Originally Posted by joed
Thank you for the great review Dave. I am thinking of purchasing one of these units but am unsure. I know it's not spring yet but have you noticed any rutting due to the weight of the machine? I bought one of the first exmark metro 26" units in 2005 and I had a big issue with rutting due to the weight of the machine along with numerous other mechanical issues and a lack of horsepower that rendered the machine useless when mulching. I'm not sure if this current machine will fair any better.
I wondered about that potential issue, too, Joe. My guys have used the mowers already in some relatively wet soil conditions with no problems. In fact, we gave them a try for some leaf cleanup on a new 3/4 acre lawn that we sodded just a month ago. So this was a notably "spongey" yard that I didn't want our big, heavy midsize mowers run on just yet.
The new Turfmasters did great. Again, I have to give Toro credit for the balance. The front tires are 2"x8"... but have very little weight on them. The heavy portion sets on the rear 3"x10" tires and I guess that extra size is just what it takes to spread the weight and prevent rutting.
After a few weeks of use and the minor modifications I mentioned earlier, the only problem I've noticed so far is some belt "flapping" on one of the units. It sounds like a simple adjustment issue so I haven't looked into it yet. There are an awful lot of springs in the drive and cutting systems of these mowers, so it's sure to be a learning curve. I still need to address the mulch plug bypass idea I have because the plug is simply not designed well (although it does seem to be effective so far).
I have an ironically similar story to yours on the issues with the Metro 26" mower. My dealer - bless his soul - talked me out of them because of several concerns he had about the design. A buddy of mine bought two - convinced they were the next great mower - and sold them halfway through the season since they didn't cut well and were always in for repair. With the Turfmaster 30's, my instincts tell me that 9-10 HP would be ideal and that the high rpm's will surely shorten the life of the Kawasaki FJ180V's. But then again, these same Kawi's will easily go 4 years commercially with virtually no loss of compression. So if they even last 2 years on the Turfmasters, it should still be a very good ROI for nearly 50% greater cutting width. I'm crossing my fingers and think the first 6 months of use will be very telling.