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Swisher ZT2766
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys! First time on the mower forums and modding a mower. Thought I would document some of it in case somebody has a similar idea or problems like I ran into.

It started when I bought a new place with 3 acres to mow. The house I moved from was .3 acre and I only had a Snapper RER 28" and thought to myself "This is going to take all day to mow with the snapper". So I started to look for a used ZTR. I found this Swisher Pro 66" that had hydro problems really cheap and thought I could rebuild the Eaton 778 hydros since I have quite a bit of experience in rebuilding engines and transmissions. Should be no problem right??!! Wrong.... You can't fix things easy or fast when you can't get parts. The mower only had 360 hours and looks like one of the hydros have already been rebuilt. My brother and I rebuilt both units to the best of our abilities and got the left one perfect but the right had too much wear on the brass pump rotor bushing and I decided to give up on the eatons knowing that they wouldn't last all that long anyway. I started rethinking the whole thing. I wanted something serviceable, commercial grade, cheap, fast, easy to work on, and 61" or more. So I started looking at new mowers and found that I didn't want to spend that much :)

So here I am rebuilding the Swisher Pro 66" - Sears sold this mower for awhile as the Swisher "Mowzilla" and I would love to find a parts mower to get the front end and rear tombstone with the badging for this project. My thought originally was to just get a couple cheap Hydro Gear hydros and start the swap.... A week later down that rabbit hole I ended up with a pair of Bad Boy Outlaw ZT-5400 units that they were clearing out super cheap. When they showed up I about crapped my pants seeing the size and weight. They weigh 55lbs each and take 1.3 gallons of oil. So yeah.... Mowzilla!

The swap begins:
Mowzilla.jpg
Pro66.jpg
Pro66-2.jpg
Eaton vs 5400.jpg
ZT5400swap.jpg
 

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Swisher ZT2766
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So far we have cut the whole lower hydro axle support box off of the frame and cut it up so we could swap the left and right side. This puts the hydro axles a little further back but allowed us to reuse the axle holes. We used a plasma cutter to enlarge the holes and re-drilled the mounting pattern. The old hydros used a thin belt so I went to the farm supply to get pulleys and shaft collars to convert the pulley system. The first problem we ran into was that we didn't have enough clearance for the plastic cooling fans and the pulley needed to be higher. So we removed the fan and used a 1" collar to pulley adapter to weld on top of the original pulley. So the engine crank is now a 4" pulley and the hydros are 4.5". We flipped the clutch stop bracket from the bottom to the top side and welded it in. We still have to box the frame in so it doesn't flex. Also we are going to use the oil cooler ports on the backside of the hydros to a pair of radiators and fans for cooling. Just got the new wheels in and had my stock tires moved to them. It's a 5 lug in ther rear now! Changed the engine oil and filter, fuel filter, and picked up 2x 5 quart 20-50 jugs of oil for the hydros. Bought some bulk hose and we are using some Nissan power steering resevoirs for the hydro expansion tanks.
 

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Swisher ZT2766
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I had about 1 hour to work on the mower tonight so I filled the ZT5400's up and purged them. Balanced the tombstone / gas tanks on the rear so I could start it up and test it for the first time. Works great with the exception that the forward / reverse action is backwards from the Eaton hydros. I'll have to use a bolt and a straight piece of metal to reverse the control rod action. I'm surprised that I missed this when I was cutting / welding the control rod and extending it for the left side. I'm thinking about adding some return to neutral springs if I can't get the Swisher ones to work how I want them to. They are pretty wimpy and I like the controls to return firmly.

Video of tonight - First start:
Mowzilla first start
 

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Swisher ZT2766
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We got most of it together through the weekend. My brother welded the left and right side back together with some 1/4" angle steel. We took the linkage apart since it was reverse of what it needed to be. Made 2 new linkage bars and moved them to the lower side of the pivot so they are the correct motion. I don't know if you have ever tried to drive a zero turn with reverse controls but it is almost impossible to make my brain work that way :) I mowed about 2.5 acres and took a break every hour or so of run time to shoot the IR temp gun on the hydros to make sure they weren't getting too hot without the plastic fans. I hit a max of 195 degrees on a 70 degree day. I saw a guy with a Scagg Cheetah (ZT-5400's also) on a 90+ degree day run 165 degrees. So I am getting ready to plumb in two transmission coolers to the aux cooler output on the hydros and then dump back to the expansion tanks.

The mower ran great even though I found all sorts of other problems that the previous owners had got into. The deck wasn't floating in the front because someone unhooked the front chain assembly. It was just riding on the scalp wheels because somebody was too lazy to replace the deck height switch that was bad. Need to pull all 3 blades because they are very dull. Had to shorten the deck belt tension spring because it didn't have any adjustment and was slipping even with the brand new belt.

61857


61858

61859

61860
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have mowed quite a bit and put about 5 hours on her. Everything works great and mows excellent! I used a GPS app on my phone and top speed peaks at 8.5mph. That's with a 4" crank pulley, 4.5" hydro pulley, and 23" tires. I'll probably put 24x12x12 on her sometime down the road. I'm not planning on mowing faster than 8mph but it is nice to get to each end of the property fast if needed. I mowed about a 1 acre square at full speed and it cut just fine, was a little bumpy so we took the rear tire pressure down to 15psi and that helped a bit. I'm liking the mower so much I have decided to upgrade the mower even more. Just picked up a 810cc 27hp engine really cheap. I figured a 86cc jump, better air flow design, oil cooler built in, and cast aluminum intake runners was a pretty good upgrade. I'll sell the old 2007 model 26hp and recoup most of the cost anyway.
61949
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Making a list of mowers built similar with ZT-5400 transaxles and vertical engines:
The faster mowers like the Cheetah have the optional 2 speed selectable ZT-5400 transaxles

Bad Boy Outlaw Extreme - 13MPH - 36HP - 61" cut
Ferris 3200Z 12MPH - 32HP - 61" cut - (also have 37hp / 72" cut)
Grasshopper 337G5 vEFI -
Gravely Pro Turn 460 - 13MPH - 31HP - 60" cut
Scag Cheetah 12MPH(LO)16MPH(HI) - 31HP - 61" cut
Snapper Pro S200XT 12MPH - 37HP - 61" cut MSRP $8199
Husqvarna Z554L - 12MPH - 27HP - 54" cut
Worldlawn King Cobra 60 - 12MPH - 27HP - 60" cut

Custom Swisher Mowzilla (me haha) 10MPH - 27HP - 66" cut (must change tire size and drive pulley for speed!!)


Scag 2 speed info:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The commercial 27hp engine swap was pretty easy. The new motor only uses 1 cable for choke and throttle vs the 2 separate cables for the old style. I was able to adjust the throttle cable to work for both functions. All I got to say is WOW what a difference. It's also going 10-10.3 MPH vs the 8.5 MPH. We decided to move the hydro expansion tanks to the back so if there is a spill it goes to the ground and not into the engine bay. I started mowing for about 30-45 mins and smoked the drive belt.... Full RPM and Full speed mowing will slip the belt now. We upgraded the mower to a larger 5/8" width when we built it but I really didn't pay attention about the belt wrap. The wrap pattern is not ideal and we are going to add an idler or wrap it a different way to fix the slip problem. I am about to change to 26x12x12 tires and this would just aggravate the slip problem more so it needs to be fixed.

61987

61988
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Got the new tires in today. They are 24"x12"x12" Carlisle Versa Turf. Was going to use 26" tall but decided the 24" would fit better for this mower. More torque less top speed. Going to have them mounted tomorrow and test this weekend.

62005
 
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