7 Common Ferris 400S Problems: Causes & Troubleshooting Tips

The Ferris 400S is a widely acclaimed commercial zero-turn mower that has gained popularity among landscaping professionals and homeowners alike. Renowned for its exceptional maneuverability and efficiency in mowing large areas, the Ferris 400S has become a top choice for those seeking a high-performance mower.

As with any complex machinery, the Ferris 400S is not without its share of common problems. From engine starting issues to hydraulic system failures, encountering these problems can disrupt your mowing schedule and lead to costly repairs if not addressed promptly. Therefore, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with these potential issues and understand the troubleshooting steps to maintain the mower’s optimal performance and reliability.

7 Most Common Ferris 400S Problems and Solutions

Problem 1: Engine Starting Issues

The frustration of pulling the starter cord or turning the key only to find the engine of your Ferris 400S refusing to start can be all too familiar. Engine starting issues can arise due to several potential causes, including problems with the ignition system, battery, or fuel system.

A. Possible Causes:

  1. Faulty Ignition: The ignition system is responsible for generating the spark that ignites the fuel-air mixture in the engine. If any part of the ignition system, such as the spark plug wire or ignition coil, is faulty or damaged, it can lead to starting problems.
  2. Battery Problems: The battery supplies the initial electrical power to crank the engine. A weak or dead battery may not provide enough energy to start the engine or may cause slow cranking.
  3. Fuel System Issues: Problems with the fuel system, such as clogged fuel filters or a malfunctioning fuel pump, can result in insufficient fuel reaching the engine, hindering the starting process.

B. Troubleshooting Steps:

To diagnose and resolve engine starting issues on your Ferris 400S, follow these troubleshooting steps:

  1. Checking Spark Plugs: Spark plugs play a crucial role in initiating combustion in the engine. Inspect the spark plugs and their wires for signs of wear or damage, such as carbon buildup, corrosion, or cracks. If any issues are detected, replace the spark plugs and wires with the manufacturer-recommended ones.
  2. Testing the Battery: Use a multimeter to check the voltage of the battery. A fully charged battery should read around 12.6 volts. If the voltage is significantly lower, recharge the battery and test it again. If the battery does not hold a charge or fails the test, consider replacing it with a new one.
  3. Inspecting Fuel Lines and Filters: Carefully examine the fuel lines for any kinks, leaks, or blockages. Replace any damaged or clogged fuel lines. Next, check the fuel filter for debris or contaminants. If the fuel filter appears dirty, replace it with a new one. Additionally, ensure that the fuel tank has enough fuel to support the starting process.

By following these troubleshooting steps, you can narrow down the potential causes of engine starting issues on your Ferris 400S. Identifying and addressing the problem promptly will ensure that your mower starts reliably and performs at its best, allowing you to get back to efficiently mowing your lawn or tackling commercial landscaping tasks.

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Problem 2: Uneven Cutting

Uneven cutting is a common problem that can lead to an unsightly lawn appearance and frustration for the operator. There are several potential causes for this issue, including a malfunctioning mower deck, worn-out blades, and improper deck adjustment.


  1. Malfunctioning Mower Deck: The mower deck houses the cutting blades and is responsible for ensuring an even cut across the entire mowing width. If the mower deck is damaged, misaligned, or experiencing mechanical issues, it can lead to uneven cutting.
  2. Worn Blades: Over time, cutting blades can become dull or bent due to regular use and encounters with debris. Dull blades tear the grass rather than providing a clean cut, resulting in an uneven appearance.
  3. Improper Deck Adjustment: The height and level of the mower deck are crucial factors for achieving even cutting. If the deck is set at an incorrect height or is not level, certain areas of the lawn may be cut too short or too tall.

Troubleshooting Steps:

To troubleshoot and resolve uneven cutting on your Ferris 400S, follow these steps:

Leveling the Mower Deck:

  1. Park the mower on a flat and level surface, such as a concrete driveway or garage floor.
  2. Lower the mower deck to its lowest cutting height.
  3. Measure the distance from the blade tips to the ground on each side of the deck. Ensure that the measurements are equal on both sides.
  4. Adjust the deck lift links or turnbuckles as necessary to level the deck. Refer to the operator’s manual for specific instructions on deck leveling.

Sharpening/Replacing Blades:

  1. Disconnect the spark plug wire to ensure the engine cannot start while working on the blades.
  2. Remove the cutting blades from the mower deck. Follow the safety guidelines and instructions provided in the operator’s manual.
  3. Inspect the blades for signs of wear, damage, or bending. If the blades are severely worn or bent, replace them with new ones.
  4. Sharpen the blades using a file or bench grinder if they are still in good condition. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for sharpening angles and techniques.
  5. Reinstall the blades back onto the mower deck, ensuring they are correctly oriented and securely fastened.

Adjusting Deck Height Properly:

  1. Check the operator’s manual for the recommended cutting height settings for your desired grass length.
  2. Adjust the deck height according to the manual’s instructions, using the provided levers or adjustments on the mower.
  3. Make sure the deck height is uniform on both sides to ensure an even cut.

Regularly inspecting and maintaining your Ferris 400S mower’s cutting system, including the mower deck and blades, is essential to achieving a well-groomed lawn. By following these troubleshooting steps and properly maintaining the cutting components, you can enjoy consistent and uniform cutting performance throughout your mowing tasks.

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Problem 3: Loss of Power

Experiencing a loss of power while operating your Ferris 400S can be frustrating and impact your mower’s efficiency. Several factors can contribute to this issue, including a clogged air filter, dirty fuel injectors, and damaged belts.


  1. Clogged Air Filter: The air filter is responsible for preventing dirt, debris, and other contaminants from entering the engine’s combustion chamber. Over time, the air filter can become clogged with debris, restricting airflow and leading to reduced engine performance.
  2. Dirty Fuel Injectors: Fuel injectors play a crucial role in delivering a precise amount of fuel to the engine. Accumulation of dirt, varnish, or carbon deposits on the fuel injectors can disrupt the fuel spray pattern and impair engine performance.
  3. Damaged Belts: The Ferris 400S utilizes belts to transfer power from the engine to various components, including the mower deck. Worn or damaged belts can slip, resulting in a loss of power and inefficient operation.

Troubleshooting Steps:

To troubleshoot and resolve the loss of power issue on your Ferris 400S, follow these steps:

Cleaning/Replacing the Air Filter:

  1. Turn off the engine and disconnect the spark plug wire to prevent accidental starting.
  2. Locate the air filter housing on the engine. It is often situated near the carburetor or throttle body.
  3. Remove the air filter cover and take out the air filter.
  4. Inspect the air filter for dirt, dust, and debris. If it appears dirty or clogged, clean it using compressed air or tap it gently to dislodge the dirt. If the filter is damaged or excessively dirty, replace it with a new one.
  5. Reinstall the air filter, ensuring it fits snugly into the housing.
  6. Put back the air filter cover and secure it in place.

Using Fuel Additives:

  1. Add a fuel injector cleaner additive to your mower’s fuel tank as recommended by the manufacturer. Fuel injector cleaner products can help dissolve deposits and improve fuel injector performance.
  2. Run the engine for a while to allow the fuel additive to circulate through the system.

Inspecting and Replacing Belts:

Turn off the engine and disconnect the spark plug wire for safety.

  1. Inspect the belts for signs of wear, cracking, or damage. Pay attention to the mower deck belt and any other belts used for power transmission.
  2. If you notice any issues with the belts, such as fraying or excessive wear, it is essential to replace them with new, manufacturer-recommended belts.
  3. Follow the belt replacement procedure in the operator’s manual for your specific mower model.

By following these troubleshooting steps and addressing the potential causes of power loss, you can restore your Ferris 400S’s performance to its optimal level. Regular maintenance, including air filter cleaning or replacement, fuel system cleaning, and belt inspection, will contribute to the overall efficiency and longevity of your mower, ensuring smooth and reliable operation throughout its service life.

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Problem 4: Excessive Vibration

Excessive vibration during operation is not only uncomfortable but also a sign that something is amiss with your Ferris 400S mower. Vibration issues can stem from several potential causes, including a bent blade, loose hardware, or damaged engine mounts.


  1. Bent Blade: A bent or damaged cutting blade can lead to an imbalance in the mower’s cutting system, resulting in noticeable vibration during operation.
  2. Loose Hardware: The constant vibrations and jolts from mowing can cause nuts, bolts, and screws to gradually loosen over time. Loose hardware can create excessive play and vibration in various components of the mower.
  3. Damaged Engine Mounts: The engine mounts provide stability and support to the engine. If these mounts become damaged or worn, the engine may not be properly secured, leading to increased vibration.

Troubleshooting Steps:

To diagnose and resolve excessive vibration in your Ferris 400S, follow these troubleshooting steps:

Inspecting and Balancing Blades:

  1. Turn off the engine and disconnect the spark plug wire for safety.
  2. Carefully examine each cutting blade for signs of damage, bending, or excessive wear. A bent blade will appear visibly uneven or out of shape.
  3. If you find a bent blade, remove it from the mower deck. It is essential not to continue using a bent blade as it can cause further damage to the mower.
  4. Balance the blades using a blade balancer or a simple nail and string method. Ensuring balanced blades will reduce vibration during operation and prevent unnecessary strain on the mower’s components.

Tightening All Fasteners:

  1. Regularly inspect all nuts, bolts, and screws throughout the mower for signs of looseness.
  2. Use appropriate tools to tighten any loose fasteners found during the inspection. Pay particular attention to critical areas like the mower deck, engine components, and wheels.

Checking Engine Mounts for Wear:

  1. Visually inspect the engine mounts for signs of wear, cracks, or damage. Ensure that they are securely attached to both the engine and the mower’s frame.
  2. To check the integrity of the engine mounts, gently rock the engine back and forth while observing the mounts for excessive movement.
  3. If you suspect any issues with the engine mounts, consider replacing them with new ones to restore stability and reduce vibration.

By diligently following these troubleshooting steps, you can effectively identify and address the causes of excessive vibration in your Ferris 400S mower. Reducing vibration not only improves your mowing experience but also helps prolong the lifespan of various components, resulting in a more reliable and efficient mower overall. Regular inspections and maintenance will help you catch and resolve issues early, ensuring smooth and trouble-free mowing sessions.

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Problem 5: Hydraulic System Failure

The hydraulic system in your Ferris 400S plays a critical role in providing smooth and precise control of the mower’s movements. However, hydraulic system failures can occur due to various reasons, including low hydraulic fluid levels, leaks in the system, and damaged hydraulic components.


  1. Low Hydraulic Fluid: The hydraulic system relies on an adequate amount of hydraulic fluid to function correctly. Low fluid levels can lead to reduced hydraulic pressure and cause the system to malfunction.
  2. Leaks in the System: Hydraulic fluid leaks can occur due to worn or damaged hoses, fittings, or seals. Leaks not only lead to a loss of hydraulic fluid but also result in reduced system performance.
  3. Damaged Hydraulic Components: Components such as hydraulic pumps, valves, and cylinders are susceptible to wear and damage over time. Malfunctioning or damaged components can hinder the proper functioning of the hydraulic system.

Troubleshooting Steps:

To troubleshoot and address hydraulic system failures on your Ferris 400S, follow these steps:

Checking and Topping Up Hydraulic Fluid:

  1. Park the mower on a level surface and engage the parking brake for safety.
  2. Locate the hydraulic fluid reservoir. It is often situated near the hydraulic pump or on the mower’s rear.
  3. Remove the cap from the reservoir and check the fluid level. Ensure that the fluid level is within the recommended range marked on the reservoir.
  4. If the hydraulic fluid level is low, add the appropriate type of hydraulic fluid recommended by the manufacturer. Be cautious not to overfill the reservoir.

Inspecting for Leaks:

  1. Look for any visible signs of hydraulic fluid leakage around hoses, fittings, and other components of the hydraulic system.
  2. Use a clean cloth to wipe away any accumulated dirt or fluid around potential leak points. This will help you identify any active or recent leaks.
  3. Address any leaks found by tightening loose fittings or replacing damaged hoses and seals. Consult the operator’s manual or seek professional assistance if needed.

Repairing or Replacing Damaged Components:

  1. If you suspect that a hydraulic component is damaged or malfunctioning, visually inspect the relevant parts for signs of wear or breakage.
  2. Depending on your mechanical expertise, you may attempt to repair or replace the damaged components. Otherwise, seek help from a qualified technician or a Ferris authorized service center.

Regularly inspecting the hydraulic system and promptly addressing any issues will help maintain the reliability and performance of your Ferris 400S mower. Remember to use the recommended hydraulic fluid and follow proper maintenance procedures outlined in the operator’s manual to ensure the longevity and efficiency of the hydraulic system.

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Problem 6: Electrical Issues

Electrical issues in your Ferris 400S can lead to a variety of problems, including starting failures, loss of power to critical components, and safety concerns. The electrical system is essential for proper operation, and several factors can cause issues, such as faulty wiring, blown fuses, and malfunctioning safety switches.


  1. Faulty Wiring: Over time, the electrical wiring in the mower can wear out, become corroded, or get damaged due to vibration or exposure to moisture. Faulty wiring can lead to intermittent electrical connections or complete failures.
  2. Blown Fuses: Fuses are designed to protect the electrical system from excessive current. A blown fuse indicates a circuit overload or a short circuit, and it disrupts the electrical flow to the respective component or system.
  3. Malfunctioning Safety Switches: The Ferris 400S is equipped with safety switches that prevent the engine from starting or the blades from engaging under certain conditions. If any safety switch malfunctions, it can prevent the mower from starting or cause unexpected blade engagement.

Troubleshooting Steps:

To troubleshoot and resolve electrical issues on your Ferris 400S, follow these steps:

Inspecting Wiring for Damage:

  1. Turn off the engine and disconnect the spark plug wire for safety.
  2. Carefully inspect the electrical wiring harness for any visible damage, such as frayed wires, loose connections, or signs of moisture or corrosion.
  3. If you find damaged wiring, carefully repair or replace the affected sections using appropriate electrical connectors and insulation materials.

Replacing Blown Fuses:

  1. Refer to the operator’s manual or the mower’s electrical schematic to identify the location of the fuses.
  2. Turn off the engine and remove the ignition key before accessing the fuse panel or fuse holders.
  3. Check each fuse to see if any of them are blown. Blown fuses have a broken wire visible inside the fuse body.
  4. Replace any blown fuses with new ones of the same rating as specified in the manual.

Testing and Adjusting Safety Switches:

  1. Safety switches are often located near the mower’s controls, such as the seat, steering levers, or parking brake.
  2. Carefully inspect each safety switch for any visible damage or misalignment.
  3. Test each safety switch following the procedures outlined in the operator’s manual. You may need to use a multimeter to check for continuity and proper functioning.
  4. Adjust or replace any malfunctioning safety switches as necessary to ensure proper operation.

By diligently troubleshooting and addressing electrical issues in your Ferris 400S, you can maintain a reliable and safe mower. Regularly inspecting the electrical system, keeping it free from damage, and ensuring all safety switches function correctly will provide you with a trouble-free mowing experience and contribute to the longevity of your mower’s electrical components.

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Problem 7: Steering Problems

Efficient and responsive steering is crucial for maneuvering your Ferris 400S with ease and precision. However, various factors can lead to steering issues, causing difficulties in controlling the mower. Common causes of steering problems include loose steering linkage, damaged steering components, and improper tire pressure.


  1. Loose Steering Linkage: The steering linkage connects the steering wheel to the front wheels, allowing you to control the mower’s direction. If the linkage becomes loose, it can result in delayed or imprecise steering responses.
  2. Damaged Steering Components: Over time, steering components such as tie rods, ball joints, and bushings can wear out or become damaged due to the stresses of mowing. Damaged components can adversely affect steering performance.
  3. Improper Tire Pressure: Incorrect tire pressure can affect the mower’s stability and handling. Underinflated or overinflated tires can lead to uneven steering and potentially impact the overall mowing experience.

Troubleshooting Steps:

To troubleshoot and resolve steering problems on your Ferris 400S, follow these steps:

Tightening Steering Linkage:

  1. Park the mower on a level surface and engage the parking brake for safety.
  2. Locate the steering linkage, which includes the tie rods and related connecting points.
  3. Carefully inspect the steering linkage for any signs of looseness or play.
  4. Use appropriate tools to tighten any loose connections or adjust the tie rods as needed. Ensure that the linkage is securely fastened to provide responsive steering.

Inspecting and Replacing Damaged Components:

  1. Visually inspect all steering components, including tie rods, ball joints, and bushings, for signs of wear, damage, or corrosion.
  2. If you notice any issues, such as worn-out components or damaged joints, it is crucial to replace them promptly with new, manufacturer-recommended parts.
  3. Follow the replacement procedures in the operator’s manual or seek assistance from a qualified technician.

Ensuring Proper Tire Pressure:

  1. Check the recommended tire pressure for your Ferris 400S in the operator’s manual or on the tire sidewalls.
  2. Use a tire pressure gauge to measure the pressure in each tire.
  3. Adjust the tire pressure to the recommended levels if necessary, ensuring uniform pressure in all tires.

Maintaining a well-functioning steering system is essential for a smooth and enjoyable mowing experience. By following these troubleshooting steps and regularly inspecting the steering components and tire pressure, you can ensure responsive steering and precise control of your Ferris 400S. Addressing steering issues promptly will enhance the safety and efficiency of your mower, allowing you to complete your mowing tasks with ease and confidence.

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Preventive Maintenance Tips

Proper preventive maintenance is essential for keeping your Ferris 400S mower in top-notch condition, ensuring optimal performance, and extending its lifespan. By adopting regular maintenance practices, you can catch potential issues early and prevent costly repairs down the line. Here are some preventive maintenance tips for your Ferris 400S:

Regularly inspecting the mower for signs of wear and tear:

  1. Check the Cutting System: Regularly inspect the mower deck, blades, and belts for signs of wear, damage, or dullness. Replace worn-out blades and belts promptly to maintain an even and clean cut.
  2. Examine the Tires: Inspect the tires for wear, cuts, and proper inflation. Properly inflated and well-maintained tires provide better traction and stability during mowing.
  3. Inspect the Steering and Suspension: Check the steering linkage, tie rods, and suspension components for any looseness or signs of wear. Tighten any loose connections and replace worn components as necessary to ensure responsive steering.
  4. Examine the Engine and Electrical System: Regularly inspect the engine and electrical components for any signs of leaks, damage, or corrosion. Clean or replace air filters, spark plugs, and fuel filters as recommended by the manufacturer.
  5. Lubricate Moving Parts: Properly lubricate all moving parts, such as the wheel bearings and pivot points, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Lubrication reduces friction and helps extend the life of these components.

Following the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule:

  1. Refer to the Operator’s Manual: The manufacturer’s maintenance schedule provides guidance on the recommended service intervals for various components. Familiarize yourself with the manual and adhere to the maintenance schedule.
  2. Oil Changes: Regularly change the engine oil and replace the oil filter according to the recommended intervals. Fresh oil helps protect the engine and ensures smooth operation.
  3. Hydraulic System Maintenance: Check and top up the hydraulic fluid as needed, and follow the recommended hydraulic system maintenance procedures.
  4. Inspect and Replace Filters: Regularly inspect and clean or replace air, fuel, and hydraulic filters to ensure proper system functioning and to prevent damage due to contaminants.

Properly storing the mower during off-seasons:

  1. Clean the Mower: Before storing the mower for an extended period, clean it thoroughly, removing any grass clippings, debris, and dirt. Cleaning prevents corrosion and helps identify potential issues.
  2. Fuel Management: If storing the mower for an extended period, consider using a fuel stabilizer to prevent fuel degradation. Run the engine for a few minutes after adding the stabilizer to ensure it reaches the fuel system.
  3. Charge the Battery: If your mower has a battery, disconnect it or keep it on a maintenance charger to prevent it from discharging completely during storage.
  4. Store in a Dry Location: Store the mower in a dry and covered area, protecting it from exposure to rain, snow, and other elements that may cause rust or damage.

By following these preventive maintenance tips, you can keep your Ferris 400S in excellent condition, ensure reliable performance, and enjoy years of efficient mowing. Remember that proper maintenance not only improves the mower’s lifespan but also enhances your mowing experience and helps maintain the value of your investment.

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In conclusion, the Ferris 400S is a remarkable commercial zero-turn mower renowned for its exceptional maneuverability and efficiency in tackling large mowing tasks. However, like any complex machinery, it is susceptible to various common problems that can hinder its performance. Identifying and troubleshooting these issues is crucial for maintaining the mower’s optimal operation and extending its longevity.

Throughout this guide, we explored the seven most common problems faced by Ferris 400S owners and provided in-depth troubleshooting steps for each issue. From engine starting problems to steering issues, we discussed how to inspect, diagnose, and resolve these issues efficiently.

Moreover, we emphasized the significance of preventive maintenance to prevent problems from arising in the first place. Regularly inspecting the mower for signs of wear and tear, adhering to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, and properly storing the mower during off-seasons are essential practices for keeping the mower in top condition and minimizing the need for costly repairs.

By following the preventive maintenance tips and troubleshooting steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your Ferris 400S mower operates at its best, providing you with reliable and efficient mowing results. Remember to consult the operator’s manual for specific maintenance guidelines and always prioritize safety during any maintenance or repair tasks.

With proper care and attention, your Ferris 400S will continue to serve you well, allowing you to effortlessly maintain beautiful lawns and tackle demanding commercial landscaping projects. Happy mowing!

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