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Author Topic: Need to upgrade LT15 manual to a hydraulic mill - considering LT40, what engine?  (Read 387 times)

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Offline stanmillnc

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Hi, I'm new to the forum, and relatively new to sawmilling. Started off with an Alaskan chainsaw mill and found it's really time consuming and labor intensive. Still use it for slabs larger than 24". I've since picked up a lightly used LT15 which is a great little mill, but not having hydraulics makes milling slow and tedious and I'm crunched for time. I used to rent a friend's hydraulic Woodmizer from time to time and it is so much better and faster. So, I'm saving up for a hydraulic mill and looking at the LT40, ideally with the wide head option. I'm wondering about engine options and looking for recommendations from a sawyer with experience. I'm leaning towards the Kohler 26, due to my budget and I've heard good things.....however, with the wide head option and considering I cut mostly hardwoods, would the upgrade to the 38hp engine be smarter? Would I lose a lot in terms of fuel efficiency? I assume the 38hp is pretty thirsty.... Then there's the diesel option. Obviously, if money were no object, I'd go this route, but it's a $6K upgrade, which seems really high. Should I even consider the diesel as a part-timer? I don't think it would be justified because I' not a full time sawyer....was just a hobbyist who started a side business. I cut only a couple hours on weekends. This is a great forum with lots of good information and helpful members -  Thanks all. :)

Offline charles mann

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since they have went to the tier 4 commifornia compliant engines. I'm sure it will have to do a dpf clean/burn regularly due to the fact of the extended idle times at times. my new kubota 75hp tractor has that dang tier 4 engine and even though I'm running it at around 1800 rpms 99.99% of the time the tractor is in use, i have to do a burn at least 2x a week during normal use and when I'm home long enough to keep the pasture weeds at bay, 3x for that week, including my normal tractor duties. 

the down side to going gas, is the dang ethanol gas and it deteriorating the seals in the carb. but it seems others on here have found a band-aid to the problem, and that is to put a shut off valve inline of the fuel system, turn the fuel off and run the eng out of fuel. but even then, its bad to leave the carb sitting with no fuel in the bowl to keep the seals "lubed""wet". its a tie game no matter which way you go. 

look at your fuel prices and the amount they fluctuate, compare that to how much fuel you will burn through over a yrs time and tally the cost comparison to see if diesel or will be cheaper in the long run.

according the WM guy here in tx, running off-road (red dyed) diesel will void the warranty. i guess they want you to pay road tax on your fuel, even though the machine isn't being used on the road, not counting paying your annual trailer tag cost, which covers road tax that the fuel doesn't cover. 
Temple, Tx
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Offline Haleiwa

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There was a time when red fuel was much higher in sulfur, but nowadays the only difference is usually the addition of the dye.  I can't think the warranty is affected by the color of the fuel; only the sulfur content.  A modern gasoline engine should have no problem with ethanol; the seal materials are generally not degraded like the ones used twenty years ago were.  The real risk with ethanol now is its affinity for water.  Fuel that is used regularly should be no problem.  Fuel that is stored for long periods of time, particularly in a damp environment will draw water and cause all sorts of problems.  The worst case for ethanol is in an outboard engine on a boat that is used only occasionally.  In an automobile that is driven every day it is not an issue, unless it is a very old car.  If you run your sawmill every week and buy new gas every few weeks, it shouldn't be an issue.  If you run the sawmill once a month and store gas in an above ground metal container for several months, you will probably have issues with it, but really, that's a formula for trouble with any fuel; gas, diesel, or kerosene.
Socialism is people pretending to work while the government pretends to pay them.  Mike Huckabee

Offline Bandmill Bandit

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My recommendation would be to stick with a Kohler EFI gas engine. I have been running one on my LT40 and I love it. It is good on torque and power. Mine has had a ECM upgrade and is putting out about 34HP instead of the 28 HP rating it came as. Fuel efficiency is great.

The 38HP EFI Kohler delivers good power and fuel economy as well and I am sure you'd be very happy with it. This engine is an option for the LT40. 

I'd go to and LT40 super if I was in your shoes and could swing the extra few dollars. You wont regret it. Mine is pretty much a super now but I did a lot of work to get it there and it cost me at least twice as much to get to a super as it would have if Id have just bought the super in the first place.  
If you ain't livin on the edge you are takin up way to much room. Of course at my age if I get too close to that edge any more theres a good chance I may fall off.
2001 Dodge 1500 4x4. 2018 F150
2007 Woodmizer LT40HDG28 almost Super
2 Logrite 36 inch cant hooks and a bunch of stuff I built myself

Offline reswire

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I have the 38 hp on my 2014 LT40.  It's a darn good engine, burns about 1 gallon per hour, but I drive it hard, no idling while in use.  I usually have two helpers unloading and loading,which allow me to mill the full eight hours.  I have 600 hours on the motor, with no complaints at all.
LT 40HDG 35, JD 5205, some Stihl saws, 15 goats, 10 chickens, 3 Chessies and a Weiner dog...

Offline jmouton

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we just got the lt-40 wide and 38 hp kohler ,,,,we love the engine,, only 45 hrs so far 
lt-40 wide ,fiat tractor,bobcat,international flatbed,10 ton trailer, stihl 075,041,029,066,and a 2015 f-350,and a oldwheel loader ,grapple system coming soon!!

Offline stanmillnc

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Thanks for info, its only $1100 to upgrade to 38hp, so that is my likely route if I get the wide head model. What are the differences on the super model and Im curious why you felt the need to upgrade your standard lt40? Thanks

Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Hi Stan and welcome to the forum! (forgot to say that in the first post)

I started out with a view to hobby sawing BUT that didn't last long!

Turned into a part time job that occupies more than 50% of the hours I work to earn a living.

Sawing for customers was too slow for me when the mill has the potential you can "feel" to cut a LOT more with minimal upgrading to get it to a super.

The super has a larger 3/4HP feed drive motor, same 3/4 HP motor for the head lift/lower motor and a second hydraulic pump with with 3/8ths hydraulic hoses instead of 1/4 inch.

Doubles the handling speed for the hydraulics, and about a 50% speed increase for head return and lift. Board return is mostly useless if you don't have the larger feed motor.  

I have added manual board return and wouldn't want to be without it. I added the simple set and also did my own version of FAO jacks but would by a new mill with both of them installed.        
If you ain't livin on the edge you are takin up way to much room. Of course at my age if I get too close to that edge any more theres a good chance I may fall off.
2001 Dodge 1500 4x4. 2018 F150
2007 Woodmizer LT40HDG28 almost Super
2 Logrite 36 inch cant hooks and a bunch of stuff I built myself


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