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Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by GREENITUP, Aug 18, 2014.


    GREENITUP LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    Getting close to Aeration time again and I need a new aerator. I have run a split drive TA-25 for several years and like it a lot. Looking online for another machine and see Classen TA-26D "split drive" listed on several equipment dealers sites. The price is consistently $400 less than the TA-25D.
    After talking with two dealers (who's sales don't have any first hand experience) they say they need to get back to me on my questions. I called Classen itself, and the woman I spoke to said none of the TA-26's are split drive units. Again - someone who has never touched an aerator.
    So - can anyone tell me if a TA-26D is actually a split drive or not? Local guy has an almost new 26 for like $1800, but I'm afraid it would wear me out vs. one that I know has the split system.
    Any first hand info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  2. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    I would tell you to look at the Turfco XT5 turfco.com as it out performs the classen units in all catagories. It is a hydro transaxle drive and you can torn a 180 using two fingers. Finger tip reverse in tight spots make it a very friendly easy to use machine. I have been working with aerators for 40 years and the XT5 is the top of the list. Plus you can use it for two weeks to make sure you like it and it does what you need. Just click on the Turfco Direct to check it out.

  3. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,954

    GREENITUP >> I almost replied last night, but here I go.

    I'm curious why you are considering Classen??? Classen & Bluebird would be the last choices I would make.

    We had a Classen split aerator, but we sold it right away. (we still have a Classen slit seeder, but we never use it, and it's for sale CHEAP). Classen's are bulky & out of date imo.

    Go with a "quality" hydrostatic aerator that never breaks down, cuz you won't regret it ("drum-styles" are outdated imo).

    But when you choose a hydro model, you better check out that company's reputation regarding support & product durabiity. :cool2:

    GREENITUP LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    Thanks Bob.... but I don't need a sales pitch. I know there are all types of core aerators out there - and all types of opinions as to how one is better than the other. I've used several makes and models over the years - with the exception of ride-on's. The best ones are the ones that do not break easily and do not completely wear you out. XT5 looks good but how much are you charging for a machine that punches holes in the dirt?

    AMlawn - if you are telling me you have an aerator that "never" breaks down.... please tell me what make you have??? I'd love to know.
    Drum types are out of date - I agree.... but they keep rolling. Piston types wear you out - like Plugr's and Ryans... I've owned/used both... and would pick a split drive any day.
  5. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,954

    GREENITUP - our aerators that never broke down or needed replacement parts for a period of at least 3 years = Ryan & TURFCO.

    But I do like a small drum aerator for going around tight curves, etc (just so there's no water in the drum), cuz you can sling them around -- sort of.

    I think split drive aerators are harder to steer than they advertise....especially when trying to make tight turns. So I would never buy one again. Plus they can wear you out compared to hydrostatic aerators.

    Get a hydro walk-behind for sure. Plus - they aerate in reverse too >> this is very handy for us when we do seeding jobs -- or if we want to "double aerate" compacted spots in the yard.

    my 2 cents :waving:

    GREENITUP LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    Thanks AMlawn.... I appreciate the info. You are saying "we" - do you actually run the aerators or is it what "the guys" tell you? I run the machine(s). I know how a split drive steers - it's not bad. Backing up / lifting sucks, but curves and turns are not bad once you get the hang of it. How are your Turfco's up/down hills or when the ground is less than ideal? you still get good cores? Do you have any ride-on's ?
  7. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    Greenitup, I know you think I am giving you a sales pitch but I am trying to share some of my 42 years of experience in designing, testing and using Aerators. I was in on the design of the first drum forward aerator at Ryan and have been involved since. What I am telling you is the advancements that have been made in the past 10 years is amazing. First the development of small hydro transaxles that last was a game changer. We can now put infinite speeds and reverse into an aerator. All the weight (over 300 lbs) is still there but you can now make a 180 degree turn with the tines in the ground with two fingers. This got rid of the back breaking lifting and reverse just speaks for itself. Drive it into a tight spot and back it out making cores the entire time.

    PS when I started back in the early 70s the home lawn aerator weighed 600 lbs, had a 20 inch aeration pattern and went wherever IT WANTED TO. The old L-15 was a beast. That was why we developed what became the Lawnaire IV that became the standard of the industry.

    Now when it comes to rolling tines vs cam style tines that is a whole different story. Truth be known the rolling time is better for a home lawn because of what happens under the surface and coring is always best to improve ventilation. I have spent thousands of hours in the development, testing and use of TINES. I could go on but breakfast is ready and as a retired person it is an important part of my day. Have a good one and go forth and make holes.

    GREENITUP LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    Ok Bob - you've got my attention. The video is impressive, HOWEVER - every single video trying to sell aerators shows flat, open areas with perfect soil conditions. That is almost never the situation when it comes to actually doing the work.
    Tell me HONESTLY how your hydro-drive machine works on and up hills and when the soil is very soft/moist or very dry and hard.
  9. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    Side hill stability is amazing. It will work side ways across a slope that you will have a hard time keeping your footing. Due to the 4 wheels it has greater stability than any of the drum forward units. A slight downhill pressure on the handle keeps it tracking across the hill. Up and down hill the same story. Soft ground is excellent due again to the 4 wheels and spreading out of the weight except how it is located on the tines. Here is one of the real treats. By using a differential with limited slip and having one set of tines on each side free wheel it aids in side hill operation and turning. However when going side ways across a hill you should turn up hill not down. Dry aeration is always a direct relationship to soil type and moisture. The denser and dryer the soil the harder to penetrate. Always test the soil before trying to aerate. If you cannot push a large blade screw driver into the ground you cannot do a good job of aeration. Soil should always be damp to aerate properly but not wet. If the soil is wet it will not tear and fracture properly when the tine does the X movement under the soil.
  10. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,280

    Let me tack onto this conversation, having operated an XT5 for 3 seasons now.
    It IS easier to operate than a std Ryan or Bluebird type. Honestly, don't buy those.
    However, the XT5 WILL still work you some. You will pour sweat. But you will not be totally shot by the end of the day. The reverse is a very nice feature. As Turfcobob said, you can swing a 180 fairly easily, though not sure two fingers easy. Here is the key: do NOT use the additional weights if you can help it. Those weights make it much harder to turn the machine. I usually wait until we get a nice soaking rain, then start aerating the day after. You get nice plugs without the weights.

    I have the Briggs engine in my XT5. A little hard to start after sitting for a while. After this starts first pull.
    Gas tank runs empty too fast. Needs a bigger tank. The Subaru engine would be a good upgrade for the big tank.

    You can run sidehills ok with this machine. However the uphill tines will not penetrate the ground, so you will have to 50% overlap on sidehills to get good coverage. Going up and down slopes solves this problem, but who in their right mind wants to walk up and down slopes all day just to make sure you poke enough holes???

    Hope this helps.

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