Walk Behind Belts

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by BMFL79, Oct 14, 2006.

  1. BMFL79

    BMFL79 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    First of all, thanks to everyone for the advice, ideas, and such that I have been poaching from this site during my first year in business.

    My question regards belt drive walkbehinds. I have an Exmark Metro 36". Anytime the drive belts get wet at all it turns into a 200 pound push mower. I can't figure out a way to get the belt any tighter. The belts are in good condition, not stretched or cracked. Can you use belt dressing on the drive belts, or does it not let them slip when they need to? My father-in-law suggested belt dressing. He grew up on a farm, and they used belt dressing on everything, but they don't have anything like a walkbehind that needs to let the belts slip.

    Thanks for any advice. Can't wait to get the hydro.
  2. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,405

    Welcome to belt drive. I didn't have a belt drive more then 10 hours before I sold it and got a hydro. Althought the belt drive is cheap and good for the 32" I much prefer the 48" hydro.

  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Sir, I have used belt-driven Wb's exclusively and am well into my 5th year so I hope I am at least somewhat qualified to answer your question.

    Afaik, there is no solution that I can recommend for your problem other than do NOT get them wet! This is one reason I refuse to cut when it is raining or shortly thereafter, it is also why I don't get started until later in the day (I almost never show up at a customer's house before 10am) so the dew has a chance to disappear, I am well aware of what you speak of, it is a royal pita when the Wb's belts get wet.

    Other than that, I really haven't had this problem since around my 2nd year, so I think experience in the field somehow teaches us how to avoid this problem, which is another way to say it gets better with time.

    You might try belt dressing but it may also shorten the lifespan of the belt? If so, it's 50 dollars for a new one.

    The only other thing I can tell you is, I run T-bar operated Wb's and have never felt the need or want for a Hydro.
  4. BMFL79

    BMFL79 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    I got the belt drive used last year when I started up. I don't have any complaints with it unless it gets wet. I am going to get a hydro as soon as I can, but that is down the line on the capital expenditure list. Just looking for ways to make less irritating in the mean time. I do know that this will be my first and last belt drive w/b.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    A belt drive should be OK until it gets REAL wet from all my years of dealing with them. A little dew shouldn't be a problem.

    On the Metro there are I think 3 different tension settings for the drive belts, check the manual.
  6. Idealtim

    Idealtim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 939

    NO you cannot use belt dressing. Been there done that a few times with my first belt mower - a 32 bobcat. It works a lot better for 1 hour 'till the belt gets so encrusted with grass and dirt because it's tacky that it is worse than if you put butter on the belts.
  7. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    That's odd. I used dressing on my belt driven wb's for the 10 years I ran them and it always worked great for us. You can't put so much on the belt that it does that. All it takes is a very small squirt a few inches long at MOST. Once the belt gets ran, it gets distributed. It makes it just right...Tacky enough that it is very responsive, but with no build up.
    I've advised others on here to use it, and they have come back with praises like I was the one who invented it, or something. Also, Topsites; You mentioned something about 50 bucks for a new belt??
  8. Tharrell

    Tharrell LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,967

    I'm assuming your 36 is a dual belt unit. It shouldn't be too bad unless you really soak it. I go through some low areas at one account that don't seem to ever dry up. The belt slips a little but recovers quickly.
    When it's really wet, somethings going to slip. If you have a belt drive, it's the belts. If you have a hydro, it's the tires. Take your pick.
  9. Korey

    Korey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    I thought belt dressing shortened the lifespan of belts? As for the 50 bucks Topsites was referring to, I think he was talking about the total for both left and right belts ($25 apiece retail).
  10. Korey

    Korey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    I have absolutely no problems with my 25 year old Goodall mower's belts slipping. I never cut when the grass is wet, maybe with a little bit of dew. I usually don't start cutting before 9-10am because of two major reasons- 1) The grass is usually wet, and 2) Don't want to bother customers with noise too early in the morning. I personally don't think grass should be cut when it's wet because it makes a mess and can be dangerous because of less traction. Kill switches don't do any good if you slip on a hill and lose control of the mower. The reason why I like my old belt driven Goodall is because it's lighter than a lot if not all 48" mowers out there and is very easy to maneuver. It's very cheap to maintain and if a belt is starting to go bad, it's easy to tell before you know it needs to be replaced. Hydros are a lot heavier, use more power, and have more parts involved although they do a better job of moving the mower and keeping it straight with authority if it's been properly adjusted and maintained. You just have to weight your options and decide what's best for you.

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