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Author Topic: Iron mule info  (Read 11780 times)

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Offline logman81

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Iron mule info
« on: November 28, 2010, 09:22:09 PM »
I'm new to the forum and would like some info on iron mule forwarders. There is a guy selling one not to far from me in CT. It is a 1968 Gafner Iron mule it has a 3 cylinder Perkins it is in decent shape as far as I can tell. It has new tires on front and the rears are about 70% to 80%. It has a few welds here and there but it is all there the only leak I can see is on the rotator, and the pins on the valve bank are sloppy other than that it seems like a good machine from what I can tell. He is asking $7,500 for it is this a good price? I would like as much info on this Machine as I can get like weight, lifting capacity any info you can give me. It is the smaller model, not sure what model don't know much about it thanks for any info. 
Precision Firewood & Logging

Offline Corley5

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Re: Iron mule info
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2010, 09:50:35 AM »
Price is in line.  Check the center pins and the bolts on the belly where the blade bolts on.  Check the front axles for cracks and check wear on swing rack and gears.
Burnt Gunpowder is the Smell Of Freedom

Offline paul case

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Re: Iron mule info
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2010, 10:17:14 AM »
i dont know about the machine but i had a dozer with one of those 3 cyl perkins diesel motors. it worked great and used very little fuel. pc
life is too short to be too serious. (some idiot)
2013 LT40SHE25 and Riehl edger,  WM 94 LT40 hd E15. Cut my sawing ''teeth'' on an EZ Boardwalk
sawing oak.hickory,ERC,walnut and almost anything else that shows up.
Don't get phylosophical with me. you will loose me for sure.
pc

Offline logman81

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Re: Iron mule info
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2010, 08:19:59 PM »
Thanks for the info on the Iron mule. Does anybody know what it weighs? Are there anything else I should look for that could be problems? How is parts availability for them? Are the Perkins 3 cylinder diesels good engines? What is the lift capacity on the loaders? Can they be towed with a one ton truck on short hauls? Any info you can give me thanks so much. I'm just trying to get as much info on it before I consider purchase.
Precision Firewood & Logging

Offline Corley5

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Re: Iron mule info
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2010, 09:37:57 PM »
It probably weighs in the neighborhood 14,000 lbs maybe a bit less but not much.  It's a Massey Ferguson tractor so driveline components can be sourced from ag tractor salvage yards.  Been there done that.  New parts for the Iron Mule sections are scarce however there is place in Escanaba that has all the prints and can make anything you'd need.  If you have a good iron works in your area there is nothing on a Mule that can't be built.  I had Moran Iron Works in Onaway, Mi build me a new mast for the loader, blade belly bracket and swing rack for the boom.  My machine's a 1975 5000 and is based on a 50A MF industrial tractor and has the 4 cyl Perkins.  The machine with the 3 cyl would either be based on a 203 or a 40 tractor.  Lifting capacity is entirely dependent on the condition of the pump, valves and cylinders.  If it's got a good pump it'll lift a lot.  If not you can usually pick up one end of the big ones at a time and get them on the buggy that way.  Care needs to be taken swinging heavy loads over the front axles.  The housings will break.  That was/is a weak spot.  Been there done that.  I hauled mine back from Marinette Wi with my 3/4 ton 4X4 Cummins diesel on a 14,000 gooseneck.  I was glad the weigh station at the Da Bridge was closed.  A 1 ton dually and 20,000 trailer would haul one fine.  Check the hydraulic pump driveline on the front of the engine for slop.  The splines will wear out and it's a fairly expensive fix involving having parts made.  I finally put a Love Joy coupler in mine and it solved the headaches.  If you're planning on using it in a situation where you'll need comp check with your provider.  MATSIF won't insure an operator of a machine without a cage with doors.  They're good old machines but I much prefer my C4D Treefarmer forwarder
Burnt Gunpowder is the Smell Of Freedom

Offline northwoods1

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Re: Iron mule info
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2010, 07:12:46 AM »
i dont know about the machine but i had a dozer with one of those 3 cyl perkins diesel motors. it worked great and used very little fuel. pc

I've got a little massey ferguson 2244 dozer with the 3 cylinder perkins it is a great little machine.

Offline logman81

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Re: Iron mule info
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2010, 05:45:30 PM »
Thanks again for all the info on the mule. I have a ford f350 7.3 diesel single wheel would this be able to haul the mule legally on a 14,000 lb trailer? I planning on going to look at the mule and test drive it in a few weeks.
Precision Firewood & Logging

Offline Corley5

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Re: Iron mule info
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2010, 09:30:02 PM »
Your friendly neighborhood DOT cops will like you much better if you haul it on 20,000 lb trailer.
Burnt Gunpowder is the Smell Of Freedom

Offline logman81

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Re: Iron mule info
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2010, 08:23:42 PM »
Is it possible to put a modern bypass grapple and rotator on it? If so what is involved in doing so? Was thinking it wood be better suited for me if it had one so I could feed my chipper with it and handle smaller logs one at a time in the air for bucking into block's for firewood.
Precision Firewood & Logging

Offline Maine372

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Re: Iron mule info
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2010, 07:22:09 PM »
its very possible. but new grapples are very expensive, ask around about a used one someplace. the hydraulic couplings should be compatable, and any place that sells grapples with be able to make you up a link that has the right size pins.

Offline logman81

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Re: Iron mule info
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2010, 08:23:16 AM »
Yes they are expensive but if I go through with the purchase I would like to restore it and also modernize it a little. Some of the things I would do is, enclose the cab or make a new one, run the exhaust up on top of cab, modern bypass grapple and continuous rotator. I have looked at the machine and have found no cracks in the front axle housings. It is a 203 model one of smaller units they built. I think it would serve me well for sorting out fire wood logs and maintaining the ten acre white pine lot we have, and it could also be used to unload logs of my equipment trailer. I also just got hired working for a local logging and land clearing company and he is thinking that it could be put to use working for him. A good match with his 664 Clark and my mule pre bunch with skidder then come and pick them up with the mule. How long of a log can it haul with out putting to much stress on the machine 16' ? 
Precision Firewood & Logging

Offline mad murdock

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Re: Iron mule info
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2010, 01:12:13 PM »
we had a brand new '82 model 4501, 3 cyl. mule.  You can haul random length logs with it, as long as you either don't make tight turns, or have shorter wood to stack on top to keep it on.  Need to be careful and not overload the machine when  hauling longer logs, this we learned the hard way, you will be welding cracks and repalcing front planetary's if you consistently overload the machine.  If you use it within its limitations, it will work beautifully for many many years.  They are a great machine for getting around tight place in the woods.
Turbosawmill M6 (now M8) Warrior Ultra liteweight, Granberg Alaskan III, lots of saws-gas powered and human powered :D

Offline chevytaHOE5674

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Re: Iron mule info
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2010, 04:40:52 PM »
I've seen plenty of guys haul 16's on a mule with either shorter stuff on top or the loader pushing down to keep the logs from tipping off the back.

Offline northwoods1

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Re: Iron mule info
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2010, 07:54:10 AM »
Some extensions welded on to the bunks will make (like 2' at least) the long stuff easier to handle. Shorter wood on top or some times just he butts of the long stuff to the front is enough to keep it there. I worked with a guy a couple years ago, he had an older franklin shortwood skiddeer and he was pulling tree lenght out of the woods with it. He would back up to the tree (like 18-24"dia white pine big stuff) and set the butt on the back of the bunk then clamp it with the loader to the skidder, and away he went to the landing.  :D

Offline Corley5

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Re: Iron mule info
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2010, 09:39:27 AM »
You'll have to build a new hanger for the rotator motor which isn't a big deal.  Otherwise it's pretty simple to add a modern bypass bucket and it makes a whole different machine out of an old Mule.  I've hauled some 20' sticks but I had some 8' and 10' right there to put on top of them to hold em down.  A major drawback to a Mule of that vintage is its lack of a headache rack.  Extreme care needs to be taken when working downhill that the load doesn't shift head and crush the operator.  The loader mast isn't much to hide behind.  Backing into something with a load on can also send logs back into the operator's area especially when hauling long stuff.
Burnt Gunpowder is the Smell Of Freedom

Offline cjfrank

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Re: Iron mule info
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2010, 09:19:21 PM »
I own a model 4000 Iron Mule and it works great for short wood. My machine weighs in at 11470 with a small set of chains and a full tank of fuel. Even at that it would still take a 20000 lb. trailer to haul legally.
cjfrank, 1976 clark 664 skidder
Model 4000 Iron Mule Forwarder
1958 JD 620 Tractor
1990 peterbuilt straight truck with lemco loader, 2009 Woodmizer LT40 w/12' Extension

Offline paul case

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Re: Iron mule info
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2010, 09:32:11 PM »
i dont know about the machine but i had a dozer with one of those 3 cyl perkins diesel motors. it worked great and used very little fuel. pc

I've got a little massey ferguson 2244 dozer with the 3 cylinder perkins it is a great little machine.
mine was a massey 200 track loader. drawback was it didnt have frame to support the radiator. i backed up over a stump with mine and busted the oil pan and the whole front end almost came off. we brazed those nine pieces of cast back into an oil pan and built frame rails for it berfore i traded it off. pc
life is too short to be too serious. (some idiot)
2013 LT40SHE25 and Riehl edger,  WM 94 LT40 hd E15. Cut my sawing ''teeth'' on an EZ Boardwalk
sawing oak.hickory,ERC,walnut and almost anything else that shows up.
Don't get phylosophical with me. you will loose me for sure.
pc


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