Stump Grinders - Gas vs. Diesel

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by ABC Stump, Oct 21, 2006.

  1. ABC Stump

    ABC Stump LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 3

    I work with a Rayco 1625 and I'm considering a larger machine. I still want a self propelled, just more power. It should be obvious what the difference is between my 25 HP gasoline engine compared to a larger 50 or 60 HP diesel but my knowledge is limited. Not considering all the technical numbers, what can I really expect to see that is different, e.i. time, ease, etc? The difference in price is huge and I need to know what the benefits would be.
  2. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4,721

    I am also in Texas, and also have a 1625. Great little machine. I can only assume that with more horsepower, you will complete each job faster. However, after looking at those prices, I choose to go with the less expensive 25hp Kohler-powered machine.
    You might want to post this question over on The guys over there have a lot of knowledge about stump grinders and were very helpful when I was trying to decide what to buy.
    Where are you located here in Texas?
  3. ABC Stump

    ABC Stump LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 3

    Since I do this part time I agree that the price is the most important consideration to me. It's not an issue as long as I'm getting jobs that are reasonable size. The largest job I've had is 30 took a while. I've recently bid a job for 100 stumps, all pines, and from my experience I'm not able to make as much per hour on a larger as compared to the smaller. No customer will be willing to pay for the time it would take to do this job as compared to a few stumps. I like the smaller jobs better as far as dollars per hour. With more power I SHOULD be able to move on to the next job way sooner I just don't have the experience with one. South East Texas.

    I'm just trying to decide if it's really worth the extra cost for a larger rig.
  4. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4,721

    I also do this grinding on a part time basis. I have found that pine stumps in general are tough to grind, and take a lot of time. When doing the pines, and other stumps larger than about 30", I sure could use more power.
    Have you thought about going with one of the smaller diesel machines? you could have the added power of diesel, but avoid a huge expenditure. I think my next step up, will be to another machine that fits through gates, but has a small diesel. I believe Rayco has a 30 - 40Hp diesel on their small -size machine. THe price is only a few thousand more than the 25Hp machine. I need to stay small, as about 2/3 of my work is in back yards with 36" gate access.
    I am definitly going with another Rayco when I buy. I am very happy with my machine, and the dealer is great. I bought mine from Poston Equipment.
  5. janb

    janb LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 254

    just curious on how much time it took you to do 30 stumps and what was average Dia.? Trying to see how competive I am with my skid attachment. I prefer 30 inches and under, as some of the 6-7' dia stuff can have me chasing 12" dia surface roots out 10 ft or more in every direction. That really toasts your time / stump...especially with rocks present (and sucked up into stump, found basketball sized boulders incased in root ball over 1 foot ABOVE grade on one job) That terrain was river bottom, and both the owner and myself took a bath on that job ~ 25 stumps (Doug fir) all over 4' dia, and 4 ft above ground (wonder why... no more !)

    one of the following jobs had ~75 stumps 12" to 36", but minimal rocks Since I have a 'tracked' skid, I can get into pretty steep and difficult places (but not through a 36" gate (without A LOT of damage...) I like the fact I can spin around and be into my next stump in about 30 seconds, and can do a 24" in ~10 min, + hunting roots. I ended up charging ~$15/stump for 80 stumps with a total dia inches of 1684" or average of 20.1 inches That includes all chip removal and grading / restoring surfaces. (chips make great bedding for Rhodies and Blueberries (acid loving plants)) and often use it in horse excercise arenas / walkers (not at the local training joint with line of indoor horse treadmills... those are pretty sporty)

    The biggest problem I have with my Skid Stump grinder, is hearing that first contact with rock, (sparks are a bit late...) as engine is blasting full throttle in my ear, and I'm in an enclosed cab, at least 6' from action (of course cutting wheel is usually buried 1-2' in chips) It is a full articulated arm (6 ranges of motion, pic on website) and handy dandy blading edges on 2 sides of enclosure to grade chips away or flatten site (if your stump is under 20" and you don't have a mountain of chips)

    I usually only do jobs with stumps as a minor issue, and grading or other skid work as main job, but stumps seem to be 'gravy' money (minus the rocks...) Of course I can't be bopping all over the countryside for a couple stumps here of there. I have 3 local stumpgrinder guys I recommend for that, one for the big stuff, as he has a large dedicated tracked grinder and says he can do hundreds of 4' stumps / day... he has a $1500. charge, and claims to have never been over a day on a residential < 5 acre job !! (that beats what I can say...) For the stumps accessible by a truck towed grinder, I have another guy, and yet another with a small tracked grinder that he hauls around on a 'roll-back' truck. Seems the going rate is $2/in dia for small jobs, and $1/in for multiple stumps. I am wondering about yanking them out with my excavator and hauling them to a local 'tub grinder' (I WILL do this before I try to grind anymore boulders), but hauling (and loading) a 6-8' Dia stump is not gonna be ez, and they are not ez to burn. I dug one out on one of my own properties, and a 850 Case Dozer couldn't push it, I had to swivel it down to a draw where I eventually buried it.

    let me know your charges? (and time you estimate based on size)
    I would consider a diesel for the increased torque/ economy and service life of a diesel stationary engine, but of course, you can't be paying a bundle for the diesel option (which they probably charge) Maybe I should rig up some of my extra VW diesel engines on Hyd. pumps (they do sell them that way, ~ 75 HP TD ~$5000 as Genset or pump) I would also consider picking up some used engines from Thermo King, as they have governor set-ups and self contained units. There was a guy selling 12 used diesel engines for $200 !! on Craigslist several months ago (I was too late), but they use less that 0.5 gal / hr !!
  6. jazak

    jazak LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 843

    You want a diesel, way more power then the gas engines. I had a Carlton SP4012 never again. If I was to go back into the tree business there would be a Carlton7015 sitting in the driveway.
  7. ABC Stump

    ABC Stump LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 3

    Price varies as yours probably does. I bid jobs by the time I think it will take me and try to get around $100 dollars/hour. This however doesn't work for all jobs. Type of wood, number of stumps, size of stumps, etc. all affect bid. For example: I'm already in the area when this little old lady calls to bid on removing one 12" oak stump from her yard. I tell her I can grind the stump and fill in the hole with the wood chips. OK, I'm a chump for older folks so I do the job for $50. The time it took me to unload my rig, grind the stump, reload and rake the chips was less than 20 minutes ($150/hr). If I would not have been in the area, I probably would have bid $75 and she probably would have paid it. Example #2: I do a job for a friend that has ~30 stumps varying in size from 4" to 20" that takes me just under 4 hours. I charge him $300 ($75/hr). Example #3: This is the one that I have mixed thoughts about since I have a smaller machine (Rayco 1625). 94 stumps varying in size, all pine. I bid the job for $1500 and it takes me 25 hours ($60/hr). I don't like these because I cannot make the dollars per hour I want but also wouldn't the get the job if I bid $100 per hour. Too many others around here have larger diesel machines that can do this job a lot quicker for less money. I look at like this: That's $1500 I didn't have before. I do this part time so I don't have work lined up for days or weeks at a time just waiting on me. There is too much competition. So I pretty much take what I can get.

    I hope this helps you get an idea of how your pricing compares. I'm sure you would get different figures from other folks but this how I handle mine. If I am unclear on what I've written just ask.....I tend to ramble without making a point sometimes.

    One other thing to conside is that I don't have rocks to deal with. :clapping:
  8. Pave_A_Lot

    Pave_A_Lot LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    as Jazak said Go with the diesel more power than gas and overall better mechines. i have a rayco super RG-50 with a deutz 4 cylinder 66HP diesel Engine so far it has been the best machine Ive ever ran

    As far as up-grading to be a bigger mechine its almost a must, Bigger mechine = more stumps per hour (Production) and production is getting sh** done. that means the same or more profit in less time with less wear and tear on equipment and yourself.
  9. LawnVet

    LawnVet LawnSite Member
    from SE MI
    Messages: 220

    Depends on finances. Best case scenario get a decent diesel and keep your 1625 so you can still be competitive on the small jobs while increasing your bottom line on the big ones. Since you're part time I understand the dilema though. Good luck

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