Lawn tractor transmissions

Looking to purchase a consumer grade lawn tractor. My 18 year old Sears (Murry) riding mower has manually selected gears. Many of the new machines boast hydrostatic transmissions. Are these really any better? Are they as durable as regular gears?
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Jim wrote:

Of course they are better, that's why they invented them. Instead of a set number of gears there is an unlimited range between the slowest and fastest ratio. Usually the more you press the faster you go. The reverse pedal usually does the same thing only in reverse. But you do have to keep your foot on it unless you have one on the column. With real gears you can move your feet around because they are not busy. It could be a cost issue. They still make gear shifts on low end models.
--
Blattus Slafaly ف ٣ :) ⅞

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On Mar 29, 4:44 pm, Blattus Slafaly ‰ ⁜ ☺ ♞

The higher cost ones in the company line will probably have "cruise control" option. John Deere does. I didn't go for it but I find no problem mowing my 2 acre area without it.
Harry K
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wrote:

The higher cost ones in the company line will probably have "cruise control" option. John Deere does. I didn't go for it but I find no problem mowing my 2 acre area without it.
Harry K
The cruse control on my Deere is just a hold down for the drive peddle. I have not found it very useful to do my yard. The front is about 100 x 200 feet.
One thing I have not seen mentioned is that you usually run the motor wide open on the hydrostatic transmissions and control the speed of the mower with the foot peddle. This lets the blades spin up to full speed all the time. I had a mower with the fixed gears and it seemed that one gear was always too slow of a mower speed and the next faster gear required slowing the motor to keep the speed down.
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Yeah to the fixed gear bit. I bought a Honda walkbehind 2 speed back in the early 80s, 1st was a bit slow, 2nd a bit fast, and liked it so much I bought another about 10 years ago. They then had a 3 speed or hydro option. I went with the 3 spd. Big misstake! They kept the original 2sp but added a 3rd, higher, gear. 3rd gear is so fast it is unuseable for mowing. You would ahve to almost run to keep up.
Harry K
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wrote:

The higher cost ones in the company line will probably have "cruise control" option. John Deere does. I didn't go for it but I find no problem mowing my 2 acre area without it.
Harry K
I don't know about Sears's yard tractors but their garden tractors do have a cruise control. You hold the pedal where you want it and pull up on the cruise control lever, remove your foot from the pedal and that's it. There's a little fall back in speed but only a small amount. I did have trouble getting used to the hydro but it has been flawless for the past two years. Longevity is another issue and that will be a variable factor for anyone. There is an oil change interval in the hydro but it's quite long - I just don't know what it is as I write this. Best of luck on your decision.
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Jim wrote:

Yes and no. Hydrostatic transmissions are great for the precise speed control they give you, but they are have a down side of being far more expensive to repair than a manual gear box and much easier to damage with improper maintenance. For a commercial landscaping service, the zero turn dual hydrostat units save more time than they eat in extra maintenance, so they make sense. For home use I'd stick with a manual gearbox.
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The hydrostatice tractors are a nuisance as you have to keep your foot on the "gas". The manual ones allow you to select 1-6 and go. As far as durability goes I dont know. I like to daydream/think while mowing and found that I got slower and slower on the automatic tractor as my foot let up. I would suggest the manual and save $200 . What didnt you like about your old mower?

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on 3/30/2008 10:46 AM snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com said the following:

Just like in a car. One good thing about a hydrostatic transmission is that when going down a hill and take your foot off the pedal, the tractor will not run away, as it has a feature that slows it. I have 30 hill on both sides of my driveway at the street and I don't even have to use the brake when going down.

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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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MOST hydrostatic tractors both big and small allow for a set amount of hydro. You don't have to 'hold' them. You obviously had some heapy cheapy sears fokker or something.
s

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S. Barker wrote:

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Blattus Slafaly ? 3 :) 7/8

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On Sun, 30 Mar 2008 07:46:10 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

International Cub Cadets) and both with Hydrostatic drive...However on both of mine I do not need to use either of my feet ever... Yep there is a brake but I can not remmeber the last time I used it..my speed is controloled by a lever on the tractors dash ..shaped like a turn signal stalk but much more robust...push it forward you go foreard pull it back and you stop pull it back so more and you go backwards.. Want to go faster..then just push the lever forward some more...
My son has a new Cub Cadet which does use foot pedels...to me it is a major step backwards ...lots more work...LOL
Hydrostatic is the only transmission I will ever buy... like I said in over 35 years of use I have NEVER had a single transmission problem..
Bob G.
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Jim wrote:

Durability of quality-built machines is fine--
Agree w/ other comments so far but would add if have a significant slope you may find the solid gearing beneficial as the variable speed drive may not have sufficient braking on downhill slope to avoid significant speedup...found this on a trial JD green unit in TN so went w/ the manual shift for that application.
On the speed control, agree they're of minimal value unless have really large, uninterrupted areas of going 'round 'n 'round for quite a long time w/o obstructions--not particularly common for residential lawns outside an estate-sized place.
--
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bigger size of the garden tractor (but won't handle ground engaging attachments) so it's a more comfortable fit to climb into and drive. Hydrostatic, with cruise control. I bought one last night at their "plus 10% off" sale. It's on sale for $1799.99 less $50 for Craftsman Club savings. With my retiree discount I got it for $1420 more or less. Beautiful Black with yellow deck and bumper and accent graphics. Wife thinks it looks like a bumblebee but I said "but it fits so good". My old Craftsman is 6 speed but with my "old age" arthritis, it's just getting too hard to climb up over the seat to get on. And the new ones with the 6 speed shifter on the fender make it hard to slide into the seat. Get hung up on the shifter on one side or the cut adjustment lever on the other side. No problem with the Hydrostatic. I keep an old second tractor at my Mother's with the hydrostatic and have never had a problem with that.
Tom G.

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