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  #1  
Old 09-22-2011, 09:01 PM
DA Quality Lawn & YS's Avatar
DA Quality Lawn & YS DA Quality Lawn & YS is offline
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Turfco XT5 initial review after several hours use

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!
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  #2  
Old 09-22-2011, 10:01 PM
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grassman177 grassman177 is offline
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cool, show us some pics now of the beast.
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  #3  
Old 09-22-2011, 10:34 PM
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Jason Rose Jason Rose is offline
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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!
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:24 PM
Service 1st Lawn Care Service 1st Lawn Care is offline
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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.
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  #5  
Old 09-23-2011, 07:08 AM
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kennc38 kennc38 is offline
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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.
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  #6  
Old 09-23-2011, 12:00 PM
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Exact Rototilling Exact Rototilling is offline
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Tine spacing anyone? Just want to confirm what another poster told me.
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  #7  
Old 09-23-2011, 02:01 PM
Will@Turfco Will@Turfco is offline
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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
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  #8  
Old 09-23-2011, 04:18 PM
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kennc38 kennc38 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exact Rototilling View Post
Tine spacing anyone? Just want to confirm what another poster told me.
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According to the XT5 manual, the hole pattern is 3.8" x 5.5"
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  #9  
Old 09-23-2011, 07:11 PM
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jfoxtrot9 jfoxtrot9 is offline
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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!
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  #10  
Old 09-23-2011, 07:25 PM
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americanlawn americanlawn is offline
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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 Guys at this year's ISU turf show were trying to turn it 180 degrees at full speed. 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%

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 (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.
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