Problem with garden tractor; swap to walk-behind?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by rghash, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. rghash

    rghash LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    I have a practially new Husqvarna GTH2548 'garden tractor' (25hp Kohler, 48", hydro). I have no problem with the machine itself, my problem lies with the decks inability to eject clippings in even slightly heavy grass and/or damp conditions.

    I have a 2-acre, virtually flat yard (ditch is only exception, not a problem). I'm not looking for golf-green look, and will never bag. Basically just want to keep the weeds chopped low ;-)

    The deck on this machine accumulates a ton of clippings, and I cannot mow more than an acre before I have to shut it down, get down on my hands and knees and spend 10 minutes scraping the 3-blade deck clean. Fire-ant mounds and crawfish mounds accelerate the problem, coating the deck with a thick plaster of dirt/grass (yes, I try to knock them down first, but there are always a few). After an hour the belts starts to squeal and I know it's time. After a mere 21 hours on the the machine I managed to break one of the idler pulleys, just too heavy a load I think. I run it (gasp) with the deflector strung up about half way (these things eject on the curve of the top of the deck (as well as the side), so you would be nuts to take it off all the way), which helps a little, but not much.

    Now the question: I am now wondering how much of difference I could expect with something like a 48" eXmark Metro (fixed deck, gear drive, 15hp Kaw). This appears to be the machine of choice of a great number of commerical lawn services in this area, and my casual observation says that it appears to manage high grass with a much improved spray out the side of the deck over what I'm currently experiencing. And I'm thinking that if the deck loads up, and least I can tilt the deck up to clear it out...

    Admittedly we have had a pretty wet year down here (Houston) so far, but I'm also pretty unhappy to have broken off an idler pulley on a brand new machine when the grass wasn't *that* high (I was pushing it, but didn't think it was that much).

    What say ye?
  2. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    What hight are you cutting at? HOw often? How much are you taking off? I ask because my neighbor has a Husq tractor and an old JD walkbehind. He cuts really short and has clumps everywhere most of the time with either mower. I can cut mine less often but cut at 3"-3.5" and don't have a prob. we both have similar rough areas on our acerages. The deep decks on commercial mower are able to handle a larger amount of clipppings better.
  3. rghash

    rghash LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    I'm cutting a bit over 3", roughly once every 7-10 days (max this year has been 13 days, that's when I broke the idler pulley). It's hard to say how much I'm taking off because I have sparse weeds that can grow up to 9-12" in that time, but I would guess I'm taking 2" (3" max) off most 'grass' (it's mostly a field, so 'grass' is being generous).

    To be honest, I don't mind clumps on the yard nearly as much as having to unclog the deck every hour. It's a real time-killer to have to get down on the ground and stick you arm way into the deck and scrape blindly... I'm thinking this would *have* to be easier with a walk-behind, but don't have any experience with one..


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