List of Upgrades to Vermeer SC252

stumper63

stumper63

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For those of us that have the 252 it seems like it would be handy to have an authoritative list of the modifications all of us have made to improve/upgrade/strenghten our machines.
I know Plyscamp has made quite a few, including the recent hydraulic ram bushing upgrades. Has anyone else made mods to their 252? What did you do, how well has it worked out, any specific part #'s?

I would like to take all the responses and put them together in one post so any of us can benefit from them a bit easier.

If there are previous posts you know about, please reference them.

I realize that some things are matters of opinion, like which type of cutter wheel or teeth to use, like, my preference of the Sandvik. But lots of things are probably just what they are, good upgrades.

Perhaps these upgrades would help those with similar sized machines from other manufacturers as well.
Stumper63
 
stumper63

stumper63

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So far there hasn't been any interest in the list, maybe we can generate some enthusiasm since it would be helpful to all. I am willing to collate the replies into such a list, but need input from any who have made upgrades to contribute to the thread.

There is some information on the site already, but I haven't had time to sift through it yet, but will.

Thanks,
Stumper63
 
BCstumper

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Tried to copy plyscamp information about swing arm bushings in large equipment dont know how to do it.




Brian
 
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Plyscamp

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I am not ignoring this post, it has just been more than a little crazy lately. As soon as I can get some time I will post all of my mods. Ground speed increase, needle bearings, shaft improvements, engine upgrades, pivot upgrades, belt and pulley upgrades, Yada Yada Yada.
 
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Plyscamp

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Ok, probably the most wanted improvement is the ground speed improvement. Its fairly simple if you have a good bearing & pulley supplier near you. Keep in mind with this modification you will also speed up your swing speed and up and down speeds. All of these speeds are variable with the control levers.

Remove the clutch cover and you will find a small belt and a 5" diameter pulley that is mounted to your hydraulic pump. Remove the belt and pulley and replace the 5" diameter pulley with a 3.5" pulley ( 30% faster) or a 3" pulley (40% faster). One problem I had was locating a pulley with a 9/16" center bore. Standard stocking pulleys are 1/2" or 5/8". Kaman bearing was able to do it with a 2 piece taper lock pulley. Now all you need is a 4L250 (1/2" X 25") belt, reassemble tighten belt and your good to go.
 
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stumper63

stumper63

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thanks plyscamp,
I was also thinking that you could increase the ground speed by changing the small sprocket on hydraulic drive motor for the wheels and increasing chain length a few links. But this would seem to decrease the power though increasing the speed, used to do this with dirt bikes years ago. With your modification have you noticed any decrease in hill climbing power, or is it just the same with more speed? Does the increased rpm's of the pump pulley increase the flow or the pressure?
thanks for another good idea!

Stumper63
 
Plyscamp

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Stumper63 The pulley change increases the flow and does not change the pressure. It will still spin the tires before before it quits pulling. You can add a larger lower sprocket and gain speed but there is not a lot of room down there. Actually my Diesel engine only runs at 2,600 RPM (Kohler runs at 3,600 RPMs) and I have the smaller pulley and larger sprocket both on that unit.
 
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Plyscamp

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Plastic bushings to needle bearings on hydraulic cylinders. You will need 4 Ea. Timken B-1612 needle bearings and 2 Ea. Timken B-1616 needle bearings.

The B-1612 bearings are for the side to side swing cylinders and the B1616 are for the up and down swing cylinder. Pull the pins that hold the cylinders on and drive the old nylon bushings out. I find it is easier to split the plastic bushing with a hacksaw blade before you try and drive them out, they really fit tight. Then drop the needle bearing in the hole, grease it real good and reassemble.

I am going to drill my pins Vertically down to the bearing area then Horizontally to meet the vertical hole. This will allow me to add a grease fitting at the end of the pin to grease the bearing.

I bought the bearings from US Bearings and Drives THROUGH AMAZON.COM. frieght and all it was $50.28
 
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Plyscamp

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OK tonight I will address Auto Sleep. It is my opinion that Auto Sleep was developed for the Rental Yards to protect the belts from the novice user and in this application I feel it is mandatory.
If you are into production grinding and need/want more production from your SC252 disable the Auto Sleep feature. This will put you in charge of the cutting instead of the computer.
To disable the Auto Sleep lift the hood and near the tool box closest to the engine you will find a Black Box/Computer. In one of the heavy wires attached to this box you will find a fuse holder. It is black rubber maybe one inch square. Open it up and remove the spade style fuse, Close the fuse holder up and it is disabled. You are now in control of the machines cutting ability. Should you ever want to enable it just put the fuse back in the holder.
 
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arbor pro

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plyscamp,

In disabling the auto sweep feature, could that be the reason that so many users end up with early engine and bearing wear - particularly when switching over to other tooth setups such as greenteeth?

I run the larger deep dish red greenteeth setup on my 'stock' 2004 sc252 and have never had a problem with bearings or with my machine wanting to 'climb up' the stump as many other users of that tooth have complained about. I feel that my machine with the greenteeth setup is very productive even with no other modifications so long as I keep the teeth sharp which I always do. (I also have a larger tow behind which runs the same size tooth so, I put new teeth on my sc252 and, as soon as they loose their edge, I put them on the tow behind and run them until they're shot).

By disabling the auto sweep, might that be causing the head to swing too fast; thus, bogging down the engine (reducing rpms), slowing the cutter wheel and eventually causing excessive wear to the engine and bearings as a result?

I'm just asking because it seems to me that by modifying the machine, you might get increased production but, you also get increased wear on the machine. Do you feel you are trading off one for the other by disabling features and making modifications?
 
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stumper63

stumper63

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I'm with Plyscamp, disable it. I've tried it twice now just to make sure, but the Autosweep is just too slow. Can't beat good hand/eye/ear coordination for stump grinding. I've got over 2500 hours on my 252, same engine still purring along, just the usual bearing replacement every 500 hours or so. Bearings are about $70 each, so what are you saving? The speed increased with manual control is not worth the minor bearing costs. Just don't abuse the machine and it will last a long time. I don't have problems with the machine running up a stump unless I take way too big of a bite, which I don't do unless I fall asleep, which I also don't do while grinding, which I did do the couple of times I enabled the autosweep.

A must for inexperienced users like at rental yards, but a real sleeper for the stump guy doing his job every day like me.
stumper63
 
Plyscamp

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Let me explain why Pause Computers used on Stump Grinders and Chippers are nothig more than a band aide for lack of power and actually reduce the available power even further. Note I did not say Horsepower. Horsepower is normally developed somewhere around maximum RPM (3,600 RPMs). A pause computer (Auto Sleep) is designed to keep the engine at or near maximum RPM. Should the engine speed fall much below maximum RPM the computer will slow the swing speed to a crawl, until the engine comes back to speed.

What Keeps the wheel turning under load is Torque not Horsepower. Maximum Torque is normally developed between 2,200 to 2,600 RPMs depending on engine brand and cubic inches. So Auto Sleep keeps your engine out of the power range.

After the Auto Sleep is disabled the operator controls the swing speed. The swing speed control lever is variable speed. You can increase the swing speed by adding more pressure to the control lever and decrease swing speed with less pressure on the control lever.

This allows the operater to increase or decrease the engine load and bring the RPMs into the true power band which is Torque. Once disabled you must become a thinking operater and not a robot. If you continue to force the control lever to the maximum position everytime like you do with Auto Sleep, you will be stalling the engine frequently and damage the unit. Listen to the engine it will tell you if it needs more or less load.

It really comes down to this, if you think the computer is smarter than your operater do not make this modification. If you feel your operater is smarter than the computer you will be rewarded with about double the production. Who want's to spend 2 hours on a 1 hour stump?
 
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stumper63

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Nice info plyscamp. The other mods you've mentioned are replacing the jackshaft with a 1.5" unit. Also replacing the engine with the 35hp Briggs & Stratton Vanguard. Should I pull up the info from the original posts or do you have anything to add or subtract from those posts?

Vermeer went back to a straight across 1.25" jackshaft, no more step up to 1.5" in the middle. Mine were breaking at the step, went through 4 of them last season. But I think when I mod up to the 35hp I'll have a friend of mine who is a machinist make up a couple of the 1.5's for me. You just use the same 1.5" bearings as the cutter wheel, don't you? No problem fitting, since they are about 1/2" longer pillow block?

You didn't happen to make a template of the engine mount plate after it was modified did you? Would tell us all the dimensions and where the holes go and how big the plate was. Guess we can figure it out when we get there. Appreciate your insights.
How's the grinding going? Picking up here just like it always does in the end of Feb. Do you grind full-time, or do you do tree work too?

Thanks,
Stumper63
 
Plyscamp

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Stumper 63 The 1.5" shaft is pretty straight forward. Have your Machinist duplicate your 1.25" shaft with a 1.5" shaft and make it out of 4130 Steel. You will need new 1.5" center hubs for the 2 piece pulley's on each end of the shafts and yes use the same bearings as the cutter head. This also standardizes all the bearings. We carry 2 spares in the truck and just replace them in the field if we lose one.
I have not made a template for the 35 HP engine mount but I will do that in the next few day's.
I will post tomorrow on pulley and belt changes for the lower belts, and a belt source for the upper and lower belts. I did not get the pulley diameters today as I had planned.
We are a full time Stump Grinding Company and Tree Trimming or Removal is not what we do. We sub contract for about 30 Tree company's, Grind for many of the Cities, Hospital, Colleges and Gas & Electric Etc.. We also specialize in difficult access stumps, Hillside ,Planter boxes, limited space, up & down stairway's etc. With the fuel costs and housing problems, business is down about 40% versus last year. However we are starting to see some signs of improvement.
 
stumper63

stumper63

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Plyscamp,
Thanks for taking the time to benefit us other stumpers.
Are your clutches still holding up pretty well? I still haven't noticed any problems with mine since putting on the heavy Sandvik wheel last summer, and this clutch has about 1800 hours on it. If it goes bad have you ever though of using a clutch from a 352? They run a 35hp Vanguard on some of them, so it would seem it could be modded to fit the 252, since the shaft size should be the same, though the pulley or belt sizes would probably not be a direct fit. But if it ain't broke....

Do you use the alpine magnum for your tight access stumps, like in planter boxes, stairways, etc? One of these days I'm going to run up to Tacoma and demo one. I don't lose alot of business due to inaccessibility, but I could probably get more business if all the tree services and landscape companies I grind for knew I could access more stumps.

Stumper63
 
scouse

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Hi,
Thought I'd add a few little tips I've picked up from running my 252.While most aren't really upgrades they should help keep your machine running a bit better/longer:)

Engine: Oil very important to use the right grade, i've seen a few engines destroyed from just using the wrong oil.10W30 is the way to go, any thicker and it can/will pump up the hydraulic lifters causing a fair bit of damage. Change it regulary especially when grinding in dusty conditions, every 100 hours at least. Check for oil leaks, as these engines work with a crankcase vacuum if oil is leaking out dirt and air will get in.

Intake manifold : If the engine pops on WOT under no load then there is prob an air leak from the manifold gasket (happened twice on mine now) may be due to the odd couple of times its been tipped on its side :cry:

Belts : Toothed belt from cutter head to jack shaft, a poor design now changed to a multi v belt on later models(not sure when) use the tool provided to check the tension too tight and it will snap too loose and it will strip the teeth, I'm gonna convert it to the latest version when i get a chance :/

Jack belts : (i think thats what they are called) from engine to jack shaft again check tension too lose and they will slip too tight and they will cause premature wear on the crank and crankcase, an expensive bit of damage and requires a full rebuild can happen in a short period of time if belts are waaay too tight.

Drive train : chain lubricate and keep tensioned, I use some sticky oil spray thing that you can get from a dirt bike store.

Drive pins : these lock the axle to a plate which drives the wheels, they only ever sheer when your miles away from your truck stuck in a field,buy a couple of spares ones(normal bolts wont last 2 minutes) and keep em with the stumpy.

Hydraulics : Not much to say but check the lines that run from the control levers to the various rams, these can rub on each other and also on the lid that covers the fuel tank etc.They will only ever blow when the stumpy is driving accros a customers newly laid block paving :mad: replace them id the outer casing is worn and you can see the wire reinforcement, keep a long spare one that can replace most of em in an emergency.

Pivot bush : This is the one right underneath the machine and holds the head onto the chassis. Check the grease pipe is still in place since the prone to snapping at the brass union.If there is alot of play in the head try tightening up the large bolt (32mm i think) you will have to give it a good smack with a lump hammer to turn it, If it wont tighten remove the nut and the pinch bolt on the opposite side, spray some penetrating fluid over it all and try to smack the pin to get it moving then replace the pinch bolt and tighten the large nut right up.

Swing arm bushes : Allways wear and cause alot of side movement, I've replaced em a few times (Plyscamp roller bearings sound good) the last time i replaced em I drilled and tapped some grease nipples in there so it should hopefully prong there life too early to say if it works atm.

Well thats all i can think of atm and I'm sure I've gone on long enough:dizzy: I'll add some more if i think of anything;)
 
Plyscamp

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SBUSTA Yes I am still running the Multi tooth and I am very happy with the system. Getting ready to convert my SC505. How are you making out with your set up, did you get your Kan Do project up and running?

Stumper63 Yes I own three Alpines and a friend of mine own's 3 more. Between the 2 of us we do just about all the difficult access work in the County. ( San Diego County is roughly the size of the Sate of Rhode Island )
The clutch situation has not changed due to lack of time to pursue it. The Briggs Stratton 35HP used on the SC352 is a completely different engine than the 35 HP we are using. The SC352 is a 3 cylinder inline liquid cooled and the 35 HP we use is a V twin air cooled. However Vermeer seems to be looking at a upgrade clutch as the local dealer's mechanic approached my son about testing a different clutch from Agura.

Good information from SCOUSE and he is certainly right on about the roll pins on the wheel locks. They only go out when your a long way from the truck and usually even further from the Vermeer dealer. Pay's to keep them on the unit.

I still have not pulled the belt covers to measure the pulley's on my SC252 lower belt set up but I have not fogotten.
 
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