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Which splitter?

Post in 'The Gear' started by fmelani, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. fmelani

    fmelani Member

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    I am trying to decide on the best splitter for my needs and am starting to get a bit confused…. Well a lot confused to be honest. I will be splitting around 8 cords of wood a year, all hardwood of various types. Also, have been burning in a Jotul C550 Rockland Insert which is a pretty wide unit and allows me to put up to 24” splits (18” to 20” seem to burn really well and fit well for overnight burns). Oh yeah, tendentious in the elbows is really driving this decision.

    Initially I was looking at the TSC Huskee 22 ton splitter which people on this site really seem to rave about. The videos online demonstrate the 22 tons is more than adequate for my needs. However a few wood burners in my area have told me to step up my price point and look at 26 ton Iron and Oak with the Robins engine or the North Star 37 ton with the Honda GX engine. Their thought process was around the engine not necessarily the unit’s tonnage rating.

    I don’t mind jumping up to these models and paying for a better quality product that will last longer, but is it truly worth the extra $1K? I was hoping to get opinions from those that have tried the Huskee and one of the other two units. I believe the Huskee would meet my needs, but am a little worried about the B&S engine; a few local guys thought I would probably be replacing the B&S engine in 5 or 6 years.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Frank

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  2. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    My Briggs seems to be fine after 3 years. Even if it does give up the ghost in 2 more years (which I don't think it will), I can repower it with a brand new GX for a LOT less than a thousand dollars.
  3. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    I agree, the whole purpose of heating with wood is to save $. An additional $1k is very substantial. Have you looked a used units in your area?
  4. slindo

    slindo Member

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    Don't overlook the Chinese GX clones. The best of them seem to pretty near as good as the real thing, and you've got that great GX starting. If you do wear it out, a real GX will bolt right in, or you'll have your choice of bargain priced clones

    Beware of putting too much importance on tonnage alone since the less scrupulous companies are putting oversize cylinders on modest pumps and motors to inflate the tonnage number. As Einstein once said "Tonnage without flow is tedium".
  5. fmelani

    fmelani Member

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    Very good point and that is what really led me to the Husky initially. The price cant be beat, especially for everything you get. Really like the cycle time. I have checked for used units... and most are the 22 ton Husky, but guys are asking nearly new prices. I have also seen a few Timber wolf splitters but they are out of my price range.

    I plan on renting the I&O 26 ton nearby just to try it out
  6. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Used units are few and far between around here...and cost about as much as a new Husky.
  7. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Watch out for some of the big tonnage units. Even if they have that "perfect" engine, many are mated to a woefully slow pump for a 5" ram = slow cycle times.
    TreePointer and ScotO like this.
  8. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I have the Iron & Oak BHVH2609 your burner friends mentioned. Two of my friends have the 22-ton Speeco TSC unit. One looks at it from the standpoint that the Briggs engine will cost relatively little to replace should something major happen to it. There are engines available for under $200 that would power that unit just fine. One of the nice things about I&O is they offer multiple options for engines. Briggs, Briggs Vanguard, Robin/Subaru (my preference), or the Honda GX. Pick your poison.

    I personally don't care for the skinny wedge on Northern's splitters. Otherwise they look pretty solid.

    Your friends were also wise to tell you to ignore the tonnage rating. PSI and GPM (pressure and flow) will tell you a lot about what it will do, the cylinder diameter will speak the rest.

    Worth the extra $1K? You're call. I'm very pleased with mine and would go that route again in a heartbeat.


    They call those, Troy-Bilts. ;lol And all of it's MTD built cousins. Cub Cadet, Yard Machine, etc....
    Jags likes this.
  9. I've got the north star 30 ton. Bought it mostly because of the honda engine. No disappointments.

    I look at bs engines like this; their cheap and easy to replace. But I hate buying things twice. And I want things to work when I need them to. How much is your time worth when your pulling endlessly on an engine that won't start. And how many years do you want to put up with that frustration before you break down and spend the money an easy to start replacement (Honda, subaru, Kawasaki etc.)
  10. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Briggs builds engines on both ends of the spectrum. Unfortunately the cheapo's don't do the good ones any favors.

    Honda builds a "throw-away" engine too. Anything more that carburetion or ignition trouble with the GC series and they're scrap.
    TreePointer likes this.
  11. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Hmmmm...I gotta Briggs. I don't pull at all. I push a button. Easy.
  12. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I've never had that problem. ;)

    Most no-starts are actually the fault of the operator, or the fuel, which ultimately goes back to you-know-who. If you're equipment is giving you hell with starting issues, it will pay to brush up on better fuel storage habits.
  13. I've got a honda engine with north of 2000 hours on it. Been sitting outside all winter covered in snow. I gaurantee it will start the first time I turn the key. Never had to day any maintance other than an oil change.

    Good luck getting the same performance out of a cheap engine.
  14. fmelani

    fmelani Member

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    I plan on burning wood in my Jotul for a very long time, and if I ever move will be putting a new one in that house. My family loves it that much!

    Bottom line, I have no interest in purchasing split wood for $200+ a cord when it can be had for free or a very modest price. So yes, I look at this as a 10 year plus+ investment. I am modestly mechanically inclined, so not sure if I could replace the engine if needed but would certainly keep up with all the needed maintenance.

    Has anyone actually replaced the B&S engine on their splitter? Is it really that easy or something that needs to go to a small engine shop?.

    Thanks for all the feedback and please keep it coming, it really helps the decision making process.
  15. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    My splitter with the Briggs engine hadn't been ran all winter up until last weekend. I dumped some fresh fuel in it, pumped the primer about 6 times, full choke, 2 pulls, and I was splitting wood. Is this engine as good as a Honda GX - no. Is it good enough for a machine that sees *maybe* 20 hours of run time a year - yes. 20 hours is a lot of wood.
    HDRock likes this.
  16. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I honestly don't see you needing to replace the engine, with regular routine maintenance. The main point is that, even if you do have to, you're still money ahead over a higher priced splitter.
  17. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    When was the last time you have heard of a splitter engine needing to be replaces that wasn't at least 20 year old? It really isn't a big concern of mine.

    And fmelani - its so easy - even a caveman could do it.
    firefighterjake likes this.
  18. The worry over a cheap engine is how cheap did they make it this week? It seems the thought process is how much can we save by eliminating xy or z and replacing it with something that will get us through the warranty period.
  19. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    So you know of some that have failed early in life?
  20. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Read a lot of posts on this forum about splitters....none about a Briggs on a Husky splitter chitting the bed.
  21. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    No doubt that is could happen...and of course abuse can break anything, but I don't really see an epidemic causing me to avoid this or that.
  22. fmelani

    fmelani Member

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    You should see me put the snowblower on the JD tractor, this caveman has lost all the hair and some blood on his knuckles wrenching.

    Stupid question... other than the engine what advantage would the I&O 26 ton have over the Husky. Should I expect to get through a few more of the truly nasty crouchety rounds with the extra horsepower or is a 22 and 26 pretty comparable. The reason I ask, I rented a 20 ton piece of junk locally and it choked on nearly every piece of green wood I gave it.
  23. fmelani

    fmelani Member

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    Sorry, if it is coming across that I am badmouthing the B&S. I am not. I have never used it and just want to get the opinion of those that have used it. Re-read my post and dont want to come across wrong.
  24. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    One complaint on Dec 4th of a generator failure isn't even a blip on the screen. Literally MILLIONS on everything from snow blowers, to lawn mowers to anything else you can think of...there is bound to be a few failures. But I don't see an epidemic.

    I am no great lover of Briggs, but I don't see any reason to avoid them either. For the record, I will pick a Subaru, Honda GX or cast iron Kohler every time if the option is there. I have two splitters...both briggs...both are very reliable.
    MasterMech and TreePointer like this.

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