. Some manufacturers try to employ one or two quality components or brand names that are popular on shopper’s check lists and then skimp on quality in other areas compromising overall performance and longevity.

In general, a better mower can be built with more money, but to get the most bang for your buck means to balance the expensive components to meet a budget and combine those components with sophisticated engineering to maximize performance. The reason we’ve chosen Toro as the core brand of our business even after being offered more than twenty-two competing brands is because Toro brings the most bang for the buck in a wide array of different budget levels. The TORO ZX engine is a good example of how TORO has been able to bring more value. This ZX engine brings the commercial feature set of a top tier engine without the top tier price.

Maximizing performance per dollar along with industry leading support after the sale and long term parts availability is how Toro has become the most trusted brand in the industry. View the current Toro Z lineup at this link.

THE TORO ZX V-TWIN Commercial Engine

We are now in year 8 with the TORO ZX and have become very confident in this engine at B T South after having sold over 2000 pieces of equipment power by the ZX. It's key features include:

➤ Two Barrel Metal Alloy Carburetor
➤ 3 Ring Automotive Style Pistons
➤ Cast Iron Sleeved Cylinders
➤ 5 Bolt Heads
➤ Gaskets on all Engine Seams (in lieu of silicone cement)
➤ Cross Drilled Oil Sump Webbing. Allows more complete draining during oil change
➤ Pressurized Lubrication with spin on oil filter
➤ Easy Oil Change System. No tools required to change oil
➤ Two Stage Air Filtration w/Self cleaning feature to extend air filter life
➤ Cast Alloy Valve Covers
➤ Cast Alloy Intake Manifold
➤ Manufacturer Warranty: Varies based on host machine and maintenance kit promotion participation. Up to 4 Years / 750 Hours Commercial Use.

The TORO ZX 708cc 24.5 HP V-Twin Engine hit the market in Spring of 2015. In 2017 a 22.5 HP version was released which was the same engine with a different carburetor. In 2018 a 24.5 HP version with canister air filtration was released as well as a canister upgrade kit available for the other models. The canister air filter does not filter air any better, but it allows longer service intervals between filter changes which is popular with commercial landscapers who quickly put a lot of hours on their equipment.

These excellent engines continue to be offered across the TimeCutter, Titan & Z-Master lines.

We have become extremely confident in this engine as they can last thousands of hours. Not only are we seeing this success for customers that regularly change their oil and maintain the engine as we recommend. But we are quite frankly amazed by the engines still running past 1000 hours for engine abusive customers that tell us "maybe next time" when we recommend changing filthy oil and soiled air filters. We conclude its durability is on par with other top tier engines like the Kawasaki FX and Kohler Command Pro.

TORO ZX V-Twin Engine

What are the advantages of a Zero Turn mower over a Riding Tractor mower?

The advantages a Zero Turn brings are significant advances in Productivity and Quality of Cut.

Customer testimony: When we speak with new Z owners about how their Zero Turn compares to their previous lawn tractor we typically get the following feedback:
• It has cut their time by half to two thirds. (what took 3 hours with the riding tractor is now taking between 60 and 90 minutes)
• The quality of cut is smoother and cleaner.
• The ride quality is rougher.

How and Why is the cut time faster, the quality of cut better and the operator's ride quality worse?

Let's start with the Cut Pattern. With a tractor, most people mow in circles which is inherently inefficient, as is all the backing up and turnarounds required to do a line pattern with a typical tractor. A zero turn is naturally efficient to cut a line pattern as turnarounds are quick. By mowing in straight lines the deck is cutting cleaner and more efficiently allowing faster clean cutting speeds. You may have noticed when cutting with a tractor in a circle pattern, it is in the turns that sprigs and cut quality are at their worst. Cutting in straight lines makes it easy to keep the deck over uncut grass more of the time. When mowing in circles the operator is constantly having to look for the edge between cut and uncut grass, constantly making adjustments and often finding the tractor will not turn tight enough to follow the edge, resulting in wasted time mowing over grass that has already been cut. Mowing a line pattern it takes very little concentration to keep the mower on its straight line course. Even in the summer when the grass is thin and it’s hard to see the edge of the cut grass except from a distance you can still site the straight line from a distance and know exactly where you are supposed to be even though you can’t see the line immediately in front of the mower. The line pattern, quick efficient turnarounds and increased clean cutting speed drastically reduce your cut time while requiring little concentration or mental fatigue from the operator. Sometimes it is assumed that if you are mowing wide open space with no trees or obstacles that there would be little benefit to having a zero turn. That's not the case at all, the faster cutting speeds of a zero turn can be even better utilized in those wide open spaces.

Then there is Cut Quality. We already talked about cleaner cutting due to cutting a line pattern, but there is more. A front engine riding tractor has a pivoting front axle. This means if there is a high spot that passes under one of your front wheels then the axle will tilt to accommodate the contour, however the deck will not follow this change in angle of the front axle which will result in scalping. But with most zero turns and all TORO zero turns they have a Fixed Frame meaning when a front wheel rolls over a high spot, it lifts not just the front axle but the whole mower including the deck. This greatly reduces scalping issues leading to significantly better cut quality.

Blade Tip Speed is also part of the productivity and quality of cut equation. There is a law of diminishing returns at play in blade tip speed that results in an ideal blade speed of between 18,000 and 19,000 feet per minute. That's about 205 to 215 miles per hour. Most zero turns and all Toro zero turns are engineered to perform in this range while most riding tractor blade tip speeds are significantly slower.

Ride Quality is mostly about operator comfort but it can also become a productivity issue if you are having to slow down because of the rough ride. Just like driving a car across a pothole or traffic bump, the faster you go the more it is going to jar you, and the same is true when going faster on a mower. We regularly hear from customers that they love the increased speed and cut quality of their new zero turn but it is beating them to death. The best solution to this Poor Ride Quality is TORO's MyRIDE Operator Suspension System. It would take a lot of words to explain exactly what it is, but let's just say you owe it to yourself to sit on a mower with this MyRIDE feature before making a buying decision. It is game changing comfort at a fraction of the price of back surgery.

What about Hills and Slopes. Riding tractors and zero turns have two entirely different problems when traversing across slopes. Because of the riding tractor's pivoting front axle under the engine, this puts the pivoting point for this heaviest end of the machine right in the middle under the engine. If instead the front axle were fixed perpendicular to the engine then the pivoting point would be the down hill edge of the front downhill tire and it would not roll so easily, but that would lead to traction issues in the rear on uneven ground which is why front engine rider front axles are always designed to pivot. Zero Turns on the other hand have the engine and drive tires on the same end of the machine which allows the frame to be fixed without creating traction issues. This makes the typical zero turn mower very resistant to rolling on its side, much more so than the typical riding tractor. However, a zero turn has a new problem on hills that tractors don't. That problem is steering. With a riding tractor the operator can change the angle of the front wheels (via the steering wheel) to pull the front of the tractor up the hill.

With a zero turn you wield the nose of the machine with leverage from the rear of the machine. This is very similar to the way you wield the nose of a grocery cart with leverage on the grocery cart handle. Imagine for a moment if you were pushing a grocery cart along a sidewalk that was sloped to the right. If you pushed equally on both sides of the handle then the grocery cart would run off the sidewalk to the right side. To make it stay on the sidewalk you would need to push harder on the right (downhill) side and may even need to pull back some on the left (uphill) side. Something you would do without even thinking about it is to spread your hands apart as far as possible to give you more leverage to more easily steer the grocery cart.

With a zero turn mower, the equivalent to spreading your hands apart on the grocery cart handle is spreading the rear tires further apart. This is why narrower zero turns, like a 32", are pathetic at handling hills. 42" machines tend to be mediocre on hills, and 48"+ machines tend to be excellent. There are some other factors, like having a lower center of gravity and bigger tires. Another factor is how slippery the turf is. A zero turn mower always has better traction when the turf is dry and therefore challenging areas should be mowed when traction conditions are at their best, not first thing in the morning when there is dew on the grass.

What about towing yard equipment. It is not unusual for customers to tell us they thought zero turn mowers were not supposed to be used to tow. The overwhelming majority of TORO zero turns include a towing hitch and those that don't include it already, have one available as an accessory. These mowers and hitches are appropriate for towing typical yard implements like aerators, yard trailers, etc. Like anything they have their limits and you shouldn't be launching boats with your lawnmower.

Learning to Drive a Zero Turn is sometimes a concern to riding mower owners considering the upgrade to a Z. Let me start by saying that if you were to pluck a person from a 3rd world country who had never driven any vehicle or equipment, then there is no doubt it would be far easier for them to learn to drive a zero turn than a riding tractor. But of course here in our world we have driven steering wheel equipment for years and years and a steering wheel is second nature to us. Another thing that is second nature to us is the operation of a grocery cart. Navigating a zero turn is done with two control bars. Using these left and right control bars is nearly perfectly mimicked by the controlling of a grocery cart with the pushing and pulling that we do on the left and right side of a grocery cart handle. We have taught hundreds of new users to drive a zero turn in our warehouse and most become comfortable with the controls in just a few minutes. One notable customer was a woman in her late 80's who loved mowing her yard but had lost much of the use of her feet and legs and was no longer able to safely operate a riding tractor. Within a couple of minutes she was comfortable on the zero turn and grinning from ear to ear because she could now mow again without needing to push any pedals. Our experience has been that anyone who wants to learn to drive a zero turn can easily learn.

There is more to mower performance than just cut width and horsepower. At the time of this writing Toro offers a 24.5 HP 50” cut mower for under $3,000 and also offers a 20.5HP 48” cut for over $8,000. Most of what you pay for in a mower comes down to durability, performance, and operator comfort. The needed durability for a mower that is going to be used once a week to cut one yard is completely different from a mower that is going to be used all day every day. Spending a couple extra thousand dollars to tweak out 30% more performance probably isn’t worth it for the homeowner that would be looking at reducing a 30 minute cut to a 20 minute cut. But for the contractor that can take on another 15 yards because of the time saved, or can take an extra day off because of the time saved, well now that’s worth a couple of thousand extra dollars. There are many crucial parts to a mower’s function. But perhaps the most important variance from one mower to the next is the cutting deck, as this is where the job is done, where tall grass becomes short, where clippings are mulched, where grass clogs and clumps, or does not clog and clump, where sprigs are left standing or not. Many companies build frames with engines and wheels that travel. Few companies specialize in the science and technology of cutting blades of grass cleanly and efficiently. At Toro this is exactly their game. They don’t build farm tractors, they don’t build bulldozers, their focus is turf grass.

One of the advantages of dealing with a company like Toro that offers so many models of zero turns and a dealer like us that stocks the 45+ most popular models is that it allows you to see the differences for yourself to help figure out what features matter to you. We can point out the differences from one mower to the next and answer your questions to help you make a well educated purchase, which we hope will be from us, but either way it will be our pleasure to have a helpful and respectful conversation with you.

Why doesn’t B T South carry more brands?

At B T South we look for the brands that we would buy ourselves if we were shopping for a product in the category.

• TORO Zero Turn Mowers
• SCAG Zero Turn Mowers
• SPARTAN Zero Turn Mowers
• STIHL Hand Held Products
• VENTRAC Flex Frame Tractors

These companies are strong and industry leading brands. In our 20 years in business, we have been offered 29 different brands of zero turn mowers, several brands of hand held equipment and numerous compact tractors. If you study the brands we offer against the competition we think you will likely come to the same conclusions we did about which ones to buy. We do occasionally cherry pick other lines for unique products that are not offered in our core brands, but we try to limit the number of brands we carry so that our focus on support and parts is not diluted.

How & why does B T South have the SCAG brand?

Since becoming a SCAG dealer on February 29th 2024, we have been bombarded with questions about how and why we became a SCAG dealer.

• Did SCAG fire Sedgefield Outdoor as their dealer? No
• How did B T South take SCAG away from Sedgefield Outdoor? We didn’t.
• Is B T South switching from TORO to SCAG? No
• Why do you want me to buy a SCAG instead of a TORO? We don’t
• Will Sedgefield Outdoor support the SCAG mower that I brought from them?

Sedgefield Outdoor Equipment decided to terminate their SCAG dealership without any pressure from SCAG to do so. After SCAG was informed of this decision, SCAG approached B T South about becoming their dealer. That was February 22nd and before that day we had no idea that Sedgefiled was giving up SCAG after representing the brand for decades. We then approached Sedgefield to confirm what SCAG had told us. We enjoy an amicable relationship with Sedgefield Outdoor and we wanted to be sure we understood the situation correctly and wanted to inform them that we had an interest in bringing on the SCAG line.

Sedgefield confirmed what SCAG had told us and went on to explain that they were at a place where they needed to either expand their business and hire more staff, or to simplify and make things more manageable. They were dropping SCAG, STIHL and some other brands to streamline their business. They seemed very decisive and certain of their decision and even somewhat relieved. We were pleased that Sedgefield was amicable to us taking on SCAG.

From our perspective, the opportunity to take on another one of the top three commercial mower brands in the country was a gift from God. Over the years, we have been offered 29 different brands of zero turn mowers at our dealership. In combination with TORO there is no other brand we would rather have than SCAG. While they are both market leaders they have very different design philosophies and product offerings making them apples and oranges.

While representing TORO over the last 21 years, we have developed a reputation for knowing our products, having a broad selection of new equipment in stock, having parts in stock and providing fast & thorough service. We will continue to grow the TORO brand in our area with this same game plan, and will work diligently to get to that same level with SCAG.

SCAG has a loyal base of customers, as does TORO. We have no desire to transition satisfied TORO owners to SCAG and no desire to transition satisfied SCAG owners to TORO.  

Will Sedgefield Outdoor support the SCAG mower that I brought from them? Sedgefield has a reputation for supporting equipment they've sold, and I expect they will be willing to do anything reasonable. However, since they are no longer a SCAG dealer, and we are a SCAG dealer, that gives us some additional tools to support your SCAG equipment. As a SCAG dealer, we can order parts from SCAG and we are intentionally growing our parts inventory to serve SCAG owners. We have access to SCAG’s dealer tech service support. As a SCAG dealer, we can file warranties with SCAG to be reimbursed for parts and labor expense.

SCAG Showroom

What is MyRIDE and who needs it?

MyRIDE is an operator suspension platform first released by TORO in 2015. It was developed to address the common complaint that zero turn mowers ride rough.  This because zero turn mowers mowers travel twice or more times as fast as typical front engine riding mowers. Just like traveling across a speed bump or a pothole in a car, the faster you travel the greater the shock.

It is not uncommon for new Z owners to tell us that their yard seemed smooth with their previous riding tractor mower but now it seems very rough with the zero turn. MyRIDE delivers game changing smooth comfort.

Online Opinions: Online reviews of MyRIDE tend to be mixed and either very positive or very negative. This is not unusual for exclusive features, because the owners and fans of the other 40 brands of zero turns don't like to think or admit that there is something better than what they have. We're not suggesting that you ignore online opinions, but we do encourage you to give more weight to reviews from those who own or have operated a machine with MyRIDE vs those who once sat down on a parked MyRIDE machine in a store.

Showroom Impressions vs Real Usage: In store on a parked machine, a common suspension seat appears to offer more absorption than MyRIDE, because you can use your feet and legs to raise yourself up and down to feel the vertical travel offered by the seat. With MyRIDE your feet and legs are on the suspended platform, making it difficult to feel any vertical travel. To try to get some motion out of it, people often rock their body forward and backward, and may end up getting the impression that the purpose of the MyRIDE design is to let the operator rock a little bit forward and backward. Among those who have operated a MyRIDE machine in the field, it is overwhelmingly liked and thought to be the best ride system available.


Competing Ride Comfort Systems: Some systems on the market try to suspend the whole body of the machine like a car suspension. This allows the body of the machine to lunge down closer to the ground and rise higher above the ground during its cycle of absorbing the terrain. As you can imagine, this creates a cut quality problem because we don't want the deck lunging down at the ground every time we hit a bump. This leads to a complex system to raise the deck as the body lunges. Or in some cases on lesser expensive models, they just put some springs in places that do virtually nothing but look cool and help sell the mower. TORO's MyRIDE is much simpler, it suspends the driver, not the whole machine, a similar strategy to that used on a long-haul tractor-trailer rig.

Maintenance: MyRIDE does not require maintenance. At the time of this writing, 9 years since the release of MyRIDE, we have sold over a thousand machines with the MyRIDE feature at our dealership and have yet to replace anything worn out or broken on a customers machine that had anything to do with the MyRIDE system.

MyRIDE is offered on the TimeCutter, Titan, Z-Master 2000Z-Master 4000 mowers.

What Advantages does the MultiForce Stand-On Blower offer over Dedicated Stand-On Blowers?

For most people a Stand On Blower is not a tool that is used year around. In that way it's a lot like an Aerator or Snow Removal equipment. The problem being that you can easily spend well over $10,000 on each of these pieces of equipment that you may only use for a month or two a year. That is a lot of money to have tied up in equipment that sits around doing nothing most of the time.

The alternative is the GrandStand Multi-Force which can be a highly productive mower most of the year but also be flexible to be a:

• Stand On Blower
• Stand On Leaf Plow
• Stand On Aerator
• Stand On Snow Plow
• Stand On Snow Blower
• Stand On De-thatcher
• Stand On Hydraulic Dump Mulch Hauler
• Stand On Hydraulic Broom

Most Stand On Blowers allow the air to be directed left right or forward. But most have very little adjustment up or down. The TORO GrandSTand with ProForce Blower allows this vertical control which allows directing the flow down a hill, into a ditch or straight up into the trees to blow leaves down that were soon going to fall anyway.

It's not uncommon for dedicated Stand On blowers to have the blower impeller attached directly to the engine. This can be quite inconvenient starting your blower up in a garage, enclosed trailer, or when you need to travel to and from the site where you want to blow. You can idle the engine down so it does not blow as hard, but that would lower your ground speed to a crawl. The impeller being attached directly to the engine makes it more difficult to service and puts an unnecessary load on the engine during startup, leading to slower starts and more engine wear during startup at a moment when the engine has not had time to pump oil and fully lubricate itself.

In contrast, the Toro MultiForce blower uses a PTO switch to power an electric clutch to turn on the blower. It starts up easy, during which time it will not not blow debris all over your stuff and you can run full speed to get where you are going without the blower engaged. Starting the machine, and starting the blower are two separate events.

Learn more at

Why do most customers choose Ventrac's Gas Engines over the Kubota Diesel Engine?

Ventrac Kubota WG972GL D902 Gas Diesel

Almost everyone's initial instinct is to buy the Kubota Diesel powered Ventrac 4500Y over the Gasoline powered 4500Z. But after some research and information gathering, most people decide against the diesel model. And it it is not because of the price, because the price is about the same. So why then?

EPA regulations stipulate that some expensive bulky components be present on diesel engines having 25+ horse power. These bulky components simply can't be fit inside the very limited space under the hood of a small tractor like the Ventrac. This is why Ventrac has selected the 24.8 HP Kubota for their diesel engine. For gasoline engines similar regulations begin when the engine displacement reaches 1000cc. This allows Ventrac to put more power under the hood of the gas tractors than the diesel.

Low end torque: Having good torque at low RPM's, as diesel engines are known for, can be nice for working equipment with the engine at low throttle, particularly with a gear drive machine not using the PTO. But with a hydro drive machine you pretty much need to get the engine up to 2/3 to 3/4 throttle to get the hydros flowing well enough to get much work done. And if you are using a mowing deck or some other PTO power attachment you are probably going to need the engine running at full throttle. What good is low end torque if you seldom have an application where you can use it. In addition, the torque is higher at any RPM for the Kubota 32.5 HP gasoline WG972GL engine than on the Kubota 24.8 HP diesel D902 engine. Click the model # links to compare Kubota engine spec sheets. Longevity: The gasoline and diesel Kubota engines are both build on the same footprint, are water cooled, share many of the same parts and should have a similar life expectancy.

Fuel Cost: While diesel fuel costs more than gasoline, the Kubota diesel engine only consumes an estimated 1.1 gallons of fuel per hour while the Kubota gasoline engine consumes 1.6 gallons per hour. If fuel efficiency is a concern then consider Ventrac's 4500P powered by the Kawasaki FD851D water cooled EFI 31 HP engine which consumes an estimated 1.2 gallons per hour and has more torque at any RPM compared to the Kubota Diesel D902.

Application: Where you tend to need more power is when you are climbing steep hills and or have a heavy load on the PTO as would be the case for a big mowing in heavy grass. These more demanding situations make the more powerful gasoline engines the way to go. On the other hand the diesel Ventrac may have plenty of power for lesser demanding applications and may be a good choice.

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How well do Ventrac Tractors handle steep slopes?

Ventrac Slope

Ventrac compact utility tractors provide a safer and more effective solution to slope mowing in addition to versatility and ease of use. So what makes Ventrac a great slope mower? The answer to that begins with the fact that Ventrac tractors are not like conventional tractors. They are uniquely and specifically designed from the ground up to perform consistently in a variety of conditions and terrains.

Ventrac compact utility tractors have a low center of gravity which adds to overall stability on hills. They also feature center articulated steering and an oscillating frame which helps provide improved maneuverability and greater ground contact over uneven terrain. The power of all-wheel drive allows the Ventrac to operate on a multitude of terrains with minimal damage to the turf even on slopes. Steering and movement are hydrostatically controlled for easier and more precise operation including the ability to effectively brake downhill to a stop and even reverse back uphill.

The standard Ventrac 4520 is rated to handle slopes of 20 degrees because of these innovative standard features which makes Ventrac a safer and more reliable slope solution. It can be fitted with wheel extensions for a wider wheelbase allowing for operation on slopes of 25 degrees and can be fitted with dual wheels all around for an impressive 30 degree slope operation. That's the ability to perform on a 58% grade! Ventrac has an optional slope gauge that not only displays but alerts you when you are in unsafe conditions.

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Ventrac Slope 20 25 30

How well do Ventrac Tractors handle wet mushy conditions?

• Mow sooner after a storm
• Mow with less turf disturbance
• Mow places you could not mow before
• Fewer "down days" and more days getting work done

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TireJect Tire Sealant -VS- Tube

B T South started using TireJect in the Service Dept a couple of years ago and we have found it to almost always be a better solution than a tube. Installing a tube take more time, costs more in materials, and only fixes the problem once, while TireJect keeps on working to take care of the next puncture.

• It works
• Easy to Install
• Non toxic & water soluble
• Repairs up to 3/8" punctures
• Works on tread, sidewall, bead and rim
• May be used as a fix or as a preventive measure
• Does not deteriorate tire plugs like most competitive products
• Requires only 1/3 as much volume as most competitive products
• 30 oz is enough to treat all four tires in most mowers | 10 oz in rear tires & 5 oz in front tires
• Low volume non corrosive formula doesn't leave you with a big mess later when replacing a worn out tire

• Inexpensive - approximately $45 for the product and install tools for all four tires for a zero turn mower.

Pick some up at the B T South Parts Department

What are the advantages of TWEELs over tires?

Designed for use on zero turn radius mowers.

• No Flats
• Better Traction
• Easier on Turf
• Better Ride Quality
• Longer Life

No Maintenance
The MICHELIN® X® TWEEL® TURF airless radial tire is one single unit, replacing the current tire/wheel/valve assembly. Once they are bolted on, there is no air pressure to maintain, and the common problems of unseated beads and flat tires are completely eliminated.

No Compromise
The MICHELIN X TWEEL TURF airless radial tire has a consistent hub height which helps ensure the mower deck produces an even cut. The full-width poly-resin spokes provide excellent lateral stability for outstanding side hill performance, while the unique design of the spokes helps dampen the ride for enhanced operator comfort, even when navigating over curbs and other bumps. High performance compounds and an efficient contact patch are designed to provide a long wear life that is two to three times that of a pneumatic tire at equal tread depth.

No Downtime
The MICHELIN X TWEEL TURF product is designed to perform like a pneumatic tire, but without the risk and costly downtime associated with flat tires and unseated beads.

Available for many of the Zero Turn Mowers we sell.
See the Fitment Guide - Click Here

Tweel Construction
Tweel Curb
Tweel Toro Lineup

How much does a Ventrac Tractor Cost?

Ventrac Showroom Floor 2022

The most frequently purchased models are powered by 3 cylinder cast iron block Kubota engines which are also the most expensive models. Most customers choose to have dual wheels installed for increased hillside performance making the machine ANSI rated for a 58% grade in any direction. The dual wheels also increase the machines ability to track across wet soggy terrain with very minimal turf disturbance. Most customers buy 3 to 4 implements with the Ventrac Tractor. The tractor is then configured to accommodate the selected implements which could mean adding additional hydraulics, electrical connectors or other features as required.

If you were to take the most popular Kubota (Diesel or Gasoline) powered Ventrac tractor, add Dual Wheels and add three of the most popular attachments, a 68” Tough Cut Mower, a 72” Finish Mower and a 48” Power Bucket that would put its cost at around $45,000. With approved credit, $0 down and 0% interest that would make for a payment of around $1100/month over 48 months.

If you were to price Ventrac’s least expensive tractor without any attachments it would be around $27,000, while the most expensive would be closer to $31,000.

Not bad for a piece of equipment that can do so many things on so many terrains and typically lasts 3 times as long as a heavy commercial $14,000 zero turn that only does one thing. And compared to a conventional compact tractor from Deere or Kubota, the Ventrac is a much more useful piece of equipment to meet the needs of most acreage owners and commercial landscapers.

If you think a Ventrac might be right for you, then request an onsite demo. Give us a call at 336.299.5000 or send us an email: or visit our showroom at 4416 Groometown Rd, Greensboro NC.

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How do Toro and Spartan compare?

It seems we constantly get asked the following three questions and I wish there were simple concise answers, but the truth is if one brand was hands down the clear winner then there would be no reason to have both brands.

Which mower is built better, Toro or Spartan?
Obviously it depends on which Toro model you compare to which Spartan model, but in general Spartans tend to be built with more steel or more horsepower or have more features for the price. Toro by comparison relies much more on engineering and testing to achieve the performance target without using more resources than are necessary which often results in less steel and or horsepower. 

Which mower is more expensive, Toro or Spartan?
It’s hard to say because it depends which parts and features of the mower you compare. For example, if you were to specify you wanted a heavy 7 gauge cutting deck, then that would put the Toro starting at over $10,000 whereas all Spartan models have 7 gauge decks and start at about half that price. But while the deck of the Spartan has the same steel thickness as the Toro at twice the price, that doesn’t mean the mowers are equal, and of course they are not equal at all. But depending on which attributes you are looking at and are important to you, either Spartan or Toro could come out on top as a better value from your perspective. We recommend customers look at both and have our staff point out differences between the models you are considering to help you make an informed decision. 

Between Toro and Spartan, which one should I buy?
That really depends on which features and attributes matter most to a particular buyer. Both Toro and Spartan make great products and you will more than likely be happy regardless of which one you choose as long as you select an appropriate model for what you are mowing. 

To the potential B T South customer, I will say this to those who are very dependent on their mower and need maximum up time, like a landscaper for example that does not have a backup mower. As a Toro dealer for over 20 years with thousands of Toro units sold, and having seasoned Toro technicians and over $100,000 worth of Toro parts sitting on the shelf, B T South is extremely well positioned to quickly get a broken down Toro mower back to cutting grass again. Those who buy a Spartan mower from us will be no less important to our service department and we will work hard to advance the level of service we can provide to our Spartan customers, but this will take time, experience and a growing number of units sold to be supported which will justify increases in parts stocking levels. 

More about parts in stock at B T South
Our basic parts stocking formula is if we sell two of something a year then we stock it. As we’ve grown well past thousands of Toro mowers sold, the rate has risen to more than 90% of the time, already having parts on the shelf as they are needed. Having just started with the Spartan line, we mostly just have common wear items in stock like belts, blades, filters and fluids. That being said, Spartan has been much better than average with having parts in stock at the factory and lengthy wait times on parts are very unusual. As a homeowner, a few extra days should not be a big concern and certainly not a reason to keep someone from buying the mower that best meets their needs.

Come see both product lines in person in our showroom located at 4416 Groometown Rd, Greensboro NC 27407.

Toro Z's |
Spartan Z's |

What is recommended for Zero Turn Mower Seasonal Mower Maintenance?

1. Clean the Mower
- Inspect underneath the deck for buildup of grass and debris. This buildup can greatly reduce mowing performance.
- Grass and debris on top of the deck can build up to the point that it interferes with the mower's belts and can also encourage rust.
- Grass and debris build up on or around the transmissions and engine can raise the operating temperature reducing the lifespan of the equipment.

2. Change the Oil
- At least once a year or every 50 hours of use.
- In an air cooled engine the oil serves as both a lubricant as well as a thermal carrier to cool the engine somewhat like water does in a water cooled engine.
- Changes in 2010 make automotive oils no longer suitable for most lawn mower engines. Almost all lawnmower engines can use engine oil with an API rating either SJ or SL and a weight of 10w30 to 20w50. It's always a good idea to check you owner's manual or consult your dealer / service center. More about Engine Oil Here. Based on Kawasaki's viscosity chart below, our go-to oil is Kawasaki's Fully Synthetic 15w50 SL rated engine oil.
- Also replace the oil filter if your engine has one.
- Be careful not to overfill engine oil.
- Always dispose of old engine oil responsibly.

Kawasaki Engine Oil Viscosity Chart

* The viscosity chart above is provided by Kawasaki and is an appropriate guide for most air cooled engines. Remember viscosity is simply a measure of the oil's thickness or weight and nothing more. Maple syrup for example is approximately SAE 30 weight, but it would be a terrible choice to put in your engine. It is very important that oil meet the proper API spec, not just the correct weight.

3. Replace the Air Filter
- It is hard to put a timeframe on how often an air filter needs to be replaced because it varies with dusty conditions. It is usually dry summers when dust is blowing around that they get clogged up the fastest. One replacement per year is average.
- Filter media usually starts off white. When it is not white it is time to replace. - Do not blow out the filter with an air hose as this will make pinholes.
- Failing air filters can cause scored piston walls leading to engine failure, and also can lead to faster soiling of engine oil.

4. Sharpen or Replace the Blade(s)
- When a machine does not cut like it did when it was new, the most likely culprit is the blade(s). There is more to it than the blades being sharp. The blades also must be shaped right. 90% of the cutting is done in the last inch on each end of the blade and it is important to focus on that last inch when evaluating the need for blade replacement.
- The biggest wear factor on blades other than hitting rocks is dust. Dust sandblasts the blade dulling its edge and eating away its metal.
- Most decks that throw clippings to the right have blades that turn clockwise. Almost all blades that turn clockwise are attached with a bolt with a standard right hand thread.
so that our focus on support and parts is not diluted. 1. Clean the Mower- Inspect underneath the deck for buildup of grass and debris. This buildup can reduce mowing performance.

Worn Out Blade - Not Worth Sharpening

5. Grease- Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for servicing bearings and grease fittings.

6. Spark Plug- Having a proper spark plug with the correct heat range and set to the specified gap is crucial to engine performance.
- Do not fall for universal plugs or plugs that claim to be better than the factory specified plug.
- The most common spark plug problem we see in our service shop is not failed spark plugs but the wrong spark plugs. If you don’t have the correct spark plug for replacement then your best bet is to leave the old one in place.

7. Hydro Service- Machines that have serviceable hydraulic systems typically call for filters and hydraulic oil to be replaced every few hundred hours. Consult your owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer of your machine recommends. Be sure to use the appropriate fluid.
B T South offers:
- Parts and supplies for those who want to perform these services themselves.
- A full service maintenance department to perform these services for you.

Don't Forget to Maintain your Fuel
Fuel left in your mower to get old can deteriorate and leave residue behind that clogs your carburetor reducing performance or preventing it from starting. Pouring the old fuel out after the fact and replacing it with new fuel does not undo the damage. We recommend StarTron fuel treatment to prevent this problem. Add the stabilizer in your gasoline can when you purchase the fuel while it is fresh, so the stabilizer can keep it fresh. Learn more about fuel management here: For a list of brands that we support see our Service & Repair page.

Can I perform my own maintenance and repair?

Customers sometimes ask if they can perform their own maintenance and will it void their warranty?

As you might imagine some jobs are easier than others. Some take more time, tools, and knowhow, while others are relatively quick and easy. Doing maintenance yourself does not void your warranty. But like anything else, it needs to be done correctly, on schedule and with the correct parts, fluids & materials.

Repairs tend to be more challenging than maintenance because it requires diagnosing what needs to be done to remedy a problem, while maintenance is done to maintain current performance.

In some cases, while you may not have the equipment or skills to completely handle a job, you can reduce costs by lending a hand. For example, if you have a flat tire, then if you can remove the wheel and bring it to a service center which will be much less expensive than having the mower transported to and from the service center. You may not have the equipment to sharpen blades, but if you can remove the blades and take them to a service center to be sharpened then again, you can save yourself the cost of transporting the whole mower.

For many of our customers, their time is their most valuable commodity, so if the problem is something they can fix quickly themselves then they do, but if it is something time consuming then they bring it in to the service center.

Some basic tools that it would be good to have, and that you may already have:

- A socket wrench set. Just an inexpensive 3/8" drive set for around $40 should be good enough for most tasks.

- A set of combination wrenches or adjustable wrenches or both. A basic set of both can be purchased for around $40.

- A tire inflator. Ones that plug into your automobile power port (cigarette lighter port) are very affordable at around $25. Battery powered cordless ones are more convenient and more expensive, but if you already have other battery powered tools then you may want to see if there is an inflator available that can utilize your existing battery.

- In the event you need a jack, the one included in your tire change kit with your car or truck might suffice. Never put yourself in harms way relying on a jack alone. Use a stack of blocks or a jack stand as a backup. To change a leaky tire without a jack, you may be able to use the tire as the jack. First inflate the tire, then put some blocks under the mower frame, then deflate and remove the tire. Once repaired, reverse the process.

- Depending on the complication of the issues that arise over the years, and how deep you want to delve into diagnostics and repair on your own, there may come a point where it makes more sense to bring it into the B T South shop and let us relieve you of the head ache. In that case the handy tool to have would be a vehicle with a hitch & 2" ball allowing you to tow a trailer. We currently have trailers that we loan out to our mower customers at no charge. This can allow you to avoid pickup and delivery charges by transporting the mower yourself using our trailers.


Tracking / Steering Adjustment / Alignment
Tracking is a term used for Zero Turn mowers that refers to the alignment of the levers in relation to the direction the mower travels. "Tracking Straight" means when you push the levers forward while lined up with each other on level ground that the mower will travel in a relatively straight line.

What to Expect:
It is not realistic to expect a mower to consistently track exactly straight as conditions are constantly changing. It's somewhat like being obsessed with the logo on our car steering wheel being exactly vertical when we are driving straight down the highway. Beginners often think they should perfectly align the levers to go straight, and while aligning the levers is a good place to start, the micro adjustments to go exactly the direction we want to go are to be made relative to the current direction and the current position of the controls. The same as we would do with the car's steering wheel without even thinking about which way the logo is turned. If we need to go a little more left then we adjust a little left regardless of where the controls are currently positioned.

A zero turn mower has two independent transmissions and simply put, one doesn't know what the other is doing and there is no gearing between them to keep them perfectly synched. But independent left and right wheel control is kind of the defining characteristic that makes zero turns so maneuverable.

The main variable that causes some variation in left vs right wheel speeds is additional resistance on one side or the other which can be caused by:

• Even the slightest slope to the left or right.
• Deck drag, because most zero turn decks are offset to one side, when we get into high grass pushing against the front of the deck it pushes more on one side than the other.
• Varying hydraulic fluid temperature which can temporarily differ from mowing across a bank/slope which puts more stress on the down hill transaxle causing it to be warmer, which differs the fluid resistance from one side to the other until the temperature equalizes again.
• One side of the mower being in a soft spot or hole or going over a root, etc.  
• Varying tire pressure.

What we are saying is that if the tracking feels significantly off then adjust it. But if you are making tiny adjustments trying to find perfect then realize that it is somewhat of a moving target and it is nothing worth getting obsessed over. If it seems like it is pulling slightly left at one moment then it very well may feel straight or right in a few minutes.

Tracking in Full Reverse:

A common rookie concern, particularly for those coming from steering wheel riders, is that when pulling both levers to full reverse the machine does not track straight but instead curves one way or the other. This is normal, and the good news is you will probably never see a situation where you need to travel full speed in reverse. One of the core advantages of a zero turn is that you can go head first into a tight area and then spin around and come out head first. Backing up straight can be achieved with some practice, but it is one of the least used skills because most operators only use it when backing onto a trailer or into a storage building and those are times where one would not use full speed.

But what if I just want it to go straight in full reverse because I’m a perfectionist and it’s bothering me. The issue is that the range of hydraulic flow varies slightly from one transaxle to the next, and the odds are slim to none for getting a left and right transaxle that have exactly the same range. That being the case when we adjust the forward travel speed that is simultaneously adjusting the reverse speed. That is to say that if we lower the max forward speed then we are raising the max reverse speed. So, when we get the max forward speed matched between left and right, whatever variance there is between the flows is going to show up as a difference in full reverse. If we then get it matched going backwards then it will be off going forward.

I Don’t Have Enough Power in Reverse
If you don’t have enough reverse power to back up a hill or up a trailer ramp, etc then first if your mower is a TimeCutter with Smart Speed then move the smart speed to the fastest speed. Otherwise, the tracking can be adjusted to move some of the forward power to the reverse end of the motion range. Assuming it is currently tracking straight going forward then both sides will need to be slowed equally going forward which will add speed/power to the reverse direction.

Aligning the Control Arms & Adjusting the Tracking:
Before adjusting the tracking, first we should make sure the arms are aligned. To do this, turn the mower off, bring the arms in out of the park position, and push both arms all the way forward. If the arms are lined up with each other then we are done with this step. If not, then most models have a slotted hole around the top bolt where the handle mounts to the mower. This is to allow adjustment toward and away from the operator to a comfortable position. Loosen the bolt(s) as needed to get the arms in a comfortable position and also aligned when pushed all the way forward. Be sure to tighten the bolts well so that the arms don’t slip and move during operation. If aligning the arms does not fix the tracking issue then the next step is to adjust the linkage between the arm and transaxle on one side to match that of the other side. The adjustment to this linkage varies from one mower to another but will be explained in your owner’s manual. If you don’t have your owner’s manual and your mower is a TORO brand then you can find it online by entering the model at this page: then click on the correct Serial Number Range, then click on “Manuals & Warranty”.

Do I need to use fuel stabilizer? Do I need to buy Ethanol Free gasoline?

The Simplest and Least Expensive Solution:
• Buy plain E10 gasoline like is used in most automobiles. 87 octane is just as good as 93 for almost all four stroke lawnmower engines(A). If you are going to be mixing the fuel with two stroke oil as would typically be used in a blower, string trimmer or other hand held equipment then almost all of this type of equipment would call for 89 octane minimum but will run even better on 93 octane(A).
• At the time of fuel purchase, treat it with Starton® while the fuel is fresh in your fuel can. One ounce of Startron® treats up to 6 gallons of gasoline.
• When storing the fuel can, be sure to use the lids such that outside air is not circulating into the can. At the end of the season many people pour remaining fuel into a vehicle that uses gasoline and start over in the new season.
• Do not use E85 or E15 (often labeled 88 octane).

Why Not Just Use Ethanol Free Pure Petroleum?
That works too and is a good solution if you have a convenient place to buy fresh pure petroleum.
• Be careful to buy it at a station that sells a lot of pure petroleum. We have had mowers in our shop with recently purchased pure petroleum that would not run. We replace the fuel with our own fresh fuel and they do run. We believe some gas stations sell so little pure petroleum that it sometimes gets old before they sell it.
• Remember, even petroleum gets old and leaves varnish. Fuel stabilizers existed before ethanol fuel for good reason. It would benefit you to still use one. Treat the fuel fresh when you buy it, not when you put it in the mower.
• 87 octane is just as good as 93 for almost all four stroke lawnmower engines(A). If you are going to be mixing the fuel with two stroke oil as would typically be used in a blower, string trimmer or other hand held equipment then almost all of this type of equipment would call for 89 octane minimum but will run even better on 93 octane(A).
• When storing the fuel can, be sure to use the lids such that outside air is not circulating into the can. At the end of the season many people pour remaining fuel into a vehicle that uses gasoline and start over in the new season.

Why Startron® as Opposed to Other Fuel Stabilizers for E10 Gasoline?
We recommend and sell Starton® because we have been using it for over a decade and it has worked. That's not to say others don't work. Here is what we like about it:
• It is inexpensive: A bottle that treats 48 gallons of gasoline costs around $8. That's enough to last most people a year.
• Over treating is fine which means you don't have to take a lot of time precisely measuring. If you accidentally get twice as much as it calls for, no harm done.

Do I Need to Run Stabilizer All Year Long or Just During Storage?
Mower & engine manufacturers suggest untreated fuel needs to be used within 30 days. The clock starts ticking when you buy the fuel, not when you pour it in the mower. That's a very short window. Fuel stabilizer is cheap, about 17 cents per gallon. That's a tiny fraction of the cost of a new carburetor. We use it all year long and recommend that you do the same. Startron claims to stabilize fuel for up to 2 years when stored properly with lids on.

History & Understanding the Problem:  
You don't have to understand the problem to solve it. This paragraph is for those who want to know more.
Gasoline getting old and causing problems is as old a problem as gasoline engines themselves. But it became more troublesome starting around 2007 for a couple of reasons.
1 ) E10 Fuel (10% Ethanol / 90% Gasoline) became the standard fuel available at gas stations.
• Ethanol is water based which is heavier than petroleum and after 30 days or so it starts to separate from the petroleum and fall to the bottom of the tank. Once separated it gets gooey / jelly like and eventually crystallizes. Combined with the amber hue of petroleum it often looks somewhat like brown sugar.
• Ethanol dry rots rubber & plastic parts. Some describe it by saying it "eats up" fuel lines or other plastic parts. This one issue has been resolved with ethanol resistant materials to the point that we see no more trouble today with fuel lines than we did before ethanol fuel was prevalent.
2 ) Manufacturers were redesigning nearly every small engine to accommodate Phase 3 EPA emissions standards for off-road small engines which required compliance by October of 2008.
• These redesigned engines delivered fuel much more precisely. In the past one carburetor may have been used on many engines. Now nearly every engine had its own exclusive finely tuned carburetor. More precise fuel delivery meant finer pathways in carburetors that clogged more easily.
• While most of the old carburetors would have withstood many layers of petroleum fuel varnish before giving problems, these new carburetors were not as forgiving of old fuel and varnish even from pure petroleum. Add to it the even shorter term issues that came with ethanol and it created an epidemic of carburetor problems across the industry.

Bottom Line:
Fuel left in your mower to get old can deteriorate and leave a residue. Pouring the old fuel out after the fact and replacing it with new fuel does not get rid of the residue. Fuel can also go bad sitting in your fuel storage can before being poured into the lawnmower. As this residue builds up in your engine's carburetor it first reduces performance making the mower run rough and harder to crank. Eventually it builds up to the point that the engine will not start. A common symptom is for the mower to start and run for a few seconds and then stop running. There are some parts of the carburetor that are accessible to be cleaned but even if we can get it running with cleaning, it probably won't run like new. A new carburetor is usually the best solution and often the only solution.

Will the Manufacturer Warranty Cover Problems Caused by Fuel Deterioration?
This is not the manufacturer's responsibility to cover because it is not a defect and it is outside their control to prevent it from happening, but is easily prevented by the equipment owner.

(A) Consult your engine owner's manual for appropriate octane fuel ratings and 2 cycle oil mix if applicable.

Why shouldn't I use Automotive Oil in my Lawnmower?

Due to changes in automotive motor oil formulations, it is no longer recommended to use automotive oils in air cooled engines.

What changed about automotive motor oils?
The allowable levels of Zinc and Phosphorus were reduced by about half in 2010 and that’s after they had already been reduced in years prior to 2010. This reduction lowers the thermal conductivity and anti-wear properties of the oil. Air cooled engines are impacted by this change much more than water cooled engines because air cooled engines depend on the motor oil to carry heat to cool the engine.

Why was this change made to automotive oils?
When automobile engines consume oil, these elements exiting through the exhaust deteriorate the car’s catalytic converter, accelerating catalytic converter failure causing increased emissions.

What about synthetic oils like Mobil One or Castrol Syntec?
If an oil is intended and marketed for road vehicle use then it falls under this regulation and even though it is synthetic it lacks the needed zinc and phosphorus levels to provide maximum protection for air cooled engines.

Are there synthetic oils formulated for small engines available?
Yes, among the products stocked at B T South are fully synthetic oils by Kawasaki and Toro which are formulated specifically for air cooled engines.

Are there additives that can be used with standard automotive oil to increase its protection for air cooled engines?  
Yes. One such product is GM’s EOS (Engine Oil Supplement) part #'s 88862586 & 88862587. Our experience has been that it’s less trouble and less expensive to just buy oil that has the right formula to begin with.

(A) Consult your engine owner's manual for appropriate fluid specs.

Kawasaki Engine Oil Viscosity Chart

* The viscosity chart above is provided by Kawasaki and is an appropriate guide for most air cooled engines. Remember viscosity is simply a measure of the oil's thickness or weight and nothing more. Maple syrup for example is approximately SAE 30 weight, but it would be a terrible choice to put in your engine. It is very important that oil meet the proper API spec, not just the correct weight.

Kawasaki Motor OIl

B TSouth's parts department offers air cooled engine oil from Kawasaki, Kohler, Toro and other reputable brands.

What matters most in BackPack Blower performance MPH or CFM?

One of the things I like about back pack blowers, is that unlike many other power equipment products, their performance can be measured and compared. Never the less it can still become confusing as manufacturers will often throw out irrelevant and misleading numbers as will be explained below.

The measures most easily used to deceive:
CFM (cubic feet per minute) and MPH (Miles per Hour) are the traditional measures of blower performance. Manufacturers can easily increase MPH by making the pipe smaller but this will decrease CFM. And they can easily increase CFM by making the pipe bigger but this will decrease MPH. It’s not unusual to see manufacturers list CFM at the housing or MPH at the end of the pipe with some snap on nozzle that reduces the size of the outlet. These are cheats to artificially inflate the specs to look better than they really are. Beware when you see words like “housing” or “Max” or “with attachment”. What matters and what you are looking for is CFM and average MPH measured at the same point at end of the pipe. Just recently I've seen two very popular industry leading blowers go from stating Average to Max CFM in the listed specifications. One went from 165mph to 197mph, while another went from 201mph to 238mph, and during this time of specification changing, the product itself did not change at all. And if they had not updated their specs to be misleading then they would have probably appeared to have had poorer than actual performance relative to their competitors similar misleading specs. Not having prevailing standards of measure make it near impossible to know if one blower is more powerful than another by the MPH & CFM specs.

The best and most reliable measure:
Newtons is a measure of force, in this case the force of a high velocity stream of air, that most of the more reputable blower companies now use. This accounts for both CFM and MPH and is the best measure of a blower's usefulness when you are comparing blowers. There is no way to cheat this measure outside of flat out lying.

Are Special Discounts Available for Churches, Schools and 501(c)3 non-Profit Organizations?

We do have special pricing programs for churches, non-profits, 501(c)(3) organizations and municipal entities on many of our power equipment products suited for institutional use. If your organization falls into one of these categories then please don't forget to mention it when you call, visit or email.

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