Turf Magazine - June, 2009

NATIONAL FEATURES

Field Test Report: Cub Cadet Tank S

By Don Elgan, North Harrison Community Schools, Ramsey, Ind.

Working for a community school corporation in southern Indiana provided the ideal location to test the Tank S S6031 Commercial Cub Cadet mower. Our campus has a variety of terrain, from flat ball fields to rolling hills.

On arrival, you couldn’t help but notice the steering wheel and steering column. The steering column is adjustable to suit the operator, and the steering wheel has an adjustable tilt feature to adjust for different operators. The third adjustment is for the column itself, making for easy mounting or dismounting by simply pivoting the column away from the operator. The adjustments for the tilt and pivoting actions are controlled by an adjustable handle used to release or apply clamping action to lock them in place. If the handle is in your way, simply lift it to turn it to a different position without releasing the clamping actions. The Synchro Steer system gives the operator better control of turns. It took a little while to get used to the steering. Knowing how far to turn the wheel in order for the inside rear drive wheel to start automatically turning in reverse direction to make the turn was easy to accomplish. Making quick turns without roughing up the grass, even on ground softened by rain, was a quick learning experience. Mowing the face of a hill was different than with a lever-controlled steering mower. It was a simple matter of going from point A to point B without moving your arms, trying to get there in a straight line. Even when making the turn, you felt in control of where you would be heading.

The operator’s seat is one of the best features. The weight adjustment for the operator is easy to set. Sitting in the seat, the operator pulls out a lever on the front of the seat frame; by pumping up or down, an indicating arrow moves in a viewing window. By placing the arrow in the center, the seat is adjusted to the operator’s weight. The ride was comfortable with a soft floating action. The seat also has a lumbar control for the back cushion. By turning the dial, you move the lumbar up or down to fit your comfort zone. The armrests have adjustments for height and for angle of the rest. I personally don’t use armrests, but my co-workers do, and this would be beneficial for them. The whole seat assembly can be tilted forward to access the area under the seat. There is ample room to get an air hose in to clean all of that area.

The general operating controls are mounted to the right of the operator. Included is an hour/tachometer and maintenance digital readout meter. When not in use, the hours show; when running, of course, the motor RPM shows. When a predetermined maintenance time comes, the readout flashes for oil change or lube. On the left side of the operator is the hydraulic lift control.

Photos by Don Elgan.
The front axle on the Cub Cadet Tank S pivots to make a smooth cut on uneven ground. The Tank S was put to the test at the North Harrison Community School, which has a variety of terrain from ball fields to rolling hills.
   

Once the key is turned on, the fan for the hydraulic oil-cooling radiator starts running. The oil radiator is located to the rear of the engine, protected by the bumper. Two large fans also cool the hydraulic drive pumps.

The Tank S is powered by a 31 hp, gas, OHV Kawasaki twin engine with its own oil cooler. The air filter is mounted on top of the engine and is easy to change. The drain plug for changing the oil is extended out along the frame for easy access. The Kawasaki engine performed well in all the conditions it was put through. Fuel consumption averaged about a gallon an hour, depending on the height of the grass being cut. Fuel is supplied by two 7-gallon tanks, which can run at the same time or independently. Since there are no fuel gauges, it would be wise to run each tank separately. The shutoffs are located on the top of the tanks and can be reached without leaving the seat.

The mower deck is a 60-inch, 10-gauge fabricated deck employing the Select Cut System, with a seven-gauge steel skirt on the leading edge to control the lift of the grass. If more lift is needed to bring the grass to the blades, the skirt is put in its lowest position. For high grass, the skirt is raised by loosening two bolts on each skirt to enable the grass to spring back up to be cut. It also has an inner flow baffle that regulates the discharge by removing the baffle for high-volume grass and leaving it installed for normal volume. Changing the blades was a little unhandy, as you need to jack up the front of the mower to get room for your arm under the deck. You must have a wrench on the top of the bolt and another wrench on the nut to get the blades off. For the center blade, you must remove the floor plate. You now have easy access to the center spindle bolt. You will need someone to hold the top of the bolt while you take the nut off and drop the blade. To replace the center blade, just repeat the process. The two side blades can be done by one person. The deck also has the Smart Jet Deck wash system to clean the underside of the deck. Two nozzles, one on each side, are connected to a garden hose via a coupler that comes with the Tank S. Connect to the nozzle, turn on the mower and switch to the other side after a short time. The coupler can be switched without getting out of the operator’s seat.

The front axle pivots to make a smooth cut on uneven ground. The anti-scalping wheels are located in line with the front wheels, so any turn keeps them from digging into the ground.

While testing The Tank S, I put it through every scenario I thought it may encounter in everyday working conditions. It met every challenge with no problem. It was picked up by the factory rep on Friday, and on Monday, our school decided to purchase the unit. It was back in a couple of days, but I was already missing the way it handled on the hills. And, of course, my personal favorite item—the seat!

Think you’ve got what it takes to put some new gear through its paces? Can you write a complete sentence and craft a piece like this? Contact Editor Amy Hill ahill@MooseRiverMedia.com to get your name on our list of Turf magazine Field Test experts!