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View Full Version : Is gear drive on a wb really that bad?


Hadly
12-27-2004, 07:02 PM
I am looking at Deere GS 30 walk behind gear drive. I am just starting out and can get the unit for a good price. Should I steer clear?

ludwiglawncare
12-27-2004, 07:04 PM
Just starting out it will still be a great time saver to use a commercial peace of equipment, granted hydro is much better, just keep some belt dressing handy for early or wet days, good luck!

PR Fect
12-27-2004, 07:07 PM
Yes, watch out when you back up on a slope!

all degree
12-27-2004, 07:14 PM
No gear drive is fine, but hydro is better. Lots of advantages to a hydro but you wont really miss them if you never had one. The major advantage is you can really utilize a sulky with a hydro. Turning with one on a belt drive is next to impossible with out doing damage to the turf.

grass_cuttin_fool
12-27-2004, 07:16 PM
All I ever had were gear drives and I made out ok. If your yards are very hilly then that is when the problems start, but for the most part gear drives are ok

CharlieBingo
12-27-2004, 07:18 PM
Compared to a hydro they are awful! IMO!

Turfdude
12-27-2004, 07:18 PM
We have 7 wb's 32-52 - none are hydro. If you know how to operate them, you'll be fine

Rhett
12-27-2004, 07:22 PM
Get the belt drive. Preferably a small one. When you have enough work to warrant a bigger one go for the hydro.

Fareway Lawncare
12-27-2004, 07:27 PM
Yes...Very Very Bad.

No one will touch the Toro 32"...36" Belts now that I have Hydros in the Stable.

There is a Huge yes Huge difference in Time & Labor Saving.

work_it
12-27-2004, 07:30 PM
I have to agree. I've had a gear/belt drive 48" Bunton for 2 seasons and it still runs great. I use the NAPA belt dressing (much better than STP) when the belts begin to wear out, but when it's wet there's not a heck of a lot you can do to keep the belts from slipping. I've never had a problem damaging turf backing up, but it is more difficult. What's really important is that you know your equipment and your abilities.

KINGjosh
12-27-2004, 08:02 PM
I agree if you are starting out there is no sense buying a hydro yet! what is belt dressing and when are you suppossed to use it

smlavin
12-27-2004, 09:34 PM
I have a belt drive that I use to pull a sulky. I can fly with the thing and never tear the turf - but I have never used a hydro. From what I have read, I know I would love it but I also liked getting my first commercial mower for about half on what the hydro would have run.

If I had to do it over again I would look for a good used belt-drive to get started - saving even more $$$ up front - and then I could also justify upgrading to a new hydro sooner than I can now. See if the dealer has a low cost trade-in.

Good luck. If you buy a quality brand you should be happy whichever direction you go.

work_it
12-28-2004, 12:12 AM
I agree if you are starting out there is no sense buying a hydro yet! what is belt dressing and when are you suppossed to use it
Belt dressing helps to soften or condition the rubber belts so they grip the pulleys better thus reducing or eliminating belt slippage.

65hoss
12-28-2004, 12:20 AM
I have both. Hydro on big deck, belt on 36". A 36" needs nothing more than a belt. Easy to assist in reverse. If you have problems you need to take the winter on a weight lifting routine. Anyway, bigger decks will help to have the hydro. I would never buy a hydro 36" mower.

splatz100
12-28-2004, 12:24 AM
im in the same boat, but trying to decide between two different gears

exmark metro 36
gravely pro-g 36



its tough

65hoss
12-28-2004, 12:28 AM
im in the same boat, but trying to decide between two different gears

exmark metro 36
gravely pro-g 36



its tough
Not for me. Metro only.

splatz100
12-28-2004, 12:31 AM
why would you choose the metro over the pro-g

also whichever brand i buy i will be buying a z from in the late summer

HOOLIE
12-28-2004, 01:57 AM
I have both a 36 Metro and 36 Viking hydro. The hydro handles much, much better. More of a comfort issue for me as a solo operator, well worth the additional expense. But I also agree with Hoss, hydro on a 36 is not really a necessity. You pretty much learn to deal with whatever you got.

WigginsLandscaping
12-28-2004, 02:24 AM
In my opinion a hydro is a nice to have. But we have 3 belt drive toro wb and I have no regrets. Yes as mentioned the hydros do have advantages. "REVERSE" is the biggest. On belt drives the reverse is more a help me pull this mower backwards gear rather than reverse. Plus on hydro there is no shifting of gears. But I guess i am on the "cheap" side and just end up with belt drives. My guys dont complain about them other than you have to keep them adjusted.

MTR
12-28-2004, 02:32 AM
I am looking at Deere GS 30 walk behind gear drive. I am just starting out and can get the unit for a good price. Should I steer clear?

I have never owned a Deer, especially its WB, but I own a 36" eXmark gear Metro. I started out with it for 2 full seasons, it was great and exciting cause it was my first commercial mower but since I got a 52" TTHP, I would never buy a belt WB AGAIN, never. It is north and south pole, that bad. With hydro your sulky is completely utilized in reverse motion but not in belt, very clumsy, it is a joke. I can back my TTHP on sulky out of trailer like piece of cake, but with Metro, forget it besides hydro handle so much better on hills, it is great advantage if you have a lot of slope to do.
In summary, never again buying a belt, dead tired.

PMLAWN
12-28-2004, 03:40 AM
A lot depends on your conditions. A belt will work fine on the open run but a hydro will be better in the small yard where you do a lot of turning and backing. On hills the hydro can be a great help as it goes backwards where most belts do not. They only have an assist. Champaign is a flat area so the hill issue may not be a problem. I still have belts and still use them but I only replace or add with hydro. On my lots they are just faster. If I can save just 15 min. a day then that is 1 hr a week or 4 hr a month. That can get me 1 more job in with that crew on each day. That crew can now produce appox. 4 more jobs a month and on the low side bring in another $600 per month or $7200 per year. To me it only makes sence to go with the most efficent equipment and when it comes to mowers the hydro is more efficent on my jobs.
Now if you only have 5 properties at this time and more free time than money and flat lots that are wide open than the belt might work OK for now.
Just keep in mind that the biggest expence in this business is labor. You want the man pushing that mower to cover as much ground as possable for the hour you are paying him. (or yourself).

smlavin
12-28-2004, 09:56 AM
MTR and PMLAWN THOSE were great post! Very informative and helpful.

I never even considered the time I could save by being able to keep the sulky on the mower instead of removing it every time I load or unload from the trailer. (Backing down with the belt drive just isn't an good option) That alone would justify the purchase of a hydro for me because - for even a solo - time is money!

ScCo
12-28-2004, 02:46 PM
Belts aren't that bad until you use a hydro. Hydros spoil us very quickly and make us hope we never use belts again.

I never had a problem using belts, but I do like hydros better.

splatz100
12-28-2004, 04:06 PM
THEY BOTH CUT GRASS!!!!!


(just one cuts it more comfortably)

MTR
12-28-2004, 04:47 PM
MTR and PMLAWN THOSE were great post! Very informative and helpful.

I never even considered the time I could save by being able to keep the sulky on the mower instead of removing it every time I load or unload from the trailer. (Backing down with the belt drive just isn't an good option) That alone would justify the purchase of a hydro for me because - for even a solo - time is money!

Oh no...you have to perform like pro, NEVER detach sulky off your mower, you must achieve by riding only in and out of your trailer...
Just joking...it is much fun and easier by the time you have confidence and enough mowing hours under your belt, you will ride that hydro/sulky like a Z without problem, monkey do what monkey see...practice is key.

philmacrakken
12-28-2004, 07:30 PM
Ever mow down a steep grade with a belt drive? If you have you know what "runaway" is. Spend the extra cake, it'll pay for itself in the long run.