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Hydraulic Cylinder Selection for Log Splitter

Willie Smith

Willie Smith

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Hey guys, I'm new here. Just signed up today.

I'd like to build a 3-point hitch mounted, hydraulic wood splitter for my John Deere 990 for home use; I'm not in the firewood business.

I'm not sure if it will be the vertical or horizontal type. I suppose that wouldn't have an impact on cylinder selection. (Would it?)

I want to be able to handle reasonably-sized logs, maybe 22-24 inches in length, and maybe up to 20" diameter. A single wedge type would be fine.

The tractor's hydraulic system specs are:
Type: open center
Capacity: 5.5 gal [20.8 L]
Pressure: 2262 psi [156.0 bar]
Pump flow: 8.5 gpm [32.2 lpm]
Total flow: 13 gpm [49.2 lpm]
Steering flow: 4.5 gpm [17.0 lpm]

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Willie
 
Willie Smith

Willie Smith

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Geez, I typed the post and forgot to emphasize my main question! I'm asking for recommendations on what size hydraulic cylinder I should get.
 
Freakingstang

Freakingstang

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3 point splitters run off of tractor hydraulics are anemically slow. I would seriously look around on CL for a used 3point splitter if you want to go that route. I bought a complete 3pt 5" cylinder splitter for 200 bucks. You can't build one cheaper than you could buy one for. You have to be patient and look and wait and be ready to buy when it pops up. I'm converting it a horizontal and vertical that will be perpendicular to the tractor for size and space constraints. I'm running it off of a PTO 21gpm pump (also scored on CL for 100 bucks). it will have its own hydraulic system separate from the tractor. Most decent splitters run 12gpm minimum to 16gpm, the more serious splitters get up to 35gpm.
 
jgoodhart

jgoodhart

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Pressure and flow are a little low for a wood splitter plus your running a 40 hp diesel to do it. A 4" cylinder will get you 14 tons of pressure and the cycle time will be slow.
 
zogger

zogger

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3 point splitters run off of tractor hydraulics are anemically slow. I would seriously look around on CL for a used 3point splitter if you want to go that route. I bought a complete 3pt 5" cylinder splitter for 200 bucks. You can't build one cheaper than you could buy one for. You have to be patient and look and wait and be ready to buy when it pops up. I'm converting it a horizontal and vertical that will be perpendicular to the tractor for size and space constraints. I'm running it off of a PTO 21gpm pump (also scored on CL for 100 bucks). it will have its own hydraulic system separate from the tractor. Most decent splitters run 12gpm minimum to 16gpm, the more serious splitters get up to 35gpm.
Or you could get such a splitter (I had no idea they were that cheap), then mount it on the wood hauling trailer and run it from a standalone small engine. 200 bucks is one of those teeny electric splitters on sale, so a beefier hydraulic for that money is good. Make it so it swings out like from the back, with a support leg, split, throw right on the trailer, fold it up, drive home. Could use it with a tractor or a truck then, on the farm, or down the road someplace else.
 
Willie Smith

Willie Smith

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I understand what you're saying about the 8.5 gpm being low output for a splitter. I might look into a pto-driven hydraulic pump as well.
What do you guys think about a pto-driven screw type splitter? I've never used one. How do they compare to the cylinder type splitters in terms of safety, speed, capacity, etc.?
 
firebrick43

firebrick43

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They don't. They are unsafe any fairly slow. They can split big wood any nasty knotty wood. In fact the one place I like them is splitting large logs on a three point post hole digger or an excavator but not many have that need to split whole logs
 
Freakingstang

Freakingstang

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I understand what you're saying about the 8.5 gpm being low output for a splitter. I might look into a pto-driven hydraulic pump as well.
What do you guys think about a pto-driven screw type splitter? I've never used one. How do they compare to the cylinder type splitters in terms of safety, speed, capacity, etc.?
do you like your arms, legs, fingers, and head? If so stay away from the screw type splitters. my uncle used one for years and one piece slipped and knocked him out cold. had no one been around, he probably would have died.

at 8gpm, and the cost of buying a new 3 point splitter you will be very disappointed in it. if you aren't worried about speed, then it might work out for you. I see them all the time that look like new for 350-600 on CL, but this isn't the time of the year to buy a splitter. I love to build things, and not discouraging you at all. It will work just fine, but it will be very slow.
 
Willie Smith

Willie Smith

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Since the 8.5 gpm output is low for a splitter, I'm going to look into building or buying a splitter with a pto pump. I have the tractor already so I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense to buy a unit with a gas engine.
I see some pto pumps on ebay that provide 16.9 gpm output with 20.4hp power requirement. That seems like a good fit.
I've never built anything with its own hydraulic system so I've got some homework to do. Any advice on reservoir capacity?
And what is a torque arm bar? Is it a necessary component?
 
jeffc

jeffc

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One thing to keep in mind with a 3pt splitter is that your tractor is basically tied up when using the splitting wood. Think about getting a tow behind splitter that you can unhook from the tractor. That way, you can still move material around with the FEL or skid logs while splitting.


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UpOnTheHill

UpOnTheHill

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I've been down the same road you're looking down. I bought a used 3pt splitter that the previous owner put a small gas engine and single stage pump on and cobbled it all together. When I got it home and tried it, I was disappointed with the engine and pump he used, they sucked. I removed them and converted it back into a 3 pt splitter..... It sucked. Very slow and tied up my kubota from doing other things. Also put run hours on my 32HP brand new diesel. I ended up buying a predator 212cc engine on sale at harbor freight for $99 and a new speeco 11gpm pump, and a lovejoy coupling. I assembled it all one evening in my shop and was running the next day. It works fairly well, much better than using the tractor hydraulics. It's faster and quieter. I'm very surprised with the engine for $99. It starts first pull every time and just purrs. Put a gas engine on it and Hyd pump and I think you'll be happy. If I were to change anything, I would have gotten one size bigger pump (16gpm?) for faster cycle times. i'm not sure how the engine would do though. I think my cylinder is 4-1/2" for reference.
 
jthornton

jthornton

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Since the 8.5 gpm output is low for a splitter, I'm going to look into building or buying a splitter with a pto pump. I have the tractor already so I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense to buy a unit with a gas engine.
I see some pto pumps on ebay that provide 16.9 gpm output with 20.4hp power requirement. That seems like a good fit.
I've never built anything with its own hydraulic system so I've got some homework to do. Any advice on reservoir capacity?
And what is a torque arm bar? Is it a necessary component?
I've built a 3 pt splitter for a guy and he used the tractor hydraulics for several years before I upgraded him to a PTO pump. That being said you could start with building a splitter and make provisions for a tank on the splitter and use your tractor hydraulics even if it is slow it will split and give you time to watch for a bargain on a PTO pump. The torque arm keeps the PTO pump from spinning and is required.

JT
 
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