flex cable or solid steel drive shaft?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by slicey, Jun 5, 2005.

  1. slicey

    slicey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    i'm going nuts not knowing if it's all that important to buy a trimmer with a solid steel drive shaft or not. now, i'm not talking about units that can accept add-on accessories because that is NOT important to me. what is, is performance(like torque/energy transfer efficiency) and does it just plain feel smoother(less vibration feedback) when you gun the throttle? i just don't know cause i've never held a running string trimmer in my hands before. please give me some feedback on this possible superfluous issue. anything :dizzy:
  2. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,526

    If you are going to just string trim I think the cable is fine. Most manufactures recommend a driveshaft if you want to put a brush cutting blade on it. For what my 2 cents is worth I would get the drive shaft and that way if the need is ever there then you can perform the job
  3. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899

    Drive shaft is the only way. More power period.
  4. slicey

    slicey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    thanks, i needed that!
  5. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,372

    We have both and I think the flex has less vibration. We have one unit that is split boom and we use an edger, saw blade, and hedge trimmer and in five years I only had to replace flex shaft once.
  6. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Seceral advantages to a straight shaft, whether it's solid cable, or not. A solid shaft, of course is going to wear slower, and have more positive torque that the cable. With a curved shaft, the head turns 1:1 with the rpms of the motor. With a straight shaft, the head turns at a different ratio (slower) than the engine speed, giving it greater power than the curved. With more power and torque, you can run longer string, and have greater all around cutting power. You are also able to run the attachments because of this. One of the BIGGEST differences with a straight shaft, is ease of use and handling. You are able to reach up under things farther (very common), and what is more so, you seem to have a better perspective on what's being trimmed, allowing you to do a faster, more efficient job. A curved shaft is just cumbersome after using a straigh, as the head is so close to you. You don't have the reach, and the broader sweep of the longer shaft. Al around,...the straight shaft is the way to go.
  7. slicey

    slicey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    gentleman, i thank you. i will continue to tirelessly forge on in my quest to find my first ever gas trimmer! and you have helped me jump one more of a handful of hurdles. now, if i could just get past another big sized hurdle. what level of quality to really consider when i only need use it about 1 or 2 times weekly? but when i do, there's a good chance i'll have to mow down stuff that looks like wheat that's 3ft. tall. does not seem too tuff, however, when i use my 3.5HP DR TRIMMER, i can cut a 22inch path but i can't push it through at the same pace as mowing a regular lawn with a lawn mower. i live in payson,az; a forest-like city with lots of natural crushed granite landscapes. no mowing a nice green yard for me. i have'nt done that since the 80's in scottsdale,az. back to trimmer quality- the stihl fs 55rc seems ok and payson has 2 dealers so that's a great thing if i buy from one of them. but there's that damn flex-cable drive shaft and i wonder if it's powerful enough and it isn't commercial rated but not sure if that's really all that important for my usage needs. you guys must use yours for at least 2hrs per day. i might use mine for 2-4 hrs a week! do you have any words to cure my neurosis? sorry, i almost forgot, i've seen little or no talk about kawasaki trimmers. are they respectful trimmers? i saw 1 models i liked. it's KBL23A-good,bad or what?
  8. slicey

    slicey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    come on, not one of you has one of these or you do and are too embarrassed to admit it? fess up
  9. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    As has been stated above, the flex shaft has less vibration and less wear on the gearbox due to the natural absorbtion of energy from the clutch to the gearbox.Much smoother running in my opinion.
    The solid shaft will transfer more torque from the clutch to the head without dampening that power. They will however wear the gears faster because of that lack of dampening when the head begins to spin.

    Bottom line.........Both will serve you well if attachments are not an issue, if attachments are something you were considering then the solid shaft is the better option.
  10. slicey

    slicey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    i really like your explanation. it cleary helps me understand the dynamics of what's happening between the clutch and gearbox. i am buying the stihl fs80 from local dealer for $240 this wed. EVERYBODY; this is my 1st ever, gas trimmer i am buying and i thank you for your input very much! Lawnsite is a wonderful forum as it also helped me in buying my 1st ever, gas blower, stihl bg85. thanks again, SLICEY

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