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MTD 990 Twactor Guy
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574 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Just gotta post my experience with a Cyclone Rake lawn and leaf vacuum!

I spent most of a year researching the various manufacturers of lawn and leaf vacuum systems, read just about every thread on MTF that had anything to do with vac systems, and finally made the decision to go with the Woodland Power Products Cyclone Rake.

I don't have a very big lawn, but I'm in the middle of the woods, which means tons of leaves - all species! The tractor I use for mowing duties is a 2003 Craftsman LT2000 hydrostatic with a 22 hp B&S twin, 42" mower deck using high-lift mulching blades and a twin bagger system. Last year, I couldn't make it 50' without the bags filling up. Ugh! Lots of trips to the compost pile. For the border areas with lots of hedges, shrubs, mulched flower gardens, etc., I'd use a leaf blower and just make a big pile. I'd hook up the garden cart and start piling in the leaves. What a pain - literally - in the back!

Well, when visiting the Cyclone Rake website, and reading up on the various models, I decided to go with the Commander model. It seemed like the right size for me, so on I went to place my order. Found the order page, typed in all of the info requested, and hit "Enter"! Interesting - I received an e-mail telling me that a customer Service person would contact me the next business day to finalize my order. Wow - a real person was going to talk to me about my order! So far, this is looking good.

The next business day happened to be a Thursday. The CS person called me at work, and we went over the order. She confirmed the lawn tractor I was going to use, as each mower deck adapter (MDA) is specifically cut to match. After a short discussion, I decided to update a few things. I added the tougher hose (for $25), changed to dual wheels (added $99), and the wall hanger kit (only $19.50). That was it! It was purchased and would soon be on the way.

When I got home on Thursday night, I checked my e-mail and saw that I had a message from Cyclone Rake - probably just the order confirmation. Well, yes - it was an order confirmation, but, also, notice that my unit was being shipped the next day. The next day? Wow - that was fast. Ok - fast forward to the next Wednesday and my unit was being delivered that afternoon in 5-boxes (not bad for shipping from New Haven, CT to NW Wisconsin). Semi pulled up, we unloaded the boxes, he was off, and I moved everything into the garage to get started. Man, this was like Christmas come early!

All of the boxes were numbered, with box #1 saying to open first. Ok - so I opened it first. The first thing to appear was a box marked "Homeowners Kit". Inside this box was a small 3-ring binder and a well made tool pouch kit. All of the instructions were in the binder, and most of the tools needed for set-up were in this tool kit - classy! Long story shortened up a bit - from start to finish, it took me 3-hours to unpack, put the unit together, attach it to my tractor, and take care of all the shipping materials.

Is it ready to go? Yup - every thing's together, no "extra" parts laying around, oil in the engine, gas in the engine - that's it! Had to go try this thing out. Started the tractor, out of the garage, and right into the thickest leaves I could find. Started the mulcher engine on the first pull (noticed later that I hadn't even closed the choke), climbed on the tractor, engaged the mover, and off I went. I did one whole area and half of another before I had to dump - it usually took me 15-20 dumps with the tractor and bagger.

Ok - first some Pros on this unit. The buying experience was first-class, the shipping was fast and easy, the unpacking and set-up was quick, easy and painless. All of the instructions were spot on. I'm a very quality conscious person, and quite quick to pick on companies who sell shabby equipment, or have lousy instruction manuals, so I was very impressed by this company and their product. All metal parts were either hard chrome plated or powder coated, and all aluminum was anodized. The engineering of the unit was well thought out and put together.

Cons - yes, there were a few, but nothing I couldn't solve myself. First, the exhaust port on the B&S motor was too close to the rear seat of my tractor - it got quite hot real fast. Easily corrected with a stop to my auto parts store and adding a 90 degree elbow to direct the exhaust to one side. The MDA was cut very well, but there was still a small gap, which shot out a lot of stuff. Easily fixed by adding a piece of foam pipe insulation to the deck and reinstalling the MDA - no more gap.

On the next Friday, I attacked the rest of the yard. The border areas were always a pain, so I just blew all of the leaves from them into a big pile. Instead of trying to drive back and forth over it to collect the leaves, I just pulled next to it, disconnected the hose from the mower deck (yes, the mower was dis-engaged), and sucked up the leaves. Wow - with the 8" hose connected to the mulcher, it didn't take long to do away with that pile.

All in all, I'm very happy with my Cyclone Rake purchase and would highly recommend it to anyone. :thThumbsU

Rich
 

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Premium Member
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9,785 Posts
Thank you for the excellent and thorough review! I hope it continues to provide you good service.
 

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Just passing through
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Just make sure the motor mounts are tight before each use...or the nice folks at Cyclone will be sending you a replacement...:rolleyes:
 

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Nice write-up on the Cyclone Vac, thanks. I am like you, I appreciate it when someone takes pride in the products they build and sell. I have lots of trees and the Cyclone Vac is on my wish list right now.

I bet it’s really beautiful up in your neck of the woods right now. I am near Fond du Lac, but I really love the northern part of the state, especially anything north of Wausau. I have been fortunate to be able to travel the north country in past years for work and I usually did not want to come home. A couple of months ago I spent a few days in Minocqua & Lac du Flambeau and it felt like home. Someday I might just move up there. Cheers.
 

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MTD 990 Twactor Guy
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574 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Some of the items I've purchased lately really make me ask "buy American - why?" Parts are missing, instructions are written poorly, holes don't line up, and on, and on.

Just 2 weeks ago, I purchased a new Eljer (American Standard) toilet from Menard's. Got it home, opened the box, checked it out - OK, looks like every thing's there - time to tear out the old and in with the new! Tore out the old, and ready to put in the new - Oooops! Where's the flange bolts? Where's the wax ring? Ok, I can find something else around to take care of that. Wait a minute - where's the rubber seal that goes between the tank and bowl? Not to be found! According to the instruction sheet, that's in the bag with the flange bolts and wax seal.

Called over to Menard's, and the gal told me she could pull the hardware out of a box they were returning that didn't have the tank cover with it. What? Oh, yes - that's common coming from "them", she told me. Not trying to beat up Eljer / American Standard - they just happened to be the most recent example of "Made in America". That's one reason I was so darned excited by the quality and care put into the Cyclone Rake!

Thanks for the kudos on writing a good review. If something is good, I like to be truthful and let others know about it - same goes for the bad!

If anyone is looking into one of these units, and has any questions I haven't covered - just ask! (I'm sure I can come up with something! LOL).

Thanks - Rich

BTW - pfreiburger - Yes, it was nice up here, but the high winds over the last 5 days have pretty much stripped any remaining leaves. Now, it's just bare and cold! Fond Du Lac, eh? In a previous life, I worked for the Soo Line Railroad in Theresa and Allenton - just a bit south. Take care!
 

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MTD 990 Twactor Guy
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574 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
LOL - nope, not at night - just haven't had time to take any pics. I'll be finishing up the lawn this weekend, so I promise to take some pics and post on here.

Rich
 

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USMC
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19,146 Posts
Very nice review. slkpk
 

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Cranky Motorsports
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15,270 Posts
Nice review, and can't wait to see it!
 

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makin noise!
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323 Posts
lol, your lawn sounds alot like mine, just bagged it all last weekend. took 8 hours. wife bagged them with the JD mower then dump them in the trailer behind the Bolens, when the trailer was full, about 4-5 bagger loads (8-10 bags) i'd haul the trailer out in the woods to dump. she never had to stop bagging but it went alot faster then running out in the woods to empty the bags for every 30 yards of lawn. and i had time to do other work while she filled the trailer. plus the JD F510 would likely get hung up trying to drive through the woods, the Bolens goes over and through about anything.

what kind of price range do those go for anyway?
 

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MTD 990 Twactor Guy
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574 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Countryfried -

The prices for the base models are posted on the cyclone Rake website (www.cyclonerake.com), and all of the accessories as well.

I looked high and low for someone selling one on eBay or Craig's List, but nothing came up that was anywhere near reasonable driving distance. Someone suggested calling to see if they had any return units (warranty issues, or just a return under there 12-month trial basis) - not a one, nothing! The girl I talked to said they very rarely had any returned. Once people bought them, they kept them. That's a lot of why I bought mine.

It wasn't cheap, but quality never is. I bought the Commander model, and the base price, with a $150 off special, was $1,345. Accessories totaled up to $223, but got another $25 off for entering a code from a magazine or somewhere that I saw the ad, so it netted to $198. Add on the shipping cost of $249, and the total for everything was $1,792. Actually, that is very competitive with other brands.

BTW - the one thing that always irratated me when mowing/mulching with just the lawn tractor and bagger was the leaves "snowplowing" in front of the mower deck, building up underneath the front end and not being able to turn. You'd go ahead until it packed under, then back up and hit it again. With the Cyclone Rake attached, I just detached the hose from the MDA, held the hose by a handle I installed, and rode along and sucked up the heavey leaves with just the hose. Man, did that work sweet! I'll show that in the photos I'm taking tomorrow to post on here.

Thanks - Rich
 

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MTD 990 Twactor Guy
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574 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Okay, as promised, finally took some pics of the unit. Enjoy!



Unit is hooked up to the 2003 Craftsman LT2000, running and ready to suck some leaves!



Handle I added to use the hose seperately from the MDA to suck up leaves from a pile or a deep row of leaves. Works great!



Side shot of collector unit.



B&S Vangard 4-cycle 6.5 motor. Very easy to start, and very fuel efficient.



Rear of collector while running. You can see some of the finely mulched leaves coming out.



Action photo! LOL My wife took this shot while picking-up a small amount of leaves from the back yard. You can see from the "vapor trail" coming out of the top of the collector that it's running. Yes, there is dust and debris while operating, but I can live with it. BTW - who says you can't take a photo into the sun!



Here's what the leaves look like after mulching. Very fine, should decay quickly in the compost pile.



Here it is in the raise position for dumping. Raises to a 60 degree angle. Tap the sides a bit and drive forward. Spreads the leaves quite well.



Only minor problem I had was this gap between the MDA and the mower deck. A lot of debris came out of there when mowing/mulching.



Simple solution - placed a piece of foam pipe wrap on the edge of the mower deck and re-attached the MDA. Works great!

That's pretty much it! Hope you found the review worth while. All in all, I've found this to be well worth the money - well made and works great!

Thanks for viewing - Rich
 

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USMC
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Great pics and the more flow you get the less chance of clogging up. slkpk
 

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MTD 990 Twactor Guy
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574 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
slkpk - right on the flow and clogging.

Someone else on here tried to make a unit from various parts and pieces, and that was one of the snags. They used a smaller diameter hose between the shredder and the mower discharge chute, and were experiencing clogging.

I created a large pile of leaves by using a blower, and purposely tried to clog the hose by sticking it in the heaviest part. Wow! It sucked up leaves as fast as I could move it. Finally I just left the hose on the ground and used a small landscape rake to feed it. Cleaned that big pile in no time flat. This uses an 8" diamtere hose.

It's not work any longer - it's fun to clean up the yard now!

Rich
 

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I bought the Cyclone Professional in 2005 and it's been a God Send for me in New England with all the oaks that I have. The only issue I've had was a wild wobble of the caster dual wheels on the driveway. They have a fix now and they sent me the updated piece in the mail.

I couldn't agree more, they are a top notch "made in USA" company.
-gh
 

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I received my XL today. The semi pulled up right on time. The trucking co called Friday to set up delivery time. Seven boxes were on a pallet that the driver pulled out with a pallet truck and dragged them up my drivway and put it in my garage. One loose box and the pick up accessory was seperate. Looked over boxes for damage found none. Opened Box 1. Watched DVD.
Started to sort through boxes to assemble. Everything was marked and instruction were ez to follow. Taking my time about 3 hours. If apart isnt painted, looks like powder coating, it is chrome plated. I have 3pt hitch so I was supplied a 3pt hitch tow plate. Very well built. I also ordere the unloader and the aux vac, and the wall mount. My X748 has not been delivered yet so cant try it yet. Tomorrow I need to get gas and power up the motor. Mine did not come with the tool kit I heard about. You dont need a lot of tools. 17MM for 3pt hitch only, 13MM, phillips sdrew driver, needle nose, the 3pt hitch needs no drilling into the mower. After set up I wasnt sure I could fold it back up but it folded back up easy and the wall storage is a must for compact storage.
 

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MTD 990 Twactor Guy
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574 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Lou,

Good to hear about your Cyclone Rake!

As for the tool kit, the difference in them supplying it or not may be the fact that you're hooking up to a 3-pt. The tool kit I received had tools and other items for marking the rear of my tractor for holes, center punch and drills, plus a couple of wrenches.

Hope you get a chance to use on some leaves, I don't think it works well on snow! LOL

Rich
 

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Lou,
Please report back after you use the power unloader. I have an XL I bought about three years ago with the power bagger but I think the power unloader would be better. I have some shoulder problems & lifting the containers out & dumping them in the trailer is getting harder with the pine needles & some sand mixed in that it picks up. Handeling the vaccum hose would not be easy either but I would just blow it into the woods & not have to lift them up to dump them into the trailer to haul them away. I can not get into the woods to dump them. I am very happy with the XL Cyclone Rake but I think you will have a better setup with the power unloader.
Thanks
Jerry
 

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I have similar problems getting the load into the woods. With the LX280 and the P10 dump cart I could back in and dump on my compost pile. The X748 with cab and XL will not fit.I hope with the unloader I can spread the leaves over the pile from a remote spot and then drive away. I called the dealer for an update, my order went in 2 weeks ago. The current status is Frozen???? I gassed up the motor and started it today, 3 pulls. This weekends weather sounds too good to not hook it up to the LX280 and try out the unloader.
 
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