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Is liquid cooled worth the cost?

Discussion in 'Tractors' started by palmtree, May 13, 2005.

  1. palmtree

    palmtree LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    Do you guys/gals think it is worth the extra cost for a liquid cooled engine? If it were just the engine I would go for it. My problem is that liquid cooled is usually only offered on higher end machines. I will only be cutting my own 8.5 acre lawn weekly or so. The main reason I like the idea of liquid cooled is because they should be quieter. I am looking at the Grasshopper 223-61" but it only comes with a air cooled engine. If I want a liquid cooled I have to move up to the 300 series and about $2000 more. What do ya think? I am new to this commercial mower stuff.
  2. wushaw

    wushaw LawnSite Member
    Messages: 61

    That's a good question and I would think an air cooled motor would just work just fine.
    The only difference is a liquid cooled motor would be able to run cooler and maybe last a little longer.
    I just got a 322d Grasshopper and it is a mowin machine :D
  3. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    liquid cooled engines will out last air cooled and IMO worth the extra $$$. If your only going to mow your own 8 acres a liquid cooled "hopper" should last you the rest of your life. I've seen them with over 9k hrs on them and still running strong. So for approx. 2k more you will get twice the life out of the engine.
  4. Travis Followell

    Travis Followell LawnSite Silver Member
    from KY
    Messages: 2,206

    I agree. Go with the liquid cooled. Not only will it run quieter but it will burn less fuel and last twice as long.
  5. dfischer58

    dfischer58 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Well, I’m a bit surprised:

    “9k hours and still running strong”.

    In car terms, at only 60 mph, when your car is requiring maybe 20% of rated power, that would be over ½ million miles. I’m surprised to hear a lawn engine, running near it’s power peak, is outdoing over the road diesels.

    Lets say “Your Mileage May Vary”. Certainly I consider that a bit of an unusual experience.

    My 2C:

    With care, and no regard for noise, fuel consumption, or emissions, air vs water cooling has minimal difference. All water does (other then make it quieter) is reduce the wide thermal excursions an air motor makes. Heat rejection has no real total need change.

    An example: I could idle a water cooled engine in the heat of the day a bit longer than an air cooled, but only while the water temp rose. At some point the water cooled engine overheats too. Now fan cool it and water cooled will win that example.

    Do be aware the “flatter” thermal behavior of water cooling allows for tighter clearances. Recall the emissions and fuel consumption comment?

    There are two more important criteria to life:

    1) In practical use the care you take of the engine will more influence your results.
    2) The base design of the unit is more important then the cooling medium, and most “newer” engines are water cooled. Still, I’ve seen several solid OHV /full oil pressure lubed engines that are air cooled that I’d expect to be plenty tough. Heck, I hear the BS Vanguard is better then most people give it credit for.

    With REAL rough numbers, say @ 5% money per year you've lost $100 dollars per year for pure cost of money. Assume 10 years from either engine and it's $200 more per year extra for water cooled. (note it don't really work as easy as I've done it, bit it'll be close)

    So is noise, emissions, and fuel burn (I suppose 5% tops) worth $300 a year? Tough call. Good luck.
  6. PLM-1

    PLM-1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,640

    IMO, the only GOOD liquid cooled gas engines are Kubota. They have a "real" liquid cooled block. The Kohler and Kaw's only have water jackets. I think a good liquid cooled engine or a diesel is the way to go. Spend a little bit more now and it will last a lifetime.

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426

    It depends on if you want extra power. Porsche water cooled the heads of it's 6 cylinder opposed engines that had been used on 930 Turbo Carreras and gained over 200 hp because the fuel could be kept cooler comming into the cylinders. To this day, the cylinder walls of the GT3 are air cooled, and the heads use water with the radiator in the back air dam using wind and a fan to cool the water.

    Now, take a 22HP air cooled engine, add water cooled heads, basically, you gain 4-5 hp simply by keeping the mix cooler comming into the cylinders. Closer tolerances are usually made, and the wider range of power within the torque curve usually adds a noticable difference over an older air cooled machine.

    I heard a very disturbing rumor that by 2008, new Harley Davidson motorcycles will be water cooled. Though I don't agree with that decision, much less know of it is true, I do see the 30 HP gain from the same size engine air vs water.

    When we ran Toro Groundsmasters, it was nothing to get 10,000 hours out of an engine before they turned into grenades. And that was when they had those disgusting Renault 4 banger water cooled motors.

    Even though all the big 3 small engine manufacturers have had water cooled into their line ups for a few years, I'm not sure I would run out and buy one just yet for reasons mentioned in a previous post. Cost vs longevity. Will the engine out last the mower? Or, will you gain a minimal amount of life and still need to replace that same engine?
  8. Cutter LLC

    Cutter LLC LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 100

    For your aplication it is not smart. Let's see 8 acres 4hrs max. 4 times 30 cuts 120 hours a year 10 years 1200 hours 20 years 2400 hours. With proper maitenance an air cooled mower will atleast last that long. How about the technology in twenty years, your gonna want a new mower. Also, it's going to be a pain to find parts for a twenty year old mower. Save the 2k, by some other equipment, or just blow it on some fun stuff. JMO
  9. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    i would not spend the dough on it for your use.....

    i agree that you will use it far less than 200 hrs per year ( i think the 120 hr example is pretty close).

    that means in 10 years you will only have 1500- 2000 hrs max on the unit....

    by that time the seat will be bad, the tires replaced, the body rusty, the cables all corroded, etc......

    time to buy a new one anyhow....
  10. Tider6972

    Tider6972 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 649

    Why does everyone seem always to overlook the <I>MAINTENANCE</i> issues of a water cooled engine <i>on a lawn mower</i>with all the associated dirt and debris ???Hell, if you never left the pavement with it, in 2 years you'll have coolant to change, hoses to replace, clamps to replace. The next year replace the water pump,.........

    Nothing like a stick through that $3-500 radiator to make your day!

    Oh, and , no, you won't keep it long enough to get the extra cost back - even without the extra maintenance costs and <b>hassle</b> !

    Use it 8 or 10 hours a day 5 days a week mowing dozens of acres of right of way, with hours on end of continuous operation, maybe.

    For the ordinary lco it's a definate waste of money and added hours of work for maintenance. For a homeowner? LOL !!

    Thanks, but No Thanks!

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