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  1. #11
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    355
    Location
    MN
    Tractor
    JD 4010

    Default Re: Leaf Vacuum

    Junkman,

    I ordered the demo tape from Cyclone Rake. My main concern with the CR was the bag system. While it is lighter and takes up less room, I did feel it would probably fail at some point.

    Mills Fleet Farms (popular store in the upper midwest) sells a complete unit for about $800. It uses an enclosed trailer versus a bag. I can already see there will be some limits on how close I can get to things(especially behind my JD 4010), but at this point I'm leaning towards the hard sided unit and away from the Cyclone Rake.

    Of course my current method of bagging with my 11 HP Honda Rider left me with about 30% of my yard undone so if I'm lucky enough to have the existing snow melt before we really get into winter, I'll finish with what I have and take the leap next year.

    Thanks for the head's up on the CR. They may have taken care of the short comings, but I don't particularly care for their response to you. At least if I run into problems with the other unit at Mills, I can drive to the store. You can only get so much attention over the phone.

    Bob

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    7,386
    Location
    North East CT
    Tractor
    2003 Kubota BX-22

    Default Re: Leaf Vacuum

    The bag is made of a very heavy material and has held up well. It is the zipper that I had problems with, and that has been changed to a Velcro fastener. If they had taken care of the design problems at no charge, I would give them high marks. I wouldn't expect them to replace the bag because they had made a change from zipper to Velcro because that isn't a design failure, but a design improvement for convenience. The zipper would get a piece of grass or leaf caught in it and you would have to work it out to get it to zip again. The zipper on the first two bags had stitching failures, which was clearly a manufacturing flaw. The impeller system that they use is flawless and the Tecumseh engine works well...... but like most Tecumseh engines, it is loud. It does mulch the leaves very well and that is the primary reason that I bought it in the first place. The one nice thing of the bag is the ability to fold it and hang it on the wall. I am not against the product, but I am disappointed by the way management deals with problems. If the company were to change their way of dealing with problems and take their head out of the sand like an ostrich and realize that a good product needs to be backed up by good customer relations, I think that they would be much better off. I don't think that the company cares about the customer after the warranty period is over. In warranty, they took care of everything. The warranty is one year and the product is only used for about 4 or 5 months at best, so problems don't show up until the following year when it has some use. It isn't like you would use it every day for a month... maybe 3 or 4 times a month for 2 or 3 hours....

  3. #13
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    355
    Location
    MN
    Tractor
    JD 4010

    Default Re: Leaf Vacuum

    Junkman,

    The impeller system on the CR is what first made me lean towards it. Their flexible impleller shouldn't fall victim to hard objects that way the standard impeller could. I know someone who bought a unit with a metal impeller and on the first run it was damaged by a rock. I also liked how easy the CR stowed away.

    So--Given the improvements to the product and knowing what you do about the company (and lack of customer service), would you buy the CR (in it's new and improved state) again?

    The time of year I will be using this attachment (sping and fall) I will be in the middle of working 7 days a week straight for over 50 days in a row and I won't have time for breakdowns so I'm looking for a reliable product.

    Bob

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    7,386
    Location
    North East CT
    Tractor
    2003 Kubota BX-22

    Default Re: Leaf Vacuum

    If I didn't have $1200 already invested in this one, I would buy another. As for mechanical breakdowns, I have never experienced any problems with the mechanical part of the unit. If you allow the bag to become totally filled, it will compress the leaves or grass in the pick up tube. It is that strong of a vacuum. I have picked up sticks and rocks and there was never any problem with it handling it. I would recommend that you buy their deck shoe. I used my old one from the Track Vac, and while the hose fits onto it, it tends to clog from the strong vacuum.... doesn't flow as well as it should..... If you buy one, let them know that they have a unhappy customer that is a fan of the product, but not of the management.
    Also go for the bigger of the two units and get all the upgrades.... I think that the dual wheels are an improvement over the singles, but I haven't tried them. They will give it a better stance on the ground if your land is sloped. Plan on making an adaptor for the hitch. That is one area that they don't provide for every tractor design. Measure how long of a hose you are going to need and add a foot or two for ease.

  5. #15
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    289
    Location
    N WI
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2200

    Default Re: Leaf Vacuum

    Bob,

    I thought their idea of a flexible impeller was good as well. However I questioned them on why they use a steel covered in plastic impeller for the "commercial" unit and got the run around. They kept telling me that it is made from the same material as the "residential" unit. What I wanted to know was that if using the plastic prevented bending how it would prevent the larger from bending. They assured me they stock replacement parts and can overnight them if necessary. Never would answer the question. I ended up building my own. Peco makes there impellers out of cast Al and they sell alot of commercial units. So far I haven't mangled it up. May have to see if they'll sell me a plastic one for my homemade unit it if ever happens [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

    Later days,
    Michael

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    1,495
    Location
    Southeast, Michigan
    Tractor
    Shoppin', Formerly Ford 1220, 7106 FEL, 60

    Default Re: Leaf Vacuum

    This unit from bluebird international looks pretty slick. Somewhat pricey though. It's a clamshell style design so the leaves fall right out via the foot operated dump pedal. It claims to not only vacuum the leaves but shred them with 16 free swingining flails. The 533CV unit also incorporates a chipper that chips up to 2" branches. (I have an endless supply of fallen sticks in my yard [img]/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]) Price range $2000-$2500.

    My question is, if the shredder has the capability of moving the leaves through fast enough to not plug up? Anyone with actual experience with one of these units?

    http://www.bluebirdintl.com/products...ers/533cv.html

    Don


  7. #17
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    546
    Location
    Illinois
    Tractor
    Ventrac 4500

    Default Re: Leaf Vacuum

    Don,

    I have owned a Bluebird (formerly EZ Vac) Shredder Chipper Vac system (8 hp) (not the clamshell trailer) and it worked very well with 60 inch mower decks. When I went to a 72 inch deck, I needed a vac with more power and larger diameter hoses so I purchased a Trac-Vac. I have been very pleased with both units. The EZ Vac Shredder had no more problem with plugging than any other vac and I have owned 5. I only plugged the shredder part once and that was with very tall moist grass--all other plugs were at the boot connecting the mower deck to the hose. The material (grass or leaves) is chopped into a much finer mulch than with a standard vacuum. Therefore, you can get a lot more in the trailer before having to dump. I would purchase a shredder unit again if one were available in a larger size.

    I never had any damage to the shredder unit from ingestion of sticks. However, when I purchased it, they told me that one shredder screen had been ruined on someone's machine when it sucked in a softball.

    JackIL

  8. #18
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    546
    Location
    Illinois
    Tractor
    Ventrac 4500

    Default Re: Leaf Vacuum

    Last year I talked with the CR folks about the differences in the impeller on the standard unit vs. the commercial unit. They informed me that currently they are both the same. As I understand it the 2 impellers differed initially, but now they are using the same for both. I purchased one to try in my vac system even though it is not a CR. It was about $45 and is all composite material except for the inner portion of the hub that attaches to the engine shaft. I have not actually run it.

    I have 2 neighbors who own recent CR vacs--one purchased in 2001 and another just a few months ago. Both of them are very pleased with their purchases. No problems with zippers, bags falling off, or anything else that I know of. I guess CR has taken care of their earlier issues.

    JackIL

  9. #19
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    289
    Location
    N WI
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2200

    Default Re: Leaf Vacuum

    JackIL.,

    That is very interesting to note. Does that mean both units use the same impeller/power unit or do they still make two different sized blowers/impellers?

    Could you provide the dimensions of the impeller (dia, width, hub shaft dia, length, keyway) ? I would be interested in trying one out as well.

    It sounds like they have worked the bugs out of the earlier versions and now have a good product to offer. I may have to take a second look at their design.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  10. #20
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    546
    Location
    Illinois
    Tractor
    Ventrac 4500

    Default Re: Leaf Vacuum

    Mike,

    As I understand it, both units use a common impeller. The dimensional data is:

    Overall Diameter = 13 7/8 inches
    Overall Width of Impeller = 4 1/2 inches
    Steel hub extends an additional 1/2 inch beyond impeller back
    Hub hole diameter = 1 inch
    Keyway = 7/32 inch (not accessible from outside)

    The key goes in first, the impeller is slid onto the engine shaft and is secured by a 3/8 SAE bolt 2 1/8 inches long. A 1 3/16 inch chrome plated washer 1/4 inch thick is used also.

    I'm fairly confident that this impeller was designed to be used on virtually any engine that has an inch diameter shaft and is drilled in the end to accept a 3/8 inch SAE bolt.

    As I said before, I haven't actually installed it yet--I will use it as a backup if I should have an accident and ruin my current steel impeller.

    See attached photo here and in the reply.

    JackIL

    Attached Images Attached Images

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