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32-36 gear drive reverse

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Grass Cake, Apr 24, 2005.

  1. Grass Cake

    Grass Cake LawnSite Senior Member
    from Zone C
    Messages: 303

    I'm about to buy a 32" or 36" w/b mower for some island's at a elementary school. I can't justify/afford a DD hydro right now. There's also a hill about 300' long and about 15' high they asked me to price. I could squeeze the extra for a SD hydro but i'm afraid it won't perform well on the hillside if i get that area.

    My question is....what gear driven w/b has the best reverse?
    And the "none" answer won't satisfy me.
  2. jgtxusa

    jgtxusa LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    First off. NONE. Sorry, but all of the major brands run the same tranny and it is a reverse assist, not a true reverse. I ran all hydros until one year ago when my friend talked me into the Scag sw 36 gear for our mid mower. He currently runs one one all 20 - 25 maintenance trucks that he runs. They have tryed them versus hydros and seem to think they are better. A year ago I would have completely disagreed, and I will not lie, it took time for my guys to take a liking to the gear drive. People say the profitability is there on a hydro, and I firmly disagree now. The gears have done really great. I do not have a lot of experience on the gears on huge hills. They do fine on the stuff we have here. That is why you need to demo the both of them at the same time. The dealer will have no problem doing that for you. You can message me if I can help you in anyway. We have had quite a few different mowers that we like, but the scags have really done us right. Just my personal opinion. Hope I can save you the headaches that I have had before. Go for a product that is supported heavily with parts by a very local dealer. That has saved me more than spending my time value shopping or whatever. Good luck. Holler if I can help.
  3. jgtxusa

    jgtxusa LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    One more thing. We never use anything but 21"s on the islands. Just a thought. They are very fast for small work.
  4. Grass Cake

    Grass Cake LawnSite Senior Member
    from Zone C
    Messages: 303

    Thanks for the reply,
    I understand the reverse assist concept......but have read a few post here that mentioned backing up on a sulky that was a belt drive.

    The island are pretty big.......i'd do them with the ZTR if the tree rings weren't so big that i'd need to jump the curb at every tree.

    BTW.... i'm too lazy to use my 21" honda.(it gets pretty humid here in the summer)
  5. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,986

    It's not true that none of the major brands build a 32" or 36" gear driven walk behind with a true reverse. Get a Toro w/ the T-bar. I run a 36" with a 2 wheel sulky and it doesn't have any problems with backing, even up hill. You just have to steer like you are backing a trailer so you don't jack-knife the sulky. Having used many belt driven walk behinds T-bar is the only way to go. Save your wrists, insanely good manueverability and fast. I have mowed over 3,000 lawns with mine. Run it in fifth gear all the time pulling my sulky and it still runs like a dream.
  6. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    It has nothing to do with the tranny. It is the way the final drive belts are set up. Most manufacturers use a single adjustable idler (the pulley that moves when you pull the handles in) pulley on the top of the final drive belt that acts as a clutch. This works great but only in forward. You can't get the idler tight enough to get reverse to grab anywhere near as good as forward with this setup and that why the belts slip in reverse. Gravely used to have a setup where there was a idler on top and bottom. Reverse worked great as long as it was adjusted properly.
  7. barnard

    barnard LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    Toro with t-bar.
  8. dwost

    dwost LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,667

    Try the Better Quick 36. Many on here run them and are impressed with the unit. Can't beat the price either, under 2k for a hydro shipped. Click on them as they are a sponser at the top of the page.
  9. Bethelboy

    Bethelboy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    I don't know how steep this hill is, but you might want to really consider the dworst idea of a Quick 36. I live in the mountains of North Carolina and just bought a super duty. So far I am very pleased with it and it goes anywhere I have tried to make it. It is also a great price so you wont get in too deep buying one.
  10. nelbuts

    nelbuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    from SW, FL
    Messages: 1,053

    Not sure if you know but the reverse will work fine if you push DOWN on the levers while in reverse. Having said that I never use reverse. If you have a hill start at the bottom and work your way up. When you come to the end of your row turn it up hill and let it drift back a little while you turn and that is all you need.

    I think that the hydros are a waste of money for me as the only time I use a WB is to do hills. And yes we have hills here next to canals and such. The Toro TBar is a good unit but I could never get use to the TBAR so stayed with my trusty Scag.

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