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exmark navigator opinion

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by ScCo, Oct 19, 2005.

  1. ScCo

    ScCo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    Being constantly on the lookout for newer, better machines, we gave in an purchased a navigator a little over a month ago to put into action. We have ran walkers for a long time, and had no complaints with the walkers, we just figured that the exmark had a few features that were appealing enough to make it worth a shot.

    Overall, the Navigator is a great machine. I won't go as far to say that it is superior to the walker, as they both have qualities that are better than the other. However, the exmark is the machine I end up with on my trailer every morning, and my walker is left for the other guys. Maybe it's just because it's new and shiny. ;)

    To the nitty gritty (the things I think need improved on):

    1. The front casters are junk. Actually our right front caster is fine...but the left front one bends simply going over curbs. Never in 1000's of hours did I have this problem with a walker. I contacted exmark about the troublesome spindle, and to paraphrase, they told me "tough s41t". That was a bit disappointing coming from the company that so many people brag about for their customer support. It's not that the caster is a big, high dollar part that we'll be out of pocket for, it's simply that a machine with 48 hours on it has a bent caster, and exmark (both coorporate and the dealer) has no interest in replacing it. Hopefully nothing major goes wrong, because I'd hate to see what kind of headache it will be to get something out of them that costs them more than $15 to make.

    2. The Navigators has wires that run to the "full hopper" sensor that are relatively exposed to branches and new growth protruding from landscapes. A little rerouting of the wires and a couple of zip ties, and this is no longer a problem...just seemed like an elementary design flaw.

    3. The back door on the hopper opens automatically when the hopper is tilted back. This is a neat idea in theory, but a major pain in the butt of a morning when cutting dew soaked grass that tends to clog the machine. The operator is pretty much stuck driving to the spot where he wants to dump the grass any time the machine needs to be unclogged. The auto-opening door can be worked around quite easily by removing a couple of pins, which we have done. Again, this isn't a big problem, but it does seem like something that was done more because it was a "neat idea" than for functionality.

    The good things about the machine:

    1. Ground speed, ground speed, ground speed. Reason...self explanatory to anyone who has ever had to mow a larger, wide open area with a walker.

    2. The height adjustments are .25" increments...very nice.

    3. The deck is not as prone to "bucking" as the walker deck. This coincides with the ground speed for increased productivity.

    4. Vent location on the hopper...I don't wear near as much grass that comes back at me from the vent on the exmark as I do when I'm on the walker.

    Again, the navigator is a great machine. Whether or not I'd buy another is still up in the air because of exmark showing no desire to stand behind something as simple and cheap as a caster. Hustler and Walker have both been great to us in standing behind their machines, even outside of their warranty, but exmark seems to have no interest in taking care of this incident. These type of things are generally a sign that the coorporate bean counters making the decisions for the company.

    Anyhow, i'm sure there will be some exmark loyalists who will come up with several reasons why the caster in question is bending because I don't know what I'm doing, and that there's no way it is just a bad part, but that's fine. I know how many years walkers were used on the exact same properties, in the exact same manner, and never had the same problem.

    Exmark has a start toward a great machine. It is a shame however that they apparently think that they are infallible and that they don't mind running off customers who were (or would be) considering switching their entire fleet to their machines. But hey, I'm not stupid enough to think that the machines we buy, or don't buy in a year will affect the amount of food on any of the exmark bean counters' tables....apparently replacing the caster would. ....(sarcasm intended).

    You exmark folks are right..the cut is great. I love the results. Just would like to see this awesome customer support that is frequently touted.

    Walker or Navigator????....depends on your dealer I suppose.
  2. MJB

    MJB LawnSite Silver Member
    from Wa
    Messages: 2,869

    I got the same response when I purchased the TORO version of the Walker in 1999. A lot of flaws worse than what you've mentioned on the Navigator. Toro response was exactly the same. Guess what? Toro ownes Exmark. I own Exmark and Walker and Grasshopper. Exmark support really doesn't compare now to where it was 5 yrs ago. I love my Lazer Z but the support is just not enough to buy another. Good luck with the Navigator looks like a decent machine.

    JKOOPERS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,259

    heres a guy to call hes the director of customer service Paul Jurgens 402-223-6315. i bet he will help ya. i have 1 question are going up curbs with the front casters first ?
  4. ScCo

    ScCo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    thanks for the number and contact info.

    On going up curbs:

    1. Both front tires up the curb evenly
    2. Turn and bring drive tires up one at a time after both front casters are up

    that's how we've always done out fronts. no problems until now

    Thanks again for the input

  5. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

  6. yardmanlee

    yardmanlee LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 898

    what about price comparison and attachments ?
  7. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943


    Get that caster replaced. It's under warranty. I wouldn't suggest doing what you do to get over a curb. Do you just drive up to a curb at a 90degree angle and push until the caster hops the curb? Or does the Navigator have a deck lift that allows you to clear the curb with the little caster tires?

    In any event, get it replaced, it's DEFINATELY a warranty item. And any mower shop worth their money will stick up for you on this.
  8. EXspyguy

    EXspyguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 163


    Is this the caster wheel fork on the front? If so get me the model and serial number off the deck (not the machine as they are seperate #s) and I'll see about replacing it under warranty and send you a new one. No promises, but I'll see what I can do.
  9. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943


    I understand you feeling that you need to help SoCo, however shouldn't his dealer have stepped to the plate here? It's the selling dealers responsibility to keep their customers happy.

    If ANYTHING happens during the warranty period that is not caused by negligence, it should be covered no questions asked. If a dealer felt that eXmark wouldn't reimburse them for said claim, the dealer should step back and ask themselves if this customer is worth going out of their way for.

    A $20 part should be replaced NO QUESTIONS ASKED.

    Am I wrong to think this?
  10. EXspyguy

    EXspyguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 163

    TLS, I agree, the selling dealer should do his part and keep HIS cutomer happy. I'm just trying to keep an Exmark cusomter happy. The dealer has a commitment to both his customer and Exmark (kind of like being a moderator) and settle any disagreements that may occure between them.

    BTW the part retails for around $50

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