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New poster and new, (to me,) Suzuki QuadMaster 500, 2001. Have looked back through a couple of years of posts without finding exactly what I'm looking for. Am looking for suggestions, advice, do's, don'ts about snaking logs out of the woods with an ATV. I've got very steep, hilly property and firewood to last me the rest of ten lifetimes. Steep enough that I can't get to a lot of areas with a logging arch. Have rope, chain, block and tackle and pullies. Just want to make sure, before I get started, that I don't do anything stupid. Any voice of experience out there?
I have been dragging logs out of the mountain (for firewood) that you see in the background here for five years now with ATVs. All Iíve done so far is cut the fallen timber to a draggable size, attach a chain and drag them to a central area near my woodpile where I cut, split and stack the wood. So far I have not needed anything special other than a simple chain around the log that I attach to the hitch of my ATV. My Grizzly's hitch has been reinforced (broke it two different times while jerking logs loose to get them moving - something you really should avoid doing) and I have a 3 in1 hitch accessory (from Cabela's) that I've attached to it. This hitch accessory allows you to attach a ball for pulling trailers, it has a hole for pulling something with a hitch pin, and it has a loop welded on it for attaching a chain.
You can see a sample of some of the logs Iíve recently pulled down here and here (the largest logs I pulled with my Grizzly, some of the smaller ones were pulled with my friendís Rubicon). These particular logs consisted of three fallen trees; an ash and two oaks (so the logs were HEAVY). You can see other examples of logs Iíve pulled with the ATVs in my atvconnection photo gallery.
Dragging logs in this manner will put extra stress on the machine as Iím sure I routinely exceed the recommended towing capacity. However other than breaking my hitch a couple of times early on (necessitating the reinforcement work) they have held up well. Much of the drag route is downhill so that helps...
Yes, they were big, at the upper limit of what I typically try to pull. I had a problem with the biggest log you see in the 1st picture (3rd one from the left) right after coming out of the woods where I have to make a 90 degree turn and then a slight uphill run to a flat area that is several hundred feet long before turning downhill again. The ground was frozen except for a top layer of about an inch and a half so it was really slick and the Grizzly lost traction and came to a stop with all four tires spinning (I was in low range with the diff lock engaged). So we hooked the Rubicon to the log as well and together we got that log up the little hill and across the flat section. Normally what I would have done in that situation is cut the log in half but the other ATV was right there so we put it to use. Once I got to the downhill turn we disconnected the Rubicon and the Grizzly took the log the rest of the way down the mountain to my staging area.
I stopped for the day after those few logs because of the thawing conditions as it was tearing the ground up too much. I either need to wait for the ground to freeze completely again or wait until it dries out more. The Grizzly was quite muddy after that job...
We haul out quite a few trees each year, mostly for fence posts and clearing of blown down areas. When I say fence posts, we're talking about 25 foot juniper logs, I try to get 3 8 foot posts out of each tree, it makes for less wasted tree, time, and hauling time.
If you're planning on cutting big stuff that outweighs the quad, I lean towards a skidder or tractor, as strong as quads are, they're just not designed to do that kind of work for long.
Having said that, we use a 100 foot rope and a ****** block to get stuff out to a hauling road. It beats cutting a road to get to each tree, and you always get decent traction on the hauling road. Hang the ****** block about head high in a solid tree on the far side of the road from the tree, the tree hangs up less that way and it leaves the end where you can get at it to haul.
A winch will work as well, but you end up putting a lot of hours on your winch for not much gain, and they are slow compared to low gear on the quad.
For hauling, I use a pair of four foot long 1/4 inch chains with rings on the tail ends, attached to a single 2 foot braided rope with an end loop that will fit over the trailer ball on the hitch. The rings will slide up over the chain to form a choker on each piece of chain, and won't come unhooked as a grab hook will. They also won't hook on a tree root while you're driving back for the next load... don't ask how I know that. It also keeps the load low on the quad, at hitch level.
If you can haul out during cold weather when the ground is frozen, and even better with snow on the ground, it's much easier on everything including saw chains. With three 25 foot small logs behind the Foreman, second gear hauling was no problem at all once we had a trail broken and a skidway in the center for the logs to follow. Also, the colder the better if you're working hard, I like to work when its about 10 below zero Celsius, I sweat less and get more done.
Good traction is a must, it's the limiting factor as opposed to engine power. Bevelling the front ends of the logs being hauled helps too.
First and last, have fun. We had a blast last winter using the quad for what would normally be tedious work with a skidder or tractor
2TV, some massive stuff you've pulled out! Most of what I'm after is much smaller. And have been looking at the 3 way hitches. The dealers don't even know what they are, have only seen them online.
Chilly, Your description is kind of what I'm looking at. I've got a pretty fair cross hatch of old logging roads but can't drive right up to most of the trees I want out, will have to snake to a road. The toughest ones are across or down in ravines. I assume I can tie off on a tree, rope to a pully on the log and back to the ATV to get enough leverage to pull them out?
I haven't had a problem with tree roots yet but other trees and boulders can be a problem! I keep the chain fairly short (about 6' plus or minus) between the quad and the logs and watch my turns carefully while in the woods (going very slow when approaching a hazard that could stop the log). I actually aim for smaller rocks ahead of me because the logs will often rip them right out of the ground (it takes a lot to stop a heavy log once itís moving), helping to clear the trail for future recreational riding. Of course you wouldn't want to do that to any rock that is large enough or shaped such that it could stop the log in it's tracks if it doesn't move as sudden stops could be hazardous.
Some of my recreational woods trails have originated from paths created via log drags. Otherwise when I drag Iím aiming for the nearest already established trail, following a route that will keep me going downhill as much as possible. Momentum is important but is never a problem when going downhill.
A ****** block will come in really handy for pulling logs out of ravines. I'd try to do it with quad power 1st via a cable / ****** block, but if traction is a problem then you need to use a winch. I generally drive into a tree as centered as possible while still leaving the winch exposed enough where I can put it to use. The tree will help to hold the quad in place while winching. Otherwise you can chain the rear end to a tree behind you...
We use our sp500 occasionally for pulling logs out for firewood. Just use a machine big enough for hauling what you want. Unlike my friend who used his 91 honda 300 to clear out a lot for his house. He was skidding out full length popple and and ash approx. 30-40 feet. He burnt the clutch up in 10 minutes, no he only has 1st gear.
So far I've only used the ****** block to change the direction of pull, but attaching it to the log and tying off to a tree next to the trail should work fine. Just make sure you pick a heavy enough tree..[img]i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif[/img] I picked one about 6 inches in diameter last winter, and when the log submarined under a deadfall under the snow, it snapped the tree off like a toothpick when everything came tight.
Warn makes a nice ****** block http://www.warn.com/atv/accessories/ATV-SnatchBlock.shtml that's easy to attach. I made the one I use out of some spare material at work, it has a three inch pulley instead of some of the smaller ones I've seen. It's easier on the rope and causes less loss through friction.
Biggest problem I've had is with the log snagging on other trees and deadfalls while it's on its way to the road.
I have been dragging 20-25 foot cedar logs off of a hilltop, through a ravine, and back to my house, to build a log garage for my quad (Cat 500i). Rather than buy a logging arch, I just elevate one end and drop it on the rear rack. Makes the back end sag a bit, but it pulls fine. I have had to winch a couple of those logs into position. Remember that the winches they sell for quads have plastic gears in them, and aren't really designed to be run constantly.
Firewood - I do a lot of that every winter. There are enough hardwood trees on my farm to last me a lifetime. Never have cut one down, just drive around and I'll find what I want, already down.
Rather than drag logs out, I saw them up on the spot, and haul them put in a trailer. Less strain on the quad, and you can cover a lot rougher terrain with a good off road trailer than you can dragging a log. Be sure to get a trailer with fat tires. Nichols (sponsor of this site) has some very nice timber trailers - very expensive, too. I used the trailer that Arctic Cat sells. $400, has fat tires and a dump bed.