Horizontal vs Vertical Shaft - Mule Drive Question

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Steve1, Jun 14, 2004.

  1. Steve1

    Steve1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 292

    I had a dealer tell me that a horizontal shaft mule drive setup will outperform a vertical shaft direct drive but he couldn't explain why.

    Is this BS or is there some merit to it? I was comparing the Deere 757/777 to the Gravely PM260Z air cooled vertical shaft unit at the time.
  2. themowerman

    themowerman LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 298

    Actually a horizontal shaft motor with a mule drive will lose approx 5hp due to the belts having to make the 90degree turn. There have been some manufacturers that backed that data up with dyno numbers. I don't remember where I saw the data but it does stand to reason that with a vert shaft motor you don't have to pull your belts through a bend and pulleys. You will also wear and heat up a belt faster with each 90degree bend you have.
  3. ncpelican

    ncpelican LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    The big advantage to the horizontal shaft engine is the engine life and quality. The power is virtually the same for both types of engines, so the decision to go horizontal is a smart one as it will save you repair money over the life of the machine.
  4. themowerman

    themowerman LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 298

    NCPELICAN.....I don't want to get into a dabate but the statement about horizontal lasting longer and being cheaper over the life of the machine isn't true. In todays age with tech advances in engine designs a Kawasaki vert and horiz shaft motors are of the same quality and use pretty much the same parts. I have seen Kaw 25hp motors with over 4000hours on them. If you take care of them they will all last.
  5. SL&L

    SL&L LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I think the horizontal shaft motor has two advantages, the deck can be raised higher generaly 5 inches as opposed to 4 inches for vertical shaft motor and when going down a slope its easier to turn the mower. Thats just my opinion.
  6. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,973

    the new toro's with 28hp kohlers efi are horizontal drive for what it's worth...

    Personally I prefer having the clutch as far off the ground as possible, clean and nothing can fly up and hit it as opposed to having it beneath the engine.
  7. Itsgottobegreen

    Itsgottobegreen LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,177

    I like the wright sentar. The motor sits right on the mower deck. No long belts with bends and twists.
  8. Steve1

    Steve1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 292

    So the consensus seems to be go with a horizontal shaft engine setup? I do agree with the concept of keeping the clutch up higher but the belt(s) having to make 90* bends does seem to be a concern for some people.
  9. BobR

    BobR LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 714

    IMHO - both are fine, as said before MAINTENANCE is the key to longevity of either engine. You might want to wonder WHY horizontal or vertical instead, the vert engines are mostly found in the 'compact' style Z's and the horizontal engines are mostly in the 'full size' machines. I use the compact style machine for MY lawns as they are rather tightly landscaped and the 52" deck will still cover a lot of ground on the few accounts that I have that are 'wide open'. If you desire 'liquid cooling', 'fuel injection' or 'diesel' then you will be purchasing a horizontally mounted engine as these options are not available in the vertical style YET.

  10. themowerman

    themowerman LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 298

    Bobr...You can get the diesel, fuel injected, and liquid cooled in a vert shaft engine. They have been out for over a year now in all three configurations.

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