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How Much is Enough Horsepower?

Discussion in 'Tractors' started by MBDiagMan, Aug 12, 2005.

  1. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 852

    One of the mowers I am looking at is a Gravely 144Z with a 17HP Kawasaki. 17HP for a 44" cut mower does not seem like enough Horsepower. They do not have a 19HP model on hand. I would not be opposed to a larger machine, but the ones they have on hand are Kohler powered. After what I've been through with US engines recently I'm not currently keen on a Kohler or B&S in my next machine.

    Some of my cutting is tall grass in the spring and Bahia grass in the late summer and fall. If you've never cut Bahia grass let me tell you that it can be really hard to cut.

    Is the 17HP Kawasaki on a 44" cut machine up to the task for my needs?

    Thanks for sharing your experience,
  2. Jcs Lawn and Landscape

    Jcs Lawn and Landscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 117

    i think the 17 hp would be fine for a 44 inch deck there are alot of people here with 14hp motors on there 48 inch mowers and have no problem and i have a 17hp kawasaki on my lesco 52 inch and it has no problem and i have never had it bog down yet
  3. NewYorkrookie

    NewYorkrookie LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    the Kawi twin on my PM34Z pushes it to 9mph, and cuts the tall stuff without bogging down.......oh yeah .....its only 15hp
  4. Travis Followell

    Travis Followell LawnSite Silver Member
    from KY
    Posts: 2,207

    17 HP is plenty for a 44" deck. Even in tall grass it should do fine.
  5. Smalltimer1

    Smalltimer1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,223

    18hp is a realistic number to shoot for when looking for a mower. A good 18 will have the power to work as well as get good fuel economy and also last a long time.
  6. kenkmowerman

    kenkmowerman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    18 model hp is plenty but look at Grasshopper model 218. It has a better reliability factor with it's horizontal crank engine and transmission.
  7. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 852

    Thanks for all the responses.

    Just to follow up on the thread, I finally bought a Bad Boy, Lightening Z, 48", 26HP Liquid Cooled Kawasaki. I'm very happy with it and it is certainly not low on horsepower. I cut a good bit of Bahia and it cuts the stuff like there's no tomorrow.

    Thanks again,
  8. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Posts: 4,205

    26 horse on a 48"..........yup, no lack of horsepower there...........

    As for the 17 horse on a 44" ........I'm assuming you were talking about a zero turn, not a walk behind.......I'm not real familiar with gravely's model numbers..........
    But, on a zero turn a 17 horse is completely underpowered.

    Let us know how your bad boy works out for you.........
  9. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 852


    I thought that 17 was skimpy for a 44". That is only .38 horsepower per inch of cut. In looking at different mower models, about .45 horsepower per inch seems to be the norm with commercial mowers. My Bad Boy having the smallest available deck gives .54 hp/inch. The extra power is pretty handy cutting Bahia grass.

    I just got the Bad Boy and only have 8 hours on it. Just did the breakin oil change. Other than the control levers being a little extra sensitive I think it's a fabulous machine. The thing is so blasted fast that along with the sensitive controls, it would not be a good ZTR to learn on, but it really offers high production, a quality cut and is built super tough. It will take time, of course, to see how it holds up and works out for the long term, but I have a good feeling about it.

    Thanks for sharing your experience,
  10. zim bob the landscaper

    zim bob the landscaper LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,707

    i think it would be fine for a 44"

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