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Thread: Chipper engine choice: Gas or Diesel?

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    Treehouser BeerGeek's Avatar
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    Question Chipper engine choice: Gas or Diesel?

    So, in my quest to get back in the game, my local Morbark dealer is offering me 2 engine options on the 1415/M12R: a 74HP Perkins 854 diesel or a 145HP 4.3L GM gas. All my experience w/chippers has been with gas models, but in learning more about diesels, am I correct to think I'll get the same if not more from a torque perspective, meaning better power to eat through thick limbs/smaller logs? Also, probably better fuel economy on the diesel? Also, looking at the ChipSafe option, as insurance out here is a killer (and that will save me about $1000/yr according to my agent, paying for itself in just about 4 yrs.). Anything else to consider from Morbark users? All advice/comments welcome. Thanx in advance.

    - Brian
    Rope!?!? We forgot the rope?!?! Oh well....

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    Treehouser Sponsor Tree09's Avatar
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    The fact that they use half the horsepower in the diesel to do the same work should pretty much sum that up... I'm not the go to guy with the chipper specific part if the question, but i would bet the diesel will be cheaper to run, and will have a higher resale value. Perkins are very good engines too. Another awesome thing with diesels is if you don't run it for awhile you don't have to worry about fuel issues as much as gas (like if you only do it part time and don't do much in the winter). As i get older and become more knowledgeable about engines, the more and more i like diesels. Your insurance is going to be needed for sure, but you might be able to get a discount for safety stuff like that, idk. Talk to your insurance guy for sure.
    Kyle


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    TreeHouser Sponsor flushcut's Avatar
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    The new diesels have A LOT of emission devices on them now making them very complicated to work on. I have diesels but I know several guys are going gas because of it. Just something else to chew on.

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    Thanks so far. For those who need details on the features, see dealer web link:

    https://gardenstatebobcat.com/listin...k-beever-m12r/
    Rope!?!? We forgot the rope?!?! Oh well....

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    All chippers do the same work, they chip stuff.

    Those two engines are not the same. You will have to look at specs.

    What kind of wood will you feed it.


    A lot of guys seem to be having good luck with the 4.3L.
    Feel like I heard something about using OEM parts for part of the ignition system on them.

    I hear the gas engines recover faster than the diesels.

    Likewise, lots of people are avoiding Tier 4, IIRC, diesels with the emissions stuff.

    What has the dealer been selling and seeing with the two engine models?





    What about a winch? You mentioned insurance being a killer. A winch can replace a guy on some jobs. All guys on some jobs, save the operator.
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    TreeHouser Sponsor Altissimus's Avatar
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    My small Morbark is Diesel ... Have rented and run many before buying. Diesel is more powerful fuel to start with plus more economical use of said fuel. Best Gas engines on Chippers are generally much more thirsty. Just my opinion.

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    A friend of mine is the head mechanic/overseer for a large fleet of ambulances. They are slowly getting out of the diesel engine game...changing to gas. He says the diesels run great but when they tear up are very expensive to fix. Their economic study says to switch to gas.

    I have known this guy since he was a kid...probably 25-30 years now. Smart, got it together young guy, a peer of my son. He's a great mechanic (used to run a race car in his late teens and early 20's...it was an everyday to R&R his engine, tear it down, tinker between weekend races.)

    My 2 cents worth.
    Gary

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    TreeHouser Mick!'s Avatar
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    In Europe a lot of manufacturers are giving petrol options on their chippers these days, wary of emissions legislation changes.

    Fuel consumption is more of an issue as it is more expensive here.

    On a bigger chipper that would only be used in bursts, say being fed by a loader, I’d be leaning towards petrol.
    Iím condescending, that means I talk down to people.


    Mick

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    Gary, I've heard that too, and the main reasons were dramatically cheaper upfront, and since they usually just auction them off after they are depreciated they don't get their money back compared to the cost of the diesel in the first place. The newer diesels with the emissions stuff really start getting screwed up if you idle them all the time, whereas a gas won't really care (ambulances are idled for most of their life, as are certain construction vehicles). Gas is cheaper per gallon anymore, so the fuel economy is a wash. I considered getting a gas truck for these reasons as well, but after talking to guys who actually use them, the diesels are still a better product if you plan on keeping it and taking care of it. This truck has so much power it's unbelievable, and since i don't idle it very much it will last forever. Once it's out of warranty I'll do an emissions delete, and that will help even more with longevity. A buddy has the same truck as i do but deleted it when he bought it, it's got 150k miles and the oil looks like you just poured it in. Any engine anymore should ideally be shut off when it's not being worked, and thank you Jim for helping me understand that concept because it went against everything i thought i knew about engines.

    The website you posted mentions other engine configurations as well, might be worth looking into. If you can get a 140 hp cat engine on it you would never be able to bog it down hahahahahahahahaha
    Kyle


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    Quote Originally Posted by Tree09 View Post
    The website you posted mentions other engine configurations as well, might be worth looking into. If you can get a 140 hp cat engine on it you would never be able to bog it down hahahahahahahahaha
    That would be nice on the bigger engines, but that adds another $8-$12K to the price, which then starts getting my payments out of whack. Plus, seeing how it's only in the 12" series, if I want a motor that big, move up to the 15" or 18" series and really let it rip!
    Rope!?!? We forgot the rope?!?! Oh well....