How to make a hydrostatic lawn mower faster

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Hydrostatic mowers have plenty of benefits but even they are not immune to the occasional mishaps, some of which cause them to mow pretty slowly.

The good news is that you can squeeze some extra speed out of your hydrostatic driven mower with a few tweaks and tricks.

This article will show you how to make a hydrostatic lawn mower faster.

Admittedly, not all the hacks will be straightforward but you surely won’t mind the work if it brings a few extra mph.

Let’s dive right in.

How to make a hydrostatic lawn mower faster: simple checks and tricks

Even before we talk about the advanced hydrostatic transmission modifications, try the following if your hydrostatic lawn mower moves too slowly for your liking.

·        Inspect the tires

Are the tires aired optimally as per the specs?

Getting the correct air pressure levels is also crucial for your safety and driving comfort, especially with riding hydrostatic mowers.

·        What fluids are you using?

Using the correct fluids can make a lot of difference. And while standard hydraulic oil works for some mowers, its best to use the brand recommended by the manufacturer.

Don’t forget to apply the OEM specified brand of steering fluid too.

·        Important checks

There are other minor checks that could help you move fast and cut powerfully. 

Tackle the following checklist step by step.

  • Check the oil levels: Oil is critical and you want to have it at the designated levels. Add if needed.
  • Look for damages/leaks– Any openings on the hoses and the various connections could lead to loss of vigor and hence lethargic movement. Pinpoint them and seal/repair as necessary.
  • Check the air filter– A clogged filter is still a potential hurdle to maximum speed. Replace it (with the OEM-specified filter), if dirty. Clean the pump cooling fins as well, if required.

How to make a hydrostatic lawn mower faster: proposed hydrostatic transmission modifications

These tweaks can help you save cutting time by elevating the mower’s speed, quickening its response, and smoothing its maneuvering.

Take a look:

1.     Install larger tires

The first thing you should try is bigger tires. These should fit the axle as long as they have the same wheel width.

In general, larger wheel diameters might make the hydrostatic to travel much faster than when using smaller tires.

You will also enjoy more composed handling.

The only downside is the potential loss in torque.

In addition, you may need to re-level your mower deck to avoid hurting the quality of the cut when you mow the yard.

2.     Work on or replace the blades

This is an obvious one: If you want the mower to cut grass lighting fast, you need to consider the ability of its blade to trim the grass.

The thing is most mower blades only offer a couple of inches of cutting edge (outer side).

What’s more, blades become dull over time.

What you must, therefore, do is, first, try to sharpen the blades and ensure they’re well balanced.

In case that doesn’t work, shop for blades with a significantly improved cutting edge.

Your mower should cut with a renewed swagger now that the entire leading edge is cutting rather than a few inches.

3.     Take off the governor

As you could be aware, the governor restricts your mower’s engine’s ability to rev up the motor and removing it should up your engine’s horsepower.

In fact, this is the very first task you should undertake if you want to transform your machine into a roaring racing lawn mower.

Make your way to the governor and remove the bolts/screws holding it.

Unhooking the governor should be a breeze after this.

You can now mow at peak speeds.

Tip: The manual usually indicates the location of the governor.

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4.     Put a bigger pulley on it

You can make your hydrostatic tranny go faster by installing a bigger pulley.

If you get it right, the speed could surge spectacularly.

It can, however, get more complicated than it sounds on some models so tread carefully here.

Be sure to get the correct hydrostatic transaxel model and the steps right (some mower companies have published beneficial videos on their websites).

Plus, upgrade gradually- experimenting with 4 or 3.5 from 3 inches is fine but 5 from 3 inches may be too risky.

Likewise, a pulley swap on hydrostatic lawn mower -another prospective option- can help but is similarly tricky.

I suggest that you consult a dealer if unsure.

5.     Purge the hydraulic drive

This isn’t a modification but a vital procedure…

Now, a simple reason why hydrostatic lawn mowers lose power is failing to purge it before deployment.

You see, a hydrostatic transmission uses oil and that raises several possibilities.

For instance, air can mix with the fluid…

When this happens, the pump attempts to pressurize the air (this is called cavitation) and only succeeds in impeding the pump, triggering sluggishness.

On the same note, your mower may lack its usual drive if you don’t purge it after storing it for over 2 months during the close season.

It’s also advisable to purge new mowers before heading out to remove any trapped air whether you want to just cut grass or race it.

Lastly, always purge the air after servicing or an oil change for continued swashbuckling performance.

Watch this video to learn how to complete the purging process.

Note that the steps for your model may differ slightly so refer to your owners’ manual or manufacturer’s website (FAQs section).

How to make a hydrostatic lawn mower faster: additional ideas

I have some extra ideas that can be beneficial if it’s still boring you with lazy speeds:

  1. Forget the attachmentsAttachments like dethatchers inevitably slow it because of the extra mass. Detach the none-essential ones, for now.
  2. Use powerful fuel– High octane gas burns more efficiently and sends more power to the engine.
  3. Disconnect the blade assembly – This is vastly handy if you’re tailoring it for racing.

Final thoughts

Those are some of the procedures that can help make your hydrostatic lawn mower pretty fast.

It’s also important that you don’t forget the machine’s routine maintenance.

In most cases, your owner’s manual should have instructions on the maintenance steps for the various parts and the whole unit.

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