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Pipe puller

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by jkinchla, Jan 14, 2002.

  1. jkinchla

    jkinchla LawnSite Member
    from MA
    Messages: 74

    I posted a while ago about tractor-mounted vibratory plows, and since then I have found a few that run about $12k for one that goes on a 3 pt hitch. That seemed like too much money, so we took a chance and pinned a used ditch witch blade onto a bracket that can mount to my tractor. All for about $400. The thing works pretty well, pulling pipe through the ground about 6" deep. Now, I am not expecting this thing to work on large commercial sites where the spec is >8" deep, but I think it will be good for residential. We pulled some pipe around my yard, through rocks and roots, and the thing was super. I plan on using it for residential stuff next year, but I want to know if you guys can foresee any problems with not having the blade vibrate. Am I setting myself up for problems with large gouges in the pipe since there is no vibrating to loosen the soil? What are your thoughts?

    By the way, the pipe looked good after it was pulled into the ground, we took it out and inspected it, but I know that the guys on this board have a lot of knowledge. Is there something that we didn't consider?
  2. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    The problem with your rig is that you have no down pressure. That will be required when soil is hard or to overcome other soil conditions such as rocks, roots etc. 6" is a minimum depth and if that is what you get under perfect conditions what happens if things are not perfect?

    Ther is no advantage for shallow pipe because most rotors are 8-9" long plus a fitting underneath. You gotta dig the hole anyhow. With 6 " cover and trying to get one pipe to cross the other how deep will that be or are you going to run it under the first? But you'll have to dig for that.

    I don't know about your tractor wid5th or length but an articulated puller 3' wide is very manuverable and would place pipe closer to the head to be installed.

    How about a boring attachment. Your tractor doesn't have that. Buy a good used unit if your into irrigation or rent one till the time is right to buy. I think your just fooling yourself, your wallet and your customers with this rig.
  3. greasemonkey

    greasemonkey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    check w/ your local equipment dealers for a used machine...the ditch witch guy around here tried to sell the guys i work for a dealer refurbished (it looked like new) 410sx w/ trencher and borer. The think had less than 500 hrs and he wanted about half of new. plus he could line up financing for it. You'd me much happier (and profitable) with a machine that's built to do the job.

  4. jkinchla

    jkinchla LawnSite Member
    from MA
    Messages: 74

    Thanks for the feedback. I have rented Ditch Witch units before and found that they ride up in the soil a lot more than this machine seems to. They didn't impress me much, especially given the price. I think my tractor (JD 955) has a lot more power and ability to get through rugged conditions than a walk behind puller. As for down pressure, I have thought about adding counterweight to the blade, 500 lbs ought to keep it pretty deep.

    If I do buy a plow unit, it will probably be a Case Maxisneaker, it is a complete package and probably the best way to go, especially with the boring rig. Problem is, nobody rents those around here and purchasing is not in the cards, so I am stuck renting a DW that performs moderately well. I tried subbing the pulling out last year, but that was difficult to coordinate.

    So we'll see what happens, the last thing I want to do is cheat the customer. If the machine doesn't work well, I'll just go back to renting or perhaps purchase a used one later in the season. We will be testing it more this winter as conditions allow, to make sure it works as well as it seems to.
  5. greasemonkey

    greasemonkey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    if i remember correctly, you said you had rented a ditch witch 100sx. there's a huge difference btwn the 100sx and the 410sx...the 410sx is walkbehind, but it also has 4wheel drive and a 40 horse diesel. see if you can get your ditch witch dealer to demo you one...

  6. Silver Bullet

    Silver Bullet LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 4

    I use a Vermeer LM42. I talked to every sales man, including Ditch Witch, and Case, Maxisneaker. Ditch Witch makes a good machine. I liked the controls, and the way it plowed. The thing that turned me away from it was the price. I had troubles running the case. The blade was hard to keep in the ground in hard ground. I have run all three of them before I installed irrigation systems, in bigger versions installing fiber optic cable. Vermeer always seem to work with me if I had any problems, and did what ever it took to get me working again. There machine has plenty of power, and I found a used one with 100 hours for half the price of the others. It plow just as well as the others, and customer service goes a long way with our company.

    If your blade on your tractor works well, use it. The vibrator on the plows help, but they also take a lot or power to run. If you have plenty of power you won't have any problems pulling in good soil, or sandy conditions. If you can use it for a year, it might make you enough money to look into a plow with a trencher, and a boring unit. Before I spent the money I would get a good customer base. To keep your blade in the gound, it doesn't always depend on the amount of weight. It depends on the pitch, or the angle that your blade sits in the ground. If the point of the blade has an slightly upward pitch, it should stay in the ground. Most of the time people put to much force on the blade and they lose traction because the lift the back of the machine up.

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