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Three Wheeled Feller Buncher?

Discussion in 'Forestry Equipment' started by HEO Girl, May 29, 2011.

  1. HEO Girl

    HEO Girl Well-Known Member

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    I was at a friends garage yesterday and saw this.

    02bc458d.jpg
    4158019f.jpg

    I guess the only bunchers I've ever seen have been on tracks, don't think I've seen one on wheels before. Never would I have thought they made 3 wheelers out of them too.

    Wondering if anyone else has seen these before?
     
  2. mitch504

    mitch504 Senior Member

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    I've only seen pictures of the Valmet version, but Bell Equipment made thousands of them in the '80s and early '90s, (called them a Mo-Bell around here). They worked great for thinning pine plantations, since they are so maneuverable, they didn't tear up the trees you were leaving.

    About 95% of the feller-bunchers around here are on wheels. They are on 4-wheel articulated tractors, superficially similar to wheel loaders.
     
  3. jr-transport

    jr-transport Well-Known Member

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    I know a guy who has a morbell snipper, there were 3 or 4 of them around here. Fun to watch those little machines; they have a tendancy to flip over quite often......
     

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  4. mitch504

    mitch504 Senior Member

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    That bottom one is a Morbark, same as the chippers and grinders, I think they still make them. I forgot about them.
     
  5. oldseabee

    oldseabee Senior Member

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    Bell partnered with Mobark for a while to build the mo bell machines, then they split up and Bell started bringing their own from South Africa, had a small assembly shop in Garden City, Ga. (Savannah) along with North American Product Support, also brought in Bell Articulated trucks. Later John Deere bought into Bell and started branding the Bell trucks as John Deeres.
     
  6. mitch504

    mitch504 Senior Member

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    Ahh, I knew Bell and Morbark made similar but different machines, and I saw Mo Bells before I saw Morbarks, but I never made the connection, thanks.

    I also never thought about Bell forestry, and Bell trucks being the same.
     
  7. oldseabee

    oldseabee Senior Member

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    Bell has quite an interesting history. The 3 wheeler was originally developed as a machine to handle sugar cane, the also built tractors to pull the cane wagons. During the sanctions against South Africa the couldn't get heavy equipment so Bell developed the Articulated trucks and front end loaders, then to provide customer service the put mechanics in helicopters when the distances and road conditions were too difficult. Bell ended up with close to 80% of the loader, truck and three wheeler market. Paul Bell spearheaded the development of the three wheeler into a feller buncher for the logging industry, then put it on tracks for rough terrain and swamps. South Africa also had a great apprentice program for mechanics. The apprentice had to take training and work in the industry, they had to pass exams and be certified in power train, hydraulics, electrical, welding, and troubleshooting. Once the mechanic, now a technician had his papers he could work any where and the employer knew by the papers that he was qualified. The USA could learn something there.
     
  8. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    The only tracked harvester I've seen was one being used to clear ROW for an interstate expansion. They also had a forwarder with a big grapple instead of bunks. I guess with the tight space and rough terrain it works the best.

    All the regular loggers that I have seen use hydro-axes which is now a Prentice or some variant.

    I have seen a few of the Bell three-wheelers, mostly down in South Alabama used in the pulpwood plantations.
     
  9. Hillbillybjopkr

    Hillbillybjopkr Well-Known Member

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    logger i worked for yrs ago had some of these....called em wolverines.....my pops yrs ago ran a early version of then with just a shear....called it a pac-man
     
  10. oldseabee

    oldseabee Senior Member

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    Any old running Bells out there for sale? I've had people call me looking for them becuse they were simple to work on and cheap to run.
     
  11. 69hayes

    69hayes Well-Known Member

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    Have a search on Youtube for some videos of these in action
     
  12. PowderKeg

    PowderKeg Member

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    I ran a Mor-Bell for a short while back in the mid-80's in eastern VA thinning Lob and Va Pine stands on Chesapeake lands. Same as the red one above except it had a Morbark buncher head on it. Was a neat little machine, maneuverable as all get-out and well suited for thinning, but frustrating as all $%#%@!! to learn the first few days - waddled more than drove down the rows the until my feet got coordinated. Tail wheel would hang-up in a heartbeat and it didn't care much for mud holes. Buddy I worked with back then could always tell where I was on the job when he couldn't hear the machine running or see tree tops moving - the long stream of creative and multi-syllabic curses wafting over the trees would give me away, and signal when/where to send the skidder and a chain to.....

    Logger cutting on Post has a tracked Bell with a dangle head he's used in previous years, but hasn't brought it back yet this year. Says he likes it, but moved up to a tracked self-leveler.
     
  13. Super S

    Super S Active Member

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    I know where one is for sale. I looked at it but it was a little more than I wanted in a machine for no more than I would use it. Good looking machine with a dangle head. Owner wants 15000 for it and it was ready to go to work. I can put you in touch with him if you are interested.