Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions

   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions #1  


Super Member
Jul 28, 2007
I have no first hand experience with PT, but would like to know more. I became more interested after Moss Road posted his video of using his PT-425 front brush cutter.

I have a situation where I'd like to clear a fence row of trees that range in size from 5 inch to 20 inch diameter. The area is pretty long, but maybe only 20-25' wide before it starts going up a hillside. I could get a forestry winch for my Kubota L2501 for about $4,500 and winch the trees out using re-directs, but tend to think it would be awkward maneuvering in this area.

Generally, I'm wondering if the PT 425 would be easier to turn in an area like this than my L2501?

Looking at the Power Trac options, I see there is a 2 ton hydraulic winch available, but I couldn't find any information about actually using it. What I'd like to do is to use the winch to make sure the trees fall in a direction where I can more easily cut them into sections and either drag them out or use a grapple to move them out of the way while I clear this long fence row.

Another potential use case would be to cut a hillside with the brush cutter where I have not been comfortable using the L2501. I was thinking the lower center of gravity with the PT would be better.

Not really wanting to spend more than I have to. I see the PT 425 is about $16K. I'm not sure about having a gas 25hp engine. There's a video on YT of a PT going up a hillside where it looked like it briefly ran out of power.

Another option would be a used Toro Dingo, but price wise, it still looks like a new PT 425 could be less expensive considering the cost of buying a brush cutter, grapple, and winch.

I haven't seen any used PTs for sale in middle Tennessee lately. I don't really want to rent something because this project will take a while and I'd want to do it on my own time schedule.
   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions #2  
I don't think you will like the winch, last I knew it has no free spool, so you have to power out the line.
I love the brush cutter on my PT018, it has different loader arms and has a higher degree of travel. I can lift it up 4' and rotate the cutter 90 deg - like the propeller on an airplane to cut back high brush around fields. The PT018 is their homeowner model and doesn't even have a oil cooler, I added one.
I have a cutter on my PT1430 and it can't rotate the cutter up like the small one. But it has a nice feature, float, where it loads the tractor tires up when climbing hills.
The PTs articulate, so since it bends in the middle, can go through tight spots, probably better then a straight tractor.
You can stop by the factory and try them out.
I am sure others will chime in.
   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions #3  
I have not heard great things about the PT winch, as mentioned, it reportedly does not free spool out. That would be hard to deal with alone. If it somehow does free spool, or you could somehow put a bypass on the hoses that would allow you to pull the cable out without having to use heart attack forces, then that might be OK. So you might want to question the folks at PowerTrac about that.

Also, remember the 425 is about 1500#. That's a light machine. Most of the stuff I harvest is telephone pole sized stuff. If I wanted to do larger logs on a regular basis, I'd invest in a logging arch to take the loads.

Another concern I'd have with a winch on the front end loader arms is doing a side-pull. You could easily bend the arms. So face the load head on, or use a pulley to redirect the pull. Common sense stuff.

I've had good success with hanging logging tongs off the front of the loader on my forks or my DIY trailer hitch 2" receiver with a ring hitch.

Just remember that the 425 has an 800 pound lift capacity. As log diameter increases, the length you can reasonably move decreases. ;)

Towards the end of this video of mine, you can see that by the thicker logs being shorter.

   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions
  • Thread Starter
This job is hard enough without having to fight with a winch that doesn't free spool.
   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions #5  
The PT425 is not a slope mower. There are a couple limitations that I'm concerned with on my own machine.

1 being that the engine (Kohler) is rated for 25 degrees maximum due to the oiling system.

I don't know if you've ever been across a 25 degree side slope, but it's uncomfortable. (45 is insane). So I tend to mow those up and down.

After a couple hours of use, the hydraulic oil will get hot, and you will lose power. Downhill is no issue at all, but the return trip, up a steep slope, with the mower running, after the oil gets that hot, you may have to turn to mower off and run up the hill.

However, mine is a 2001 model year, and from what I've read, the newer units for the past 10-15 years have larger, stronger hydraulic motors, so you'd have to confirm that with PowerTrac and/or some more modern PT425 owners here on TBN.

Now if you lose traction going up hill, that's different. You can just pull the FEL arms out of float and raise the mower deck an inch. That transfers all of the mower deck and FEL arm weight to the front tires on the PT425 and up the hill you go. It's kind of impressive.

Some of the larger PT models have draft control that does it automatically, and some machines like a Ventrac have an optional weight transfer feature as well.
   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions
  • Thread Starter
I would guess the oil gets hot pretty quickly running the brush cutter?
   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions #7  
As far as turning radius goes...

These things are ridiculous!

Below is an old grainy 360 turn in my driveway at full lock. However, think of a Y turn in a tight spot. I can turn to my front right at full lock in a 1/4 of that circle. Straighten out. Then turn to my left rear at full lock and reverse in another 1/4 circle, and be out of there in about 6' of space.

Very maneuverable. Very sure footed. Not only does it bend 45 degrees to the left or the right, it bends 90 degrees lock-to-lock. So sitting still, you can crank the steering wheel and move the front attachment several feet left or right from where it was without moving forward or backwards.

That's articulation.

Then there's oscillation. The front half can twist up to 12 degrees in either plane from the rear half. So a much better chance of keeping all 4 wheels on the ground.

The undersides are full skid plates. There are no hoses or engine parts hanging down to get hung up.

   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions #8  
I would guess the oil gets hot pretty quickly running the brush cutter?
Not too bad if you pay attention to engine load with your ears. It all depends on what you're cutting, too.

Brush is easy and doesn't raise the temps much at all because there's a lot of air between the branches of brush. You're not cutting much material at all. I've gone 4 hours on a tank of gas, stopped for lunch, refill, and gone another 4 hours with no heat issues.

Tall grass is the hardest. There's a lot of resistance in grass, and if your brush blades are not sharp, if the grass is wet, and it's tall, you can definitely tell the load difference by engine and brush cutter speed changes to your ear. So you can either slow down, or take a smaller bite. If you don't, you'll heat the oil up quickly.
   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions #9  
Just curious, if I may ask, what area of the country do you live in? If you don't want to share that, no problem. Someone might be near you that could show you their machine if their so inclined.
   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions
  • Thread Starter
Middle Tennessee. I think it’s about 5 to 6 hours to Tazwell from here.