My Walker on the way out...Navigator next?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by nlminc, May 21, 2008.

  1. nlminc

    nlminc LawnSite Bronze Member
    from GA
    Posts: 1,671

    I've run Walkers since 1996. My latest 2003 26hp efi has 1600 hrs and is starting cost me some money/down time. The head gasket(the one that doesn't get any air) is leaking and several other issues are starting to arise. I've also noticed the frame is cracked in a few of the common places. I'm the only operator of this Walker and to be honest I don't feel that the $12,350 (incl tax) of a new one is worth it unless they've made some serious changes.

    This weekend I'm going to check out the Navigator and the new Walker side by side. I plan on repairing my current Walker and using it as a secondary mower.

    Most of my lawns are Bermuda and zoysia. I have a few Fescue...nice properties but some have ruff areas where I believe the Walker bounces enough to cause the frame to crack. I get paid very well to maintain these properties so they are staying on the route, but I need something with a stronger frame.

    Any comments? Would like to hear from the people who have used Walkers and have switched to the Exmark Navigator.

  2. johnnyusa

    johnnyusa LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 512

    My Dealer sells both and he says the walker is hands down much better. I dont know if there is more profit in the walker or he is being honest. he says those 2 vent holes in the deck that walker has and the navigator doesnt is what makes the difference. Im gonna demo them both
  3. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Platinum Member
    from zone 6
    Posts: 4,234

    Does the air vent into or out of those vents?
  4. BCSteel

    BCSteel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876

    Out of them.
  5. nlminc

    nlminc LawnSite Bronze Member
    from GA
    Posts: 1,671

    Does anyone here own both or has switch brands? The Exmark I was looking at is about 2k less than the Walker. It looks like it's built like a tank compaired to the Walker also.

    To be honest, after giving it some thought today, I might just try to milk the Walker some more and move more into the landscape side of things with the rate fuel is increasing and competition is keeping the prices low for maintenance. I don't even know how people can afford to drive around and give quotes for "Free" anymore!
  6. dave k

    dave k LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,178

    Do a search, there was a post that had pictures of the weakness of the Walker compared to the strenghts of the Nav. I own a Walker myself but only side discharge now.
  7. nlminc

    nlminc LawnSite Bronze Member
    from GA
    Posts: 1,671

    Thanks Dave..

    I want to use the mulching attachment since I won't always be bagging.
  8. UrbanGreen

    UrbanGreen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 162

    I ran a walker when I first got started and now have a nav and am very happy with the nav. About half of my accounts are bermuda or zoysia and the other half is tall fescue that I keep at about 4". My walker could never cut fescue at 4" with out going extremely slow and leaving a lot of stringers. The nav deeper deck allows for a cleaner cut for the taller grass. The walker clogs a heck of a lot more than the nav. and as a matter of fact it has been almost impossible to clog the nav.

    The nav is a lot easier to maintain and if you have repairs it is generally much cheaper than walker repairs. The nav. has like 13 grease points compaired to the 30 some odd ones on the walker. Plus I think and have been told that the nav does hold up to abuse much better than the walker. A large lco here had all walkers and they tried out somewhere around like 12 nav for a year and the following year they traded in all of their walkers and bought like 14 more nav. This company is known for beating up their equipment and my local dealer that they bought from told me they have not been in near as much with the navs like they were with the walkers.

    My bermudas and zoysias I have top dressed and I can keep most of them at 1"-2" and it leaves a beautiful cut.
    The nav is a copy of the walker however if you look at it, every thing from the larger blower, bigger hopper, deeper deck, and so an up grade for a walker machine which will cost a lot more money. I think exmark simplified a lot of things on their design as well that makes it more durable.

    Cons: not many options like an aerater, side discharge decks, and some other goodies that walker has. Also no split rear tire like walker so you cannot get rid of that middle wheel stripe.

    Hope this helps!
  9. tallimeca

    tallimeca LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,229

    Yes, I belive dealers do have a higher markup on Walker then on Exmark products.

    Vent holes in the deck are uselss except to blow grass our. I have guys that block them with duct tape, sponges, ect.

    The fact of the matter is that there is more of an airflow throught the deck, blower, and bag on the navigator then on the walker. Consensus is they do not clog as easy/often as a walker as Urbangreen said.

    Both are good, demo both. I can tell you that the Navigators go out the door and stay out. Good for customers, bad for parts/service department.

    Walker dealers love selling walker. They make a fortune on the machines up front, and then the parts and service after.

    Check my sig for comparisons. I like your idea of demoing both side by side.

    I have heard some of the most amusing stories coming from Walker dealers. There's even guys from Walker themselves that visit these boards to downplay the Navigator, and that too is a fact, sadly enough.
  10. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Posts: 10,812

    The walker reps love me:waving:

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