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Olatha ? leaf sweepers?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by PaulJ, Nov 14, 2002.

  1. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    Has anyone ever used one of these?

    Back in the 80's when I worked on a university campus, we used an Olathe (sp?) sweeper. It was about 50-60 in wide, maybe more, had a big rear hopper. It had three wheels with the single front wheel being the drive wheel. it was hydrostat. controled by a foot pedel and had a steering wheel that could turn the front wheel almost 180 deg for very tight turns. kind of like the Swiser BigMOw mowers. We dumped the leafs in piles to be picket up or into a low trailer with high screen sides. I remember this machine did a great job and could get into some tight ares despite it's size. I have also seen these towed by a tractor.

    Do you think something like this could be useful in our biz? I don't even know if they are still made or what the price might be.
  2. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,205

    i see a few guys who still use them. I dont think they are made anymore, but you can pick up a nice used one fairly cheap i think. I know of one guy who uses them on the big jobs like condos and stuff. At UConn where i go to college, they have two toro sweeper vacs that operate like the olathe. They just suck all the leaves up, and dump them in an open area where the truckloaders can get at them.
  3. sdwally

    sdwally LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    Toro bought out Olathe back around the late 80s, early 90s. Toro still makes the 48 model of the Olathe. No 48HLs(high lifts) or the 1660HL(tow behind high lift).
    We have a few 48s(parts), many 48HLs, and 4 1660HLs. No one makes anything that will dump into an 11' high side dump truck anymore. Parts still mostly available, we will fabicate parts if we have to.
    Smithco makes a 48" high lift sweeper with suspension and also a 60" sweeper.
  4. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    So they are still being made by Toro?
    I remember driving this thing was kind of fun with the front wheel that turned al the way around.:D
    When we dumped into a trailer. it was a low floor trailer with about 5 ft high sides of chicken wire. We just backed up the gate and dumped inside.
    But then unloadng the trailer was more work :(
  5. KLMlawn

    KLMlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 443

    I beleive there is another company with a unit called the "sweepstar" which is very simmilar, if not the same as to what you are reffering.
  6. Atlantic Lawn

    Atlantic Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Outer Banks NC
    Messages: 948

    Saw one up on ebay the other day.Imho these things are dinosours, with todays machines they are just not worth much to most of us.
  7. KLMlawn

    KLMlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 443

    Hey Atlantic, I saw one of these things earlier this season grooming an appartment complex this spring ... had never seen one before and stopped to ask about it ... the guy said he had bought this thing 15 years ago and wouldn't trade it for the world. It actually did a very nice job combing up embedded leaves and cigarette butts out of the lawn with just one pass which was probably about 50-60" wide.
  8. Ground Master

    Ground Master LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    Used one back in the early 80's at a 5-star resort in Colorado. I remember it being an awesome machine for cleanups. It was a riding hydrostat unit powered by something in the range of 16hp. It could dump into the back of a truck. It had what we called rubber fingers that rotated picking up debris. It was so powerful you could use it to power rake in the spring.
  9. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    That one on Ebay sure looks familiar:D
    The one I used was grey instead of red and I think it was bigger.
  10. carlriv

    carlriv LawnSite Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 99

    Does anyone know of anywhere I can get parts for an old Olathe turf sweeper. I am in MA. I bought one well used and it needs a few parts like band brakes.


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