Ditch Witch SK 500 in Southern or Central CA?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! Ditch Witch SK 500 in Southern or Central CA?

    So we're looking for one of these
    a Ditch Witch SK 500 to help build the new LONGER Chamberlin Ranch Downhill course and a re-route of the XC trail. We're not completely abandoning the old DH, we just want more DH opportunities, and to eliminate the shuttles up a county road.

    We'd like to use one as a demo at first before considering a lease. Any help with this would br great!

    In case you have not heard Stump Grinder Productions LLC (my wife and I) is starting the Stump Grinder Dirt Club in June of 2008. This will be a paid membership driven club ran much like a private gun club or motocross track. It will be open every weekend, that SGP is not already doing an event, like the Santa Ynez Valley Classic NMBS or 24 Hrs. of Chamberlin Ranch, or if it has rained within 4 days. The SGDC will also be open for riding Wednesday's from 3 to 8PM.

    Our goals are to provide (eventually) 4 different DH runs, a Dual Slalom course (being built this winter by Landon from Lake Tahoe), and countless miles of XC single track, all conflict free from other trail users, however there will be some cows ... all abilities will be able to use the place. It will also be open to non-members for a larger gate fee. We are still working on all the pricing and perks.

    The SK 500 will do wonders to help me provide this great opportunity to my fellow mountain bikers.

    Thanks,

    Fast Hecky

  2. #2
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    If you don't have a local DW dealer that can arrange a demo check for a Vermeer dealer.
    Our club demoed them all and ended up with a Vermeer SX600 Diesel due to the diesel power on a smaller platform. They all seem to have their strengths and drawbacks but we have been happy with the Vermeer. Our local dealer has been very supportive.
    Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Reputation: airwreck's Avatar
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    okay, I'm making a note to document the one our local agency just bought and I'll post up the details when the thing hits the trails!

  4. #4
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    Our club just leased a DW SK500, our IMBA State Rep and Club Pres did the research on what to use for a current trail project (with USFS and Game Fish and Parks land and grant money). The Bobcat MT52, Toro Dingo, the SK500 seemed the best for the area we have to work in.

    After some training with Ben Blitch, through IMBA Trail Solutions (well worth doing the training!) we now have 30 hours on the machine. Our productivity is improving, as is the end result. Very very good trail going in pretty quick (never done something at this level before, so it is daunting) and our volunteer base is pretty happy, as they are seeing noticeably fantastic results each time they come out!

    We got the wide track and a 6 way blade, and are really seeing some great results. Our local DW dealer had an SK500 in stock, but we got a new one ordered in for our project, as well as the 6 way. The newest version has some better/thicker steel around the engine compartment, protecting the exhaust muffler, etc and nice steel guards bolted over the hydraulic drive lines to the rear drive wheels. Plus the 40 wide track option...

  5. #5
    HIKE!
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    Sk500

    A couple photos of SK500 trouble. Neither thing was a big deal. Ben threw a track during training, but I sorta think he was glad it happened, showed us just what it takes to stabilize, the machine then reinstall the track, gotta know this.

    The other photo shows the little plate steel guards over the hydraulic drive units to the drive pulley. They do their job, protecting this area (right at the operator's feet) from damage, but occasionally they get knocked loose, or even knocked off. They have gotten pretty bent/beat up, but are only $15 a piece from Ditch Witch. We may get some big bad bolts to do a little better job holding them on. We also operate a little more carefully to not wack the guards.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
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    Knowing how to deal with a jumped track is a good thing as it happens. We had to loosen the tension and pop the track back on our Vermeer last weekend at a workday and it is not too big of a deal. Be aware of how specific machines do track adjustment because I think some are more complicated than others.Operating these machines like we do in irregular terrain with rocks and roots that is just a normal hazard. The exposed hydraulic line underneath was more of a concern when we demoed machines.Scott Linnenberger had mentioned to us that they had had problems with their DW machines and it is ugly when it happens as you dump all 12 gal of hydraulic fluid and are totally incapacitated wherever you are in the woods.The Vermeer has a smooth belly pan down there.
    They all have their strengths and weaknesses - try and give them all a good demo in hard conditions.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fast hecky
    So we're looking for one of these
    Cool, a pic grabbed from our website. If you're looking for a Rich (the operator), he's in Virginia...

    On a serious note, we want an sk500 too. I think the used market is getting ripe. Construction down, new 650 and Zahn...all equaling a good buy on a sk500.

  8. #8
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    we got the 650, waiting for the attachments to arrive.
    great thread, looking forward to hearing more experiences and will certainly share ours!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by airwreck
    we got the 650, waiting for the attachments to arrive.
    great thread, looking forward to hearing more experiences and will certainly share ours!
    What attachments including brand did you go with?

    One of the trail solutions crew has been using a Diamond brand six way blade (EBAY store) with good results. Claims it's not as precise as the DW brand, but more durable. Theres a spot or two on the DW blades that needs reinforcing as it breaks after some use. He was saying welding it up straight out of the box may be the way to go. I have no idea what part of the blade though, but may be able to find out. As the 650 has a bit more ass behind the blade, some pre-reinforcement might be good.

    Also, welding or bolting up some guards around the hydo hoses would be a nice touch to.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fattirewilly
    What attachments including brand did you go with?
    Sounds like they choose a 4 in 1 bucket attachment, not sure the brand, still waiting....

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