GARRETT 30A with Swinging Grapple

Garrettt-30
Garrett 30 on Left
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Featured here is a Garrett. The name goes with the first skidders this writer ever heard of. From a small town in Western Washington called Emunclaw, came the Garretts. As noted in the article on Log Skidder Development The first Garrett models were a Garrett and a Garrett 15. They were small nimble machines suitable for thinning small understory. Success lead Garrett to make larger machines which included a Garrett 21, 25 and 30.

While most skidder manufacturers (exclusive of Cat and John Deere who used their own engines) featured almost exclusively Detroit Diesel engines, Garrett also in their heyday in the mid 1970's featured the small block V-series Cummins. This 1970's vintage Garrett features a V-8 Cummins (probably the 504). The good news and the bad news of the Garrets have over the years come to be well understood by those who used them. The Garret concept of a larger model skidder consisted mostly of putting a larger engine in their machine. This machine, being their largest model simply had the most powerful engine. At somewhere around 200 hp it was as powerful as any, and more powerful than most. The Cat 528 has only 175 hp. Clark 668's featured a Detroit 6V-53 which is rated at 196 hp. The Cats and the Clarks of this horsepower class used (and still use) the larger 32 inch wheels and weigh in 5 or 10k pounds more than this Garrett. The Garret 30 is sort of a 200 hp skidder in a 125 horse bag. Broken drive lines are frequent enough that we carried a spare in the crummy when using this machine. Broken Axles were common enough that we stocked one in the shop. As an additional precaution we never used tire chains on it, so as to reduce the maximum potential stress on the drive assembly.

The Swinging Grapple

This model was equipped with a large ESCO swinging grapple. The grapple specs called for 30 to 70 gallon per minute hydraulic system, and Garrett provided 30 GPM, which meant that the grapple assembly was slow to respond. The operators compartment was also small and accessible only from the left side of the machine. The controls for the grapple are jammed in on the right side. No steering wheel was provided, just a lever steer.

Those who look carefully will note that the grapple assembly itself is not of Esco Manufacture. (You can see a real one on the Skidder development page). You can see an Esco manufactured grapple assembly on the Cat 528 featured elsewhere on this site. They are distinctive with their cast teeth. The teeth on this grapple are obviously fabricated. The reason is that we bought this machine out of a Weyerhauser equipment recycling yard and the grapple was gone, so we just built our own. Loggers, you see, usually have a machine shop to back them up somewhere, as do the VanNattas. The teeth were welded up out of a sheet of T-1 steel, and the pins and bushings were made on a lathe. We even manufactured the hydraulic cylinders for this project. The cylinder head was turned out of aluminum and sealed in the tube with o-rings and sealed on the rod with a poly-pak seal. The tube was threaded externally and a 'jar lid' style cap was screwed on the end of the cylinder to hold the head in the tube. These cylinders have been trouble free in nearly 15 years of use. We did not have a radial arm drill at the time so all the bushings were drilled on a large lathe (30" by 16 foot) and welded in torch cut holes. The pistons were similarly turned out of aluminum stock and grooved for poly-paks. All the external machine work was done on the pistons and cylinder heads before they were cut off the round stock. To do the cut offs we mounted a band saw on the carriage of the lathe which was really just a low cost power hacksaw. The stock was slowly rotated in the lathe while the sawing was in progress. This assured a straight cut.

- - Updated 12/31/2012
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- - Updated 03/21/2008