Leaf vac clogging??

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by walker-talker, Dec 4, 2004.

  1. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    Picked up some leaves for another LCO the other day. A lot of green fescue was mixed in with it. My leaf vac does not vacumm green fescue well, or anything wet for that matter. It ended up clogging about 3X. It's a pain in the ass to take it apart....about 10-15 minutes each time. Well anyway, we got to talking about a way to unclog it faster. I think the best way would to be to cut a rectangle piece out of the discharge chute. I got to thinking that this might take some strength away for it. First I thought why not cut a rectangle out of the vertical piece, just under the bend. I guess I should tell you that the clog always happens at the bend. Would it make more sense to cut the rectangle on the side of the chute where it actually makes the bend or just under. It would be easier to unclog if it was actually on the bend, but I am afraid that might take too much strength away. I could always weld a frame around it for added strength.

    As far as a plate goes, I was thinking of just a frame where a piece of plexiglass will slide in and out, not needed any tools would be a definite plus.

    Just posting for any ideas out there, pics would be even better. I included a pic for your convienence.


    My leaf-vac mounted (1).jpg
  2. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 1,796

    Due to the way it is mounted I guess comming from the side would be the best access. Bush chippers with bends in the chute systems have a similar problem and can make you :realmad: real fast durring big jobs. I think I saw in another thread a picture where you ran PVC to the box? Would a swing away or trailer mount style set up with a lower chute angle work better? If you're going to modify the discharge system anyway I think that would be the way to go. Then you can un-hook vac when not in use and store inside. If you look at Altec's chipper design that is sort of the idea I'm talking about. jmy.02
  3. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    Actually, I have considered having a fabricator build a discharge chute that would not take such a severe angle. This would be the ideal way to go, but I just don't want to spend anymore money on the project than I have to. I can see myself growing out of the vac in a few years. For now, I will keep the vac mounted where it is....this works very well for me. I can still unhook vac in the off season and store it inside. It just mount on a bracket with a hitch on it and fits in a receiver mounted on the truck.
  4. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,678

    Seeing that pic gave me a cold chill I use to use that vac and learned to hate it. Thing always clogged and like you the guy I worked for had it mounted up front. So the pipe had to be removed to get at the clog not sure if yours clogs in the same spot but his seemed to in the elbow just before the pipe. My solution to the clog problem was to upgrade to a 20 hp vac the larger pipe has never clogged in the discharge pipe and only minor ones in the intake that only take 20-30 seconds to fix.
  5. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,213

    You are feeding it too fast,it sucks up globs of material that don't flow with the air. I have the same loader except I bought the adaptor for squar to round pipe and cut off just past the elbow and welded the adaptor on. My helper puts the intake hose over his sholder and swings the end over the pile which in turn sucks up a glob and clogs the pipe. I lay the intake pipe on the ground and rake the material to it to loosen it up and let the air flow suck it up. I very seldom get a clog.

    Keep an eye on your blower housing for wear. Mine only lasted 1 year, $500.00 for a new one. I'm going to make a replaceable liner to bolt in for the future.

  6. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    Yes....it will either clog when taking globs, or when sucking fescue it will suck into the intake hose and just lay there....doesnt quite get to the blower and BOOM!! all of it at once and then clogs. I mainly use it scalping warm season grasses in the spring and it works very well. If it's dethatched bermuda, it's nearly impossible to clog. I tried to even clog it (when I first got it as an expierment) and it never would. I agree, 20hp would have been great and I would recommend to anyone to go with either a 20hp or larger, but it's paid for and I am not spending more money for another couple years. And yes, I will just rake and break up the globs and let the air take it in....when I have the patience. I got the vac new for $1500, so I can't complain too much.
  7. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,366

    Honestly Walker, I wouldn't go cutting holes in anything, or fabricating new chutes. Bottom line is that any 16hp will clog with wet leaves, grass, or heavy debris. Just have to take it slow, and deal with it taking the extra time in these conditions. Every machine has it's limitations, you just have to know and live with them. I used a 16hp 2 years ago before I upgraded to a 30hp. I never want to look back. :)
  8. BO-TY

    BO-TY LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Just had my virgin run with my lesco ltl 160 & truck craft dumper yesterday it was a dream come true no more shoveling off my 18' trailer cloged 1 time help was feeding to fast wet leaves that had been snowed on thought about a metal pickup end that has holes that are adjustable to control air flow like the ones they use on grain vacs you can stick the hose down in the grain & not clog just a thought.
  9. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,544

    Have you ever sat on a car seat with a recent armor-all application? Slippery, right?

    We have a Trac-Vac (652, ZTR model).
    I sometimes run it at low idle and spray about 20 squirts of armor-all into it.

    It helps for a couple hours, but it does wear off. Really reduces clogging.

    But realistically, for that truck loader wet fescue is a problem because of weight, feeding to fast, and the 90 deg elbow at the top.

  10. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,565

    I don't have any experience with this kind of equipment, but any plumber or HVAC mechanic will tell you that an elbow like that will become a bottleneck under the right conditions. Several others have said as much. I agree with the comments that it's a matter of the limitations of the equipment/ducting.

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