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Author Topic: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?  (Read 1725 times)

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Online John Mc

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Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« on: November 30, 2017, 01:30:57 pm »
I've been wishing I had a small forwarding trailer for my compact tractor for years, but could never justify it. Over the past 6 months, I've had a couple of friends express interest in going on together on the purchase of one. We may round up another couple of people and make the leap. Our goal is not to get into logging in a big way. It's more to pick up the odd few sawlogs here and there, but which are too small a job to interest someone in the business full-time to come and get the wood out of the forest. We have friends with sawmills that we'd love to be able to take the wood to for special projects. Once we own it, I'm sure it will get used in some of our firewood harvesting operations as well. Most of us are in the rolling foothills of the Green Mountains in the Champlain Valley of VT, but it would also get used in some of the neighboring mountain towns.

We think we're looking for something with a load capacity of about 5000# - bigger than the 2000# ATV-style trailers, but small enough to still be a good match with a compact tractor or a small 4WD pickup (like a Toyota Tacoma / Ford Ranger).

I think we want self-contained hydraulics, since not all of us have a tractor we can plug the hydraulics in to.

I'm wondering about other features we should be considering:

Brakes: surge? electric?

Max log length: we'd love to be able to get 16' plus trim. Are we going to have to scale back to something smaller in this load capacity range? I suppose we could accept hauling 12' logs, but if we had to go shorter than that, we'd probably drop the idea.

How handy is it to be able to power the trailers wheels with the hydraulics?
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Resonator

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2017, 02:00:32 pm »
Just a quick word of caution on going together with friends on a purchase, partnerships are ships that can sink. If you have multiple parties owning one asset, have it spelled out IN WRITING, and a SIGNED AGREEMENT who owns what. Inevitably the asset need to be liquidated, and one party will have to buy out the others. Speaking from expensive experience. My two pennies.
"Chasing the sawdust dream..."

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2017, 02:18:19 pm »
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Offline TKehl

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2017, 03:14:45 pm »
On road or strictly off road? 

Iíve moved several logs with a single axle tilt bed trailer and a come along behind a minivan.

Then there is the DanG/Deadheader arch and winch solution.
http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,17613.0.html

Also parabuckle over the trailer side.

Then there is this propane arch (which I havenít got to try out yet).  Mine has a hand winch, but there are hydraulic models out there.


Wouldn't fool with hydraulic drive trailer axles.  If that mucky, best to stay home before breaking something.  Though AG type flotation tires and tandem walking axles may make a lot of sense.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2017, 04:01:22 pm »
The problem with a hydraulic drive axle is uncoupling it for neutral.. And making it match the gearing of the power unit.  The tire friction drive ones cover these issues but arent terribly effective.


I suggest a walking beam and limiting to 12ft logs.  A load of 16s has a whole lot of tail drag unles the trailer is very tall.  The first time you either get stuck or dump a load of 16s crossing a gully because the overhanging logs hung up on the ground youll understand why im saying this.

Online John Mc

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2017, 04:36:53 pm »
Just a quick word of caution on going together with friends on a purchase, partnerships are ships that can sink. If you have multiple parties owning one asset, have it spelled out IN WRITING, and a SIGNED AGREEMENT who owns what. Inevitably the asset need to be liquidated, and one party will have to buy out the others. Speaking from expensive experience. My two pennies.

Good advice. Several of those interested are people I'm already in a land partnership with (16 area families jointly own a wooded parcel which is conserved as a working forest). We formed an LLC and established some ground rules going in. It was well thought-out, but even so, we've learned a few things we might do differently next time.

Maybe we'll form an LLC for this as well. We haven't gotten that far yet, but there will definitely be some legal agreement to sign, which will include a way out (probably requiring that the share be offered back to those the group first and can't be sold to an outsider, as well as a way to force an irresponsible member out.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline celliott

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2017, 05:02:55 pm »
John, definitely get the hydraulic drive assist. Our big Farma trailer doesn't have it because we don't often use it in the woods (not the primary use) but from the little we have used it in the woods and on slopes, even behind a 120hp 4wd tractor, the drive is a must. We cleared a spot for a pump station this summer on our sugaring project, probably cut 10-15 cords of wood out of there. We were loading 2+ cords on, and it wouldn't make a hill we thought would be no problem, needed a push with the excavator each time.

Our trailer does have hydraulic brakes, but they're pretty much all on or all off.

Get the longest boom you can on whatever platform you get- it will never be long enough. I don't know how well the boom mounted winches work, but probably would be handy to have a second tractor (or prebunch) with a winch.
Most trailers offer a bunk extension so you can load longer wood- You can usually have a few feet of overhang too, especially with stuff stacked on top of it.
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Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2017, 05:45:15 pm »
another option
a skidder and a self-loading logging truck
skid the logs to the loading area, then load
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Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2017, 05:55:25 pm »
another option
a skidder and a self-loading logging truck
skid the logs to the loading area, then load

http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,96665.msg1527692.html#msg1527692
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Offline TKehl

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2017, 06:14:41 pm »
What's the budget on this? 

Have you thought about getting an old forwarder like an Iron Mule?  Could use your CUT as a winch to skid to trail, then use the forwarder to move logs.
Lucas 6-13+slabber, Mr. Sawmill bandmill, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Online John Mc

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2017, 10:47:03 pm »
To answers some of the questions:

This will be used mainly in the forest, not as an over-the-road trailer (though occasionally it might be pulled up to a few miles over the road behind a tractor)

I have a logging winch on my compact tractor that we can use to get the logs trailside. (If we get more serious about this, I'm going to need to trade up to a bigger tractor, which is a bummer, because I've finally got this one set up nicely for working in the woods.)

We're trying to keep this small-scale. We're landowners with occasional need to get out more logs than is practical to do pulling one at a time in an arch. We'd like to avoid skidding the logs all the way out - don't want to tear up our trails and load the logs up with dirt.

A skidder, log truck or Iron Mule is not really in the cards for us. A mini forwarder would be as big as we wanted to go, but those are prohibitively expensive new, and no one is selling them used (at least not in our area)

We haven't really set a budget at this point. US$8 - $10,000 is do-able. We might be able to go higher. We'd certainly consider used in good condition, but haven't seen much for sale (we also haven;t been looking for very long.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Rick Alger

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2017, 07:16:39 am »
I looked into this a while ago. At that time there were no small forwarding trailers set up with road-worthy tires, wheel bearings brakes and lights. Likewise, none of the road-worthy self-loading trailers were designed to serve as forwarders. I hope this has changed, but I haven't seen any evidence.

Online roger 4400

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2017, 10:51:36 am »
Hi John.  First go on Youtube and write  : Bombadil logging farm tractor boreal forest. Look at those wonderfull and instructive video .
I have the very same equipment,  1643 Massey Ferguson, (4X4) 43 hp hydrostat transmission. 351 Farmi winch that I use to pull the logs to my main trails and a METAVIC 1150 m14 forwarder trailer exactly like m. Bombadil .  It can carry +- 8000 pounds of logs ( I put some 16 footers in it, hemlocks logs over 1000 pounds each. ). The bed is 11.5 ft long, the boom is 14 ft , do not buy a shorter boom. It can be equipped to go on the road, it can have traction ( those are options you have to pay. It is the exact size  of my tractor (66 in.wide)  Of course my trails are wide and the land is flat. The whole forwarder weight 2500 pounds ( 1250 for the trailer, 1250 for the crane) Mine has no options and cost me $15,000 ( Canadian money) .
Once in my life I bought something with another person.......I'll never do it again .....but that is your choice.  Good luck .I guess with some luck you could fine a good used one.





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Online John Mc

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2017, 01:07:39 pm »
Thanks, Roger. I've seen those Bombadil videos. In fact, I believe I posted a link to them a while back (but that may have been on a tractor-focused forum, rather than here on the FF).

Metavic is one of the ones I was looking at. I was looking at the M95 Tractor model, just because some of the folks who are interested have smaller equipment to use with it (small pick-up trucks or compact tractors). My own tractor is a New Holland TC33D (33 HP Hydrostatic). I keep thinking I should step up a size, but it's hard to make the jump, since I've added some modifications to this one, and all of my implements are sized for it.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Online roger 4400

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2017, 02:34:32 pm »
John, I looked at your tractor spec,  your hydraulic pump give  7.6 gpm, If I remember well Metavic recommand 8 gpm and 2500 psi ( my tractor has enough gpm but my release valve is set at 2276 pounds on Massey's tractor so I cannot use all the power on my crane but it still strong enough for my needs) . If you buy a bigger tractor you must know if your hydraulic has an  **open center or a close center hydraulic unit. ** Most of tractor under 60 hp are open center BUT John Deere  and bigger tractor are all close center ( I think) only check that if you buy a used forwarder.  If new , they set the hydraulic for your needs.  Have you seen a M95 in real ? Some think they can use them with an atv......then the trail have to be clean and flat and a rigid axle, I cannot imagine them carrying a full load with such a tow vehicle, but a small tractor could easily tow and a pick-up also. But I do not think you can carry a 16 footer with those.
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Online John Mc

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2017, 03:47:23 pm »
Roger -

I'm going to look at an M95 in the near future. It's not something I would pull with an ATV. There are much smaller & lighter units that are more suited to an ATV. This will be pulled by tractors similar to mine. If we could come up with enough $, maybe we'd bump up to the 1150. I'm just worried that art 2500# empty, we've used up a bunch of the tow capacity of some of the vehicles that would be pulling it.

I'm also hoping to look at the Woody 105-HD loader on their 9-58 trailer. Unfortunately, the nearest dealer only has larger stuff in stock.

I keep going back and forth about one of those vs a larger unit, or just going with parbuckling or DanG-Deadheader log lift on a less expensive trailer.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Stephen Alford

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2017, 04:01:21 pm »
Hey John, just a couple of things to consider. if the trailer and loader are used by others then on your gear hydraulic fluid problems may be transferred to your gear. If someone else uses poor or used hydraulic oil then it will enter your gear if you use your tractor hydraulics, or if metal bits are about the same. So with multiple users maybe independent hydraulics on the loader.  You will also come across two types of legs.. telescopic or fold out stabilizer legs. On sloped or rough ground  , in my experience at least the  fold out legs did better.   In a tippy sitch the can be extended out and prevent a rollover.  In the older models they provided a wider stance. The real problem with a loader is how to get the smile off your face once you use one.   :D
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Online John Mc

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2017, 06:13:23 pm »
Thanks for the tip about the legs, Stephen.

There is no way I would hook up group-owned equipment to my tractor's hydraulics. Originally, I was thinking PTO pump, but since some of the group want's to use it behind a pickup or tractors without hydraulic remotes, we'll probably be going with the gas-engine powered hydraulics
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Offline bill m

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2017, 07:45:39 pm »
John, 16 ft. logs are possible depending on the bed length. Depending on how much is hanging off the back traction up and down hills can be a problem. The bed on my trailer is 13 feet and a full load of 16 ft logs gets a little harry going down steep hills. Brakes would be mandatory if you do not have the hydraulic drive assist. The hydraulic drive assist is not cheap ( between 8 and 10 thousand extra

  

   ) but worth every penny if you are doing this full time. Part time it could be hard to justify the added expense.
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Online John Mc

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Re: Compact tractor sized forwarding trailer?
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2017, 09:42:21 pm »
John, 16 ft. logs are possible depending on the bed length. Depending on how much is hanging off the back traction up and down hills can be a problem. The bed on my trailer is 13 feet and a full load of 16 ft logs gets a little harry going down steep hills. Brakes would be mandatory if you do not have the hydraulic drive assist.


I think we are gong to have to scale back from our original 16' goal. However, given the hills on which we need to operate

Quote
The hydraulic drive assist is not cheap ( between 8 and 10 thousand extra, but worth every penny if you are doing this full time. Part time it could be hard to justify the added expense.

Ouch! I didn't realize they were that expensive. That may have to be relegated to the "we hope to retrofit one some day" list
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow