Electric vs. Manual Clutches

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by The Lawn Boy Pro, Apr 15, 2003.

  1. The Lawn Boy Pro

    The Lawn Boy Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,217

    What kind of clutch on mowers do you prefer? What do you like about your choice and what do you dislike about the non-preferred?
  2. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    MANUAL!!! Like that they virtually never wear out (just a pulley which would be cheap and rarely need replacing). I like the simplicity and cheapness of them and that you can engage them slowly and at lower throttle if you want (good for double blades).

    Electric I dislike because they're expensive, CAN be worn out prematurely if not taken care of, hard on everything because they want to go from 0-2000+ RPM instantly and stop just as fast (not necessarily hard although it's a good safety feature) they're just over-complicating the life of the mower. And I don't want to hear the "well it's so much easier with the flick of a button than pushing a lever", thats crazy, or lazy one! :blob4:
  3. lawncare3

    lawncare3 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,981


    You hit the nail on the head.

    If I had a electric clutch and it burned out on my mower I would be paying half of what I paid to replace it. I just like the simplicity of a manual.

    If you are too lazy to just get up and pull the lever then just have someone operate that mower for you. ;)
  4. Arnold

    Arnold LawnSite Member
    from Wyoming
    Messages: 194

    I have an old Ford tractor with an electric clutch never had a problem but when I do I'll wish I had a manual. I would go manual.
  5. Lawn Specialties

    Lawn Specialties LawnSite Member
    Messages: 207

    I use Toro wb's so I don't really have a choice of whether or not to have one. I have thought it would be nice to have a manual because of wear out and the expense to change but the fact is I've worked around tons of diffrent equipment, mowers and otherwise, and I've never seen one go bad. Besides it's kind of nice that I can let go of the bail on my wb without killing the engine.You can replace a clutch for a couple hundred bucks if you replace it yourself and if the thought of blowing $200 on a single part scares you you're probably in the wrong biz.
  6. mike9497

    mike9497 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    manual.i wish if my ZTRs had a manual clutch
  7. cajuncutter

    cajuncutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 626

    Manual here. Would not have it any other way. Shortcut's set up is simple and I love it!!
  8. kickin sum grass

    kickin sum grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    my exmark has ate 2 electric clutchs and only has 12oo hrs. I start and stop it just like it recommends. Two scags both at 2500 hrs - 1 replaced and one not. Manual would be cheaper but I still like the easiness of electric.
  9. An electric clutch is a superior mechanical set up over a manual clutch/idler pulley system.

    I know it defies logic but it's true. Keeping tension on the belt makes it last longer. The electric clutch is designed to slip upon engagement.

    Most ZTR's couldn't be designed with a manual clutch and all that linkage. Would you still want a manual clutch if you had to get off the mower, go around back to engage the blades?

    Some manufacturers are so cheap they use electric clutches with aluminum wire windings. These do burn out quickly. Just be sure to replace them with an Ogura or Wagner brand of electric clutch.
    They are ALL off the shelf items. You don't have to replace with OEM parts.

    I've fried a few electric clutches, and the problem 90% of the time was in the wiring. Usually the switch went bad. Poor electrical connections burn up electric clutches. So if you even think your switch is going bad, you're better off to replace it then, or you'll be replacing the electric clutch too.

  10. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    This has been discussed in depth many, MANY, MANY times... :rolleyes:

    I'v had both. Numerous of both.

    The winner?.....


    By far. David stated my #1 reason for it as well. CONSTANT BELT TENSION.

    I've only had to replace 1 electric clutch so far. That was on my JD F-935. The day before I sold it. Had it sitting out in front of my house for sale and brought it in the garage each night. Well when doing this ritual every morning and night for 10 days, I started noticing a metallic sound from the rear of the engine. Decided to try engaging the blades.....WHAM, CLING~~! Clutch exploded internally . Now blades wouldn't shut off! Mower was already sold, had to buy a new clutch (close to $250).

    The clutch on my earlier JD 318's were electric. Both needed adjusting around 1000 hrs or so. They had the type that had 3 adjusting bolts on it.

    I now have electric on my SCAG WB, and my LC Lazer. Very happy with both.

    Hated my old SCAG WB with the manual clutch. Went through many an idler pulley and linkage, plus there was no blade brake.

    Never had much of a problem with the Dixie manual clutch, but often wondered why they didn't go with an electric? They had that manual clutch designed to go up and down depending on deck height and all those pulleys and linkage to eventually wear. Would make it simpler to have an electric clutch and a spring loaded idler in my mind.

    Sorry to run so long!


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