My review of the Exmark I demoed...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by KS_Grasscutter, Jul 15, 2007.

  1. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,336

    My opinion on the Navigator- I dont like it. I put about 6 hrs on it Thurs and Friday. Biggest thing I didnt like were divots EVERYWHERE. It is because the drive is extremely jerky. IMO the deck was way louder then it shoulda been, think something was messed up there. The deck was WAY heavy and a major PITA to adjust the height. The grass catcher door seemed to randomly shut if you tried to leave it open (like, oh, for cutting knee high bermuda grass), and that is kinda a pain. I WAS quite amazed at how well it knocked that down. Didnt plug the chute, only plugged between the deck and blower once. In two passes, the yard looked great (except for the divots everywhere). I also liked the fast top speed for getting back to the truck to dump, or driving half way around the block to the front yard of a house (park rig in the alley).

    Overall, not too impressed. Definitely going to demo a Walker next week.
  2. pclawncare

    pclawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 991

    Humm how interststing those are almost word for word what i had to say about the nav i demoed but tallimeca tried to tell me i was wrong. Anyway except for the divots were they from turning or what were they caused by? The deck was loud imo walkers are also loud especialy the hd deck but i believe the nav was louder and very heavy and hard to adjust also with the rings cut in the pins. I would say go demo a walker come back and post your opinion and let us know what you think of both machines
  3. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    Well, since I demoed the same exact mower while you had it I will chime in.

    I too didn't care for it. I own a small Walker, and have owned a larger 48" model and I know how smoothly they operate. The Navigator isn't even close. This was a 42" model and it really needed narrower drive tires, there was no "trim" on either side making it hard to get close to anything, especially on curves. The overall width of the mower seemed wider than the large walkers, especially with the blade engagement lever hanging off the left side poised to hook on trees and shrub branches.

    It was a wild ride, tense, to say the least. I was assuming it was going to handle like a walker but it was very jerky. No matter how smoothly I handled the controls (one handed, like it should be) the wheels would randomally just stop turning then start again while turning. Iv'e been mowing for a while now, lol, and I found it nearly impossible to not make a divot in the grass. It was even difficult to even drive straight! If I just let the unit go straight on it's own there was invaribly a need to correct slightly, and the slightest touch of the controls sent it off track dramatically. Certianly not fluid and smooth!

    As mentioned, the unit seems WIDE, the catcher is odd to say the least, hard to see behind you when backing, if not impossible, and I'm tall. The catcher lid is a mess too. dosn't latch open in any way, and the auto open and close deal that actuates the door when you raise or lower the hopper is not needed unless you can always dump on the ground. Dumping into large bins was awkward, the walker is easier to dump.

    The deck is heavier alright. Right to the point that changing the height of cut on even the 42" is DIFFICULT. If I had to do that several times a day I'd drive it off a cliff. I was cutting my own lawn and I wasn't even all that impressed with the cut! My 36" walker does just as good, actually better, because it, and my other mowers, don't smash the turf completly FLAT with the tires like the Navigator did. The ground wasn't soggy either.

    As you can tell I'm pretty pickey, but Iv'e heard so many good reports of this machine I was really shocked at how it worked for me.
  4. pclawncare

    pclawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 991

    I own 2 walkers now and i think i will stick with them. Ahhh yes jason brings up a good point that i had forgot about the dang engage lever is sticking out in the middle of no where. I fully agree with everything that has been said here. The one thing i did like was the faster ground speed for transport. That made it nice driving to the truck but other than that i will say on my snails
  5. B. L. Landscaping

    B. L. Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 176

    Well i had problems not with the navigator but with a lazer xs I bought a new kubota diesel in spring and it has been in the shop for three weeks trying to find out what the problem is it keeps bogging down when taking a quarter inch of grass off. They said the motor didn't put out enough rpm then the hydros were bad and so on so on monday I am picking up a brand new one. the first one only had 80 hrs. Are others keep having frame bolts break so we have to keep replacing them almost lost the front half of a mower. I don;t think the exmarks are built like they used to be.
  6. tallimeca

    tallimeca LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,229

    Well, weren't you the guy that said it clogged constatly and that the deck didn't flip up? You were wrong on those issues. The height adjust I hadn't had any complaints on up till that point. All that is , is simply it's new. Some machines are tighter than others but if it's sticky, within a week it's not anymore.

    Really surprised to hear about the divots and the jerky controls. The controls aren't exact to a walker, although similar, so it may just take some getting used to the machine I guess. There are 2 ways you can set the lever springs to adjust sensitivity. I set them so they are very responsive. They might not have them that way, that's why you had the wheel stoppage, then jerking. It all depends on the operator. As far as going straight, the Navigator has the knob to adjust tracking like ALL exmark hydro driven products. If air pressure was set correctly on both tires and it wasn't going straight, a quick turn of the knob would have fixed that. You probably didn't even know about it. I don't tell people who demo machines about it so they dont' touch it, however, i make sure a machine is 100 percent ready to go before it's demoed. Bad perception of a machine because a dealer couldn't take 15 minutes to adjust the controls and sharpen the blades is stupid.

    As far as deck height adjustment, if the machine has low hours, the pins could be tight in the deck bushing , but TRUST ME, they wear in quick. The bushing are plastic so they stretch out. Some machine seem looser then others. The deck is heavier. No doubt. These are the tin can walker decks. As far as noise goes, if you are running the navigator and have never run the walker with the cast iron gear box upgrade, you will definetely notice a difference. Between the difference in gearboxes and blade tip speed, it's louder. Again, not the low end peerless boxes walker guys are used to.

    If you are running walkers, and get on one of these, you may not be impressed because basically, most guys won't notice a real difference. That is good for Exmark. The difference you will notice is in your repair bills and down time. These things go out and just don't come back thus far. I have machines approaching 1k hours with no failures other then a pto belt hear and there. NO ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS.

    Reports from the field this spring with the wet thick grass up here in the north east is they do not clogg anywhere near a walker.

    If you haven't run either, demo both, pick the one you like. If you run walker, like I said, might not knock you over on performance. Some people expect too much and just like my walker.

    Big landscaper here in the area has been running walkers for over 12 years. 2 of them are ready for the bone yard. He has 8 maintainence crews. Took a Nav demo for 2 weeks. It was a 48. He runs all 42 walkers because he says they bag way better then the 48.

    Every crew except one said they thought it was as good as the walker. The one said they thought it was better. They all said the 48 bagged as good as the 42 walkers. Said they definetely packed more in the bags, which is another compliment I've heard.

    As far as mowing with the door up, I feel your pain on the door falling down.

    Exmark did not design the machine to lock the door up and mow. It's a safety issue no question. you can do it with the walker because of the way they design the door to lock when it opens for dumping. Most guys buy these machines to bag so I only had one guy mention the door falling down, he said he just slapped a bungee on it and it wasn't a big deal. Maybe if there was enough feedback, Exmark would change that for guys.

    Here's the scoop on that. All 07 production is being built with a "fill reduction kit". It's basically an adjustable baffle under the deck that can block off the rear discharge opening, which will basically reduce the grass going into the bag and make it a mulching deck.

    Now, these machine weren't designed for cutting 8" high grass, so this probably won't work well with that.

    For the guys that didn't like it, sorry to hear that.

    One thing I can't stress enought to guys using Walker, Navigator ect, is clean the screens in the bag. When they get blocked it makes a big difference is bagging and clogging. I showed a couple guys in the spring how to clean them and remove them. They said they wished they knew that years ago. Got owners manual?:dizzy:

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