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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First let me ask that if this is posted to the wrong thread that someone who's more familiar w/ the site get ot to the right thread - Thanks.

My early '80's John Deere 111 is needing more and more care and my push mowers are becoming problematic as well. I have several grafted fruit trees that the 111 just can't get under w/o damage to the lower tree branches. So I use the rider on the lopen areas and cut-in and trim below rthe trees w/ a push-mower. The Troy built self-propelled that I salvaged from my brother-in-law after he put a rock through the deck badly in need of wheels and suspension parts that are hard to find. I've repplaced the wheels several times and rebuilt the recoil starter. The B&S Quantum series motor is starting to burn oil, starts hard and is just not that good on gas either. The third mower is also an early '80's belt-drive commerial Yazoo w/ a Wisconsin Robin motor. Since points were unavailable I had them bypassed by installing an electronic ignition. The drawback to the this mower is its maximum height adjustment is a littlle shy of 3" and it is only 20" wide. The rear bicycle wheels have forks just like a bicyle, and the front solid-wheel axels go through drilled holes. All in all it's more work than I have time for to fabricate extensions etc for a 20" wide mower. This summer in upstate NY, the weather has had me cutting almost every 3-days.

I have just under 3/4's of an acre and am seriously thinking of a commercial walk-behind in the 40"-wide cut range. I've been told by a couple of knowledable professionals that if I were to purchase a Toro belt drive (not hydrostatic) that it would be the last mower I bought. I'd like to by a used (gently) machine but need some advice on pro-s and cons as well as recommendations regarding how many machine-hours are typical etc. Thanks in advance for your help.

Speak Frankly
 

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Master Service Technician
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748 Posts
When it comes to belt drives, Toro is a good unit, as is Scag. You can get them in the cutting width you are asking about. the main concern I would have with belt units is the transmission. The transmision is made by peerless which is owned by husqvarna...I do not know what parts if any are available should the transmission break.

that being said, although more money the units with the hydrostatic pumps are a really nice unit. I have a bias for Scag, but work on Scags and Toros everyday. Toro has a very nice machine.

Whatever machine u buy, make sure you can can get service for it. Some dealers even offer emergency service for commercial units.
 

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A semi-retired senior cit
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2,132 Posts
Toro has some great mowers, they have a 40" walk behind mower, I have a 44" with the floating deck w/ tee bar steering, it`s a belt drive unit. If you do a lot of back up then a hydro is a better choice. The reverse on a belt drive unit is more of an assist only. If not much backing up is required then look for the belt drive with tee bar. I like the tee bar steering mainly because your hands are away from the outer edges while a pistol grip hand control get old really fast. I had a Toro Pro Line Hydro, was a great mower but I hated the controls in tight area. With the tee bar I can operate the mower around trees and shrubs with one hand reaching out with my arm.

Another mower to keep and eye out for is the Exmark with the ECS controls they are easy on the hands as well. Simplicity makes a walk behind called the Pacer with a hydro that has a 17hp Briggs Intek single they come in 32" and 36" wide decks and would also be another good choice.

There is another made by Ferris that is just like the Pacer but has a commercial grade motor a 13 Kawasaki V twin this also has a hydro. The commercial grade motor are rated at 2000 hours. I like the Kohler single easier to work on and the have plenty of power. I can get more use out of 5 gallons of gas with the Kohler single too. I had a Kawasaki on my Toro with the hydro and it gave me more trouble then any of my Kohler powered equipment. Weld on the muffler broke and rattled, quick fixed that with a big hose clamp and the carb was always messing up on me.

Now if you only want a trimmer mower for mowing grass around and under your trees take a look at DR trimmer mowers they are light weight and use 155 mil and 170 mil cutting cord and the are easy to push and are well balance little mower that cuts a 22" swath the cord is easy to change, you can ever buy one try it out for 6 months try out and if you don`t like it return it for a full refund I bought a sprint model. It was returned trimmer mower and because I had already ordered it and they didn't have one in stock they sent me a brand new one at no extra charge. Great customer service...

DR trimmer mower.
http://www.drpower.com/twostepmodels.aspx?name=trimmermower2step&page=trmmodels&bn-buynow

Here are some links to the mowers I listed above.

Ferris Hydro Cut.
http://www.ferrisindustries.com/pages/mower.php?product_id=26

Simplicity Pacer
http://www.simplicitymfg.com/products/lawn-and-garden-products/pacer/index.cfm?id=Endeca.150011

Toro with tee bar steering picture of mower
http://www.toro.com/professional/lce/midsize/images/md30692_34l_190702_lg.jpg

Toro info.
http://www.toro.com/professional/lce/midsize/tf_fixedgear/30672.html

Exmark with ECS controls.
http://www.exmark.com/viking.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the advice, I expect that a narrower mower will be more applicable. I'm expecting to have to do a fair amount of "backing" to mow under the fruit trees. I'm concerned that the hydrostatic transmission could leave me stranded since they can't be towed. Probbaly an ungrounded fear. Thanks again
 

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Most hydros will have a mechanical link to disengage so you can roll them or tow them around. You may want to look at Better Outdoor Products too.
 

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I've no experience with this type of machine,, how are these machines with climbing slopes, how do they handle side slopes? Will even these smaller models support a velkie? Are they heavy duty or are they inline with box store lawn tractors?
 

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A semi-retired senior cit
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Don`t know what small is a 33"? Had Toro Proline with 44" floating deck and pistol grip controls hated those when I bought I said I`ll get use to them, I did but in a lot of backing up and going forward, it get old. The hydros have a dump valve on each hydro pump just loosen them there is directions right on the mower, one thing Hydro mowers are heavier then the gear drive. Plus with the grips out there it`s easy to pinch your hands when your close to something solid, I like the ECS controls on Exmark they are tipped inboard and your hands and finger are safer that way.

The hydro walk behind are the best mower for slopes, not with a sulky attached. See you owners manual for the load limits or notes on using a sulky. There are many different types, from one wheel two wheel and even sit down sulky s, I had knee surgery, and didn't need to bounce around on a sulky, then there is the sliders, that use no wheels.

A commercial mower is what it is, made to last years of abuse. Box store walk behind mowers are light duty just looking at the two and the price and you`ll see the difference, Even a used commercial mower are a better deal then a consumer grade mower. There are home owners that have very large lawns and will buy a new commercial mower use it say for 5 years the trade it in on a new machine, most have low hours and are good deals. The only walk behind mower that is a consumer grade and a good mower IMHO is the Simplicity Pacer either 32" or 36" mower with hydro and a Briggs electric start 17.5hp motor, I know commercial guys that use them and there counter part made by Ferris Hydro Cut with a 13hp Kawasaki power plant. there around $2500.00 depending the dealer. Take look at the two links.

http://www.simplicitymfg.com/products/lawn-and-garden-products/pacer/index.cfm?id=Endeca.52475

http://www.ferrisindustries.com/pages/mower.php?product_id=26
 

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Interesting,,, I currently use a Gravely walkbehind 2 wheel tractor for alot of mowing, and although I like using it for its maneuverability, durability and simplicity it's dated tech wise at 1975 and decks are difficult to find and overpriced when you do. I was thinking one of these machines even though they are single purpose might be a good companion as most of the work here is mowing. The only "real" slope I have is the sand mound,,, the old Gravely walks up and down without any tire slippage whatsoever and its pretty steep somewhere around 3:1 slope on the ends. I like commercial duty stuff,, I buy it to use, not to be constantly fixing/tinkering with cheap tin junk. I'll spend some coin on good equip if the value is there, its money well spent in my opinion, guess thats why I use the Gravely and a CUT with a 5' deck,, that Gravely is slow but its tougher than nails.
 
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