WB questions ?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MikeMaupin, Jun 12, 2004.

  1. MikeMaupin

    MikeMaupin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    I am ready to buy my first WB. I have been looking at the Exmark and Toro 48 hydros.I have also been thinking of fixed or floating decks.I had a local dealer give me a quote on both.The Exmark metro has ECS controls, elec start, floating deck, and a 17 hp kaw eng. He told me for the unit,1 wheel sulky and taxes it would go for 5806,00.
    For the Toro proline it was 15 hp, fixed deck and for the unit, taxes, and sulky he gave me a quote of 4323.00. He stated that both of these were deals and from what original price was on the units it was from 400 to 700 dollar mark down in price and installation of the sulky for free.

    Now for the questions ? I know they are the same company but which if any of the two brands are better? Should I go for the floating deck or fixed ? Are these both good deals or not. I already service 22 clients with some hills and a few big yards, and want to grow, am I thinking to big with the 48 hydro or should I think about the 36 hydro or maybe a 48 belt drive ?I know I am asking alot of questions but I just want to make the best choice as possible and I know there is alot of experience on this site to help. Thanks !
  2. competitiveimageland

    competitiveimageland LawnSite Member
    Messages: 192

    i would go with the floating deck for the reason that it has adjustable heights and that makes it alot easier on you when you have one customer that fertilizes several times a year and another that doesnt , so you wouldnt have to worry about clumping at one and not being low enough at another
  3. MikeMaupin

    MikeMaupin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Turf Tracer Hp 17 Hp not metro as stated above.
  4. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    1. Rethink that one wheel sulky (is it a velke?) if you mow grass where the 3rd wheel mark is a negative. I love my one wheel velke but it messes up the look on St. Aug here so I'm not going ot use it any more.

    2. 15hp, is that a kawi 15hp twin or a Kohler single 15hp? Big difference. It's probably a Kawi, but that would affect whether or not it's enough power. I guess it also could be a kawasaki 15hp single if they make one. Anyway, a 15hp twin would be ok, but 17 would be better. Will you be mulching? Go for more power if you do.

    3. The TT HP costs more but gives you more. Those features add, in my estimate of going rates, $1200 of value. ($200 e/s, $400 floating deck, $300 engine upgrade, $300 ECS)

    4. Exmarks in my experience cost a little more than Toros. Probably have a better rep so much of the cost difference would be recouped at resale.

    5. Can you live with pistol grips vs. ECS? If not, no cheaper price is worth it. I HIGHLY recommend the T bar vs. ECS in the belt drive mowers, btw. But not on hydros.

    6. Do you mow grasses at heights differing by more than 3/4" inch or so? If so, a floater is a huge advantage.

    7. A fixed deck 48" has some decent deck trim edges hanging out past the wheels on it, you might find some scalping/uneven cut problems on really extreme terrain vs. a floater with those antiscalp wheels out to the side. The TT HP has really good ones I think, too.

    8. Sulky installation takes about 10 minutes if you have a good drill. Pretty simple stuff.

    9. If it's a Velke brand sulky it's worth about $250 at a dealer I think. Subtracting that, your toro would be $4073. Fair, but no great bargain on a fixed deck unit, if I recall my price research.

    10. Only go 36" as your primary mower if you have terrain or gate situations that require it. It seems almost like a waste of time on wide areas.

    11. The idea of a 36" hydro for small areas (where you might be expected to need reverse and turn a lot) and a 48" belt drive for wide areas (few turns, more room to do em) isn't a bad idea. $3800 or so on a 36" hydro and $2800 on a 48" belt drive and your budget for two mowers wouldn't be that much more than a single TTHP. About $1,000 more. Then you'd have two mowers in case of a breakdown. Anyplace a belt drive would be a pain to use, your 36" is suitable. And wide areas would probably be less likely to have areas a fixed 48" wouldn't work on. An Exmark ECS 36" Viking hydro and a Toro T bar 48" fixed deck would be a good combination. You'd have to be able to live with the fixed decks, though.
  5. MikeMaupin

    MikeMaupin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Thanks for the advice Bruce, you were very helpfull in your thoughts and gave me some things to think about as far as the sulky or velke, and the possibility of going with two units instead of one.I appreciate the help, any any more advice about this business you may have for someone who is still a bit green.I have alot of experience doing this kind of work but I am about ready to enter into the unknown as far as what it like to operate with WB. Thanks Bruce.

    TROTTMAN LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    Mike M.,

    I was pressed with the same issue earlier this month. I knew I wanted to get a new mower (both mowers were used and 4-5 years and older).

    My biggest question was 36" or 48". I already decided I wanted a hydro (instant reverse is like making a 36" as productive as a 42" in my opinion with the time saved with quick turns and being able able to go under trees and right back out instantly).

    Basically, I demoed a 48" with a floating deck, and it pretty much made up my mind. It was so much better than my 48" fixed deck Bobcat. The scalping problems were almost non-existant. My fixed deck 48" Bobcat is probably 70% more likely to scalp, on avarage. I have only scalped with my new mower a few times.

    Then, my decision was sealed after I demoed an eXmark Turf Tracer HP 36" with the floating deck. It didn't cut nearly as well as the 48", didn't have enough hang-over (past wheels for trim mownig) and because of the narrower design it would not cut as flat on hills, it was like you could see the lines it was making because one side would sink in more than the other. The wider 48" mower I demoed before had a wider stance and a little bit larger tires so it helped with this.

    I have a few problems with my mower not fitting through gates, but I have convinced a few of my clients to let me install new gates if they have wooden fences. I just go from post to post, and buy 2-3 hinges for each 2x4 and then a little slide lock for the other side. Then I make 6 cuts with a normal saw, in between the 2x4s and it opens inward. It is a very simple gate design, and only for utility. You can't see it from the outside. They still keep their nice gate as well. This opens up about 7 feet wide.

    Also, go with the floating deck. What sold the Husqvarna to me was the height adjustment. They have the only single-point height adjustment on a walk-behind (except Yazoo-Kees, but its the same company now with Husqvarna being the nicer model). It is the same height adjustment that is used on most zero turn riders. You pull it up to the highest level and it locks, then you put the pin on what inch cut you want it on (mine goes from 2.5-5" - is says in .5" increments in the brocure, but thankfully it is actually in .25" increments, so you can get a nice inbetween cut - like on my yard I need the 3.75" rather than 3.5" or 4"). The height adjustment on the Husqvarna literally takes 5 seconds, not lying or exagerating. You pull it to the top, it locks on its own, the pull the pin out, put it where you want, then lower the deck back to the pin. Its honestly that easy. Its a better design than most floating decks, much better than the eXmark, Toro, Scag, and most brands that are out there now.

    Everything else is about on par with the rest of the companies. Same engine options (mine has the Kawasaki 18hp twin elec. start), maintanence free spindles, very well made frame, deck, etc. The ETS system is very nice, the earlier models are a little toucy, but so much less tiring than eXmark's ECS or pistol grips (never used T-bar hydro before so I don't kwno about this one, used the rest of the types I mentioned). It also keeps your hands VERY far in toward the middle, so trimming around trees or whatever is very easy. You can almost straighten out totally without touching anything. This can't be done with pistol grips (ECS can do it too).

    I felt for the same price (both retail new at $5200) as the eXmark Turf Tracer Hp 48" hydro, the Husqvarna WHF4818 was a little nicer overall. First of all, its very similar at first. It has a twin cyclinder Kaw. engine, but 18hp instead of 17hp. Secondly, its electric start (whereas its only an option on the TTHP). Also, the TTHP only has a manual PTO, and its kinda hard to push (I am such a wuss!), but the Husqvarna has an electric PTO. Everything else is very similar.

    I will say that although I have never actually used an eXmark with their mulching kit, I would say eXmark probably has a better setup. They have several brocures about their mulching systems etc. My mower came with Huqvarna's mulching kit. It has all the baffles and the plug etc. It works very well, but the baffle on the right side of the deck has a little too much gap, so mulched clippins can sometimes sneak through and it can leave a small stream of grass on the right side. It may not be installed properly and even if it is you could put a little silicon or something there to make the gap smaller (I have only looked at it for a second once).

    Last tip, look for a demo. I got my $5200 mower for $3500 with 30-35 hours lol!!!

    Anyway, I hope this helps. Good luck.
  7. BillyRgn

    BillyRgn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 248

    i got a 48' metro belt drive with a 15hp kawasaki 2 cylinder for 2800 with tax and bought a used sulky for $75 off my cousin works great i do 15 lawns a day with it by my self and it has never overheated or had any problems

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