PL2501 25-inch Billy Goat Lawn Aerator Preview
Aerating a lawn is not rocket surgery, hence it can be accomplished in a variety of means. Let’s face it though, nobody wants to be walking around in a pair of spiked shoes, or have their kids pulling a weighted drum, putting holes in a lawn. Thanks to the Billy Goat PLUGR, handling the lawn aerator is a mere walk in the park – err walk on the lawn. Furthermore, that walk is aided by a 6.5 hp Vanguard engine self-propelling the latest 25-inch PLUGR to a top speed of 42,550. Square feet, that is, per hour, all while perforating the ground in rapid succession.
We actually got our hands on one of these, so we’ll be giving this a thorough review. Our Billy Goat PLUGR lawn aerator came with “0” hours on the clock, without a mark on it – anywhere. We’ve already put the Billy Goat aerator to good use, aerating a lawn or two, and we’ll also be passing this over to one of our landscaping pros to get their perspective and feedback. While we haven’t punched enough holes in the ground for a full review assessment, we can cover the features and give our first-use thoughts.
Billy Goat PLUGR Lawn Aerator Features
The PL2501 PLUGR aerator incorporates at 25-inch wide aeration path allowing it to cover almost an acre in just one hour. The Billy Goat PLUGR in whole stands 46″ tall, tip-to-tail is 67″ long and 35″ wide overall, weighing in at a mere 435 pounds. With these numbers, it seems that it might be a large cumbersome machine, but it’s actually not. The PLUGR lawn aerator moves and maneuvers quite adequate. Albeit, you don’t want to take it to a dance.
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Time to aerate…at least it was for us. We just got in the @billygoatindustries PLUGR 25" hydro-drive aerator. We gave it a good run on some Floritam and Bahia turf here in central Florida. Has the new #Vanguard 6.5 engine. Review will come shortly. . . . . #turf #florida #lawncare #landscaping #aerator #thatching #turfcare #briggs #billygoat @briggsandstratton #ope #opeBGplugr #zeroturn #mower #tools #lawntools
Vanguard 200 – 6.5 HP Powerplant
In case you didn’t know, Billy Goat is actually a Briggs & Stratton brand. And, Vanguard is the commercial line of engines for Briggs & Stratton. We covered the details of this new Vanguard 200 and new series of Vanguard engine in a prior article. In short, Vanguard has totally redesigned their single cylinder engines with features not found elsewhere.
The Billy Goat PL2501 lawn aerator includes that Vanguard technology, such as the TransportGuard, which shuts off the fuel to the carb when the throttle is in the fully-closed position. TransportGuard keeps fuel from sloshing in the tank, being forced into the carb, then flooding into the cylinder. This flooding not only dampers cranking/starting, but it can also wash the oil from the cylinder and dilute the crankcase oil.
A cyclonic air filter has also been added to this new Vanguard series that powers the PL2501 PLUGR aerator. This air filter works like a cyclonic dust extractor, spinning larger debris away from the filter and exporting it through a rubber duck-bill-like exit point. The cyclonic action not only extends the life of the filter, but it also does a better job of filtration, extending maintenance times. Cleaner air coming in means cleaner oil.
Easy-to-Use Hydro-Drive Lawn Aerator Controls
Opening the hood/s of the Billy Goat aerator and looking rearword will give you the impression of a zero-turn mower. A belt drives an input shaft on the differential that drives the wheels. Coming up from the differential is a hose that connects to the reservoir, which is half-full of hydraulic fluid. This hydro-drive system is controlled by two levers that resemble brake-levers on a mountain bike. The left lever controls reverse speed, and the right lever handles any forward movement. Speed can be variably controlled with the user’s fingertips. More input on the levers delivers more speed.
Full forward speed tops out at just 4mph, while reverse is not quite as fast. This slower reverse speed provides better maneuverability while not running yourself over. Reverse should only be used on the lawn aerator when the tines are up.
6 Tines and VAD to the Bone
Every time I see a pristine and lush green lawn, I think to myself: “they really maximized their Variable Aeration Density (VAD).” Seriously, that’s a first for me, but I’ll remember now. Anyway, the gist is that Billy Goat incorporated 6 heat-treated tines rapidly penetrating the ground at a variable aeration density. In other words, if you are traveling at full-speed, the density of aerations will be less than if the speed is decreased. Keep in mind, we’re talking solely about the forward speed, not reverse, and not engine speed. The throttle on the engine should be left at WOT (Wide Open Throttle).
This VAD system allows the Billy Goat aerator to create 2-10x more holes than a drum-style aerator in a single pass. The VAD system is Patent Pending. Providing additional aerating in a single pass mitigates the need for additional passes over the same area/s.
A screw-in design of the heat-treated and hardened tines allow them to be replaced as they wear. This maintenance procedure, on the Billy Goat PLUGR aerator, can be accomplished very quickly. In addition, the in-and-out motion of the tines during the lawn aerator process is more efficient than a spoon designed unit.
Tine Engagement Made Simple
Under the hood of the Billy Goat PLUGR aerator you’ll find the driving mechanism of the Tines, controlling the up and down penetrating actions. This mechanism fully resembles the crankshaft of a typical combustion engine, and each Tine connects much like a connecting rod on a crankshaft. I can just envision the first engineer thinking: “I have an old crankshaft and some rods, I think I can make something of this.” It actually works very well.
Controlling the operation of the Tines is the real magic. A large red lever points skyward (vertical) when the tines are not engaged. With the engine running, the user pulls the red lever down to the horizontal position, against the handle. This action immediately drops the tins, then engages them and they start rapidly moving up and down. Within a few seconds, you should really pull the forward lever, or start pushing. If not, you’ll have a whole bunch of holes in the ground.
Releasing the red lever will stop the rapid up and down motion, but it won’t lift the tines. To lift the tines back to their locked and transport position, the user uses their foot to press the large “T” bar sticking out the back of the PL2501 PLUGR aerator. This lifts the tines out of harm’s way and allows for mobility without obstruction.
Simple Access – Dual Hood Design
A dual hood design allows the hoods to be opened providing easy access to maintenance on the Vanguard engine and other items. The tines engagement (crankshaft) mechanism require grease at several obvious locations.
The two hoods are locked in place with large plastic thumb-screws, so no tools are necessary for access. One concern we have is that you have to lift the water tank first before you can open the primary hood covering the engine. This is not terribly inconvenient, but something that Billy Goat should look into for future improvements.
The water tank hood allows users to add weight over the rear wheels by simply adding 5 gallons of water through the large capped opening. A full tank adds 40-pounds of ballast, aiding in traction and tine-penetration on harder ground. Water can be quickly and easily removed by releasing the two single-lever plugs on the bottom of the water tank.
First-Use Final Thoughts
Right off the trailer, we tackled a 1-acre lawn, putting the Billy Goat aerator to good use. Within a few passes, we had the controls almost mastered, feathering the forward-speed lever to the desired speed and VAD. It’s also worth noting that the front pneumatic casters can be set to be stationary or swivel. Keeping the front casters stationary allows for straighter paths, but it also requires a little more input while turning.
After finishing nearly a full acre, we only had 0.9 hours on the hour-meter. Seems right in line with the speed specifications. So far, the Billy Goat PLUGR makes quick work punching holes, and you’ll never want to manually push a lawn aerator again. We’ve got the PL2501 aerator out in the field, and we’ll follow up with a full review, based on the feedback from landscaping pros. Be sure to stay tuned to us here and on social media.
For more information on the PL2501 Billy Goat Lawn Aerator, click here.
Billy Goat PL2501 Lawn Aerator Specifications
- Model: PL2501SPV
- Engine: Vanguard 6.5HP
- Wheels (in.): 15 foam-filled
- Width of Aeration (in.): 25
- Aeration Area (sq.ft./hr.): 42,550
- Tines: 6
- Core Spacing (in.): 3.6
- Wheel Type: Pneumatic casters
- Core Depth (in.): Up to 2.75
- Length (in.): 67
- Width (in.): 35
- Height (in.): 46
- Weight (lbs.): 435