hydro vs. belt drive

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Live4Mowin', May 29, 2003.

  1. Live4Mowin'

    Live4Mowin' LawnSite Member
    Posts: 203

    whats the difference between hydro and belt drive, which is better and why?:confused:
  2. Jimbo

    Jimbo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,093

    Hydro is better thats why they cost more.

    1. Hydro works in wet conditions where belts would slip.
    2. No belts to worry about wearing or breaking.
    3. Hydro gives you true zero turn. (One wheel can turn backwards while one is turning forward). This is impossible on belt drive machines.
    4. Better choice of forward speed ranges.
    5. Machine tracks better, and adjustments can normally be made by the twist of a knob.

    There are more but I hit the main ones and someone else can add any I missed.

  3. ple_1969

    ple_1969 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 204

    True reverse, not reverse assisted. Just squeeze the levers past the neutral and "BAM" reverse.

  4. Live4Mowin'

    Live4Mowin' LawnSite Member
    Posts: 203

    thanx guys, that really helps!:)
  5. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,076

    If you can afford it as previously mentioned hydro is the way to go but they cost a lot more money.

  6. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Posts: 3,010

    1. not all belt drives slip. my lesco 48 belt actually pulls better under moist, wet conditions. so much so it gets "grabby" sometimes under wet conditions. if it's wet enough to make my lesco belts slip, I aint gonna be mowing.

    2. this is one of my least worries. I have never busted a drive belt. a hydro going down would worry me more.

    3. don't be silly. it is no where near impossible. and why are you doing true "zero turns" for? you'll be mowing the same pass you just mowed. generally you would do a 180 degree turn in some form that won't leave a turn divot.

    4. agreed. that is if it is important to have a choice like the speed between first and second gear or second or third. etc.

    5. agreed. this would be handy if your belt drive has tracking problems that adjustments or tire pressure wont cure.

    for every point there is a counter point. I have extensively used the belt unit and I am ready for a hydro. I just don't want to pay $5k-+ for one.

    and that is making the lesco hydro 48 look awfully good at $3500.

  7. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    The new belt drives DO NOT have a belt slippage problem.

    The new belt drives should use no more belts than a hydro.

    The new belt drives are cheaper and easier to maintain than a hydro.

    Zero turns can be done on a belt drive.

    If 5 forward speeds aren't enough then there's a problem.

    Belt drive tracking can be easily adjusted with tire pressure. It takes 5 seconds to let a little air out.
  8. Jimbo

    Jimbo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,093

    You guys who are pro belt can have your opinions but I have used both and I would never go back to Belt. I agree some points can go either way.
    The new belt drives will start slipping once grass builds up on the belts.

    Maybe some belt drives offer good gear ratios but mine didnt seem to have the right speed for me (2nd too slow, 3rd too fast). My new Hydro has more speed options and they are closer together.

    I forgot to mention that Hydro will wear you out less.


    PS. Richard, can you explain how to do a zero-turn with a belt-drive when the wheels have to turn in the same direction? Maybe I can learn something.
  9. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Demo a hydro for a half hour and you'll be borrowing the money for one over a belt drive unit from your Grandmother if you have to.
  10. rob1325

    rob1325 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 685

    I'd take a Hydro over belt any day. Easier to get under trees and back out. Also the reverse works on hills. I figure I save about 10% to 20% time with my Hydro. Lastly, it pulls my sulky way better. I find it works for me better than belt drive.

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