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#1
Old 04-09-2010, 12:49 PM
Just Lovely and Delicious
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Manual or Hydrostatic lawn tractor?

I'm going to buy a John Deere this weekend. I'm going to buy one from their LA100 series. I've narrowed it down to two - the LA105 (manual) or the LA115 (hydrostatic).

Every single thing on these two machines is exactly the same except the transmission type.

Now, I am a girl who knows nothing of transmission. I don't know how to drive stick. However, my dad has a LA100-series mower and I am pretty sure his is a manual, and I can drive it just fine. He just puts it into a gear and I go, never changing anything. But, I might be wrong...he might have a hydrostatic too.

I've searched around and I still can't really understand what hydrostatic means. Does it mean automatic? The John Deere site indicates that the LA115 has a "two pedal foot control".

Can anyone explain the difference in easy-to-understand terms? I don't care about the $200 cost difference between them. I just want something I can easily drive and not break.
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#2
Old 04-09-2010, 12:56 PM
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From the page: Hydrostatic "provides infinite speed selection for the ultimate in operator comfort and convenience."

Whereas the 5 speed provides.... 5 speeds.
#3
Old 04-09-2010, 01:03 PM
Just Lovely and Delicious
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What does that mean to me as the driver, tho? It automatically shifts itself into one of the infinite speeds, while the manual makes me choose a speed using the gear shifter?

I'm really dense on this topic...really
#4
Old 04-09-2010, 01:03 PM
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I prefer hydrostatic if there is a choice and money.
#5
Old 04-09-2010, 01:10 PM
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I'm speculating here, so salt to taste. I have a lawn tractor...not a John Deere, but a tractor/lawn mower. It has 5 forward speeds, meaning I move the shifter to position#1-5, and there is a set speed the machine will move at that setting. No slower, no faster. The selected speed only. The throttle mostly seems to affect how fast the blades on the mower part turn.

I suspect that the hydrostatic thingy works something like a car. You put it in drive, and then speed is determined by how far you push in the gas pedal.

I could be way wrong. Hydrostatic transmission may involve rerouteing warp power through the deflector dish, or changing the laws of physics.

Last edited by Oakminster; 04-09-2010 at 01:11 PM.
#6
Old 04-09-2010, 01:11 PM
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Think of hydrostatic like a rheostat light switch in the house.
#7
Old 04-09-2010, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakminster View Post
I'm speculating here, so salt to taste. I have a lawn tractor...not a John Deere, but a tractor/lawn mower. It has 5 forward speeds, meaning I move the shifter to position#1-5, and there is a set speed the machine will move at that setting. No slower, no faster. The selected speed only. The throttle mostly seems to affect how fast the blades on the mower part turn.

I suspect that the hydrostatic thingy works something like a car. You put it in drive, and then speed is determined by how far you push in the gas pedal.

I could be way wrong. Hydrostatic transmission may involve rerouteing warp power through the deflector dish, or changing the laws of physics.
I don't think it's a pedal; it looks like a lever on the side, but otherwise yes.
#8
Old 04-09-2010, 01:33 PM
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As is well known here, I *LOATHE* automatics, yet our tractor (old Kubota G5200) is a HST, and it's *great*, HST is a type of Continuously Variable Transmision, the harder you push down on the pedal the faster you go, if you push the front of the pedal down, you move forward, push the heel of the pedal down, you reverse

A HST gives finer control over tractor speed, manual tractors have a fixed speed in each gear
#9
Old 04-09-2010, 01:33 PM
Just Lovely and Delicious
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Ok thanks, that makes sense. With the picture here and what you guys have said, I now think my dad has a hydrostatic model too. If I push on the big pedal on dad's tractor, like in that picture, it goes faster.

I'm just confused because I know dad's tractor has a "shifter" too (just like my automatic car does, you know?) and a pedal on the left-hand side, like these pictures.

But if I look at the pics on the site, looks like LA105 has just that one pedal (a clutch, I assume) and the LA115 has the pedals on the right...my dad must have a hydrostatic too.

Thanks for the advice guys. If you have anything else wise to say for a young lady buying her first John Deere, lemme know
#10
Old 04-09-2010, 01:35 PM
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hydrostatic means not only an continuous control of speed (contrasted to gear ranges with a manual and the need to use a clutch) it also means going into reverse instantly with a pivot of the foot (contrasted to a gear change with a manual and the need to use a clutch)

if you have obstructions like a house or flower beds or short paths you will really like the hydrostatic. when you need to slow because of approaching obstacles or direction you can quickly do so. speed of mowing and ease of use is well worth the cost.
#11
Old 04-09-2010, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
I don't think it's a pedal; it looks like a lever on the side, but otherwise yes.
Oops. My depth perception was off. I guess it is a pedal after all.
#12
Old 04-09-2010, 02:25 PM
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Short answer, if you're keeping the mowever a very long time I'd go with the manual transmission. Less to go wrong. The hydrostatic relies on hydraulic fluid to make your mower go. But if you have a lot of stuff to mow around all the gear shifting on a manual transmission might wear you out. And the LA105 has a reverse lockout button that you have to press every.damn.time when shifting into reverse. I disabled mine very quickly. Not sure if the hydro model has that too, probably.

I bought a LA105 last year. I like it fine so far. Very smooth and plenty of power. My old mower was an old Cub Cadet with hydrostatic transmission. But the transmission started going out and the mower started going slower and slower up inclines. Give me gears, I like to go or not go.

Last edited by control-z; 04-09-2010 at 02:30 PM.
#13
Old 04-09-2010, 02:49 PM
Just Lovely and Delicious
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control-z, if my dad indeed has a hydrostatic (which now I'm pretty sure he does), his requires that reverse button push too. That IS a bummer.

I have very little to mow around. Just a big square yard with one tree in the back and 2 in the front. Completely flat, too.

If I'm a big dummy and don't know how to properly handle a manual transmission, might I have just as much chance to ruin a manual as I would having a hydrostatic transmission die on its own?

I'll be sending the tractor off to the local lawn mower place once a year for maintenance.

Last edited by ZipperJJ; 04-09-2010 at 02:50 PM.
#14
Old 04-09-2010, 02:59 PM
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I don't think you'll really hurt either one of them if you're not too rough with them.

The manual transmission is not a big deal to operate. It has a clutch/brake pedal and gear shifter. Press the pedal, select your gear from 1 to 5, slowly release pedal. You can quickly release it too, it'll just jerk. Vroom, you're moving. You can carefully upshift and downshift without pressing the clutch/brake pedal.

I bought my Deere from a dealer and they delivered it to me for free, and the guy showed me how to operate it. I would have politely declined but he was pretty quick and thorough about it.

Last edited by control-z; 04-09-2010 at 03:00 PM.
#15
Old 04-09-2010, 03:01 PM
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A manual transmission on a lawnmower is not the same as a manual transmission in a car. You aren't going to be shifting gears while moving. You pick a speed, let off the clutch, and you go whatever speed you selected. If you want to change speeds, you have to stop and shift gears.
#16
Old 04-09-2010, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by control-z View Post
You can carefully upshift and downshift without pressing the clutch/brake pedal.
I did not know that, as evidenced by my previous post.
#17
Old 04-09-2010, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakminster View Post
I did not know that, as evidenced by my previous post.
Yeah, even the dealer rep told me I could do it. As long as you're not forcing it and there is no gear grinding I don't think it hurts anything. And if it doesn't want to shift, you can just momentarily press the clutch/brake pedal, you don't necessarily have to come to a complete stop.

Last edited by control-z; 04-09-2010 at 03:06 PM.
#18
Old 04-09-2010, 03:56 PM
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Not having to push on a hard to disengage clutch for a manual transmission is easier on the foot when you get older.
#19
Old 04-09-2010, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord View Post
Not having to push on a hard to disengage clutch for a manual transmission is easier on the foot when you get older.
I think you may be doing that wrong.
#20
Old 04-09-2010, 10:55 PM
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ZipperJJ:

We live on 15 acres. I have both types... I have a Simplicity w/ hydrostatic drive and Cub Cadet w/ manual (geared) drive.

Here's my advice: go with the manual (geared) drive unless you have a real need for hydrostatic drive.

How to determine "need"? Well, do you have lots of trees or other things you need to mow around? I mean, LOTS? If so, consider the hydrostatic drive. Even then, you can still do the job with a manual riding mower and push mower.

I guess what I'm saying is this... hydrostatic mowers are a bit of a pain in the ass. They're expensive to buy, a pain to maintain, and you'll be shelling out a lot of bucks if it breaks. Only consider one if you think you really need it.

Last edited by Crafter_Man; 04-09-2010 at 10:57 PM.
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