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New Exmark Belt Drive Question

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by burkcs, Sep 8, 2007.

  1. burkcs

    burkcs LawnSite Member
    Posts: 21

    I just purchased a 2006 48" Exmark Metro HP (belt drive). This is my first time behind a walk behind so I am still in a learning curve. I have a few questions after mowing my personal lawn a few times with it?

    1. The mower looses control when going down a hill. It's like you just put the mower in neutral. Is this normal? I would think being a gear drive the gears would control the down hill speed to a certain degree. I have to use the brakes or the mower will go completely out of control. This is a problem. When I use the brakes to go down a hill the the wheels slide and I loose my straight line not to mention the safety factor.

    2. I bought a Pro One Sulky for the mower(Its a 2 wheel sulky). How does one suspend it up behind the mower to allow walking behind the mower? It came with a cable but I can not figure out how to lift the sulky up to suspend it with the cable. It has to be able to turn/tilt/or fold to get it out of your way. The generic instructions do not detail how this is performed.

    3. Scalping is a slight problem. When I get into a swell or when I mow side ways on a hill the side of the deck will scalp the lawn. I know this will be a learning curve but if you can provide some pointers I can use I would be greatful.

    4. This is a general question about the pros and cons of a belt drive versus a hydro. I test drove both briefly and did not see the advantage of a hydro other then reverse or the ability to quickly change speed. I understand the issue with the belt drives and water, but what other pros and cons are there. I see a lot of people on here saying they do not like belts and hydros are the best. Why? I see very little reasoning why other then the reverse and getting the belts wet. I have no problems with performing a perfect zero turn with my belt drive. What is the advantage of a hydro and/or why do you not like the belt driver mowers?

  2. burkcs

    burkcs LawnSite Member
    Posts: 21

    If I could someone to answer the down hill question that will satisfy me.
  3. GPDesign1

    GPDesign1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 420


    When your mower is powering the wheels on flat ground or when going up a hill, the belts are transferring power from the transmission (your Peerless 5-speed) to the wheels. The lower strand of the wheel drive belts are in tension and the idlers (on top) take up any slack.

    When a belt-drive mower heads down a hill, this relationship suddenly reverses. Instead of the belts transferring power to the wheels, the wheels begin to transfer power back to the transmission. The lower strand of the belt goes slack (no idler) and the upper strand of the belt attempts to get tight (but just moves the idler out of it's way). The result is a drive system that's essentially un-coupled.

    Next time you go down a steep hill, (Carefully) watch the wheel drive belts. The idler pulleys will raise-up (causing your brake levers to swing down) and the belts will lose all tension. After that, it's free-wheeling baby! :laugh:

  4. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,201

    What kind of controls do you have on the mower? I have the Toro's with T-bar steering and when going down hills pulling back on the T-bar slows it down and maintains control. Scalping is going to be a problem on certain yards if the mower you have has a fixed deck, thats just a fact of life. You can decrease the chance of scalping by mowing mostly level lawns or by raising the height the mower cuts at. Its to bad Toro's Tru Trak sulky won't fit on the Exmarks, best sulky out there. Hydro's drive is better all the way around and a must if you mow alot of hills, they won't slip like belt drive units.
  5. burkcs

    burkcs LawnSite Member
    Posts: 21

    Thanks Guys.

    I mowed three of my accounts today. The first was a real learning curve but the second and third I was able to fly through. I am comparing this to the John Deere lawn tractor I was using. I love the zero turn.

    As for going down hill, I simply step of the sulky and walk down using the brakes. Using this technique I do not slide all of the way down the hill. Does the Hydro have this same problem or will it go down a hill in a controlled manner?

    Note: My mower has a floating deck. This was a must.

    Let me ask you guys another question. I seem to spend most of my time edging hardscapes and beds. Do you guys have any pointers as to how to speed this process up. I average two hours per lawn from start to finish and most of that time is edging or talking to the customer.
  6. ahah

    ahah LawnSite Member
    from 5
    Posts: 70

    Hydros do not have down hill runaway. Will still loose traction on a something too steep or too wet.

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