Adjusting my mower governor to get more power?

You probably have found it happen to you many times. You will be out mowing and depending on the current conditions, your mower might bog down and cause you to have to mow an area twice to get the lawn to look descent. What is causing this? Could you simply adjust the mower’s governor setting and increase your rpms to get more power? That is the question one entrepreneur had on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. After a little bit of experimenting, he found it wasn’t the governor that was giving him problems and here is why.

One lawn care business owner wrote “do any of you guys ever adjust your lawn mower governor to get a little more rpm? I know you aren’t supposed to make them wide open but I think my engine could use a few more rpm’s. This is on a Kawasaki 22hp ohv. I’ve just been mowing a lot of tall grass lately and it bogs a little and I have to go over certain areas a couple of times. My blades could use a little sharpening but I really don’t think that’s the main problem. I want to tweak the governor and get a few more rpms. I think the motor is rated at 3500 or 3600 rpms max.

Since I wasn’t sure about doing this, I instead changed out the mower blades today. WOW!!! What an incredible difference in performance and cutting. I was using these knock offs mulch blades and they suck. They were complete junk in my opinion. I can’t believe they even make them like that. They bogged down my mower, made me have to double back on my passes due to patches left behind and didn’t hold an edge at all. I was blown away by the difference between the old blades and my stock cub cadet hi lift blades. I can blow through grass now. I used those others for like a month. I forgot what it was like to cut on the first pass!!!!!!

I can’t believe how much better my mower is running and cutting. Can’t believe I put up with the old ones for a month. Anyway I would stay away from those knock off brands. Absolute crap in my opinion.”

A second lawn care business owner responded “lawn mower engines have a torque curve, more rpms does not equal more power. If you increase the RPM of the motor past 3600 RPM, you’re going to start losing torque which will cause your mower to bog down even easier in taller grass. This will also cause a much shorter life span for your bearings in your motor, pulleys & spindles. It might even affect the pumps if you have a ZTR.

As you learned, if your engine is bogging down, try changing your mower blades, it can have a big impact on how your lawn mower runs.”

A third shared “most vehicles today have rev limiters that are controlled through the speedometer and computer.

A good portion of trucks use them as well as small vehicles and they will kick in at like 92 mph and on bigger medium duty trucks, like a cab over mason dump , it would be more like 70 to 75 mph.

I had a cab over dump truck and we did a job a couple counties over and we had a long highway drive and once you got that truck rolling it would move along on the highway and being the speed limit was 65mph everyone was doing 70 to 75 and my trucks rev limiter would shut me down at exactly 74mph. I would have to slow down below 70mph for it to turn off.
I also had another pickup I bought new for an estimate vehicle and that thing would kick in at 73 mph.

Rev limiters are used for many things depending on the type of motor and it’s application. A car’s engine works a little different then a lawnmower. They do have different torque curves for different engines so you do have engines that can go faster than others and still have power. But in general, the governor is on the engine to get the most power out of the motor, not to stop you from getting more power.

Once you pass the rated max speed rating for your engine, you will start losing torque very quickly. Also if you run an engine at speeds faster than the max rated speed you will shorten the life tremendously. So keep that in mind and avoid messing with your engine’s governor.”

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