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
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
On 12/24/2011 12:05 AM, email@example.com 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.
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...
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)
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!
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 :-)
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.
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.
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?
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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