View Full Version : Olatha ? leaf sweepers?
11-14-2002, 12:29 PM
Has anyone ever used one of these?
Back in the 80's when I worked on a university campus, we used an Olathe (sp?) sweeper. It was about 50-60 in wide, maybe more, had a big rear hopper. It had three wheels with the single front wheel being the drive wheel. it was hydrostat. controled by a foot pedel and had a steering wheel that could turn the front wheel almost 180 deg for very tight turns. kind of like the Swiser BigMOw mowers. We dumped the leafs in piles to be picket up or into a low trailer with high screen sides. I remember this machine did a great job and could get into some tight ares despite it's size. I have also seen these towed by a tractor.
Do you think something like this could be useful in our biz? I don't even know if they are still made or what the price might be.
11-14-2002, 06:36 PM
i see a few guys who still use them. I dont think they are made anymore, but you can pick up a nice used one fairly cheap i think. I know of one guy who uses them on the big jobs like condos and stuff. At UConn where i go to college, they have two toro sweeper vacs that operate like the olathe. They just suck all the leaves up, and dump them in an open area where the truckloaders can get at them.
11-14-2002, 07:51 PM
Toro bought out Olathe back around the late 80s, early 90s. Toro still makes the 48 model of the Olathe. No 48HLs(high lifts) or the 1660HL(tow behind high lift).
We have a few 48s(parts), many 48HLs, and 4 1660HLs. No one makes anything that will dump into an 11' high side dump truck anymore. Parts still mostly available, we will fabicate parts if we have to.
Smithco makes a 48" high lift sweeper with suspension and also a 60" sweeper.
11-15-2002, 12:30 AM
So they are still being made by Toro?
I remember driving this thing was kind of fun with the front wheel that turned al the way around.:D
When we dumped into a trailer. it was a low floor trailer with about 5 ft high sides of chicken wire. We just backed up the gate and dumped inside.
But then unloadng the trailer was more work :(
11-15-2002, 02:22 AM
I beleive there is another company with a unit called the "sweepstar" which is very simmilar, if not the same as to what you are reffering.
11-15-2002, 06:38 AM
Saw one up on ebay the other day.Imho these things are dinosours, with todays machines they are just not worth much to most of us.
11-15-2002, 10:04 AM
Hey Atlantic, I saw one of these things earlier this season grooming an appartment complex this spring ... had never seen one before and stopped to ask about it ... the guy said he had bought this thing 15 years ago and wouldn't trade it for the world. It actually did a very nice job combing up embedded leaves and cigarette butts out of the lawn with just one pass which was probably about 50-60" wide.
11-15-2002, 10:16 AM
Used one back in the early 80's at a 5-star resort in Colorado. I remember it being an awesome machine for cleanups. It was a riding hydrostat unit powered by something in the range of 16hp. It could dump into the back of a truck. It had what we called rubber fingers that rotated picking up debris. It was so powerful you could use it to power rake in the spring.
11-15-2002, 10:27 AM
That one on Ebay sure looks familiar:D
The one I used was grey instead of red and I think it was bigger.
03-10-2006, 10:01 AM
Does anyone know of anywhere I can get parts for an old Olathe turf sweeper. I am in MA. I bought one well used and it needs a few parts like band brakes.
03-10-2006, 10:31 AM
Olathe was bought out by Toro. They still make the 48" unit under their name, but no high lift is available. We still have some of the 48s, 48HL, and 166HL, however we are in the process of sending them to auction in the next few months. If you are interested they will be available through www.nationwideauction.com from the Otay Mesa facility I believe.
We are replacing the Olathe units with Smithco Sweepstars. They offer a 48" and 60" with high lift for dumping into dumpsters. Also we selected them since Toro has not changed much on these unit and can be quite a rough ride depending on terrian. The Smithco unit have a front end suspension which makes for a much smoother ride.
For replacement of the 116HL units, we did not find any able to dump into a 11' high side truck as we do with the 166HLs. These units are showing their age and we had no choice but to start replacing them as well. We selected a Harper-Goosen unit to replace them that is a ground dump. After talking with Harper, they are considering building a high lift unit and have some thoughts to help with construction of a prototype. We used the 166HLs for renovation clean up, as we use tractor mounted flail decks with straight knifes for renovation.
The Olathe are a good unit, however if they have an Onan engine on them you might have problems finding parts. Onan was bought out by Lemar and they discontinued that engine. Three of our units we replace the engines with Kohler 27 V-twin engines. It took us a while and had to fab a adapter plate to connect the engine to the pump and had to build a shim plate for the motor to mount to. After doing this the sweeper was a much more stronger unit. We selected the Kohler engine to have the same torque rating as the old Onan, but now we also have 4 extra hp.
Most parts are still available from Toro, except for the Olathes that have a rear axle. The axle and associated parts have been discontinued.
03-10-2006, 01:41 PM
I had one on the golf course back in the day. Very handy for picking up twigs from willow trees after storms. The rubber "fingers" are still available through J.Thomas, along with some other parts.
03-10-2006, 06:59 PM
ck out smithco sweepstars they make a 60" and 48" both ground dumps and high lifts. you can probabley get parts for olathe for your toro dist.
03-10-2006, 10:07 PM
paul J ya want a sweeper i have a few that need some work there the jacobsen units an there easy to work on an very simple if interested p.m. me thanks george
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