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Leaf/Debris Loader: What CAN'T you suck up?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by jbell36, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. jbell36

    jbell36 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from KANSAS
    Posts: 1,286

    We were doing a mulch prep job today and were taking off the top layer of dirt and mulch, about a 50/50 mixture...Could a debris loader, such as a 20 HP ish billy goat, be able to suck up dirt and mulch, or would that cause too much stress on the machine? I saw the video of a billy goat sucking up bottles and phone books so i figure you can pretty much suck up anything, but i don't have experience with these...anyone have the answer to this?

    Also, if you are just sucking out old mulch, are the longer pieces/sticks a concern for getting caught in the impeller and jamming up the machine?
  2. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    Well first off you would probably shorten the life of the impeller blade by a lot. Secondly, I think it would take too long to do it vs. raking it out and loading it into a wheel barrow. It will suck it up but it will also get stuck in the tube then you have to lift a now 75lb hose up to feed it into the impeller. Plus if your that close to the mulch beds that the hose would reach just rake it onto the curb or tarp it then empty it onto the curb a use a skid steer to load it all.
  3. jbell36

    jbell36 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from KANSAS
    Posts: 1,286

    although a skid would be ideal, it's not very practical...if it was a big enough job we would have possibly brought the tractor...

    here's our situation...we have about 6 landscape beds, 6 feet by 20 feet, with old mulch and the natural edging has faded over time, so we redid the natural edging to where we had excess dirt...we loaded the wheel barrow and wheeled it over to our dump, but it takes two guys to lift a full wheel barrow into the truck, that's when i started thinking if we had a leaf rig with a debris loader could we just use the loader to suck the dirt out...

    that's a good point on the dirt getting stuck in the tube, we had a trac-vac a few years ago that would get full of dirt/mud if it was too wet, and it got very heavy and unproductive...

    what about straight mulch, would that be an issue?
  4. TriCountyLawn

    TriCountyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,517

    mmm...they dont suck phone books or raccoons very well in my experience ..lol
  5. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 37,805

    Those impeller blades are like 3/8" steel...a little mulch isn't going to wear them out.

    Sucking up too much crap, however, can eventually take it's toll and throw it off balance
  6. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    What about just making a quick ramp out of a few 2x12's so they can just wheel it up?
  7. Mr. Force® Billy Goat Industries

    Mr. Force® Billy Goat Industries LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 511

    Mulch is fine but will want to settle out in the hose. The more moist it is the more this is true. Dirt can be trouble, especially if it's moist. This is more for folks who use these in conjunction with large stump grinders on occasion. After prolonged use it will begin to build up in the housing like adobe. Eventually it will begin to meet reistance as it comes into contact with the impeller, slowing it. If it's not cleared the fatigue will cause the impeller steel to crack, again after prolonged use.

    Short term though, things to avoid? Blocks of wood (scraps from 2"x4", 4"x4", ect.), shoes, carpet, packing straps, and beach towels. All os those things are light enough to pick up and can bind between the housing and impeller and cause failure of multiple components. Grit and gravel will go through but will sand blast the housing and shorten the life of the liner and discharge. Rocks that could do any serious damage are too heavy to be picked up.
  8. I'm gonna say-dog
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,486

    while rocks and mulch aren't great for the life span of a leaf loader, my old boss has his giant vac leaf loader, he bought brand new in 1987 and has only replaced the impeller a few times and he uses it alot, original motor still, and original housing. they really are great tools. i would go a head and try sucking up the mulch with it.

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