buying a wb--belt or hydro????

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by stevo22, Aug 23, 2002.

  1. stevo22

    stevo22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 344

    i am going to purchase a 36deck mower with in a week or so..i am considering the gravely or exmark, fixed decks..i have driven a belt drive but never a hydro...are they really worth the extra 1200-1500???dependability of the hydro's???i know there is some general maintenence that i can perform on the belt's for the belt driven deck, but there will be no way that i could begin to work on a hydro should anything happen...i currently have an old old old old 36 gravely that i picked up this year just to get me by on some of my bigger yards...only paid 350, didn't lose a dime...has paid for itself many times over this year...i do not feel that the mower that i have now will pull me, prob just needs to be tuned up, new belts etc...i am going to consider puting a bigger motor on it this winter and use it as a back up next year...

    anyway, plz give me all of your pro's and cons for the two mowers i am considering...exmark belt/hydro---gravely belt/hydro...the only prices i have thus far is gravely belt 2399/hydro (4099 on website)...exmark belt 2199/hydro (don't know)...both have the 15 kaw...

    thx for the input and sorry to be long winded...s.p.
  2. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Messages: 3,010

    stevo--I will let someone else give you the pros and cons. and you will probably get told to use the search function on this topic. but you wont hear it from me.

    as for the belt drives, that is what I use in the form of an older lesco 48. it does the job quite nicely.

    would I like to have a hydro? sure. I just am waiting for the right deal on the right unit.

    gravleys are common here and a complaint that I often hear is that the belts slip in wet grass,

    and I can contrast that with my lesco belts never slip, wet or not.

    do you need a 36? I'd look at a 48 before you buy. good luck.

  3. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Spend the extra $$$ and get hydro. I've tried both, haven't bought anything yet, but even my dad says, who is really cheap and doesn't let me buy anything I DON'T need, tells me to buy a hydro. He was with me when I tried both of them and I told him the differences. He's no mower operator and he can tell you that shifting into reverse all day and having to assist the mower to go into reverse on a belt drive is not going to be fun. Pros-Cons of a hydro

    Pros-No belt slipping, no belt maintenance, no shifting into reverse, infinately variable speed (again, no real "shifting), counter-rotation on turns, which for me is a big plus, regardless of what people tell me. I don't want to be pulling on 500 pounds all day.
    Cons-More expensive for hydro, expensive parts on hydro system if something goes wrong, nothing else

    Belts are cheap and they are that way for a reason. I'm not bashing, just stating a fact. If you want the less expensive route, buy a belt. But I believe that with the saved time by buying a hydro with turns, or whatever, you're going to pay off that $1,500 difference in one season. I've already figured that a hydro 36" will save me about $2,000 in saved time over a 21". That's an apples to oranges comparison, but you get what I'm saying. Good luck. Whatever you do, buy an exmark. I was looking at Toro, but changed my mind yet again. Like geogunn said, look into a 48" before you buy. If you can get one on your lawns, go for it. Even more time saved :cool:
  4. Ax Man

    Ax Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 446

    Demo Demo Demo.
    There is no doubt in my mind that the hydro is the way to fly. If you can swing it buy the machine to build your bussiness with,(don't go into debt to do it)
    As far as brand, I belive that diffrent brands are made by and for diffrent types of people (body types)
    What is comfortable for me might be completely unacceptable to you.
    Most major brands are very dependable, and the first option to add to your new toy should be an hour meter. (use it to close the deal) (Ok I'll give you XXXX$ if you throw in an Hour meter and extra blades)
    Other wise you are guessing how many hours are on the oil, filters etc.
    You want the investment to last.
    Make the dealer work for you.
  5. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Messages: 3,010

    YO SKAG... me thinks you over dramatize the shifting and reverse thing.

    from experience, and I have alot of it by now, if you are spending time backing up with a lawn mower you either don't know what you are doing or you need to get off the scrub-list and get some real lawns to mow.:eek: and I don't mean you personally, I mean anyone in general. :blush:

    I never have to back (well, so rarely that it isn't worth talking about) up when I mow because I never put myself in the position where I have to. and rarely do I have to yank back on the handlebars for a turn.

    there is no need for counter rotation while making passes with a belt unit because the brake on the inside of the turn is held loosely and the tire travels a bit therefore avoiding a turn "divot".

    yeah I'll pick up a hydro someday but the belt units are good mowers for the money and they have their place.

    no way would I ever put an employee on a hydro and risk the chance of having to pay for repairs in case he tore it up.


    BTW: I reserve the right to recant all of my belt opinions after I get a hydro!:p
  6. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    Go With The Gravely. They Have a deeper deck On the smaller walk Behineds. Similer To The Ultracut. The exmark Is the tryvantage deck Not as deep.

    If You Feel Uncomfortable With The Hydro Go with the Gear.
    But the hydro is better. On Hill's and Backing Up.

  7. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    I demoed the Gravely Pro-H prototype last year. As a matter of fact it is my mug on those Gravely banners on this site, so I am a little biased.

    I will say that it is a SOLID machine that cut well. Lots of good features too. I personally am not a fan of pistol grips and I know that the engineers have made some changes to that end of the machine.
    What was really cool about the prototype is that they had it cranked and I could slide behind it at about 10MPH. Whoooo boy.

    I'd say demo both but I would be leaning toward the Gravely.
  8. Cut 2 Please

    Cut 2 Please LawnSite Member
    Messages: 221

    If you can, demo the Ferris SD walk-behind. You get the benifits of a Hydro but at a less expensive price. I bought one a couple of months ago and after getting use to it, I love it. The differance is this mower is a single drive hydro and the exmark and gravely are dual drive hydros. I have had belt drives, dual drives, and now a single drive walk behinds. The single drive is very good, not as good as a dual drive but it does very well. It opperates much like a belt drive but with no belt slippage and you do not have to pull it backwards. The dual drive will turn around at the end of a row better but if you have an inexperenced opperater on it there will be a tire print where it was turned. It is much less likely to get that with a single drive or belt drive. Demo all of the mowers and go with the one you are most comfortable with. The price of the Ferris SD should be about half way inbetween the price of a belt drive and a hydro drive.
  9. germann

    germann LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    Get a Hydro.
  10. dforbes

    dforbes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 195

    if you can afford it get the hydro. I have ran both and the hydro is better. I have some 3 year old exmarks and have had no problems yet. We use to have problems with the peerless transmisions. they are not cheap to fix either.

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