Grapple truck

Axemen tree

New Member
Hi everyone, new to the board. Been in the tree business 5 years and started my own company 2 months ago. Bought a grapple truck to get started vs a chipper and truck, working good so far. Hardest part is getting my driver up to speed on using the grapple. He is learning (which btw is costing me money as he learns ha). I found a good diesel mechanic that is assisting on engine and truck related issues but does anyone have any info on training materials on grapples, also servicing them, greasing, what level to keep the hydraulic oil, etc. Busted a few hoses, now keep those in stock. Grapple has a pretty good leak around the housing where it rotates (again the operator was pushing down debris broke something inside, hoping it's a seal. Will be getting it fixed between Thanksgiving and Christmas when it slows down). Anyone else running a grapple truck? It's a 2009 freightliner.
 

Fivepoints

Well-Known Member
The grapple manufacturer probably has training material. Grease it on hour intervals or when needed. Keep the hydraulic up to the tank level indicator. We have a grapple truck as well as a chipper. The grapple truck is a maintenance hog. Be prepared to spend thousands a year keeping it up. Every time you turn around something is leaking, etc. Some of the parts like a rotator are very expensive. If it wasn't such a useful and efficient way to move logs, I'd get rid of ours. It also keeps us from having to have a backup chipper.
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
All those worker's comp/ wage/ HR dollars saved should pay for a good maintenance program.

Even if it can't work some days, it will never do anything stupid from a lack of judgment from being tired, distracted, tweaking, stoned, etc.

It will never endanger someone unexpectedly. Raised loads...known, high pressure hydraulic lines...known, etc. Sooo much more predictable that people, and employees are getting worse all the time.

Thankfully, a customer nut-shelled it for me...The age of critical thinking is gone. It's easier to operate, knowing that someone has poor critical thinking and judgment. Easier to use a machine.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Finding a driver is the challenge. Operating a grapple isn’t that difficult.

Vast a spill kit for the inevitable big leak. A bucket or two of oil absorb.

A couple of universal hoses, wrenches and hydraulic fluid

Plenty of cones and wheel chocks
 

OasisTree

Active Member
The grapple manufacturer probably has training material. Grease it on hour intervals or when needed. Keep the hydraulic up to the tank level indicator. We have a grapple truck as well as a chipper. The grapple truck is a maintenance hog. Be prepared to spend thousands a year keeping it up. Every time you turn around something is leaking, etc. Some of the parts like a rotator are very expensive. If it wasn't such a useful and efficient way to move logs, I'd get rid of ours. It also keeps us from having to have a backup chipper.
Im puzzled...why would you have a chipper if you have a grapple truck? We had a chipper for 8 years, and we were all happy to see it go. Have been using a new JMAC grapple setup for 2 years now, and have had zero problems with the grapple and outrigger setup. The 2009 Freightliner that we put it on has been problematic though.
 

Fivepoints

Well-Known Member
Im puzzled...why would you have a chipper if you have a grapple truck? We had a chipper for 8 years, and we were all happy to see it go. Have been using a new JMAC grapple setup for 2 years now, and have had zero problems with the grapple and outrigger setup. The 2009 Freightliner that we put it on has been problematic though.
I have a chipper because a lot of the time we don't have another cdl driver. I have one part time guy with a cdl. I've tried to get my other guys to get one. I'm usually driving our bucket truck. We also don't use the city dump. I can get rid of all the chips for free but have to pay $29 per ton for logs and brush of I was to go to be dump. I also really don't want piles of brush at our lot. Logs and chips I don't mind to much. We mainly use our grapple as a log truck. We do have a nice bandit 990xp wood chipper that we don't mind using. Also a lot of our utilities are overhead along with extremely small yards. Sometimes the grapple truck won't fit.
 
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