Why not aluminum used to make riding mowers?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Tinkerer, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. Tinkerer

    Tinkerer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 620

    With the zero turns getting bigger and bigger, why do I not see aluminum used on them. I know it would be too weak for a deck and it costs more but aren't some of these ZTRs now getting way over 1,000 pounds?
  2. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    Cost mostly. Plastic is a better alternative and that's why you're seeing more and more of it on mowers. Some parts that are now made of plastic are air filters housings, gas tanks, belt covers, discharge chutes and engine housings.
  3. SWD

    SWD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 988

    Aluminum isn't used due to the inherent brittle nature of cast aluminum verse roled steel.
    Actually, the cost to produce an equivalent deck in aluminum is less expensive than steel - however, with a high fpm on commercial mowers the aluminum deck will shatter under the impact of a foreign object whereas the steel won't.
    Aluminum has better thermal diffusivity than steel and is more temperature respondant.
    Both have their uses.
  4. steve45

    steve45 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,325

    Aluminum is more difficult to fabricate. It must be heliarc welded, and is more difficult to bend. Aluminum is not as strong as steel, and it work hardens (meaning that it will crack in highly stressed areas).

    Light weight doesn't seem to be a characteristic that people want in a mower. People add weights to the front to prevent wheelies, and they add weights to the back to increase traction.
  5. gammon landscaping

    gammon landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    i may be way off but dosn't honda use aluminum decks on there push mowers? i thought i saw one the other day
  6. dtelawncare

    dtelawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 227

    I also think the weights are getting up there. My 52" Lazer Z with bagging system and me on it are over 1500lbs. I am afraid to get on a lawn after a really good rain. Its like driving a small car across someones yard. Aluminum is much weker in some ways, but many automobile makers are using aluminum parts to lighten up for fuel mileage and it is cheaper.

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