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the best smaller walk-behind dual hydro

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JAC, May 28, 2004.

  1. JAC

    JAC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    OK fellows - I am not a lawn care professional. I am a homeowner with big yard, and a small farm, who is weary with buying INADEQUATE lawn mowers. I will describe what I (think I) need, and you fellows, who know by solid experience what works and lasts, will tell me what to buy.

    I want to be able to cut 12" tall DAMP grass without clogging the exit chute. I do not mind walking slow if I must - I am sick of stopping every 30 feet to hand clear the chute and dig clumps of grass-muck out of the deck by hand. HELP!!!!

    I want a dead flat lawn when I am done. No streaks!!!

    I want to be able to bag those clippings if I want to.

    I want this to be easy to steer. (I think I need independantly controlled drive on each rear wheel) I also have to mow a 400 foot long 20 foot wide 35 degree slope; between a cattle fence and a ditch. I cannot mow up and down, but must mow along the 400 foot dimension. The only thing I have that even comes close to being able to mow this is a Billy Goat Brush Mower, but the differential makes the wheel on the lower side disengage and the wheel on the upper side engage, and the mower wants to pivot and turn down into the ditch. It also has a gravity feed fuel supply, so if I am going in the wrong direction it runs out of gas. I have been struggling with this slope for 10 years and am really weary with it. My self propelled Lawn Boy lacks sufficient traction to not slide downward and go forward on this slope

    I want the mower THAT YOU FELLOWS KNOW BY EXPERIENCE will last longer, need less service, and be fun to operate. I do not need anything larger than a 42" cut and even a 32" cut would be fine, and I am led to believe that I should get a 3 blade mower for a flatter, smoother cut.

    WHICH mower will give me these features at the best price? I already have $6000 worth of various mowers and none of them satisfy me.

    Having once spent 18 years in the motorcycle business, I could tell you which model, though "not the hottest and most popular", would give you the most satisfactory service. I knew where the bargains were - as you would know about lawn mowers. Someone please tell me... and if you have something like I have described USED for sale, please tell me about it. You can contact me at jac@jacglobal.net if you wish.

    IS THERE A BLADE that I can buy that will help the miserable performance on my Sears 22hp 42" lawn-tractor? The deck is very shallow and clogs up in minutes......!!!!!

    my name is Dean, and I am
    just another Christian
    I can answer difficult Bible questions with good scholarship, if anyone cares to ask.... especially concerning eschatology

    I am grateful for this forum
  2. lonnie

    lonnie LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 317

    Any Hustler wb. I just got a 37" and love it compared to the belt drive I had. I havent tried the ecs grips on the Exmarks but I dont think they could be any better than the H-bar. I havent come close to slowing it down yet. Awesome machine.
  3. locutus

    locutus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,266

    Why have you made this post? It is nearly a carbon copy of your other post. You just tweeked the wording a little bit. BTW I responded to your first post on this issue.
  4. JAC

    JAC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    I apologize for the double posting - this is my first time on the forum. Something flashed when I was typing the first one, and it disappeared off the screen. I thought it was deleted, so I started all over again. I will get the hang of it soon enough......

    3 John 2
  5. Itsgottobegreen

    Itsgottobegreen LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,177

    A wright stander 42" would fit your bill. Its faster than a walkbehind and will handle hills better. Other wise a wright velke walkbehind mower. They are built like tanks.
  6. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Any commercial mower is going to be a big step up from what you're using, probably. 12" of wet grass with no stringers left behind is a tall order. But go for high hp and a deck that discharges and disperses well. I know Exmarks do. My toro 44" wb with 16hp does. I had a toro 37" that did not. deeper decks are to be desired. High lift blades also in that case I believe.

    You ain't baggin 12" of grass easily unless you go to a powered grass handling system on a ztr or something close to that. Side mounted baggers work well, but they dont' like wet tall grass very well. They tend to clog before fully filled, so you're emptying them often. The moisture inhibits air flow on cloth baggers and makes the grass heavier and harder to throw into the back of the catcher on any type.

    These pro mowers really don't clog like a lawn tractor or homeowner mower does. The problem is more clumping of the clippings when dispersed. Some are better than others. Some chop them up better, some throw them higher and further.

    The severe slope probalby needs a walk behind midsize mower. The tall grass means you need more than the typical entry level 12.5hp. There are belt/gear drive units and hydro controlled units. Hydros cost about $1000 or $1200 more, have true reverse, true zero turn ability, and are generally less fatiguing when mowing in tight areas or making precise rows. Some say hydros work better on slopes, but I felt more confident with my belt drives on steep stuff than my hydro wb.

    You didn't say HOW big the yard is. A walk behind and a stand on sulky can mow a lot of lawn and give you the versatility of walking when needed and hopping back on when on flat areas. Not sure a rider would handle that slope.

    You also didn't say your budget. But if I had to pick one that I know would do the job for a homeowner and was easy to learn and use, I would go with a Toro 44" deck T bar steering 17hp Kawasaki model. Gravely also makes a 44" deck size with a good steering system (prosteer) that is user friendly, not sure on their offered engine size. The Toro I would guess would be about $3300. Hydros are better but if you're only cutting your own place it's not going to be a big deal to use belt drives. I cut about 10,000 lawns with them before I went to riders.

    I like the one-wheel velke (by wright mfg) for simplicity and ease of getting on-off as needed and walk mowing w/o having to remove it. I had a two wheel but found it less smooth and kept stepping on it. But if you are looking for the best look cut, the two wheel doesn't leave a center wheel track like the one wheel. But if you're cutting 12" of lawn, I doubt you're going to get a great look overall, since the grass will always be shocked and damaged by the severe mowing. I used one wheel velkes for 12 years with no complaints, but have recently had to switch because of the grass type here. Bermuda and Zoysia handle one wheel sulkies very well.

    Good powerful hydro walk behinds are made by Hustler, Exmark, Gravely, and others. Look for easy to use steering that isn't jumpy or tiring. Hydros tend to be jumpy until you learn the light touch needed.

    If choosing a 36" deck look for at least 15hp, preferably twin cylinder for more torque. Some say 36" decks get tall grass out of the deck faster and hence cleaner. I had one that did and one that didn't, so who knows.

    Unless you have a gate to get through, don't go with a 32". Narrow tires, limited power options, usually a single width drive belt instead of double v (slips more) and the narrow cut means less trim edge and of course it takes longer to finish. The light deck means you will have to weight it to keep it from wanting to rise on you, affecting the cut obviously.

    Fixed deck vs. floating. Go floating if you are cutting grass at varying heights. It costs a little more than a fixed deck. A floating deck may tend to scalp less if it has anti-scalp wheels where you need them, and the ability to set mowing height quickly with pins over a wide range is invaluable if you are always having to mow at differing heights due to an inconsistent mowing schedule.

    Others make 48" deck mowers that are fine but I would strongly advise against pistol grip steering with a belt drive unless you need the workout. Top Brands with decent reps:

    Toro, Exmark, Scag, Hustler, Gravely, John Deere, and I'm sure
    there are more.

    The stander type mowers (wright and great dane) cost a little more than hydro walk behinds of comparable size and power (another $1000 maybe) and do hills well it's reported, but I don't know if they're as good on steep hills as a walk behind, especially with no experience on them. I would doubt it. A 35 degree slope is probably not worth risking a mower on to see if it handles it! They are prized for quick turns, easy trailering, and their advantages are probably more appreciated by someone who mows 15 lawns a day rather than one. You're probably not as concerned about shaving 5 minutes off the job as a pro would be. But if you have the money to spend, they're certainly an option if you think it can handle that slope.

    Accelerator (a sponsor here I believe) makes a nice lightweight big side bagger for most mowers. Steel ones are cheaper, but heavy and they rust if you don't keep them clean. Exmark, Toro, Hustler, and probably Gravely have OEM cloth side baggers. My exmark one worked well. Better than the steer bagger I had. Look to spend $200 up to maybe $400.

    For personal use, you probably won't have any problems with a commercial mower for a while. They're designed to last what would be a homeowner's lifetime. They mow more grass in a month than you would in 25 years, and still last for 5 to 10 years. But do make sure your dealer seems professional and will fix it if you do have a problem.
  7. J.Gordon

    J.Gordon LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 674

    I strongly disagree with the above statement! I’ll guarantee you the Stander will not handle hills better than my Hustler super walk-behind. It may run faster than my slow 8+mph 25Hp walk-behind but the controls on the Stander doesn’t come close to H-bar that only Hustler has. Plus the Hustler Walk-behinds have a floating deck! Not going to happen with the Wright Stander.
    I think the Stander is a fine machine but it would be a lot better with a floating deck!
  8. JAC

    JAC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    Thank all - I am inquiring of Hustler right now for prices and sizes
  9. Itsgottobegreen

    Itsgottobegreen LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,177

    Jeff if you want a floating deck, get a sentar.

    A stander will handle hills better than a walkbehind, since the operator can used their weight to keep the machines on a steeper slope.

    By the way the turbo 10 grass gobbler will pack an extreme amount of tall wet grass. I have one, That sucker is twice as heavy when full than my regular jumbo grass gobbler. They only make them for the wright equipment. Since wright builds the grassgobblers.
  10. JAC

    JAC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    I am not a lawn-care professional, just a homeowner with a big yard and some difficult mowing challenges. I have learned a lot already from this forum.


    The depth of the deck is almost the primary factor in how well the deck clears and ejects the grass - shallow decks are NO GOOD EVER.

    It's always good to have way more HP than your mower actually needs.

    Blades matter - configuration and condition greatly effect efficiency

    The controls on the Hustler walk-behind are DEFINITELY the best. I understand motorcycle-type controls, having spent 18 years in that business. I also notice the extra thickness of materials on the Hustler Mower. This does seem like the best brand - however - I have seen complaints on this forum about clogging chutes on some model of the Hustler.

    EVERYONE (including me) wants a mower that will tear through, chop up and eject 12" tall damp grass. There is disagreement about which mower/blade combo does this efficiently every time.

    I have a Billy Goat Brush mower - I can mow 4 foot tall grass in the pouring rain with not the slightest problem, no streaking or clogging. It does not leave a nice flat surface, but there are no twigs sticking up after I pass. It is not dual-drive so it can be a real handful to steer. It's not much use on steep slopes. The difference appears to be the large, deep deck on the brush mower.

    The PRICES on some of these mowers are SHOCKING. I priced a Kubota at $19000.00+ last week....... I do not have that kind of money....it's like buying a car.

    QUESTION: does anyone out there have real experience with the Walker, front deck, rear bagging rider? THIS appears to be the most-for-the least among all the mowers I have found.

    thank you again for this forum

    just another Christian

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