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Need advice on WB

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by CLM1103, Jul 23, 2001.

  1. CLM1103

    CLM1103 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 75

    I live in a retirement community in Florida. In August of last year, I purchased a Troy-Bilt wide-cut 33" mower with the intent to eventually mow about 25 lawns for extra income (supposedly retired!). A couple weeks later a company doing work in the area went out of business and I wound up with 91 accounts on year around contract, all within a quarter mile of my home. I pull my mower and other equipment with my golf cart to all accounts so I do not need truck or trailer. I do not have any employees. All lawns are one quarter acre or less, relative flat with the exception of some having about 8' of rear lot sloping about 30 degrees down to lake. There are no curbs. I use Stihl trimmer, edger and blower. Due to our rainy season (July - Sept), I have to mow when wet quite a bit.

    The Troy-Bilt does not hold up very good for this amount of mowing as here in Florida we cut almost year round. I go through a lot of spindles and belts.

    I am planning to buy a new WB and am thinking about an EXMARK or BUNTON. I would like any reccommendation. Should I go gear-drive or Hydro for this work (I make a lot of short runs on thease small lawns). I also am thinking of a 36" machine due to the size of lawns. I would appreciate any advice on mower, repair comparisons and and other considerations for what I am doing. What are extra costs for going Hydro? Should I go floating deck or fixed? I am presently mulching except for overgrown clean-up jobs.

    During winter months (Nov. - Feb.) I also pressure wash most of these homes. So much for retirement!!
  2. EJK2352

    EJK2352 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,150

    Go with An Exmark Turf Tracer Hp 36" hydro. Exmark has the best mulching system & from what you wrote in your post, you will need a good mulcher, since your are useing a golf car to haul it around and no way to haul away clippings.:) ED
  3. peewee

    peewee LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    if you have to make any height adjustments a floating deck is the way to go.Are you going to use a velky? Hydro is a good option in this instance.Sounds like a nice little raise in pay with all the extra work so you can most likely afford to get a a good machine with some nice features.
  4. Currier

    Currier LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 564

    I would definately go with some sort of hydro. One thing to consider is that you can get a 36" deck for a Walker. Doing small properties you could probably go with the model c (16 hp). Or maybe check into some other smaller ztr machines. (91 lawns = lots of walking, and you know you are only going to grow...)
  5. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,496

    Depending on how many REALLY tight areas you have, I think I would consider atleast a 48" deck. You are certainly going to get a better quality of cut, and at 90 accounts, just think of the production saved....it adds up! 48 is really not all that big, but probably most productive for your type of areas to mow. I would ALSO opt for the hydro, just for the ease of use, let alone the other benefits.
  6. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    I have a belt drive 36" exmark and its great if you don't use it much. If I was using it much I would have the hydro too. With that many accounts, you better look into the hydro. It will pay for itself quickly in more production. Do you have a little trailer behind the golf cart? It not, I don't think it will pull very good. Hydros don't freewheel very good. Get a sulky and ride to all yards.
  7. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    I would probably agree with Runner and opt for a 48" fixed deck hydro mower. Although I do have an Exmark I will still recommend getting one (I'm trying not to sound biased here). They do have a good track record and I have seen very few complaints about them. I recommend the fixed deck because except for the slopes behind the houses you don't indicate that the properties are bumpy in any way. Hydro mowers are almost always faster on smaller properties than a gear drive particularly if you have a lot of backing up to do. The hydro should run you around $1,200 to $1,500 more than a belt drive.
  8. CLM1103

    CLM1103 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 75

    Thanks for all the good info..65hoss, I have already discovered the pulling problem. The Troy-Bilt is light enough that I have an L-shaped bar on the rear of my golf cart with a hole in the vertical end. I have a 3/4" stud on the front cross-bar of the mower, so I just raise the front wheels off the ground, stick the stud through the hole, put on a wing nut. I cut a piece from a bycicle innertube to slip over the operator control lever and I'm good to go. Pulls great, even backs up good.

    With an Exmark, I will be dealing with a lot more weight, so I will have to build a low clearance trailer or come up with some other idea. My jobs are so close that as a last resort, I can use a velkie to go to multible sites to mow, then return for the cart with my edger, string trimmer and blower to finish up.

    I have had mixed feelings about fixed deck or floating. No bumpy lawns at all so I think the fixed will be OK. Next, I have to justify going to the Hydro in lieu of belts. I hate belts. Thanks again.
  9. Currier

    Currier LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 564

    I have a jd 36 wb that has the fixed deck and really gives a great cut. It also is gear drive and has pistol grips and will flat out kill you if you have to mow many small areas that require tight turns or backing up. I love and hate this mower. It has saved by rear several times this year when my primary machine broke down. I bought it used mainly as a back up, but I sure wish it was hydrostatic drive. It would be used much more often and would produce better results with less muscle power!
  10. crazygator

    crazygator LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,048

    Please check out the Hustler walk behinds before you purchase. They have a 48" with a 17hp Kawasaki that is just fantastic. The steering has no levers, as in a pistol grip, so there for much easier to control and no worry of carpal tunnel. It's much like steering a bicycle. Very very comfortable. Go look and you will not get anything else. It is also available in a 36" as well. http://www.excelhustler.com/
    Good luck on your purchase!

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