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Author Topic: Franklin Forwarder  (Read 1631 times)

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Offline nativewolf

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Franklin Forwarder
« on: July 18, 2018, 08:29:31 AM »
So in our quest for a forwarder to trial some new harvest, forest maint ideas we've just taken a look at an old (90) Franklin with an extended back, 14' deck (not sure that exists, should be 16 or) which makes me think it might be a 170 not the 132 the owner says.  The owner bought for 1 project and wants to sell to buy a new to him skidder.   He had advertised it as a 93 but turns out the vin tag has 3-90 which I take to mean it is a 1990.  Crane has been replaced, doesn't have the cummins but a newholland and no powershift just a 4 speed manual.  It would be inexpensive and the rest of the machine is ok, 4 hydraulic fittings were leaking.  Has a blade, which is nice.  Boom/crane was replaced which has shortened the reach  I thought we'd be looking at (the specs for a 93 called for a crane with a 23' reach), this boom reaches only 15 or so feet.  It was able to lift up a 30" redoak butt log fully extended, didn't complain a bit.  It is an articulating frame, but only a single rear axle connected via a driveshaft.  

Question to all the franklin owners and mechanics.  New Holland diesel engines, 4 banger.  Good/ bad? Oil looked fine, no oil leaks anywhere, very dry engine compartment but not clean either, bird was nesting on top of engine with babies.  Radiator was filthy, it would have to come out and get cleaned.   The good news here is that he didn't clean up the engine for show and it looked fine.  I've got picture of NH stamps #s on the engine if the numbers mean anything to anyone.

Transmission:  I really wanted a powershift.  Sigh.  I am wondering if anyone else has or had a 90 or so franklin, did they come with powershift as I was expecting?. 4 speed manual was a bit of a letdown.  Shifted fine, not real fast.  

Frame:  Looks great.  Other than the weld marks where they changed the boom/crane and where they moved hood latches around (guess due to new engine), and where put new cylinders on the blade we didn't see any welding.  Did see 1 spot we'd weld on a post.  No cracks or weld marks around the boom itself, frame looked much better than most skidders I see.  

Center pin:  Looked very tight.  Don't know what else to say.  I went with my sawyer who was a mechanic for a coal mine/truck company/water company.   He was very happy about the center pins.

Axles:  a bit of fluid on one rear planetary.  Front dry.  Owner admitted he added fluid every week when he used it.  So, that's going to have to get attention.  Didn't really bother my buddy.  

Brakes:  Has none.  Parking brake is there and according to him was so weak that he didn't use it.  The specs called for wet brakes so we'd have to pull the wheels and open them up.   I've never done anything with wet brakes but our loggers and mechanics have so we could do it, just can't comment other than...no brakes right now.  

Hydraulics/ pump:  it was a new replacement, the owner didn't do it but it was not an original.  Seemed to have plenty of power on the crane.  The blade worked fine but had replacement cylinders, originals had been cut off.  Some pipe fittings l

Turning radius:  Didn't turn as tight as we'd expected, I think the newer Valmet and timberjacks I've driven turned tighter but they were hydro.  

Tires:  1 new one, not much tread on the others.  Could really use chains.  


Ok, so thoughts ?  Concerns?
Liking Walnut

Offline chevytaHOE5674

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2018, 08:53:52 AM »
Sounds like a bit of a Frankenstein machine which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Having run forwarder a lot the short boom with a manual transmission would drive me bonkers. You will be constantly having to turn around/clutch/shift/drive then repeat to be able to pickup wood especially if not cutting behind a processor. Depending how you are able to drive up to a tree you could potentially be having to reposition to grab each individual log. A hydrostat machine where you can drive no matter which way the seat is facing and a long boom really up productivity.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2018, 09:04:37 AM »
How much was he asking and what size wood are you gonna use it for?  Pulp or prime stuff?  

The cheaper a tool is the more one can tolerate its shortcomings if it gets the job done, and vice versa.
Revelation 3:20

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2018, 09:23:51 AM »
I don't think I'd give more than $11k and I'd start at 9.  

Chevytahoe: Yeah the short boom was not a great thing to see.  I guess we could put a long boom back on it but .... at that point why bother.

Chevytahoe:  Do all the older iron mule/franklin/treefarmers, etc have the issue of swinging seat around and not being able to drive backwards?  I can see productivity would be much higher in a newer one due to that.  

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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2018, 09:40:47 AM »

Quote
I can see productivity would be much higher in a newer one due to that.
And theres the balancing act..  How much of the extra production the newer machine generates, goes to feeding the newer more expensive machine and for how long?  Its hard to know if there is a right or wrong way to go about it, as everyones situation is different.

Can you fault a guy with a few ox who only has to pull a few logs per day and refuels at the creek ?


What is the franklin replacing?  is it gonna enable you to cut out a logging contractor and do the cutting yourself ?
Revelation 3:20

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2018, 09:57:10 AM »
We'll use it to cleanup, firewood, pre harvest of locust, and even move walnut on small harvest.  Conceivably could use it to negotiate better pricing with loggers so they reduce skidding, or replace skidding and just do handcutting.  
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Offline chevytaHOE5674

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2018, 11:40:12 AM »
Most all the straight gear machines I know of are only drive facing the hood. Some of the older valmets can drive in reverse.

Also do you usually work firm ground? If so the 4 wheelers are ok. Soft ground is where the bogie axle 6 and 8 wheelers shine.

Offline Gary_C

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2018, 04:01:09 PM »
 Having run forwarder a lot the short boom with a manual transmission would drive me bonkers. You will be constantly having to turn around/clutch/shift/drive then repeat to be able to pickup wood especially if not cutting behind a processor. 
My first forwarder was a Valmet 644 single bunk with a manual transmission, levers and no extendaboom.  Like chevy said, it drove me bonkers, big time. No parking brake is a big problem as you must rely on the blade to hold position. The wet brakes are very expensive to fix and requires a complete differential disassembly to get to the brake pistons and those seals were about $800 a side.
But keep in mind, I am working behind a processor so I move more wood than behind a hand faller or feller buncher. 
The short crane is the only one that can be safely used on a single bunk with the crane mounted on the bunk end of the machine where it should be. If the crane is mounted on the front half, the blade and weight of the engine can give you some stability but you then have to put two crane functions in float to drive or the crane will swing wildly when you turn.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

Offline Skeans1

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2018, 08:06:53 PM »
I don't think I'd give more than $11k and I'd start at 9.  

Chevytahoe: Yeah the short boom was not a great thing to see.  I guess we could put a long boom back on it but .... at that point why bother.

Chevytahoe:  Do all the older iron mule/franklin/treefarmers, etc have the issue of swinging seat around and not being able to drive backwards?  I can see productivity would be much higher in a newer one due to that.  
Another thing without the seat turning around you wont be backing straight out from the landing to the setting youll need turn arounds or long loops.

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2018, 06:00:53 AM »
Thanks everyone.  Lots of good thoughts here.
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Offline nativewolf

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2018, 06:09:37 AM »
Having run forwarder a lot the short boom with a manual transmission would drive me bonkers. You will be constantly having to turn around/clutch/shift/drive then repeat to be able to pickup wood especially if not cutting behind a processor.
My first forwarder was a Valmet 644 single bunk with a manual transmission, levers and no extendaboom.  Like chevy said, it drove me bonkers, big time. No parking brake is a big problem as you must rely on the blade to hold position. The wet brakes are very expensive to fix and requires a complete differential disassembly to get to the brake pistons and those seals were about $800 a side.
But keep in mind, I am working behind a processor so I move more wood than behind a hand faller or feller buncher.
The short crane is the only one that can be safely used on a single bunk with the crane mounted on the bunk end of the machine where it should be. If the crane is mounted on the front half, the blade and weight of the engine can give you some stability but you then have to put two crane functions in float to drive or the crane will swing wildly when you turn.
The franklin had a extended boom as standard equipment, 24' reach.  That was cut off and replaced.  The current boom had power to pickup a very decent RO butt log.  That was nice because we have some large timber.  
I can believe the seals are 800. I'm on a hunt to find seals for these axles  ...just to make sure I can get them.
This is a double bunk bed so the short crane becomes a bit more of an issue; it can't reach behind the forwarder.  The crane is mounted on the back of the cab, front half of the machine.  Very nice tip on putting them in float.
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Offline BargeMonkey

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2018, 07:37:24 AM »
 If your chasing a harvester I wouldn't, picking up handcut wood that's been bunched is a different story. My 230 is basically comparable, Serco 4000 non extend double bunk. I run mine in reverse alot without issue. If your getting on any stupid ground, big hills, getting alot of wood off the skid road I wouldnt buy a 4 wheeler. What size rubber ? Bigger is better, I've got 23.1s and mine picks a tire up like nothing. 

Offline Gary_C

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2018, 11:31:36 AM »

The crane is mounted on the back of the cab, front half of the machine. Very nice tip on putting them in float.
It really was a warning, not a tip.  ;D

If you leave the crane up above the machine while you drive, you will hit tree limbs. ( Bought a new jib cylinder rod once.) If you leave the boom straight out above the bunk, the boom will swing wide on every turn. If you set the grapple on top of the load and put the lift and swing levers in float, inevitably the grapple will fall off the load and wipe out all the hoses and sometimes even worse things. (Been there, done that, many times.)

Mounting the crane on the front half of forwarders was a very bad design idea. There was no good solution to what to do with the boom while driving. Having the crane on the front half helped a little with the stability but created far worse problems. When the crane was moved to the bunk half, they had to add a stabilizer system to lock the two machine halves together but those stabilizer cylinders had to be locked and unlocked when you drive or load and that required some type of automatic transmission like a powershift.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2018, 01:57:05 PM »
Interesting the way forwarders evolved.  Has any manufacturer ever tried conventional backhoe style outriggers?

When you say the two halves lock together...  Are we talking about the center joint having some sort of mechanism or is it like the side tilt on a telehandler/lull?  Id like to see how this is achieved.  


Thoughts on crane mounted to a full swivel cab like timberpro 840 8x8?  Im assuming theyre pretty stable with all that tire weight.
Revelation 3:20

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2018, 02:01:02 PM »
Were those your logs i saw on 81 southbound in winchester today NW?  Think it was a blue tractor.. Had drop in stakes on an aluminum flatbed.  Seen it last week too.
Revelation 3:20

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2018, 03:11:29 PM »
Don't know maybe it was.  I did send a load up to Canada (very good deal on the small walnuts!).  I wish they'd get two more trucks...maybe three here right quick.  Could really use the cash flow.
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Offline Skeans1

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2018, 06:41:31 PM »
Interesting the way forwarders evolved.  Has any manufacturer ever tried conventional backhoe style outriggers?

When you say the two halves lock together...  Are we talking about the center joint having some sort of mechanism or is it like the side tilt on a telehandler/lull?  Id like to see how this is achieved.  


Thoughts on crane mounted to a full swivel cab like timberpro 840 8x8?  Im assuming theyre pretty stable with all that tire weight.
Even with the timbco style upper they have stabilizer cylinders you still want them or need them thats a lot of weight up high.

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2018, 05:04:25 PM »
Well we didn't get it, just could not pull the trigger when it got to a point I was not comfortable paying.  I guess it was down to two of us because the other bidder got it.  

We'll look at a newer Valmet with better design.  We've got 800mbf to get down a long long access road so we need to do something.  Can't skid them that far and get the two trucks a day out.  

Now please excuse me I've got to some bass in the front door, they are complaining about there being too much rain and flooding.  Oh wait they just wanted me to move the car so they could play polo with the bream.  Anyone else wet?  
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2018, 05:30:53 PM »
Mid PA looked to have had some pretty serious floodwaters in the bottoms. I guess they got 6inches of rain in 24hrs. 

 Saw two more of those aluminum flatbeds hauling shortwood north on 81.  I assume its walnut because no other species would likely sell as sawlogs as small and curvy as what i saw.
Revelation 3:20

Offline Roxie

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2018, 05:43:59 PM »
PA has some serious flood problems near everywhere.  ::)
Save a farm today or starve tomorrow.

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2018, 06:16:40 PM »
I sent a 53' flatbed up to Canada at 2pm ET today.  Had a massive load, not too curvy and twisty though, not great wood but probably will be close to $2/bdft.  I hope they don't send that truck back, hard to get into the landing.  
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Offline Skeans1

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2018, 07:09:01 PM »
Its as dry as a popcorn fart here level 3 fire danger hoot owl 1 pm mandatory shut down with 3 hour fire watch, Id take some rain right now.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Franklin Forwarder
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2018, 03:53:12 PM »
That really put the dryness in perspective
Revelation 3:20


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