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Author Topic: Track Loaders for Logging.  (Read 7128 times)

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Offline catvet

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Track Loaders for Logging.
« on: November 24, 2005, 06:01:07 pm »
About 2 months ago I asked about using skid steers for skidding and logging in general.  The overall response was rather negative as to their usefulness.  I can certainly appreciate all the negatives to a typical skid steer.

Is there a different opinion on their "cousins" the Track Loaders?  My research (all on line at this point) would make me think that these machines could be rather useful.  Something like the ASV RC100 looks like it would do a ton of work.  It can move quickly and seems like it could be used to skid and otherwise manipulate logs.  I'm looking for something which could do a lot of different jobs, obviously with different attachments.

Anyone have any experience using track loaders in general, or ASV loaders specifically.  I see that Hahn Machinery makes a "Forestry Protection Package" for the RC100 which makes me think someone is using them in the woods.

Thanks for any feedback.

Hahn Machinery Forestry Protection Package:  http://www.hahnmachinery.com/forestry-protection.html

ASV Track Loader Info:  http://www.asvi.com/index.cfm
Catvet

Northern Vermont

Offline maple flats

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2005, 07:41:58 pm »
My brother has one and I borrow it on occasion. They do not get stuck easily but they are not at all smoothe to ride in the woods unless you build flat roadways. His is an older 70 horse one from before CAT bought them out. They would however do all you are likely to ask of them, but the last I heard the price is WAY UP THERE if you go new. Try a search, there was a listing on here some time this year where 2 used ASV's ( All Season Vehicles) were listed for somewhere in the mid to upper teens for price. The one I use has a 3 point hitch added to the rear and a hyd motor for a pto. To this we hook up a Fransgard winch but the winch has far more pull than the unit can hold and for max pull I need to have the winch blade against a stump or the blade digs a big section of woods up before it stops and does the pull you are asking of it and being hydraulic power the full HP does not get applied to the winch when the going gets tough. It is however much better than my 20 horse 4x4 tractor and I don't do enough nor do I want to for justifying a skidder.
logging small time for years but just learning how, with a Forest stewardship plan, 2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, sugar maple/maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time

Offline HORSELOGGER

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2005, 08:29:19 pm »
My neighbor has an excavating business and has a rc100 with the big forestry mower on the front. I suspect most people outfitting one with the forestry protection package are using them for mowing pipeline right of ways and land clearing, not so much for actual log skidding.
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Offline Deadwood

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2005, 10:27:29 pm »
I think you will find that while these rigs look good at pulling, what they are really designed for is pushing. I aliken it to comparing a skidder with a payloader. They both have four powered wheels and they both articulate, but a loader would not make it thirty feet in the woods. They just aren't designed for pulling. They are designed with mass and torque converters that propel the machine forward against resistance using weight transfer and traction. Machines that pull rely more on clutching, gearing and traction, the latter of which is far different then a tread design for pushing.

If you are looking for versatility, I would go with a decent sized 4 by 4 tractor. It's pretty hard to beat a tractor for versaility as you have the loader up front, the three point hitch in the back. They sell a ton of them so the costs are quite low, and you might be able to sell it in 25 years for more money then you paid for it now.

If you already own a tractor, I would suggest you either upgrade you tractor, or take the money you would invest in one of these rigs and buy some equipment to outfit it. Heck these days you can buy grapples, forwarding trailers and even felling heads for tractors.

Offline Faron

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2005, 05:16:35 am »
Maybe a Ford Versitile bi-directional tractor would suit your needs.  They are four wheel drive, have good hydraulics, and can be equipped with three point hitch on the engine end.  They are also hydrostatic drive, so you have excellent speed control.  There are a few out there without glassed in cabs, which I would think you would need.   Try ironsearch.com and fastline.com   Models are Versitile and Ford 276 and 256, Ford 7030 (I think)  and New Holland  TV 140  and TV145.  New ones are pretty pricey.
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Offline catvet

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2005, 08:56:09 am »
Thanks for the feedback.  The bidirectional tractors look interesting.  I'll have to look into those a bit more.   I always worry about tractors in the woods with tipping and traction.  Any feel for those issues?
Catvet

Northern Vermont

Offline Woodhog

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2005, 09:25:36 am »
I would vote for the New Holland also...

Quote
I'm looking for something which could do a lot of different jobs, obviously with different attachments.

Your above statement sort of eliminates the Forestry only equipment...

Therefore it will have to be a compromise machine...

I work everyday with a 4WD Farm Tractor 78 HP, you have to be carefull and crawl around quite slowly
to avoid accidents and damage..

You need chains if the ground is rocky, muddy snow etc.....

Also you should specify forestry tires as the regular farm tires are prone to puncture very easily on
sharp rocks stumps etc....

The belly area will have to have a heavy stump pan and the engine cowling area should have removeable plates of lighter material also the radiator has to have a removeable screen...

The New Hollands mentioned above are being used around here for brush cutting by the Highways
crews , they crawl around like huge ants over all types of terrain that I would only take an ATV on...

The operating position reversing is a good feature for woods work, loading your forestry trailer, operating the winch etc....eliminates the sore neck and sore knees syndrome...

Once you go to a farm tractor as the basic unit you are open for all types of attachments used and new
that are easily obtainable.

If I had the money I wouldnt hesitate to pick up one of these beasts....

Offline Deadwood

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2005, 09:50:37 pm »
I almost forgot that I had a John Deere track loader one time and it was useless for anything but shoveling gravel. The reason came from the grousers. It had three traction bars instead of one tall one. It made working on hard surfaces easier and smoother, but got a lot less traction. Sorry for coming in late on this one, but it just came to me today. I guess I had a senior moment last night at the age of 31!

Offline beenthere

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2005, 10:15:53 pm »
Deadwood
What model number was that John Deere track loader? 
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Offline GregS

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2005, 05:20:06 am »
catvet,
I have asked myself the same question as you ask here. 

I have a Case Skid-steer with many attachments and find it the most usefull of any of my tools but in the woods forget it.  Even with the tracks on, the ground clearance and design just does not work. 

I put a lot of work into a 60hp articulated "Holder" tractor that I purchased at an auction a couple of years ago.  The purpose of this machine was to skid some logs, general woods work and snowblow my long camp driveway.  Well I am not happy with that either.  The ground clearance is not enough and the usefullness without a FEL limited. 

Here is a picture of the thing...


The dump box on the back has double acting cylinders.  I use the dump box to skid logs.  I have a long "T" bar that extends out and when I raise the dump box the T bar get close to the ground and then lifts the logs when I lower the dump box.  I can skid logs but not as efficient as I would like to.  I recently saw a ASV at an equipment auction and wow I really liked what I saw.  It was a skid-steer on steroids.  The same attachment setup with high-flow hydruclics with lots of ground clearance and a PTO in the front to boot.  The rear had a tow hitch for pulling a forwarder (dreaming).  The only thing I don't like about it is the fact you would have to skid logs backwards?  How the heck can you do that with out damaging the machine and every tree on the way back to the deck?  Other than that it meets many of the criteria that I have in my head.  I know it is not a skidder but it seems to be very close the the machine I think most useful.  I have a skid-steer and a tractor and I must admit the skid-steer is the machine of choice although my tractor is limited without a FEL.  I think I want one  8).

Offline Sawyerfortyish

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2005, 08:41:51 am »
I can tell you that track loaders are no good in the woods. Like was stated there grouser pads load up and you have no traction. Even bulldozers have problems it depends on your ground. If you have rocky ground forget a track machine you wouldn't be able to sit on the seat going over rocky ground. At some point you will throw a track usally in the worst place you could be in. In snow no track machines work good they slide sideways if you can get them to go at all. My neighbor tryed using a dozer to log in winter it would go a little ways in deep snow the tracks would load up and there it sat. I don't know how much logging you are going to do but I started out with a tractor. They work ok for a small job if you learn what to do and not do. I had a dead tree next to a skid trail fall across the seat of the tractor had it fell a few inches one way or another instead of getting kocked out of my seat it would have killed me. After that I bought a skidder .My vote for any woods work is a skidder they are designed to do just that and do it safely. There are a lot of skidders out there and they can be bought right. 8-10 grand you can get many years of use out of one.

Offline sawguy21

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2005, 09:24:39 am »
Good advice on the skidder .Mind you they are not hard to roll and get really entertaining if going too fast so be careful out there. My first experience with a crawler in snow was not fun. I was going in to replace the fuel pump on an old Case gas job and buried the pickup. Had to carry the tools and parts in, fix the machine after dark in a snowstorm , only had a flashlight as the generator was in the truck, then walked the crawler out downhill to free the truck. Had to return the crawler to the landing then walk back to the truck which was a lot easier this time with a plowed road. That DanG machine slid all over the place and threatened to hurl me to the bottom of a ravine.
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline Deadwood

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2005, 06:27:24 pm »
I would not go as far as to say that bulldozers aren't suited for pulling wood out of the woods. Here in Maine anyway, we never had a problem with our 1010 bulldozer. It was slow and it would throw a track from time to time, but it did a good job. I never remember the lags loading up with snow and not being able to pull anything. What I liked best about that old 1010 was the roads it made. Nearly 20 years later, we have some great roads out in the woods. No rocks, stumps or cradle knolls to try to pull wood over, but flat, stump and rock free twitch roads that make my Kubota capable in the woods.

As for the number on that JD Track Loader I can't recall for sure. I think it was a 1020? or maybe a 350B? It was a long time ago and I did not have it very long. Maybe four months. It needed a valve job and because of the grousers, would not get out of it's own way so i dumped it before it cost me any more money.

Offline beenthere

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2005, 06:52:21 pm »
Deadwood
I think the original question 'catvet' had was about the Bobcat T250 per his question "Is there a different opinion on their "cousins" the Track Loaders?"
T250

Seems the thread has drifted to the other steel tread crawlers, not the rubber treaded ones.  :)
Or am I missing something? It happens.  :D
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Offline catvet

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2005, 09:03:41 pm »
Beenthere,

You are correct that my original question concerned the "track loaders" which companies such as ASV, and bobcat make.  More resembling Skid Steers than usual forestry equipment. 

I would like to find (most likely wishful thinking) a piece of equipment that I would use every day for all sorts of jobs around our property.  That includes logging, but not exclusively.  I can't have a half dozen different machines, some that I'm using only a couple days out of the month. 

I guess the question really is does there exist a machine, that with the proper attachments, could do reasonably well in the woods, could be used to move logs in the yard, clear snow from the driveway, move dirt and rocks for landscaping, ideally mow my fields, and maybe on the side cook dinner and clean the house  :D.

The obvious answer I suppose would be a tractor but I was hoping for something which moved through the woods more effectively and safely.
Catvet

Northern Vermont

Offline GregS

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2005, 10:40:27 pm »
catvet,
Your words sound like they are coming from my mind...I have the same wishfull thoughts.  "One engine and one machine to take care of. One machine that does it all". 

One of my biggest problems is my tractor needs good trails but my skid-steer makes the trials but the skid-steer is not at camp... :-\  That is why I think the ASV is a good fit.  It seems to have more capablity than a skid-steer but with tractor features. 

Deadwood,
You hit this right on the head.  You need something to make the trails if you intend on using a compact tractor or something else that does not belong in in the woods.  I have to imagine good trails makes things safer.  If one is willing to invest in making good trials then you need something to do this with.  Tractors cannot do this.  Skid-steers don't do it well but better than my shovel and saw  smiley_hardhat2.
Skidders do make trials but they don't mow brush or blow snow or attach post hole diggers to them etc...

I know this is a no-win thing.  No machine does everything well.  But you still have to choose sometimes.


Offline Robert R

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2005, 01:04:35 am »
I guess the question really is does there exist a machine, that with the proper attachments, could do reasonably well in the woods, could be used to move logs in the yard, clear snow from the driveway, move dirt and rocks for landscaping, ideally mow my fields, and maybe on the side cook dinner and clean the house  :D.


Sure there is.  Mine are named Molly and Ginger and are pictured at the left.  Now mind you, they won't actually cook dinner but in a dire emergency, they'd sure make a better dinner than any piece of equipment.   ::)

When you machine breakdowns, can you turn it out into a field and let it fix itself.  Can you put a couple of your older model machines together and 11 months later get a brand spankin new model.  Has your tractor every once nickered at you or sighed while you gave it a good scratching (maybe better not answer that one in public) and last but not least, if trapped in a white out situation or after dark or in case of injury, can you give your machine its head and trust it to take you home?  Ah yes, that perfect piece of equipment is out there, designed by God and just waiting to be put to work.
chaplain robert
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Offline sawguy21

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2005, 02:33:23 am »
 :D :D :D Horses and I just never got along so we came to a mutual agreement, I would stay off their backs and they would stay off mine. At least when I turn the key off, the machine stops and stays where I put it.
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Offline GregS

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2005, 12:24:29 pm »
When you machine breakdowns, can you turn it out into a field and let it fix itself.  Can you put a couple of your older model machines together and 11 months later get a brand spankin new model. 

Robert,  How can anybody argue with this logic  :-X.  I sometimes need reminding that there are other ways....

Thanks for that.


Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Track Loaders for Logging.
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2005, 05:56:28 pm »
I've seen small wheeled forwarders on demonstrations. They wanted about 2 times the price of a tractor with the same size engine. For someone with a 100 acre woodlot to pick away at, it doesn't pay unless it's a good used machine. They want more for the new machine than I can get for cutting the wood.  ::)

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Dirty Harry