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electric or manual blade clutch

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by dylan, Oct 10, 2000.

  1. dylan

    dylan Member
    Messages: 276

    What does everyone prefer to see on their mowers:
    electric or manual blade clutch?
  2. Vandora Lawn & Landscape

    Vandora Lawn & Landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    Manual clutch. Simpler. Cheaper. Does the same thing. Why go electric?
  3. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    If you get over the initial belt stretch problem, manuals are simple and effective. However, the newer style electric clutches that are out have a design advantage that allows for belt stretch not affecting clutch engagement. I think that a properly trained operator should have no problems with either.

    Whats on my next (real soon) mower?...Electric.

  4. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,144

    i agree.... though my z master has an electric clutch i never understood the advantage... i know one disadvantage is that they dont last all that long and have more to go wrong with them. Too me pushing a lever to engage the blades on a manual clutch is no more difficult than pulling a nob on a electric.... whats the catch....?
  5. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    I've seen guys, at full throttle, switch on, then off, then on, then off, then on, then off the pto switch on an Exmark Lazer just to supposedly unclog a deck of grass. Were talking 3600+rpm's! These are the employee's to AVOID.

    Evan, the manual has at least: One more pivot (grease) point., More adjustment needed, One or Two more idler pulley's and bearings, and a lot of linkage to wear out over time. Add all that up and I'll just pay to replace an electric every 2000 hrs.

  6. darryl

    darryl LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    After seeing, hearing and first hand exp. with a Cub Cadet electric pto with problems. I will personnally never buy another piece of equipmennt with an electric pto if I can help it. Manual pto's are simple mechanics with usually inexpensive parts. Electric pto's are simple mechanisms that are usually very expensive to replace.
  7. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

    Manual is the best in my opinion. I've got that on my Choppers and have had no problems with any of the 4 Choppers I've owned. You can ease the clutch engagement and start the blades at an idle, which is a lot easier on everything on the mower. I've had both. Electric is nothing but problems in my opinion.
  8. Lazer

    Lazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,446

    With a manual engagement, you have to adjust thru-out the life of the belt.

    You don't have a constant-tension idler apply just the right amount of tension from the time the belt is new until the belt is worn out.

    With manual engagement, you risk over-tensioning and stretching the belt or under-tensioning and having it flap around.

    Plus to stop a manual clutch, you have to put a brake on a pulley or belt itself, either of which are another wear point.

    Belt life is significantly increased in theory.

    Plus you have less likages to grease, adjust, bend.

    I've owned both. Manuals are nothing but problems in my opinion.
  9. osc

    osc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    Electric is much better on design and wearability especially on walk behinds.
    Eric: The design on a dixie is a whole lot better than any
    other machine. That's probably the only mower I
    would have manual.

    Any time you take a belt and stretch it and relax over and over it is a terrible thing. Not to mention the linkage and pivoting that will begin to wear quickly, then you will have problems engaging the blades or getting them to disengage without tearing up the belt. I have 2 hydro 61's sitting in the barn because of this and they are only a year old. We have never had an electric clutch go bad. Everyone is affraid of the wiring and relays etc., but it's really not so bad to maintain.
    If you get electric, don't engage at full throttle, it's hard on the clutch and the motor.
  10. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Messages: 3,010

    not having owned a mower with an electric pto I can't say which I prefer. I can say that I don't have any real complaints about the design of my manual unit.

    I would think that belts stretch either on manual or electric pto drives. If belts don't stretch on electric pto drives that is certainly news to me. I would personally think that a belt that has tension all the time would stretch more than a belt that has tension only a part of time. IE: a belt that is disengaged belt has no tension at all. I do adjust belts from time to time as a matter of routine maintainance.

    laser--can you explain this in a little more detail? the manual units that I am familiar with do not apply a brake to the pulleys when disengaged.


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