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post #1 of 32 Old 08-14-2019, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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Power Flow vs dedicated leaf blower vs other?

Moved into a new house last year, and now I have a couple of acres of grass, with lots of trees on and bordering the property. I'm trying to figure out the best leaf cleanup method/tools, and would like others' opinions...

I'm considering a few options:

1) Dedicated commercial-level walk-behind leaf blower. I know this will be a 100% solution. Something like this - Billy Goat F902H Force Blower with 262 cc Honda GX Engine- $1500 I have woods on the back third of my property, so I can just blow the leaves into the woods.

2) Power Flow system for my 425. Cost new will be about $1700. But will this be effective for cleanup? Or will I just drive 50 feet and have to constantly empty it? How effective is it at picking up leaves? What if they're packed down or wet? I like the idea of something that would just be a "bolt-on" to my existing equipment and not another separate engine/device to maintain.

3) Other? I've seen some mention something like the DR leaf vac or Cyclone Rake. Any opinions or experience?

Thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 32 Old 08-14-2019, 03:28 PM
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Re: Power Flow vs dedicated leaf blower vs other?

"It depends".

The walk-behind unit probably isn't going to particularly effective with wet, matted leaves. And also if the pile gets too big.

I would go with 2 or 3. If you have a lot of leaves to pick up, then get something from 3 (a tow-behind unit), they can hold a much larger volume so you are dumping less frequently. I've used both a OEM bagger (powered bagger with a Gravely ZT XL 42) and a DR power tow-behind unit (actually, I just used the motor/fan, fabbed up a mount for it on my 52" Snapper walkbehind mower with the gravely bags) and they both work about the same for picking stuff up. They work great for both spring and fall cleanup.

For either of them (OEM bagger or tow behind), I would recommend getting or even making a metal liner for the fan/blower housing (even if the housing is metal already). Rocks can damage the housing, and it's cheaper to replace the liner if necessary than the housing. Note, I used both units a lot, and it would be considered abuse what I put through them...

For the tow-behind units, there are two "styles", one is a regular trailer-style, and the other is where it's connected so the trailer stays inline with the tractor (even when cornering). Which style you want/use depends on what you like and how many obstacles you have to mow around.
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post #3 of 32 Old 08-14-2019, 04:26 PM
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Re: Power Flow vs dedicated leaf blower vs other?

Power vacuum is the only way to go plus mulching blades to pick up alarger area with out dumping. I built my vacuum thirty years back and have improved it several times. Air speed is more importian then horse power on a blower system. I built my blower and use larger vanes then the one I got the pattern from. I know some brands offer bigger engines and bigger hoses. I have always used 4 HP and 6" hoses. The pick-up shute bigger is better, doesn't clog as often. The engine and blower is attached on a receiver hitch.

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post #4 of 32 Old 08-14-2019, 04:34 PM
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Re: Power Flow vs dedicated leaf blower vs other?

Nice home built unit!!!!!! Is it manual or have you added a lift mechanism?

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post #5 of 32 Old 08-14-2019, 06:01 PM
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Re: Power Flow vs dedicated leaf blower vs other?

I believe this Trac Vac will do the job.

https://www.mytractorforum.com/83-sa...pstate-ny.html

Last edited by NYKen; 08-14-2019 at 06:26 PM.
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post #6 of 32 Old 08-14-2019, 06:04 PM
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Re: Power Flow vs dedicated leaf blower vs other?

This Trac-Vac does a pretty good job. In my case, the leaves never really stop falling, and it takes me long enough to complete a clean-up that I have never had a leaf free lawn.


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post #7 of 32 Old 08-14-2019, 08:10 PM
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Re: Power Flow vs dedicated leaf blower vs other?

I had a home built system similar to the one above until the engine seized. I bought a trac-vac system that mounted on the rear hitch, worked well but has a small box and I had to empty often. I just picked up a power flow with 3 times the cargo space that I'm in the process of getting a pull for.

High lift blades and a power flow will work great.

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post #8 of 32 Old 08-14-2019, 08:41 PM
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Re: Power Flow vs dedicated leaf blower vs other?

IF you have a place to blow them and it isnít too far away from where theyíre laying, commercial grade blower 100%. If you have a fairly nearby destination, nothing is faster than a good strong blower, such as the Force you picked out (I have one like it).

If theyíre too far to blow, trac vac. Power flow is nice for thick grass because they donít clog, take awhile to fill up with just grass, and easier to wiggle in and out of tight spots when mowing.
Trac vac isnít specific to any particular tractor model.
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post #9 of 32 Old 08-14-2019, 08:43 PM
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Re: Power Flow vs dedicated leaf blower vs other?

I suppose that you can spend plenty of money on a tow behind vacuum, but why not also look at a quality tow behind sweeper. I bought the JD 44" and can sweep better than 1/2 acre before I dump. Easy on, easy off, easy dump. Plus I can swing it out side of the tractor path and literally sweep while I mow.

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post #10 of 32 Old 08-14-2019, 09:08 PM
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Re: Power Flow vs dedicated leaf blower vs other?

The DR Power Vacs and Trac Vacs jack knifes when you back up. The Cyclone rake doesn't jack knifes when you back up. So, if you have to do a lot of backing up, get the Cyclone Rake. A sweeper probably jack knifes when you back up.

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post #11 of 32 Old 08-14-2019, 09:30 PM
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Re: Power Flow vs dedicated leaf blower vs other?

Sweepers are indeed economical. However, if you need to make a lot of trips to the leaf dump if you have a large yard, you'll hate yourself. True, it helps to mulch them first, while at the same time windrowing them, but it could still be a lot of trips. That hopper fills up pretty fast. You could pull it with an ATV with smoother ride and faster ground speed and maybe quieter than a tractor, though.

On a trac vac or cyclone rake or powerflow, you may be limited to how fast/efficient your tractor is. If there's light leaf cover and you want all of them gone, blower might be quite a bit faster.

I may be just grasping at straws, but a trac vac or power flow system will really drink the fuel. When I run my either my belt drive deck driven power flow or when I had the 3pt PTO powerflow for my diesel SCUT, fuel consumption would double. Maybe that isn't a concern for you, I dunno.

I used to use trac vac style collection system, and it worked incredibly well except for the noise. It picked up pretty much every last leaf, but the little pieces of leaves seemed to bet tracked into the house easier than full sized leaves somehow. If there's lots of sticks, I had trouble with it clogging more often. Mine was home built and had a large hopper on it, so it would go a LONG time before needing emptied. Sure got heavy, though. A light duty hydrostatic machine wouldn't have pulled it up the hills I dealt with for very long before burning up the trans. I used it for a lot of years. If I had to bring it somewhere to do a small lawn on a small city or suburban lot, it fit on my 16' trailer even when hooked to the tractor. The hopper was large enough I could do pretty much the whole yard, then load the rig back on the trailer and dump the hopper when I got home. Those are the only yards I've found where the blower is not an advantage. You need to have somewhere to blow the leaves to, like a tree line. Otherwise you need some type of collection system.

I've also used blowers an large lawns (like at our church) to boow leaves into piles, blow or rake the piles onto a large (like 20x30) heavy duty tarp, then use an ATV to drag them to the leaf dump. That actually was pretty fast and efficient.


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post #12 of 32 Old 08-14-2019, 09:33 PM
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Re: Power Flow vs dedicated leaf blower vs other?

This is how I combat mine. I took a walk behind blower with a bad motor and converted it to run off the tractors mid pto. I mounted it on my quick hitch.



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post #13 of 32 Old 08-14-2019, 10:01 PM
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Re: Power Flow vs dedicated leaf blower vs other?

Got a used PF and chute from my dealer for a $100 and a few extra parts to mount it. Built a box for the 18 cart and can use it for more than leaf collection.
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post #14 of 32 Old 08-14-2019, 10:57 PM
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Re: Power Flow vs dedicated leaf blower vs other?

I get leaves.. seriously.. I'm surrounded my mature 60' Oaks and maples and my lawn is the collection bowl. I tried just my PF with MCS on my 455, but only got about 50' before it was full so I went with the DR vac. Its awesome. It really pulverizes the leaves and I can pick up an impressive amount of leaves before I have to dump it.







There different brands and models that all work well, but I'm a big fan of DR.

However if you have woods, down wind, that you can just blow them to thats another option..

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post #15 of 32 Old 08-15-2019, 02:21 AM
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Re: Power Flow vs dedicated leaf blower vs other?

Quote:
Originally Posted by My craftsman 917.27308 View Post
The DR Power Vacs and Trac Vacs jack knifes when you back up. The Cyclone rake doesn't jack knifes when you back up. So, if you have to do a lot of backing up, get the Cyclone Rake. A sweeper probably jack knifes when you back up.
I know the DR Power vacuum setup I have, it doesn't jacknife like a trailer, it has a fixed connection to the tractor, with wheels that swivel, so it stays squarely behind the tractor if you are turning or going in reverse. It probably depends on which model you get...
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