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  1. #1
    Kettlebear Marius_Ursus's Avatar
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    Lawn Mower with Hydrostatic Transmission

    I need a lawn mower, and one of the features on some models is a hydrostatic transmission. Trying to find out what this means has led me to feel like an end user who wants to know which button to click while the developer is explaining how the programs methods are used to store data in the database.

    Can someone put in simple terms what it means if a riding mower has a hydrostatic transmission? Is it easier to drive to for some reason or more difficult?
    Vikings
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  2. #2
    Day 20 NoShave Nov. tmonkey's Avatar
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    there is gear drive and hydo

    it uses hydro. fluid to drive the wheels - it is faster and better then gear drive but it does require a little more hp from the motor

    instant forward to reverse and smooth from slow to fast speeds with no gears shifting.

    if it is a lawn tractor you will just have a petal and the harder you press it the faster you will go

    less maintenance and it should last longer
    Thanks,
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  3. #3
    Kettlebear Marius_Ursus's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tmonkey View Post
    there is gear drive and hydo

    it uses hydro. fluid to drive the wheels - it is faster and better then gear drive but it does require a little more hp from the motor

    instant forward to reverse and smooth from slow to fast speeds with no gears shifting.

    if it is a lawn tractor you will just have a petal and the harder you press it the faster you will go

    less maintenance and it should last longer
    The one I go with will actually be a garden tractor. I have a lot of "heavy" work to do with it besides just cutting the grass.

    Thanks for filling me in. That helps me make my decision.
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  4. #4
    Day 20 NoShave Nov. tmonkey's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Marius_Ursus View Post
    The one I go with will actually be a garden tractor. I have a lot of "heavy" work to do with it besides just cutting the grass.

    Thanks for filling me in. That helps me make my decision.
    crap i hate to throw a wrench in this but
    gear drive can actually be better for heavy hauling - not sure why to be honest but for cutting you can't beat the hydro.
    Thanks,
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  5. #5
    Kettlebear Marius_Ursus's Avatar
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    Well, crap.

    That's fine, I guess as long as I don't end up trying to clear brush and burn my motor up.
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    H = T + V mslman71's Avatar
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    Go with which ever one is the most commonly used and has the greatest chance of being serviceable by the most shops. Call around and ask if they service/repair the particular model's transmission you're interested in purchasing. Or better yet, just ask the shops what their thoughts are on the hydrostatic transmission.
    Last edited by mslman71; 03-27-2012 at 12:34 PM. Reason: typo
    2 + 2 = 5 (for extremely large values of 2)

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  7. #7
    Kettlebear Marius_Ursus's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mslman71 View Post
    Go with which everyone is the most commonly used and has the greatest chance of being serviceable by the most shops. Call around and ask if they service/repair the particular model's transmission you're interested in purchasing. Or better yet, just ask the shops what their thoughts are on the hydrostatic transmission.
    Good tip. One thing we have no shortage of round here is light and heavy equipment shops.
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  8. #8
    H = T + V mslman71's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Marius_Ursus View Post
    Good tip. One thing we have no shortage of round here is light and heavy equipment shops.
    Everything is great no matter what you choose, until it doesn't work.
    2 + 2 = 5 (for extremely large values of 2)

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  9. #9
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    I had a Cub Cadet with a 50" cut that had a Hydrostatic Transmission. It was great for cutting grass. You can go forward and reverse with just the foot pedal. Did not have to change gears.
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  10. #10
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    Strange. I just had this conversation with a buddy.

    Make sure the unit can be serviced. On some lower end models the transmission is pretty much disposable in that it is not designed to be serviced. Once it dies, you replace it. The other issue is how you plan to use it. The rule seems to be that heavy use on steep grades will wear out a hydrostatic transmission. I suspect that's the tractor equivalent of bro-science as there are plenty of old John Deere tractors around with hydrostatic transmissions. But, it is thing you hear.

    Everyone's different, but I don't look at a tractor as anything more than a tool. Technology that makes it better and cheaper is what I want. If I want to shift gears all day I'll buy another sports car.
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    I have had both and hydro is the way to go.

    I have a 18 HP diesel kubota lawn tractor with hydro. I mow the grass and latley have been hauling rocks and some tree limbs (5 inches around, 30 foot long im guessing) with no issues. Its a 1996 model and has only had the oil changed once in the hydro. Still does awesome.

    Depending on what your hauling normally the tires will spin before you will tear up the hydro stat.

    Also you won't burn up the engine as it is set at 1 RPM and the hydro does the rest.

    what kind are you looking at and what are you hauling?
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by kjj325 View Post
    I have had both and hydro is the way to go.

    I have a 18 HP diesel kubota lawn tractor with hydro. I mow the grass and latley have been hauling rocks and some tree limbs (5 inches around, 30 foot long im guessing) with no issues. Its a 1996 model and has only had the oil changed once in the hydro. Still does awesome.

    Depending on what your hauling normally the tires will spin before you will tear up the hydro stat.

    Also you won't burn up the engine as it is set at 1 RPM and the hydro does the rest.

    what kind are you looking at and what are you hauling?
    Hauling hay bales and bush hogging. There's also a steep hill leading down to my pond where most of the bush hogging is going to be done, so I'm going to need something that has no problem climbing a steep grade. From what Bill said, I might want to avoid a hydrostatic transmission.
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  13. #13
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    I love my little Kubota BX tractor. Ran flawlessly for years. I've mowed 6+ acres of steep (45 degree +/-) terrain, uprooted and mowed blackberry thickets, moved dump truck loads of dirt and rocks, graded roads, build quad trails..... with a hydrostatic transmission.


    Mine looks just like this, with detatchable belly mower and detatchable front arms and bucket, except mine has ag tires, and a scraper in the back instead of a hoe.




    Has selectable 2wd or 4wd, high and low range. You can get a fine cut mower deck for lawns, too. Triple blades.


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    Registered User dbx's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tmonkey View Post
    there is gear drive and hydo

    it uses hydro. fluid to drive the wheels - it is faster and better then gear drive but it does require a little more hp from the motor

    instant forward to reverse and smooth from slow to fast speeds with no gears shifting.

    if it is a lawn tractor you will just have a petal and the harder you press it the faster you will go

    less maintenance and it should last longer
    Nice reply!

    Man, it's weird that this subject came up today. My...er...my wife's MTD riding mower (14yrs old!) is on its last legs, and she was asking me what to do. I had a dentist appt. this morning, that is close to my previous home, so I went by there after my appt. (I had planned on going by there to grab a few 10's & 5's plates, anyway, lol). I checked it out for her, but told her it wasn't worth trying to fix due to other parts ready for imminent failure, soon.

    She called me an hour ago to let me know she just bought a Troybuilt 17.5h/42" rider. She did pretty good, price-wise (as I had advised her). After all, MTD makes this machine, just like they make several other brands. The HP is overkill on almost all riders these days. I mean, unless you're going to be actually hauling something (and often), or live on property with extreme inclines....14HP is all most homeowners would ever need. Even 12HP is ample for most.

    Now, she'd better cut the yard right after they deliver it tomorrow, or else she'll surely get a letter from the HOA

    Originally Posted by IronCharles View Post
    I love my little Kubota BX tractor. Ran flawlessly for years. I've mowed 6+ acres of steep (45 degree +/-) terrain, uprooted and mowed blackberry thickets, moved dump truck loads of dirt and rocks, graded roads, build quad trails..... with a hydrostatic transmission.


    Mine looks just like this, with detatchable belly mower and detatchable front arms and bucket, except mine has ag tires, and a scraper in the back instead of a hoe.




    Has selectable 2wd or 4wd, high and low range. You can get a fine cut mower deck for lawns, too. Triple blades.
    Now, that's a serious machine!
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  15. #15
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    Originally Posted by tmonkey View Post
    crap i hate to throw a wrench in this but
    gear drive can actually be better for heavy hauling - not sure why to be honest but for cutting you can't beat the hydro.
    Thought same thing after reading Marius say "heavy". Maybe we need to know what heavy is.. Although, he's a power lifter, so if he requires a tractor to move it, then it probably is "heavy".
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    Originally Posted by dbx View Post
    Nice reply!

    Man, it's weird that this subject came up today. My...er...my wife's MTD riding mower (14yrs old!) is on its last legs, and she was asking me what to do. I had a dentist appt. this morning, that is close to my previous home, so I went by there after my appt. (I had planned on going by there to grab a few 10's & 5's plates, anyway, lol). I checked it out for her, but told her it wasn't worth trying to fix due to other parts ready for imminent failure, soon.

    She called me an hour ago to let me know she just bought a Troybuilt 17.5h/42" rider. She did pretty good, price-wise (as I had advised her). After all, MTD makes this machine, just like they make several other brands. The HP is overkill on almost all riders these days. I mean, unless you're going to be actually hauling something (and often), or live on property with extreme inclines....14HP is all most homeowners would ever need. Even 12HP is ample for most.

    Now, she'd better cut the yard right after they deliver it tomorrow, or else she'll surely get a letter from the HOA



    Now, that's a serious machine!
    That looks like this.
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    OP, i'm not sure of what mowers you're looking at, but make sure you get a heavy enough mower that it comes with a water cooled engine, a kubota such as IronCharles showed you is an ideal small tractor. FWIW i wouldn't have one that wasn't hydrostatic & i've had both.
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    Squats and Milk Bando's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kjj325 View Post
    I have had both and hydro is the way to go.

    I have a 18 HP diesel kubota lawn tractor with hydro. I mow the grass and latley have been hauling rocks and some tree limbs (5 inches around, 30 foot long im guessing) with no issues. Its a 1996 model and has only had the oil changed once in the hydro. Still does awesome.

    Depending on what your hauling normally the tires will spin before you will tear up the hydro stat.

    Also you won't burn up the engine as it is set at 1 RPM and the hydro does the rest.

    what kind are you looking at and what are you hauling?
    not sure why you were in the red, but you're the 1st person I've repped and turned from red to green and that made me smile. OK back to topic.
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    Registered User mike419's Avatar
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    Had a hydrostatic Cub Cadet for years. Great for cutting grass!
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    Originally Posted by Marius_Ursus View Post
    Hauling hay bales and bush hogging. There's also a steep hill leading down to my pond where most of the bush hogging is going to be done, so I'm going to need something that has no problem climbing a steep grade. From what Bill said, I might want to avoid a hydrostatic transmission.
    Being a Golf Course Superintendent and using Kubota tractors for the past 20 years i would have to agree with IronCharles reccommendation. As long as they are serviced when needed Kubota machinery are almost impossible to kill!
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    Originally Posted by Marius_Ursus View Post
    Hauling hay bales and bush hogging. There's also a steep hill leading down to my pond where most of the bush hogging is going to be done, so I'm going to need something that has no problem climbing a steep grade. From what Bill said, I might want to avoid a hydrostatic transmission.
    Thats a good point, I never had mine on any real steep grades yet
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    So, taking everything I've read in this thread under consideration, I see that I'm just going to have to roll the dice and hope for the best.
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    Originally Posted by drudixon View Post
    That looks like this.
    Beat me to it!
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