Tech review - tracked log loadersCat 538 LL Forest Machine and 558 LL Forest Machine


The Cat 538 LL Forest Machine and 558 LL Forest Machine are versatile, purpose-built log loaders that can be customized to perform a range of loading tasks to deliver maximum profit potential to loggers.

The first models in the 500 series to meet U.S. EPA Tier 4 final emission standards, they increase profitability by maximizing efficiency and reducing costs. They feature outstanding fuel efficiency while increasing horsepower and swing torque.

Cat log loaders are available in numerous configurations for log loading, shovel logging, butt-n-top/power clam applications, and millyard applications. Cat offers both an under/under configuration, which consists of a traditional under-mounted heel cylinder for loading and shovel logging, as well as an over-under configuration, which is optimized for stacking height.

The Cat 538 and 558 feature a new machine design, new engine, and enhanced hydraulics. Machine and hydraulic performance are boosted by increased engine horsepower for strong multi-functioning and improved performance — and more production.

Uniform speed control maintains a constant engine speed regardless of load. Coupled with other features, both models deliver excellent fuel economy.

The machines are engineered for durability and reliability with proven Cat components, purpose-built upper and lower frames, and increased cooling capability to maximize machine uptime.

The Cat 558 LL is available with a rear entry cab option that offers unparalleled operator experience with safer access, improved operator comfort, increased visibility, and an innovative cab lock down system to help maximize machine uptime.


Doosan Construction Equipment has manufactured log loaders since 1999. Today, Doosan offers three models, including the DX225LL-5, DX300LL-5, and DX380LL-5. The DX380LL-5 is the newest model and was introduced in fall 2016 at the DEMO trade show in Vancouver, B.C. It is designed to serve forestry professionals in shovel-logging tasks. The DX380LL-5 has high-swing torque and approximately 44 feet of reach.

Doosan log loaders are manufactured with heavy-duty components and application-specific guarding to keep them running strong and to help minimize downtime. Doosan log loaders are built with a high, wide undercarriage for excellent ground clearance. They have thick steel doors and panels to help protect internal components.

Equipped with a live heel and durable boom and arm, Doosan log loaders, when configured with a log grapple, are ideally suited to stabilize logs and efficiently sort, stack, and load them onto trucks.

Options for Doosan log loaders include a forestry cab for states and provinces with additional requirements; straight travel pedal, allowing operators to travel in a straight line more easily; a block heater or diesel-powered coolant heater for improved cold-weather starts; sideview camera available for viewing on the LCD screen; and LED lights for enhanced visibility when working early in the morning or at night.

Doosan offers two durable log grapples for use with its log loaders—the LG52 with a 52-inch arm opening and the LG58 with a 58-inch arm opening. Log grapples complement the log loader’s live heel for efficient operation.

John Deere G-SeriesJohn Deere

Designed to increase operator efficiency and performance, the John Deere G-Series log loaders are proving to raise the bar for productivity and efficiency. With four models suitable for a wide range of applications, the 2156G, 2656G, 3156G, and 3756G offer superior operating comfort, featuring larger, quieter cabs with standard rear entry allowing for easier entry and exit. Polycarbonate windows stand up to the harshest conditions, while strategically placed floor windows offer improved visibility of the tracks. The cab-forward option increases right-side visibility by positioning the operator 17 inches further forward than standard cabs. 

“We know keeping an operator comfortable is a key factor in maximizing productivity,” said Dave McFarlane, marketing manager, Deere-Hitachi Specialty Products. “We made a significant investment in the cab design of these machines, and our customers are really noticing the improvement.”

In addition to the redesigned cabs, these models offer a host of features designed to improve machine uptime and performance. The newly-designed G-series hydraulic systems are more efficient, improving productivity and lowering the cost of operation. All models are equipped with a powerful PowerTech Plus engine.

Additionally, improvements in lower rollers and XD and LC undercarriages extend machine life while a 30 percent reduction in electrical components has reduced electrical-related downtime. Hardened steel bushings in the boom tower on the two largest models extend joint life and simplify repairs. These features, combined with the JDLink machine monitoring system, help keep machines at peak performance levels, ensuring the highest level of uptime and productivity.

Hitachi Dash-6 forestersHitachi

Hitachi America recently introduced upgraded Dash-6 foresters in North America. The new models build on the manufacturer’s reputation of efficiency, reliability, and durability, and they include multiple new, customer-driven features that improve productivity, comfort, and safety.

The four new Dash-6 models — ZX210F-6, ZX260F-6, ZX310F-6, and ZX370F-6 — utilize a fuel-efficient Final Tier 4 (FT4)/EU Stage IV Isuzu engine that does not need a diesel particulate filter (DPF). All four models also feature a quieter cab with three inches of additional legroom — the side entry cab is 25 percent larger than the previous Dash-3 models.

Hitachi foresters are built from the ground up in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and are specifically designed for forestry work, ensuring quality while giving owners and operators efficiency, reliability, and durability.

Komatsu PC290LL-11Komatsu

Komatsu America Corp., a leading global heavy equipment manufacturer, recently introduced the new PC290LL-11 to its current log loader product lineup. Featuring a 196 net horsepower, EPA Tier 4 Final Komatsu SAA6D107E-3 engine, the new PC290LL-11 is available in either a 40’ reach live heel log loader or a 34’ reach road builder configuration, for high performance in demanding logging applications. Log loader and road builder operating weights are 89,730 lb. and 82,230 lb., respectively.

Other new or improved PC290LL-11 features include a high capacity cooling system, high drawbar pull, additional forestry guarding, narrower, 11’5” transport width, more comfortable operator controls, all LED lighting, and KOMTRAX 5.0 technology.

It features a new high capacity cooling system, utilizing wide core cooling fins for the radiator, hydraulic oil cooler, and charge air cooler, providing improved performance and reliability. The heavy-duty 1/4”- thick cooler air intake door is waffle-screened and sealed to reduce debris accumulation and cleaning time.

It generates 64,250 lbs. of drawbar pull, and a rugged PC390-class swing motor and drive deliver high swing torque for superior log loading and road building performance.

The guard system now has a fully protected LED light, plus a rugged tree deflector with a “hockey stick” design that can be removed or reverse-mounted for transport. Along with the tree deflector, the track frame steps can also be removed or reverse-mounted to achieve an 11’5” transport width, which meets most local regulations and reduces the need for special transport permits.

Link-Belt 4040 TL Forestry MachineLink-Belt

The Link-Belt 4040 TL Forestry Machine is now available with an option for high-wide or high-narrow undercarriages to meet transport requirements. Models can be equipped with live-heel or butt-n-top attachments for log-loading applications. Designed specifically for the 4040 TL, both side- and rear-entry Oregon-OSHA 8082-2 certified forestry cabs are available from the factory, with sky roof and escape hatch.

This new 40 Series model features an advanced, electronically-controlled Isuzu engine that meets Final Tier 4 requirements, with up to 18% improved fuel economy than previous models, with minimized DEF usage—less than 3% against fuel consumption. Experience less downtime due to refueling with a 55% capacity increased fuel tank and a 50-to-1 diesel to DEF closing ratio. In addition, there is no diesel particulate filter (DPF) maintenance constraint.

The cab offers outstanding operator ergonomics, comfort, and visibility. With a large, 7-inch LED color monitor to interface with the machine, an operator can easily navigate a full menu of user-friendly controls to take full command of the excavator and attachments. The standard rear-view camera displays a panoramic view of the work site from the rear of the machine, with sight guidelines added for increased safety. The Wide Angle View Enhancement System (WAVES) can be added to provide a full 270° viewing envelope with no blind spots.

The 4040 TL is equipped with the RemoteCARE GPS-enabled telematics system, enabling 24/7 remote monitoring and security. Flashing diagnostic codes on the monitor quickly alert the operator to potential trouble.

Madill 2850C and 3800C tracked log loadersMadill

Madill offers both the 2850C and 3800C tracked log loaders.

The 2850C is 89,000 lbs. (9.0 PSI) and offers an ideal power to weight ratio, enabling outstanding overall performance in any environment or condition. With its Cummins QSC 8.3L Tier III engine, the 2850C provides ample hydraulic flow for more lift power, swing torque and tractive effort. The log loader also features 102,000 ft. lbs. swing torque, has a lift capacity of 45,470 lbs. @ 15 ft. of lift capacity, and a boom reach of 40’6” heel and 36’ BNT. Operators will also enjoy the Madill 46” rear entry cab with forward facing control panel, LCD monitor, bluetooth, four 5v charging ports, high visibility cab with bronze tint Lexan floor and side windows.

The 3800C weighs in at 100,000 lbs. (10.1 PSI) and its power to weight ratio offers outstanding overall performance in any climate. The 325 hp Tier III Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine provides superior hydraulic flow. And the 3800C features 130,700 ft. lbs. swing torque, a lift capacity of 46,930 lbs. @ 20 ft. and has a boom reach of 44’ heel and 39’ BNT. It also features the same Madill 46” rear entry cab as the 2850C as well as a forward sloped cab riser for excellent visibility.

Tigercat 875 and 880DTigercat 

The Tigercat 875 and 880D loggers are both robust, purpose-built platforms that can be configured as log loaders with a variety of power clam and butt-n-top grapple options. The boom geometry and cab positioning provide superior right-hand-side visibility.  

Some of the many advantages of the 875 and 880D over excavator conversions include higher cooling capacity, a better operating environment, stronger undercarriage components, and extremely efficient hydraulic circuits. The result is higher production, uptime, and fuel efficiency. 

The heavy-duty forestry undercarriages provide a stable base for performance and operator comfort. A massive single-piece, forged pedestal strengthens the undercarriage and improves durability. Long frames and a wide stance cab body provide excellent stability.  

They feature comfortable, spacious operator’s cabin with rear entry and plenty of storage space. The full-length front window and additional floor windows create clear sightlines to the load and tracks. A high output climate control system is a match for the coldest and hottest conditions.   

The engine compartment is open and spacious. Access to daily service points is convenient, and major components are readily accessible. The engine and hydraulic components are shielded and compartmentalized. The twin swing drive system provides powerful swing torque and reduced gear tooth loads for excellent performance and reliability.

The 875 and 880D are powered by the reliable and efficient Tigercat FPT N67 engine rated at 212 kW (285 hp) at 2,200 rpm. The Tier 4F configuration meets North American emission standards using a simple and effective selective catalyst reduction (SCR) after-treatment system. 

TimberWest November/December 2013
May/June 2017

On the Cover
Photo of HM Inc.’s 2454D John Deere was taken by Mary Bullwinkel.

Committed to Preserving the Logging Culture
HM Inc.’s willingness to make new approaches to logging and its ability to specialize has sustained the family business.

National Tree Farmer of the Year
The Defrees Family of Northeast Oregon was awarded the 2016 National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year award by the American Tree Farm System.

Despite Rain and Snow, Fire Season Cometh

Finesse Logging
Shamion Forest Thinning and Salvage

When Logging Promotes Conservation
White and Zumstein say taking on the difficult jobs no one else wants can be challenging, but also rewarding and educational.

Mass Timber Conference Review
A look at the Mass Timber Conference

Wood is Good
A look at the Intermountain Logging Conference

Tech Review
A review of tracked log loaders and their capabilities.


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