I need advise on buying my first chipper

evo

Well-Known Member
Location
My Island, WA
I wanted to get opinion on a chipper I am considering buying. It's a 9" gravely, looks to be in the early 90's, with a 44 horse Yanmar diesel, and only 370 hours. I offered 6K and they countered with 6.5 which is a thousand off from their asking price. The sellers claim to have all the paper work for it, bills of sale, ect. The current owners bought it from a friend, who bought it from some government in Utah. The machine is co-owned and one party is in Idaho, and the other here in Washington. The machine is currently listed for sale here in Washington.

However they also claim that the machine doesn't have a title, since it was not required of the the manufacturer, nor Idaho or Utah. They claim in those states it is classified as "Farm Equipment" and does not need a title or to be registered. Should this be a red flag for the chipper? Every thing else seems on the up and up. In order for me to be legal here I would have to apply for a lost title to get registration for it, and wait for a three year period before I would have a title.
 

jim454

Well-Known Member
No titles for chippers, at least here in Minnesota. Just get a bill of sale, that's your proof of ownership.
I think Yanmar makes a good little diesel, it's what John Deere uses in their compact tractors. I'd buy that little sucker in a New York minute.
 
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BRT

Well-Known Member
Location
VA
No title for chippers here in VA...also no license, state inspection, etc. Just property tax; as if that isn't enough. :mad:

Always heard good things about Yanmar engines, but never owned one. No pictures--does it look cared for , or beat up?

Co-ownership could be problematic; getting a reciept goes without saying.

(I see Jim posted many of my thoughts seconds before me)
 
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oldoakman

Well-Known Member
Location
Alorgia
A friend of mine in PA had one and it was a good machine. Got his business off the ground for him. I looked at one a while back that I could have bought for 3K but it needed a clutch and I was a bit leery on that as it is a double disc clutch. On the title, most states consider this type vehicle as specialized equipment and don't require registration etc. I would make certain both owners are in agreement with the sale and the amount. Probably a good idea to get all that in writing to cover yourself in case of a future dispute. Good luck o nt he purchase.
 
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evo

Well-Known Member
Location
My Island, WA
Cool thanks guys... I think I may jump on it or talk him down... While searching the net on that machine, I just found out that they bought it at an auction for 4K back in march... The description of the auction is identical, it sat unused for 4-5 years. They are trying to sell it for 2,500 more than they paid for it.

This is not their ad, but all the info they gave me matches up with the machine, and it looks identical. They replaced the tires, and in their ad they have a battery charger sitting next to the machine. Also they guy I'm talking to about the machine is JD
http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/auction/view?auc=1076916
 
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oldoakman

Well-Known Member
Location
Alorgia
Looks like a pretty clean unit that hasn't been hyrt much. Knowing what they paid for it and that they don't really seem to be tree guys, just trying to flip the machine and not knowing how it runs, I would offer $5250 and haggle from there. Remember it is a gravely which is a good company, but they really didn't produce this type of equipment for long. Not that they didn't produce good stuff, they were just spread too thin and couldn't go up against the big 3.
 

oldoakman

Well-Known Member
Location
Alorgia
Remember, since it has sat that long you will need to dump all the fluids and replace anything rubber ( hoses, belts etc) and filters.
 

DanielSon

Member
Location
US
**** DONT BUY A GRAVELY***** IT IS REALLY HARD TO GET PARTS FOR THEM AS THEY ARE OUT OF BUSINESS....

Espicially for 6k... sheesh... you can buy a bandit 200 all day for that. it is a way better machine than a gravely 9 inch...

the gravely's are set up with a 90 degree angle for the disk... it is a horible design that forces the feed wheels to work harder and causes your knives to go dull faster.

bandits are WAY better....
 

BRT

Well-Known Member
Location
VA
**** DONT BUY A GRAVELY***** IT IS REALLY HARD TO GET PARTS FOR THEM AS THEY ARE OUT OF BUSINESS....

Espicially for 6k... sheesh... you can buy a bandit 200 all day for that. it is a way better machine than a gravely 9 inch...

the gravely's are set up with a 90 degree angle for the disk... it is a horible design that forces the feed wheels to work harder and causes your knives to go dull faster.

bandits are WAY better....
In the interest of full disclosure, I feel I must relay to you what I told Royce when he was looking for a chipper:

I bought a 2000 brush bandit 200xp 2 years ago for $7000. Asplundh used it, and it was pretty worn, but it has an 86hp perkins diesel in it. I've heard that as long as you change the oil in those heavy diesel engines, they'll run forever. No idea how many hours were on it--meter broken. I've had to replace a few belts and such, but so far, it runs as strong as the day I bought it. I spent a long time looking, and had to drive about 4 hours to get it (NC), but I haven't regretted the purchase for one moment. Have you tried SearchTempest to search Craigslist in local states?
Just my experience--listen to everything and hold on to what is good.
All the best!
 

evo

Well-Known Member
Location
My Island, WA
I haven't heard of SearchTempest but I have been looking at craigslist religiously for the past few months. It seems that most the decent machines are on the east coast, and the local ones that are affordable have major issues or must have a brick of gold some where in them. I have also done my homework on gravely's it seems that they only made them for about 10 years ending in '92. The engines seem common enough, the body I can fabricate myself if needed, hydraulics are hydraulics and should be common enough, so it seems that I'm left with disk and feed rollers and those should last for a long long time right?
 

BRT

Well-Known Member
Location
VA
I haven't heard of SearchTempest but I have been looking at craigslist religiously for the past few months. It seems that most the decent machines are on the east coast, and the local ones that are affordable have major issues or must have a brick of gold some where in them. I have also done my homework on gravely's it seems that they only made them for about 10 years ending in '92. The engines seem common enough, the body I can fabricate myself if needed, hydraulics are hydraulics and should be common enough, so it seems that I'm left with disk and feed rollers and those should last for a long long time right?
Looking for months is a good thing. Can't be too informed. Naturally there is a point of diminishing returns; that's what I have to tell myself after having deliberated over a decision for what seems like an eternity.

Do try SearchTempest--lets you look at Craigslist posts all over the country. Of course you will mostly only be interested in those of neighboring states. But, you may run across a deal.

You're right about the machine--a chipper is pretty basic--there isn't much you can't fix if you're handy. Do take note of what DanielSon pointed out though--it does look like the cutting disk is positioned 90 degrees to the infeed direction. For comparison, most brush bandit, vermeer, & morbark disks are offset 45 degrees. This gives them more of a sheering action compared to that of chopping the limbs being pushed through by the feed wheels. Easier on everything including the worker.

Again, I wish you all the best. At the end of the day, anything's better than loading a utility trailer. But, the research and fact-finding on the front end can often prevent buyer's remorse. You really put an ace up your sleeve when you found out what they paid for it originally. I wonder how they would respond if you let them know what you learned?
 

BRT

Well-Known Member
Location
VA
Correction: I just looked at a Vermeer BC935 over on the treebay forum. It also has the cutter disk set 90 degrees to the infeed chute. Maybe this is just a function of 9" chippers. Someone else may know for sure.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
Location
My Island, WA
Ha, that sounds like the machine we use at work now (as a employee). They are great, no frills, but good beasties. I looked a another gravely last month on one of the other islands. Until then I was determined that all I wanted was a high hp 6" machine, and I talked myself into looking at it as a 6" that can occasionally take 9" if I needed it too. I am modeling my business for pruning rather than removals, to avoid competition from the other arborists already on the island, who I know personally. There is little need for me to chip anything bigger than 6". Also at this point would be working out of a 3/4 or 1 ton max. Yesterday was ridiculous literally chipping brush in the back of my little 1980 toyota with a chainsaw and stomping it down.
Ward, Pm me the details
 

oldoakman

Well-Known Member
Location
Alorgia
BRT, the 935 is a great machine. I owned one and never had a lick of trouble with it. It is, though a 9" machine at best. The 90 degree cutter wheel configuration is not really that much of a problem. Prior to that I had a Mighty Bandit which was a 6" POS. it had the angled cutter wheel configuration, but the distance between the feed wheel and the disc would always clog with leafy material. The Mighty was a prior design to the AW65 which also had the 90 degree disc. The 935 cuts a smaller sized chip that works great for mulch. I am actually interested in seeing how much the one is that you arre looking at. I found one on SearchTempest last fall in Jacksonville FL that had 121 hours on it for 8K. Wish I had the $$ then to get it.
 

BRT

Well-Known Member
Location
VA
That's good that you had a good experience with the 935, Old Oak. First hand experience is probably the best we can give Evo. I'm only experienced with the 12" Bandit that I own; it is my first and only chipper.

935 looks like a compact machine--would probably tow nicely behind a 1 ton--and those smaller chips are nice as lots of homeowners would likely find a use for them.
 

oldoakman

Well-Known Member
Location
Alorgia
Exactly BRT. The 935 is definitely a small removal/ pruning crew machine. Vermeer has started prodecing that class machine again.
 

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