How to Troubleshoot a Cub Cadet Hydrostat

Updated February 21, 2017

Cub Cadet riding lawnmowers are manufactured with a hydrostatic transmission to help propel the lawnmower. After many hours of use you may find the lawnmower moves slowly forward or backward when you have the lawnmower shifted into neutral. This movement occurs because parts of the hydrostatic transmission are out of alignment. You can troubleshoot the transmission and fix the transmission so the wheels no longer rotate when in neutral.

Turn on the lawnmower and drive it around for approximately 10 minutes. Running the mower heats up the hydrostatic pump for more accurate troubleshooting and adjustment.

Park the Club Cadet on a flat, hard surface and turn off the engine. Place wheel chocks in front of both front tires. Do not engage the parking brake. The back wheels need to move when troubleshooting the hydrostatic neutral position.

Raise the back of the lawnmower with a jack and then lower it onto a jack stand so both rear wheels are suspended in the air. Move both rear wheels by hand to ensure they move freely.

Start the Cub Cadet mower and look for rear tire movement. You need to adjust the neutral setting of the hydrostatic transmission if you see movement from one or both tires.

Pull the hairpin cottar pin out of the pivot sleeve pin at the end of the rear control arm, using pliers. Remove the pivot sleeve pin. The rear control arm is the long, thin piece of metal that extends out from the transmission. Continue to Step 2 if the wheels stop rotating. Skip to Section 3 if the wheels continue rotating.

Press down on the brake pedal, push in on the brake pedal lock switch located in the middle of the dash controls, then release the brake pedal.

Turn the hex tap screws connecting the rear and front control arms with an adjustable wrench to loosen the screws. Do not remove the screws from the control arms.

Grip the rear control arm and move it forward or backward so that pivot sleeve hole lines up with the lowest control arm hole. Reinsert the pivot sleeve pin and secure it by pressing the hairpin cottar pin through the pivot sleeve pin hole.

Screw the hex tap screws holding the rear and front control arms together so that they are tight.

Loosen the nut that secures the hex cap screw using an adjustable wrench. The hex cap screw is located directly below the control arm and on top of the centring spacer.

Move the centring spacer toward the back of the Cub Cadet mower if the wheels are moving forward, until the wheels start moving backward. Once the wheels are moving in reverse, move the centring spacer forward until they stop. Reverse the movement of the centring spacer if the wheels are moving in reverse from the start of the adjustment.

Place one hand on the edge of the centring spacer to keep it from moving and tighten the nut holding the hex cap screw.

Press down on the brake pedal and engage the brake pedal lock switch before lowering the rear of the lawnmower.


Place the Cub Cadet lawnmower evenly on the jack stands to prevent the mower from tipping over. Cub Cadet lawnmowers have a safety mechanism that shuts off the engine if a person is not seated in the mower. A second person is needed to sit on the lawnmower while you make adjustments to the hydrostatic transmission. Do not put a weight on the seat to bypass this safety feature.

Things You'll Need

  • Wheel chocks
  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Pliers
  • Adjustable wrench
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About the Author

William Pullman is a freelance writer from New Jersey. He has written for a variety of online and offline media publications, including "The Daily Journal," "Ocular Surgery News," "Endocrine Today," radio, blogs and other various Internet platforms. Pullman holds a Master of Arts degree in Writing from Rowan University.