Testing the New Toro Turfmaster 30"
I was looking for some reviews this evening to see what anyone else is thinking of the new commercial Toro Turfmaster 30" mower... but I'm thinking my company may be one of the first to have received them in the Dallas area. I pre-ordered two of them at $1650 each and my employees have only used them a few times due to the weather. Here's some very preliminary input based on what we've seen so far:
* Cut - It mows as smoothly as the 21" Proline and does not appear to miss strips of grass in the center of the two blades. The Turfmaster 30 offers a notably smoother cut than our Toro wide-deck midsize mowers.
* Bagging - The bag is exceptionally easy to empty. No big plastic opening door to get in the way. Just unhook it and dump the clippings in a trash bag. Virtually no shaking required even when very full.
* Mulching - So far, so good; but I really won't know until April when the grass is actively growing. The mulch plug is a lousy design. It's hard to get in and out and very bulky. It took me about 10 minutes to figure out a way to keep the large chute door closed so that the mower can be run sans the plug. The only problem is that when the chute door is closed, the bag can't be fastened in place. So I'll have to decide whether to go back to the plug (not likely) or fabricate a better design that allows the gate to stay closed and the bag to hang in place when mulching. Not a huge issue.
* Transmission - It seems to work fine with a single speed. You just feather the traction bar and allow it to slip slightly. My men have been doing the same for years with the 21" mowers instead of constantly changing the gears without incident.
* Deck - Sure seems extremely sturdy but the mower is quite heavy. This is not a mower that two people would want to lift in and out of a truck all day.
* Height adjusters - Now these are an improvement over anything Toro has ever done, in my opinion. One quick shift in the front and the same in the back changes the setting for all 4 years. I do, however, worry about the slight sag in the rear height adjustor area. There's a little too much play back there.
* Engine - Mine have the Kawasaki FJ180V motors. These are generally bullet-proof engines, but wow, the RPM's rev WAY up when the blade-brake-clutch kicks in. WAY UP! It's very loud to the point you would want to regularly wear ear plugs when using it.
* Traction Engage - I don't get the need to slide the traction bar to the right slighly before engaging the BBC and transmission. It just required a quick shift of the handle spring and a 1/2 copper sleeve to correct it and still have the mower operating with the safety features in tact.
The bottom line is I've got high hopes for these mowers. Having an employee doing nearly 50% more work (versus a 21") with a mower that takes up far less space and weight in our trailers could render lots of additional income. That's why we do this, right? We'll see how they hold up, but I think the over all design is sound.