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  1. #1

    Default Cat 287C with HM312 Mulcher?

    Quick question for those of you experienced with brush clearing.

    My company builds homes in a coastal environment. The majority of our lots are covered with brush that varies from less than an inch up to four inches or so in diam. In the past we have used excavators and thumbs to clear the brush, piled it and burned it. Burning is no longer allowed. We are currently hauling the brush off using end dumps and side dumps, and that is expensive. Someone locally was going to set up a big tub grinder that we could haul to that would have saves truck time/expense, but he ran into noise issues with the city.

    I am now seriously considering mulching. There is nobody locally that is providing the service so I have been looking at machines and mulchers. I really want to be able to try something out to make sure that it's a viable alternative for us. The only thing that is anywhere close that is available to rent is from a Cat rental store. I was hoping they would have a 297C or 299C available, along with a HM315 mulcher, but the biggest thing in their statewide fleet is a 287C with a HM312. Do you think that is a good enough combo to at least give me an indication of whether or not a similar sized machine and mulcher will work for us? I know from talking with the local Bobcat rep that the more power the better as they told me there was a pretty big difference between the T300 and T320 running their Bobcat/Fecon mulcher.

    We previously owned a RC50 and I have seen quite a few ASV 4810 and RC100's for sale but have read quite a few horror stories about the bigger ASV's used for mulching.. If mulching turns out to work for us I would like to get a machine in the 90/100hp range with a mulcher. We only need to clear 3-5 small lots per month, so the useage would be relatively light. Hauling is costing us 2-3k per lot, so a machine should pay for itself relatively quickly if it works. The reason I would like to stay in the 100hp size range is so that it can be towed with a one ton diesel dually truck.

    Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated. I was really hoping the Cat rental store would have a 299C with a 315 mulcher to rent. If that combo would work renting could make a lot of sense since we don't have a constant need for it.

  2. #2
    Gold Member cat 297c's Avatar
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    Mobile, Alabama
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    Cat 299D XHP, Cat 297c, Rayco C140

    Default Re: Cat 287C with HM312 Mulcher?

    I hate to be the bayer of bad news but, i had nothing but prblems with my 297c. The only good thing is cat will stand behind there equipment an wont say custmer abuse aleast till the warranty runs out. Far as the head goes i say Denis Cimaf 180d or a gyro trac head. I had a cat 315 to start with an upgraded quick to the cimaf, less wear on the carrier an the cut well there's just no words to describe how much faster the cimaf cuts vs. the cat head which is real just a Fae head painted black with cat logos an a extra $5,000.00 added to it for cat a heck of a profit. Start off with a skid steer to see how it works out first, then if it pays for it's self trade it in on a purpose built carrier. Like a Supertrac ctl 140 or Fecon 148l.

  3. #3
    New Member
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    Feb 2010
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    south alabama
    Tractor
    kodiak b160

    Default Re: Cat 287C with HM312 Mulcher?

    If you can rent one those machines that will give you a good feel of what it can do. For what you say your usage will be you should stay with skid steer.
    Look at ASV/terex pt 100 forestry package with denis cimaf head they have the best power set up plus you can use all the attachments. If have alot of rocks you might look at bradco mag head.
    coastalcutter

  4. #4

    Default Re: Cat 287C with HM312 Mulcher?

    Thanks for the info guys, it is really appreciated. I have set up to rent a Cat 287C with a HM312 head, which is the FAE 125 head. I called FAE in Georgia and they gave me the name and number of a regional rep that handles our area. I am going to see what my impression is of the 287C with the 312 mulcher is. The rental mulcher has the C teeth installed, and the rep said the new Viper 2 teeth would work much better for our intended use. At least it will give me an idea though.

    Since we are probably only talking about 3-5 days per month of use what I am thinking is that I may buy a new FAE 125 head so it will work on any machine we may end up renting. I'd hate to buy a machine and have it set most of the time, so renting the machine may make the most sense right now, and own the head and keep it in good working order. I am thinking it may be an advantage over the rental head since we could have teeth better suited for our use, and we'd be the only ones using it and it would probably be in less abused condition. Since a Cat rental place is the closest to where we are building I would order it with Cat connections, but also order the connectors for Takeuchi and probably Bobcat in case we ended up renting one of those at some time. The FAE rep told me that the lower horsepower machine with the smaller head will definitely be slower going than the bigger head on a bigger machine, but that for our limited use it probably wouldn't amount to much.

    I also have a need for a tiller. Our lots usually have about 8" of matted overburden on them. We previously had a subcontractor that had a four wheel drive tractor and a 3pt tiller that would till the lots for us. That saved us from having to strip and haul the overburden so that we could neatly grade the lot after the foundation was done. I would like to till the lots after we mulch them, and the guy we had doing it retired and moved out of the area. Does anyone know if the Cat landscape tiller is gnarly enough to till the top several inches of soil, or is it intended for pretty shallow useage? It's the only tiller the Cat place rents.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Iron Horse's Avatar
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    Orstraya , Ex convict stock , G'day .

    Default Re: Cat 287C with HM312 Mulcher?

    Firstly I would consider buying a machine that could also do other work around the building site like digging trenches , footings , leveling a house pad , laying turf , unloading trucks with a set of forks etc . A TL250 with a 4in1 bucket , forks , Harley rake , Mulcher and a back hoe would keep busy and save big$ every job .

    After you mulch the scrub , remember that it will cover the ground 2-3" deep and will still need to be scraped away and piled or trucked away to leave a clean site . This will expose a a million plant stems as the loose dirt is moved which will require your attention . You may be able to take a cut off the top with the 4in1 for a clean surface and later spread the soil around the finished site with the Harley rake .

  6. #6

    Default Re: Cat 287C with HM312 Mulcher?

    We already have other equipment, we don't need another piece of gear right now except for mulching. We build about 50 houses per year and have for quite a few years. It's just now that we can't burn onsite we are having to look at alternatives that are less costly than hauling, which is what we are doing right now. Also, a subcontractor that we used to till some of the lots, especially beach lots with dune grasses, is no longer doing it. I am looking at possibly using some type of tiller to either till the mulch into the soil, or possibly load some of it and haul it. Hauling mulch would be much more efficient than what we are doing right now which is loading the brush with a 300hp excavator into end dumps and side dumps. Green brush and small trees just don't pack very efficiently.

    We have looked at mulching heads for excavators and those don't seem as though they would serve our needs as well.

    I am looking forward to seeing how the 287C and Cat/FAE mulcher does on one of our typical lots. Any thoughts on a tiller would be most appreciated. I am thinking even something like a used 4x4 kubota with a tiller would probably work.

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
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    Georgia

    Default Re: Cat 287C with HM312 Mulcher?

    The idea of purchasing a head and renting a machine is very sound. But I will have to disagree on the head choice. FYI's

    1. Most mulching heads are not designed to run on machine's of differing flows and pressures. They are set to run on a specific machine. For example a Cat runs at 33 gpm @ 4000psi, a Bobcat runs 38 gpm @ 3300psi. They will not interchange and run properly, you will have to change pulleys and/or change the motor on the head. Now my point, our heads come with variable displacement motors. I can adjust our high flow skid steer head to run on 30-55 gpm and 3000-6000psi. We set the head up to run on the rental of choice, it that changes it can be retuned within minutes with hand tools. Peak performance all the time.

    2. We can double the production over a carbide equiped head and have increased production over other blade equiped heads. At the end of the day you will have plainly mulched more material. Also we have a superior finished product that will be aesthetically pleasing and will add to the lot until it is further developed. Plus it doesn't hurt we can usually double the capacity of what you can cut as well.

    3. With the way our heads cut and with the design that goes into them we put less strain on the skid steer also. Less heat buildup, less stress on the hyd system by the motor constantly adjusting to the load.

    4. Now to really confuse the situation we are the king of excavator heads to give you a few more options.
    Robbie Hegwood
    404-379-5897

  8. #8
    Veteran Member Iron Horse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cat 287C with HM312 Mulcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pac Coast View Post
    We already have other equipment, we don't need another piece of gear right now except for mulching.
    The reason I mentioned the above machine and attachments is because it would allow you to sell off a couple of other machines and take their place and keep busy between the sites and save a lot of money . But please disregard if this is not suitable .

  9. #9

    Default Re: Cat 287C with HM312 Mulcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie Hegwood View Post
    The idea of purchasing a head and renting a machine is very sound. But I will have to disagree on the head choice. FYI's

    1. Most mulching heads are not designed to run on machine's of differing flows and pressures. They are set to run on a specific machine. For example a Cat runs at 33 gpm @ 4000psi, a Bobcat runs 38 gpm @ 3300psi. They will not interchange and run properly, you will have to change pulleys and/or change the motor on the head. Now my point, our heads come with variable displacement motors. I can adjust our high flow skid steer head to run on 30-55 gpm and 3000-6000psi. We set the head up to run on the rental of choice, it that changes it can be retuned within minutes with hand tools. Peak performance all the time.

    2. We can double the production over a carbide equiped head and have increased production over other blade equiped heads. At the end of the day you will have plainly mulched more material. Also we have a superior finished product that will be aesthetically pleasing and will add to the lot until it is further developed. Plus it doesn't hurt we can usually double the capacity of what you can cut as well.

    3. With the way our heads cut and with the design that goes into them we put less strain on the skid steer also. Less heat buildup, less stress on the hyd system by the motor constantly adjusting to the load.

    4. Now to really confuse the situation we are the king of excavator heads to give you a few more options.
    Robbie, if it is okay I am going to give you a call first thing tomorrow morning. Though I am assuming we will be renting primarily Cat's, it sounds like your heads offer some real advantages for being used on different machines. What is typically a good time to call you?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Cat 287C with HM312 Mulcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Horse View Post
    The reason I mentioned the above machine and attachments is because it would allow you to sell off a couple of other machines and take their place and keep busy between the sites and save a lot of money . But please disregard if this is not suitable .
    I see what you are saying, and it does make a lot of sense. I used to do all of our utility work and a bunch of our other dirt work when we lived in the area where we build. We now live several hours away from where we build and have a subcontractor that is also a good friend doing most of our excavation type work. I plan to mulch our lots when it's required though, partly because I miss doing some of the work, and partly because I don't want to trust someone else to not tear something up. If I can mulch a lot a day we're only talking about 3-5 days per month. That is why I am thinking owning a good head and renting the machine may make the most sense. I am looking into CTL mounted tillers like those from Woods and others as well, as it might make sense to just rent one machine and do both functions with it. I love machinery and wish that it made more financial sense to purchase a machine, but at this point the way we are working I just don't think it does. If I still lived close to where we are doing the majority of our building I would do it in a hearbeat though.

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