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  #11  
Old 07-19-2012, 11:25 AM
jsf343 jsf343 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grnhed View Post
Unfortunately, in spirit I have to agree. I dont know that the Exmark is the way to go but, having 2 25" Ybravo's, if I had it to do all over again, I would have went with 21" Honda's or Toro's.
I was Ybravo's biggest cheerleader and my supplier has done a great job keeping me up and running.
Pro's
It bags nicely

Cons
Cuts thin, spindly bermuda and weeds poorly when mulching
25" is of no help with efficiency when I have to mow something twice in low or high gear.
Ground speed becomes nothing more than exercise when I have to mow something twice.
Forget the lowest setting which is still too high, until you grind the two extending wings on the bottom of the deck. There outward angle and the fact that you have a greater distance between all four wheels guarantees you will drag the deck and catch one of those wings which will pull you off line making it impossible to mow a straight line ESPECIALLY on a recently sodded property.
One must balance the tension of the opposing springs on the blade engagement as the blade drive belt wears to prevent shattering of one or both springs when releasing the handle that engages the brake and releases the belt tension er.
As the blade drive belt wears, you must tighten the spring to the tension er to maintain blade tip speed or the belt will slip and your cut gets REALLY bad with zero dip in RPM. As you increase that spring tension you make it impossible for the opposing spring to release the belt tension er which ENGAGES THE BLADE BRAKE and now you have a free wheeling spinning blade under neath the deck and if an employee is unaware of the situation or increases the tension on one spring and does not understand that what he did just disabled the safety of the blade brake, now you have an injury or worse yet, an amputation.
The things you bring up are good feedback on this mower. In fact pretty eye opening if you ask me, I never even considered those items. I tried the 25" for about 2 weeks and it was pretty decent but I felt there were still a lot of things that needed to be tweaked.

I personally didn't like the blade engagement system, it seemed to always pinch somebodies hand and the handle bar area you hold was uncomfortable because of this. The bag set up was a little funky too, although it did bag well. I wish it had a hydrostatic tranny as well but those are part of my Santa's wish list I guess.

As for repairs... your local dealer who carries it would be able to fix or as mentioned from somebody else, it has all the steps for repair on line, which I don't have a lot of extra time for due to school, work and family. But, I didn't end up buying one anyway so I guess I don't have to worry about it.
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  #12  
Old 07-19-2012, 12:24 PM
GREENWITHENVY1 GREENWITHENVY1 is offline
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  #13  
Old 07-20-2012, 09:07 AM
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Grnhed Grnhed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsf343 View Post
The things you bring up are good feedback on this mower. In fact pretty eye opening if you ask me, I never even considered those items. I tried the 25" for about 2 weeks and it was pretty decent but I felt there were still a lot of things that needed to be tweaked.

I personally didn't like the blade engagement system, it seemed to always pinch somebodies hand and the handle bar area you hold was uncomfortable because of this. The bag set up was a little funky too, although it did bag well. I wish it had a hydrostatic tranny as well but those are part of my Santa's wish list I guess.

As for repairs... your local dealer who carries it would be able to fix or as mentioned from somebody else, it has all the steps for repair on line, which I don't have a lot of extra time for due to school, work and family. But, I didn't end up buying one anyway so I guess I don't have to worry about it.
But WAIT!!!!, there's MORE!!!! I know, I know, sounds like a "Ronco" commercial.
Regarding the tranny;
If you adjust the cable to employ a POSITIVE drive that will pull the mower uphill on a rolling property, it takes double the effort to physically pull the mower backwards when you're in say an inside corner. To the extent that, the manufacturer started putting a silicone or graphite impregnated belt on the drive to help facilitate slip when pulling backwards. The stroke of the tensioner does not fully disengage the belt wrap of the two pulleys, the spinning motor crankshaft and the transmission drive pulley which does not free wheel ratchet when pulled in reverse similar to the clicking you hear when rolling a Honda that is not running. With the dead weight of the mower and the position of, the short length of the handle assembly, this combination makes it tough to 1. lift the rear just a touch to get out of inside corners, 2. When not trapped by the corner, lift the front of the mower to pivot out or even spin a 180 as you mow normally.
The handle as such is a good concept with the internal cables and the diameter is a good fit but, the aluminum at the operator area is slick as glass when you're sweating and the drive engagement and operator presence lever of the blade engagement are BOTH flimsy at their respective fastener points making them both easy to bend the wrong way when backing up or loading and unloading.
Once they are bent, of course you have to try and bend them back promoting metal fatigue and failure at the lock down points. I am on my second handle assembly on both mowers.
With the spring situation, I was repacing springs and or adjusting tension so often that the tranny guard and belt guards have been removed from both mowers and look brand new as they are under the seat in the truck.
The tranny has two speeds with neutral in the middle of a three position lever. The manufacturer has changed the design a couple of times as with mine, I could not run in high gear with the lever in the high position. I had to move the lever further to the point of rubbing the rear wheel or the tranny keep slipping in to neutral. If I bent the lever to insure it stayed in high gear then it would NOT go into low gear. That suggest to me the "throw" of the lever was missed.
In the lowest position, along with the wings on the bottom of the deck, there is a bottom portion of deck that is welded to the main deck to facilitate the "lip" to help with "lift" or vacum to stand up the grass while cutting. My weld is not level and plum to the deck and as such, rubs the sidewalk as I transition from one part of the property to another.
Now, why, you say, is that not low enough? Well the actual blade position is another 5/8" ABOVE the lip on the deck almost like they missed the length of the A, crankshaft or B length of raised fasteners that bolt the engine to the deck which raises the engine about an inch off the deck.
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  #14  
Old 07-20-2012, 01:50 PM
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greenerman greenerman is offline
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Grnhed how old are your Bravos? I have been running one hard since March. We have had the wetest Spring in years. I have been cutting in the rain up to a couple of weeks ago, long thick wet Spring growth. I haven't had any of the issues you have mentioned. I did find the new soft start drive system a pain so went back to the original drive engagement and it works great for a belt drive system. I don't have any problems pulling the mower backwards, it freewheels just fine and it climbs hills, ramps etc. the way it should. I do have to adjust the belt tension once in a while, but that's normal. I found the handles too short so extended them by pulling them out an inch at the bottom and an inch at the top for a two inch longer handle which helped with handling a lot. I have never had an issue with the handle being slippery as I always wear gloves. I guess a person could wrap the handle with bicycle handlebar tape if needed. The blade engagement handles have been problem free. How the heck could you even bend them with normal use? I am interested and will take a look at grinding off the deck wings as you mentioned, sounds like a good idea.
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  #15  
Old 07-20-2012, 11:58 PM
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Grnhed Grnhed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenerman View Post
Grnhed how old are your Bravos? I have been running one hard since March. We have had the wetest Spring in years. I have been cutting in the rain up to a couple of weeks ago, long thick wet Spring growth. I haven't had any of the issues you have mentioned. I did find the new soft start drive system a pain so went back to the original drive engagement and it works great for a belt drive system. I don't have any problems pulling the mower backwards, it freewheels just fine and it climbs hills, ramps etc. the way it should. I do have to adjust the belt tension once in a while, but that's normal. I found the handles too short so extended them by pulling them out an inch at the bottom and an inch at the top for a two inch longer handle which helped with handling a lot. I have never had an issue with the handle being slippery as I always wear gloves. I guess a person could wrap the handle with bicycle handlebar tape if needed. The blade engagement handles have been problem free. How the heck could you even bend them with normal use? I am interested and will take a look at grinding off the deck wings as you mentioned, sounds like a good idea.
I am right at a year with one, and maybe 18 months on the other. I was not aware of an "option" on soft start vs. regular on the drive. I am totally curious on what a soft start would be as far as configuration. I like the idea of getting two more inches out of the handles, thank you for sharing that. As far as being slippery, some of the guys here are wrapping the handles with grip tape similar to whats on a hockey stick or a baseball bat I believe. I was told this by my supplier and have not seen one personally. I have found a happy medium with the "pulling the mower backwards". The blade drive belt went out on one of the mowers and the problem was the bearing in the tensioner. I noticed the outside diameter of that tensioner was smaller than the tranny tensioner and swap it out. With the smaller diameter there is less wrap on the tranny pulley now and it is night and day difference. I started having spring failure about three months ago as the first blade drive belt wore thin. As it got thinner it runs deeper in the pulley which, in and of itself, loosens the belt and decreases tip speed. I believe I may have shot myself in the foot on the first one as I had tightened the spring a bit too much and when the operator presence bar was released and the belt tensioner relaxed, the spring was still under tension when it hit the "stop" and I can only surmise that, the SHOCK of hitting the stop before all tension was off the spring is why the hook part of the spring would simply snap off. The problem with the tranny not being completely in high gear which caused the mower to kind of lurch then pause, and on the pause I would get the handle either in the family jewels or in the gut, is or was only happening on one mower. My supplier mentioned that another customer ran into that and upon opening the tranny, found it bone dry. They drilled and tapped theirs and added grease zerks to all and it seems to have eliminated the problem.
You may want to peek in the tranny to insure you still have grease to maybe head off any future problem.
I believe that my first one was one of the first 5 or 10 in Texas and the second came 5 or 6 months later after two or three transmission revises. There is another revise out which puts the pivot handle to engage the tranny facing the front of the mower. Both of mine have the pivot hand facing the rear and it appears that the material of the newer handles are 3/8 stock (or the metric equivalent, 6mm or so) where as mine is more of a 3/16 stock.
I hope that makes sense.
Oh after the return springs that hold the "spring alarm" up failed, I have removed the spring alarm. Originally just to trouble shoot it and now, I am the only one running the mowers so, I just have not re installed them. The RING part of those springs were failing. They originally came with what looks like 5/8 garden hose about an inch long to, and I am guessing here take some of the vibration out of the spring when engaged as that can only wear the ring part as its metal to metal. I have found a way though to re-bend the ends of both springs to still work as the engagement spring is part of the cable and was getting expensive.
I have not had a spring failure since installing new drive belts on both mowers. I believe it got me back into the operating range of both springs with the new belt in place.
I am thinking about buying a set of the Toro baffles to install on the deck just to see if I can run the hi lift blade while mulching and the baffles would dissipate the clumps. I had noticed that in high wet grass, the clumps would just bounce around on top of the blade making it sound as if the blade was coming off until I went to pivot to start back down the property. There is where it take a big chit and empty the deck when I raised the mower a bit to do the pivot. Of course the whole process would start over until 10 or 11 AM until the dew had dried. Later on taller Bermuda. St Augustine was not near the problem. The only problem I ever had with Augustine was, that grass is QUICK to show you your blade is beginning to dull as you would leave stick ups or having such shallow rysomes it would yank a few up as I passed.
Mowing Zoysia and Bermuda short if it is thick is usually ok. It when going under a Bradfor Pear or a Live Oak which both have thick canopies, and neither Bermuda or Zoy will tolerat much shade is it becomes thin and spindly and if the gator blade is on there is not enough lift to stand the thin grass up while cutting. Now, if you remove the plug and prop the baggin door open a little bit, it will allow the lift to set up again as the air has some place to go and cuts MUCH better. Just be careful as the ole' rock in the nuts trick will make one close the door pretty quick!!!! *smile*
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  #16  
Old 07-21-2012, 01:55 PM
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greenerman greenerman is offline
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Interesting. The soft start system uses a small shock absorber in place of the spring at the top end of the engagement cable. (where it attaches to the handle). The shock slowly retracts engaging the drive slowler. It works great for starting the wheels gently but just takes too much time doing so, for me anyway. I prefer the positive feel of the drive without the shock and being totally in control having the wheels do what I want when I want. I made my own stop for the bail so that the distance from the handle to the bail is shorter. I have big hands but I found that having to outstretch my hand fully was irritating especially when finessing in small areas. The shorter bail throw also seems to make the engagement work a little softer. Maybe cause I can perform more precise bail movements cause my hand isn't stretched to the limit. Increasing engine RPM to 3650 helped performance when in tough conditions. I would like it to be running even faster but I have ruined Honda valves in the past running higher than 3700. It would be nice if Honda made a high performance model of this engine.
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