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Rayholio
07-02-2009, 11:22 AM
Ok.. Itís time for the T3k Review. If you donít care about my personal experiences.. skip to the next post where it says Ďthe badí and Ďthe goodí I've also underlined some of the more important parts for those who don't want to read a novel. itíll save ya a lot of time! I was a lot more detailed with this review than with the Z #1 because TurfCo bob REQUESTED the review, and #2 I realized how much people are appreciating my opinion. And Thank You.


I didnít make it to 50 hours.. I was about 5 hours short. At hour 45 the spray system failed, and we were unable to determine why.. more on that later..

I hated the machine for my 1st hour, and after 5 I liked it. After 20 I loved it.. After 40 I had a love/hate relationship with it..

In that first hour, I looked over the machine, and gave It a test spin around my lawn. And of course talked to bob a lot about it. But I wasnít convinced.. Even after seeing the machine and driving it, I had a problem with the lack of ZTR, and the thing was just SO simple, I couldnít understand what made it worth the price.. a single spray tip.. 5 mph top speed.. It didnít LOOK well built. I kept thinking.. ĎJohn Deere lawn tractor with a hopper.Ē How could it be worth a damn?

I did my 1st and smallest lawn with it the next day.. It wasnít a pleasant experience learning to drive, and spray all at once.. Only one job that day.. The next day I put it thru a full dayís work.. Which brought me to hour 5 or so.. Not many hills in these 1st lawns, but after learning the method for steering, spraying, and controlling speed all at once, the machine seemed a lot more forgiving, and productive than I ever expected. By day 4, I was in TOTAL control of the machine, and I was not a limitation on itís productivity.

The biggest strong point of the T3K lays in the fact that these first few days taught me almost all I needed to know about the machine. The T3000 is as simple in operation as it is in features. ĎAdvanced techniquesí play very little role with the T3k. The machine has one speed, 2 spreader width settings, and 2 matched spray width settings (+an edging spray tip) and thatís about it..

After 20 hours, I had gotten it on major hills, and it pwned them all. YesÖ pwned. It was THAT good. Iíve never seen a machine stick to the side of a hill at full speed like this one. This caused the LOVE for the machine that I was feeling..

At 40 hours, it was beginning to get old.. not the operation of the T3000.. The maintenance. The thing was suffering failures too often for me.. more on that later too..

All in All, After hot days, rainy days, Wet lawns, hilly lawns, big lawns and small lawns, I feel that I have a great idea of what the T3k can, and canít do. As mentioned before, the learning curve was minimal with this machine.. and as a result, the things that were problems for me on that 1st job are still sometimes problems for me today. Iíll break it down as best I can.

The Steering Wheel
It is very hard not to compare a new machine like the t3000 to older machines that we have used. And so the 1st thing that stands out with this machine is the steering wheel.. I remember thinking that steering wheels are for home owners. But my friends, Iím here to tell you that THIS steering wheel blows MOST ZTRs out of the water. Slightly more than a half turn from center is a full turn. The motion is liquid and smooth, and I have yet to find a way to tear the turf while turning at any speed or on any hill.. It works pretty much as advertized, with the exception that it helps to carry some fert in the hopper, because @ full speed, the front tires are a little too light to Ďdig iní and get the tightest possible turn. You should always pay attention to your pass width. This system does not replace paying attention. Sometimes a turn on pavement will be tighter, or a turn on a hill will be wider.. FYI.

But what about the tight areas? Between the house and the fence, etc? Well, in the rare occasion that Iíve had to do a 3 point turn, it was unbelievably fast to do so.. and again, with no danger of damaged turf. The MAIN problem with tight areas is the lack of reverse speed.. which brings me to..

The Throttle, and Speed control
Engine speed is factory set up to run at operational speed, or idle. Thatís it. Why? By design because EVERYTHING is belt driven. Slower engine, slower pumps, spreaders ect. This is to keep them calibrated.

So when you operate the machine, you kick the throttle up to full, and go.. Not that it matters much.. but you may have to hunch over a bit to manipulate the throttle as it is about 3 ft off the ground on the back of the machine.

Your ground speed is controlled with one lever which is accessible from either side of the steering wheel. It operates like a ZTR.. The further forward you push it, the faster you go.. pull backwards for reverse. Top forward speed is supposedly 5 mph (I didnít have time to verify that w/ GPS) . Reverse speed is a weak point in the design of this machine. I donít know WHY itís limited to about half (or a little less) of the forward speed, but it is.. and itís an annoyance.

There is a yellow, plastic foot pedal for the right foot, which when pressed, it locks in whatever speed youíre going, so that you can remove your hands from the speed control. Without this foot pedal, the machine would be almost unusable, because it requires two hands to steer and spray. But this foot pedal is NOT a speed controlÖ It is a speed lock.

The REAL problem with the speed control is that it requires a hand to modify it.. You cannot steer, and adjust speed with the same hand. THIS is the mother of all problems with the T3000. I have ran into trees, sprayed fences, and flowers, drove over a bed, and MANY TIMES had to go back and restart a pass because I wasnít able to get my spray started in timeÖ All because there is no way to change Spray, Steering, and Throttle all at once. In the end though, this problem would not keep me away from the T3k.

The Spray System
The T3000 has a belt driven pump, connected to one 10 ft fan tip, one trim fan, and the coiled hose and wand. Each of these are engaged with the 3toggle levers on the control board. Of course you have a trigger on the wand itself. Theyíre fed via two 8 gallon tanks. The tanks are separate, on either side of the machine, and only connected via a hose right in the middle of the tanks.. Each tank has its own feed, and agitation, which seem to work well, although I have had instances when one tank will empty before the other.. Probably due to iron sludge in one of the lines, or agitation tips. Also there is no way to carry 2 different chemicals.. With only 16 gallons of capacity, itís almost a non issue. 16 gallons will treat 64,000 sq ft @ ľ gallon per 1k

The single 10ft fan is AWESOME. This nozzle makes your spray very much like granular apps.. It has a soft curve which feathers out on the edges. This removes hard striping on lawns when a product is over sprayed, or undersprayed.. like granular, any burning will feather out. And depending on what youíre spraying, and where, it eliminates a TON of turning, as opposed to a boom system. It also saves you time when entering back lawns over a boom system. Because the nozzle is very low on the machine, to reduce drift, and right in the middle of the T3k, the fan pattern is almost invisible, so you need to always be aware of where your spraying, and when. You can lower the pressure and spray 6 ft passes with ease.

The Trim fan is also AWESOME. It is designed to spray from outer edge of the left tire, to the right tire, and then feather out about 2-3 ft to the right beyond that. It does so without any pressure adjustments what so ever (when operating at 10 ft pass width on the main nozzle). My only concern with this is that it is very hard to drive right on the edge of where you want to spray.. I feel that the trim nozzle should shoot beyond the left tire a little more.. This probably can be adjusted. It also shoots RIGHT in front of the front tires, whereas the main spray is about 4-5 ft in front of the machine.

The Spray wand is abysmal. It doesnít have a home. It flops around while you drive. (Bob says theyíre going to give it a home soon) It has a coiled hose that is often in the way, and pulls on the over pressurized wand itself, so itís hard to operate it with good accuracy. The coil loosened enough in 35 hours that it was constantly falling off the machine, and dragging the wand under the tire.. Eventually the hose fell into a hydrostat cooling fan, and got cut up.. And finally the fact that this machine doesnít have a hose reel for the wand is probably the biggest disappointment of the whole package. I personally have had back lawns where the machine couldnít fit (by about 2 inches) and had to pull a hose from my truck to do about 1000 sq ft.. A machine in this price range NEEDs a hose reel.

Spreading Dry Product
The T3k is as straight forward as you would expect in this category. There are two settings on the control panel for 6 ft and 10 ft. (Same as spray) the deflector is accessible Low from the control panel, and works extremely well. but is sometimes a pain to use due to it requiring me to hunch over while driving. The spreader trap door controls are among the best Iíve used.. itís a substantial throttle yoke like control on the right side of the dash, which is liquid smooth and light to the touch. It has a 2nd setting, and adjustment for 6 ft, so that after you dial it in, you can very easily switch between 10ft and 6 ft passes. The only issue with the spreader system is the 10ft max.. While this is matched with the liquid, AND the turning radius.. My push spreader will throw further than that.. just sayiní..

The Fertilizer tray is lacking something.. Supposedly, it will hold three fert bags stacked on end.. I never got a chance to try it.. but it looks like it would be a hassle at best, and a failure at worst.. The tray does comfortably hold one bag with ease for a fact. This tray seems like wasted space.. perhaps a good place for an aux. tank, or taller, more rigid fert tray.

Engine/ Drive Train/ Chassis.. Engineering!
The T3000 Is not a tank. It is a lawn tractor. Itís not built out of high grade stainless steel, and some parts look as if they would be prone to damage, or rust with normal use. as a result, Itís a very light machine.. Unloaded itís only 500lb. And the paint seems good. Maybe even powder coated.. I donít know. Iíve been parking it outside, and there are some rusty parts in the undercarriage. Bearings, joints, and other things Iíd rather not see rust on.. but the frame looked pretty well rust free other than some iron staining.

It has a great front bumper, which is low and should protect from most impacts. The machine seems to have a pretty low center of gravity. The foot pad is set very low on the machine and does a better than average job of absorbing impact.. It has a squishy non-slip material on it. The machine has looks that are appealing to the customer.. We may want a machine that looks like the Delorean from back to the future.. but the customer doesnít want to see you on a machine at all.. The equivalent of a Ďsmart carí would be their choice. The t3k Is much less intimidating..
The engine seems to have been selected wisely. Itís slightly over powered for the machine, (supposedly even bigger on the 09 machines) and thus runs at a comfortable noise level, and doesnít fluctuate much in RPM under load. It is fuel efficient. The onboard tank is about 2 gallons, and that will easily get you thru a day.. However the tank is hidden inside the machine, and the goose neck, curvy filling spout makes it impossible to judge how much gas you have left.

The belt driven system seems functional enough. Belts are easy repairs if THEY ever break, and the pumps are easy to change.. HoweverÖ because everything is located under the chassis, if you have a leaky pump, youíll never know it, until itís too late. I had a pump explode on me and I finished the lawn, leaving 1 ft wide swaths of death thru it, never knowing that I had a Ďleakí until the job was done. Also, your chem. Filter is down there.. pretty bad place for it.

I have no complaints about the hydrostat. It climbs curbs with ease, and has plenty of power.

The Lack of electronics
The absence of electronics simplifies the design, eliminates the possibility of electrical component failure, which usually equates to a wait for parts to be mailed to you.. No electronics also helps with corrosion and rust resistance. This is all very logical, and is very trueÖ but is it worth it? This is something that may be up to the userÖ For me, I would love to have an electric start. I would also prefer an electric pump. The belt driven pump is fine, but an electric pump could be mounted in plain sight, and could be turned on and off by switch, Foot, or otherwise.. Thus eliminating my control limitations, and frustrations.. I would even do this if it meant adding 200lb to the machine. Call me crazy, but Iíd also like access to a 12v fuse box.. to hook up anything from a speedometer, to a radio, to headlights. Also, if you have a belt problem, you not only lose your spray pump, but also your spreader..

Hills
Hills are the bane of Lawn application machines. Some tip on hills.. Some Ski down hillsÖ Some skid on the turns.. Some just canít handle a hill.. and as much as it surprised me, I have yet to find a single hill that was a serious issue for the T3K. It has been able to go on any hill in my customer list. It didnít get close to tipping, it didnít ski down a single hill, nor has it done any wheelies. I had 2 minor problems in my demo.. when turning up hill at the end of a pass, my front wheels skidded, resulting in a very wide turn, and I drove UP hill into a tree as a result of not being able to drop the throttle fast enough. The 2nd problem was on a VERY steep hill, and on an inside turn, the machine Ďcrab walkedí very slightly in about a 4 foot section laying a small patch. (I had watched the customer turn off the sprinkler on this hill, and decided to apply on it Ďfor scienceí LOL) The hill was measured at 30 degrees, and for the sake of argument, the Z slid right down this hill the 2 dry times I applied to it, and left a gouge. Itís the outside turn on the hill that kills the Z.

Let me clarify. I am saving the majority comparisons for my next thread, but this machine does not need locking front wheels, it has a low center of gravity, and despite its narrow stance, it is very sure footed on the SIDE of hills, as well as going UP hill, and DOWN hill. While going up a steep hill, you can expect a 50% loss in steering ability. (with an empty hopper) and a very slight decrease in speed. The added load on the engine also lowers RPMs and thus pump speed.. but only VERY slightly Itís not a problem. While going down a steep hill, steering ability actually becomes more sensitive. The machine goes very slightly faster, and the rpms stay the same.. so its best to be ready to slow down a bit when applying down hill to keep in calibration. The machine is able to do full speed turns on the side of almost all hills.

If youíre comparing this machine to a Z, you will want to wait for my videos, which will make clear everything. This will be included in the Z vs T3k thread which I will be posting soon. I did not get a chance to take all of the videos and photos that I wanted, because bob was in a hurry to get the T3000 back to the lab for dissection.. but I have a few.

Failures
I want you to know that Iím under NO illusions. ALL machines have failures. My Z was delivered with tips that didnít spray at all.. And this T3k IS an í08 demo. (NOT what you would recieve if you ordered today) Bob told me that many things about the belt system have been changed, that theyíre working on the spray wand, theyíre using a different centrificle in the pump now.. etc, etc. The machine had about 7 machine hours when I got it.. Bob tells me that he suspects that might be wrong, because heís loaned it to others for a week or moreÖ. All I can go by is what I see on the dash.. to me, this was a new machine.

After running a high rate of ferromec iron and vessel thru the machine for a week, (20 hours) I blew a pump. I stopped using ferromec, and waited a few days for the parts. The hose wand coil loosened and fell into the engine compartment where it got chewed up by an open fan, (40 hours) later that same day, I couldnít get the engine to start.. The same nightmare I had when thinking about the pull start was a reality.. Pulling and pulling on it for 30 minutes, while another 30 minutes from the shop. Apparently thereís some kind of idler spring that gets stuck.. so after bob called me back, I tapped it loose, and it started right up.(2 work hours lost) Then I pulled up to a job about 5 engine hours later and the pump had stopped pressurizing. I inspected the undercarriage to find very loose belts, and figured that was the problem. The Belt to the pump was tightened (by bob) an the pump still didnít work.. AND the spreader propeller didnít have enough grip on its belt to get it moving.. Even after adjusting THAT belt ALL THE WAY as tight as it would go.. it still wouldnít move. (bob said this design was different on the í09)

So.. in the end, I sent a dirty and broken machine back to TurfCo with the sentiment that if they are looking for a beta tester.. Iím their man.. I can break anything.

The last week really crushed my impressions about the T3000. I loved the operation of it. It was so damn simple. Get on it, and go. Hills, no problem.. a few bugs, but overall I was READY TO BUY. ButÖ. In the last 10 hours I realized that the T3000 is too new for me to buy.. I HATE down time, even more that I hate skiing down hills. And I wonít have a machine thatís not reliable.

Iím quite sure that many of you T3K buffs out there are not having trouble with your machines.. but let me tell ya.. I can break ANYTHING.. except for my Kimber 1911.. It ALWAYS works.. everything else, Iíve broken at least once. Thatís why I excused the 1st couple failures.. but it just got to be too much.

-more in next post-

Rayholio
07-02-2009, 11:22 AM
The Bad: (a recap + more)
I know that this has been a fairly positive review of the T3k so far.. Especially coming from me.. but it’s not perfect by any means.. Here’s some you already read about, and some you haven’t..
The Throttle needs to be higher, It is dang near impossible to steer, adjust speed, and manipulate spray / spread controls simultaneously. The drive tires inexplicably stop working in some severe bumpy situations, causing an instant, and jarring Stop, followed by an instant and throwing Start, without warning. The tanks have two separate, small opening which BOTH need attention when filling. The single nozzle has a spray pattern that is hard to see. On rare occasions one tank will empty before the other. There is no way to use two chemicals at one time, despite 2 tanks. There is no speedometer. You must trust that you’re always going the correct speed. Top speed is 5mph, Backup speed is considerably less. Only two width settings on the sprayer and spreader, Maximum spread width is 10 ft. There is no electric start. There are no electrical components at all. Pumps, and filters are located in positions where you cannot monitor them, or access them ‘on the fly’ There is NO hose reel option, and the included spray wand is terrible, it has its own full sized manifold lever, which is unneeded, and gets in the way.. and the wand is left flopping around in the un-ideal fert tray. The front wheels slide around some turns without extra weight on the front. The machine I got was prone to failure, including loose belts, open fan in the engine compartment in a position where stuff can fall into it like the coiled hose of the spray wand. Pump failed twice on me. Pull start adds slight fatigue. Maintenance / repairs are a pain because everything in underneath. There is only one T3000. No options, no different models to suit your taste. The price is $1000 more than a similar Z, which APPEARS to have more costly construction. (probably a side effect of having a john deere tractor frame and parts) The manual is delivered on CD Rom, instead of hard copy.

The Good
You’ve heard all this before.. but just in case you haven’t..
This is THE machine for fleets, EASY operation, no frills. It’s great on hills. The single fan tip emulates the spreader, in both width setting and the pattern. Spreads and sprays simultaneously with very little special calibration. The steering wheel edges with more precision than ZTR, and the edging spray fan is a big help. Steering wheel makes lining up passes a lot easier. The control cluster is laid out intelligently, and includes an easily available and highly functional spreader deflector. The Spreader activation lever is the best I’ve ever manipulated. No electronics to fail. The pull start is one of the easier ones I’ve used.

Bottom line
This machine accomplishes what it was set out to do. Replace the PermaGreen, and Nip at the tail of Z. It is a fleet machine. There’s a reason Tru-green is not buying Zs at anywhere near the rate that they’re buying T3ks.. Its because of ease of operation. Put a TG employee on a machine with 1000s of possibilities in calibration, and operation, and watch the circus. The T3000 is fool proof. If you’re an owner operator, who wants the ability to calibrate your machine 10 different ways, this machine is not for you. If you have an employee, who happens to make mistakes from time to time.. This machine is perfect for you. If you have a lot of properties that are more than an acre and a half, I would recommend something bigger.. If you have average lawns around 10-30K each.. this machine is great. If you have a lot of hills, I think this machine is the way to go. If you have no hills, I think I’d go with a machine with a longer track record.
Which brings me to my final thought; I’m more forgiving about the T3000 flaws than I am with other machines, because it’s Brand new. TurfCo quite literally hasn’t had time to tweak the machine perfectly, or work out all of the bugs. Despite that, it’s a fine machine.. and going into ’09 an ’10 it’s going to be one to watch, because once they do get everything just right, you may be looking at other machines thinking THEY’RE the under dogs.

For me.. I WANT a t3k.. I’ve got to be convinced that the bugs are worked out 1st. and I’m willing to wait for the performance enhancements like hose reels, and a better throttle control.
In the mean time, I’ve ordered wider, flatter tires for my Z, several different flow nozzles, and all the parts to put a single T3000 style flood nozzle on my Z.. that’ll have to do for now.

I’m putting together the Z vs T3k videos now.. Since I no longer have the T3K, production won’t take all that long.

Got anything you want me to comment on? Just let me know.. I'm sure I left something out!

Have a great 4th!:usflag:

Real Green
07-02-2009, 01:19 PM
I think that's a great review Ray. Thanks for your time, effort, and hard work! You get one T3000 owner's stamp of approval. :)

lawnsofsnh
07-02-2009, 02:34 PM
Rayholio,

I'm confused...The good points you state "easy operation" then you go on to say in the bad points that " it is dang near impossible to steer, adjust speed and manipulate spray/spread controls simultaneously"

If you train your employees well and spend time with them on the Z then there are no problems. I have six employees all of whom use the z-sprays with no down time and production numbers that will blow away a T3000.

Rayholio
07-02-2009, 04:25 PM
Thanks Real Green! I really do appricate that.


Lawnsofsnh-

Yes, it is impossible to MANIPULATE all of those things at once.. that would take 3 hands.. It is fairly easy however, to learn the proper technique that allows you to (90% of the time) not NEED to manipulate all three of those controls at once.

The key is the speed lock foot pedal. which does 'enough' as long as you're not in extremely tight areas, or trying to edge in inconsistantly sized areas with the spray wand...


About the Z vs T.. That's comin'.. but IF you're comparing the T3000 to a Z that is in a different class... or maybe even same class on perfectly flat and open terrain, I'd have to agree with you... But Jr vs T3k, the T3k will probably win with MY customer list.. just my (now educated) opinion.

a plus bob
07-02-2009, 04:49 PM
You need to change the name of this thread to WHY DOES MY T3000 NEED A HOSE REEL ? :laugh::laugh: Good review Ray .

grassman177
07-02-2009, 08:04 PM
superior review. thanks much and it also reminds me why i will never own one of those and went with zsprays. sure all machines haved pro and con, but we found one that had more pros than cons for o9ur needs. i would give anything to you to review as thorough as you test things. maybe that should be your calling instead of lawn care!!!!

Young Bros
07-02-2009, 09:18 PM
Good review Ray. I hope when we have money for an upgraded ride on, there are some improvementrs to the young T3000.

CHARLES CUE
07-02-2009, 09:25 PM
Hey great review cant wait for your video and all the fire thats coming your way some times thats the best part keep it up
Charles Cue

EVM
07-02-2009, 09:30 PM
Nice review, my Z will be on its way soon. How are you going about changing tips on your Z with tips from the TS? What is the process?

americanlawn
07-02-2009, 09:45 PM
Ray -- I really appreciate all the time & effort you spent in reviewing the T3000.

Our biggest beef was slow reverse speed......easy fix: On one unit, we just removed the left handle, cuz M didn't use it anyway (he uses his left hand to steer). On our other unit, we made an "L-shape" bend in the handle (took us two minutes). Problem solved. Both units run at five + miles per hour. BTW it's fairly easy to increase the speed, but five mph is plenty fast if you're spraying herbicide. But I agree that TURFCO needs to tweak the left handle if is a big deal to some.

Trim nozzle: Both our T3000's spray about six inches left of the front left tire, and the spray pattern goes about 18 inches to the right of the front right tire. Perfect -- (You probably needed to turn the nozzle a little).

Spray wand coil falling down: We have never experienced this on either unit, and the hole in the carrier tray keeps the wand in place. The coils on both our units have never "fallen". :confused:

Deflector shield handle too low: Bud -- it's right next to the left throttle handle :confused:

Possible corrosion: What corrosion? Neither of our T3000's have any corrosion whatsoever. (yep - many parts are powder coated) :usflag:

Engine won't start? Both of our T3000's always start on the first pull :weightlifter: (unless it's very cold - then 2 or 3 pulls, but we're talkin' extremely cold temps).

Ray - I like your idea of using a foot activated switch to turn the pump on & off. :usflag::usflag:

Electric start?? Do you really need it? :confused: Cuz one pull ain't bad.

2008 model: We have two of them. Actually we bought the first production T3000 that TURFCO manufactured. (early April, 2008). It now has over 425 hours on it. We use it everyday, and it runs flawlessly. We purchased our 2nd T3000 last winter. It has over 200 hours on it, and it runs flawlessly as well.

Upgrades & test parts: We have installed over a dozen upgrade parts as well as experimental parts on our first unit. Our first unit had some occasional breakdowns, but the upgrades solved these probs. Our latest T3000 has never failed cuz it came with the upgrades that our original T3000 did not have.

BTW TURFCO ships to us in less than 24 hours. Order a part by 2:00 pm, and we get it by 11:00 the next morning.

Ray -- I was kinda hoping you would mention one of our main concerns.....You want me to post a pic of our T's on CARRIER RACKS? :laugh: Pretty SWEET. My guys ride in air-conditioned 2500HD Chevy's.

Bottom line: I thank you very much sharing your experiences. I know it took alot of time.

We are at the point of maybe needing a 3rd ride-on. I'm thinking two T3000's and a Z-Spray Intermediate with the large hopper -- but my prob is, my guys are spoiled. They don't want to drive a rough riding big truck or have to pull a trailer. (I listen to my employee's concerns).

BTW I can also post a pic of a T3000 operator throwing a Frisbie while spreading/spraying at the same time. Just a thought. Let me know.

Nice review bud - Thanks. :waving:

americanlawn
07-02-2009, 10:48 PM
Today I was doing a PIA lawn (about 4000 s/f). Next door, M pulls up with his T3000. He spread & sprayed that lawn in about 1/4 the time it took me to treat the next door lawn. The T3000 lawn was: 600 s/f in the front, and 4000 s/f in the back. The back yard was fairly wide open, but the front was full of ornamentals and several obstacles. He gained access to the backyard thru a 36" gate. Jeeze -- I gotta take pics next time I post. Sorry, I'll do better next time.

Try doing a lawn like this with a ride-on using a boom bar ....ain't gunna happen.

rcreech
07-02-2009, 11:09 PM
Ray,

Good review!

Overall...it is just as we have all said all along.

Every machine has its positives and negatives...you just have to pick one suits you best!

Good job, and looking foreword to your video review.

I think you should do a through reveiw of the Z the same as the T.

Rayholio
07-02-2009, 11:13 PM
Wow! this is almost a review in iteself... Let me break it down :)


Our biggest beef was slow reverse speed......easy fix: On one unit, we just removed the left handle, cuz M didn't use it anyway (he uses his left hand to steer). On our other unit, we made an "L-shape" bend in the handle (took us two minutes). Problem solved. Both units run at five + miles per hour. BTW it's fairly easy to increase the speed, but five mph is plenty fast if you're spraying herbicide. But I agree that TURFCO needs to tweak the left handle if is a big deal to some.

Yeah, I would do the same if I owned one.. the reverse speed sucks.. I also suggested to TCB (TurfCo Bob) that a 3rd position on the throttle would be nice for transport speed, at like 8mph.. He told me that they have played with that in the past and the main reason they didn't do it was that the lowest common denominator (TG employees) would try to apply at the higher speed.. He is right.. but he also mentioned that they've had one upto around 15mph.. it was just too scary.

Trim nozzle: Both our T3000's spray about six inches left of the front left tire, and the spray pattern goes about 18 inches to the right of the front right tire. Perfect -- (You probably needed to turn the nozzle a little).

I don't know on this one.. I played with it on concrete, and mine was a bit different.. wish I still had it so I could take a pic..


Spray wand coil falling down: We have never experienced this on either unit, and the hole in the carrier tray keeps the wand in place. The coils on both our units have never "fallen". :confused: [/quote

Well.. maybe yours is special.. LOL or maybe mine is. either way.. just ask bob about it.. he took one look at it and said 'wow.. that thing is supposed to recoil for years!" It took me about 20 hours to strech it out..

[QUOTE=americanlawn;3074074]Deflector shield handle too low: Bud -- it's right next to the left throttle handle :confused:

In the 'off' position it is.. to turn it on, you have to push it all the way down to next to the throttle.. which causes me (6'2") to hunch over..

Possible corrosion: What corrosion? Neither of our T3000's have any corrosion whatsoever. (yep - many parts are powder coated) :usflag:

When I returned the machine to bob, I didn't have enough warning of his arrival to clean it.. but most parts looked pretty bad, rusty underneith.. Bob just wrote me, and said that it cleaned up nicely after a muratic acid bath.. I've asked for a pic.. but muratic acid should have removed the rust weather it was caused by iron apps OR from the metal..

I've sent a lot more iron thru my Z than the T... and the only rusty parts on it are the grease caps, and a part on the hose reel.. and it's never had a muratic acid bath

Engine won't start? Both of our T3000's always start on the first pull :weightlifter: (unless it's very cold - then 2 or 3 pulls, but we're talkin' extremely cold temps). ... Electric start?? Do you really need it? :confused: Cuz one pull ain't bad.

This was probably a fluke.. but it's not the 1st new pull start device that made me labor..

You sayin' that you wouldn't opt for electric start if it was available?


Ray - I like your idea of using a foot activated switch to turn the pump on & off. :usflag::usflag:

I'm not sure this will be possible until they go electric :/


2008 model: We have two of them. Actually we bought the first production T3000 that TURFCO manufactured. (early April, 2008). It now has over 425 hours on it. We use it everyday, and it runs flawlessly. We purchased our 2nd T3000 last winter. It has over 200 hours on it, and it runs flawlessly as well.

Upgrades & test parts: We have installed over a dozen upgrade parts as well as experimental parts on our first unit. Our first unit had some occasional breakdowns, but the upgrades solved these probs. Our latest T3000 has never failed cuz it came with the upgrades that our original T3000 did not have.


My experience may have been A-typical.. this is true. however, it is the ONLY experience I have.. I just reported it..


BTW TURFCO ships to us in less than 24 hours. Order a part by 2:00 pm, and we get it by 11:00 the next morning.

When I needed a repacement pump, it took a few days to get to me.. Granted, I am not a paying customer.. but again.. the only experience I have

Ray -- I was kinda hoping you would mention one of our main concerns.....You want me to post a pic of our T's on CARRIER RACKS? :laugh: Pretty SWEET. My guys ride in air-conditioned 2500HD Chevy's.

I didn't make a big deal about the carrier rack, because that's almost more of a Z vs T3k thing... What you say is true though.. I have a box truck, and I usually just parked the T3k on the lift gate, and strapped it down.. The Z is REALLY scary to do that with...

Which reminds me of something I omitted.. The T3000 has a locking Disc break! It's AWSOME.. The T3k MAY skid in your truck.. but the wheels aint movin' Very cool.


Bottom line: I thank you very much sharing your experiences. I know it took alot of time.


No problem.. I've gotten so much positive feedback, and people asking honest questions that I really don't mind.. I feel like I'm providing a valuable service! Thanks everyone!

EVM
07-02-2009, 11:17 PM
Today I was doing a PIA lawn (about 4000 s/f). Next door, M pulls up with his T3000. He spread & sprayed that lawn in about 1/4 the time it took me to treat the next door lawn. The T3000 lawn was: 600 s/f in the front, and 4000 s/f in the back. The back yard was fairly wide open, but the front was full of ornamentals and several obstacles. He gained access to the backyard thru a 36" gate. Jeeze -- I gotta take pics next time I post. Sorry, I'll do better next time.

Try doing a lawn like this with a ride-on using a boom bar ....ain't gunna happen.

You can't change the spray width or collapse the boom or half the boom and spray?

Anyways; I have alot of small lawns with obstacles, time will tell if I made the right decision with the Z.

turf hokie
07-02-2009, 11:22 PM
Another big thankyou for the review Ray.

The more I learn and understand and see about the t3 the more I think I may go that route to replace my ultras. I truly think my particular business has a need for both the z and the t. Since we already run the pg and the z, I am looking for a better mousetrap so to speak, to replace the pg.

Your review was very in depth and addressed many of the issues that I had with it after seeing it run by TG and dry running it on parking lots.

Larry,
I think you posted a pic before of the T on a 2500 series but I would like to see that. What is the GVW on the 2500 and have you beefed up the springs? or done any after market changes to run the weight needed to get thru a day of production? I have an F-350 that we added springs to and when we run 50 gal sprayer for a nurse tank, 30 bags and a pg ultra it still like to sag a little in the back. I just bought a E-350 box truck with an 11500 GVW and figure that would hold a t-3 easily but just want a confirmation on what you are running and the weight concerns. Thanks.

Thanks again Ray, lot of time put into the review and much appreciated.

Bryan

humble1
07-03-2009, 01:01 AM
I appreciate the long post Ray, however I am too tired to read the whole thing tonight

Rayholio
07-03-2009, 07:52 PM
An update:

Turfco bob wrote the following to me:

The pump is fine and everything is working great. All the problems with the pump system were caused by blockage by dirty gray clay like material. The filter was totally blocked and the hose from the tanks to the filter were about 50% blocked. The tanks themselves had about half inch of the goop in the bottom of them.

First I pulled the filter and cleaned it then I drained the tanks and cleaned them. I had to get my arm down in the tanks with a brush to get all the crap out of the tanks. I pulled all the nozzles and used hose pressure to back flush the hoses into the tanks and out through the nozzle connectors. I did this by disconnecting the hoses from the pumps and blowing the hoses back into the tanks and up though the pressure manifold and out through the hoses. I then flushed the pump with clean water but did not open it up just flushed it. Even both nozzles had that gray gunk in them.

When I got the whole system clean I filled both tanks with clear water and fired it up to see where it was at. The gauge pegged out and hand to be backed off quickly.

Bottom line. Without replacing any parts and just cleaning the ones that were there the machine is working perfectly. If it quits raining I plan to spray the neighbors weeds this weekend. He just had sugery and cannot do it. I will send some pics as soon as I get them down loaded.

-.-.-.-

I did check my filter 1st.. and at the time I figured the pump was broken BECAUSE the filter was clean...

Bottom line, Ferromec is HARD on these ride ons.. It has been probably 10-15 hours ago (engine time) since I used the stuff last, and I then triple rinsed with a tank solvant.. So it stuck to parts, and was appearantly very thick in there..

So.. the final failure, directly, or indirectly was my own fault.. sorta changes MY opinion of the machines reliability...

americanlawn
07-03-2009, 08:51 PM
Thanks again Ray -- it took lots of time for what you did (both with the Z & the T).

Electric start: I like electric start. Got 'em on my Honda small engines in my split tank pickup truck ('08 Chevy 2500HD). But you're right - TURFCO would have to make major changes for this. But IMO it's not a necessity.

8 MPH transport speed: I like that. M does too.(advantage for Z's). But by using a pickup truck, it's easier to park in more places, which minimizes transport time.

Trim nozzle: Initially ours kinda sucked. It would "spit" with large droplets instead offering the fine spray that the "full spray" nozzle provided. Here's what we did: We blew the lines clear with an air compressor. Then we switched to one size smaller nozzle (yellow instead of red). Now both units have very nice even coverage with the same droplet size as the full spray nozzle. I told TURFCO about this. BTW we also replaced the Spyker impellers and use LESCO impellers instead. (there's a reason for this IMO)

Spray wand hose -- ours are still fine, but I'm guessing the previous user may have severely stretched it out.

Deflector shield handle: we had the same problem with our original 2008 unit, cuz there was too much 'play', so TURFCO sent us a new cable & handle. Now it just takes one finger to flip it up or down. I'm 6'3", and I have no prob.

We do not spray iron, so maybe that's why neither of our T3000's have any corrosion.

The tread on the front tires (our first unit) is getting down there, so I'm thinking about going with a slightly more aggressive tread pattern to minimize slippage while turning on wet hills. Just a thought. Carlisle & Titan are 2 good brands.

NOTE: try not to run the tanks empty cuz it can cause the pump diaphrams to wear out. Just leave a little in the bottom, then refill.

Thanks again Ray, you're a good man. Looking forward to cool videos.

turf hokie - I'll try to post pics of both our T3000's on carrier racks w/our Chevy 2500HD pickups. They are sweet and very maneuverable.

Your F-350 will have no prob handling a carrier rack & a T, but I strongly recommend a twin receiver rack (like ours) instead of a single receiver cuz they last longer & are much safer.

Sell your Permagreens & get a T3000. You will be happy for sure.

Botton line: We know Z's are great, and we've even had our share of issues with the T3000. But upgrades took care of all our T problems. We run both everyday, and every feature operates like new. Never any ni&&er rigging needed (unlike PG's). I could list several issues we have had with our original unit, but I won't. A-Team members have a strong bond with TURFCO. There are many good reasons for this. For every problem, there has been a quick solution (for us, it's less than 24 hours). They track every part (replacement, upgrade, & experimental). No matter what type of equipment, TURFCO's R & D department is always looking to improve their products. :usflag:

americanlawn
07-06-2009, 06:38 PM
Here's the pics.

Pic 1) we modified the reverse handle so instead of going 2 mph, it goes 5 mph in reverse. note the deflector shield handle is just below -- it merely takes a finger to flip it up or down on the go. compare left forward/reverse handle to pic #2 which shows the standard left handle. BTW there is a forward speed handle on the right side too.

Pic) 2 carrier rack. all aluminum on top. all steel (twin receivers) underneath.

Pic) 3 trim spray. 10 inches left, 24 inches right, and 36 inches in the middle. total of six feet while going 5 mph

Pic 4) full spray. 14 foot pattern while parked. 12 foot pattern while going 5 mph.

In most pics of our two T000's, you can also see that our spray wand hose is coiled up just like new. In fact, both units spray & spread like new. Both were built in the spring of 2008. One unit has about 450 hours, and the other has about 275 hours.
All features work just like a new 2009 model.

Both T3000's are transported by Chevy 2500HD pickup trucks w/carrier racks. Not sure what the GVW is (9200??), but neither truck sags. We also carry as much as 1500 lbs of dry fert plus up to 150 gal of weed spray.

Thanks again Ray. Looking forward to some videos when you get time.

a plus bob
07-06-2009, 07:14 PM
That looks just like the truck I use to haul my Z-INTERMEDIATE with on a Z trailer great for tight areas :)

americanlawn
07-06-2009, 08:54 PM
I just checked. Curb weight of Chevy/GMC 2500HD pickups = 5308/5554 (2wd/4x4). Payload = 3892/3696. Rear spring capability = 6084/6084 lbs. Now I know why our trucks do not sag with T3000's (including dry fert & spray juice).

Also - carrier racks that extend beyond 48" require special requirements. Ours do not, cuz they extend just under 48" . (Z's would have a prob there too). Our local D.O.T. certified welder confirmed this several months back. He told us there was no way a carrier rack could safely transport a "Z" on the back of a heavy duty pickup truck due to weight & width.

So that's where we sit. A choice between pulling a trailer/driving large trucks, or driving pickups.

As of now, none of my employees want to pull a trailer or drive a large truck........BTW there are special licensing requirements in most states for operating large trucks. (nuther reason why we do things the way we do).

Hope I covered all the bases -- just trying to post the good & the bad regarding what it takes to transport ride-on spreaders/sprayers.

turf hokie
07-06-2009, 09:15 PM
Thank you for the pics Larry.

Why dont you weld a bracket between the two ramps so that you can put them up and down at the same time. Saves only a couple of seconds but adds up over time. Just a thought.

That is a wide spray pattern....how many marigolds your guys take out by accident?

Bryan

DUSTYCEDAR
07-06-2009, 09:46 PM
THANKS RAY u did good

turfcobob
07-07-2009, 10:31 AM
Larry, If you screw the trim nozzle a little clockwise you can move the trim so it just to the edge of your left front tire. This makes for more accurate trimming. Right now it is spraying a little too far outside the left front tire. You can do it with a wrench, plier or screw driver. While the unit is spraying just turn the nozzle a little so it trims to the edge of the tire.

The wide spray looks like the nozzle needs a little cleaning. Just looks a little uneven from the pic. There may be something in the nozzle causing the fan to deviate a little.

americanlawn
07-07-2009, 05:28 PM
Hi Bryan, we thought about connecting the ramps, but we found it's best not to cuz sometimes we park on hills (uneven ground).

Haven't damages any flowers this year, but we curled some tomato plants twice this spring. We stayed 3 or 4 feet away, but the tomatoes absorbed the fumes.

Hi turfcobob, "M" adjusted the trim nozzle on both units this way. He likes a little spray left of the front tire so he's not riding the curb. He's in Canada right now, but when he gets back I'll suggest that he adjusts it back the way it was.
One of my other guys is running his T3000 while he's gone. He ran it yesterday & today. Now he wants one too. We'll see.

I noticed the wide spray too. We blew out the nozzle this morning. Perfect now. BTW we like the one size smaller trim nozzle that we put on both units. It's yellow instead of the red nozzle that comes with the machine.

Hope to see you the next time you come to Des Moines. Please let us know if you would like us to show a T3000 at the ISU Hort Day in early August.

Thanks all, Larry :waving: