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View Full Version : Hydro vs. Gear


TheChiefsLawnCare
06-18-2008, 01:01 AM
Okkkkk, Im looking at gettin a 36 inch walk behind with a floating deck. Sooooo, whats the pros and cons of hydro and gear. I wanna stay away from belt. Cutting conditions are gonna be 95% St. Aug, no hills, and possibly some overgrown yards at times. Sooo what one should I look at. i wanna be able to much, bag, and discharge. Im looking at Toro, Scag, Walker, and Exmark for brands.

02DURAMAX
06-18-2008, 01:39 AM
Belt drives are not good in wet conditions and if you pill a sulky, That one of the reasons im selling my belt Drive and getting a Hydro Scag.

TheChiefsLawnCare
06-18-2008, 01:51 AM
Yeah, I wanna pull a sulky also. Soo whats better a gear or hydro?

greenred
06-18-2008, 01:52 AM
I have owned both - I would never ever ever go belt again. I went from belt to hydro walk behind and it was like day and night. My belt delivered reliable service, but hydro is just so much powerful, more convenient, and productive.

Also I got caught in a very heavy rain storm at the bottom of a steep 1 acre hill My belts and pulleys were soaked as could be from the heavy rain and all they would do is slip. I had to push that boat anchor to the top of that friggen steep and slippery 1 acre hill. After doing that I swore I would never buy any other walk behind except a hydro powered one again.

02DURAMAX
06-18-2008, 02:50 AM
Yeah, I wanna pull a sulky also. Soo whats better a gear or hydro?

Hydro!!!!..Its worth the extra money..

dfor
06-18-2008, 05:50 AM
Another hydro vote. The time it saves pays for itself quickly. You didn't ask, but I'd go with a fixed deck on a 36" mower.

greenred
06-18-2008, 06:35 AM
Another hydro vote. The time it saves pays for itself quickly. You didn't ask, but I'd go with a fixed deck on a 36" mower.

I have to disagree with going with a fixed deck. I had a fixed deck 36 and it was a pain in the ass to have to stop and change blade height when needed then stop and change back to your normal cutting height. We tried to cut every lawn the same height but now matter what you are going to have those 2 or 3 or more lawns that need to be cut at a different height for varying reasons. I personally like flexibility in my mower settings, and being able to quickly adjust them for the conditions as needed with minimum time and effort. Im not saying changing the blade height is a super ordeal on a fixed deck, but its a hell of a lot more time and work then moving a couple pins up or down and being on your way.

But thats just my point of view and experience, I am curious as to why you would recommend a fixed deck?

Atlantic Lawn
06-18-2008, 06:58 AM
Hydro all the way, we lived with belt drive for quite some time and if your budget allows get the hydro.

ProStreetCamaro
06-18-2008, 07:34 AM
Hydro is better yes but a belt drive works just fine. We have owned many belt drives and never had any problems out of them. One had 3500 hours when we sold it and it pulled a velky with me or my father on it every day. The only way that ours would slip any was if we were stuck cutting in an absolute down pour.

For a small 36" i would save the money and go belt if it were me. Its also MUCH cheaper to repair a belt drive than a hydro.

PTP
06-18-2008, 08:00 AM
I may be wrong but you seem to be confused about gear drive and belt drive. They are the same thing. The gears drive the belts.

Toro lists their mowers as gear drives but everyone refers to them as belt drives. Hope that helps.

Yes, hydro is superior to gear/belt drive.

Mike Blevins
06-18-2008, 09:21 AM
If you need another person to tell you, here goes. GO GET THE HYDRO!!! Don't waste your time on a belt drive.

freshprince94
06-18-2008, 10:14 AM
Belt drive can pull a sulky just fine.

Belt drive is a lot more economical, but Hydro is a better product. I suggest you go Hydro if you have the $. Don't get a Quick 36, an eXmark Viking 36" or TTHP (Turf Tracer HP) 36" would work well for you.

SNAPPER MAN
06-18-2008, 10:27 AM
I have a 32" belt drive mower and it is very easy to use and pulls my fat ass around on a sulky day in and day out. Save yourself money and go belt.

Lazer_Z
06-18-2008, 01:20 PM
Belt drive can pull a sulky just fine.

Belt drive is a lot more economical, but Hydro is a better product. I suggest you go Hydro if you have the $. Don't get a Quick 36, an eXmark Viking 36" or TTHP (Turf Tracer HP) 36" would work well for you.FP, Why in the world are you bashing the Quick? I don't get it? you have no first hand experience using one so why would you go and tell someone not to buy one? I'd buy one if I saw the need for one, h*ll I'd buy one of each (32",36" & 44") if I needed to.

To get back on topic, go Hydro and find one with a floating deck. If you want to go eXmark the 36" TTHP is a nice little unit. If you have the $$$ the new Toro's look like well built machine's, a member on here has a 36" Toro with the T bar T2 contols.

Tharrell
06-18-2008, 01:46 PM
I own 5 walkbehinds, 3 belt and 2 hydros. All the criticisms cited so far are valid. If it were me, I would purchase a hydro fixed deck 36.
Occasional use, maybe a gear drive but if you keep it long term consider the extra investment in a hydro. The difference is night and day, sorta like the difference in a Murray riding mower and a nice Bob-Cat Z rider.
Now, if you're starting out and on a strict budget, the gear drive WILL WORK for you, even pulling a sulky-I know. The floating deck is overkill if you ask me. Changing height of cut is as simple as moving a spacer on the castors and a 36 is light enough to lift and change at the same time. Tony

DA Quality Lawn & YS
06-18-2008, 01:52 PM
No experience with belt drives here....
Went right to hydro (single) with my Quick 36. Would highly recommend for the cut quality.
Can't believe there is any way I would look at a belt drive now, like Scag, after using this machine. Of course, a dual hydro machine is better yet but for double the price of the Quick.

MTR999
06-18-2008, 01:58 PM
Okkkkk, Im looking at gettin a 36 inch walk behind with a floating deck. Sooooo, whats the pros and cons of hydro and gear. I wanna stay away from belt. Cutting conditions are gonna be 95% St. Aug, no hills, and possibly some overgrown yards at times. Sooo what one should I look at. i wanna be able to much, bag, and discharge. Im looking at Toro, Scag, Walker, and Exmark for brands.

You can pick up cheaper used 36 hydro from anywhere easily, lots of people love to get rid of walk as soon as they are on the Z...I have sweated and pained for so many years with wb till I ride the z so I can give you some valuble advice if you 'd like to listen. Hydro is the way to go to do commercial mowing for living, its productivity is unpararelled. gear or belt will have hard time backing up no matter where, let alone mowing hills and that 's will bog you down when you are tired under 90* heat and sun.
Those twin hydro pumps are very easy to maintain, change hydro oil every year will do, all you need is hyro filter, and 15-50 synthetic plain and simple.
We have 01 exmark 52" TTHP well over 2000hr and still kicking butt, original pump. Like I said, fing a USED one with low hrs, you save thousands and it will pay for itself less than 6 months, and start making money for you 100 times of what you pay for. hydro pulling sulky is cake walk...
now, once you are through with hydro walk, you will look for a Z which is another kind of beast! times 2 productivity of hydro walk.
The belt walk is ancient machine in the 60, 70, you have to go with what world have evolved. I neve forget how beaten-up running 36"exmark gear metro with sulky cutting 45 lawns by myself several years ago, NEVER again.

Get hydro or a Z if you can afford.

Dingojoe
06-18-2008, 01:58 PM
Hydro most defineltly...good buddy had a guy on a belt walkbehind, belt slipped or somthin and his employee fell off the mower...cut one of his digits off his foot...probably a once in a lifetime deal and I'm not sayin folks don't fall off hydro's but it is what it is... I've got a Toro 52' Hydro fixed deck and I love it. Only issue I have is adjusting cut height. (HUGE pain in the tailpipe).

KGR landscapeing
06-18-2008, 03:55 PM
Get a hydro its night and day andbody who owns a belt jump behind a hydro for the day. end of the day you will be like "were done already?"

freshprince94
06-18-2008, 04:59 PM
FP, Why in the world are you bashing the Quick? I don't get it? you have no first hand experience using one so why would you go and tell someone not to buy one? I'd buy one if I saw the need for one, h*ll I'd buy one of each (32",36" & 44") if I needed to.

To get back on topic, go Hydro and find one with a floating deck. If you want to go eXmark the 36" TTHP is a nice little unit. If you have the $$$ the new Toro's look like well built machine's, a member on here has a 36" Toro with the T bar T2 contols.

I'm not bashing the Quick. I just wouldn't recommend buying a product without a dealer. I have no doubt the Quicks are great products, but they need to open some dealerships.

I have heard BOP is coming out with a dual hydro. If that happens, the dealer problem could be overlooked since it would probably be a great deal.

Lazer_Z
06-18-2008, 07:08 PM
I'm not bashing the Quick. I just wouldn't recommend buying a product without a dealer. I have no doubt the Quicks are great products, but they need to open some dealerships.

I have heard BOP is coming out with a dual hydro. If that happens, the dealer problem could be overlooked since it would probably be a great deal.Well, the whole point of the Quick series of machines was to bring to market an alternative to a $4-$5K Dual Hydro walk. For the "today" price of a 36" gear drive you can get a Hydro, granted it's a single, but it's 100X better than a belt. You also have instant reverse with the Quick Vs "assisted reverse" with a belt. Like I said if I felt the need for a Quick, dealer or no dealer I'd buy one just because of the numerous positive things I've read and seen here on LS.

Chilehead
06-18-2008, 07:21 PM
Get a hydro for increased productivity. It does great on slopes.

freshprince94
06-18-2008, 07:23 PM
Well, the whole point of the Quick series of machines was to bring to market an alternative to a $4-$5K Dual Hydro walk. For the "today" price of a 36" gear drive you can get a Hydro, granted it's a single, but it's 100X better than a belt. You also have instant reverse with the Quick Vs "assisted reverse" with a belt. Like I said if I felt the need for a Quick, dealer or no dealer I'd buy one just because of the numerous positive things I've read and seen here on LS.

Good point. But to each his own.

TheChiefsLawnCare
06-18-2008, 07:56 PM
Ok, thanks for clearing up gear aka belt. Now i know what Im looking at. i wanna be able to have the mower reverse by its self and not have me pull on it. I wanna be able to jus stand and ride so i can save energy and not get so tired and run down by the end of the day. So thanks to all that resonded. Ill deff keep hydro on top of my qualifications olist when looking at these mowers.

dfor
06-18-2008, 08:33 PM
I have to disagree with going with a fixed deck. I had a fixed deck 36 and it was a pain in the ass to have to stop and change blade height when needed then stop and change back to your normal cutting height. We tried to cut every lawn the same height but now matter what you are going to have those 2 or 3 or more lawns that need to be cut at a different height for varying reasons. I personally like flexibility in my mower settings, and being able to quickly adjust them for the conditions as needed with minimum time and effort. Im not saying changing the blade height is a super ordeal on a fixed deck, but its a hell of a lot more time and work then moving a couple pins up or down and being on your way.

But thats just my point of view and experience, I am curious as to why you would recommend a fixed deck?

greenred, I change the height on my fixed deck adding or removing the shims on the front casters. 60 seconds and the height is changed.

The back of the deck is set high enough that I have it pitched down in front for about 80 percent of the lawns. There are a few that get cut above 3.75 inches where the deck is not pitched enough, but it still cuts ok.

Scalping should never be an issue on a 36" fixed. Heck, I hardly ever scalp with a 52" fixed.

greenred
06-18-2008, 08:59 PM
greenred, I change the height on my fixed deck adding or removing the shims on the front casters. 60 seconds and the height is changed.

The back of the deck is set high enough that I have it pitched down in front for about 80 percent of the lawns. There are a few that get cut above 3.75 inches where the deck is not pitched enough, but it still cuts ok.

Scalping should never be an issue on a 36" fixed. Heck, I hardly ever scalp with a 52" fixed.

Interesting

I had a Toro T-Bar 36 inch WB which was just a Exmark with the Toro tag and T-Bar control. The blade set on the bottom of the spindle shaft and we would have to remove the bolt at the top, drop the shaft with the blade on it, adjust the spacers accordingly then reverser the process to reassemble. Your method may have worked on mine. Where the hell where you when I was sweating and cussing under the mower on those heat wave afternoons? :waving:

delphied
06-18-2008, 10:37 PM
greenred, I change the height on my fixed deck adding or removing the shims on the front casters. 60 seconds and the height is changed.

The back of the deck is set high enough that I have it pitched down in front for about 80 percent of the lawns. There are a few that get cut above 3.75 inches where the deck is not pitched enough, but it still cuts ok.

Scalping should never be an issue on a 36" fixed. Heck, I hardly ever scalp with a 52" fixed.

Im considering a 48 or 52 and cant figure if I want fixed or floating. When does a deck scalp the most?

Chris G
06-18-2008, 11:01 PM
Defiantly Hydro so much more power and I find them to be less fatiguing than the jerky motion of a gear drive. it will handle your sulky no problem.

dfor
06-19-2008, 05:46 AM
On the hydro. Lets say you can cut one more $30 lawn per day. Thats $600+ per month. Plus you don't have to man-handle the mower.

Pretty much the only time I scalp with a 52" fixed deck is when the tire drops into a depression (no pun intended) or hole.

zemzabob
06-19-2008, 08:15 AM
I would go with a Hydro.

GPDesign1
06-19-2008, 08:39 AM
freshprince:

I agree with you that some types of products need dealer support. Machines with elaborate hydraulics or complex electronic controls require special tools and constant fiddling by a trained local tech. No argument there. That's why you'll probably never see a "Z" or other complicated designs from Better. It's not our niche.

Better Outdoor's business model was intentionally built around the idea of rugged, simple products. The Quick-series mowers were designed from the start to be easy to operate, maintain and repair by folks with average mechanical ability. Every part needed to maintain a Quick is available 24/7 online in an easy-to-use format and the parts get delivered straight to your home or business. Honestly, if a person can't operate and maintain a Quick, they probably shouldn't be allowed out of the house without a guardian. :laugh:

Since we introduced the company in 2003, we've had literally hundreds of dealers and distributors contact us, wanting to sell our product. While it's always nice to be asked, the question I always end-up asking myself is; If I have to mark-up the retail price of all our machines by an additional 25-30% to pay for dealers, how does that make it better for our customer? Our most popular mower, the 16HP Kawasaki electric-start 36" hydro Samurai sells everyday for $2795. If we sold those through dealers, they'd cost $3695. Same exact product-$900 more of your money. I just don't see how that's a good deal for either one of us.

I'll admit, there is a small percentage of folks in the world with zero mechanical skills or ability to operate machinery. They don't know which end of a screwdriver to hold and they're constantly tearing-up their stuff. Those people need a dealer and when we talk to one, we do our best to steer them toward a dealer-based brand. But the vast majority are pretty smart and have adequate knowledge to take care of themselves. For them, a dealer represents an unneccessary drain on their finances- that 900 bucks fits just fine in their own pocket. They don't need to spend it on "buying a buddy".

Hope this helps explain the whole "dealer thing".

gp

William Jones
06-22-2008, 09:21 PM
Three words: Hydro, Hydro, Hydro., Of course buy whatever you can afford at first. As soon as you can afford the hydro, go for it. I remember when I first got into the business. I started out with a belt/gear drive. I didn't know what all the fuss was about with owning a hydro until I bought one. You will ask yourself, What in the world was I thinking when I bought the belt/gear? Worth the money.

Exact Rototilling
06-23-2008, 12:35 AM
Don't even consider anything but a Hydro. Having a continually variable drive is very important to me. I really miss this on my 21" mower that is not used that much anymore. I'm very happy with my Quick 36 Samurai.

Changing the height of the deck on the Quick 36 can be sped up by having tools already set up if that is a concern. I can change the deck height fairly quickly now. I have mowed some fairly uneven lawns with my Q 36 and I really don't see the need for a 36" floating deck.

The money you save on the Quick vs. the others can offset getting the sulky, accelerator grass catcher etc.