1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum.

    Dismiss Notice

choppers exmarks & electric clutches

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawnworker, Nov 28, 2001.

  1. lawnworker

    lawnworker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 897

    I have looked at a dixie chopper and noticed it has a manual clutch to engage the blades,which is what i would prefer when i make my next purchase (ztr).However i like exmarks compact look on the 52 hp lazer z which i think has the electric clutch,correct me if i am wrong on this.From you all that have these units tell me if this is a concern on reliability with the electric clutch.It just seems to me with the manual clutch you can ease the blades on slower making less wear on the belts ,which makes me wonder why would a manufacturer even use electric clutches at all.Also i have heard something about the routing of the engine to blade belts wearing faster on the exmark due to routing as opposed to the dixie choppers design.I have talked to some people that tell me that the dixie choppers are the best cutting machines.I know that exmark walk behinds cut well having owned two units for many years,but when it comes to the high cost of the ZTR mowers I want to be as informed as possible before any purchase I might make.

    living life lawnworker
  2. shearbolt

    shearbolt LawnSite Member
    Messages: 171

    I love the manual clutch. I have 2 Exmark w/bs, a Ransome w/b, a Walker GHS and just bought a Dixie Chopper. All have the manual and have no problems. My first mower was 1983 Toro 44 belt drive. It had a manual clutch. Had a few problems , it was pretty reliable. I just hate the way the electric cluch kicks in . It feels as if the hole mower is being stressed too much and occasionally the load is to much and the engine just quits. I find it very diffucult to get employees to lower the rpms before they engage the blades. However, they can be trained to engage the manual clutch slowly which I believe is the better of two evils.
  3. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943


    I have owned both, on both. Dixie, Lazer, SCAG Manual, and SCAG Electric. Garden tractor manual, and Garden tractor electric. If I had a choice on a mower, it would without any doubt or hesitation, be ELECTRIC CLUTCH. Actually this is what is giving me hesitation on buying an Exmark walkbehind....theyr'e still manual!! I want electric, and only SCAG offers it.

    Back to ZTR's and your question. The Lazer HP is a vertical shaft engine design so the belt doesn't have to do a dog leg twist to the deck. The electrics are a little tougher to engage when the engine/deck/belts are cold. But there is no fine tuning or adjustment needed as the belt stretches. My old SCAG manual was known for slipping the belt when it stretched. Today's electric clutches are by far outliving the ones that have left the bad rumors in your head.

    Go for the better mower with the best/closest dealer.
  4. tls

    The 2002 turf tracer has a electric clutch but not the turf tracer hp
    or the viking hydro also none of the belt drives
  5. jannan

    jannan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    Having had to replace the electric clutch on my Lazer with less than 300 hours, I tend to prefer manual clutches. I probably was a contributor to the failing of the clutch, by not idleing down the machine before disengaging the blades. If all else is equal, I would choose the machine with a manual clutch.
  6. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 870

    For the record: All years Turf Tracers have/had electric clutch.

    I prefer electic clutch and have only had a failure under warranty.

    If you have to replace one at 2500 hours, the $150.00 shouldn't be a big deal.

    It does not affect belt wear in any measureable way.

    Bottom line: I think it's a matter of personal preference rather than a reliability, price or value issue.
  7. Eng Mwr Guy

    Eng Mwr Guy Gravely Manufacturer
    Messages: 249


    The new Gravely WB's have an electric clutch properly specified to handle double blades.

    Couldn't leave that one alone....sorry.

    Gravely Guy
  8. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    Oh, I know, I should have clarified that "most" WB's aren't electric. As from a manufacturers standpoint, I would think that it is easier and cheaper to produce a mower with an electric clutch. Less to go wrong, no linkage, no extra pulleys, easier to wire in a operator presence control. I guess when/if the electric breaks it will be out of service that day for a replacement. However if you break something on a manual clutch, your down for a while too.

    After seeing my local shopping center get mowed today, I see why electrics get a bad rep. The guy was operating a 60" Lazer. He had a backpack strapped to the back of the seat and was driving down the lot with the blades on (full tilt) and blower blowing the leaves up off the lot and into the grass. Then they had another guy on a Lazer with an Ultra-Vac sucking them up in the grass. Anyway, both guys were simply switching the PTO's off and on at full tilt!!! Repeatedly!!! I almost pooped my pants, and I dont even own the mowers! Thats kinda like fingernails on a blackboard to me! Both were doing it over and over, on/off, on/off. The Ultra-Vac unit is the one I was most worried about. I have done it by accident once or twice when my thigh bumps the PTO switch, and that makes me nervous, but come on, this had to be abuse of equipment.
  9. The first year the 44" toro mid size walkbehind was produced was 1985 with an electric clutch.
  10. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 870


    44" Toro WB was introduced in late 1988.

    Toro WB production started in 1985 with the 36" and 52" only.

Share This Page