Why you should stock up on wear parts for your stump cutter and brush chipper

For machines that encounter tough materials daily, it is necessary to replace high-wear parts periodically. This wear is normal and is to be expected — which means stocking up on those high-wear parts is something operators should prioritize to maximize jobsite productivity.

While regular wear on your brush chipper and stump cutter is expected, things can happen unexpectedly on a jobsite. For stump grinder operators, it can be difficult to avoid encountering abrasive materials such as concrete, steel or rocks. On brush chipper jobsites, encountering abrasive objects is less common, but can happen if unwanted debris enters a brush pile. When entering a jobsite consider the type of wood you are working with. For brush chipper operators, running a tougher-than-normal wood isn’t ideal, but can happen at times. When you encounter this situation, having spare parts on hand can be the difference between shutting down for the day or keeping the jobsite moving.

Evaluate your machine regularly

Performing routine maintenance is a best practice for all equipment and can help maximize the life of your machine. Routine maintenance includes daily or regular evaluations of the machine, specifically those areas that experience high wear.

Brush chipper operators should keep an eye on the condition of their chipper knives. Using dull knives can create a hammering effect that both minimizes productivity and causes excessive vibration. If that excessive vibration continues, it can lead to cracked knives due to stress — increasing the likelihood of damaging vital engine parts.

If you are running a stump cutter, you should evaluate the cutter wheel every other day or whenever cutting performance diminishes. Some experienced operators may even be able to determine if teeth are worn or broken by changes in the shape of shavings. Inspecting the cutter wheel is a straightforward process. You’ll need to shut your machine off completely, following proper shutdown procedure, and begin rotating the cutter wheel by hand. While doing this, search for dull, broken or missing teeth. 

Continuing to run a stump cutter with dull teeth will not do any favors for your machine. Once the teeth begin to feel dull, the cutting ability diminishes significantly. Dull teeth force your machine to work harder and could lead to a reduced machine life.

Replacing parts

Don’t let a lack of spare parts keep your jobsite shutdown. Instead, learn which parts to keep a watchful eye on, and how to know when they need replaced.

For stump cutters equipped with the Vermeer cutting system (VCS), some of the high-wear items to stock up on are wear plates, teeth and bolts. An advantage to having the Vermeer cutting system is that changing teeth is a quick and efficient process — all you need is a bolt, tooth and a few tools.

For stump cutters equipped with the Yellow Jacket™ cutter system, you’ll want to stay stocked up on pockets. For both types of cutting systems and stump cutters in general, it is a good idea to have extra teeth on hand in case you do unexpectedly come into contact with abrasive materials.

Something to keep in mind when purchasing pockets and teeth for Vermeer stump grinders is that most are interchangeable throughout the lineup. This makes stocking up on parts simple so you can buy one type of part to be used for multiple machines in your fleet.

For brush chipper operators, it is recommended to have an extra main drive belt and knife kit. For larger fleets of brush chippers, having additional anvils, bed knives and shear bars could be beneficial if you are responsible for multiple machines — especially during the busy season.

Communicate with your dealer

To get replacement parts stocked, it is important to talk to your dealer during your slower season. When connecting with your dealer, ask what parts they recommend you have in your stockpile and what they have available at the dealership. Starting this habit early will help both you and your dealer as you progress through the life of your machine.

Kyle Newendorp, a Vermeer product specialist, says: “We recommend that operators replenish those high-wear items as soon as their reserves are gone, or ideally when they are getting low on that part. This strategy could vary a bit depending on how many stump cutters or brush chippers they are running, but having a spare on hand could be a good baseline to start with.”

Protection for your machine

Another way to maximize the life of your machine is to purchase the Vermeer Confidence Plus® asset protection program, which lets you pay up front for covered maintenance expenses. This program is beneficial for all Vermeer machines, but especially for machines that experience wear quicker than others. The program includes the first four service intervals performed by dealer certified technicians, along with all associated filters and fluids, at no additional charge. You can add the Vermeer Confidence Plus program to your initial purchase finance package or lease, or add it anytime within the standard one-year warranty period.

When you and your crew are busy moving from one job to the next during the busy season, you don’t want to shut down the jobsite completely to go out and buy parts. Instead, strive to stock up on high-wear parts so when you need to replace knives or teeth, you can do so quickly. To discuss a strategy when it comes time to stock up on parts, reach out to your local dealer.

Vermeer Corporation reserves the right to make changes in product engineering, design and specifications; add improvements; or discontinue manufacturing or distribution at any time without notice or obligation. Equipment shown is for illustrative purposes only and may display optional accessories or components specific to their global region. Please contact your local Vermeer dealer for more information on machine specifications.

Vermeer, the Vermeer logo, Yellow Jacket and Vermeer Confidence Plus are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the U.S. and/or other countries. © 2023 Vermeer Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


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