cable plow installs

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by turfman59, May 7, 2002.

  1. turfman59

    turfman59 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    went out and bought my own cable plow last year because I thought it would ease installation time. So far i like not tearing up peoples lawns and customers are always amazed at how it works but I feel like it takes me too much time installing heads.
    if you could talk me through the details of installing a head, I might not be digging a big enough hole at times to ease installation, I seem to be taking way too much time where when I was trenching I seemed to fly through it much quicker. I know this is fundamental question but I know Im missing something.
    Do you guys use a little heat with a torch to warm the fitting?
    I took some classes this last winter put on by my supplier very helpful for designing an efficient system but I am lacking in the area of practical application being I just went out and started this business with no installation experience but have a great deal of business experience. I even went out and got insured so dont be calling me a scab Ha Ha... Thanks bruce
  2. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Sounds like your using poly pipe if your heating stuff. We use pvc for mains and poly for laterals on residential work under 15 gpm. Switched to "blazing saddles" Tom King Harmony products and that are a "snap" literally. A trench shovel of about 4" should let you excavte what you need quickly if you in decent soil. In landscaping or irrigation, always did a $10 hole for $2 worth of work.

    Your bought all the stuff and none of the knowledge. Isn't that a disservice to those you sell your work to? That's why we sprinkler pro's on this forum are so grumpy. We'd be happier if you didn't have equipment but a ton of irrigation knowledge.
  3. turfman59

    turfman59 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    I value your ability to give advice on this forum, My objective is to exceed customers expectations on every install. The classes i attend through Jd landscapes were extremely valuable they were put on by pro's like yourself one of the gentlemen was R A Manley who just won a national recognition award from Rainbird and has designed irrigation systems for Gary Player and Arnold Palmers golf courses he is a certitfied irrigation designer and manager. The knowledge i have accquired is very useful in the design of the system using ft of head gpm friction losses ect. However My intent is to learn new techniques that will enable my company to be efficient and generate more sales per labor hour . installation is a big area were i can benefit from your knowledge. I can get the job done but I think my lack of experience slows the project down and I have to work harder than I should. I like the analogy of the 10 dollar hole for 2 dollars worth of work. One question though before I go.... do you think every entrepeneur has had to work for someone else doing grunt work first. to be succesful all you have to do is exceed customers expectations on a continual basis. My first project was last year the customer has given me 5 referals in the last 6 months. he has a smile on his face every time he sees me. there definately no disservice there or intended.

    Just because there are contractors out there that are asking questions out there dont think for one minute that this business is that hard. In the word of my favorite Beatle....

    John Lennon

    Thanks again Fox

    Ps where is this product you mentioned
  4. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Well you now know there are 3 facets to irrigation, engineering, physically doing it and the actual business end. No one says it is hard, we're just saying there is a lot to know and you can't deny that. So far your just scratching the surface but there will be a day soon when someone will want something bigger and a wise old guy that knows more than you will get the job. He'll know that if he has a one inch meter and supply line or curb hookup he can get maybe 15-25 gpm easy if the pressure is right. He'll know to use 1.25" main and he'll run 8 2.5gpm rotors instead of your 4. He'll do the job in 5 zones instead of your 10-12 and he'll be less expensive than you and make more money. No its not hard at all. Both of you jobs can work, have head to head coverage and matched precipitation nozzles but do you want to water for 4-5 hr a shot or 8-12 hours? Can you calulate a precipitation rate? Do you know what the evapotranspiration rate is for your are in July. Can you really tell a customer how many minutes to run a zone per week? Those are the things that add value to you service and separate you from others.

    Problem on this site is many guys think they can jump right in and go. Pipe is easy to glue and thats all there is. Then there is the fact that you install, so someone is gonna ask if you can fix their system. And your gonna say ya, sure, you betcha and it'll have messed up wiring and too many heads on a zone and someone forgot an O-ring under a solinoid when it was replaced and so on. Hard yes, lot to learn yes. They don't call it the school of hard knocks for nothing.

    The more you know how this stuff should be designed and built and how the parts function like wiring and valves the better off you are.

    Be a student of irrigation.

    I get my blazing saddles thru JD. There is a web site Tom King Harmony Products They are the cats meow. Not cheap but fast and easy and I'll never go back to any thing else.
  5. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    forgot an O-ring under a solinoid when it was replaced and so

    Now days they forget to take them out of the bonnet when they replace the solenoid....:D
  6. turfman59

    turfman59 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    All that stuff would have confused me last year but today I know exactly what your talking about... All those glossary terms are all satisfied with formulas and good comprehensive site analysis. also there is one term you forgot , and thats feet of head, again nothing more than converting pump specs into a usable and familiar term and that is its psi performance. Thanks again for the great responses lets try to hook up at the next Midwest irrigation trade expo. One other question While Im on the subject ... How far can you pull 18 guage controller wire before it starts to stretch or possibly fail... I still am unclear on your pulling wire with the 6 ft slack at the far end and ending up with only 18 inch loop above the valve box...... Bruce
  7. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    You can pull the wire as far as you pull the pipe. You must have an oversized bullet to let the everything move easy. We pull 1.25 and wire with a 2.25 inch bullet and 2" with a (3.25"?).

    OK you got me, I've never measured the slack really but in my bids I allow 6 ft PER VALVE. Remember I'm using a 4.5 inch stub for a valve on a "T" off the main. So really what we're allowing for is a 3 ft piece going off the main, in under the box and up and out the top and the same on the return. Maybe we really use less but it's the concept.
  8. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    We have a wire knife for our plow, and often plow the wire separately, especially when the controller is not located near the water source. With the knife, you don;t pull the wire through the trench but rather lay it in through the knife, that way you don't have the stress on the wire that you get from pulling. It makes it easy to pull out as much slack as you want at any given location.

    The wire knife gives us the chance to pick up a few extra bucks from time to time plowing in cable tv drops, telephone lines, dog fence etc.
  9. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    I have the cable blade too. I only use it for wire replacement or on those 2" pipe pulls that are a little snug. Our bullets are large enough that the wire will spool freely through the tunnel with the pipe. We are seldom in the type of conditions were abrasion is a problem. The aftermarket bullets/pulling grips generally make this type of install more feasible than the original manufacturers set up.

    Everyone needs to keep in mind that soil types and/or rock-gravel conditions vary widely around the country. What works one place may be impossible or not needed in another.

    I'm located in the southern half of NJ a few minutes east of Philadelphia PA. In my immediate area soil varies from very sandy to the stickiest clays in the US. Only a couple small areas have sandstone (rock) that pose a problem. Some areas 25 miles south have gravel to maybe 1.5". It's usually mixed with a soil with enough clay to make it a pain to dig with a shovel but no problem to trench or plow. Tree roots can be a problem in some areas because they are built on wooded sites as opposed to open farm land.
  10. prairie

    prairie LawnSite Member
    from kansas
    Messages: 115

    My only response to this info is you are able to charge a little more for pulling in the pipe. I charge just a little more because of time, and the fact of not tearing up the clients yard. They love it when their yard looks as good as it did before you started. And I use the word CLIENT not customer, because I keep a contract w/ the client for rut. maintenance and blow outs at the end of the season. I have found this a valueable lesson, customers are a one job does it and you never here from them again in years, clients are always on your books.


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