Grapple Truck versus Chipper

YellowDogSVC

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
TX
Over the years, I've grown my mulching business at the expense of my chipping business. Now I'm finding I have a lot of small jobs that pay well but are difficult to get my mulcher into because of discharge of material from a mulcher in proximity to houses or the people just don't want the shreds left over. My chipper can self load and handle up to 20"+ logs but for the small brush or tangled brush I have to pay laborers to load the chipper if I can't use the mulcher.

My thoughts were to sell my big chipper and pick up a grapple truck that I can also use for my boulder deliveries and for hauling shreds and logs and other things.

Anyone use one? I would not be looking at a real big one. Maybe up to 26k gvw or possibly a 33k truck. Do they work good and what about the brush not being covered when I'm on the road? I use a dump trailer with tarp to cover my loads now but don't see how a grapple truck could be easily tarped.

Info would be appreciated.
 

Kepple Services

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Orlando, FL
We have 4 grapple trucks, 3 60 yard trucks and one 35 yard truck... the smaller one was a single axle 25 yard truck that we made into a tandom with a larger box. Tarping them is easy, you do have to do it manualy. We have a hand crank on the front of the boxes and you walk over the load and pull the tarp over the load and use the grapple to hold it down. If you go with the smaller truck the bed isnt that heavy duty for things like boulders and such, can you do it? yes, but be prepared for many dents and such... Any other questions let me know.
 
OP
YellowDogSVC

YellowDogSVC

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
TX
Thanks for the info. I was thinking a hand crank tarp like I use on my dump trailer. Didn't think about swinging the loader out of the way first..

Do you find them fairly maneuverable? I'm thinking between Bobcat and other machines I have that I can get brush within reach of a loader arm if necessary. I'm wanting to stay under CDL for now but plan to upgrade eventually. Not sure if that would get me much truck, though.
 

Kepple Services

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Orlando, FL
Maneuverable? ummm how can i say this... HELL NO... lol... The sterlings are like trying to turn an aircraft carrier... The GMC(smaller truck) isnt as bad as the wheelbase is shorter. As for staying under CDL, good luck, the smaller truck before the upgrades weighed in at 24K lbs with the loader, chassis, body, etc and was origninally a 33K GVW truck, with the addition of the axles and whatnot im not sure of the empty weight now as I have not weighed it, but we upgraded the GVW to 59,999. I can assume the empty weight went up about 1500-2000 lbs. The lighter empty weight still only gave us a 9K lb payload, so needless to say we overloaded it a few times.
 

7.3 Rocket

LawnSite Member
Location
CT
Bear in mind you get a 3:1 reduction when you chip your brushy material so if you can fill the truck once with chips you'll be filling it 3x if you haul unground brush. That's my only input.
 

Scag48

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Marysville, WA
Maneuverable? ummm how can i say this... HELL NO... lol... The sterlings are like trying to turn an aircraft carrier...
Amen to that! I drive a Sterling at work, what a beast to get it turned around. 22 foot flatbed with a PM knuckleboom crane plus I drag a 25 foot double axle tag trailer. Even without the trailer it's like a bull in a china shop. I wish I drove a KW...
 

Kepple Services

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Orlando, FL
Our sterlings are probably worse due to our extended wheelbase over most trucks in general. The body's are 24' and then there is a 3' gap between the body and cab for th crane to fit.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

GreenI.A.

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
North East
I've used my buddies goose neck grapple, probably about 20 ft long. Pulled with a f350, I could only load it about half may as anymore would put it over cdl. He usually has it fully loaded and pulls with a f550. As far as maneuverability, it's a goose neck, so it maneuvered as good as a 5th wheel, I used it in the city in narrow streets and was easier than maneuvering a regular 16ft trailer. Thinking to the set up, you could probably put up some expanded mettle on the side to hold in the brush. Or some extra light weight verticle posts, set to the outside a little so the logs dont rest on them.
 

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