Kubota Riding Mower Model T1770

The Kubota Model T1770 lawn and garden tractor is ideal for large residential lawns. It can be efficiently used to maintain an area of 0.5 acre to 2 acres, or even more. The outward appearance of this riding mower mimics the stylish good looks of its larger cousins in the Kubota line of farm and industrial tractors. As with all Kubota equipment, it sports a black and orange paint scheme. Specs The T1770’s engine is a 4-stroke, gasoline powered, 17 HP (12.6kW) , twin cylinder, V design, with overhead valves and a 494cc displacement. The transmission is hydrostatic so there is no gearshift lever. A 12 volt electric start system comes standard, with a key style ignition. There are two headlights with a switch on the dash. The tires are low pressure, with a wide footprint (15×6.00-6 front and 20x10.00-8 rear). The T1770 comes equipped with a 3-blade mower deck that cuts a 44 inch swath. The deck is equipped with 2 anti-scalping wheels on its leading edge. A belt driven, Power Take-Off (PTO) is provided for powering attachments such as a grass catcher or a snow blower. Steering is done with a steering wheel, connected to a pinion and sector gear.


Power steering is available on some of Kubota’s more upscale models but not on the T1770. Fuel capacity is 15.0 liters. That’s enough gas to mow about 2 acres of reasonably high grass with the PTO running. But don’t run out of gas. The T1770 tends to trap air in the fuel system when run dry and getting it restarted can be a pain. The mower deck’s height adjustment is from 0 to 4 inches via a dial gauge that is awkwardly placed below the driver’s seat. Accessories The tractor used for this review was equipped with a two-bag grass catcher and rear wheel weights. The catcher has its own discharge blower driven by a PTO belt from the tractor. The blower in the Kubota grass catcher is sufficiently powerful that it never clogs unless the bags are allowed to overfill, thereby plugging the discharge chute. Other than that, the catcher does not clog, even in damp grass. The cover for the rear-mounted bag holder has a small, clear plastic window facing forward. It’s meant to allow the driver to monitor the level of grass in the bags. Unfortunately, the plastic quickly clouds over and the window become unusable.

The wheel weights are useful for reducing the likelihood that the tractor will tip over sideways on hilly terrain. Because the weights work by lowering the tractors center of gravity, they are especially recommended if the tractor is to be driven by an unusually heavy person on hilly land. Other accessories that are available for the T1770, but which were not on the tractor being evaluated, include: an hour meter, a larger 48 inch mower deck, a front mounted snow blower, a front blade, tire chains, and a few other incidentals. Operation The T1770’s ground speed is controlled via a foot pedal connected to the tractor’s hydrostatic transmission. This pedal is operated by the driver’s right foot. It’s easy to use; no manual shifting is required. Going into reverse is easily achieved by pressing the same foot pedal that controls the tractor’s speed. The brake pedal is located adjacent to the accelerator/transmission pedal. There are two methods that this pedal can be engaged. One method allows it to be used as a regular driving brake while the other allows it to be use as a parking brake. One negative of the hydrostatic transmission is that the mower can only be manually pushed (for example, if it runs out of gas) by pulling out a small lever on the rear of the tractor. It is almost impossible for one person to do this at the same time as the tractor is being pushed. In addition to the mower deck’s dial-gauge height adjustment, there is a lever located to the right of the driver's seat for lowering the deck into mowing position.

There is a second lever to the right of the steering wheel that is pushed forward to engage the mowing blades. Every tractor style riding mower that this reviewer has ever used is built with the deck too close to the ground. The T1770 is no exception. To leave the grass sufficiently long for healthy growth, it is desirable to set the dial gauge to its highest position (4) and mow without moving the deck release lever into the lowered position. This avoids scalping and gives a healthy looking lawn. The turning radius of this tractor is 6.3 feet (1.9 meters). That’s good enough for relative large areas but it could become a problem for small lots; especially those with lots of obstacles. Obviously the T1770 cannot match the capabilities of zero radius mowers. You will have to occasionally go into reverse to completely mow areas that require tight turns.

For normal residential usage, an annual oil change and tune-up is sufficient. The rear bagging grass catcher is easy to empty. If it should get clogged (very rare), the discharge chute and blower are easy to take apart and clean. The powered grass catcher puts so much weight on the right side of the tractor that it forces the right side of the deck downward. The deck is no longer parallel with the ground and the resulting uneven cut is very noticeable. This effect can be corrected with adjustments to the linkage rods that support the mower deck and with unequal tire pressures on the right and left side of the tractor. It may take a trip to the dealer to get this done right. Safety The “Kubota Reverse Awareness System” forces the operator to press a button in order to operate the mower blades while the tractor is in reverse. Its flashing red light seems more like a marketing gimmick than a safety feature. It’s very annoying to have to re-engage this button every time the mower blades are stopped.

There is a ‘dead-man’ style safety switch under the right side of the seat that prevents the tractor from running if there is no one sitting on the seat while the mower blades are engaged. Unfortunately, the switch is so sensitive that it will start to cut the engine off if the driver leans to the left while trying to mow on uneven terrain. The ignition and brake are interlocked so that the tractor cannot be started unless the parking brake is engaged. The rear bagger can present a danger when going up steep grades if the bags are full of heavy (especially damp) grass. The problem is that the weight of the grass is enough to offset the weight of the tractors engine. On a steep hill, this can cause the front end of the tractor to rotate upward (as if it were doing a ‘wheelie’) and flip the driver off backward.

Cons
- The 17 HP engine seems a bit underpowered when the PTO is in operation.
- The engine rpm’s slow down noticeably when an area of especially high grass is encountered. The “Kubota Reverse Awareness System” is annoying.
- The tendency of the tractor to flip over backwards when the rear mounted bagger is full of grass is more than annoying; it’s dangerous.
- The hydrostatic transmission also creates a danger when driving down steep inclines. If the incline is steep enough, the transmission ‘let’s go’ and the tractor goes into free-wheeling mode. When this happens, the brake pedal does not work either.
- There is no way to stop the tractor until it reaches more level ground at the bottom of the incline where the transmission and brake will again take hold. This is a very dangerous situation.

Pros
- The T1770 starts easily and rarely clogs. Perhaps the best feature of this tractor is its build quality.
- It ‘s easy to tell that the T1770 is a top of the line riding mower. It’s built to take abuse and keep on ticking. On the other hand, who would want to abuse such a fine machine?

Rating 4 out of 5

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