Timbren Suspension Upgrades for Logging Pickup Trucks in Oregon

What Suspension Upgrades Do Logging Trucks Need

Normally, it takes large, heavy machinery to drag felled trees out of the forest to a landing where the logs can be loaded safely. But not all jobs require big, expensive log-skidding equipment. Smaller jobs aren’t cost-effective for that kind of thing, i.e., there is little to no profit left after the cost of using big, expensive machinery. Quite often, a full-size 4x4 pickup truck is all that’s required for smaller jobs.

Here are some questions we will answer as we consider how useful pickup trucks can be for the logging industry in Oregon.

What is “skidding”?
What equipment is usually used for this task?
What would be the best pickups for this task?
How much money could a logging company save by using pickups in this way?
What kind of suspension upgrade would they need to do this as safely as possible?

Ends of cut logs skidded by pickups

What is “skidding”?

Skidding is the process of moving felled trees through the forest to a place where they can be loaded onto a logging truck. In the early days before machines, logs were dragged using a ‘skidder’– basically a metal cart with dangling tongs used to lift the front end of the logs to reduce friction. A team of oxen, mules, or horses were used to pull the skidder to the landing stage.

Horses were gradually replaced by machines that dragged the trees by using a series of steam-powered cables. Modern-day skidders use either diesel-powered cables or hydraulic-powered grapple buckets to transport the logs to the landing.

Ol' Time Logger Skidding Logs with a Horse Drawn Skidder

What equipment is normally used for skidding with a pickup?

If adequate roads, skid trails, and a self-loading log truck are in place, then 200’ of rope, metal cables, pulley blocks, chokers, and a few shackles may be all you need for log skidding with a pickup truck.

Felled trees (with branches removed) aren’t always in a good position to be dragged to a better location. This is where the combination of a 5/8” cable and pulley block comes in handy when you need to pull a log in one direction and drag it in another. The block reduces the friction on the cable and makes it easier to pull the log.

The metal choker attaches the log to the rope or metal cable. They are built to withstand the abrasion generated by pulling the log along the ground.

Pulley block used for downing smaller trees with a pick up

What are the best pickup trucks for this type of work?

The best pickups are full-size (half, three-quarter, and one tonne) Ram, Ford, Chevy, and Sierra with a 4x4 transmission. Another thing to consider is using a heavy-duty log trailer equipped with a grapple loader to lift heavy logs onto the trailer.

How much money could a logging company save by using pickups?

The real question is: Is the job big enough to warrant the use of big, expensive logging equipment? There are some jobs that are simply too small for a large logging company. Bringing in their expensive machinery and equipment is not very cost-effective. And when the cost is greater than the profit, these smaller jobs are left to smaller companies that use pickup trucks and a minimal amount of equipment. The work is slow, but the use of a pickup will allow for, at least, a small profit.

SES irubber helper springs installed on suspension of loggin pickup truck

What kind of suspension upgrade is required to maintain adequate safety?

Work trucks need to maintain their stability if they are to keep their operators safe. In other words: Greater Stability = Increased Safety. A suspension upgrade can go a long way to helping maintain safety and stability.

There are several after-market upgrades available for suspensions on pickups. The most popular are:

  • Metal add-a-leaf
  • Air Bags
  • Hollow Rubber Springs

To get the maximum bang for your buck, install a set of Timbren SES helper springs on your farm truck. At the heart of every SES, product is the Aeon® hollow rubber spring. To get the total package including extra capacity and maximum stability, choose Timbren SES.