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Hydro Question

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lsylvain, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. lsylvain

    lsylvain LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 777

    I have never actually gone and tested out any hydro w/b's other than Ferris products. I've looked at some in pics and stuff. On some of them I'm trying to figure out how the controls work. I just read a post about a hydro with a forward/reverse lever and some other things that just seem odd to me. The Ferris stuff I have has two levers on each side you control with your thumbs that control the hydro unit. Push forward the wheel turns forward, pull back you go in reverse. Like the levers on a ZTR. It seems like from the pics I've seen a lot of mowers have all these extra levers and stuff. On other hydro W/B do you have to "shift" it into reverse or something? From the pictures it looks like they are just like belt drives as far as how they operate. I should get off my but and test drive some other brands I guess. I just always assumed that the controls were the same if not very similar.
  2. TScapes

    TScapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 453

    It depends on the make and model. Toro has a pistol grip and a "T-Bar" style for control and opperation. The "T-Bar", you simply push forward and go and squeeze it back to go back. As with any pistol grip hydro, the handles dictate your direction. You do have a gear setting that allows you to set your speed, but the handlebars are like pruner handles and you squeeze them to stop or slow each side's wheels. If you want to back up, you simply squeeze them all the way. There is no lever to put into reverse. You simply have a nuetral and the designated gear you want. Exmark, Scag, Lesco, Bunton, JD, Snapper, etc. are all pretty much the same way.

    Why do you just call someone and get a Demo. Or go to an "open-house" or a field day at a dealer. Even better, go to a trade show to take a look.
  3. lsylvain

    lsylvain LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 777

    So your speed isn't variable? I'm still not getting it. I knew there was somthing funny with the other brands. I have used the toro t-bar on the belt drives, I assumed that would be simmilar.

    So what I understand is you pop it in gear and it goes at a constant speed and if you want to slow dow you have to put it in a lower gear. Assuming your operator presence control is broken if you let go of the handles does it keeps moving? Do you have to use the brakes to stop just like an old beltdrive? Do you still have to shift into gear with your knees so the thing doesn't take off without you?

    My controls are variable and i don't use the breaks to stop only to help it turn faster. the further forward i push the controls the faster it goes if you let off the control it comes to a dead stop.

    I know I should just go to a dealer. I just have always liked my Ferris stuff so I never really looked into much else and the only time I think about it is when someone mentions it on here.
  4. TScapes

    TScapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 453

    The T-bar is variable (I think.... I can't quite remember... it's been 6+ years since I ran a T-bar : when they first came out with the hydro units for toro).
    Basically as I recall, the speed is controlled by how far you push the bar forward. As for all the pistol grips that I have used (Exmark, scag, JD, Lesco, etc.) there is a lock on the handles... about where your thumbs go, that locks them up. If you have it in gear and let go, it stalls. If you are running and fall off, releasing the safety lever on the handles, it quits but still goes forward till it stops itself. There is a parking brake, but the locks on the handles work just as good. Exmark shifter is on the handlebar, btwn the handles.
    Basically, when you start it, the locks are on..... you put it in your desired gear, flip the locks with your thumbs and you are off. Most people put it in the high gear and control the speed by applying the brakes (squeezing the pistols).
    Really hard to discribe, you really need to test drive one.
  5. lsylvain

    lsylvain LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 777


    I've heard all i need, to know that I have no need to test drive one. I thought they looked like they operated just like the belt drive, they just added a parking break so it wouldn't run away when you first put it in gear. I can run my Ferris with one hand, from the sound of it if you ran these others with one hand you would just either be running to catch up to it or doing donuts in the lawn. The main reason for getting a hydro to me is not having to shift gears and ride the brakes like an old lady. Maybe thats why I have never seen the huge benifit to the ZTR that others have, because my walk behinds are much easier to control and more productive than other?

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