View Full Version : walker mower or not?

01-07-2004, 07:22 PM
well Ive bin pondering on this for about 6 months. need an new mower this spring with a bagging unit. most of my lots are medium to high end homes aprox 1/2 to 3 acres tried out a walker and liked the pickup systemand manuvarabilty of the mower. not sure about the reliabilty and maintance end of it as well as ease of dumping the grass clipping into my pickup truck. anything comparatable in a zero turn bagging unit? should I go with the Walker or any other suggestions? thanks craig

01-07-2004, 08:00 PM
I can't tell ya about the operating part of the Walker mowers but as a mechanic who has worked on few I can comment on that. The engines on the ones I worked on were Kohlers. They were pretty much trouble free and only regular PM was needed. They are a pretty complex machine compared to like a Exmark Lazer. Way more belts and moving parts. The blades over lap each other so the blades are "timed" so they dont hit each other. Its a drive shaft and gear box driven deck, which is good til you really wack something. From the owners and operators that I have done work for, they really like them for high end, medium high end residental work. They really cut nice. My opinion... seems like you are gonna be operating it yourself, residental lawns.. a good choice if you can afford the note and you are VERY anal about taking care of it as far as PM goes. As far as dumping into the back of a pickup... I dont think it is high enough to directly dump the grass catcher into a bed.. unless you back up a set of ramps and then dump.. might be a lil hairy! I'm sure other actual owners and operators will fill you in more better than I have.

LB Landscaping
01-07-2004, 08:06 PM
I have one and love it. They are a little more complex than others but with regular PM they should be trouble free. I have had mine for 2 years and the only problem I have had was a Hydro belt breaking, it broke because a stick shot under the unit and the belt slipped, never happend before and hasn't happened since. If you are looking for a bagging mower the Walker is awsome. It is a little slower than some others but the quality of cut can't be beat.

Ryan Lightning
01-07-2004, 08:12 PM
If you have to bag 3 acres with a 48" Walker I think it will take to long from all the dumping you will have to do. I think youll need a mulching deck, and put all the biggest lawns on the same days, are another mulching mower for the larger lawns.

01-07-2004, 08:26 PM
There is a company who makes ramps to go from your trailer to your truck so you back up the trailer and up the ramp and can dump right in the truck bed. Thereís also another company that makes aftermarket high lift kits for walker collection system hoppers. It lifts them extra high to dump over the side of a truck. A local welding shop could make the ramp setup if you showed them a picture, or you can buy them from the company below.

The ramps are made by www.usaramp.com

The walker high lift kits are made by All Seasons, I donít see a website address in the ad for them in Turf mag, but the email address is allseasons@characterlink.net and their phone number is 800-786-2301

Hope this helps.

01-07-2004, 08:49 PM
They are slow, tempramental machines. I have had two...down to one now and hope for that one to be gone soon. They spend more time in the shop than on the turf. Only redeeming factor is they do a beautiful cut on high quality turf. As xcopterdoc said they are far too complex. That is their downfall IMO. No amount of TLC or PM is going to prevent them from having problems. As for the dumping issue...they make a high lift dump attachment that lifts the catcher and dumps it in the bed of a truck w/o having to leave the seat. Cool feature if you don't mind paying for it.

01-07-2004, 09:16 PM
familiar with the high lift ,herd it was around 2500.
any other suggestions as to other make mowers with baggers? tried out a Ferris with a blower and bagger unit not bad ,but a big unit. How about the Toro (ithink 355)?

01-07-2004, 09:18 PM
capt, I have a couple of them. They work well for our type of grass and properties. Our main one is a 48" GHS with 20 hp Kohler in it. It now has about 1300 hrs on it. It's main use now is for leaf clean up in the fall. We have a couple of other mowers so the Walker only goes on the properties that it is suited for. MTD Pro Z, JD 72" front mount and a Toro WBH as well so we can use whatever is the best for the property. As for repairs on the Walker belts and blades of course, motor on the rear chute, one blower fan, one shear pin and many many shear bolts. It's better to break shear bolts than the pins. I have rebuilt the thin blower chute a couple of times. I have been thinking for the last two years that I would have to change the gear box because it feels a little sloppy but it is still holding up. We will always have a Walker or at least a Walker collection type mower. By the way my dealer is 80 miles one way from me and it's never been a problem. Parts shipped to our door overnight or within a couple of days if it's something odd. There are some dealers who rent them out, try one on your properties before you buy and see if they will put the rent towards the purchase price.

01-07-2004, 09:20 PM
it sounds like most of the work that your going to be doing is going to require the baggins system. walker is very good in the sense that they have a very reliable collection component of the machine. like FSM said, they do have the ramps to you can dump into the truck. i have not heard any complaints on the walkers and from what i gather, with its bagging capability, sounds like it may be the right machine for you.

good luck.

01-07-2004, 09:27 PM
cantoo I see your in Ontario as well who did you deal with for the Walkers?

01-07-2004, 09:55 PM
capt, I bought the new one at Kitchener Tractor. They had the best inventory of spare parts and the best mechanics when I was looking. I went to about 10 Dealers all over before I bought mine. I wasn't concerned about distance from me I just wanted a shop that could fix it if needed. As it turned out I didn't really need the shop that much. My wife just reminded me that we did have them replaced one hydro under warranty that was whining. I don't really think there was anything wrong with it. I also bought a used diesel Walker at an auction sale in London real cheap.

01-07-2004, 11:34 PM
Originally posted by capt.craig
familiar with the high lift ,herd it was around 2500.
any other suggestions as to other make mowers with baggers? tried out a Ferris with a blower and bagger unit not bad ,but a big unit. How about the Toro (ithink 355)?

I have heard nothing but good things about the Toro bagger. It will be my next mower purchase if and when I can sell this dang Walker! :mad:

All my other mowers (walk behinds and Z's) are Toro's.

01-08-2004, 12:16 AM
The simpler the better, the less moving parts and belts/chains etc the better.... if its easier for me, the mechanic, its gotta be easier for the operator.

01-08-2004, 12:36 AM

I own (for sale) a 25hp Walker, nice job on good properties, this is their purpose, *can* get costly to maintain as they age.
The high lift is great if you work on flatish areas, very good system. The pros and cons of this machine have been mentioned lots here, try a search under Walker.

I also own and primarily use a Toro Z355, ultra simple, very commercial, tough as! One great machine, handles hill easy, traction is far superior, gentler on turf, simpler drive system, mulches fantastic (dry conditions) bags as good if not better than the Walker, this thing earns the bucks! The finish is fantastic! I rarely catch grass, it mulches so well in one pass you would never know.

Both mowers have timed gearbox driven blades.

Neither is built for the long rough world like a midmount, they are finishing mowers, one is more industrial than the other.

The chassis of the Toro is indestructable, lift a Walker catcher up and rock the machine sideways, it flexes, it cracks behind the seat, I have seen it on several other contractors. They weren't built to be beafy, so I'm not knocking them in any way, I'm saying in your work gets rough I would suggest the Toro for a demo, you will see why after you try both.

01-08-2004, 01:53 PM
Tony, everytime I read your posts on Walker I cringe so here are my thoughts please don't take them as a personal attack. In no way am I implying that you are lying or making posts with intentionally false info. I think you need to own a Walker without the highlift system on it before you compare it to the Toro. I have 4 Walkers and 1 has the highlift on it. It handles completely different from the stock Walkers. I find my stock Walkers climb very well. As far as the frame cracking, never happened to me. 4000+ on 2. Have no idea of hours on others, they were bought used and are in fact older models.It's possible your mowing is more rough. A friend operated as many as 9 and never had a frame break. I say you are knocking the Walker because you compare it to the Toro and conclude that it's inferior in each instance yet you are comparing the Walker/highlift to the stock Toro. The Toro may be a better machine, I can't say either way because I've never driven the Toro. Also I'm not a Walker maniac either. I've been phasing them out of my business and going with midmounts. In fact I would recommend a midmount with the bagging system on it over the Walker. Even if you are cutting postage stamp properties go with a small 48"midmount with the bagging system and put a ramp on the front of your trailer into the back of your truck and your golden.

01-08-2004, 07:07 PM
thanks Tony and Shearbolt for your honesty I looked at several walker posts over the last week and am really having a hard time with this as the Walker is going to cost about 17,000 over here. i have a Toro walkbehind and 2 Toro commercial 21 inch push mowers that I love. Tony I will check the 355 for price. tomorrow thanks guys. craig

01-08-2004, 07:50 PM
Sorry shearbolt

I thought I always made it clear that the Walker I have is high lift and well Toro's are not, (here they can be like a walker )
My mistake, what I obviously typed is not what I was exactly thinking, I stand by what I say about each machine, yes set up different but this only effects hillside stability, the strength, cut quality I have seen side by side and the points I make I have performed myself. I'm not reprinting gossip etc, all I know is what I said, now Walker to me is NOT the IDEAL COMMERCIAL mower, is simply isn't strong enough...COMPARED to commercial built machines like Exmark and Toro etc. Until anyone has compared these 2 brands, Walker and Toro on the same typical commercial property they can't really say I am unjustly bias, Toro is easily the better machine in every sense.

I'm not bashing Walker, they Do what they were designed for excellent! I have said this all along. I am saying they are not the standard as the Toro, look at the Toro, it is the same design in hydro pumps and motors as the bigger midmounts, everything is so simple, way less maintenance, I'm not interested in a debate, I own both, my walker has high lift catcher, toro doesn't, I'm comparing everything else which this factor doesn't interfere with, stability, toro is wider and lower profile catcher, larger wheels and a whole lot better machine, I can be seen in a bad light here, as I own both I thought I should have a clue about each make and be able to give a fair comparison. Just because I'm not promoting walker doesn't mean I am bagging them, imo they aren't built as simple and as strong as the ones I already mentioned, and yes, the cracked chassis, seen em, ask your dealer.

But to be clear, I'm not trying to rubbish walker, they are a good mower, and are great for their intended purpose, I just think the toro is much better, in my area which is all I can say obviously.

As far as me always down on walker, I am trying to tell about real life happenings and observations, crikey, all the walker owners here hate when I say anything negative about the brand, tough, my views are my views, sure you all get your 1000's of hours, obviously your conditions are much easier than mine, maybe in your country I'd love the walker.

Don't cringe anymore mate, I'm tired of this conversation and retyping the same thing, I'm too busy to sit here and give my view only to have folks want debates and critisise my views when they haven't ran both machines in their business, I couldn't be bothered with this topic any more, I own and use both, I offer my points of view honestly and always seem to manage to be blamed for being too tough on walker....OK you guys who love your walkers which is 100% great, they are the best mowers in the world, nothing better, go anywhere cut anything, great slopes, great grip, low maintenance, etc, etc, oh year, much better than toro, ya all happy now?

This is what you all wanted me to say all along isn't it, say what you want to hear and you are all fine :)

Now all the toro owners will dump on me for saying walker is better....

Fun topic guys!

01-08-2004, 08:26 PM
Well put Tonyr. :D People always get a little bent when you pick on their favorite brand...never mind that the majority have only tried one brand. ;)

01-08-2004, 08:40 PM
I agree tony, you are not choosing one or the other you are telling it like it is and I also have a toro z and toro w.b. and love how they cut i too was going to buy a walker and after reading the posts here and doing research and even demod one hands down im staying on toros. faster,better built, ease of maintenance and cheaper...

01-08-2004, 09:47 PM
I love my Walker!!

01-08-2004, 09:58 PM
Scag has a similar machince that lets you change the deck without changing the deck.. you can convert the deck to side discharge, mulching or bagging with some handle or something.. Dont have one, but looked at them , look like a much better made machine. beefier... I have a walker and it sat almost all last year !

01-09-2004, 03:46 AM
Avery, workaholic, Thanks for seing through my rambling and seeing what I was trying to say, compare, not bash. I am ot bashing, knocking, or insulting, or trying to harm this company in any way, their machines are great for what they were intended for I believe, I have nothing against the mower or the company, now I have declared this I don't want anyone to come along and say I am trying to hurt the name/brand.

All I'm saying is I prefer my Toro over my Walker for the reasons I posted this morning. But I will say, the Toro isn't perfect, it has faults too! (I think :) )

Walker-Talker, you are loyal to your mower brand, great, you obviously have the right conditions for the machine, you are a pro, I'm sure you will get many happy years from the Walker mower, I loved my Walker too guys at the start, thought nothing could beat it if the maintenance wasn't killing me, then I tried the Toro kickin' it's wheels, demoed it 4 times, the rest is history, 5 mins maintenance a week, so easy, so cheap, so great!

Thanks blokes!

Now, I'm havin' some coldies, been another huge day, not going to be concerned anymore tonight by who wants to argue with me that haven't owned or at least demoed the Toro.

BTW, I am soon purchasing a Toro 588E as I don't see a future in bagging when mulchers now are so good, and I can side discharge in the wet, the Z355 is hopeless in wet grass! Dry fantastic at everything, wet, leave it on the trailer!

A Walker MAY catch damp grass better....Toro deck baffles on my model aren't right for wet stuff, they are bolt in and I think could be better positioned to suit my grasses. Does this kinda even the score? LOL!

Have a good night...er, day?