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Gravely 400 Deck Lift - FINALLY!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MOturkey, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    I finally got to see a Pro-Turn with an electric deck lift installed yesterday. I've always run Pro-Master 200 series with hydraulic deck lifts, but have been considering the 400 series, primarily because of the air ride seat, the next time I trade. A power deck lift, however is a must because my wife helps me mow quite a bit, and she has arthritis. For some unknown reason, Gravely is not offering the power lift factory installed, only as an add-on, dealer installed option. My dealer called me and said they had installed one on a new 472 they just sold if I wanted to check it out.

    The electic motor simply replaces the foot pedal on the manual lift, mounting to the upper side of the connecting rods. As I mentioned, this was on a 72 inch deck, and the motor seemed to handle the weight just fine, lifting and lowering the deck at pretty much the same speed of the hydraulic lift on my 260's. A rocker switch installed in front of the throttle, which is on the right side of the machine, controls the lift. For me, it would take a while to get used to it, because the deck lift has always been on the left side, where the parking brake now is on the Pro-Turn series of mowers.

    What I don't understand (Is anyone from Gravely listening/reading?), is why, if you are going to offer an electric lift, a little extra engineering wasn't done so the switch could be mounted on the control handle itself, eliminating the need to let go and reach down to raise or lower the deck. I believe John Deere offers something like this? To me, what would be ideal is for a thumb (or finger) operated switch to be installed on both operating handles. Push the right to raise, the left to lower.

    To me, it seems the hydraulic lift available on the Pro-Master series of mowers has always been a great selling point. When you get my age, or even much younger, if you are smart, you wish to do just as little work as possible, and pushing a button or flicking a lever is sure a lot easier than manually raising a deck with your foot or hand. I think Gravely is missing the boat by not promoting theirs and coming up with a mounting location for the controls that is much more user-friendly.
  2. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    My best guess on why the switch is mounted on the control panel is the fuse block is already right there on the 400 series so less wiring is always better. My guess for not mounting the switch in the control handles would be not running wires through moving parts. That could cause wires to short or break over time.

    I think a foot controlled switch would be cool!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. Jimslawncareservice

    Jimslawncareservice LawnSite Platinum Member
    from mn
    Messages: 4,143

    I think with modification you could rig it up to the handle.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

  5. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,635

    Deere has had the C&C package with the control lever mounted button for quite a long time now, and I have never heard anyone here or anywhere else complain about the wiring breaking. I'm not saying it can't happen, but it would be rare or we'd be hearing a lot more about it.

    I ran a Z960 with the C&C package last fall for a couple weeks, and the electric deck lift was nice to have. Quick up, and when you let off the button, it went right back down on its own. I can't see why Gravely couldn't do something very similar. Surely Deere doesn't have a lock on that patent and any others that would be similar in design...........or do they?
  6. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,635

    Wow, I would have thought it would react a lot quicker than it does in that video. The Deere electric lift is about 3, maybe 4 times as fast to raise and lower.
  7. LandFakers

    LandFakers LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 6,309

    Deere doesn't have a patent on their system, I got to check out a mower with the C&C package and the deck does come up really quick and go down just as fast. Gravely kinda looks slow... But still a nice feature
  8. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    The speed is pretty similar to the hydraulic deck lifts I've used for years. You get to where you know just how long to activate the control to move the deck up just enough to clear an obstacle.
  9. StanWilhite

    StanWilhite LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,382

    My BB Lightning came with an electric deck lift standard, and it also has the optional manual (foot) deck lift. You can set the electric lift where you want it, and then use the manual foot lift to pop the deck up over obstacles. When you release the manual lift it will return to whatever height the electric lift is set at.

    Because the electric lifts (that I'm aware of) are slower than the hydraulic lifts, I wouldn't want just an electric lift alone...you can't just pop the deck up and down quickly when going over something. The elec lift on my mower is even slower than the one in the Gravely video. But, this is no concern if you also have the manual foot lift.

    As for the location of the switch for the elec lift, at first I too thought I'd install one on the right lap bar. But, before I got around to it, I soon realized that you soon no longer have to look down to find the switch. You can instantly find it while holding the 2 ends of the lap bars in your other hand.

    I'm sure I'd like the switch on the bar, but at this time I don't think it would be worth the effort. I now make adjustments on "auto pilot"....without even thinking about what I'm doing.

    As for wiring problems when placing the switch on a lap bar, I don't think you'd have any trouble at all if you used a "curly cord" (like an old style phone cord).

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