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#1442414 - 04/22/09 07:57 PM What's the best oil for Hydro Pumps for zero turn
j454 Offline


Registered: 04/10/09
Posts: 55
Loc: Virginia, USA
Hi; I'm very hopeful that there is enough talent here to really figure this out. I'm talking about the hydro pumps used to pump the oil through the hydro wheel motors on commercial zero turn lawn mowers. Lets start with a very common oil recommended in some very popular commercial brands:(Mobil 1 15W-50) Now this oil has 1200ppm Phos. & 1300ppm Zinc and when I asked Mobil if it had friction modifiers, they said yes.
So what is it in an oil that would be best suited for the hydro pump to keep it from failing? To my understanding the pump is more prone to failure than the wheel motors. Should we try and use a true synthetic oil (PAO) Base? Try for more Zinc? Try for more Phosphorus? Try oil with a high ppm of Moly-?? Please share what you may know. Many-Thanks

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#1442427 - 04/22/09 08:23 PM Re: What's the best oil for Hydro Pumps for zero turn [Re: j454]
Pete591 Offline


Registered: 07/20/08
Posts: 931
Loc: Michigan
Only product I use...good year 'round

http://www.amsoil.com/StoreFront/ath.aspx

15W-50 is thick and won't transfer heat as well.

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#1442834 - 04/23/09 08:26 AM Re: What's the best oil for Hydro Pumps for zero turn [Re: Pete591]
ac_tc Offline


Registered: 05/06/08
Posts: 461
Loc: sweden
THF maybe...othervise an hydraulic oil not engine oil.
_________________________
-98 Dodge Durango 5.9 4*4 HDEO 10w- 40 ci4
-04 PT Cruser GT 10w- 40 HDEO ci4
-Everything else HDEO 10w- 40 ci4/STOU 10w-30/THF

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#1442836 - 04/23/09 08:30 AM Re: What's the best oil for Hydro Pumps for zero turn [Re: Pete591]
ac_tc Offline


Registered: 05/06/08
Posts: 461
Loc: sweden
THF maybe (like the one above, he beat me..)...othervise an hydraulic oil not engine oil.
_________________________
-98 Dodge Durango 5.9 4*4 HDEO 10w- 40 ci4
-04 PT Cruser GT 10w- 40 HDEO ci4
-Everything else HDEO 10w- 40 ci4/STOU 10w-30/THF

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#1442857 - 04/23/09 08:56 AM Re: What's the best oil for Hydro Pumps for zero turn [Re: ac_tc]
j454 Offline


Registered: 04/10/09
Posts: 55
Loc: Virginia, USA
OK, Don't make too much fund of me...I'm still kind of new here and have near zero history as a lurker. So what is "THF"??

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#1442877 - 04/23/09 09:32 AM Re: What's the best oil for Hydro Pumps for zero turn [Re: j454]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 6960
Loc: Buffalo, NY
I'd use Shell Rotella-T 15w-40. Long hydrostat life if more about not overheating the units, than the brand of oil used. If the unit does inherently run hot in your application, a synthetic blend or full synthetic would be beneficial. There's more movement and pressure swings in the hydros, making them more vulnerable to failure than the hydraulic wheel motors.

Joel
_________________________
2014 Subaru XV Crosstek 2.0L, 5spd, 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan SE (Babe magnet III)

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#1442879 - 04/23/09 09:33 AM Re: What's the best oil for Hydro Pumps for zero turn [Re: j454]
doitmyself Offline


Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 4574
Loc: MI
THF stands for Tractor Hydraulic Fluid, sometimes also called UTHF for Universal Tractor Hydraulic Fluid. It is a common fluid used in agriculture tractors that share a common sump for transmission, hydraulic, and wet brakes. IMO, a lot different than a zero turn wheel motor/pump application.

I use what the manufacturer recommends. Exmark just came out with their own hydro oil. There is a good debate over at lawnsite.com regarding it's merits vs. their previous Mobil 1 15W50 recommendation.

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=265441

http://www.exmark.com/Exmark_Oil.htm

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#1442926 - 04/23/09 10:08 AM Re: What's the best oil for Hydro Pumps for zero turn [Re: doitmyself]
j454 Offline


Registered: 04/10/09
Posts: 55
Loc: Virginia, USA
Thanks for THF definition and the links. As best I can tell so far, it looks to be two types of hydro systems on these machines. One type has a large reservoir with a larger quantity of fluid to aid in cooling and usually specs. dino oil. The other has a very small reservoir and it usually specs. a synthetic oil because they already know it will be hot. It's the system with the small reservoir I'd like to focus on.

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#1442952 - 04/23/09 10:39 AM Re: What's the best oil for Hydro Pumps for zero turn [Re: j454]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 6960
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Any commercial unit I've seen specs 15w40 or 20w50 across the board; Hydro-Gear hydros and Parker wheel motors would be your most common combo. I've never seen one spec THF.

Joel
_________________________
2014 Subaru XV Crosstek 2.0L, 5spd, 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan SE (Babe magnet III)

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#1443040 - 04/23/09 12:20 PM Re: What's the best oil for Hydro Pumps for zero turn [Re: JTK]
j454 Offline


Registered: 04/10/09
Posts: 55
Loc: Virginia, USA
 Originally Posted By: JTK
Any commercial unit I've seen specs 15w40 or 20w50 across the board; Hydro-Gear hydros and Parker wheel motors would be your most common combo. I've never seen one spec THF.

Joel

A lot of them also spec. 15W-50 MOBIL 1

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#1443497 - 04/23/09 08:08 PM Re: What's the best oil for Hydro Pumps for zero turn [Re: doitmyself]
j454 Offline


Registered: 04/10/09
Posts: 55
Loc: Virginia, USA
 Originally Posted By: doitmyself
THF stands for Tractor Hydraulic Fluid, sometimes also called UTHF for Universal Tractor Hydraulic Fluid. It is a common fluid used in agriculture tractors that share a common sump for transmission, hydraulic, and wet brakes. IMO, a lot different than a zero turn wheel motor/pump application.

I use what the manufacturer recommends. Exmark just came out with their own hydro oil. There is a good debate over at lawnsite.com regarding it's merits vs. their previous Mobil 1 15W50 recommendation.

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=265441

http://www.exmark.com/Exmark_Oil.htm

It looks like this ExMark hydro oil is also a 15W-50, and a group III oil. ExMark claims you can run it for twice the initial amount of hours compared to Mobil 1 15W-50, ExMark oil @ 500 Hours, Mobil 1 @ 250 Hours. From what I've read there at the lawnsite forum, the ExMark oil has 1071ppm Zinc @ 1631ppm Phosphorus. While the Mobil 1 15W-50 has 1300ppm Zinc & 1200ppm Phosphorus. What is it that makes the ExMark oil good for twice as long run time? Could it be all that Phosphorus??

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#1443531 - 04/23/09 08:35 PM Re: What's the best oil for Hydro Pumps for zero turn [Re: j454]
doitmyself Offline


Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 4574
Loc: MI
 Originally Posted By: j454
What is it that makes the ExMark oil good for twice as long run time? Could it be all that Phosphorus??


I was taught that you cannot judge the quality of a book...er, oil by it's cover, or comparing it's specs only.

Two oils could have the exact same specs., yet one could be better due to better quality base stock and additives.

The late Stinky Peterson of Butler/CAT Oil Labs taught me this. He said that a HDEO (Diesel Oil) with a TBN of 10 could out perform an oil with a TBN of 12 for this very reason.

It would be interesting to see if Exmark's claim is more than marketing hype. I think their claim only holds for the new '09 mowers and up. Maybe they added an oil cooler??

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#1443762 - 04/24/09 05:36 AM Re: What's the best oil for Hydro Pumps for zero turn [Re: doitmyself]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 6960
Loc: Buffalo, NY
 Originally Posted By: doitmyself
..It would be interesting to see if Exmark's claim is more than marketing hype.


No doubt it is. Most of your OPE manufacturers try to push their own branded oils at ridiculous cost. A prime example is Cub Cadet's "Drive System Fluid Plus" at ~$9/qt. It's made by Shell and is an every day synthetic blend HDEO that can be had off the shelf for a fraction of the cost. 'Nother thing for the OP to keep in mind; 1) Exmark doesn't make hydros or wheel motors, so you can go by what the manufacturer suggests as well. 2) Lastly, there's no appreciable difference between 15w50 and 20w50 that should make you sweat the difference.

Joel


Edited by JTK (04/24/09 05:38 AM)
_________________________
2014 Subaru XV Crosstek 2.0L, 5spd, 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan SE (Babe magnet III)

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#1443768 - 04/24/09 05:49 AM Re: What's the best oil for Hydro Pumps for zero turn [Re: JTK]
j454 Offline


Registered: 04/10/09
Posts: 55
Loc: Virginia, USA
Does anyone know if Mobil 1 15W-50 have moly in it or not? If so, how much?

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#1445742 - 04/26/09 01:28 PM Re: What's the best oil for Hydro Pumps for zero turn [Re: j454]
Bror Jace Offline


Registered: 05/27/02
Posts: 4852
Loc: Saratoga, NY
Um j454, for these less-than-obvious applications, I like to start with the factory spec and go from there. What does the manual say in this case?
_________________________
--- Bror Jace
2006 Honda Civic
2005 Honda S2000

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