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Author Topic: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails  (Read 1302 times)

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Offline quilbilly

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #40 on: August 16, 2020, 10:14:33 AM »
It is amazing how tall the spruce will get isn't it. Oh one more thing. If you've got some cedar try to cut in the fall if the market is decent. You can get the brush pickers in there to do boughs and make a little extra money. It's a pain but can be worth it. 
a man is strongest on his knees

Offline dhjmd

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #41 on: August 20, 2020, 06:41:30 PM »
Hi aggieforester, I too am a newby to this site.  I also struggled with the quandary you are now, back in 2014.  We bought 53 acres, which is basically a low-lying valley with houses completely surrounding at about 100'-150' higher elevation (so it's almost ALWAYS damp, or worse!)  Same deal as you, single gravel road put in down the middle from east to west.  Judging from your pics (I can't post any yet), forest is probably a bit thicker than yours, as you mentioned timber harvests having occurred in the past, and about 30 acres of ours is in need of selection.

Back then, I had a 4x4 NH TC24DA HST (R-4 tires) with FEL already that I primarily used to finish mow the homestead.  It took me about three months working the FEL on this property to figure out something different was needed (only weighed about 2,000 lb, was good for maneuvering in tight spaces and had good ground clearance, just had no traction or bite due to leaves, ground vegetation, fallen limbs, old stumps, etc. and left me puckering and cussing constantly.)  Within another month, I had a new Cat 289D with all the forestry protection I could get from the factory (+ poly front door.)  I did get the rear counterweights but also got the wide-track and triple tread idlers.  Machine with basic dirt bucket weighs around 11,500 lb.  I should say I also ran a 259D at the dealership and it's just a lighter, smaller-footprint of a machine so it didn't feel as stable, especially backing up slopes.  You know the old adage about buying at least one size bigger than you think you'll need (ok, the 289D was actually two sizes larger than the 259D ;D)

In six years of owning/operating, stability has been very good, almost a little too good at times (when you run over any limb or trunk of much size, you're gonna know it!)  And while they can certainly become unstable real quick, it's not even in the same realm as a four wheel tractor (CoG is night/day different obviously.)  I can honestly say that ground clearance hasn't been an issue.  Every once in a great while, I will get a small limb jammed in between the frame and the undercarriage but that's usually only when I'm pushing a brush pile 3x the size of the CTL (one of those, "the CTL is in there somewhere" moments!)  For sure agree with other comments, seeing rearward is not ideal, though the backup camera is invaluable - once I got used to it, I found myself not even turning my head back/forth, as it gives wide enough visibility to see the things that will do real damage :) as long as you pay attention to it :D 

Recently the NH literally broke in two, so I have a new Kubota L6060CAB HST with FEL, PF, QH, DH, FM, GS, and RC on order.  Will be using the FEL and GS to maintain the road (previously used the CTL bucket :() and RC to maintain ditches and trails.  If you do go the tractor route, you may want to consider a DH option for rough or rutted trails (unless those areas are/remain dry, in which case a BB or GS may be more effective.)  Last may need to open up the purse strings a bit more, $30K for a machine and attachments to maintain something the size you're talking about could lead you places you're not interested in going...keep us posted, we're all anxiously awaiting your decision(s)!  


Offline Aggieforester

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #42 on: August 23, 2020, 11:15:11 AM »
Thanks, DHJMD! Yeah, it'll be interesting. I'm finishing up an out of state job, eager to get back there and play when I start retirement in 2 years. I was looking at Cat 299 vs 259, that 11" of track on ground and 3000 lbs difference really comes across from others' stories as being very noticeable for stability. Might pick up something next summer when I'm back to keep the trails mowed. And you're right, I have no merchantable timber, just a riparian buffer and new stuff, looking forward to managing and thinning.

Offline Fern Wood

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Re: Skid Steer or CTL size for stability on soft soil and rough trails
« Reply #43 on: August 24, 2020, 06:51:00 PM »
I Replaced the tracks at 1850 hours on my cat 279c at a cost of around 3k. 

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