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Discussion Starter #1
Okay....you hear alot about HP these day but what does it really mean in the world of "Lawn Tractors".

What is the up/down side of HorsePower........:00000060:
 

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I think todays horses must be smaller because everything has higher advertised horse power, but doesn't seem to have any more power than in past years. In the early days of tractors there were tha Nebraska tests to keep advertisers honest and give actual capabilities of each model.
 

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Years ago, you could buy a GT with a 14 hp Kohler K that had no problem handling a three-bladed 48" mowing deck and a 48" snow blower. Today, HP ratings are pushing into the mid-20's and seem to be headed toward 30. Sure, the decks are a bit larger....54" and 60" mostly but 18 HP can handle a 60" deck with no problem.

Mostly, this is nothing more than a marketing scam aimed at men with penis envy. As long as mine's bigger than yours, I'm a happy guy and that extends to the HP in our lawn tractors. The fact remains that larger cubic inch engines use more fuel than smaller ones. Most of the time, no GT can even put that much HP onto the ground so it's a waste. But it does sell tractors.
 

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I'll bet the 16HP Briggs in my Ariens High Tech GT can do just as much as a GT in the same class with a 25 HP today.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
OK....but what does horsepower mean....ie; gound engage, chopping leaves,frogs?.......
 

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I will tell you what pizzes me off. When you buy a Garden Tractor/Riding mower today I dont think to many people expect it to last for decades. And I dont believe they are made anything like they were years ago either. If they start building them like this, ill quit buying used. This Wheelhorse is 43 years old and still working its butt off!

 

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I cant answer your question. All I know is that my 68 Sears suburban with a 12 HP Tecumseh is able to do more than my Cheap riding mower with a 14 HP Briggs. I have been amazed at how much the little SS can do. From plowing to towing. It does have its limits but they seem to be in maintaing traction. I could tie this thing to a building and in low first the engine would not choke down, It would just keep diggin. I know that is more from the gearing than the HP but crap that thing can pull.
 

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OK....but what does horsepower mean....ie; gound engage, chopping leaves,frogs?.......
For sure, HP has a certain amount of importance but as I said previously, most tractors cannot put all of the rated hp to the ground. Most tractors made today are belt driven in one fashion or another and there is a limit to how much HP a V-belt will transmit before slipping or breaking. I think that most of the experienced members here would agree that anything over 20 hp is a total waste and even 20 hp is pushing the envelope.

Horsepower is an arbitrary measurement. Go and Google "horsepower" and then click on the wikipedia link. By the time you finish reading that, you'll be more confused then you ever thought you could be. I don't know where you're going with these questions. Perhaps if you enlightened us as to the reasons behind the question we could be a bit more specific.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Fair enough.....

I posted this in the Lawn tractor forum because I read and here about this "HP, penis envy thing" and wonder why i thought 22HP was better than 20Hp and I don't envy anyone.....rofl:bannana:

There must be some advantage....I asked about torque/ft lbs. on this forum and got good explainations....what does "Horsepower" mean???
:duh:
 

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Horsepower in the heyday of Gravely tractors was Percheron, Belgian or Clydesdale... Today it's circle track horses like "Mind Your Bird", "Barbaragoesa" and "Smarting Jones"... spindly legged fast in the short run soon forgotten equine power plants.

A balance of performance, planned obsolescence, market "cool factor" and to a certain extent, "price ranges" is what the OEM's are wheeling out today. As with everything else today they figure you'll just HAVE to buy another tractor if yours wears out... even if it "seems a bit premature".

The only hedge a buyer has today is (if your $'s hold out) to over buy. Go bigger for the job you want a smaller lower range tractor to do and swallow the cash increase difference. Most that do that are not disappointed with weak transmissions or frame flexations, etc. Which is EXACTLY what the manufacturers have set their product lineups and advertising to accomplish. Today's economy sees to it that there ain't much we can do about it. I'm just waiting for the first "turbocharged" model to hit the TV ads. WOW, what a buzzword!

Wouldn't YOU have it over Joe Jones nextdoor on Saturday morning when he asks, "Hey Man, what's that cool whining sound coming from your Scuderia Amon Gizicky '650' LT engine...? TURBO? Whoa... TURBO? Waaay kuel dude!" Fill in rest of story where Joe piles the family into his battery powered car and heads down to the local Gizicky dealer "just to look around". He'll have it by the next Friday, just as soon as the re-finance of his house and cancellation of the family vacation to Probe Canyon Resort plans clear. Ain't human nature fun!:D
 

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Hp today is lost to bushings instead of bearings and high lift blades instead of flat ones... If you want to see a world of difference put a set of flat blades on your tractor and drive into a field of high grass...
 

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Horsepower was originally a way to compare the amount of power that a steam engine could produce compared to a draft horse.It's been a while since I heard it but it was something like "the measure of torque that it took for a draft horse to raise a 100lb weight 1ft into the air".In reality HP is a relative measurement,unless there is a standard to compare it to,it's basically just a number.The Nebraska tests were mentioned earlier and they are still the standard for measuring farm tractor HP,I think they were used in the early days of garden tractors also.The real test of HP is how much it puts on the ground,todays tractors,just like the cars of today need way more hp to turn all the crap that's on them.As was mentioned before,most tractors today are belt driven,that and high lift blades take a lot more HP to operate.Back in the 50s and 60s cars didn't need as much HP as they do today,the only thing extra turning on an engine was a generator and water pump and sometimes power steering.Now there are smog pumps and other things that use up more of the HP.It's the same thing on garden tractors,someone else mentioned bushings compared to bearings,if you want to see a difference in the way your tractor runs some weekend,take an oil can and oil every bushing that you find on your tractor,it'll feel like it has twice the HP until they dry out again.What it really boils down to is HP doesn't mean crap to the average person,it only really matters to the guys that know how to use it but it sounds impressive in a"water cooler"discussion.
 

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all I can figure, more HP means it uses more gas.

"I got gas, lots of gas" :biglaugh:
- Flo in Cars
I don't think thats completely true. Todays ohv/ohc engines are more efficient that old flat heads etc. I know my Brigg's Vanguard is anyway. I had a Gravely with the 12HP kohler K and compared it to my Brigg's 23HP on many occasions. The brigg's was better (lower) per hour than the K and ALOT smoother running. Not downing the K at all as they're great engines along with the older Brigg's model 19 family too.

MU
 

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HP is one thing, TORQUE is quite another.
You can't have horsepower without torque,you can sacrifice torque to get more horsepower but that means higher rpms and more wear and tear on internal parts.I prefer more torque or in some instances a balance of torque and hp.I have a farmer friend that has an old DM model Mack truck with a 5000 gal tank on it to haul manure.I've run the truck for him a couple times when he gets behind because of weather and such,the first time he rode with me in it,he couldn't believe the difference in how it worked for me compared to when he runs it.He was trying to shift that old Mack at way to high of an RPM,those things will lug down until they seem like they're going to stall and still keep pulling.Todays engines are for the most part,way more reliable and to some extent fuel efficient that older engines but some of that fuel efficiency is due more to vehicle design and lighter weights than anything to do with the engine.On the other hand,the cost of repairing a modern machine is a lot more expensive because of all the sophisticated hardware so really,which way is better for us,the consumer.
 

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I'll agree that the old Kohler K engines tend to have a bit of a drinking problem!! My old 10hp drinks more fuel than my new 23HP diesel Kubota! Granted diesel has 40% higher energy density (energy per gallon) but the diesel tends to burn about 3/4 the fuel volume that the Kohler does per hour!
 

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I don't think thats completely true. Todays ohv/ohc engines are more efficient that old flat heads etc. I know my Brigg's Vanguard is anyway. I had a Gravely with the 12HP kohler K and compared it to my Brigg's 23HP on many occasions. The brigg's was better (lower) per hour than the K and ALOT smoother running. Not downing the K at all as they're great engines along with the older Brigg's model 19 family too.

MU
You are probably correct in comparing engines from different decades. Withing current engines, what is the difference between a 22 HP one and a 26 HP one? Seems some makes have the same block within several HP ranges.

I also strongly believe that emissions is making engines less fuel efficient. Up to a point, It is easier to get a full, clean burn when you burn more gas. Jay Leno has a steam car from the early 1900's powered by a 100K+ BTU gas boiler. Burns a lot of gas, but it burns so hot and thus complete that it passes today's emmissions with no modifications. It does seem that newer tractors have hotter exhausts...
 

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I also strongly believe that emissions is making engines less fuel efficient. Up to a point, It is easier to get a full, clean burn when you burn more gas. Jay Leno has a steam car from the early 1900's powered by a 100K+ BTU gas boiler. Burns a lot of gas, but it burns so hot and thus complete that it passes today's emmissions with no modifications. It does seem that newer tractors have hotter exhausts...
Leaner burn is a cleaner burn, but also hotter, to a point. This is why the exhausts seem hotter, because the engines are tuned to run leaner to meet more stringent emissions controls. This is also why more and more of the "upper end" GT's are going to liquid cooling; it's easier to control engine temp, which increases longevity.

Leaner burn is also a more efficient burn (fuel saving). Pilots typically lean their engines for efficient operation at altitude, by watching the exhaust gas temperature. temp goes up as the mixture gets leaner. There is a newer technique, called leaning past peak egt. The exhaust gas temps actually decrease after a certain point of leaning. It is a technique that requires more accurate monitoring of the engine, and something totally useless to our needs, but can allow a significant decrease of fuel burn in an airplane.

Comparing Jay's Stanley Steamer is an apples to oranges comparison. The burner for the boiler is an external combustion flame without compression, and the burn characteristics are very different from internal combustion.
 
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