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Coytee

Let's talk 15' flex-wing mowers

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Ok, so I've got the 1066 with two output shafts (at least when they're not snapped!)

I'm trying to research what brand to look at but of course, they're "all" the best...

Backstory:  I live on wife's family farm.  250 acres.  How much is fields?  I don't know, let's just call it 100 acres.  (is it 90 or 125?  doesn't matter!)

She & I live on the farm, her cousin lives next door in her Uncle's prior house (passed on) and her cousin's daughter lives next to that in her (my wife's) fathers house prior to HIS passing.  

There are 12 owners of the farm now but, since I live here and want to keep the place looking nice, I'm choosing to buy a tractor (hence the 1066) and now a mower.  Because this is not ALL my land, I really don't WANT to spend $15,000 on a mower so I can cut someone elses land.....  but....  I've been in this family for near 30 years, if I don't do it, it will turn into Sherwood Forest.

It's because of the above that I'm trying to do things on the cost effective side, even if it means the item is ugly or needs some work done on it.  I can turn a wrench so I'm not intimidated by that.  I can't weld....  so that's an issue.

So hopefully with that background, someone will appreciate my desire to buy something that will:

1.  Do a nice job
2.  Be reliable
3.  Perhaps maintain some resale value (so if farm is ever sold, I can recoup some of my costs)

 

Should I go 1000 shaft?  Seems to me if I do that, I'm going to hurt any resale value later as the 540's are far more common

When I'm cutting, I like to put the tractor into 3rd gear and if conditions allow, 4th gear (low range).  When I'm at perimeter of a field, or between some of the trees, I will invariable run the mower into some of them.  If they're small, fine, hopefully it will munch them up.  If they're large, the mower will get pulled through (I usually hit far enough out where it's glancing off verses smashing into said tree)

I think it was Woods that had a NICE curved front edge....this would be good for knocking into things at edges of fields.

Titan is built/manufactured about 40/50 miles from me.  Never heard of them and of course, their literature says they are a cut above the rest....

 

So I'm into paralysis by analysis....

Lower the cost, the better (that's really one of the primary drivers of what I'd end up with)  That said, I'd RATHER spend more to make sure I do it "right" rather than get a light duty that's going to get shredded (brother in law had one of those out here years ago and it was like a piece of tin with blades on it.....very flimsy feeling)

Should I go medium duty?  Heavy? 540, 1000?

 

What say you about the above?  (other than I need to have a stiff drink and relax!! HA)

 

 

 

 

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Hey coyote, If you dont have a lot of heavy trees/brush more than a couple inches in diameter  1 to 2 inch stuff a medium duty will get it done, I believe the Bush Hogs have a good following as well as the HEAVY Rhinos. 

IF you want to look at used, check out tractor house or fastline. 

I think Rhino/Bush Hog are both owned by Alamo - I think the 2815 are heavier than the 2615 - deere have a good following and are used a lot in lease programs for hwy dept mowers so there are some of those around in descent shape but again you have to check the models for specs to find out the DUTY they are built for. 

Schulte are the lime  green ones everyone pokes fun at but they make a good mower. 

Woods are also a good choice and I think Land Pride are descent also but dont see as many of those around as some of the others. 

Here are two things i know - check your seals frequently - DONT by a used one with a divider gearbox that houses the front blade drive out the bottom also. They are NO manufacturers that make those gearboxes anymore so when one breaks you are either out the entire mower or you have to buy two gearboxes and fabricate your mower with new plates/driveshafts etc.....

Everyone has gone to a divider gearbox that runs the wings and then straight through to the center gearbox so they ahve 4 gearboxes now instead of 3. 

Slip clutches are essential and check them frequently because they will freeze up especially if left out in the weather. 

we have two rhinos, not sure what the models are but they are heavier onces wtih the 150ish hp gearboxes - they are klunkers but keep on going - lots of welds on them and lots of bent up places but other than that they keep mowing 

We have two smaller older bush hogs and 1 great bend that was bought out by bush hog but they are 6 and 7 foot single gearbox units. 

since you wont be doing a lot of ROADING, i would go with the laminated rear wheels = no flats on thorns or hidden debris

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Your tractor is not the problem.540 rpm would be fine.I mowed power lines ,trees,with a 6 ft mower with a 150hp gearbox never twisted a shaft. Alamo are good mowers but very expensive,parts are prepriotory though. If I was buying one for sake of parts availability,durability, toughness,resale value and used inventory to search for one It would be Bushog Brand hands down.

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oh yea, ours are 540s my buddy didnt realize he had a 1000 rpm shaft on his tractor so he bought 540s - i have run the 540 on my 1000 rpm pto at half throttle to save fuel on light pasture clipping, saves fuel while cutting with blade tip speed in normal range and not having to have the tractor wide open to get the rpms out of the mower to cut good. 

 

 

 

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25 minutes ago, searcyfarms said:

DONT by a used one with a divider gearbox that houses the front blade drive out the bottom also. They are NO manufacturers that make those gearboxes anymore so when one breaks you are either out the entire mower or you have to buy two gearboxes and fabricate your mower with new plates/driveshafts etc.....

First thanks for your thoughts.  That said...  I had no idea about the splitting of duty.  Nice heads up, thanks!

17 minutes ago, Jacka said:

 Alamo are good mowers

My current monster (monstrosity??) is an Alamo.... (Terrain King, owned by Alamo)

We did use to have a Rhino (Alamo) 10' single spindle.  I think it was mated to an 886 cab..... working AC....  (might have been 986?  I don't know all the correct numbers)  Anyway, my father i law passed....so his son sold the tractor since at the time, the farm was leased.  'We'll never need this again" so he sold it for a song & dance.

I told him I would have bought it as thinking we don't need it anymore since the farm is leased.....is very short term thinking.

Today, 3 years later, the lease is up and farmer is gone....  so now we're tractor/mower naked.....which is what prompted me to start putting a "lawn mower' together.

The Rhino worked very well while it was here.

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well check out this setup - https://kansascity.craigslist.org/grd/d/tractor-806-ih-rhino-15-ft/6924348715.html

this is the type rhino we have, it has the heavy tongue on it like that and the bracing on the wings also - covers over the slip clutches etc......

my buddy has mowed some crazy stuff with this, i dont like tearing things up so i make him put it on his tractor and run it when he wants to cut trees, i get the saplings only 

he had to replace the pto clutch housing in his 2-105 because it cracked it and was losing oil pressure on the pto clutches I think it was from the shock of hitting the trees and i dont think the slip clutches were working right at the time either 

notice how this has the 4th gearbox behind the splitter gearbox that is what you want 

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Well....  I did check it out!!

Sent him a message asking a bit about it.  I'll admit it's not a likely deal because of the distance, however....  my brother in law does a lot of that U-ship for people and has ability to move something like this so, it's not out of the question!!!

I'm nearing the point where I simply want to jump on the tractor and cut some fields....  I get my R&R doing that and it's my escape from what I do during the day.

 

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A lot of the newer mowers have skids on the front of the center section. Helps keep the mower from scalping and stalling tractor. Great idea for unlevel land.

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Side note, I don't recall the name of the town but my Grandfather was born/raised in (what I think is) Union (or is it Union Town??)

As I recall it was pretty near the Iowa border.  I was living in Sioux City at the time, flew to St. Louis to meet up with Dad & Grandpa...and we turned right around and drove north to near the border.  I kind of had to laugh because had we realized that, it would have been easier for me to simply drive there.

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Just looked it up....  Unionville

 

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yep been to unionville i think there is a power plant up there and a lake we went to

that fella that has that mower is a good guy from what i have heard hes not a scammer/flipper he treats folks good 

roger null is his name heck he might even be on here for all i know 

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stump jumpers seem to be in good shape and its not all beat to heck, front skids on it look good too, is it a 540 or 1000 unit? 

those chain extenders i think are better than the rubber flaps but thats just opinion - some guys take them off the back to let things out and not ball up the mower in tall/wet conditions 

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We have a 15' rhino , 540 , rough but solid, segmented tires, has some hydraulic leaks, it was $1200 and that's why we settled on it. We really want a 1000 as all of our MFD tractors are 1000 only and big shaft at that. 

We like the look of the shutle? 

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Rhino was built in holton ks ,not bad mowers . Ive had jd 1508s and now a tw120

go with a mounted 3 point 10-12ft

unless its new drive shafts are shot 3 pt keeps drive line straight and thats all you do with a mower is turn

bush hog would be my choice

cant carry gear boxes to this rhino fast enough

cheap gear boxes with no radius's on shafts snap like twigs

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You can buy an 8-10' -heavy- bush hog, 3pt mount, 3-4" capacity (not that you should cut a 3-4" tree, ever) with 250hp gearboxes for less $$ than a used batwing. And you should be less likely to hit stuff. 8-10' vs 15'.....just gives you more R+R time. 

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I've owned JD, Woods, and Bush Hog batwing mowers, hard to beat a Bush Hog mower IMO. Currently own a 12815, previously owned a 12715 Bush Hog. When researching a mower check gear box hp, drive lines, blade tip speed, and metal thickness of the deck. Prior to trading for the 12815, we also looked at compatible models of JD, Schulte, and Rhino. Might also Google "The Alamo Group", you'll find that Rhino, Bush Hog, and Schulte, are all owned by The Alamo Group, along with several other brands of mowers. Bush Hog, and Schulte are built in their own separate  factories where they have always been built, not sure about Rhino & the others. 

If you're going to be mowing small saplings and rough ground you definitely want to buy a mower that has stump jumpers as well as chains front & rear to keep debris knocked down. Even with chains we have broken out 3-4 rear windows over the years. It's an experience you won't forget. I would also recommend laminated tires unless you're going to be spending a lot of road time, then I would recommend foam filled aircraft tires. Not sure what part of the country your in but here 1,000 rpm moweres outsell 540s several times over. O er pie e of advice , FWIW, is to run as small of hp tractor as needed to get the job done, you'll have less repairs to the mower. We use to run 200+hp mfd tractors on our mowers, seemed like we always had the mower in the shop preparing something. 5 years ago we bought a MAXXUMM 115 for mainly running the batwing, down time has been greatly reduced. We normally put 200 -250 hrs/yr on a tractor mowing roadsides & lots

Not to offend anyone but a Woods is the last mower I would  based on our experience. At one time almost all the farmers around here ran Woods mowers, now they are few & far between. We ran a 3180 for 5 years and it spent more time in the shop than all our other batwings combined and got to the point we always carried a spare set of slip clutches in the tractor.  Own a 3pt 7' Bush Hog that we bought new in 1964, just put the 3rd set of slip clutches in it this spring, not bad for 55 years. 

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I agree with Boog, Woods quality has deteriorated. Landpride makes a pretty decent mower too imo.

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I don't get the problem with laminated wheels and road use. Just to be clear, those are the hard segmented kind that look like they are made of pieces of old tires or similar right ?  I bought a new JD 1508 in 1988 with those and pulled it all over cutting 1000s of acres doing custom CRP cutting as far as 20 mile from home. Even pulled it several times with a truck at road speeds and never had any issues.  Guess nobody told me not to do that. Still have the cutter and use it,  the tires are the best looking part anymore

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Went by my local dealer today.  Wanted to check out several flexwings.  (They're Bushog, Land Pride, Woods dealer)

They only had the Bushhog on hand (I think it was the 1815.  Had aircraft tires, chains not sure of any other options.  Oh, it was a 540 shaft.)

Got to nosing around on it and saw the manufacture plate on one of the gear/spindle drives....  "Made in China"

My heart sank.

 

I've always gone out of my way, even if to pay more, to try to find/buy things made in USA.  It's a small gesture for sure but if I can buy something that helps keep someone else in our country employed, I'm going to try to do it.  Doesn't always make financial sense but my own work has been on the receiving side of severe outside cost reductions making it virtually impossible for me to compete like I could years ago....  had to change my ways or I'd be out of business.  So I'm keenly aware of how it can help, however small.

So, my interest is to buy something that is as much USA made as I can.  Anyone know about the other brands?  I won't get a chance to visit that dealer for a week or two.

 

 

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IDK if you could find ANY machinery not built from at least some overseas parts.  Just like cars.  I read somewhere recently the last car made of 100% USA parts was probably the model T Ford....   Best you can do is buy things designed and assembled in USA, by USA companies.

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I don't know if you are looking to buy used or new, but what you describe doing is about what I do with mine.  My buddy has a BH 3715  (1K PTO)that I have used, and it's a good mower.  It's crazy heavy and even with fluid in tires and wheel weights it will want to push the rear end of my 1586 around some on our hills.    He bought it used but in good shape a few years ago for about 4,500 bucks which was a good deal. 

 

First of this year I bought a BH 2615 (540 PTO) used in good shape paint didn't look the best but driveline was tight, and it's not rusted through anywhere for 3,650.  It's not as heavy as the 3715 and doesn't push my 15 around as bad.  I've pulled it with my 986 as well, but the 986 air doesn't work yet so the 15 is what I have been using.  I think the 2615 mows a little better for some reason, but that may all be in my head. 

 

Last weekend we put new blades and bolts on both of them.  Wasn't much fun, but it made a world of difference in how they cut.  Mine broke a blade so I had no choice.   Stump jumpers are a must, and the chains around the end do help with flying debris. 

 

I have seen batwings that looked like swiss cheese sell at auction for over 2K, and others beat to **** and back sell for similar so if you buy one online I'd go look at it first before plopping down hard earned money. 

 

Good luck on your search, and while 1,000 pto is probably a little easier on the driveline of your tractor you have both shafts so whichever one you can find a deal on will work.  

 

 

1586 with the 3715 

RP 1586! 2.jpg

 

986 with the 2615

19859.jpeg

 

 

This is the face you make when you've had enough heat and beating for one day.... 

IMAG4643.jpg

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One more thing if you get a batwing if you don't have one already get a good gas powered blower to keep the crap off it.  That's what makes them rust is all the grass and debris build up that then gets wet. 

19865.jpeg

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2 hours ago, B.B. said:

One more thing if you get a batwing if you don't have one already get a good gas powered blower to keep the crap off it.  That's what makes them rust is all the grass and debris build up that then gets wet. 

19865.jpeg

Great point BB. I would also add to keep them stored inside. Wet grass clippings on top of the deck is hard on them. When we put ours away for the winter we also power wash it then spray the deck with a mixture of diesel fuel & new hyd oil. 

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