ArboristSite.com Sponsors
Traverse Creek Inc


Warning! Northern Tool 37 Ton Log Splitter failure!

GlennG

GlennG

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Jul 11, 2003
Messages
280
Location
xx
Owners of Northern Tool/ Northstar 37 Ton logsplitters check the bolt that allows the your splitter to pivot to make sure that has not sheared. The bolt(actually its a threaded rod that is welded on to the tilting hinge) on my splitter sheared and the cylinder and I-beam came free from the trailer portion of the splitter. While towing my splitter home I heard a clunk and then I saw a shower of sparks in the side mirror. When I pulled over I found the I-beam and cylinder dragging on the ground held only by the hydraulic hoses. Had the cylinder/I-beam separated from the rest of the unit it could have been deadly for other motorists.

I just got home and I`m a little P.O. and I need to vent but this could have been a deadly catastrophe.

This could also be a potential problem for owners of the 22 and 30 ton units because they are probably built on the same platform.

I don`t abuse my equipment and I drive 45mph max and tow 16 miles round trip to my wood site. My splitter has maybe 150-200 total miles on it.

I`ll call Northern tomorow and find out what the deal is. The splitter works awesome but the trailer/tilt mechanism/tires are flimsy under engineered crap. I will be re-engineering the trailer portion asap. I`m not trying to tarnish Northen/Northstar but this is dangerous and serious.

I appologize for being alarmist but this is dangerous and owners need to know that this machine has a serious design flaw.

PS Moderators, can we make this a sticky for a little while? It might save a life.

Thanks
GlennG
 
Last edited:
BlueRidgeMark

BlueRidgeMark

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
7,837
Location
Virginia
Isn't there anything else holding it on? :confused:

My Huskee has a hinge, but the other end sits down on a pin, and is secured with a lock pin.

The hinge pin isn't holding all the weight by itself.

Is that how the Northern's set up? The hinge is the whole enchilada?


I'd take some pictures and write a letter to Northern, if I were you. They don't want lawsuits, and if that is a design problem, the sooner they fix it the less likely they are going to pay out in some wrongful death case.
 
GlennG

GlennG

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Jul 11, 2003
Messages
280
Location
xx
Isn't there anything else holding it on? :confused:



The hinge pin isn't holding all the weight by itself.

Is that how the Northern's set up? The hinge is the whole enchilada?
I`d say the hinge is 90% of the enchilada.
There is also a flimsy fork/ears that pins the I-beam to the trailer tongue. But when the hinge fails and the weight of the I-beam/cylinder tries to twist off the trailer the fork/ears just spread/bend/fold and draw the pin out of the tongue.

Worst part is that for months I have been thinking about building a more robust platform for this machine with an axle and leaf spring. I could see that that the splitter trailer was built to light to handle mass of the I-beam/cylinder.

Glenn
 
GlennG

GlennG

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Jul 11, 2003
Messages
280
Location
xx
On the Northern I like the engine/I-beam/cylinder/wedge. The rest is flimsy. I won`t sell it. Since I weld and fab I`ll make a quality undercarriage for it. I`ve had 2 oil filter bypass housing failures and now this. Instead of selling it and spending more money on somthing new I`m going to pimp it. Northerns customer service is pretty good and they quickly replaced the oil filter housings. I am sure they would send out a new hinge assembly but I don`t trust it. At this point I`m going to design and build it better. Not everyone has the ability or resources to take my approach but I want everyone to know to look out for trouble with the H/V hinge.
 
BlueRidgeMark

BlueRidgeMark

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
7,837
Location
Virginia
Wow! That's the first good look I've had at a Northern. That IS flimsy!

Man, that looks like MTD junk! :dizzy:


Yet another reason to be glad I got the Huskee, I guess.
 
Crofter

Crofter

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Sep 27, 2002
Messages
4,915
Location
Northern Ontario
Is there not something in the instructions stating that it is not for highway towing. I think I have seen that on some wheel mounted pumps, gen sets etc.?
 
beerman6

beerman6

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Nov 6, 2007
Messages
2,014
Location
BANCROFT,MI
Maybe the tires are for hi-speed towing...

I know folks love to tow their splitters, but it just doesn't make sense to me to EVER to things on roads that don't have suspensions...

I dont even like towing mine to the wood shed,but my driveway is so effed up,my little car bottoms out :givebeer:
 
pickwood

pickwood

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Nov 1, 2006
Messages
230
Location
Hot Springs NC
Had the same thing happen to my northern splitter- the hinge bolt sheared.
Called Northern and they mailed me a replacement part in 3 days. The new part was a 1/2 inch bolt w/ heavier bracket instead of the 3/16 bolt that sheared off. Thats the only problem that I have to date. Great splitter otherwise!
 
reaperman

reaperman

ArboristSite Guru
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
558
Location
minnesota
Had the same thing happen to my northern splitter- the hinge bolt sheared.
Called Northern and they mailed me a replacement part in 3 days. The new part was a 1/2 inch bolt w/ heavier bracket instead of the 3/16 bolt that sheared off. Thats the only problem that I have to date. Great splitter otherwise!


Sounds to me like they are aware of the problem. I have the 22 ton model, which I like very much, but I remember when I assembled the unit I was surprised how flimsy the hinge seemed. I guess I was right. I only use mine around home, but I'll try hitting NT up for a stronger hinge assembly.
 
Sprig

Sprig

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Messages
3,216
Location
SaltSpring Island BC Can.
Wow that could have been a disaster man! Glad you caught it while it wasn't bouncing down the road through someone's windshield.
Keep us all posted (and thanks for the heads up to all NT splitter owners), I think a concise and slightly terse (though polite) letter with a full explanation & pics etc. is in order, point out the tremendous liability that could shoot them in the butt due to a structural failure on something advertised as being trailer-able and having 'high speed tires', darned good thing you weren't on the freeway doing 70mph, iyiyiyiyiyiyiyi :( Hopefully this shakes them up and they address this issue regarding all past sales, not wait for other failures before taking action, this kind of thing kills people.

:cheers:

Serge
 
darren_nh

darren_nh

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
386
Location
NH
I have a older Northern that works great and has seen a lot of wood. Mine must be different as my book say not to tow over 35MPH. I read this after towing it home in the dark on the interstate at 75MPH (I bought it used).

Now I only tow it around the yard and within 0.5 mile of my home. I load it in the back of my pickup for anything further than that. A couple ramps and a couple tie downs and I don't have to think about it.

It is well travelled as it summers in NH and winters in MA (at my father's).
 
Top