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Author Topic: Mobile dimension 127 or 128?  (Read 2674 times)

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Offline starmac

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Re: Mobile dimension 127 or 128?
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2018, 05:45:28 PM »
I remember that thread, but there pretty much no information in it.
Old LT40HD, old log truck, old MM forklift, and several huskies.

Offline gms1911

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Re: Mobile dimension 127 or 128?
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2018, 06:38:55 PM »
Production has stopped on all MD mills. They still supply parts. The company is for sale. The owner wants to retire. So I guess if no one buys the company then all models will become obsolete. The owner of the mill I am looking at says all parts could be bought at an auto parts store or you could have them fabed at a machine shop. When I buy one I will stock up on any parts that I think might be hard to come by or expensive to have made on a one or two off basis.

Offline Magicman

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Re: Mobile dimension 127 or 128?
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2018, 07:31:40 PM »
I remember that thread, but there pretty much no information in it. 
Maybe so but contacting member yukon Cornelius may yield some information since he is probably the last active member to tackle a MD 127.
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Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline starmac

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Re: Mobile dimension 127 or 128?
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2018, 07:45:03 PM »
True enough MM, and I bet he would be glad to help, He may not know the differences between the two, but would have an idea on parts sources.
Old LT40HD, old log truck, old MM forklift, and several huskies.

Offline Magicman

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Re: Mobile dimension 127 or 128?
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2018, 08:58:45 PM »
Here is a bit earlier topic:  LINK

A forum search for "Mobile dimension" turned up 16 pages of hits.
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Offline gms1911

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Re: Mobile dimension 127 or 128?
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2018, 09:16:59 PM »
Thanks for the link MM.

Offline Magicman

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Re: Mobile dimension 127 or 128?
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2018, 10:00:42 PM »
You are welcome.  Just trying to help.   :P
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Offline TKehl

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Re: Mobile dimension 127 or 128?
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2018, 10:13:34 PM »
Here's more details from yet another thread:

Hi cwk266,

Using the larger single edger blade, the 127 will cut a 7"x12" in one pass, and the 128 will cut an 8"x12" in one pass. That's the difference in name. However, the biggest difference between 127's and 128's is that most 128's are hydrostatic drive (I think only the first year or so of 128's were not?), the hydro drive makes the mills faster and easier for maintenance. The 127's use a belt drive system that has a lot of belts and bearings to adjust and maintain.

As far as using the mills goes, on a 127, once you set the speed of the carriage and send it into a cut, there is no way to slow the carriage for big knots or if you hit some sort of problem... all you can do is make the carriage return to you. On the hydrostatic 128's, the hydro drive is used to move the saw carriage down the track and back, you hold the control lever in your hand... so at any time you can speed up, slow down, stop and reverse the carriage. It's really nice. The later mills are also built more sturdy, are more stable, etc. and can handle higher production speeds.

If I were in the market for an MD mill, I would look for a hydrostatic 128. Once I had a particular mill in mind, I would check it out in person and take a dial caliper with me. Measure the width of the angle iron that the mill carriage rolls on... the bigger angle iron should be within a couple of thousandths of 1.500". If it is worn, that gives you an idea of how much the mill has been used. Then measure the rollers themselves... they should be only a couple of thousandths difference from the track... if not, you can buy undersized rollers from MD made to fit worn tracks. The fit of these rollers and the tolerances of these bearings really make a difference in how the mill cuts. Small or thin boards are pretty forgiving, but if you try to cut 4"x12"s or bigger on a mill with loose tolerances, the lead of the main blade will wander and you will see how hard it is to cut.

Other than that, just take a look at the overall wear on the mill... how to the rest of the bearings look, how does the motor look, how does it run? Does the track look bent in any spots? Is everything straight? Make sure you can cut some wood with it, see how it runs, see if it cuts smoothly or struggles in the cut.

Now, having said all this... if you found a screaming deal on an older 127, you might think about buying that, too. There are some things to look for... is it electric start? Does it have electric lift for the mill? Does it have endstands? Are they rack-and-pinion endstands? Each one of these things helps immensely, and some are more important than others.

Just so you know, I run an old belt-drive 127 with electric start, electric lift, and rack-and-pinion endstands...

-Norm.

http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=31304.0

As for future repairs, dealing with old "arn" has made me realize anything is repairable unless there are too many electronics.  Shafts can be weld built and turned.  Bushings can be oversized.  New parts cast and machined.  Etc.  Some fabrication and machining knowledge sure helps keep the costs in line though. 

But factory support is still a big plus!
Lucas 6-13+slabber, Mr. Sawmill bandmill, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline DanG

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Re: Mobile dimension 127 or 128?
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2018, 07:49:48 AM »
I'm sorry the answers so far have been inadequate. There are very few people who are familiar with both versions of MD mills. Other than the belt drive/hydrostatic difference, there is a power difference, and I'm not sure at what point in history the changes were made. Early versions had the old 40 hp 1600cc VW engine. My 1988 model 128 has the 1835cc 67 hp engine. These engines are heavily modified by MD, with the most radical mod being the addition of a large thrust bearing at the business end of the extended crankshaft. Most internal parts are standard VW, and most external parts seem to be a mish-mash of other gear. Some things are made by MD and others came from elsewhere. The starter on mine belongs on a Datsun truck, for example.  My opinion is that you should hold out for a 128 as you will be much happier with it.  Try to locate the newest mill you can afford with the most bells and whistles.  Be willing to travel to fetch a better mill.  The trailer mounted 128 pulls very nicely with a half-ton pickup.  For further info, call MD and speak with Ron. He is the owner and inventor and is very open to sharing his knowledge. ;)
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Offline Chop Shop

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Re: Mobile dimension 127 or 128?
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2018, 01:42:26 PM »
When I was looking for a MD, most of the 127s I looked at were owned by folks that had later bought a 128.

I was told by every person I talked to to buy the 128 if I was serious about cutting lumber.

The old 127 has a narrower carriage track, making it more prone to being loose/wobbly and not as stable as the later version.

Most 127s have a crank/rope system to adjust the side to side/board thickness.  The 128 has a gear driven/rack system that is much nicer.

Most 127s are the 1600 engine. Almost half as much power as a 128.

Most 127s have a magnito and no distributor.  Most are started with a pull rope.

The 127 is not fully controllable, you send it off and hope all goes well.   The 128 is variable speed and controlled from the operators station.

The 127s are usually on an owner built trailer or none at all.  Some are nice, most are cobbled together old camp trailers frames or mobile home concoctions.

Now keep in mind this is all a guideline as people have been swapping/modding/converting things for decades on those old wore out 127s.  You may find one that has an alternator and starter but not standard stuff thats been cobbled on by who knows who.  Side adjusting racks conversions have been done lots of time too.


These mils get USED.  So the old ones most times were bought and USED and USED and USED.

I weighed all the options and decided to find a nice newer low hour 128 thats completely loaded.   Be prepared to pay up, expect to travel, and dont dilly dally.  They sell quickly.


Offline gms1911

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Re: Mobile dimension 127 or 128?
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2018, 10:00:31 PM »
It appears that I clicked on the link and then posted my response in a different post.


Thatís more of what I was wanting. Thanks everyone. I think I found my mill. Iíve seen pics and now a video of it running. And cutting. Next is a deposit to hold it until the weather gets a little better. Then either a plane flight and rent a truck check it out good. Spend some time with the seller getting to know the mill, haul it home 15 hrs or drive up and do all that. Thanks again. Iíll take some dial calipers with me. Iíll keep yíall informed with a follow up after I look at

Offline starmac

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Re: Mobile dimension 127 or 128?
« Reply #31 on: January 18, 2018, 10:05:55 PM »
Good luck.
Old LT40HD, old log truck, old MM forklift, and several huskies.

Offline sawmill_john

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Re: Mobile dimension 127 or 128?
« Reply #32 on: January 26, 2018, 10:24:33 PM »
Howdy! DanG.  So Chop Shop you got most of your description of the MDS history fairly correct, there are lots of reto fit electric start kits out there on model 12's and 127's, and not all 127's were rope starts, and all the 128's have that option, although if your not careful, they kick like a mule.  Not all 128's were hydrostatic drive.  We even converted some 127's to the hydrostatic drive.  I will agree that if you are going to run a custom sawing business, find a 128 hydrostatic drive mill.  A lot of the parts are readily available at auto parts stores, but you should lean toward the better quality items. I spent 22 years working at Mobile mfg, for packing up starter kits to designing the saw mounted sharpener, and traveling around to demo at logging shows, I had a mill for about ten years, loved it just couldn't justify letting it sit around most of the time. The biggest piece of advice I can give you is, keep the teeth sharp and belts tight, don't over grease the bearings, and have fun!

Offline DanG

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Re: Mobile dimension 127 or 128?
« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2018, 11:08:37 AM »
Hey John!!  8) :new_year:
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Offline cwk266

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Re: Mobile dimension 127 or 128?
« Reply #34 on: April 10, 2018, 12:27:14 PM »
I can not give you a comparison between the 2 mills but I can talk to some of the upgrades I made to my 127 that made a difference  and some of the things that could have been better.I added the metal frame because I used it stationary money well spent.I upgraded to a rack and pinion setup for the side to side movement and it made a big difference to get more accurate cuts.Cranking the mill up and down by hand was ok if you were looking for a alternative to going to the gym to work out.Pull starting the engine being a 140lbs soaking wet and living in a cooler part of the world could be a challenge.I used the mill mostly for my own wood needs not commercially and for that it worked well.I cut enough wood to pay for the mill and all the upgrades and then cut lots of wood for my own use at home and then sold it for more than I paid.Overall I was happy with 127 it served my purposes well and as a bonus I had a lot of fun making sawdust with it which has to count for something.Getting a 127 is not a mistake and the folks at the factory were a plus


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