Shared Knowledge


Troy Bilt CSV206 3-in-1 Chipper, Shedder, Vacuum (Vac) - Owner Review


25 October 2005

Updated: 20 October 2006

Updated: 17 November 2006


Summary: Would not buy this unit again. Overall, this unit does not provide me any time or muscle strain savings over the methods of lawn work I used before buying this unit. Quite honestly, I am back to using a very high volume leaf blower and my lawn tractor with catch bags.





There are 2 major reasons I would not buy this unit again: mechanic design problems and performance problems.




Mechanic Design Problems:


- This unit is heavy. I call it "The Beast. Although it is self propelled, it really is a work out moving it around


- The unit blows dust back towards you. I would recommend you wear eye protection as well as a breather mask. I have tried to solve this problem by taping all seams of the unit’s sheet metal where any air or dust could leak out by using metal foil duct tape like used in air conditioning duct work but I think the big culprit is where the bag is collared around the plastic duct from the vac. Really, Troy Bilt should have used some form of rubber gasket at all sheet metal interfaces to prevent dust leak.


- The catch bag on the rear of the unit might be meant to be taken off to dump, but mine is so tightly attached to the frame that tightening and loosing the bag collar around the plastic duct from the vac would be such a hassle each bag removal time, that I  just dump the bag using the zipper on the back and never take the bag off the machine. I have heard from others that have read this piece that their solution to this problem is to till the unit backwards on the bag, so bag weight is removed from the pins attaching the bag to the frame and lifting the bag off.


- The engine controls are located up underneath the catch bag and are a little tough to get to. You really must move the "Run"\"Stop" lever to "Run" and then go around to the other side of the engine to apply the choke fully and then pull the starter cord. Although you might remember, Troy Bilt should have marked the "Run\Stop" lever positions on the top of the gas tank where you could see them: they did not.


- There is no gasoline shut off valve on the engine. I also have a Troy Bilt power washer and on that unit, there is a built-in gasoline shut off valve which is handy when you are ready to store a unit for the winter and want to drain the carburetor bowl of gasoline.


- Rope pull engine start not for the weak. Don't even consider this unit unless you got one strong arm and back as it takes a bunch to rope pull this unit. The grinder wheel is attached directly to the engine and thus when you engine rope pull, you are pulling around this huge and heavy grind wheel.


- You have no control over the grinder\vac part of the unit, meaning with the engine running, the vac\grinder is going.  Apparently on some chipper\vac units, there is an actual belt between the engine and the grinder wheel and you can engage or disengage the vac\grinder from the engine when you wish. Not so with this unit, which is part of the reason the dam thing is so hard to rope pull.


- Wheel base too short. The rear wheels should have been placed further back on the unit because as the catch bag fills, the center of gravity shifts backwards and with the bag about 1\2 full, when you apply power to the rear drive wheels, the front-end of the unit bucks upward into the air. After a while, I actually have to pull upwards on the rear frame to keep the front of unit down on its front wheels.


- Pulls to the right. When the unit's self propel is engaged, the unit steers heavily to the right. With a full catch bag, not only do you have to lift up on the rear frame but you also have to fight against the pull to the right. As I said, "The Beast."


- Unit does not come with a tamper for the chipper chute! A plastic tamper is available as an option but in the catalog I used to buy the unit from, there was no mention that a chute tamper did not come with unit and was an extra! Really do not understand this logic as Troy Bilt installed a safety switch on the front of the unit but then leave this chipper hole without a stick tamper so that you are prone to sticking your arm down into the chute to get sticks all the way into the chipper! I used a piece of 2X4 as a tamper as I noticed that the chipper does not completely pull into its chipping blades, the every end of any stick.


- Safety switch on front of unit. As you can use either the vacuum attachment or a hose attachment, Troy Bilt mounted a safety switch on the front housing that shuts down the engine if there is not an attachment pushing on the switch. When I first got the unit, I had repeating problems with it cutting out once running or not starting at all and I  tracked it down to a problem with the safety switch. Although not recommending it to anyone, in my case, I simply disconnected the wire from the switch at a junction on the rear of the engine. For those of you that do not know, the safety switch simply grounds out the magneto sitting on the engine so there is no spark to the spark plugs and the engine can not run.



Performance Problems.


I bought this unit primarily to vacuum up hickory and acorn nuts. I have about one acre of yard with many large trees and besides nuts everywhere in the fall, I also get a constant fall of tree limbs.


- The vac attachment is totally worthless. When I first bought the unit and I got it running, I took it out back and ran it over some hickory nuts. It would not suck up a single nut! Talk about disappointed. Then I tried the vac attachment on acorns but no go either. Ok, leaves? Not in grass. Leaves on patio and on driveway, yes, but only if one layer of leaves deep, otherwise vac clogs.


- Hose attachment works sort of. Ok, vac attachment is worthless. Wish it wasn't, as would loved to have simply self propelled the unit about the yard and have it suck up nuts. Luck for me, I did get the hose attachment with the unit. When the hose unit is on the unit, it is very effective on hickory and acorns but if the area you are cleaning has twigs on it, like mine does, twigs can get caught sideways in the hose and result in a clog which can be a bitch to get out.


- Hose attachment used on leaves. Now you would think that the hose attachment would work great on leaves and yes, I have used it on large piles of leaves but the very end of the nose tends to clog up and has to be constantlyunclogged or as I said above, if there are any twigs or limbs in the leaves, these will get caught in the hose and a clog will result. Not fun.


Chipper. Now I did not buy this unit to chip up limbs and twigs but have found that it does an excellent job on this. Specifications say that you can chip up to a 3" diameter piece and I have done so without any problem. If I were into making my own mulch out of downed tree limbs, this unit probably would fit my needs.



Ron - Shared Knowledge Home