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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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Discussion Starter #1
Well, it's halfway through leaf pickup season and I'm debating whether it's worth it to buy a power vac collection unit. After a lot of surfing and reading comments I'm favoring getting a Cyclone Rake.

Problem is, they're very expensive (about $2k for the one I want, with some of the upgrades), and trying to find a used one for sale right in the middle of leaf season is not panning out too well.

If anyone has a Cyclone Rake and is thinking of trading in or up, I'm in the market. PM me if so. (I'm near Rochester NY)

Any suggestions on other places to find these besides eBay / Craigslist?

Both eBay and Craigslist are a bust on this item right now. The few I've found are either already sold (many people don't bother taking their ads down off Craigslist when the item sells) or somebody wants close to retail price for a 5-year old unit. Sorry, if I'm going to pay near retail prices I might as well pay a bit more for a new one, get a unit with no worries about how it was treated, and get a warranty to boot. Per a Cyclone Rake rep the warranty is not transferrable so even a "new in box" sold by private seller would have zero warranty, which lowers it's value significantly for me.

One thought was I could use that CraigsHelper website (another great tip I picked up on MTF!) to cover the entire US to increase my chances of finding one, then pay a shipper to ship the thing. Any idea what kind of shipping cost I'd be in for? I've heard it breaks down to 4 or 5 boxes, and probably like 250 lbs total I would guess. I shipped a 630 lb tractor 1000 miles for $480 so I would imagine shipping for a Cyclone Rake would be a lot less than that.

I'm also thinking I may just ride this one out and wait for better availability / discounts in the off-season. But that also means I'd have to go face the leaf pile mano-a-mano... sigh.
 

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I would imagine your best bet would be to wait until the off season and buy new and at least get the warranty unless you can find a really good deal on a used one. slkpk
 

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When you spoke to Cyclone Rake...did you ask if they had any refurbs in stock???
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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Discussion Starter #4
When you spoke to Cyclone Rake...did you ask if they had any refurbs in stock???
No, I didn't think to ask. Wonder why they didn't volunteer it if they have such a program. I'll give that a try. Any idea how much of a discount they give for a refurb?
 

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No, I didn't think to ask. Wonder why they didn't volunteer it if they have such a program. I'll give that a try. Any idea how much of a discount they give for a refurb?
Unknown what kind of savings can be had...

If they didn't mention it, it may be that they are all gone...

As soon as the snow flies...people will be sending the units back...same thing happens to DR...:(
 

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Well, it's halfway through leaf pickup season and I'm debating whether it's worth it to buy a power vac collection unit. After a lot of surfing and reading comments I'm favoring getting a Cyclone Rake.
Noticed what looks like a new CC i1050 in your avatar.

I bought a used CR 3-4 years ago and it is quite heavy when full. If you have hills try to find info on your hydro tranny about how much load it can handle. Someone told me recently that the rule of thumb is going up a 30 degree slope roughly triples the load on a drivetrain.

Sorry to mention this but that's a nice z mowing machine to sacrifice for leaves.

Also a LT with CR attached drives like a school bus through obstacles and when loaded the tail will wag the dog. Takes some getting used to.

Why can't all trees just be evergreen and drop no needles or leaves?
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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Discussion Starter #7
[...] I bought a used CR 3-4 years ago and it is quite heavy when full. If you have hills try to find info on your hydro tranny about how much load it can handle. Someone told me recently that the rule of thumb is going up a 30 degree slope roughly triples the load on a drivetrain.
I don't have any hills to speak of, although there is a slight grade to my backyard. The i1050 owner's manual indicates the maximum slope the tractor should be used on is 15 degrees (30% grade). I think I'm well within that.

What I'm more worried about is the additional load on the hydros if I go into a zero-radius turn with the cyclone rake in tow (rigidly mounted and swinging around on it's casters).

I did some back-of-the-napkin statics calculations (see the diagram I created below), and if I have my statics geometry right, there is a multiplying effect at work during a zero-radius turn maneuver that will greatly increase the load a CR (rigid) trailer puts on the hydros in a turn as compared to pulling straight.



Basically if you divide the distance from the CR collector caster wheels to the tractor's center of turn by the distance from one rear tractor drive wheel to the center of turn, that is the multiplying factor. So whatever drag load the hydro would see in a straight-forward pull, that would be multiplied by the factor computed above in a zero-radius turn.

For an analogy, think about using a soapy long-handled brush to wash the roof of your car or truck. The longer the pole the better the example in this case. The heavy brush head is slippery but not frictionless against the roof so there is some effort involved. It's always much easier to move the brush toward or away from you (your hand moves the same distance as the brush head) than it is to try to swing it side-to-side (where a small arc of the handle translates into a larger arc of the brush head, but requires a proportional multiplication of force to get that "advantage"). Same principle at work as the zero turn tractor swinging the CR around with it when in a zero-radius turn. And the hydros have to withstand that extra load. Not to mention the turf hopefully doesn't get torn up in the process..

I haven't made exact measurements, but eyeballing my tractor and CR the ratio has to be at least 4:1. That has me a little worried. I'm already thinking about ways to reduce the towing drag of the CR collector (suspend it so no wheels required? Would require lots of counterbalance)

The other alternative is just to avoid zero-radius turns when I have the CR attached. I know the Woodland Power Products people (who make the CR) claim their product works with a Cub Cadet i1050. I've spoken to them about it. But clearly there's a financial incentive for them to be as liberal as possible with compatibility claims, and I'm sure they wouldn't be liable for any tranny damage to the tractor, so no risk for making such claims. Meanwhile, I could ask Cub Cadet (MTD) about this but I've heard they're notoriously unhelpful when customers call. Worse yet, I'm not the original owner so I doubt they'd feel any allegiance to help me, especially knowing there is no warranty risk for them (the warranty is non-transferrable). So, I think I'm going to have to figure this out on my own.

Sorry to mention this but that's a nice z mowing machine to sacrifice for leaves.

Also a LT with CR attached drives like a school bus through obstacles and when loaded the tail will wag the dog. Takes some getting used to.
Well as you might expect, leaf collection isn't the only thing I got the i1050 for. I also plan to cut grass, possibly blow snow, etc. I have no illusions that it's not a Garden Tractor, so it's not like I'm going to pull stumps with it, but I do plan to put it to work to the degree it's design can handle it. Which is why I'm being careful about doing the math before I put it into each new situation.

And yes, I've heard that about the manuverability. WPP sent me a promotional video for the CR and even there you can see the guy driving the thing around has to be careful near obstacles.

Why can't all trees just be evergreen and drop no needles or leaves?
I figure this is a rhetorical question :), but just for fun I looked it up. There's a good short explanation by Bill Nye at MSN Encarta. It even covers the evergreen topic.
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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Discussion Starter #9
You have things very well defined and planned for Toolin'. That's an excellent napkin sketch.
Thanks Jay. I thought I'd clean it up for public consumption by moving it from napkin to a drawing on the computer.

Well I finally finished tinkering and put the thing to use today. Works pretty good. It worked even better when I adjusted the motor and boosted the RPM about 20% (I think it was just running low to start with). It also worked a lot better when I remembered to connect the blower outlet to the collector. On a few occasions after unloading I forgot to re-connect the two and as you might imagine this becomes rather counterproductive (visualize driving over a concentrated swath of leaves and redistributing them all over the yard).

Attached below are some pictures. And no, I'm not a paid spokesperson for Woodland Power Products - I just happen to like labor-saving devices and this one definitely saves a lot of labor. And seeing as I'm the 3rd owner, it seems to be pretty durable as well.


Here's my front yard.. got a few leaves there. Would have been a lot thicker except we (and by "we" I mean mostly my wife since I've been out of town recently) have been keeping ahead of them with a manual rake and tarp. But we had a 20 degree F night a few nights ago and that caused a quick dump of what you see here. Note all the Packasandra around the two big maples.. the separate suction hose and wand will come in handy for pulling the leaves out of there.. a hand rake just doesn't cut it for that area...



Here is the tractor and the leaf vacuum together. This is in the back yard where the leaves were lighter but it cleaned up the front yard as clean as the completed parts of the backyard you can see below:



And here's a shot of the other side (along with the driver):



More pictures later...
 

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Nice shots - thanks for posting!
So that's what my rig looks like from a little distance, although substitute my Simplicity for the Cub Cadet :biglaugh:
It looks like you have the heavy-duty hose coming up from the deck. The standard hose was green, quite sturdy, but not as tough as the yellow stuff. You seem to be missing the included green toilet brush that was standard issue, used to clean the screen on top. Rig looks pretty good - congrats!
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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Discussion Starter #12
... It looks like you have the heavy-duty hose coming up from the deck. The standard hose was green, quite sturdy, but not as tough as the yellow stuff.
Yeah, not only did this one come with many of the attachments (including *two* of the 17-foot hoses) the hoses are definitely the heavy duty ones. That stuff is heavy though.. it's like wrestling an anaconda. And it doesn't like to sit all coiled up on the floor.. likes to straighten out. I'll have to make some wall hangers and take up a fair amount of garage wall space to store the hoses.

You seem to be missing the included green toilet brush that was standard issue, used to clean the screen on top. Rig looks pretty good - congrats!
Actually it had the green toilet brush too.. it's just in the garage somewhere at the moment.
 

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Verynice setup. slkpk
 

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Nice rig. It looks like the 5.5 hp same as mine, but looks better.

Since some storms have been close to NY recently I'll mention it is pretty good for hurricane cleanup. After the chainsaw work, the stuff 5/16" diameter and bigger can be picked up by hand pretty fast. The rest, what would be the really tedious stuff, can be mowed and sent into the CR. I really think you could mow up to about 1/2" diameter but it isn't that hard to pick it up.

I've turned my CR into a particulate air polluter a few times too:ROF
 

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I've turned my CR into a particulate air polluter a few times too:ROF
Try mowing over a bare dirt patch - then you can play "destroyer laying down a smoke screen" :hide:
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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Discussion Starter #17
Try mowing over a bare dirt patch - then you can play "destroyer laying down a smoke screen" :hide:
Yeah, even without a dirt patch this thing still puts off a lot of dust. After each use I notice a fine coating of dust on nearby cars, my tractor, me, etc. It's been pretty much SOP for me to have to take a shower after using this thing.

But even having to hose myself (and the cars) down afterwards it's still worth it. Cuts down 3-4 hours of hard manual labor to 20 minutes tooling around on my butt. Can't beat that.
 

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Yeah, even without a dirt patch this thing still puts off a lot of dust.
For me, it's worse in the spring. That's when I get to pick up all of the oak leaves from my neighbor's tree. His huge oak hangs on to its leaves until spring, and then they all blow onto my property. Dry oak leaves make a huge amount of dust in the CR. I like to wait until the wind is blowing in his direction, just a bit of poetic justice :00000060:

And, you're right - the CR cuts the yard cleanup time by a large factor, and besides, it's fun! Can't beat that!

Looks like you're a nightowl like me :congrats:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Looks like you're a nightowl like me :congrats:
Yeah, the wife laughs at me.. sitting here in bed with the laptop, browsing tractor forums. New-found hobby I guess. Usually I'm just a computer geek, now I have an excuse to go outside more.

Uh-oh.. laptop battery almost drained. Guess that means it's time for bed (2:20am here, EST). Weather permitting, I'll be doing more C-raking tomorrow. Maybe with wet leaves that will keep the dust level down...
 

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OK, CR guys

This seems to be the place for a lot of good info on Cyclone Rakes. I'm wondering why the hitch for the Cyclone Rake is ridgid? Why couldn't you have a piviting drop pin type of hitch. It seems to me it would work better with a zero turn mower. Yes I know it would be problematic with the mower discharge hose moving on every turn, but is that really a problem?

Your thoughts,

Golferguy
 
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