Posted on January 8, 2015, updated January 8, 2015
I thought I had posted this. RUN away from the DR Line trimmer! I bought the \"top of the line\" self drive one as I had some hillier ground to work on.
The first thing that happened was the starter would not function every time I turned the key. Next time it would work, but this was intermittent.
Next was the fact that unless you slip the drive belt all the time, you have to literally run to keep up with the machine on even ground in lighter grass. The slipping belt is the only way to slow down the machine at cutting speeds of the engine. I have to imagine that in heavier grass, the belt slips as well, even though you are not feathering it. This has to be tough on the belt. In fact after only a few (4?) hours of use, it is stretched nearly to the limit of the adjustment.
Then the gearbox started locking in drive. It would lock one or both wheels intermittently, even though I pushed the machine forward after disengaging the drive belt as instructed. It seemed to get worse as the machine was used more in a given session. It got to the point that the trimmer was more fight than it was worth, when trying to reverse it. In the end it just stopped being reversible at all.
I live in Western Australia. There is nobody here officially set up to service these machines. In the end the local agent told me to take it to a large dealer and service shop nearby. That was in early December 2014. I still do not have the machine back. So we are talking well over a month. The service guys were flat out at the end of Spring, but they said a couple of weeks. Then they got sent the wrong gearbox. AFAIK there is only one DR Line trimmer! How can you be sent the wrong gearbox? Anyway, at the moment, I am still waiting for another (hopefully the right) gearbox to be shipped from the US. The service guy said it was a \"cheap plastic thing\", so it will probably go again, out of warranty as I will not use the machine much if at all during Summer.
I wish I had read these reviews before I bought this machine. 50/50 positive vs negative is a bad service record and I would have avoided spening a good deal of money on what looks like a piece of junk, badly set up and apparently untested before shipping as many other people have related here.
On January 8th, 2015, OldNick added the following:
I hope this is allowed to stay, but iut is argumentative. geowaldman, please do not "attack the man" for their "obsessively negative commnents. They are relating real experiences and there is nothing obsessive about complaining of machines that do not do the job they are sold for, and simply fail fast. Basing your attack on ownership of a 20 year old machine is fallacious as well. Machines change quality a great deal over time. As for asking what else they had found that was better. At least one person had a Bearcat that they are glad they kept, and not everyone has a failure and can simply duck out and spend another several hundred to try again.
I've had a sprint, the least expensive mower trimmer at the time, for about 20 years. It has suffered much abuse including being hit by a car driven by my son learning to drive, going long periods without use or maintenance when being overused. I have tried many ways of tying the cords and most of them have worked very well. I bought the updated moving ball but have never felt the need for it. Only recently have I had a problem changing out the old, stretched belt and replacing it with a new one. Man, it's hard to loop it over the front pulley. You need small hands. But, all controls have worked well for all these years without enough oil or cleaning.
Every few years I will call the company and ask for a repleacement, and they always say, ah, yes, you own the sprint and bought it in 1987. Is your address the same, etc. Nice people. Solid company. I've read some of the obsessively negative reviews here and have wondered, well, if you don't like yours so much, what have you found that is better?
I am the owner of a DR Field and Brush mower, the Pro model with an 18 H.P. Kawasaki engine and 30" deck. Design shortcomings are just rampant. I'll start with the operator controls which are real nice and up front. Sounds great, but here's what happens with that. Working under low limbs and vines, the ignition key was bent over sharply. The operator presence switch wiring was destroyed requiring I buy a new one. The lever controling the drive axle locking mechanism hung on any low hanging features which often caused the machine to pitch suddenly. The throttle gate has no lock-out to prevent inadvertently throwing the choke full on. When this happens at full field throttle, and the operator doesn't instantly react, the engine floods severely. I had to remove the plugs and wait 45 minutes before the machine would grudgingly restart. I've engineered a choke lock-out from a small section of off the shelf hinge stock. I've relocated the drive axle lock-out control to a position low between the handlebars with the lever facing the operator.(Seems to be easier to operate in this position also) Then I fashioned a half round guard over the handlebars and control panel. Despite these efforts another OPS was recently ruined. Let's talk about safety now. NO GUARDS ON THE OPERATOR'S HANDLES! The operator's hand can be caught between the grip and a tree or post. It happened to me. Very painful, but thankfully there was no lasting injury. I fabbed a set of extra heavy duty guards. As with every manufacturer of a mowing device, the deck on this machine was so restricted that it constantly choked up. What I've done to my mower's deck would be any product liability lawyer's delight had a manufacturer actually put their machine in production with it. Given the original DR designed deck, it may have been realistic to discharge the output from a 8 H.P. engine and a 20 " cut--maybe. How about equipment protection? I've had to fabricate guards on both sides of the engine, and one that floats with the pivoting deck for the engine's front wiring and carburetor linkage. If I hadn't, nothing would be left of any of that by now. And underneath? When brush cutting, there is serious mayhem down there with the belts and bowden cables and blade clutch wiring and chain drive all exposed to said mayhem. There needs to be an underbelly guard as well, and my %^>#@ mower will have that before all is said and done. It now looks as if I'll be needing a transmission before long. The input pulley shaft is developing a lot of play. I made price considerations a very low priority when shopping for my brush cutter. The DR offered the widest cut of any of the walk behinds I found, and 18 H.P. sounded brutal enough. The pivoting deck was appealing as was the drive wheel lock up feature. This last feature works great so long as you can keep it clean down below where the mechanism does what it does. That is about one New York minute! Being liberal with my money didn't equate into a satisfying purchase. I can't believe those folks up in Vermont tried to find a real field of brush to test this machine on. Any serious effort at building a capable product would have had them scurrying back to the drawing board. Once bitten-twice shy!
On Oct 7, 2013, gomosgarden Canyon Lake, TX wrote:
I bought my self propelled trimmer in 2007. I don't remember how much I paid for it, because I bought every accessory offered along with it.
It has had problems. The wheel that needs to operate for the self propelled drive quit working after about 18 hours. DR replaced it, no questions asked.
I had no clue that leaving gas in it could wreck the carburetor. My fault and I think the people who fixed it used an after market product. So she's a little difficult to start. and runs rough at times.
The battery is useless. I've been through 4 and finally found something compatible to get it started. I can't for the life of me get the thing to start with the cord. Men can, but me; a 57 yr old woman cannot. Ticks me off.
Saturday, I did some serious work and messed up the mow ball. Then I realized the head quit spinning as well.
Today I called for technical help. It's just doggone amazing how good they are at their jobs.
My only regret today; I didn't take the undercarriage off from the get go. The belt was shredded. Luckily I had purchased the maintenance kit and had the parts I needed. The parts I replaced today, no problem. The belt and mow ball were original.
I fixed it, myself. Then I mowed for about 30 minutes.
I was scared to death to take the thing apart. The manual is actually quite good.
I live in the Sierra foothills in California on eight acres of hilly land. Because of the summer fire danger we have to weed whack about 3.5 acres of native vegetation (2 - 6 ft tall) each late spring after it drys out. There are a lot of rocks on the surface and gopher mounds that the weed whacker turns into dust clouds when going over them. I think this is a more challenging job than most people use their trimmers for so it really stresses the equipment.
I have two self propelled string trimmers--a 9 year old Bearcat and a three year old DR top of the line self propelled. I've had a lot of trouble with both of them but the Bearcat is a fundamentally better design than the DR. On the Bearcat I had to repair the handles and the B&S engine became impossible to start after about five years so I installed a new Harbor Freight engine and its working fine now. The Bearcat comes with a iron mow ball which stands up much better to the occasional rocks it hits than the plastic mow ball on the DR. The transmission on the Bearcat is working fine after 9 years of usage and it has much larger wheels than the DR which makes it easier to go over irregularities. I almost sold my Bearcat when I got the new DR--glad I held onto it.
The DR has several design and quality problems and I have become an expert at repairing it. These include:
1. Within weeks of owning it both drive wheels failed with cracks along the edges of the tread. DR replaced them with new ones and they seem to be holding up better.
2. The shaft bearing right above the mowing head failed during the first season. DR sent me two new bearings--must be a common problem.
3. The drive wheels are relatively small since the drive chain is connected directly to the main axle rather than having the dual chain drive of the Bearcat which allows the axle for each of the drive wheels to be located several inches higher (allows much larger wheels) while still keeping the frame level. This is a big deal and a serious design flaw in my opinion. When sitting on my level garage floor, the frame (and thus the engine) are tilted over 10deg forward. You have to tilt the unit back 10deg in order to even check the oil level properly. Worse yet, the engine is specified for a maximum tilt of 20deg so when you're trimming down a 10deg slope with the engine running you are right at the design limit and at risk of inadequate lubrication.
4. The wheel drive clutch cable will not stay in adjustment and I have to tweak the cable adjustment daily to keep the drive working. It's a simple adjustment but annoying since I have never had to touch the adjustment on my Bearcat after nine years.
5. The wheel drive stopped working this week while I was trimming across a slope. After removing the bottom cover I discovered that the drive chain had come off the axle sprocket--simple enough to fix. But it came off the sprocket because the sprocket from the transmission shaft is slightly out of alignment with the axle sprocket and when trimming on a slope the lateral play in the axle caused the chain to derail. Not hard to fix but shouldn't be able to happen.
6. When fixing the chain issue above I noticed that the drive belt is on the verge of failure after only three years of part time usage (with all the problems, I've had a lot of downtime). Big chunks of the belt are torn off so I just ordered a new belt. I didn't have to replace my Bearcat belt until after five years of much heavier usage.
7. The DR uses a plastic mow ball that will barely make it through one season before it wears out ($15) on our land. When I complained about the life of the ball they sent me one of their aluminum ones which only lasted one year also before wearing out. It's not recommended to use the aluminum ball with string trimming (it's meant for the cutting blade) because it can fly apart if it fails when wearing out. The iron mow ball on my Bearcat lasted five years and when I purchased a new one it was much heavier iron than the original and will last the life of the unit.
Anyway, if you are capable of repairing your own equipment or your conditions are less harsh than mine, the DR may work fine for you. Their service guys were always helpful but there were just too many problems for me to recommend the unit. Their newer model (redesigned in the last couple of years) may be better. It has a three-speed transmission like my old Bearcat and they may have fixed the wheel size and drive problems.
Over the last 18 years I have purchased three DR Trimmer/mowers and one DR Brushcutter. I still own and use them weekly on our farm. I have found that DR is the only lawn and garden product that I want to use for that particular purpose.. In talking to technicians or associates in the help center at DR I have never had anything but a very pleasant experience with them. Yes, I have had to wait a few moments at times for help on the phone, it was always worth the wait as they would step me through the problem and solve it. I feel their products are the finest in America. Terry
My Self-Propelled DR Trimmer arrived yesterday via UPS. I paid over $1500.00 including an extended warranty and various additional parts and maintenance equipment that the salesperson told me were needed.
When I opened the box, I immediately saw that the Drive Engage Bar was not attached to the handlebar, and was hanging down, swinging around. As a result of this, the drive cable was damaged - with a distinct 90-degree bend in it. When I tried to attach the Drive Engage Bar, I found that it was simply too short to even fit in the space between the two holes in the handlebar assembly.
When I called DR technical support, after waiting for a long time on hold, the technician dismissed the problem as unimportant and told me to just bend the Drive Engage Bar so it would fit properly. (It's a piece of quarter-inch-thick, high-tensile carbon steel that is already bent into a very specific shape.) When I found that I couldn't bend the Drive Engage Bar using ordinary tools, I called DR back and spoke to someone else in technical support with a condescending attitude who told me that most of their customers have workshops and bending a piece of steel like this isn't really really be a problem for them. He told me that if I just attached the Drive Engage Bar to a vise, it would easily bend. I did that and it did not bend. To be clear, the bending I'm referring to is essentially straightening out a piece of carbon steel that is bent too much and is therefore too short.
One technician told me that the bar was probably bent as a result of improper handling by UPS. (The box arrived in perfect condition.) But another technician told me that this was a common problem for this piece of equipment.
I tried using Channel Lock pliers on it and ending up actually damaging my workbench with the weight I had to put on the Drive Engage Bar trying to bend it. Still it did not bend (because high-tensile carbon steel is not supposed to bend.) I was finally able to straighten the bar out only slightly by pounding it with a hammer onto a concrete floor. After this the bar did fit just barely enough to attach it, but it is still loose.
So then I started up the machine and it ran well and worked well for about 15 minutes, when the forward drive stopped working. I inspected the trimmer to see if there was anything obvious wrong with it, which there was not. I again called DR technical support and spoke to someone else who told me that a simple adjustment was needed on the drive cable tension. I made the adjustment, but it still did not work. So I called DR once again and spoke to a 4th person in technical support who told me that it sounded like the drive belt had come off. He said "just pop the panel off and reattach it." He also told me there was a kit that he would send containing a part that needed to be retrofitted in order to keep the belt on. I WAS COMPLETELY ASTOUNDED. Why are they delivering these machines that are made-to-order when they KNOW it's not going to work properly and needs to have parts replaced??
When I was unable to find which panel needed to be "popped off," I called DR technical support a 5th time and this person told me I needed to drain all the oil and gas out of the machine and lift it onto a table upside down in order to remove the panel. Again, I WAS ASTOUNDED!!! This company expects its customers to perform major repairs on BRAND NEW EQUIPMENT!!!
This technician also told me that when the specifications for this machine were drawn up, the specs for the guide piece that holds the drive belt were drawn up incorrectly and that the guide piece needs to be bent in a different way than the way it was manufactured in order for the drive belt to stay on. AGAIN, ANOTHER PIECE OF METAL THAT NEEDS TO BE BENT TO GET THIS BRAND NEW EQUIPMENT TO WORK !
When I raised an objection to making these repairs myself, I was told that a local dealer could make the repairs, but it would take two weeks or more.
So the questions the public needs to ask of this company are:
1) Why are you shipping products in completely non-working condition that require major repairs when you open the box?
2) If these machines are "made to order," then why isn't the properly-bent belt guide piece already being installed???
Frankly, this has all the earmarks of a class-action lawsuit in the making.
Has anyone used the 18 HP Brush mower with lawn deck attachment?
I have called our local store that sells DR and they don't have any useful information. They also didn't know that it had an electric pump. I currently have a snapper walk behind that is worn out. I am looking to buy a DR Mower to cut tall grass from time to time. But the only way I can make the price work for me is if I can also utilize the lawn mowing deck as well. I cut several yards weekly so need the mowing/finishing deck to do a good job on yards and the brush attachment on tall grass maybe once a month. Can anyone comment on how well the lawn deck does? Does it do a good job finishing the lawn? I have heard the Brush mower has a proven record but cant find much info on the lawn deck. Even the 800 number wasn't helpful. Thank you in advance.
On May 24, 2013, travelingmike El Sobrante, CA wrote:
Two brand new 2013 trimmers broken in one day . The first one lasted 25 minutes before the self propel stopped working-took it back to the dealer-they would have to take it apart. The great dealer gave me a second one to get me back to work, it lasted 1.5 hours before the self propel stopped working again( I had found out the first machine the chain had fallen off because the sprocket was not lined up properly). We thought the second one the same thing but it was a transmission that broke-something about the belt rubbing on something-I had noticed from the get go it did not seem to cut as well as the one I used for 25 minutes. The dealer had also taken apart his other machines and found 2 more with sprockets not lined up. The great dealer refunded my money-offered me another machine also, but I am not feeling so confident in this company. I had high hopes for my trimmer to shorten my work on 10 acres. DR POWER has refused to place my review on their website-it was resubmitted 2 times following guidelines. Obviously these revamped machines for 2013 need a bit more quality control. A 1200$ trimmer?-on sale at that. I am so glad I used my local dealer. I feel a bit sorry he has to deal with this though-he has provided me with great equipment -not a single take back in the 2 years-stihl trimmer and pole saw, husk chain saw(6 years), a blower(2 years) which I forget the name, Honda power washer 4 years.
I bought the biggest DR Field & Brush Mower available (I think it is a 15 hp) with a lawn deck in the 1999 or 2000. When it runs it works great. However, the machine was badly underdesigned and does not hold up over time. I note that I use it primarily for mowing my lawn but I also use the brush deck and when I do I mostly mow small brush, weeds etc. rarely do I mow brush greater than 1" in diameter. I have had multiple major failures including a broken frame, broken handle bars, a broken differental lock (the replacement is breaking again) and a broken weld on the brush deck. Except for the broken weld, I had to tear the machine apart in order to replace the parts. I understand that belts, blades, control cables, tires, batteries, etc.wear out and require replacement but one major structural failure is unacceptable - I have had three; the frame should outlast virtually everthing on the machine. I just retired a $100 lawnmower from Wal-Mart because the engine wore out and the handle and mower are still in good shape. I contacted DR and got the run-around and less than geniune responses to my issues: when I reported the handle bar failure and had to purchase a replacement, I was told that they did not have a history of handle bar failures. I wrote a long letter to the president of DR and explained the entire history of failures my mahcine has experineced. DR responded by sending me handle bar stiffeners; the copyright date on the handle bar stiffeners was a few years prior to the time I reportied the handle bar failure and contradicts DR's claim that they have no history of handle bar failures. DR knows that it underdesigns its equipment and relies on slick advertsing to get people to buy and counts on limited use by purchasers to limit major failures. I would not reccomend a DR to anyone who actually wants to use it for its intended purpose. I gave DR mulitple chances to make things right with me including taking my machine in trade in the event that my machine was simply a lemon - most reputable equipment manufacturers stand behind its equipment and do what it takes to get lemons out of circulation - and warned DR that it had to make a business decision to either make things right with me or permanently lose me as a customer and a fierce critic of DR. I am now taking every opportunity to spread the word about my experience with DR.
Posted on September 28, 2012, updated October 1, 2012
Received my DR trimmer today after much anticipation and research. Out of the box, put it together, fired it up and it didn't work! The head that holds the cord would not spin. So after trying a few adjustments - I just parked it until tomorrow. I am a very patient person and I will follow the trouble shooting guide and see if I can get it to work. BUT, I expect a new item to work out of the box, to have been tested before shipping. Especially a $1200.00 one! I don't like hassle which is why I bought the trimmer -- to end the hassle with my hand held trimmer. So we are not off to a good start DR!
On October 1st, 2012, freebk changed the rating from negative to positive and added the following:
Ok, so after talking to DR and the local dealer I took the trimmer apart to check the belt and sure enough it was off -- so I put it in place and fired it up again and did some serious damage to some 5 foot weeds! DR is sending a new belt since the one in the unit was a little shredded but still working. It is a powerful machine. Unless your property is perfectly flat buy the self propelled model! It really makes a difference. I'm a petite female and this machine is heavy to push and pull on a slope.
Happy weed eating to all!
The Dr. trimmer pro is a good machine, but it is not without its problems! I would buy it again from a dealer,not from the factory. Once the machine is dialed in it worked great. There are some design flaws. the cutting head is way to soft and will wareout quickly if you use it around any hard rocks or cement.. The wheels are very cheap for the cost of the machine. You must tip the machine up on edge(like doing a wheely) to change the cutting line, not a good thing when the machine is hot. the top of the engine should have a better cover on it ,it fills up fast in thick grass or weeds cause engine to over heat. If you order from factory make sure every bolt and nut is tight on the unit from top to bottom. I had to take my machine into the local dealer 2 times but they fixed the problems and showed me how to prevent it from happning again.
It goes like a bat out of hell now.
On Sep 12, 2011, JACOBUSJAKE Sweetwater, TN wrote:
They try to make a good trimer,but they failed
I bought the pro with the electric start.use it for two hrs
im 65 to hard to push the wheels are filimsey
the electric start takes to long to get it going,thats because its a brigg eng
The shrud builds up with grase clipping,if you use it to long the engine will get hot.
If they have a different engine,and design so the clipping dont get suck in the shrud.then i think they have a good machine
Please work on this dr power
I realized I'm pushing the envelope as to how I use our DR Trimmer/Mower (XL, self propelled model). It is primarily used to cut back ferns and other growth that encroach on mountain bike trails here in the U.P. of Michigan.
When it works it is the bees knees, cats pajamas etc. It cuts my trail mowing time almost in half over using our 15hp All Terrain Mower on these narrower trails.
After 4 hours of use we starting having some problems with parts becoming loose. So I would say, use it for a couple hours then have your dealer or if mechanically inclined take it apart and put it back together, carefully tightening all the bolts and nuts. Our spindle and spindle brake came loose about 4 hours in. It wasn't fun having to push it back to the truck, haul it in, fix it and then get back out there again.
The self propelled drive worked adequately for about 4 miles of trail. I say adequately because the torrington clutch bearings in the wheels would begin to slip if the machine had to climb an incline greater than 10%. It wouldn't take much to help it up but I would hope for a more positive drive. The drive mechanism stopped working altogether shortly after the spindle problem. My dealer fixed it quickly, but when we went out the next day about 3 minutes in, we're pushing it again. Maybe I should have bought the model without the self-propelled feature, its considerably lighter. Anyway my plan is when I get it back from the dealer on monday, if it fails again I will trade it back in for the model below without the self propelled feature.
Pneumatic tires would be a benefit to this machine as it has difficulty in getting over anything more than 2 inches high. You got to back up and horse it over. I'd like to see a 3.5 or 4 inch wide 12 inch diameter wheel myself. (The speed is bit too fast with the 14 inch wheels)
The plastic wheels flex far to much if you're going across a side hill (would estimate grades of 15% or more.) Steel spoke would prevent this. (Get some 12 inch bike wheels with wider tires.)
I'm giving this a neutral rating because when this works as it should it is great. I just think DR needs to address some issues and really field test it beyond what is "normal."
If this economy turns around, I may take this over to a local machine shop and make the appropriate mods and see what happens.
I have owned a 17 hp DR Field and brush mower for over 5 years now. This thing works awesome and the information on their web site is true and accurate. I am so impressed with this machine and the people at the DR factory store in Merrimack, NH They have always been courteous, respectful, pleasant and very knowledgeable about the equipment they sell. I have almost 340 hours on my machine and I use it year round. . I have the chipper attachment, the snow blower attachment and the generator. The main reason I bought this was to use it on my remote property in Vermont. I also make a few bucks clearing peoples overgrowth now. When my regular snow blower died it was either get a new one or buy the attachment. I went w/ the attachment so I would have to maintain one engine. The only problem I have w/ the snow blower is that it is way to big for my house. The generator kept my fridge, TV, several lights, furnace, my neighbors TV, fridge, and several of their lights on when we were with out power for a week after a major ice storm. I am also very happy with the wood chipper.
I have had some problems since owning it, but, compared to the punishment I give this beast, please see the video, I consider them minimal...The axel/differential has been replaced a few times ( a "skid" plate under it might help from things hitting lock in/out cam causing it to bend), once while under warrantee, I have had my deck welded several times and have bought a 26" deck so now I have 2 (I do have a couple of very simple ideas for improvements to the deck that would make it a little more user friendly) and the spindle was replaced once. The pulley has sheared many times and I consider them to be a "shear pin" of sorts and have at least 1 replacement at all times. The most expensive repair, a month or 2 ago, was the transmission. I follow the maintenance schedule as far as oil and lube and have never had a problem with the engine. Every time I have been in for repairs, the service has been prompt and thorough. They go through the machine and have taken care of small things like a missing nut or lose connection and often at no charge. I feel they have never over charged me or did work that wasn't necessary. If they didn't have the parts I need in stock, they have them sent to me and I have never been charged for shipping. They have always exceeded expectations!!! I wish more business were like the people at DR. Since they treat me good, I go back!!! I like them so much, when my lawn mower died, I got a battery powered mower from them... Of which I have not had a single problem with in 2 years.
I would like to state that I do not work for them or affiliated with them in any way. I decided to sign up for Daves Garden after reading some of the negative reviews DR has received. Who else, in any business, gives a 6 month trial/money back guarantee AND a 2 year warrantee? (I bought mine late in the season and it came with a YEAR trial.) If anyone reading this is considering buying one of these and you have the place to use it, just do it. Speaking from my experience you will be glad you did.
Want to see what this machine can do? Check out the 2 links below. These are actual before and after pictures and the video is of an actual job, it wasn't "staged." I am sure you will be impressed!!!... You might even see your problem overgrowth in the pictures.
I did not see any comments about the DR Tow Behind Brush Mower, which I purchased, with the 17 HP Kowasaki engine about four years ago. I bought it, relying exclusively on the DR promo pages, to clear what had become an overgrown 13 acre pasture, using a Polaris ATV as the tower. The brush cutting ability-- 1"-2" pine saplings-- is excellent; but the mowing ability is limited. The machine is described as "rough cut;" and it is very "rough," leaving numerous grass/ weed stalks uncut. The mowers used with the web site videos must have razor sharp cutting blades, but the blades are very difficult to access to sharpen/ replace. Also, the videos show the machines being used on rather flat ground. The mower tow assembly is simply not configured (putting aside the not terrific turning radius) for somewhat bumpy pastures with small hills/ gulleys. Running at about 5-6MPH, I have had to replace the tow bar connecting pin five times at about $30/ replacement. Sometimes, I can get about 12-14 hours of use before the connecting pin breaks, sometimes less. The tow bar system allowing offset cutting apparently puts too much stress on the pin if the mower is used on other than flat, pretty smooth terrain. This machine turned out not to be suitable for use on my horse pasture.
I have a 6.0 HP DR trimmer. After a couple of years of HARD use the Briggs & Stratton engine died. While I was waiting for a new engine I relied on a used Troy built trimmer/mower. No comparison in quality and ease of use. The DR trimmer is the winner, hands down. I have installed a 6.0 HP Kawasaki engine on it and what a difference. The RPM's are a little slower but it has a heavier flywheel - much less vibration and it desen't bog down at all. And I really use my trimmer. I almost didn't by the DR because the trimmer came with a B & S motor. DR should really consider dropping the B & S line of engines. I think the new trimmers are a bit over-priced but they are SO much better than the Troy/Crafts/Husky alternitives.
While my dad may actually own this DR field mower, I'm the on who's been fixing it--and almost the only one to use it. The machine is an ATM 0008XXX.
With lesss than 200 total operating hours I've had to:
--Replace the spindle bearings,
--Weld the spindle bracket,
--Weld the mower deck,
--Weld the deck support tubes--the mower broke completely
off the chassis,
--Replace the upper bearing in the NORAM clutch-brake,
--Replace the drive clutch cable,
We use it to mow tall weeks, and very little saplings
which are interspersed (up to 1" at most) in the grass. This
mower seems to be more of an ornament to park in our
garage, than for use by a homeowner.
By comparison my first Troy Bilt horse worked from the
early 1960's until I replaced it in the late 1990's; doing
my, and a few neighbor's gardens all those many years.
Just belts, tines, and a few shaft seals for all those years.
I've had my trimmer/mower over 10 years and have used it on thick St Augustine on the Texas Gulf coast and now over koliche laden with rocks of all sizes in the hill country as I trim weeds of assorted varieties and the little grass that's here. Although I had to replace the wheels about 1 year ago and the top shield assembly could stand replacing, I've had no other problems. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend that a friend buy one.
On Aug 15, 2010, vladimirtractor Wardsboro, VT wrote:
After what seemed like a long wait (actually delivered in the number of days stated) the trimmer arrived. Initially I was challenged how to thread the string, but as the instructions say, once you do it, the next time is a snap.
The trimmer is fine for mowing level, smooth fields, although on one of the videos they state that it's designed for the type of mowing conditions we have here in Vermont. It would work very well on something like a weeded over tennis court. But any hope that I had that it would be easier than using a hand held string trimmer was soon dashed.
Its main problem for me is that the solid rubber wheels are far too small and the trimmer keeps hanging up on small rocks and ruts and depressions. So you have to back it out and bull ahead. I asked the company if larger wheels were available and the quick response was no. Pneumatic tires would help too. I may look into installing larger wheels and somehow making the trimmer ball taller to compensate.
I've thought about returning it and trying a self propelled model but I think that I'll have the same problem.
So when I go out to work in the pastures, I take both the DR trimmer and the string trimmer, and find that if you use them both you can get the job done quicker than using the string trimmer alone.
And the thing is heavy - after you've bulled the thing around for a while you'll need a rest. But heavy means quality, right?
So the machine will get you to second base but don't look for a home run in most instances.
On Aug 15, 2010, FAADAN Kimberling City, MO wrote:
Posted on October 31, 2008, updated August 15, 2010
I have had a DR field and brush mower for about 5 years. It has performed very will. I have cleared 4 brush covered acres, mowing over trees up to 1 and a half inches. Mine is the older model without the locking differential. It has a little problem on steep slopes of the upper wheel spinning. I call it the Beast because it mows watever I want to mow. I wouldn't recommend the biggest model to someone small of stature as it is a powerful maching. I sheared a pully and broke a blade but I have really used it as a brush hog. Since purchsing the heavier blade I have had no problems. It is a beast so make sure you can handle a powerful machine.
On August 15th, 2010, FAADAN added the following:
It's two years later and I still love my DR Field and Brush Mower. It has the 17HP Kawasaki engine and tho I have had to replace some parts, I have really abused this machine and it starts and runs first time. I have still to replace the battery after 7 years. I beat the deck to death throwing stones and branches into it and just replaced it this year. It still has the original belts on it. I have lost a bolt here and there and had to replace them but that is from not paying attention to proper maintenance. I cleared 4 acres of undergrowth the first year and that involved hitting a lot of big rocks and broken branches and mowing off a bunch of small trees. Now, I can mow the entire place in two mornings, cutting off the weeds and small trees that try to regrow from the old stumps. I have picked up most of the rocks so I have sheared no more drive pulleys. It's been a workhorse for me.
On Aug 8, 2010, yellowcat2000 Midlothian, TX wrote:
I purchased the 6.75 trimmer/mower just over 2 years ago. This is a piece of junk. I sure do miss my Toro. It has been use about 7 times since I got it. I had it to the shop 3 times. The rpm's was not fast and had to be adjusted, than it did not start twice. Now the belt broke. DR would not stand behind it and I had to pay for all the repairs. They said that debris got in to the carburetor. If you are cutting high grass there is no way to prevent it. My Toro had a shield in the front to deflect the debris. I just hate the Briggs engine. My neighbor purchased one 1 week after I did and she has the same problems. It took her 1 hour to try to start it the other day.
LOVE THIS FIELD AND BRUSH MOWER!!!
My husband and I purchased a DR Field and Brush mower, 15 HP about three years ago. We have 5 acres of land of which one is cleared and 4 are overgrown woods. If you have ever been to NW Florida, you know what I'm talking about. We have used it consistently to help us clear this acreage and it has never let us down (we did replace the battery). This machine is a dream come true if you need to clear land. We even take down trees (Youpon) about 2" round when they get in our way. We are probably using it much rougher than it was designed, but again it has never let us down. It is so easy to use that it has now pretty much become mine rather than my Husband's. At the same time we also purchased the DR 13 HP Wood Chipper and again we have worked it to death and it has never let us down. Since we have had such success with these two we are getting ready to purchase the DR Trimmer Mower, self propelled, for weed whacking some pretty rough areas. The only thing we would change on our brush mower would be the key start. It's kind of flimsy and you have to be careful turning it on as the key can bend the plastic pretty easy.
I purchased a 17 HP DR field and brush mower 2.5 years ago and added the 42" lawn mower attachment. Three weeks ago the differential let go. The wheels were no longer aligned and the chain assembly was destroyed. The shop owner said that there were bolts missing from the differential, accounting for the break. The part was back ordered twice and I have had a number of conversations with DR. Most the 'information' was eyewash, designed to placate. One service rep may have slipped up. She said that 30 differential replacements were expected, 15 assigned for individual landowners! Why would they need so many spare differentials for their latest model mower? And before they were back ordered, how many individual land owners received replacements? DR will pay for one half the differential cost but not the labor and additional damage. It is six months out of warranty but it is most likely a factory defect. If it was a Chevrolet, the wheels would have fallen off and would have triggered a recall, no matter what the mileage or age of the mower. DR is overrated as a machine and a company. It's not 'done right'.
At 61, the 3 acres I have been weed wacking for years has now started to pose a real headache trying to keep up. We have even thought of downsizing although we don't want to. I bought the key start pro model DR trimmer this year and the weeds (even very large ones) do not have a chance. I get it done in a hour or so of just walking around (and can play golf in the afternoon). Used to take me multiple weekends by which time, the first weeds cut were back. This unit is made extremely well from my perspective, starts every time and is so many more times powerful than my other timmers, it's amazing. They now are merely dust collectors. In addition, I was able to get rid of my walk behind lawn mower that I used for areas my tractor could not fit. My only regret is that I did not get it a few years ago.
I have a 5.25 HP DR Trimmer and after almost 15 years, just had to replace it. Up until this season, I could still start it with just one or two pulls. I love this thing and will order a new one this month. I have read all the negative reviews, but I think it is more in the operator than the equipment. These things are bullet proof and worth every penny. You can by the cheap home store version, but those machines I would consider disposable. These DR Trimmers will last with normal maintenance and operation.
********If you read a lot of the complaints, especially the ones with rebutals, I would imagine there is more to the story.********
I purchased my DR Fieldbrush four years ago. It has run perfectly from day one. Other than typical maintenance, the only thing needing replacement has been the battery. I use my 15 hp machine to run the lawnmowing attachment, brushcutting attachment, and the snowblower. My only complaint is that the mower can easily scald the yard in uneven areas.
I have used the brushcutter on 3+ acres of harsh terrain with significant slopes. It can be a little tiring on a side slope, but the results are incredible.
The snowblower throws snow further than any product that I have owned in the past.
I have had relatives, friends and neighbors use this machine over the years, and all love it and have asked to borrow it numerous times.
On Jan 17, 2010, leedobolek New Orleans, LA wrote:
When this machine works, it's great. That said, I find it also one of the worst designed pieces of farm equipment I've ever worked with. Mine had wires hanging out on the right side. They caught on brush and disconnected, stalling the machine. It took me hours before I found what caused the machine to stop and about ten minutes to fix a problem that should have been caught at the factory. The lock nut that holds the blade welded to the spindle after a period of particularly heavy use and required service to remove. The deadman control causes cramping in your hand after extended use and my handgrips kept pulling off when the machine lurched forward. Small issues, but again ones that should have been resolved at the assembly stage. Changing the battery requires lots of small tools, far too much disassembly and really small hands. the battery also should have been installed 180-degrees from what it is as the cutouts that give you access to the screw terminals are now facing into the engine instead of ouward as they were designed to be. Expect lots of sparks as your tools ground-out against the shift lever. Again, not enough cable to relocate the battery and barely enough to do it comfortably as it is. They are all too cheap with the wiring as, for a few cents, they could have added a few more inches of wire that would allow you to relocate the battery in a better position, to more easily bundle and secure the hanging wires and also to get to the &^&%$# fuse conatiner that's almost impossible to service unless you have skinny, 9-inch long fingers. Line leading to gas filter also required replacement with a longer piece, again it was too short for easy service. For what I paid for the machine there were way too many small problems. When it does work though, WOW! I use it to chew up the brush where my tractor-mounted mower can't go.
On Sep 21, 2009, aw0043 Lady Lake, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:
I am a 65 yr old woman. I bought the DR trimmer a few years ago because I could not use the hand held "weed whackers". I love the DR trimmer. It works great. I also bought the Beaver blade attachment, and it is great for cutting down small saplings and other shrubby bushes that are too big for the trimmer cords.
We have 4 acres and we find lots of uses for our DR.
On Sep 1, 2009, XmasTreeFarm Sussex United States wrote:
Purchased a 17HP DR brush mower last month. I WILL be taking advantage of the 6 month return policy.
The parking brake was broken when I received the unit.
On the slightest incline, the machine free-wheels. It is so dangerous, I will not permit anyone else to use the unit.
The "easy turn" feature is an absolute joke. I am a heathty 250 pound male, and I am completely out of energy after one hours use of this machine. The DR video shows a 70+ year old woman using the DR. In one word.... IMPOSSIBLE!
I have a DR All Terrain mower with 18 HP Honda engine. I have had it since 1 July 2008 and right from the start I've had problems with the axle sprocket picking up grass and jamming it into the drive sprocket resulting in the chain being forced off the drive sprocket and bending the bolts holding the safety cover. I contacted the DR company and complained about this problem more than once and was told they would pass it on to developement. That was all I got from the company. I've used the machine approximately ten times and everytime I have to be prepared to put the chain back on the sprockets and straighten the safety cover bolts. I had started leaving the cover off as it was getting destroyed and was having to remove grass etc. from the sprockets several times each time I used the machine. Today while backing it up some grass got jammed into the drive sprocket and the main shaft broke off before I could get the machine stopped. This was approximately five minutes after I had put the chain back on after it jump off. Sure wish I had known about this page if I had and had read it I certainly would not have purchased the mower. Now I have an expensive piece of equipment that I can't use and don't know what I'm going to do with it. As someone else said in a prior comment you better be prepared to be beat up by this piece of equipment. I'm 6'4" 270 pounds and the thing would give me a work out.
We have had our DR Trimmer/Mower for 5 years. It has a Briggs and Stratton engine, electric start (which I would definitely get again), but is not self-propelled (under most circumstances this is not necessary as it is very well balanced and easy to push - even for me, a 5'5" woman). It should not be confused with the Field and Brush Mower which we also have (several of the negative postings were about this machine) and which is very powerful and heavy and requires some strength to operate. The Trimmer/Mower is definitely the most wonderful piece of lawn equipment I have ever used. It is very important, however, to use it correctly and maintain it according to the suggested schedule. I mow through 4 foot tall star thistle along with many other woody weeds. In order to mow this type of material you have to use the largest of the lines, and I found it best to place them close to the ground on the mow ball. Then start working from the side going back and forth; otherwise you may get tangled up in the very large, stringy plants. No other line trimmer could come close to getting through large star thistle plants. As for maintenance, such as changing belts, I just did that this morning on mine. While it is not as easy as changing oil, it is not that difficult if you have just a little bit of mechanical ability. The manual could have a little better and larger photographs of some of the things, but most are quite good and instructions adequate. The maintenance schedule calls for removing the stone guard (2 nuts) and the bottom shield (3 nuts) to check the belt on a routine basis - same operation for changing belt. I have found that grass and dirt do manage to get in this area and it is good to clean it a couple times a season. Seems like most of the negatives I read are probably attributable to failure to operate or maintain correctly. I have found the company very helpful whenever I have had to call them (we did have a problem with the key switch early on, but they sent out a new part and I easily replaced it). I would not hesitate to buy another one of these wonderful machines.
On Jun 12, 2009, northstar142 Bellingham, WA wrote:
I have to say that my initial experience with my DR Trimmer was very bad. We used it for less than an hour and the engine started choking out and misfiring when trying to start. I took it in to a local repair shop and he got it running again and billed Country Home Products...no problem...except for the next time we ran it, it ran for less than an hour and the engine died and wouldn't start. Back to the repair shop and this time the B&S engine was shot. The repair guy had Country Home Products send out a new engine and it's been working great ever since. It's so much easier having one of their affililated repair shops deal with them because he must speak their language. I have to admit that I'm completely satisfied with my trimmer now, sometimes I wish I had purchased the self propelled model, but it works great now! I'd definitely purchase another one when I wear this one out!
In April I bought the Trimmer/Mower professional use.
When it arrived, the box was damaged and the machine was damaged and several parts were broken.
The mower was returned and I got a "new " mower about 3 weeks later.
The box arrived open and it was obvious that I got the same piece of equipment back only some of the first damages were repaired and others not.
When I called and spoke with a supervisor, he told me that they spent 100 dollars per box for packing, but the equipment is heavy and difficult to ship.
I am waiting now for UPS again to collect the mower/trimmer and to get my money back.
This cannot be refunded until UPS collects the box.
Just a bad experience!
We are now in the middle of June and had nothing but a headache.
I notice that several different machines are being evaluated under this heading. I have the 65 hp DR String Trimmer Mower with a Kohler Engine. If I have to buy another one I would get a Briggs & Stratton engine and an electric key start instead of the pull start. I was advised to get the Kohler engine because I have some steep slopes in my mowing area. The Kohler engine was supposed to keep going on the slopes without choking out. In fact the Kohler engine has some narrow apertures in it and is susceptible to clogging. You have to keep your gas fresh and 10% ethanol which attracts water is not good either.
The strings are easy to attach - its a good idea to mark the correct holes and over the winter keep the dirt daubers from blocking the holes. I would cover the engine and store so it is dry, protected and doesn't freeze up over the winter. You need a fresh spark plug each season and it should start up and be ready to go.
I love my trimmer. It will mow 3 or 4 ft weeds and its not too hard to push even for a getting older every year lady.
Ive had the machine for about 15 years. The strings - I use the heavy green ones you buy on a big roll at Lowes - will last a long time if you dont try to cut into trees, tin cans, fence posts, etc with them. You can "sharpen" them with fingernail clippers for a fresh edge.
After reading the posts about the DR Trimmer, I was compelled to join Dave's Garden and comment positively about the DR Trimmer. My trimmer is a manual start 6.5 Pro purchased in July 1999. It has performed excellently on uneven ground against thick Kochia, Canadian Thistle, Mallow, Sunflowers and other odd woody plants. I mow fence lines every month from May through October and paddocks as needed on a 5.5 acre high altitude property. The mower continues to start right up, it has easily been repaired when needed, the company has provided good advice and quick parts. I highly recommend this product and will replace mine with another when simple repairs no longer solve a problem. Thanks very much.
I'm not sure if some of the other reviews here are based on the same machine I've owned and used for almost 2 years, because I've been satisfied beyond measure at how well my DR Field and Brush Mower has performed. Expensive? Yes, although I've been around long enough to know that you get what you pay for in tools. This machine is very well built, and it's obvious that if I care for it that it may outlast me!
It cuts just about anything it will push over, and it really does do the things that the TV commercial shows. I also purchased the snow-blower attachment which has worked well. The only problem I've encountered is a blade v-belt that shredded before it should have, but their technical support was good and I was back in business pronto.
Others in my community also own DR tools and are universally happy, so these negative reviews really surprise me. I'm eyeing one of their chippers now...
I saw the negative votes and wanted to say something positive about a machine that I really love. I bought my first DR brush mower about 15 years ago when I bought a house that came with an acre of overgrown brush. It was a great mower. I didn't challenge it much and it was a pain to reverse but I loved it. A few years ago I bought a new house on 10 overgrown acres. Lots of brush and thorns and swampy areas. I acquired a tractor with a brsh hog to tackle the field but I wanted to be able to make trails and clear under trees and manage the septic mound. I bought a new DR brush mower, 15 HP Kawasaki. Lock in differential. PLUS I got a snowthrower attachment which is easy to switch with the mower deck.
I can't say enough good things about this machine. It could take down the rainforest. I have never had a problem. It's built better than my JD tractor! I change the oil every year spring and fall when I switch out the mower/snowthrower. I've made lots of trails that I have fun keeping clear. I boast of the DR to friends and let them borrow it for the weekend. I have no problem handling it. Its a big machine and I'm not a big person -- but we're a great match. As we head into winter the tractor is sitting in field but my DR mower is snug in the barn waiting for the first snowfall to tackle.