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Author Topic: End of a long search (long story)  (Read 1123 times)

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Offline Roundhouse

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End of a long search (long story)
« on: June 24, 2021, 02:03:05 AM »
Last Friday I concluded a long search for a new-to-me loader for use around the sawmill. 

First a little history.
When I bought my mill five years ago I had an old 1979 Ford CL340 skid steer that I had been using for earthwork around my woodlot. I had picked it up some years earlier for $2500 with a bucket and forks and was continually surprised by its capability. 




Ironically the same summer I was putting together my HM130 and preparing to move it to the woods my old machine developed a problem that left it unusable. I was in the midst of a fresh case of sawdust fever and quite concerned that my old skid steer may be down for the count. I started shopping for a cost-effective replacement, considered a lot of used skid steers when against all odds I found another CL340 for sale several hours away, also for $2500 and also with a bucket and forks. 




The second CL340 did a respectable job pinch-hitting for the first while I hauled that to a shop for evaluation. That fall I would have the first one back in working order for $600. I was glad to have it back. My first machine had the operators ROPS intact and had been repowered with a larger 65hp Wisconsin engine. This made it a much better choice for working around the woods and mill. Also I had gotten in the practice of hauling the skid steer home for winter and snow removal duties. With two functional machines the "new" CL340 would come home with me where it has lived ever since and the original has held down duties around the mill as intended. 

In the years since the old skid steer has performed well only occasionally needing a bubble gum or bailing wire repair by me. It continues to earn its fuel but the more I mill the more I run into inherent limitations due to its design and size. As I mill nicer logs it is not uncommon to max out the lift and be inching around on tip-toes. The ground speed is also very slow meaning I need to trailer it for use even short distances from the mill. I've worked it pretty hard and know it won't last forever (part of the reason I bought another CL340, if one dies first it becomes the parts donor). My long term thought was to save and eventually find a decent used skid steer for around 10K. In the meantime I've read all the equipment/loader threads here in great detail. Taking in the various approaches from forum members has been priceless and enlightening. Maybe another (newer) skid steer isn't the only or best answer...

I found myself drooling a little everytime someone shares photos of a telehandler. They look like almost the ultimate tool. As with so many things in life big issue is the price. Online searching turned up some nice late model Genie 5519s that really turned my head. Even if I scraped up the money I couldn't justify investing 30K to support my small scale and occasional operation. There were some much older and cheaper telehandlers out there but the condition and complexity of them kept me from getting serious about that option. 

Comparing what I had to what I needed helped refine my search. My priorities were:
Bigger lifting capacity, double or better than the CL340
Side entry machine with the lift in any position

On the "nice to have" list were:
Something I could transport myself with my current truck and trailer
Four wheel drive
Cab
Newer than my current machines (or at least younger than I am)

I read a lot of strong arguments for rough terrain forklifts on these pages and broadened my search to include those. Last summer I was starting to casually look and attending a few live auctions that were still happening. My interest peaked in a "backwards" tractor reminiscent of the old tractor based rough terrain forklifts some use at sawmills. It was a backwards 1938 Allis Chalmers WC loader that I picked up for $1300, not the ultimate solution but it runs good and was pretty useful. For starters with "road gear" I'm able to run around the property and grab a log a ways down the trail and run it right back to the mill. However the capacity of the of the loader isn't any greater than what the skid steer will lift, and judging by the previous repairs to the arms I didn't want to push it. It is super handy around the property though for tasks like scooping up the sawdust and relocating it, moving trailers etc. 




Last fall my needs ratcheted up when I added another 10 acres with plenty of trees of a size that are perfect for the mill would max out the skid steer or the backwards loader. There is also an unfinished cabin on the property that I plan to move before finishing it. More reasons to keep shopping. 

When going larger for my next machine many of the candidates exceeded the width and/or length of my trailer. Even those that fit ran into the hurdle that I take my pulling truck and skid steer trailer off the road in the winter, even if I were to hire a transporter to move a new machine from the seller to my mill, I don't plow and maintain access to my mill in the winter time. I had my eye on a nicely refurbished 1960's vintage Pettibone Super 4 forklift for most of the winter. I was waiting for the snow to melt, the price to drop, and to find a hauler and when I followed up on it come spring it had just sold. So the search continued, an International 300 rough terrain forklift that sold before I could enquire, a Case 530 rough terrain forklift a couple hours away that sold before I could look at it, then a Harlo forklift (based on an International 240) that sold at auction for $2600, I didn't bid on the Harlo because by the time it sold I had my eye on a Waldon 5500 that would sell a week later, I was bidding on the Waldon but somebody else wanted it more than me once it hit 10K I let it go. The online auction prices have been particularly strong this year so I started searching for live auctions again.

I found a live farm auction half an hour away with a nice medium-sized loader tractor, old enough that the price could be close to my sweet-spot, an Allis Chalmers 6060 MFWD with cab. It checked a lot of my boxes although slightly on the large size for my operation. The day of the auction I looked over the tractor and started to doubt my chances, despite being close to 40 years old the cab was spotless inside. This was a very nice tractor. It would sell for 14.2K considerably more than I could justify even though it was worth every penny. I had devoted a day in the blazing heat to the auction and hated to go home empty handed. A couple places ahead of the 6060 in the lineup was an old Allis Chalmers B, I picked it up for 1000 of course not as my new loader. Basically it ran and I've always thought they were neat, on the practical side it's perfect to do a lot of the small jobs I currently do with my old Yamaha 4 wheeler, slow speed stuff pulling a drag and such that's pretty hard on an old air-cooled 200 cc machine.




As fun as that was it didn't solve my need. A nearby online auction saw a Bobcat 2400 payloader go for $8100. At an auction 2 hours away dominated by farm equipment was a rough terrain forklift that caught my eye. Could this be the one? An Owatonna 770 articulated loader rough terrain forklift. I started a new round of research, not a lot of comparables for this machine. I did find some similar sale results and part of a manual digitized online. The manual was very helpful providing dimensions, an idea of the weight and lift capacity for the forklift. Again, this machine checked a lot of boxes and may be old enough to keep the price reasonable. Another detail that intrigued me was that engine had been replaced with a John Deere diesel 200 hours ago. I made plans to be at the auction.

The day of the auction the online component of the auction was still a rather sedate with online bidding only at $900. Given the order of how things were lined up it took about 5 hours to come around to the forklift. I was encouraged but cautious, the machine itself showed 2300 hours, had not been babied with some nicks and a couple cracked windows, blown out seat, not a beauty queen but started right up, ran well and everything worked. The prices were pretty fair all day but there wasn't anything like the forklift so I remained cautiously optimistic. When the time came I got in on the bidding early and we went up to 7K even where all the competition dropped out, I had my loader. Once I had the key out of the forklift (I swear half the crowd tried out the machine in the 5 hours leading up to its sale) I paid and started to load the 770 on the trailer. I had hours of driving ahead of me. It fit on my trailer but filled it up completely. To simplify matters I put the forks in the back of the truck before putting the machine on the trailer. The forklift approaches 9000lbs according to the manual and this is the biggest load I've hauled, larger that I care to haul again. Thankfully the first stretch was on some quiet county roads where I could get a good feel for things, then a couple hours of rural highways, finally long stretches of deserted forest roads. I reached the woodlot right at dark.




The next morning I put the forks back on and started to really look over the new purchase.




I put the forklift to work right away, not on logs but with a pallet to move some blocks out of my truck to be stored at the mill for future use. 




To say the least I'm pretty excited about this new addition, it's more than I've paid for any other piece of milling equipment (including the mill itself) but expect a lot benefit in both added capacity and safer operation. In researching the engine update, the 4024TF270B, I see that used versions are selling for north of 4K. It's hard to go wrong if that sort of value has been added to the machine. Original power plant would have been a Ford 172 industrial gas engine.

Thanks for letting me share my excitement. If anyone has experience with an Owatonna 770 or even the John Deere 2.4L please share any pointers you may have. I have a lot to learn but am looking forward to such a big leap forward in log handling capability.
Woodland Mills HM130, 1995 F350 7.3L, 1988 F350 dump, 1938 Allis-Chalmers reverse WC tractor loader, 1979 Ford CL340 Skid Steer, 1988 Yamaha Moto-4 200, various chain saws

Offline doc henderson

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Re: End of a long search (long story)
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2021, 04:11:05 AM »
nice stuff, good story,  made me anxious just reading.  congrats.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline Magicman

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Re: End of a long search (long story)
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2021, 08:00:32 AM »
Wow, what a journey.  Every time I thought it was ending, there was another chapter.  Congratulations!!  8)
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic   WM Million BF Club Member   WM Pro Sawyer Network

Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline tacks Y

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Re: End of a long search (long story)
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2021, 08:40:29 AM »
Looks good, that should serve you well.

I bought a old Massey big tire lift when I bought my first mill. Built a 36x36 building with it my self. My dad says hire some Amish to help, I say this takes the place of 2 or 3 of them. Had to put a box on the forks to reach up high enough and work off of. Would  load headers, rafters on run up lean a ladder against climb up and work.

Offline Resonator

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Re: End of a long search (long story)
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2021, 09:03:48 AM »
Nice machine, anything with a cab is good in winter. ;D
Looks like you were on Hwy 8 in Prentice, interesting note the knuckle-boom log loader was invented there in 1956. Prentice forestry equipment was based there, I hauled many loads out of there when I drove flatbed.
Under bark there's boards and beams, somewhere in between.
Cuttin' while its green, through a steady sawdust stream.
I'm chasing the sawdust dream.

Proud owner of a Wood-Mizer 2017 LT28G19

Offline Nebraska

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Re: End of a long search (long story)
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2021, 09:10:33 AM »
Score!

Offline mike_belben

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Re: End of a long search (long story)
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2021, 09:33:59 AM »
Thats a handy little machine.  Looks to be built on narrowed truck axles and hopefully common parts.  If im not mistaken owatonna is OMC who became mustang.  You might be able to get parts from them. 


Everyone wants new pretty stuff, making old and ugly overlooked and cheap, especialy if slightly unconventional.  Fine by me.  This was for sale about a year. I got it delivered on a lowboy that backed a mile down my road, with a battery bought that morning, for $4k.  Has its quirks but i will never part with it. 



Psalm 37:16

Offline Lostinmn

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Re: End of a long search (long story)
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2021, 09:42:14 AM »
Great find!!   8)

Offline florida

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Re: End of a long search (long story)
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2021, 12:42:02 PM »
Roundhouse

Great story! Like Magicman you had me on the edge of my seat! I'm glad you finally found something that worked.
Your writing skills are excellent and you should do more of it. That belongs in a magazine!
General contractor and carpenter for 50 years.

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Re: End of a long search (long story)
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2021, 10:04:27 PM »
That will be real handy . Great story.

Offline Iwawoodwork

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Re: End of a long search (long story)
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2021, 01:14:57 PM »
I  think you will be very happy with the "new" articulate machine, I have (over a year) the 4100 Waldon articulate loader with forks/bucket and am very pleased with the performance. they work very well in tight quarters and don't tear up the ground. It can be a little tippy on side hill/ unlevel ground when loaded with longer logs. Most of my logs are 10. 12, & 14' , but have handled some 20 footers before bucking.

Offline Roundhouse

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Re: End of a long search (long story)
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2021, 06:18:00 PM »
Thanks guys. I just got a copy of the manual today so I have some reading to do. 

That looks like a very stout machine Mike, what make is that? It seems like there were a lot of versions of these and makers 40 years ago. OMC did become Mustang. 

It was late enough when I finished writing this that I forgot the postscript. This was a quick overnight trip to the mill and I didn't have anything lined up to haul back. I decided to stop off at another lot and pickup some logs from a blowdown I had cut up a month ago. Not worth milling but I had another plan for them once I winched and wrestled these onto the trailer (no equipment at this location). 




The trailer pulls a lot better/smoother with a little weight on it. The logs would be another check off the honeydo list. She's always on the lookout for some objects for the school farm goats to play on. I started my Father's Day being a goat dad. The logs came off the trailer easily with the tractor bucket. Once the logs were stacked in the pen the goats were ready. First order of business, eating all the green shoots off the logs despite the tree being a blowdown since last year.


Woodland Mills HM130, 1995 F350 7.3L, 1988 F350 dump, 1938 Allis-Chalmers reverse WC tractor loader, 1979 Ford CL340 Skid Steer, 1988 Yamaha Moto-4 200, various chain saws

Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: End of a long search (long story)
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2021, 12:14:39 PM »
Good to know that OMC became Mustang.  Had not seen any equipment with that name in a long time, they used to build good stuff.  Hate to find my equipment is obsolete, JD is bad about discontinuing parts on older equipment.
Most everything I enjoy doing turns out to be work

Offline Roundhouse

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Re: End of a long search (long story)
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2021, 03:54:01 PM »
I got to use and work on the forklift again this weekend. It's sort of cosmetic but I really wanted to replace the falling apart seat. With the age of the 770 I didn't have any good leads on what a compatible new seat would be so I went to the store and took my best guess at finding one about the right size. The aftermarket seat I chose was labelled as "ideal for Kubota compact tractors" but it also had a long long list of other makes and models that it fit. With that many fits it seemed like I may get close. 
Once I removed the old seat it did "appear" that there were positions that would be about the right distance apart for mounting the slides. The base of the seat was a little smaller than the old one so I had to drill two new holes slides to match one end with the new seat. The spacers on the old seat that made room for the adjustment handle on one side were a little too thick for the bolts that came with my new seat so I had to round up a few washers to use in their place. The handle now fits snug but so does the bottom of the seat and I don't see any need for me to adjust to seat the tiny bit the slides allow. 
Once I had the slides mounted it was time to install the seat to the base. Turns out the distance between the mounting holes was "almost" correct. I had to make two new holes in the base 1/2" over from two of the old ones. With that done, I bolted the new one in and am very happy with the result. Beyond cosmetics, I'm still getting a feel for operating this machine and the seat-of-the-pants aspect can't be ignored and that's much easier to read now. 
Here is a look at the old seat, let's just say it didn't match my opinion of the rest of the machine:




...and here is the new seat in place, nice upgrade along with the start of grease removal cleanup around the controls:




More generally, I continue to find new uses for the forklift each time I'm around it. So far:
- moving a pallet of paver blocks
- getting rid of a tree stump that was in my way at my sand pit
- moving set of concrete steps out of the way (barely got these unloaded last year with my old skid steer)
- unloading a pair of spruce logs from the running gear and placing them on the log deck
- bringing a set of beams and boards over to the running gear
- lifting the side dump device off my pole trailer
- moving the pole trailer to the edge of the mill yard, parallel to the edge, out of the way of the mower

That's without even starting the sawmill and spending a day making lumber.
Here the 770 is working two jobs at once, taking two spruce logs I brought in off the running gear, the logs will go to the log deck and the loader will bring back that lumber for a box to be built on the running gear. What did I do before I had this?


Woodland Mills HM130, 1995 F350 7.3L, 1988 F350 dump, 1938 Allis-Chalmers reverse WC tractor loader, 1979 Ford CL340 Skid Steer, 1988 Yamaha Moto-4 200, various chain saws

Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: End of a long search (long story)
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2021, 05:14:55 PM »
Very nice score.
I have been looking for something like that.
I priced out a new Waldon this year. Came out much higher than I thought it would.
For that money I would just buy a Kubota whee loader.
Lt 40 wide with 38hp gas and command controls , F350 4x4 dump and lot of contracting tools

Offline Iwawoodwork

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Re: End of a long search (long story)
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2021, 12:32:44 PM »
I was recently checking the auction sites for used Waldon wheel loaders and the sold prices seemed less than the other common  brand name loaders and I like how heavy built they are. The fenders are about 1/4" plate, not tin. 


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