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Discussion Starter #1
I have been ecstatic with my X485 tractor except for one nagging problem - the Power Flow Bagger. The new blower has been completely redesigned from the old one I had on my 425 and is a vast improvement. However the bagger is a piece of junk. They have changed the frame that the bags hang on from steel to plastic. I broke the piece the latch clamps onto last year right in the middle of leaf cleaning season. This year I broke the plastic latch a week ago and just got the replacement. Substituting plastic for metal for these two high stress components is really poor design in my book and one of the very few disappointments I have had with any JD piece of equipment. I wrote a letter to headquarters this past winter but their response was to call the dealer about the problem and have the dealer communicate with the JD technical group.
 

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Deere power flow

It seem most companies are getting away from Bagging and pushing the Mulching. I think that is why the are going to cheaper materials for there Bagging systems. Yet JD is pushing the bagging systems more for the Compact tractors. Then for the Lawn and Garden tractors.
 

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Kinda surprised that the Power Flow is giving you a headache. They have a fantastic reputation.

I have a Mow n Vac, no issues in 2+ years. Only issue I ever had was due to me being a bonehead. I broke the hand wand plastic tube that goes in the end of the hose and connects to the handle. I bought some PVC pipe and fixed it easily though.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sargeant,
Do you know (or does anybody else) if the 3 bag bagger is constructed the same way as the 7 bu 2-bag system I have. Also, I am probably the exception, since most people with the amount of leaves to vacuum would have some type of Trak Vac system that is toed behind the tractor. However, I cannot maneuver something this large with the tight turns I need to make in my yard which is why I went with the PF unit. I am pointing this design flaw out for JD because I borrowed my neighbors Craftsman tractor with a bagger to do leaves when mine bagger was in for repairs. Craftsman has a steel frame for the bins to sit in compared with JD. The Craftsman bagger is also about 1/4 as expensive as the JD hopper.
 

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My dad actually has a power flow unit and his has a plastic frame like you describe. I have the two bin bagger as well for my Craftsman and it does work well, but the Powerflow does seem to hold more leaves as it does have a power assist and shreds a bit. He has a JD 275.

I know his powerflow does do a great job, but for the price, it is way too under engineered. I have done some minor repairs to it, but nothing of the exten you are describing.
 

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3bin bagger

DeereBob I honestly have never used a Bagger system of any type from JD. This is actually the first year I have ever used a Bagging system. And the Bagging system is a 30 year old engine driven bagger on a 1970 Cub Cadet 106 Have you thought about the MC519 Cart system that might meet your need the tow bar stays strait and the Cart has Dummy wheels which turn which might be good for your sharpe turns. There is also a similar set up made by JRCO
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Sargeant,
The MC519 was the first thing I considered but my dealer steered me to the Power Unit Bagger instead which I bought for my 425. Never had any problems with it other than chute clogging when I ran too long before emptying the bags. However, I had to get a whole new unit for my X485 which has had two pieces break associated with latching the hopper lid. I purchased an assortment of bungee cords to hold the lid down when something breaks so I am not out of service. The latch I just got to replace the one that broke cost less than $3 so I plan to get a spare so this does happen again. It's a 5 minute job to take the old one off and replace it but I believe for a $350 hopper assembly, I should have to do this. As I said before, this is the only JD piece of equipment I haven't been truly pleased with and it's not a functional issue rather a reliability one. The MC519 cart is about $500 more than what I paid for the PF Hopper but uses the same blower so I might consider getting it next year since I could use it for most of my yard and switch to the PF Hopper for the tight areas. Unlike the Trak Vac or similar equipment, the MC519 is much closer to the back of the tractor so offers better maneuverability but not as much as my current equipment.
 

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The three bagger I have for my L130 uses all metal except for the flip up top and the actual "bags". The frame of the bag unit is metal with a metal hook. It hooks to the metal bagging system on the back of the tractor. I don't like that the bag connection point is only one location... but it works. The unit appears to be solidly put together. That's kind of surprising that an important piece like that is plastic on yours. A metal-works place could fix that permanently for you for probably $20.00
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Tisenberg,
I have had discussions with my dealer and he told me the same thing you pointed out - the three-bag system has an all metal frame. They have offered to give my something back for my 2-bag hopper against a new 3-bag one. They suggested that I go to see the unit that one of there other customers just purchased to make sure I would be happy with it. I would need to purchase a different chute to go with it but I think this will solve my problem and not require me to go with a trailer type vacuum system like the MC519. The added benefit will be with 3 bags I won't have to empty as frequently.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am pleased to report, that I saw the 3-Bag hopper at the dealer this morning and it is made much more substantially than the 2-Bag hopper. They agreed to give me a credit for my old 2-Bag hopper and chute for the new 3-bag one with the required chute. This is most timely since I broke the plastic latch a week ago and am using bungee cords to keep the hopper lid sealed. My patience and perseverance finally paid off, since the Power Flow Bagger is a better solution for my yard than the MC519 cart. It also helps to have a class act for a dealer.
 
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