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Author Topic: Will a skid steer pull down trees?  (Read 873 times)

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Offline DPForumDog

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Will a skid steer pull down trees?
« on: June 26, 2017, 10:16:02 pm »
Will a skid steer pull down trees from deep in the woods when there is clay soil?

I want to make sure we are buying the right piece of equipment for our weekend farm.  We want it to be able to do a lot of things, like keep 4 wheeler paths clean, clear undergrowth, smooth and level chert roads and the terrain in general, and pull downed logs from deep in the woods.

We already have a Ford 555 backhoe and a John Deere 5203.   We just sold our Cat 955L loader and now my husband thinks he wants a Skid steer.  He thinks a skid steer will be able to keep 4 wheeler paths clean, clear undergrowth, smooth and level chert roads and the terrain in general, load and move stuff, and pull downed logs from deep in the woods when the terrain is clay slippery soil.   Can a skid steer do all these things?  What else can they do?

We are looking at a 2004  cat 257.  It has a lot of hours.....4800, but it appears in fairly good condition.  And we will only be using it a couple of hours each weekend.   This doesn't really scared me because our backhoe had 5200 hours on it  (we have put 200 hrs on in the last 3 years) 
Should 4800 hours scare us?

Also I am wondering if this skid steer can "pull" logs out of the woods, and if so how big of logs?

Any and all discussion appreciated.

Granny DP
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Online MbfVA

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Re: Will a skid steer pull down trees?
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2017, 10:58:30 pm »
Does it have tracks or tires?  Tracks would seem best for anything requiring traction especially on clay--but I'd do more research.  Check the model and vintage out on line to see if it has any weird problems particular to it, just as you would with a car or truck.

Be sure you have log arch or winch of some type.

I have an A300 AWS Bobcat and it will do the slip n slide if the ground is not good.  I have both turf and R4 tires for it, but have only used the turfs so far.  SSLs are not noted for their stability on uneven ground.  Never confuse one with a Gator or Polaris.

If the deal is really good, you likely will not go wrong but renting one for a week to see how it fits needs might work, if the proposed investment justifies it.

You are looking to do a lot of things with it, which is what SSLs are noted for, being a sort of Swiss Army Knife of small machinery when you include all the attachments available for them, but whether it will do them ALL as well as you need.....
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Will a skid steer pull down trees?
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2017, 11:06:21 pm »
A tracked skid steer is the cats meow, wheeled machines are okay but if its wet they are pretty easy to get stuck.  Also, they have no suspension at all so they can be very bouncy and dangerous in any sort of stairstep or ledge or stump situation.  Rubber tire skid steers arent for rugged woods or sidehills.  Theyre for flat to gentle slops and improved terrain.  If rugged steep woods are the landscape youre better off with a 4wd tractor.  But around the barnyard, skid steer is hard to beat. 

Pulling big trees whole like a skidder, no,
Not really.  the machines are too light and youre driving in reverse.  Sawing big trees into 6 or 10ft logs and carrying them out on forks or with a brush grapple, absolutely, theyre excellent for that up to the rated weight capacity.

They do make over the tire tracks (O.T.T.  for example loegering is one prominent brand) that make a wheel machine much more capable in wet clay.

Offline IndyIan

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Re: Will a skid steer pull down trees?
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2017, 11:11:18 am »
I like my 4wd hydrostat tractor for playing in the mud. 
Unless you need the extreme maneuverability and better digging ability of a skid steer, IMO, a tractor is a better swiss army knife.
Implements are far cheaper, you have a mechanical PTO, higher top speed, smoother ride, cheaper running costs(fuel, tires).  Do they make a logging winch for skidsteer?
Skid steer loaders are far tougher, but larger compact tractors lift 2500+lbs these days, and some far more.
 

Offline Stoneyacrefarm

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Re: Will a skid steer pull down trees?
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2017, 11:51:57 am »
X2 as above.
I traded in my skid steer for a tractor.
Much more versatile for going in and out of the woods.

Offline TKehl

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Re: Will a skid steer pull down trees?
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2017, 01:24:35 pm »
Other than tracks and maneuverability, I don't see where you would gain much over the equipment that you have especially if the Deere is 4x4.  That Cat 257 a lot of machine to only use a bit on weekends.  Wouldn't take a lot to use a chainsaw to open the paths from downed trees and pull out the tractor when ground conditions are better.  But if that is acknowledged and it fits your budget, then COOL!

Going to second the rent and try it option.  With limited use, it may be best to keep with occasional rentals and let them do the maintenance. 

If buying, have the tracks been replaced?  Have head that 4-5k hours is about expected track life.  Factor that in to the price.
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Offline Puffergas

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Re: Will a skid steer pull down trees?
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2017, 06:31:44 pm »
Yes, if your eyes aren't larger than your belly and your a wild and crazy operator.
Jeff
Somewhere 20 miles south of Lake Erie.

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Offline Riwaka

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Re: Will a skid steer pull down trees?
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2017, 08:18:01 pm »
Depends on how big the trees are and what end use they are suitable for. In hindsight the Cat 955 might have been kept.
1. Purchase no additional machines - put a log grapple on the 555  backhoe and a set of forks on the front loader(what configuration is the 555? 4x4 etc) and put a small trailer on the JD 5203 and chop (how good are the chainsaws/ skills available?) the logs up very small so the John Deere can pull small loads out of the woods.
2. For various reasons the Cat 257 (given that it is 13 years old now) is probably not the optimal logging/ forestry skid steer/ multi terrain loader.  e.g search online the 3034T engine.

3. Find out what is available in your area as hire machines so you can hire or purchase a machine/s to work with your existing machinery. e.g Larger tractor if the JD 5203 is too small, hire an excavator with a wide bucket ( and laser equipment) to  level ground. etc


Offline BargeMonkey

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Re: Will a skid steer pull down trees?
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2017, 10:24:18 pm »
We have 1 skidsteer on tires, 1 on tracks used around a sawmill, farm, excavation. They are well maintained but don't have an easy life, we used to get out of our wheeled machines at about 2000 hrs because that's right at the point where a 3-4yr old machine goes the other way on trade and you potentially start having issues. My NH has a diff style track group than a 257 Cat which I'm 99% sure is that "ASV" style, I know they are very very expensive when they go down, I think the tracks hold up a little longer than the style I have, we get 1k-1200hrs because of working in rocky rough condition. I'm not 100% sold on the track machines for a "casual user".
 I ask alot of forestry iron questions on here because I don't know some of it, I live in the playground for the rich from NYC where everyone has a subcompact tractor, older backhoe or skidsteer and a garage full of toys for use on the weekend. Alot of guys here don't like my posts or think I'm daydreaming but I've figured out a niche market for supplying these people with older trouble free iron. My local dealers see a weekend homeowner walk thru the door who doesn't quite know what they want and your a walking cash machine that gets taken for a ride with a used machine that has issues you want to be very careful and do your homework. 

 
 My local bobcat dealer had every intention of making 7-10,000 in cash on that machine just by setting it on his lawn and isn't very happy with me right now, the market is saturated with this stuff and the mark up is huge.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Will a skid steer pull down trees?
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2017, 10:37:59 pm »
The dollar is being depreciated faster than skid steers.  Ive been paying attention to this phenomenon about 15 years now.   In that time, harvey homeowner could buy a good used mainstream branded machine and keep it as long as he wants, generally getting the same money back out of it if no major hours or failures struck.   
 It applies more to older models than new.. Clearly a new machine depreciates a bunch in the early years.  Once you get down to the sub $10k price range, a runner doesnt really drop much below 6k if its hydrostatic.

Offline Offthebeatenpath

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Re: Will a skid steer pull down trees?
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2017, 10:46:17 pm »
I have an 2004 ASV RC-60 which is very similar to the Cat 257. I believe Barge Monkey is correct that the Cat tracks are ASV. They are expensive to fix but are better in the woods and mud than any other skid steer that I've tried. I have a winch on a homemade arch of sorts, a rotating grapple, and a slew of other attachments that work well for building trails and pulling out and stacking short logs. The skid steer is super handy, but the hours would worry me. My machine is pushing 3000 hours (I bought it new) and I can feel that it's getting tired.

Bottom line in my opinion- they are very handy, but not really cost effective for occasional use, especially if you need to buy multiple attachments. Since you are asking the question about its applicability, I assume that you will be pushing/skidding trees and playing in the mud with it as a first time operator. You may expect some repair costs due to the learning curve. I know I certainly paid my dues as I learned the limits of my machine.
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Offline barbender

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Re: Will a skid steer pull down trees?
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2017, 11:56:35 pm »
Cat 257 would be ASV undercarriage. As mentioned, they have better flotation and traction than other CTL undercarriages, but they are also less durable, and more expensive.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline woodmaker

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Re: Will a skid steer pull down trees?
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2017, 09:19:27 pm »
I have some experience with both wheeled and tracked skid steers,and a lot of experience with industrial track loaders (called crawler loaders in the northeast).  No one mentioned ground clearance. A rubber tired skid steer
without tracks is almost useless in the woods,and a rubber tracked one only slightly better,but neither one has much ground clearance compared to a crawler loader.
 If i wanted to do the work you listed,I would buy a small crawler loader with a 4 in 1 bucket(J. D. 350 or 450 or ,even better ,I.H. 100 or 125,maybe cat 931).
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Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Will a skid steer pull down trees?
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2017, 05:15:30 am »
woodmaker,   smiley_thumbsup
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