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JD/Hitachi Forestry Swing Machine Questions

Discussion in 'Forestry Equipment' started by BCWoodlotGuy, Sep 6, 2021.

  1. BCWoodlotGuy

    BCWoodlotGuy New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2021
    Messages:
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    Location:
    East Kootenay BC
    New to the forum doing some research on forestry specific swing machines. My family has a 1,200 acre woodlot with a mix of pine and Douglas fir mostly under 24”DBH and a mix of easy conventional level ground and some steep slope that will require cable or tethered harvesting. We’ve contracted out most of the harvesting and road building in the past but I’m motivated to get more hands on do some mechanical harvesting and road building on the easier terrain and continue to contract out the steep ground work. We harvest about 1,200-1,500m3 per year so not a ton of volume so need to keep costs low. Can’t justify brand new or multiple machines. Now that scene is set, I was hoping to get a forestry swing machine that I could convert back and forth between a harvester/ processor and an excavator. Primarily looking at JD 2154 or Hitachi 210F-3 or similar. Doable? Was thinking of starting with a processor and getting an excavator stick and bucket(s) and swapping front ends at the stick. Not sure how the plumbing works to allow for conversion between harvesting head and bucket/thumb or clam. Please enlighten me!

    Used market is pretty hot these days so the forestry machines in my budget ($125k CAD) are up there in hours. How many hours are these heavy duty machines capable of running effort they start to fall apart? Thanks in advance for the insight!
     
  2. John C.

    John C. Senior Member

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    What you should look for are road builder machines that have the raised cabs, high and wide car bodies and extra plumbing and a quick connect to shift from a bucket machine to a heel rack with a grapple or a dangle head processor. You can find these types of machines in Canada with processors installed. You will still have the excavator front but the boom cylinder rod ends will go to a block on the underside of the boom to enable the machine to have a higher lift in order to load logging trucks. I'll look around to see if I have photos from the past of one of these machines.

    It used to be 10,000 to 12,000 hours was all anyone would run but in the last five years, that limit had gone away and now you find plenty of 15,000 to 20,000 hour machines running. They will have a lot more wear in the joints and hydraulic leaks all over the machines. The engines on machine with those high hours are always tired unless they have been replaced. Hard parts like undercarriage and slewing bearings are usually worn out.
    Good Luck
     
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  3. Mike L

    Mike L Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    Self employed field mechanic
    Location:
    maine
    I’ve seen a couple machines set up like what you’re talking about. My take is that it is doable but you end up with a machine that is capable of doing both but not great at doing either.
     
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  4. John C.

    John C. Senior Member

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    The excavator with the processor heads work pretty well and are all over Canada from what I understand. I have seen a few in the northwest but road builders seem to never get the processor heads put on them here any more. If they came from the dealer with the processor head, they seemed to stay that way as well.
     
  5. BCWoodlotGuy

    BCWoodlotGuy New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2021
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    Location:
    East Kootenay BC
    Thanks for the input all! I’m not sure exactly which year JD (and the sister Hitachi) started selling the D series (2154D instead of 2054) but from what I’ve seen that’s when the processors started shipping with a specific stick for the processor head rather than just an adapter for the processor head that attached to the standard excavator stick. So far my research has produced a few notable points:
    -forestry machines are worth the added cost for what I want to do
    -JD and Hitachi machines are virtually identical other than engines and cooling systems
    -JD / Hitachi are best of the bunch for forestry
    -JD engine burns more fuel and life expectancy 12-15k hrs
    -Hitachi engine life expectancy 15-20k hrs but turbo is a weak point
    -Converting a processor to an excavator is easier than excavator to a processor
    -A standard excavator stick for a 200 series JD or Hitachi will pin onto the boom of either the 2154D or ZX210F-3

    Please correct me if any of those points are incorrect or off base. Thanks all!
     
    hosspuller likes this.
  6. Plebeian

    Plebeian Senior Member

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    Apr 2, 2009
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    Location:
    NZ
    Seems a bit strange to me. In the old days one might have got the machinery company to drop off an old dozer and purchase an old chain saw, after a bit of informal instruction start on the job etc.

    Now the machinery does not arrive to the work site till there are felling plans/ permits, geotechnic studies/ reports, enviromental reports, 3D mapping, cultural assessments from first nations, safety/ contingency plans etc.

    Now even small logging crews tend to turn up with multiple swing machines, at least one skidder, dozer or two etc ( as required vibrating road roller, grader, forwarder, cable yarder, adt, off road log truck etc)
    The falling machine operator is in radio contact when working away from the rest of the crew. Carry epirbs, man alone alarms etc. to comply with safety rules
    https://www.bcforestsafe.org/ (training etc section)
    I would leave the logging to the pro loggers and just get qualified to run a 312 - 320 size excavator that complies with the Safety rule compliant guarded windows, rops with a bucket and quick change grapple to tidy up the mess and is a lightweight machine to carry back to put in a shed when not being used.(than leave to get vandalised in woods)
     
  7. Hallback

    Hallback Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    Gyppo tower logger
    Location:
    Aberdeen Wa.
    Save your money.
    At 1200 tons per year don't go backwards trying to do it yourself.
    The ONLY reason to run some JD/Hitachi gear is for the warranty & manufacturer financing.
    The D series were horrible for engines and pins.
    If you want to be more hands on, get a grader & play with that.

    Take what I say with a grain of salt though, I don't really have a ton of experience in this.
     
    Hank R, Mike L and John C. like this.
  8. catman13

    catman13 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2011
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    Occupation:
    refrigeration engineer/excavation contractor
    Location:
    oregon usa
    if you buy an older machine with hours and you loose the swing bearing you have a big paper weight or loose a pump you will be several 1000 dollars to put it back together plus down time .
    and swapping booms and stuff back and forth is work and if something slips you may be broken or dead.....
    -------- like said above let the bid boys do it , if they break it its on their dime ------
     
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  9. Jared H

    Jared H New Member

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    Mar 30, 2020
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    Location:
    Vernon
    What dealers are close by for support? That usually plays a big factor into what you should look into. I'm a small scale logger in the BC interior and with what I have locally I deal with Volvo, Madill, Tigercat or Linkbelt...we do have a Brandt dealer close by, but their support and service is so poor that I try to avoid having any Deere equipment.

    I've seen a few machines setup the way you're thinking, they're kind of like a Swiss Army knife. They usually have the processor head setup on a wedge style quick attach and depending on how you have it plumbed and wired, you can change it over to a bucket/grapple in an hour or 2.

    It can be hard to get production out of it with just 1 piece of iron. Chainsaw and a line skidder are the most cost effect way to do it if you're staying small. A buncher, grapple skidder and processor really speed things up a lot though. The learning curve on a processor is pretty big as well if you've never ran one before.
     
  10. Jumbo

    Jumbo Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    retired
    Location:
    Black Diamond WA
    There is a story I heard when I was a kid in the early 1950s....
    There was a logger... He went into a hardware store and bought a hundred ax handles for $6.00 each. Later the owner of the store saw the man selling the ax handles for $5.00 each. The owner asked Mr. Logger what are you doing? you will go broke selling those ax handles at that price. The logger replied; I know, but the hours are better, less chance of getting banged up and it will take longer to go broke than if I was still logging.
    I don't think much has changed much over the decades, logging is still a good way to burn through money. With a lot of hard work, ingenuity and luck, you can make a living. Hallback has the right idea, roads always need work, and when you are done, you need to start over.
     
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