I thought that I would be one of the first to post here to tell my hydrostatic story.
In early 2001, I bought a brand new Honda Harmony, H1011 rear-engine riding mower. I ordered the one with a hydrostatic transaxle even though it cost a bit more because it was for my wife and I thought it would be easier for her to use.
It worked great until last month when I got it out after a couple of months being parked. It started right up. I always used a Battery Tender Jr. on my mower batteries. I have two H1011's, the other one has a standard Trans axle.
Anyway, we started it up and when we engaged the forward speed, we got nothing. There was no reverse either. The transaxle had died on its own after mowing an acre of grass perfectly and being ridden right into the garage when we were finished with it.
No amount of fooling around would make it go so I figure it's toast. I removed it and ordered a used standard transaxle that I found on eBay. I tested that when it came and it's in perfect condition. I'm in the process of converting the machine to standard five speed shift. I ordered and received all of the necessary parts and I'll get started on the work as soon as the rain stops in my area. The good thing is that Honda still sells parts for these machines, even though they quit selling them shortly after we bought our unit.
So now the hydrostatic transaxle sits sadly on the floor. There is no data for repairing it, no exploded diagram, no part numbers and no parts. I have the service manual for the model with the standard transaxle but I've been told that even the manual for the hydrostatic version doesn't tell anything other than what it looks like. I'm thinking it might make a conversation piece for my big coffee table once it's cleaned up. I checked and they retail new for anywhere from $750 to $900 depending upon the company. That's definitely a non-starter.
So, I'll be OK once the conversion is done, but I'm just wondering why all of the mowers that I see for sale at places like Lowes, Home Depot and Tractor Supply Co. seem to have hydrostatic transaxles? I'd be willing to bet that they aren't rebuild-able and there are probably no parts for them either.
If I ever bought a new mower, I'd be looking for a standard shift model but I don't know of any company that makes one.
So that's my tale of woe. LOL.