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  1. #1
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Ventrac 3000 review after 10 hours

    I just thought I would report back on the little Ventrac 3000 now that it has been used for mowing 3 times and used to help haul landscape blocks into a difficult area for a retaining wall/planter unit.

    FUEL ECONOMY: First, the thing uses more gas than my old Cub Cadet, I would say that it uses about a 1/3 of a gallon more than the Cub. That may not sound like much, but think of it in terms of run time and it certainly burns more per hour. It takes about 2.5 hours to mow the yard with the Ventrac but about 4 hours to mow it with the Cub Cadet (and in both cases, it assumes that my New Holland is mowing a field as well). So on a gallons per hour basis, the Ventrac's 21hp engine uses considerably more fuel than the Cub Cadet. However, the Ventrac mows so much faster that it saves 1.5 hours per week in mowing. So while I burn $24 extra in gas per year, I save about 45 hours in labor.

    CUT QUALITY: From the standpoint of the quality of the cut, I have never seen such a good mowing tractor. I believe the quality of cut is based on two things. First the blades always seem to run at full speed even when the engine is pulling the tractor up a very steep slope. Secondly, the deck NEVER scalps the ground no matter how rough the terrain. Neither of those things was true with my Cub Cadet, and neither is true with the New Holland. Granted I have some rough ground and some steep hills that many people probably don't have.

    EASE OF USE:
    --- FOR MOWING, the thing is pretty simple. There is a foot pedal that allow for both speed and direction, it is a bit awkward in reverse but works great for forward. There is also a hand control that duplicates the foot pedal. I find I use both and the control is better with the hand control, but often I switch to the foot pedal. The mower deck is engages with a simple switch on the dash, there is a safety cut off if you bounce out of the seat.

    --- USING THE SLIP SCOOP: This surprised me. The 48" scoop was able to dig into a mound of dirt that had 3 seasons of weed growth and pull out dirt. For a tractor as small as this, with a scoop design that is as limited as this, I was very pleasantly surprised. The hydraulics are VERY strong for such a small tractor. I also used the scoop for hauling concrete blocks. It easily held 10 "landscape blocks" at a time for a plater I was building. I don't know the weight, but the blocks are 12" by 8" by 4". The best part is that the tractor brought them right to where I needed them, which was a feat in itself because when using a wheelbarrow we could only move 4 blocks at a time because the slope I was building the planter on would cause the wheelbarrow to tip or to run away and there was no way to get my kubota with its FEL onto that slope without rolling it sideways down the hill.

    IMPLEMENT CHANGES: To remove a belt drive implement you simply release the belt tension, then flip a switch that releases a set of locking clamps and drive the tractor in reverse to back away from the implement. Total time, 60 seconds.

    --- To install a belt drive implement you do the above in reverse, and it is a little tricky to line it up perfectly, but it takes 2 to 5 minutes to mount the mower deck.

    --- To install the slip scoop, you pull into the implement, flip the lever to lock it into place, and then attach the hoses. Total time 2 minutes or less. To remove it, reverse the proceedure, total time 30 seconds.

    OTHER OBSERVATIONS: The 4wd mechanism works great in conjunction with the articulated frame. The tiny turning radius is an added bonus, but the most impressive part is that it is so soft on the turf even while making the tightest turns possible.

    The seat is very comfortable. But both my wife and daughter found that they would disengage the mower deck accidently when they shifted their position in the seat becuase of the safety cut off tied to the seat. Bringing the seat a bit forward eliminated the problem.

    I think implement mounting could be made easier if there were holes in the footwell so you could see through it to the mounting arms.

    All in all, I am more pleased with the tractor than I thought I would be and would recommend it to anyone who has somewhat rough terrain or hills or both. I would also recommend it to anyone who wants MOST of what a ZTR has to offer in terms of cutting speed --a ZTR will mow faster-- but still desires some benefits of tractor implements such as a small front bucket or a snow blower. The unit is somewhat expensive, but passes all the tests I could think of, and it comes with a 3 year warrenty.





    I will say that after playing with this thing, I think more people who are considering buying a tractor really owe it to themselves to consider POWER-TRAC equipment. Steiner, Ventrac & P-T are similar in some of their designs, with the PT units being similar in capabilities to a CUT and the Ventrac 3000 being more like a garden tractor (Ventrac does make larger models). But the articulated frames of both brands is really an amazing thing and people don't realize what they are missing by not considering some of these alternate units.


  2. #2
    Veteran Member DAP's Avatar
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    From Orange County NY to Lincoln County ME
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    JD LX288 and a B7800

    Default Re: Ventrac 3000 review after 10 hours

    Bob ... a few things ...

    Since you took the time to make such a thorough and seemingly objective review, I took the time to read it and thank you for it.

    Second ... is that a hitch plate I see on the back there? The reason I ask is that I opted to go the garden tractor route for mowing my decidedly different piece of land. One of the most invaluable discoveries I made AFTER PURCHASE was the ability to tow a large leaf vacuum/chipper. This unit has a 5hp B&S, weighs much, and requires a discharge adapter to the MMM deck. It is a gangly adapter, but the amount of time saved vacuuming my leaves makes the setup pain tolerable (I'm surrounded by 180 acres of forest and leaves are ... well ... plentiful). It also vacuums dry manure too - the impeller turns the horse hash into the best compost texture you can imagine.

    Can this unit work with one of these? Mildly curious.

    Interested in the 100 hour review I am. I posted elsewhere my grass seems to be growing 1/2 inch a day. That next review wouldn't be that far off!


  3. #3
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ventrac 3000 review after 10 hours

    Yes that is a standard garden tractor type hitch on the back of the tractor.

    I used it to pull a garden cart load of concrete landscape blocks around my hillside the other day. Unfortunately while the tractor can easily go across the slope, the cart rolled over sideways, spinning the trailer's hitch tonge into something that resembles a long pretzle twist and damaging the dump mechanism! No damage to the tractor!

    As for hooking up a lawn clipping vacuum trailer, I simply don't know about those. The mower deck is a side discharge unit and I would suspect that the vacuum trailers have some sort of a "universal fit" system that connects up to many different brands of mower decks??? The salesmanger at my office uses one, but I've never really looked into them. Anyway, I would think the only potential problem with a vacuum unit would be that the hose from the deck to the trailer unit would be a bit longer than if you had the hose run from a mid-mount mower to the trailer. I can't imagine that would be a big problem becuase I understand the suction on those units is pretty strong, so the hardest part would probably be getting a hose extension?

    As for the 100 hour review . . . we mowed this weekend, and my wife reminded me to mow around the house again TONIGHT because it is looking pretty long already. I agree with you about the 1/2" per day growth rate!!!




  4. #4

    Join Date
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    Southeast, Michigan
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    Shoppin', Formerly Ford 1220, 7106 FEL, 60

    Default Re: Ventrac 3000 review after 10 hours

    JackIL has this awesome lawn vac that he fabricated from a basic dump trailer that he uses behind his Ventrac. JackIL was kind enough to post several pictures of his setup. This post was from October 2002. Jack might have some current thoughts to share with us...

    Click here to view JackIL's amazingly awesome lawn vacuum

    Don

  5. #5
    Veteran Member DAP's Avatar
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    From Orange County NY to Lincoln County ME
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    JD LX288 and a B7800

    Default Re: Ventrac 3000 review after 10 hours

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( The mower deck is a side discharge unit and I would suspect that the vacuum trailers have some sort of a "universal fit" system that connects up to many different brands of mower decks???
    ....
    As for the 100 hour review . . . we mowed this weekend, and my wife reminded me to mow around the house again TONIGHT because it is looking pretty long already. I agree with you about the 1/2" per day growth rate!!!
    )</font>


    Bob ... right on the money regarding the universal deck chute adapter. Let me be the first to say (as I alluded to earlier) that this 'adapter' is one collosal pain in the arse. JackIl's quick tach version I don't believe is suitable for my JD deck, not sure. I ABHOR the swap out between the JD stock chute and the universal adapter, but the gismo works so good I tolerate it. When I find time I'd love to kludge a better way. For those who might ask "why not just leave it on when cutting?" ... the adapters almost always are formed plastic and have a cylidrical sleeve for the hose - which means grass will clog in the cylinder trying to make a 90 degree turn on it's way out.

    You're also right that a longer hose could represent problems - again this has to do with angles and propulsion.

    I will say however again the machine does what it does good enough to warrant it's existence.

    Lastly, I've realized that I've NEVER used it to mow with (collect grass clippings) because of the slope issue. I'm sure I'd end up with same pretzel.

    Didn't mean to derail you're review thread ... just another natural segue.

    [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    [img]/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img]

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
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    Illinois
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    Ventrac 4500

    Default Re: Ventrac 3000 review after 10 hours

    It's still working great! With the amount of rain we are getting, I am having to vacuum weekly.

    Some comments on questions about boots raised in other posts. Trac-Vac makes hundreds of boots that are tailored to individual mower decks. Mine just happens to be for Steiner and Ventrac decks. When I run John Deere decks, I use John Deere boots since they are made to exactly fit John Deere decks and are also quick-detach. Hose sizes are usually 7 or 8 inches in diameter, but some smaller vacs use 6 inch hoses. I have used stovepipe transitions when mating a 7 inch boot with an 8 inch hose and vice versa.

    Bluebird International and Cyclone Rake offer "universal" boots that are made of composite material that you cut to fit your specific deck. Generally these are bolted on and are not made for quick removal to clean out a plug. Two of my neighbors have Cyclone Rakes and both use the Universal boot. They get along fine.

    The only unique thing about using a towed vacuum with a front mount deck is that you have to have a long hose and probably more than one support. I use 2 supports on my Ventrac--one on the front bogie and the other on the rear. I made the arm lengths and heights adjustable so I get the right fit to keep the hose from dragging the ground on a right turn and from getting too tight on a left turn.

    JackIL

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