Trac-Vac 470 review

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by eruuska, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. eruuska

    eruuska LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 454

    Hey guys,

    About a month ago I picked up a Trac-Vac 470. That's the one that sits on the front of a WB. Dealer installed it on a Thursday (on my belt-drive 48" Gravely WB), and I played with it for a weekend, then took it off and put it away until leaf season.

    I put it back on last week for my first couple cleaups. First one was a home that was totally surrounded by thick untamed woods. The surfaces I had to deal with were all ground cover, mulch, or rock. Kinda hard to run the WB over these surfaces, so I used my BP blower to get the leaves to the driveway, then run the WB/Trac-Vac over it till the container filled up, then down the steep, winding driveway to the road for municipal pickup. Then back up the driveway for the next load. Took about 2 hours to get it done, billed $150. (BTW, I *never* work hourly. I *always* quote a price ahead of time. I think I'll shave a little off the time next week.)

    Second job was a regular mowing customer who is having me come every 2 weeks. Lotsa oak trees. No municipal pickup, so I had to haul the leaves away. I had decided that I didn't want a truck full of loose leaves (no leaf box this year), so I put a drum liner in the catcher. Filled up 6 44 gallon liners to haul away. Billed $50 plus $12 per bag. I only billed her for 5 bags, so total invoice was $110. Took a little over an hour. I can fit about 12-14 of these bags in my truck before having to dump, and my dump fee is $54 for a truckload. Heavy duty bags cost me a little less than $1 each.

    Overall I was very pleased with the performance. Sucked leaves very well. For some reason the suction was better on the left side of the mower, also leaves tended to accumulate and block the right front corner of the deck, so I just adjusted my approach so that the left side was the leading edge, so to speak.

    I only have a couple complaints:

    It's hard to tell when the container is getting full. If you need to check, you have to stop, shut off the Trac-Vac, then open the hatch and check. ​

    Restarting the Trac-Vac engine isn't the easiest. I got the 6.5 HP Briggs Intek, and I learned that I have to set the choke, pull once, open the choke and pull again, then it starts. Every time.​

    The balance of the mower is off, making it really easy to pull a wheelie.​

    I've got a few cleanups coming up this week, and I'm looking forward to more time with it. It's going to be a real timesaver/moneymaker for me, and for this I'm grateful. I'm working solo, and this makes the whole leaf removal thing a lot easier.
     
  2. The landscaper

    The landscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 845

    You could cut a hole in the can, put some kinda plexiglass over to see inside to see if it is full.....
     
  3. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    We have 4 of them and like them alot. Tie a strip of ribbon to the top of the can by the vent opening. When the ribbon stops moving, you know the barrel is full.

    Secondly, you should be able to idle the Briggs when unloading without shuting it off completely.
     
  4. DAVELAWN

    DAVELAWN LawnSite Member
    from MASS
    Posts: 73

    Can someone send pictures or links.....
     
  5. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

  6. eruuska

    eruuska LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 454

  7. SproulsLawnCare

    SproulsLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    from IN
    Posts: 365

    Those look like a pretty good deal. Does anyone have a price for the ZTR models?
     
  8. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 1,517

    Glad you are happy with your unit. I got rid of one last fall, and will never purchase another again. Mine plugged quite often, especially if the leaves were thick or wet. It seemed to fill very quickly, and cut down of visibility a great deal. When the leaves were dry I ate alot of dust as well. To me the cost is too great for any time saved if it even saves time at all. I do hope you continue to be pleased with it's performance though.
     

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