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Wood splitter advice

Post in 'The Gear' started by relayer, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. chvymn99

    chvymn99 Minister of Fire

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    Kansas
    I bought the Swisher 34 ton Splitter, and have been more than thrilled so far with its performance. I was a little nervous about the belt drive on the pump drive. But I concluded that I would rather replace a belt than a direct drive unit. Its split Hedge, Elm, and Box Elder fine so far. I really like the base of the drive and support of this splitter. Its built heavy duty, from the Beam to the foot (metal not cast). The only issue that I have with it is that its only got one anti-slip marker on the foot. I'll probably add another couple, since scrounging you get angled cutts regularly. Good Luck

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  2. Fwiw I would never buy another piece of equipment without a honda engine. I have one Honda engine with over a thousand hours with no problems. Starts every time with a single half hearted pull. Can't say that about any other brand I own.
  3. wood-fan-atic

    wood-fan-atic New Member

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    +1... best $$ I ever spent. Only regret is not buying one years ago. Low cost, simple, strong, reliable. That is a good combination, if you ask me. They also go on sale at TSC around this time of year for $999 ( and they gave me a $150 gift card with it, too!)
  4. pmac

    pmac Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
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    Loc:
    Eastern PA
    I picked up this same splitter from Tractor Supply during the Labor Day sale. So far, it's split everything I've thrown at it, including oak rounds that were 1 ft thick, 2 1/2 ft in diameter (using vertically). The power is more than enough for me.

    HOWEVER... when I first got this splitter, the coupling between the engine and pump broke after 4 hours of use (which apparently other folks here have had an issue with). Tractor Supply promptly exchanged for another new one... and on this one, the hex bolts on the forward/reverse valve worked themselves loose after about 10 hours of use. It's unfortunate, especially when seeing the big "Made in the USA" sticker on it, to have construction issues like this come up.
  5. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    If I recall correctly, the latest stickers say "Assembled in USA" on those Huskee splitters. The SpeeCo/Huskee splitter is a great splitter for the money, but it is unfortunate that a few TSC employees fail in performing final assembly at the TSC location. I am fortunate to have a TSC with competent employees.
  6. pmac

    pmac Member

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    Eastern PA
    Yup, you're right... I hadn't noticed that distinction until you brought it up! Parts made overseas, assembled here?!?
  7. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Like every Honda, Toyota, Subaru, and many other makes of foreign automobile. Even the so called "domestics", how many of your interior gadgets were manufactured in the US?

    We manufacture very little in the US in the way of raw materials and individual components but I'm getting dangerously close to Ash Can territory here.........
  8. freeburn

    freeburn Feeling the Heat

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    I noticed that the 22 ton huskee is 999 at TSC as a regular price. I wonder if they saved a bit sending it overseas to be assembled??? Anyone have any information or can you direct me to information on the Ramsplitter? I picked up a used 16 ton ver/hor model with Honda 160GC (would have preferred GX, but it's Honda, and starts first pull every time) that was hardly used two years old. The only problem I'm having is that the hydraulic fluid wants to gush out of the cap? Maybe I need to be on more level ground!! Don't want to hijack this thread though. Maybe another one to consider, made in US. besides Iron and Oak.
  9. freeburn

    freeburn Feeling the Heat

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    Which Honda motor do you have on yours? GC or GX? if GC do you notice the engine surging when at full throttle. I was told that that's just how they run.
  10. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I was at TSC today and they were all tagged $999. They are a good splitter for your average user trying to heat their house. Never had any fluid gushing from mine...maybe you are overfilled?
  11. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Can be overfilled, hyd fluid expands when it gets hot, quite a bit actually. It'll stop eventually .... :)
  12. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    Hydraulic fluid gushing out of the cap likely means that the reservoir is overfilled. When the fluid gets hot, it expands and has to go somewhere.

    EDIT: Oops, MasterMech beat me to it.
  13. freeburn

    freeburn Feeling the Heat

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    OK, I thought that it would stop too, but then I think too much came out and then there wasn't enough (because I wasn't splitting on the level). Then it started foaming and squirting out and the ram would jerk and there would be almost no power. I assume then it was too little and foaming out that way???
  14. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    What kind of fluid are you using? hydraulic, ATF, other? What weight?
  15. freeburn

    freeburn Feeling the Heat

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    Before it was hydraulic, now I have ATF Dex III Farm Fleet brand. Just tried it on a LEVEL surface, worked just fine, no foaming/spurting/hesitating, so I think we're golden.
  16. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Note that mixing different fluid types is a BAD idea, and can cause issues like those mentioned - it is best to keep the same fluid type once you have started a machine, or if you must change, be sure to bleed drain the entire system, including BOTH sides of the hydraulic system, and refill with the proper amount of fresh - this will minimize the amount of old fluid contaminating the new...

    Also in an effort to keep the weight down, many (most) splitters use only a fraction of what theory says they should, so it is critical that they be kept filled exactly, per manufacturer specs (if you don't have them, I'd see if I could find an online version of the manual on the manufacturer's website) and operated on the level (especially side to side - most aren't as fussy about front to back) to prevent spillage and / or sucking air (which will cause the symptoms described, and eventually lead to pump damage)

    Gooserider
  17. freeburn

    freeburn Feeling the Heat

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    I did NOT mix fluids that's one thing I knew. Instead, I dumped everything I had in (as much as I could get out) and changed fluids to ATF which is what the manual said could be used. I also found out that I was using it on unlevel ground and the front side which is where the in/out is for the hydraulic was probably sucking air after blowing excess out. Both in/out are on the same (left to right) side of tank in between the wheels. Just tried it yesterday on the level, works like a charm. Thanks for the tips though. I'm sure it will come in handy for someone else along the way too.
  18. relayer

    relayer New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2011
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    Loc:
    Wertern Pa
    After sending the last week looking at log splitters I think I decided on one.

    My reason for choosing:

    1. I will only be splitting 3 to 4 cords per year. So in 20 years that's only 80 cords. If it was more I would go with something bigger and better.
    2. The size I'm splitting is only 15" long. I know when I hand split it a lot easier to split 15" log over a log that is 20" So should not need a real big splitter.
    3. Speed -- at first this seen important to me. But after reading the posts and thinking more about it I came to the look at a little different. I'm only splitting 3 to 4 cords a year. If I was splitting more than a faster splitter would be better.
    4. I have access to a lot of wood. So if there is a piece or two that are really bad I can leave them or give them to a friend that has a big outdoor burner.
    5. If someone has some good wood (oak, hickory etc.) that's a little wider than I split I don't want one to small that I can not split it. Plus if possible I like to split were I cut. So I ruled out the electric ones.

    I going to get the Huskee that is on sale at TSC

    Thanks to all that posted it helped me make, what I think is a good choice for me.
  19. bpirger

    bpirger Minister of Fire

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    My only one comment for when this thread may be reviewed again....It has been mentioned, but perhaps a reiteration is a good idea. I have the TroyBuilt model and have not had any real problems....though I did wear through the lower pressure line that goes to the filter, just below the log cradle! These cradles get beat up, at least mine do. I can consider this my fault though.

    But here's the point. In other threads, you can read about how these "hanging" cylinder units have burst at the point where the cylinder is supported on the unit. In other words, the back end of the cylinder is not supported on the ibeam. Some have had this rupture, getting the hot oil bath. I've never had a problem, and others here with the same splitter have had no problems. BUT, I would have to consider this personally a design less than ideal, and given these things cost the same more or less on this end of quality, I'd suggest opting for the full beam model. I know when I split now, or more to the point when my wife is running, I will make sure we try and keep and eye out for this....whatever that actually means. When it goes...it goes. Maybe one can see stress before. I'm actually surprised I didn't notice this when I bought it, else I'd have chosen differently. Blowing a hydraulic line is one thing...having the cylinder rupture is another.

    So just a thought....
  20. charly

    charly Guest

    Not knocking any other splitters, but that's what steered me again to the SuperSplit, no hydraulics to even deal with, plus a USA product.
  21. jdinspector

    jdinspector Feeling the Heat

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    Northern IL
    Try this... www.ramsplitter.com
  22. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    me and my buddy cut firewood all year long (we both heat exclusively with wood), we cut and split around 35 to 40 cords of wood per year, and I have done just fine using a 22 ton Swisher vertical/horizontal splitter, never gave me any problems and I cut alot of locust, oak and even the occasional elm......by the sounds of it you would be best off with a model similar to mine, the vertical option is great because we get into a lot of really big stuff (40 to 50 inch diameter sometimes) and the vertical option is the only way to split that stuff, esp. if you are working by yourself...these big splitters with big motors aren't needed for most people, like I said my 22 ton does just fine, and I picked it up on Craigslist for 800 bucks, it was only used three times prior to me buying it!!!...look on craigslist often, there are usually deals on splitters all the time.....just make sure you don't buy a piece of junk....
  23. Stevebass4

    Stevebass4 Minister of Fire

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    i started with one of those electric 3 ton splitters and i pushed about three cord though it... still have it and sometimes use it to make kindling now

    found a new log guy and he brings BIG logs so i needed something bigger and found a deal at lowes in 2009 on the 33 ton troy built with a honda engine - added the ebay table (well worth the $$)

    http://compare.ebay.com/like/270820991628?var=lv&ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemTypes&var=sbar


    i love the thing except it's heavy as hell when i need to move it around

    as for speed - my splits are between 11 inches and 13 inches (small stove) so i hardly ever let ram return when i am using it

    no issues with the troy built
  24. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    As mentioned, some have had problems with the trunion cylinder mount machines, others haven't. It may be related to to the design of particular models, or the stresses that are put on it, I don't know... It is definitely the case that in any kind of failure, whether it is cylinder rupture, or simply seals wearing out and leaking, that it will be harder and more expensive to find a replacement cylinder than it will be with a clevis mount cylinder, which is almost a universal design, and very easy to get replacement cylinders for (often cheaper than trying to get a leaker rebuilt) To me this is a good reason to avoid the trunion mount machines, in favor of the full length beam, clevis mount cylinder units.

    IMHO, both from what I've seen in a lot of threads on these forums, and my own personal experiences with my 30-ton unit, and a friend's 20-ton and Super-split units, the optimal unit for most of us that don't do professional scale production, but do need to crank out 4-10 cords / year (more or less) of typical woods, is the 18-22-ton labeled units, with a 4" cylinder, 11gpm pump and 6-8hp motor.... This can and will do a fine job of handling 99.9% of the wood you throw at it, with reasonable speed and safety, at a reasonable cost.

    There are some small engine/pump combos with big high-ton cylinders (such as some of the 28 ton Troy-builts) that sacrifice cycle time for power that isn't really needed, or even appropriately powered high ton units that are just "over-kill" for the task - such as the one I bought.... If I hadn't gotten hurt and was still splitting and burning, I might have been very tempted to swap my 5" cylinder for a 4" unit, which would have given me a much faster cycle, at the cost of losing splitting power that I really never used...

    Gooserider
  25. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Hey Goose,

    I&O makes a 20 ton "Fast Cycle" unit (8 second cycle!) which is the same as my 26 ton but has a 4" cylinder with the same 16GPM pump. Just FYI. Sorry to hear you are involuntarily "retired" from burning.

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