Fixed deck vs. Floating. Belt Drive Vs. Hydro

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by LifeBack Lawns, May 25, 2013.

  1. LifeBack Lawns

    LifeBack Lawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 216

    As the title says. Let's get it started guys. Pros and cons, experience, reliability, sulky, preferred ones, etc.
     
  2. toasted

    toasted LawnSite Member
    Posts: 205

    Started the business with fixed deck belt drives and replaced them with floating deck hydro. Cut is vastly superior and traction and operator comfort has increased substantially.
     
  3. macgyver_GA

    macgyver_GA LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 826

    This ^^ nothing wrong with starting out with a fixed deck belt drive walk behind. Many of us did. I replaced mine this year with a floating deck hydro model. World of difference.
     
  4. LifeBack Lawns

    LifeBack Lawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 216

    What are some differences you have noticed from the two?
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  5. macgyver_GA

    macgyver_GA LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 826

    My hands forearms and hands don't ache after hours of operation. I can actually do a zero turn on it rather than pivoting off one wheel. If i want to reverse, all I have to do is pull back on the controls, as opposed to my belt drive, I had to stop the machine, lock one of the brakes while holding the other to put the gear selector in reverse then start moving again. Also, no having to change gears. The further I let the controls out, the faster I go. Also, the floating deck is easy to adjust on the fly (no stacking spacers) and it scalps less.
     
  6. toasted

    toasted LawnSite Member
    Posts: 205

    Took the words out of my mouth.

    The worst part of the belt drive is downhill slopes. You have to control your speed using the brakes and that really sucks. That and gear driven transmissions are cumbersome and limit production.
     
  7. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,533

    Damn near impossible to kill a belt drive. For that reason I have several as backups in the shop. Cheap to buy, fix and run. They can help get you started on budget and always be there when a hydro goes down for which parts are not cheap and usually not immediately available. A high degree of mechanical know how needed to fix a hydro.
    Fixed vs floating is kind of personal preference. Depending on the turf you cut. 90% of what I cut is SA or Bahia, both cut at 4.5 so fixed is fine for me. Less moving parts means less problems.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  8. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,079

    We thought that was true until we had belt drive on 48" Scag WB and we are into our second transmission in 7 years of low use. We have had two 32" scag with belt that are close to 10 years and no problem.
     
  9. toasted

    toasted LawnSite Member
    Posts: 205

    I killed two walk behinds- both had broken transmissions.
    Granted they allowed me to start my business on the cheap but never again.
     
  10. fredmullegun

    fredmullegun LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 317

    I don't think cut quality is really a major advantage of a floating deck. The floating decks may be better but that is more about deck design and more expensive mowers getting better decks.
     

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