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First Stump Grinder Advice

VASteve

VASteve

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Mar 29, 2019
Messages
5
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34
Location
Loudoun County VA
I'm looking for some advice on which stump grinder to buy for my business. I do not plan on grinding stumps full time; however, I plan on adding this to my list of services with the intent of growing my business. Most of the work is in a city/metro area with smaller yards and tighter spaces.

I've been considering the following used stump grinders:

· Vermeer SC252 - $5800, lots of hours/rough condition.
· Toro STX26 - $7000, works great, but leaks some hydraulic fluid
Hydrostatic Handlebar Machines:
· BeeLine 25hp Kohler - $2500, hard to get parts
· Bandit 27HP Kohler - $4200, good condition
· Rayco 20Hp - $3500, older machine with low hours


I’m leaning toward a handlebar machine due to weight, simplicity, price, and maneuverability. Any advice for someone just getting started?

Thank You!
 
Eq Broker

Eq Broker

GlobalEquip
Joined
May 5, 2009
Messages
622
Location
Marietta
Website
www.globalequipmentexporters.com
Hi Steve,

I would get a small self propelled stump grinder. You would hate the handle bar machine, as it will wear you out. The Toro is used by many of my customers and they like it. I would check the leaks as it might be hoses that need replacing. Sometimes it is as simply as an o rings. When buying a stump grinder, grab the cutter wheel and try to move it up/down and side to side as you're checking for bearing play. If you feel any play, you'll need to replace the cutter wheel bearings and that can be a 3-4 job plus the price of the bearings. If it's a belt driven cutter wheel, check the poly chain belt and sprockets. Those belts are very expensive. Check the sprockets the belt rides on as the teeth on the sprockets need to be flat on top. If the teeth are the sprockets are sharp, they will need replacing as well.

When checking the engine, remove the oil fill cap and start the engine. Hold a white paper towel over the oil fill cap and see if there is any oil residue on the towel. Oil residue means there's oil by passing the rings and you'll need an engine rebuild or replacement.

I would keep searching for a small Vermeer, Rayco, or Carlton. A 25hp to 27hp is good starter machine.

Hope this helps!

Dave
Global Equipment Exporters
770-420-6400
 
VASteve

VASteve

ArboristSite Lurker
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Location
Loudoun County VA
Thank you very much for the advice, Dave! I'll definitely check the bearings, belts, and other items before making a purchase. I'm considering the Rayco RG20HD, but I'm a little hesitant to buy a handlebar machine since it sounds like I'll need to upgrade down the road if I start getting a lot of grinding work. Although, it is self-propelled so that should help a little. I also found an older Rayco 1620, but I'm having trouble finding much information about it (Weight, size, parts availability etc).

Does anyone have information or detailed specification on the Rayco 1620?

I'll likely be making an overnight trip to purchase any of these machines so I want I'm getting into. Thanks!
 
Eq Broker

Eq Broker

GlobalEquip
Joined
May 5, 2009
Messages
622
Location
Marietta
Website
www.globalequipmentexporters.com
The Rayco RG1620 should have a an old Kohler Command 20hp engine unless it's been upgraded. I carry the bearings, poly belt, and sprockets for this machine. I would prefer this machine above and beyond any handle bar machine. Parts are still available for this machine through Rayco.

Hope this helps!

Dave
Global Equipment Exporters
770-420-6400
 
rarefish383

rarefish383

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MD
I'd stay away from the 252 also, too much work. I had a little Vermeer 630A. It's an ancient machine now, but the price on one should be right. It will inch worm it's self around a yard, but much slower than a true self propelled machine. I used mine on my John Deere 265. It will fit through 36" gates. Made me lots of money as a one man gig after I retired.
 

RyKR

ArboristSite Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2014
Messages
54
Age
44
I don't think you'll be happy with any of those listed. If i had to choose from those, I'd go with the 252.

They're all underpowered and you'll wish you bought something bigger. However, if you're doing all small stumps and rent larger when needed, I'd go with the 252.
 
TheAMMIXman

TheAMMIXman

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Jul 12, 2014
Messages
179
Age
37
I know this is old now but if you haven’t yet bought a machine ill say I have come to know and love my 252 very well. It has made me money. There is an excellent upgrade thread on here a lot of us have cranked up the swing speed via hyrdro pump pulley with no ill effects, also gone green teeth. These two mods let’s us keep up with some much higher horsepower machines.

There was a guy with an Vermeer 1152 did a neighbors house, I timed him from my garage. Little under an hour and he didn’t clean up. I coulda done it and cleaned it up in two, or done it in just over one hour. Not far behind when his machine was probably 85k new (and I know the guy he bought it new) and you can get a good usable 252 for 5-8 thousand.

As a part time stump grinding only business(I work a full time 15 nights a month) I love my 252. Get a big saw, cut em low before you grind em, and you can keep up with most others for grind time.

Just as a point of reference I paid 7k for my machine two years ago with 700 hours on it with the trailer. A 2012. There’s some deals on fleebay right now if you can pick them up, the one for 10k is overpriced tho.

Let us know how you made out.

Bruce
 
Statalovich

Statalovich

New Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2020
Messages
3
Age
45
Location
Indiana
I started with a Vermeer sc30tx, it’s a great machine but I quickly outgrew it and bought a sc70tx, I would find something in between.
 
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