lawn tractors - hydro drive vs not

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Does hydraulic drive on a lawn tractor typically sap more of the engine's power to operate than good a old-fashioned setup (belt-driven conical clutch and reversing gear in the diff)? Or are they pretty much comparable?
cheers
Jules
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On Dec 22, 4:05 pm, Jules Richardson

Yes, it does, but hydrostatic drive mowers typically come equipped with more powerful engines to compensate for the additional load.
I know my hydrostatic drive mower will mow at top speed unless the grass is really heavy and has lots of clippings from previous mowings in it.
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On Fri, 23 Dec 2011 16:10:07 +0000 (UTC), Jules Richardson

Except with the hydro you can "gear down" on the run.
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On 12/24/2011 12:05 AM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Exactly. You can also speed up over some thin parts of the lawn with no shifting to worry about. Belts are also power robbers. If the old one had a belt drive used as a clutch, that will waste some power.
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On 12/24/2011 9:07 AM, Tony Miklos wrote: ...

...
They're not suitable for steep inclines, however. Tried one in TN; had to give it up. It tended to "run away" downhill too badly. Of course, it was a pretty good incline. Went back to standard transmission for that application. Other than that, I'd recommend over shifting for any of any size, also...
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On Sat, 24 Dec 2011 09:39:05 -0600, dpb wrote:

That's useful info - I do have a culvert out front which I usually mow (County come along and do it once in a while, but not often enough) and the sides of that are quite steep (of course I mow it lengthways, but still go crossways at the ends to turn around)
cheers
Jules
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On 12/24/2011 11:49 AM, Jules Richardson wrote:

If you can mow it lengthways, it's not very steep compared to what I mow up and downhill with my hydro.
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a properly operating hydro will NOT over-run - in fact they brake very effectively
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On 12/24/2011 3:55 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Exactly. Going down my very steep grade if I take my foot off the hydro pedal, it's about like putting it into low gear. Just push with my heel a bit and it's stopped.
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On 12/24/2011 10:39 AM, dpb wrote:

I'm in TN on a very steep incline and the hydro is much better than gear drive. Then again my 1970's hydro is probably four times the power of the toys being sold today. As far as how steep my incline is, I should measure it someday, it's pretty friggen steep!
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On Sat, 24 Dec 2011 10:07:00 -0500, Tony Miklos

And the darn friction disc variable speed drives slip like a bugger when they get wet - which is why my new snow blower is a Hydro.
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On Sat, 24 Dec 2011 00:05:02 -0500, clare wrote:

You should be able to do that with the belt-drive ones too so long as you tickle the clutch in the right way - it's really just a CVT (as once used by DAF etc. in some cars), apart from the serrated part which locks the shift lever into certain 'gears'.
But yes, it's probably a lot easier with hydro :-)
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On Dec 24, 8:45 am, Jules Richardson

No "probably" about it. Tickle one pedal with a toe, or use one foot on clutch, one on gearshift and steer with the other. Yes, I got quite good at "shift on the go" and was a confimed, dedicated "manual tranny" guy on all my work equipment...until I got my JD rider with hydro. No more manuals for me ever.
Harry K
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Jules Richardson wrote:

I believe a little more of the energy will be dissipated as heat in the hydraulic fluid, but it's pretty insignificant. The operational advantages of a hydrostatic drive more than make up for it.
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FWIW, after six years my hydrostatic drive crapped out. I just paid about $500 to replace it.
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On 12/22/2011 6:00 PM, Dimitrios Paskoudniakis wrote: ...

FWIW, after 15 at least, (I forget just when it was purchased) the hydrostatic drive is just fine here... (It is, of course, Genuine Green as opposed to a box store imitation.) :)
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dpb wrote the following:

My lesser box store (Agway) Murray built 18 hp hydrostatic garden tractor is still going after 15 or so years too. It also is used year round. Mowing though the grass growing months and snow-blowing through the non-grass growing ones.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
  Click to see the full signature.
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On 12/22/2011 7:02 PM, willshak wrote:

Maintenance and cleanliness of the lubrication system keeps all sorts of equipment alive. What sort of maintenance do you perform on your hydrostatic drive garden tractor? I'm guessing the 18 hp motor has an oil filter, does the hydraulic system also have a filter?
TDD
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My unit that lasted only six years was completely sealed. The tractor manual instructed never to service it myself.
It is very difficult to remove and reinstall, but if removed, there is a removable cap for the hydro fluid. You have to use a special fluid (per their instructions, but I think a heavy weight oil will work) and measure carefully. Only a thin stick will fit in the hole to measure the fluid level, so I took a wooden chinese food chopstick and marked the graduated lengths in pen.
My hydro unit is Peerless/Techumseh LTH2000, and after it failed, I researched it and found this particular model to be notoriously unreliable. Unfortunately the replacement is the same model. Hopefully the newer one has reliability fixes in place. We'll see.
It didn't help that I used my lawn tractor for the six years towing behind an aerator with heavy weights to get the tines to penetrate the soil, and put a plow blade on the front to plow my driveway. Lessons learned. I now have a snow blower for the driveway, and when aerating will do so less often and with much less weight.
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On Fri, 23 Dec 2011 08:56:13 -0500, "Dimitrios Paskoudniakis"

My unit uses 5W20 synthetic engine oil IIRC - it's a Yamaha
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