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 Hydro - do or do not?

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Lawren Wimberly
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PostSubject: Hydro - do or do not?   Hydro - do or do not? Icon_minitimeApril 9th 2017, 8:22 pm

Hello all, I was given a mower with a hydro (I don't know the proper term, if it's a transmission or transaxle) Anyhow I'd like to try my hand at a mild lift and larger tires on this mower. My question is, is a hydro durable enough for such a modification. I don't need to be any faster, but I'd rather not put any time into something that wont be durable. I'd post a picture of the mower if I could figure out how. It's an 18 year old Husqvarna YTH180 with an 18 horse Kohler motor. Thanks in advance.
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PostSubject: Re: Hydro - do or do not?   Hydro - do or do not? Icon_minitimeApril 9th 2017, 9:11 pm

The difference between a transmission and a transaxle is just that, one is a standalone gearbox and the other has an integrated axle.

A lift and larger tires will be fine. You cant speed up a hydro without risk of burning up the pump, but they are totally fine with bigger tires. Thats pretty much how you speed them up.


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PostSubject: Re: Hydro - do or do not?   Hydro - do or do not? Icon_minitimeApril 10th 2017, 12:47 am

Thank you Sir.
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Lawren Wimberly
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PostSubject: Re: Hydro - do or do not?   Hydro - do or do not? Icon_minitimeApril 10th 2017, 11:37 am

Neil Greenleaf (AKA Main mud mower) has used a hydro for mudding for quite a while... I personally would watch his vids for ideas of what works and what doesn't. Most here avoid the hydro's in their need for speed, but they are workhorses as long as you aren't interested in 30 MPH mowers.
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PostSubject: Re: Hydro - do or do not?   Hydro - do or do not? Icon_minitimeApril 10th 2017, 5:26 pm

The only thing I would worry about for off-roading a hydro is mud building up on the cooling fins and preventing it from cooling properly. But that could be easily fixed, you could even make like a blower shroud type thing to go over top of the fan. Like Lawren said they are workhorses, especially the older ones.


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PostSubject: Re: Hydro - do or do not?   Hydro - do or do not? Icon_minitimeMay 27th 2021, 2:31 am

change the HYDRO oil every ... 100 hours with 15-50 Mobil 1 and the HYDRO will last a good long time i wud think... as long as dont expect it to pull loaded car trailers around the yard/street. the HYDROS GET HOT FAST.... cooks dino oil that is why synthetic is the oil to run. my HYDRO got to 180* in 5 mins on jack stands at high idle... that is pretty HOT in 5 mins, on jack stands @ high idle spinning the axles in the air. they need a trans cooler on return line for long long happy HYDRO life and fresh oil/filter (SPECIAL HYDRO FILTER online $8, not motor oil filter, they are different filters). someone said they used 90 wt gear oil (50 wt) in their hydro and it quit whining ??? the 5 shooter revolver HARD CHROME pistons and HARD CYL wear cuz of dirty/NO oil and when they get to .003" tolerance the pistons/cyl leak and it doesnt want to go/climb hills/esp when COLD without 5 min warm up.

i got a HYDRO 222-3010 that wudnt go fwd only in rev, took the pump apart, the check valve, 1 of 2, had fallen into the pump cavity? (kids speed shifting it from fwd to rev?) put it all back together, filled pump with 15-50 Mobil 1 and the rest of the unit with 15-40 WM diesel oil to test it (fill/burp at idle, fill/let it burp... for 10 mins til full full full thru vent hose) and it works well enuf to haul little trailer around the yard/down street... after the pump/oil is warmed up a little especially wehn cold. im sure the pump is WORN from abuse/neglect but for what i use it for it will be OK for the rest of my days.


it takes 66-122 oz of HYDRO 15-50 oil $8/qt at farm supply store/online or Mobil 1 in 15-50 variety.
read that the factory fills them with 10-40 motor oil (cheap) . it really just wants CLEAN OIL every 2 years or 100 hrs... in at LEAST 10-40 range... 15-50 synthetic wud be nice... $25 for a gallon of MOBIL one for a $2000 HYDRO DRIVE FLUID TRANSAXLE??? and $8 HYDRO filter (if so equipped) is a SMALL PRICE TO PAY to save the HYDRO drives.

why they didn't write on the machine/sticker "FOR MAX HYDRO LIFE CHANGE HYDRO OIL EVERY 2 years or 20 hrs (initially) and every 100 hrs thereafter!!! drain on bottom/side (drains out mostly when the oil filter is taken off as mine was on the bottom of the transaxle) and fill thru vent hose til it wont take any more... after idling and let it burp/fill/burp/fill for 10 mins or so at high idle in fwd/rev. i know, planned obsolescence, cant have something last a good long time... they wont buy a new mower every few years for lack of $40 oil and filter change on hard working HYDRO DRIVE transaxle that is ruined from lack of fresh oil every 2 yrs

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PostSubject: Re: Hydro - do or do not?   Hydro - do or do not? Icon_minitimeSeptember 10th 2023, 10:07 am

If i may ask. I was given a Cub Cadet Hydro unit full tractor with motor runs needs ignition and battery. But all that is besides the point. Does anyone know how to beef up the rears in them? Is there a way to lock the rear or should i find a pearless to swap in instead?
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PostSubject: Re: Hydro - do or do not?   Hydro - do or do not? Icon_minitimeSeptember 10th 2023, 10:54 am

I've heard people locking hydro's on some wheel horses.  You can speed them some, but nothing like a geared.  Back to locking, just need to be able to get to the diff and then pick your prefered locker.  Most just weld the spider gears up.

Just not that many people that have modified hydro's around.  I haven't so I do not want to steer you wrong.


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PostSubject: Re: Hydro - do or do not?   Hydro - do or do not? Icon_minitime

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