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Tractor loader backhoe advise

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littlemarv View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote littlemarv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Tractor loader backhoe advise
    Posted: 11 Sep 2021 at 4:30pm
Ahhhh, my first venture into the construction side of the forum! Everything is yellow and lots of hydraulics dripping on the floor!
 
At any rate, I am looking for advice on yet another hair brained idea that popped into the old noggin.
 
My father is 76 years old, still burns wood in the basement and has no backup heat. Never has, probably never will. There is a small woodstove in the kitchen, so when the power goes out and the blower downstairs don't work he just stokes the kitchen one up a little higher.
 
He has been heating for the past decade or so courtesy of the Dutch Elm disease, I didn't think we'd run out of dead elm, but we finally did. He has his 40 acres of woods spotless, so now we have started in on harvesting mature maples, to make room for the young ones. We cut the ones that are twisted, or split, etc. for firewood.
 
Pa can't handle the big stuff anymore. Its becoming up to me to make firewood for the old man. I have no problem with it, I'm having a blast doing it. I built a log arch, which is awesome for picking logs up without skidding them, and either hauling them all the way home, or out to a clearing. And I put a loader and forks on the WD for loading logs  onto some running gears that I have.
 
The system works pretty good, but I'm always looking to improve, (and always looking for a reason to buy another tractor).
 
I have looked into those hydraulic log loader trailers, they are prohibitively expensive and I don't think they will lift the size stuff we are working with.
 
So, my great epiphany is this: Could a guy take a backhoe tractor, take the bucket off the backhoe, install a rotating grapple, and drive it up into the woods to load logs?
 
I googled Allis backhoes, and just picked a 615 model, cause it looked the smallest.
 
Things to think about:
 
How much does it weigh? Can't seem to find the machine weight on tractordata. Can you unload the tires and take the loader off, both for weight reduction and shorten the length for maneuvering in the woods?
 
How much can the backhoe portion lift?  Especially at full extension?  1000 pounds? 2000? More? Off to each side as well as straight out the back? This is assuming the backhoe swings 180 degrees? Will the lifting capacity be reduced if I lighten the whole machine up?
 
Ground clearance: Well, we go everywhere up in the woods with the gator, and that doesn't have a whole lot of clearance.
 
Think an I400 or a 615 would work in such an application? Are there any even for sale, can you get parts for them?
 
I've never even seen one in person, so I thought I'd ask on here, to see if this is even a possibility, or if I'm missing something so obvious that would prevent it from working???
 
Any advice is appreciated.
 
 
The mechanic always wins.

B91131, WC23065, WD89101, CA29479, B1, Early B10, HB212, 416H
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littlemarv View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote littlemarv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Sep 2021 at 4:37pm
Is an I400 or 615 smaller in size than a WD? Cause even the WD is a tank in the woods compared to the B....
 
Could a guy find a used 3 point backhoe and modify it to mount solid on the back of a WD?
 
The more I think, the more questions I have.
The mechanic always wins.

B91131, WC23065, WD89101, CA29479, B1, Early B10, HB212, 416H
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littlemarv View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote littlemarv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Sep 2021 at 4:56pm
The mechanic always wins.

B91131, WC23065, WD89101, CA29479, B1, Early B10, HB212, 416H
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JTOOL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Sep 2021 at 10:49am
@littlemarv; Just from perusing this site it appears to me that parts for A/C construction equipment is almost nonexistent. Also, if your WD isn't quite nimble enough in the woods, I would think that a backhoe would be even worse. Does your budget allow for maybe a used mini excavator that you could maybe find/rig a grapple for? That might be a way to go. Just my two cents. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote orangeman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Sep 2021 at 3:36pm
littlemarv: 

If I understand it lifting the size logs that are being skidded by the WD is the issue?

I would not recommend a 615 or I400 for either log lifting job. Having a 615 myself they are not suited for logging type activity.  For some perspective about what you are trying to do improve, go to forestry forum and puruse what the members are using there.  Most of them are small to mid size forestry operators that have either Rough Terrain Forklifts, small four wheel drive skidders, and wheel loaders.  

If it were me and was looking to control cost I think I would look for a suitable sized four wheel drive wheel loader to use to lift logs at a landing or at a yard pile.  If skidding larger logs becomes  a problem - I would put the WD away and focus on a 4 wheel drive skidder - tree farmer, pettibone, clark, international all developed specific units to do this type of work.  A word of caution, and as a friendly reminder, many men in this country have died from the overtipping load generated by skidding logs with a farm tractor.  This is particulary acute when operating on a acute grade and pulling a log.   

If your wanting to stay AC- consider the H-3/HD-3 or HD4 with a logging winch and canopy.  As JTOOl mentioned AC construction parts are getting thin, unless you have access to a lathe and bridgeport and can machine parts yourself.   Personally, I would go with a C-4 Tree Farmer skidder or larger depending on your log size and possibly an 840 wheel loader or 545B or 545H to do the lifting chores.   

All the best on this and good luck! 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DMiller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Sep 2021 at 4:30pm
Skidder and winch is a better choice, not gonna find that multi duty fits all in a TLB.  TLBs tend to be butt heavy, get stuck easy but easy to unstick with rear arm, front ends are always light until overload them then bust axles.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DiyDave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Sep 2021 at 6:01pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote littlemarv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Sep 2021 at 9:53pm
Thank you all for the responses, good ideas.

We do not skid logs.
Reason 1: Dad would never ever ever allow it. All you do if fill the bark with mud and that dulls chainsaw chains.
Reason 2: It is very dangerous and I ain't dying for a block of wood.

You can't take the loader off a backhoe tractor, cause there goes all your counterweight for lifting. And from what I can tell even a small tractor loader backhoe goes around 10,000 lbs. You aren't going to take a 10,000 pound two wheel drive tractor through my dad's woods unless we have a hella drought.

I think we will just stick with log arching them out to a clearing, then loading them onto the log wagons to get them home. Simpler is better, and it works for what we do.

It was just an idea...
The mechanic always wins.

B91131, WC23065, WD89101, CA29479, B1, Early B10, HB212, 416H
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JohnColo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Sep 2021 at 10:15pm
If it were me, I'd find myself a skid steer loader (Bobcat) and get a grapple for it or build a grapple for the bucket or forks.  Depending on the width between trees in the woods, I'd cut the logs to 8' or less and load the running gear with them.  You really need some log bunks on the trailer to hold the logs securely.  I agree with the other posts that a backhoe isn't very practical.  Back in the late 1970's I was in the logging business in the mountains just west of me.  We first used my Farmall H with a narrow front and an American loader to load trucks.  We bought a new Bobcat 825 with a grapple which really sped up the process.  We were hauling 16-18' logs down the mountain to the sawmill.  The small/crooked stuff we cut in 8' lengths and loaded sideways on a truck to haul to the wood yard in town.  I always thought it would be cool to have a wood processor that would cut and split full length logs and convey the wood into a pile or truck.  Maybe in my next life!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote littlemarv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2021 at 8:20pm
Lord knows a bobcat would be handy for pretty much everything we do up at dads. I wonder how good it would do in the woods, but bobcats slog around in the mud on construction sites every day. Something else to dream about, cause from what I can tell, bobcats don't come cheap.
The mechanic always wins.

B91131, WC23065, WD89101, CA29479, B1, Early B10, HB212, 416H
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote allisbred Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2021 at 9:45pm
Not sure of the terrain you have. I process wood at the location and haul out. A 3pt splitter and loader of any sort works, 4 x4 being the best. I have a 2 wheel drive backhoe and that would be my last resource in soft ground or around tree branches, mostly due to having a cab. Seems like most of my broken hoses and lights have been while playing around trees!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eric B Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2021 at 11:36pm
I'm totally with you Marv about not dragging the logs across dirt or mud as you dull the saw chains in short order. My mini-excavator with a thumb is great for loading but a bit slow on forest trails. What I use mostly is a WA-40 Komatsu articulated wheel loader, 5' 6" wide (6000 lbs.) for picking up the logs and dumping onto the truck. I only cut 90" lengths, back up my truck to the 3 point, PTO operated, firewood processor, slip each piece onto the table. Then cut six 15" rounds that fall into the splitter and up the belt onto the trailer. This has made the pursuit of firewood so much more fun this year, not to mention the saving in time. Not being used to a Bobcat I would find it too much like a bucking bronco on rough forest trails with rocks and stumps but the trained 'cowboys' can likely handle them no problem. 
Currently- WD,WC,3WF's,2 D14's B. Previously- I 600,TL745,200,FL9,FR12,H3,816 LBH. Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JohnColo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Sep 2021 at 12:51am
I agree that a small 4x4 wheel loader might work even better then a skid steer.  I've not had experience with one but they look really handy and don't mess up the ground as much as a skid steer.  Either machine is going to be in the $8 to $10,000 range for a good one.  Just depends how much you would use it.  When you look at the big picture, burning wood isn't all that cheap a way to heat.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote orangeman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Sep 2021 at 8:50am
Small Gafner or Prentice log loader might work as well.   Early AC literature illustrated a Gafner log loader attached to the back of an H-3 HD3 Crawler. I believe the log loaders could be ordered as optional equipment for the H-4/HD4 machines as well.   

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote littlemarv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2021 at 7:26am
The way my father does it, it is about as cheap as you can get. I think he is on his fourth chainsaw in his entire life. He uses the 1948 Allis B that Grandpa bought new, and a homemade trailer. When his first two woodsplitters grew up and moved out, then he had a hydraulic woodsplitters built. That's all he has used for the last 60 years.

Now that his whippersnapper kid is taking over, now comes another tractor and loader and log arch and wagons and cranes and all sorts of bright ideas that all cost money.

But, I get to play with all my tractors and machinery, and he gets heat, so it's a win all around.
The mechanic always wins.

B91131, WC23065, WD89101, CA29479, B1, Early B10, HB212, 416H
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eric B Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2021 at 12:41pm
I fully agree with John that you can end up investing a lot of $$ before you have everything working ideally BUT... good used equipment is either holding value or going up. I bought my 028 mini excavator and my WA 40 Komatsu wheel loader 15 years ago, 1996 & 1992 year models respectively. They would both sell for more $$ today than what I paid for them back then. This means that with decent usage (no abuse) and good maintenance you have owned the machines at really no capital cost. Coming up with a year's worth of seasoned firewood on an ongoing basis is not for the lazy or faint of heart but it can be fun, at least we tell ourselves it is LOL. I would far rather get my blood moving by working with firewood than having a gym membership just staring at a wall while you sweat. I totally agree about the enjoyment of 'playing' with man-size toys. I also use 5 old Allis tractors, each with different implements but that's what makes tractor collecting fun with some purpose to boot. I'm sure you, like me, have heard your wife say "why do you have to have so many tractors???" Wink

Edited by Eric B - 18 Sep 2021 at 3:02pm
Currently- WD,WC,3WF's,2 D14's B. Previously- I 600,TL745,200,FL9,FR12,H3,816 LBH. Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Coke-in-MN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Sep 2021 at 1:15pm

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Edited by Coke-in-MN - 18 Sep 2021 at 1:20pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveKamp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Oct 2021 at 9:14am
I'll throw in my two cents...

I have a 3 point backhoe on my D17... it would NOT give the kind of agility in a forested area necessary for gently harvesting trees...  not only getting into, and out of an area to work, it cannot lift something and MOVE... because the outriggers have to be down to handle any reaction moments.  After having operated many Case 580 hoes, if I were to grapple ANY, it'd be one with the extend-a-hoe feature, simply because the reach/retract would allow a little more flexibility.  The only other advantage would be easy change from work to motoring and good visibility, but the cab would be too high, and the bucket would constantly be in the way of maneuvering.

What I would choose, is a remote controlled hydraulic winch, with a long wire rope, that could be pulled down to a felled tree with a small loader-tractor, hooked to the arch, and TOW the arch out of the timber while 'guiding' it around with the small loader tractor.

By small loader tractor, I'm referring to 4wd, anything in the  Kubota BX-series size... but preferably a brand that has a transaxle made of something stronger than their aluminum backend... with ag tread on all four corners, fronts filled with foam, backs loaded halfway with beet juice and iron.

A compact 4wd with FEL will pull an arch anywhere, and extract it when it gets tangled, it will accept scabbards for chainsaws, a bracket for a sharpening vise, fuel cans, holders for other tools, work lights on the ROPS, and have the ability to push, lift, or roll things that a man cannot easily do by hand... and it'll go almost anywhere you can walk, without unnecissarily tearing up soil or foliage.

The remote hydraulic winch does the hard work, from a strategic point at a distance, but in a place where it isn't in peril of getting stuck.  One man doesn't unstick a machine himself easily...  but the winch-tractor serves triple duty-  not only does it pull logs out, it tows the loaded arch (unless the tree happens to be small enough for the SMALL tractor), it extracts the small tractor (if you get it into a pickle), AND... it can pull ITSELF out, if you find it into a bad spot.

I wouldn't take anything into timber any larger than absolutely necessarily possible, and I wouldn't do it unless there was some ready way to drag it out.

Using remote winch and arch means that when you start doing the really dangerous part, you're at a safe distance.  When you're alone, and bad things happen, they're frequently very permanent.
Ten Amendments, Ten Commandments, and one Golden Rule solve most every problem. Citrus hand-cleaner with Pumice does the rest.
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