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View Full Version : inexpensive slope mower ?


jkilov
06-12-2009, 07:07 PM
I have a few slopes that run alongside a local creek. So far I have been using a trimmer and it's backbreaking work. However, there's not enough of it to justify funding an expensive machine.

Does anyone know of a small slope mower of any kind that does'nt cost a fortune and can do hills of 40-45 degrees ?

bohiaa
06-12-2009, 07:52 PM
nothing will do that. your angle is to Great. all the oil runs to one side burning up the engine

jkilov
06-13-2009, 09:08 PM
I know about oil starvation. But there has to be some kind of machine built for the task in question even if homeowner quality.

Where do I get something like this ???
http://www.inlon.com.au/Eco/ML60.swing.tn.jpg

topsites
06-13-2009, 09:11 PM
Yes there is, and you already have it.

johnnybravo8802
06-13-2009, 10:09 PM
I know about oil starvation. But there has to be some kind of machine built for the task in question even if homeowner quality.

Where do I get something like this ???
http://www.inlon.com.au/Eco/ML60.swing.tn.jpg
They probably don't sell those in this country-that's pretty common. How about a hover mower-Husky makes one.

P.Services
06-13-2009, 10:26 PM
i would get a goat. he will have food and water.

jkilov
06-14-2009, 07:07 AM
They probably don't sell those in this country-that's pretty common. How about a hover mower-Husky makes one.
I thought about that, but would'nt a hover mower have a tendency to glide downhill? And how would the engine cope?

A large lawn company mowed these slopes years ago. They used a tractor mounted swing arm type mower. Due to new building construction, some of the areas became inaccessible and had to be done by hand. At some point the company went out of business and the divided areas were assigned to multiple small lco's, me included. Most of my rivals use backpack trimmers, but I'm not sure it would be balanced for a tall operator like me.

I'll try to dig up some pics, to get a better understanding of what I'm talking about.

DiyDave
06-14-2009, 07:14 AM
Have you tried a split shaft weedeater with a 3' extension shaft? If its a small area, it'll keep your feet dry. Downside is that it will give you a good upper body workout, due to the extra weight, and the length of the shaft that you are using.:weightlifter::weightlifter:

jnrogers
06-14-2009, 08:24 AM
Dont know of anything inexpensive. Toro makes a front deck mower that the body of the mower tilts to the side so when you are on a hill you are sort of upright but they are probably 15 to 20 thousand. I had also called about a spider mower that I saw in turf magazine. They are remote control up to 300 feet. But guess what that little machine cost $42000, so back to weed eating for me.

johnnybravo8802
06-14-2009, 08:45 AM
I thought about that, but would'nt a hover mower have a tendency to glide downhill? And how would the engine cope?

A large lawn company mowed these slopes years ago. They used a tractor mounted swing arm type mower. Due to new building construction, some of the areas became inaccessible and had to be done by hand. At some point the company went out of business and the divided areas were assigned to multiple small lco's, me included. Most of my rivals use backpack trimmers, but I'm not sure it would be balanced for a tall operator like me.

I'll try to dig up some pics, to get a better understanding of what I'm talking about.
Yea, with a hover mower, you'd have to stand uphill and mow below you like a bunker on a golf course. I don't know about the engine coping part. You'll probably have to go back to a trimmer. I have a long and tall bank we mow with a WB that's 45 degrees but the WB has a tendency to want to flip.

kaferhaus
06-14-2009, 10:26 AM
The solution would be a "dry sump" walk behind. But, there are none and were there it wouldn't fit the "cheap" catagory either.

String trimmer or brush cutter and charge accordingly.

We have only a few accounts with deep ditches or steep banks (we turn down most of them as they're not going to want to pay....) most of these are in back yards (creeks etc.) and we only cut them every couple of months at a "extra fee".

If you can't get paid what it's worth, drop em and move on.

jkilov
06-14-2009, 11:50 AM
Just for clarification, I have been doing this account for 4 years now. The pay is solid, fair but nothing to get thrilled about.

A purpose built machine would make these jobs more rewarding. By saying "small", I'm thinking like 21-36" and by "inexpensive" were talking $4-$5k. I got a quote for the swing arm tractor attachment from tractor supply. It's full of hydraulics and drive shafts and what not. The number had plenty of zero's so I walked away.

Anyway, here's the account from town, it's just under 1/2 acres, cut every 2-months. As you can imagine once I finish one bank I'm not thrilled about going back the other.

DiyDave
06-14-2009, 12:10 PM
Now that I see the area in question, I would recommend either the weedeater I mentioned earlier, or a sickle bar mower mounted on a 20Hp or so Kubota tractor. If that stream has a concrete bottom, or is shallow, you could cut from the top, and the bottom, if you have a spot that you are able to access the streambed safely. Just out of curiosity, how wide is the slope, at its widest point?

TheC-Master
06-14-2009, 02:54 PM
You might be able to get that with a WB, but it wouldn't be perfectly stable. I've had jobs like that I've tackled with it.

metro36
06-14-2009, 04:54 PM
Find a used 2 stroke hover mower. My buddy uses one for slopes like that. It is an older allen with a suzuki 2 stroke on it.

jkilov
06-14-2009, 05:16 PM
Find a used 2 stroke hover mower. My buddy uses one for slopes like that. It is an older allen with a suzuki 2 stroke on it.
Just what I was looking for, but you can't order a new 2-stroker these days. I've looked at used ones and found very few, most of them in poor condition, not to mention parts for the suzi have ran out. Hate to buy a machine without any support.

A double wheeled WB would be my personal favorite, but again the engines are rated to withstand only 25 degrees.

kaferhaus
06-14-2009, 05:31 PM
After seeing it I'd reaffirm my earlier suggestion. Get paid well for it or drop it. I'd never buy a machine costing over a few hundred bucks to do such a small account and even then I'd have to have a contract that would guarantee me to re-coup the equipment cost.

jkilov
06-14-2009, 05:56 PM
Well I have a few more jobs like this, another stretch of the same creek further downstream. More near a local farm and the same type of slope parallel to the railway.

I agree that people mostly aren't willing to pay what this job demands. But I'm not shy of investing a few grand as it would return eventually and give me a cutting edge over local rivals, not to mention save my back. In the end you're a grasscutter and it's what we do. The "I don't do this or that" gimmick won't get me far.

Any idea if an engine can be "modified" to somehow work on steep slopes ?

Well, I have found another pic, this one is near the farm, problem is it's totally out of perspective. The slope down is like 40 degrees.

ed2hess
06-14-2009, 06:00 PM
Just take that guard off and trim away. We just went back from using a 32" Scag belt drive WB for that exact kind of situation to using trimmers. Maybe your trimmer won't pull 22" of cord if not get a high torque Echo unit and you will be fine. We mow a lot of ponds that are a lot bigger but just about he same angle.

howierd3866
06-14-2009, 06:07 PM
all those pics. are a piece of cake..but then we do that type everyday.. Check on ebay or Craig list for a kut kuick or a deezee slope mower there on there right now for about $4k.good luck

jkilov
06-14-2009, 06:14 PM
You know trimming slopes like these is difficult:

When grass is dry: it's so stringy you're either just bending it down or scalping. If you scalp, the grass dies and the roots with it. the slope looses support and starts crumbling down.

Grass is wet : trimming is better but footing is poor.
Soil is wet : you stump the hill down, walk away ....

Also the county tells us to work carefully, there's a small water treatment plant further downstream that apparently has trouble if we blow tons of clippings in the water.

DiyDave
06-14-2009, 06:20 PM
You know trimming slopes like these is difficult:

When grass is dry: it's so stringy you're either just bending it down or scalping. If you scalp, the grass dies and the roots with it. the slope looses support and starts crumbling down.

Grass is wet : trimming is better but footing is poor.
Soil is wet : you stump the hill down, walk away ....

Also the county tells us to work carefully, there's a small water treatment plant further downstream that apparently has trouble if we blow tons of clippings in the water.
Crap doesn't hurt the water, clippings do! If the county came out and said that to me, I'd hand them the weedeater!:nono:

jkilov
06-14-2009, 06:22 PM
all those pics. are a piece of cake..but then we do that type everyday.. Check on ebay or Craig list for a kut kuick or a deezee slope mower there on there right now for about $4k.good luck
Thank you sir, they seem a bit pricey:dizzy: and big though, but I will look into them... :waving:

Crap doesn't hurt the water, clippings do! If the county came out and said that to me, I'd hand them the weedeater!:nono: They said something about the clippings clogging some filters. Personally I would love to tell them to shove it.

DiyDave
06-14-2009, 06:47 PM
Thank you sir, they seem a bit pricey:dizzy: and big though, but I will look into them... :waving:

They said something about the clippings clogging some filters. Personally I would love to tell them to shove it.
You have my permission... and I think the other poster meant to say Dew-eze slope mower, I have one, but the problem with it is that you just can't start out mowing a ditchbank at a property line, you need a point in the stream, where the slope is about 15 degrees or less, to start in mowing. If you start slipping, you can always back out to the shallow slope that you started at. If you have a sicklebar mower (balanced head, NOT pittman arm style mower) you can cut from above, and possibly from below, if the stream conditions permit. The Dew-eze mower is kind of like a motorcycle, with outrigger arms attached to the edges of the mower deck, and the drive wheels in the middle of the cut area. There are instances where the slope can get to great to continue forward, then as soon as you push the reverse petal, your front wheel drops down the slope, and if you have a drop off at the bottom, (like that curb in the picture), then your blued, screwed and tattooed, and waiting for an expensive tow/recovery. Also, if you mow it the same way with the Dew-eze every time, you are going to end up with drive wheel ruts, which will sooner or later get you stuck. Price it high no matter which way you mow it, you will earn your money!:cool2:

jkilov
06-14-2009, 07:29 PM
I understand. Browsed up a few pisc of the DewEze.

You're trying to say the bottom of the slope has to be less steep, kind of like a starting and safety zone should you crab down.

I find such a machine pricey and too large anyways, but thanks for all your help.

The creek on pic 1 is small, the channel is probably 35' at the top. Use the stairs as a reference. I can just jump across the water.

1993lx172
06-14-2009, 07:35 PM
Have you considered renting, buying, or borrowing a tractor and again renting, buying, or borrowing a sickle bar mower and using that? Most can cut at least 45 degrees below parallel and they leave a nice cut. A good used tractor won't cost to much(you don't need a lot of hp to run a sickle bar) and you could carve out a niche for yourself. The tractor could be used for other things throughout the year and good used sickle bar mowers are cheap, I saw a good one go for $250 on eBay.

metro36
06-14-2009, 07:37 PM
Just what I was looking for, but you can't order a new 2-stroker these days. I've looked at used ones and found very few, most of them in poor condition, not to mention parts for the suzi have ran out. Hate to buy a machine without any support.

A double wheeled WB would be my personal favorite, but again the engines are rated to withstand only 25 degrees.

I saw a decent used one at my dealer yeaterday. Not sure if it was for sale though. My dealer has so many old suzuki parts engines that he can keep good ones running.

howierd3866
06-14-2009, 08:41 PM
You have my permission... and I think the other poster meant to say Dew-eze slope mower, I have one, but the problem with it is that you just can't start out mowing a ditchbank at a property line, you need a point in the stream, where the slope is about 15 degrees or less, to start in mowing. If you start slipping, you can always back out to the shallow slope that you started at. If you have a sicklebar mower (balanced head, NOT pittman arm style mower) you can cut from above, and possibly from below, if the stream conditions permit. The Dew-eze mower is kind of like a motorcycle, with outrigger arms attached to the edges of the mower deck, and the drive wheels in the middle of the cut area. There are instances where the slope can get to great to continue forward, then as soon as you push the reverse petal, your front wheel drops down the slope, and if you have a drop off at the bottom, (like that curb in the picture), then your blued, screwed and tattooed, and waiting for an expensive tow/recovery. Also, if you mow it the same way with the Dew-eze every time, you are going to end up with drive wheel ruts, which will sooner or later get you stuck. Price it high no matter which way you mow it, you will earn your money!:cool2:

Thanks Dave...that something I glad you said because I have been looking at them myself but have not seen one in action.

johnnybravo8802
06-14-2009, 09:38 PM
Like I said earlier, Husky still makes a hover mower if you're interested. Gravely also makes a dual wheel multi purpose tractor for slopes. You can get other attachments like a tiller, etc so you won't be spending a chunk on just a mower for slopes.

zman2307
06-14-2009, 10:04 PM
Eastman makes a slope 21" well under $1000.