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View Full Version : Turfco XT5 initial review after several hours use


DA Quality Lawn & YS
09-22-2011, 10:01 PM
Got my XT5 a week and 1/2 ago and set her up for use that day. Setup is pretty easy, just bolt the handle on, gas us, and away you go. I might add that it is not clear if the oil level is full upon receipt of the machine. I did add some SAE30 as the oil level looked low. Turfco needs to advise if they have the oil full when shipping. I do like the Briggs motor on the machine, really quiet little engine and really easy to start .

At any rate, I have gotten to aerate two lawns to date, mine and a customer's. I ran one lawn at the shallow depth and one at the deep depth.
Soil here is hardpan clay, and is slightly moist as we have gotten some rain in the past few days. Not wet by any means.
Pros so far:
-Engine at full throttle has plenty of power, even through turns
-Pulled nice plugs given the conditions, 2" on shallow setting, 2.5" on deep setting. Some 3"ers in the moister areas. All with the extra weights on.
-Machine is fast enough for a brisk walk behind it. Sulky anyone?
-Hydro controls are easy and intuitive to use
-IMO about a 25% reduction in effort compared to the Ryan type machines.
Mostly noticed strain is total off of the shoulders as there is no more lifting the machine at the end of a pass to turn around.

Cons so far (not fatal flaws, just things I noticed):
-I tried aerating a lawn in a bullseye pattern, so I could keep moving forward without having to reverse too much. 90 degree turns with the machine at full throttle are difficult and require effort. There is some tearing of the turf with the sharper turns in moister areas.
-Reverse is a bit slow - when doing 3 pt turns it takes too long. I assume you can adjust the reverse to be faster but that probably sacrifices forward speed, right?
-The machine will still work you some, though not like a Ryan type.
-Deep setting with the extra weights may be too much for moist lawns. Never thought I'd say this, but I might run the shallow depth in moist conditions, without the weights. Will run deep depth in regular conditions and only run the extra weights on drier lawns. Seems to me that adding the weights makes the machine tear more and adds more effort to make turns.
I really liked steering the machine without the weights.

I am sure with more 'practice', some of my cons may disappear or minimize.
All in all, I am looking forward to pluggin' away in the coming weeks!

grassman177
09-22-2011, 11:01 PM
cool, show us some pics now of the beast.

Jason Rose
09-22-2011, 11:34 PM
Good review, thanks for sharing!

I posted a similar review about my turnaer 6 but it got hijacked by fools worrying about the lawn solutions crap.

One thing about my turnaer VS the XT5, I can turn mine while running pretty darn sharp and NO turf damage! I don't even fool with the brakes. Wish mine was pulling 2.5 and 3 inch plugs though!

Service 1st Lawn Care
09-23-2011, 12:24 AM
Have had my XT5 about the same amount of time I'd say your evaluation is spot on. Bottom line it's a good aerator, but then again although the money is good it's still aerating and the older you get the older it gets if you know what I mean. :)

kennc38
09-23-2011, 08:08 AM
I've been using my XT5 for about 2 weeks now and would also say the review is pretty accurate. I would like to offer the following after using it to aerate about 15 yards to date:

Pros:For me, it's about a 50% reduction in labor as compared to other rolling type aerators (Bluebird, Classen).
Reverse! This makes it so much easier to get in those tight spots without having to lift the aerator to turn it around. Also makes multiple passes in small, bare areas a breeze.
Plug count is typical of other rolling type aerators and I've been very satisfied with it. A double pass gives an excellent amount of holes and with the speed of this machine, making a double or even triple pass in bare areas does not add much to the overall time required to aerate a yard.
Quality and depth of plugs is about the same as DA's. Our soil is mainly red clay, but if the clay is moist then it's easily pulling 2.5" - 3" plugs. If the soil is dry, then it's hard as concrete and nothing is going to penetrate it.
Engine is very quiet, easy to start and has plenty of power even when you have to travel up a steep hill or get across a steep ditch.
The weights have added enough down pressure to get quality plugs on the yards I've aerated. Have not tried it without the weights due to the soil conditions, so I can't comment on on quality of plugs without the weights.
Setup and assembly was very easy and the XT5 comes with an excellent owner's manual with very detailed information.
Construction and design of the XT5 is very rugged and I foresee many years of use without any significant mechanical issues.
Turfco's sales and customer support have been excellent! Glad to have dealt with such a reputable and professional company.

Cons:
Traction of the front wheels is less than desirable. This is mainly due to the fact that the front wheels are driven by the differential, so if the surface is not completely level, then one of the tires will just spin and the aerator will not go anywhere. This is not a huge deal for me as 99% of the time the aerator is used with the tines down and not in transport mode.
As DA mentioned, Turfco ships these aearators with the oil already in them. Not sure why they do this, but mine blew smoke from excess oil for about the first 2 minutes of operation. Contacted Turfco and they immediately acknowledged this was possibly an issue with shipping the unit with oil in it and that it should go away. Have not had an issue since that first time starting it and the oil level has not changed.

Other than that, I am extremely pleased with my purchase of the XT5 and look forward to many more years of using it. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to get into the aerating business or anyone already in the aerating business that no longer wants to rent one.

Exact Rototilling
09-23-2011, 01:00 PM
Tine spacing anyone? Just want to confirm what another poster told me. :)
Posted via Mobile Device

Will@Turfco
09-23-2011, 03:01 PM
I just wanted to add something about the oil level on the machines. All machines are shipped from Turfco with full oil but it is always a good idea to check the oil level when you get a machine. With the XT5 just make sure you set something under the front tires so your engine is level when you check. If the engine is not level it could look low. Thanks

kennc38
09-23-2011, 05:18 PM
Tine spacing anyone? Just want to confirm what another poster told me. :)
Posted via Mobile Device

According to the XT5 manual, the hole pattern is 3.8" x 5.5"

jfoxtrot9
09-23-2011, 08:11 PM
Good reviews DA and Kennc.

Thanks for sharing. As I have stated many times before, hydro aerating is the only way to go now. The reverse is key.

We must be faring much better here in Ohio with rain, as I have already aerated 41 lawns this year. Plenty of rain, pulling great plugs since the last week of August.

Best wishes!

americanlawn
09-23-2011, 08:25 PM
Congrats DA. Your XT5 will last many years with very little maintenance. Nice review too. We got our XT5 this spring. Enough hours on it that we're going to change the "original oil" to full synthetic 5W-30. Mostly been using the XT5 for renovation/seeding jobs so far. Plan to begin aerations within the next 3 weeks.

Oil level was 1/4 quart low when we received our XT5, so we topped it off. No engine damage for sure, but we wanted to make sure it was in perfect running order before we used it.

90 degree turns...... how 'bout 180 :laugh: Guys at this year's ISU turf show were trying to turn it 180 degrees at full speed. :laugh: This was fun to watch as each guy was trying to out-do the other. (me too) But all you have to do is slow down when making a 180. Or merely raise the tines. Nobody mentioned this, but I can "raise the tines" on an XT5 with one or 2 fingers...it's that easy. Very Cool & surprising IMO.

Service 1st -- ditto 110% :laugh:

Exact - I sent you tine spacing measurements a while ago. XT5 tine spacing = better than LS. Are you leaning toward PlugR? Just curious, cuz the 855 was not what LCO's were interested in at Ames this summer.

kennc38 - I like your review the best

For all you other hoseheads :laugh: (I think I have met you all), I still have the 2 videos taken from this year's ISU turfgrass event showing how fast & effective the XT5 is. If you want me to forward the videos, just let me know. It's "night & day".

Folks have demoed our XT5 and have since purchased one or plan to. Nuther guy tonight from CR is planning to stop by & demo an XT5 as well as a T3000. I'm guessing the reason TURFCO made the XT5 so fast is cuz that's what most LCO's wanted. Us too. Sure, you can always slow it down, but I want the capability to run fast when needed -- especially on large properties.

grassman177
09-23-2011, 09:42 PM
i would like the videa larry

Exact Rototilling
09-24-2011, 02:19 PM
....snip...
Exact - I sent you tine spacing measurements a while ago. XT5 tine spacing = better than LS. Are you leaning toward PlugR? Just curious, cuz the 855 was not what LCO's were interested in at Ames this summer.

...snip..."



American Lawn, yes I got your pm with tine spacing ....and frankly this seems too good to be true on rolling tine machine. I have tine spacing data on most every common machine on the market.

Ok this is a question for Turfco. OK left right spacing is 3.8"..... but is the for and aft spacing really 5.5"...? or is this a diagonal measurement...? If it is truly 5.5" fore and aft this makes the Turfco the tightest spacing mathematically of any Walk Behind "rolling tine" aerator.

Even tigher than the Plugr 400, 410 and 600 shown below :confused:

kennc38
09-24-2011, 02:31 PM
Ok this is a question for Turfco. OK left right spacing is 3.8"..... but is the for and aft spacing really 5.5"...? or is this a diagonal measurement...? If it is truly 5.5" fore and aft this makes the Turfco the tightest spacing mathematically of any Walk Behind "rolling tine" aerator.

Even tigher than the Plugr 400, 410 and 600 shown below :confused:

This topic keeps you up at night doesn't it? I've never seen someone so obsessed with tine spacing...:)

Exact Rototilling
09-24-2011, 02:50 PM
This topic keeps you up at night doesn't it? I've never seen someone so obsessed with tine spacing...:)

How did you know..:laugh: I'm trying to find the file David from lawn solutions posted on LS years ago and it showed the tines measured diagonally and north and south. For more time than I care to admit I was telling everyone on lawnsite lawn solutions has the tightest patter roling tine unit on the market @ 3.5" x 6". Then one day I measured my machine and it turned out to be 3.5 x 9...making it the least dense pattern in a WB unit...:hammerhead:
Posted via Mobile Device

Service 1st Lawn Care
09-24-2011, 05:04 PM
Dude give the tine spacing a rest, what is it with you as far as that goes. I don't think any customer is ever going to come out and ask you what the tine spacing is on the aerator. If you want to know this why don't you do your own work and call each manufacturer.:dizzy:

Exact Rototilling
09-24-2011, 05:58 PM
Dude give the tine spacing a rest, what is it with you as far as that goes. I don't think any customer is ever going to come out and ask you what the tine spacing is on the aerator. If you want to know this why don't you do your own work and call each manufacturer.:dizzy:

Been there done that. I have data on most WB units out there. Called Turfco earlier in the year...they told me 5.5" but they also said same as their other machines but spacing has been confirmed on those other TURFCO Turnaires by physical measurement @

4" left to right
7 1/2" fore/aft :confused:


When a double pass [my ultra service with Plugr 850 - deliver a $#it load of plugs] can only be matched by 4+ passes with a rolling tine unit it matters when one is trying to address thatch and top dressing effect etc.

I price my rolling tine service lower...Plugr is higher.

americanlawn
09-24-2011, 06:27 PM
Thought I had your email address, but I don't. Just phone numbers & address.

R, could you kindly send me your email address? (PM or email). Then I will forward two ISU videos of LS vs XT5. Your Iowa bud, Larry :waving:

i would like the videa larry

Plugnalawn
02-20-2012, 09:20 AM
Hello everyone, I have narrowed i tdown to these two aerators to start my business. Does anyone have any input on the pros and cons vs each other.
Performance, physical output, maintenance etc...Thanks again,Plugnalawn

Exact Rototilling
02-20-2012, 01:08 PM
Hello everyone, I have narrowed i tdown to these two aerators to start my business. Does anyone have any input on the pros and cons vs each other.
Performance, physical output, maintenance etc...Thanks again,Plugnalawn

Which two aerators:

XT5 vs Lawn Solutions/Toro/Exmark 21 Wb
-or-
XT5 vs Plugr 850/855 hydro?
Posted via Mobile Device

DUSTYCEDAR
02-20-2012, 01:18 PM
pogo stick and redbull random hole spaceing

Plugnalawn
02-20-2012, 01:24 PM
The 2 units I am comparing were int he title Turfco TurnAer XT5 vs Ryan Lawnaire V
thanks fo rthe replies, Perry.

DUSTYCEDAR
02-20-2012, 01:48 PM
the turfco unit looks nice

DA Quality Lawn & YS
02-20-2012, 03:58 PM
Plugn - if those two are your options, you will forget that Ryan unit real fast.
Both are rolling tine and will have similar patterns. You save 25-50% effort using the Turfco. Nuff said.

Plugnalawn
02-20-2012, 05:06 PM
Thanks fo rthe reply, whatwouldyou recommend? Thanks,!

kennc38
02-21-2012, 11:55 AM
Thanks fo rthe reply, whatwouldyou recommend? Thanks,!

I would recommend the XT5. It is a lot less effort to use plus they have 10% off and Free shipping right now. Turfco also provides excellent customer support.

Service 1st Lawn Care
02-21-2012, 01:47 PM
XT5 very nice unit

Farbio
02-25-2012, 11:29 AM
Posted via Mobile Device

grandview (2006)
03-22-2012, 07:02 PM
Going to be ordering xt5 on Monday.Should have by Thursday.

ted putnam
03-22-2012, 07:11 PM
Going to be ordering xt5 on Monday.Should have by Thursday.

I ordered mine yesterday. I should have mine by Monday. I can't wait to see what it'll do.

ted putnam
03-23-2012, 03:55 PM
I ordered mine yesterday. I should have mine by Monday. I can't wait to see what it'll do.

Mine arrived today. I just got the call. I'm gone to pick it up.:)

WHIPPLE5.7
03-23-2012, 04:15 PM
I wish the XT5 had a diff lock on the front so it would climb into trailers. Actually since I'm just making wishes I wish they made the rear wheels the drive wheels and front on swivel castor's. I've only used mine on one lawn and it was very dry so it didn't do a real good job. I'm going back to do the lawn again when its wetter. I paid extra for the Suburu engine and I'm not sure if it just needs broke in or if its alway going to suck to start. After its warm it starts fine but the first start of the day takes like 25 pulls, needless to say I kinda wish I would have just gotten the cheaper Briggs motor now.

Exact Rototilling
03-23-2012, 05:39 PM
Would anyone care to divulge the actual tine spacing on the xt5....? Last year another poster sent me the measurements but I want to verify.
Posted via Mobile Device

ted putnam
03-23-2012, 07:02 PM
Would anyone care to divulge the actual tine spacing on the xt5....? Last year another poster sent me the measurements but I want to verify.
Posted via Mobile Device

From the front of one tine to the front of the next is 7 3/4. Each tine wheel is 3 3/4 inches apart on center. Hope this was what you were looking for. I've been reading alot about aerators on here and you seem to have a fixation with this...Ever been diagnosed with OCD??:laugh: Just kidding. couldn't resist

Took about 15 minutes to get it out and put it together. I can't wait to try it out.

Exact Rototilling
03-23-2012, 07:37 PM
From the front of one tine to the front of the next is 7 3/4. Each tine wheel is 3 3/4 inches apart on center. Hope this was what you were looking for. I've been reading alot about aerators on here and you seem to have a fixation with this...Ever been diagnosed with OCD??:laugh: Just kidding. couldn't resist

Took about 15 minutes to get it out and put it together. I can't wait to try it out.

OCD ...officially not that I know of....:laugh:

Thanks for the Intel :waving:
Posted via Mobile Device

Exact Rototilling
03-23-2012, 07:45 PM
Just did the math ....Turfco has the pattern a bit tighter than Lawn Solutions or should I say Toro.

So the extreme outside distance is 18.75" on the XT5.

Lawn Solutions/ Toro is 17.5"

I absolutely hate the LS on side hills. Major pita to control. Even if I'm dealing with.a.cheap skate client who.doesn't want to.pay.the extra 30% for the plugr 850....they will get.it on grassy swells or steep hilly lawns etc. Just easier and faster with hydro plugr :)
Posted via Mobile Device

adam.neusbaum
05-17-2012, 04:35 PM
I still have the 2 videos taken from this year's ISU turfgrass event showing how fast & effective the XT5 is. If you want me to forward the videos, just let me know. It's "night & day".
s.[/QUOTE]
Yes please. Id love the video.
Posted via Mobile Device

turfcobob
05-22-2012, 12:44 PM
Would anyone care to divulge the actual tine spacing on the xt5....? Last year another poster sent me the measurements but I want to verify.
Posted via Mobile Device

Aerators left to right spacing can be measured as it will never change. The front to rear spacing will change depending on the lawn. Nice soft, wet golf course green will give you closer spacing than a hard dry clay lawn because the tines do not sink in very deep. Imagine the diameter of a wheel as the wheel gets smaller the distance gets to be less. The very best way is to get a piece of clear plastic cut 3 foot by 3 foot. Lay it on an aerated surface and count the holes and divide by 9 so you get an average. Then note the soil type and conditions so you have a record. Or you can measure the diameter of the tine reel 3 inches in from the tip the divide by the number of tines.
When I worked at Ryan we had the clear piece of plastic it worked best and easiest.

MachineGrn
03-11-2013, 04:18 PM
Can anyone tell me what the differences are between the Turfco XT5 and the Lawn Solutions aerator. I found a LS aerator for about the same price so it boils down to best performance. I do mostly smaller lawns with some hills.
Thanks, gonna pull the trigger in the next few days.

Service 1st Lawn Care
03-11-2013, 05:07 PM
I would go with the XT5 very solid machine easy to operate, You would either be buying a Toro or a Exmark. Lawn Solutions is no more, Turfco has been around forever and their machines are quality.

Bottom line Turfco has a sale going on right now and you not going to beat the price or the parts service you get from them 10% off and free freight or 6 Months no interest.

americanlawn
03-11-2013, 06:35 PM
Ditto. Kinda funny -- 2 LCO's visited us Sunday morning to demo our T3000's. They drove them during heavy sleet & rain, yet both guys ordered new T3000's today (email confirmation).

But while they were here, they noticed our "aeration equipment". (several versions of TURFCO & Ryans. Pull-behinds/walk-behinds, chariots, sulky).

So then we let 'em try both our "hydro" aerators (TURFCO & Lawn Solutions) It was "hands down". The XT5 was faster/easier to manuever/pulled deeper plugs/pulled more plugs, and handled hills better . So then one of my guys showed up. (he was in charge of most of our seeding jobs last fall). He explained to them why our LS aerator has been "sitting in our warehouse" for 2 years. And the "XT5 had been used on all properties since we bought it".

Shoot me if I'm wrong. :usflag: Antbody want a slightly used LS hyrdro, please PM me. We need to get rid of it. Cheap.

MachineGrn
03-11-2013, 11:31 PM
thanks guys. I will order a XT5 tomorrow. The hills worried me on the toro demo, felt like it was tipping. I was hoping the turfco was the one for me since I was born and raised in MN. I live in CO. now, but my heart is still in MN.

SteveHuffman
03-19-2013, 11:11 AM
With the XT5 and any other aerator out there you will get 6 cores per square feet. If someone says they are getting 9 it’s because they are turning that square foot sideways like a diamond. So that baseball diamond square foot will have 9 cores but the next one will have only 3. So long of the short is any rolling tine aerator you will get 6 cores per square foot. Second, a rolling tine aerator does two things, first it pulls cores, but seconded it disturbers the soil and tears the root system. This even further more decompacts the soil and promotes root growth. The Plugers do not have that tearing motion under the soil which is important to have. The angle in which the tines enter and exit the ground is of importance. A lot of time and energy went into building the proper tine. I know it sounds lame but it’s true. If anyone has any more questions us here at Turfco are ready to help. Also we do have that spring special going on right now 10% off and free shipping. I hope everyone made a bunch of money plowing! Have a great day.

Exact Rototilling
03-19-2013, 02:42 PM
Of all the current manufactures of aerators....ONLY Exmark has the mathematically correct formula for plugs per square foot. It is actually 4.57142857 plugs per square foot. Lawn Solutions/Exmark/Toro in the Stand on and also the 21” WB tines are 3.5” x 9” and yes....tines on my turf here really do enter and exit at that full 9”.

I have all the tine spacing specs for most WB units on the market. Someday they will go up on my web site.

I can’t speak for the Ryan 28 reciprocating but the Plugr 800 series does do a fair amount of soil fracturing as well since the tines actually drive the machine. In fact I use the front hydro on my Plugr 850’s as a brake to forward motion and literally fracture and force the tines to actually lift the sod from the sub soil. There is no way a rolling tine unit can match this tear and lift action. Someday when have time I will post Hi Def video of this process.

This time lapse video is from Spring of 2012 with my Plugr 850 vs. my LS 21”

bUl-OSZQLaY

:drinkup:

americanlawn
04-08-2013, 11:09 PM
Exact -- I know you know your stuff. (much appreciated) We tried the 28, did a nice job pulling plugs. Also did side-by-side tests of Plugr 8 , Lawn Solutions, TURFCO XT5. We found that both the LA 28 and the PlugR 800 were difficult to use (they also kinda beat up the operator). The LS hydro was easier to operate and did a decent job. At ISU field station, the XT5 was the clear choice by nearly all attendees who demoed aerators >> faster than the rest, pulled many plugs, way easier to maneuver. We love our XT5's (Not for sale) -- but got several old-style aerators I need to get rid of. my 2 cents