motor oil vs. hydraulic fluid

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by burnandreturn, Jan 1, 2004.

  1. burnandreturn

    burnandreturn LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Germany
    Messages: 303

    Why do lawn mowers use motor oil instead of hydraulic fluid in the hydraulic systems?
  2. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,547

    they dont
  3. burnandreturn

    burnandreturn LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Germany
    Messages: 303

    All the mowers I have use a synthetic motor oil. Mobil One to be exact.
  4. Barkleymut

    Barkleymut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,117

    I don't know why. But I have 3 mowers with hydros and only one has ever had the slightest problem. That was fixed under warranty and I havent had a problem since. Seems as if the motor oil does the job.
  5. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    Yes they do.
  6. Rick Jones

    Rick Jones LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 427

    My Toro 36" hydo requires Mobilfluid 424 hydraulic fluid. The newer-style units use Mobil-1 motor oil though.
  7. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    Many hydro w/b and ztr's require motor oil. Some do use hydro fluid. 20w50 seems to be used a lot. eXmark uses Mobil 1 15w50.
  8. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    They use whatever fluid the engineers say is best. The World Class T-5 5 speed tranny in my Mustang uses automatic transmission fluid.
  9. Manufacturers might have thought finding hydraulic fluid by the quart could be difficult for some customers. So they engineered them to operate on motor oil.

    I understand there is enough difference they're not interchangeable and that you can't mix them.

    I had a 400 series Hustler with a 72" deck that took 10w30 motor oil. My Howard Price HP 180 with a 15' cut used Type F transmission fluid. Now my Toro 580-D takes hydraulic fluid.
    I'd considered using synthetic in it, but it takes 40 gallons of fluid.
    I still have a couple of gallons of the type F transmission fluid that I have no use for. I've been using it in oil cans for hinges and stuff. Guess I have a "lifetime" supply.

  10. mosynthetics

    mosynthetics LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    For a moment I thought I would easily recommend the advantage of AMSOIL's Synthetic Tractor Hydraulic/Transmission Fluid or their Synthetic Anti-War Hydraulic Oil. Both have service intervals of 2-3 times normal oils. However, in checking the prices for a 55 gallon drum I realize the "leap of faith" it would take to consider this.

    You might check out these sites for more information.

    Barry Crudup

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