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Troy-Bilt Tomahawk Wood Chipper/Shredder model 47285 -- anybody have an operating manual?  RSS feed

 
Dan Boone
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Garage sales pay off if you go to enough of them. Here's today's treasure:



It's an 8hp Garden Way Troy-Bilt Tomahawk chipper/shredder from about 20 years ago, 1997 list price $1,249 dollars. I bought it off a nice old man of about 80 who was holding a "living estate sale". His claim is that it was only ever used one time. I paid: $145. Condition appears very good, no visible wear on any parts, 8hp Briggs and Stratten 4-cycle motor has oil and turns easily by hand without vibration. Haven't been able to fuel it or start it up yet because of weather and prior commitments today that have kept me from playing with it. I think I got a great deal even if I have to tinker with the motor; if it starts, runs, and chips, I got a spectacular deal.

But I'm not posting here to gloat about a fine day out bargain hunting. I want to beg for a copy of the operating manual for the model #47285 if anybody has one. I've checked all the usual internet suspects and nobody has the manual for this model, although there's a manual for a very similar earlier model here that tells me much of what I want to know. But still, if anybody has a manual in electronic format, I'd love to get a copy. And if you've got a paper manual, I'd be happy to pay postage both ways so I can scan it and put a copy up on the web.

I have lots of wood chips from off the property (thank you Davey Tree!) but I'm also clearing a ton of brush and saplings and I already have plenty of brush piles. So my specific application is to turn brush from my food forest area into mulch that will be left in place to suppress weeds and grasses, improve soil, and hold moisture.

Nonetheless I am aware that the downsides (from a permaculture perspective) of running a gasoline wood chipper are not inconsiderable. They include:

1 - noise and pollution from burning fossil fuels
2 - consumer-grade chippers tend to be slow and labor intensive
3 - there may be better uses for the whole wood (brush piles, hugels, mushrooms)

However I don't have the machinery I would need to bury hugel-wood in the amounts I'm generating, it's a lot of work moving brush from where I'm cutting it to where I have room for brush piles, and it's a lot more efficient to generate mulch where I need it (in the areas I'm clearing) than it is to haul it by hand across the property. My bottom line is that the machine was a bargain and I believe it will help me get where I want to go faster than I could get there without the machine.

But I could sure use a manual. Post here or PM me if you can help out with that. Thanks!
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Not an Operators Manual,. but here is an online parts catalog:
47285 Parts Manual

They do have exploded views of most components.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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SCORE!!!

There are only a few things to worry about on those:

Carb. It is a BS engine and you need to keep the carb from gumming up.
Bearings. Grease gun if they are greasable, check them if they aren't.
Knives. Keep them/it sharp. The mounting bolts will freeze up and make it very hard to change the blades. I am learning that one the hard way. Mine need sharpening and can't get them out right now.
Belt. Keep it tight.

You will love the shredder even more than the chipper! Weeds, brush, leaves, you name it, it goes through the shredder to make compost 10x faster than before.

 
Dan Boone
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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John Polk wrote:Not an Operators Manual,. but here is an online parts catalog:
47285 Parts Manual

They do have exploded views of most components.

I did find that, but forgot to link it here. It helps! But I really want to get my hands on the operating manual; one of the things that should be in it is the incredibly tricky procedure for rotating the cutting flail knives, which are supposed to have four different cutting edges (corners) that you can rotate between before the knives become completely worn out.

R Scott wrote:
Carb. It is a BS engine and you need to keep the carb from gumming up.


We used the little Briggs & Stratton engines for a ton of purposes when I was growing up, including rototillers, water pumps, and suction dredges for placer gold mining. I've got a lot of familiarity with them and so I'm not worried about managing their quirks.

R Scott wrote:
Bearings. Grease gun if they are greasable, check them if they aren't.


Another reason I want the owners manual, for the precise recommendations re: lube. But I can manage without of course.

R Scott wrote:
Knives. Keep them/it sharp. The mounting bolts will freeze up and make it very hard to change the blades. I am learning that one the hard way. Mine need sharpening and can't get them out right now.


As mentioned above, with a ton of disassembly work one is supposed to be able to rotate the knives. Not looking forward to that task, though.

R Scott wrote:
Belt. Keep it tight.


That one is actually funny. Internet commentary seems about evenly divided between "this thing eats belts" complainers who don't mention paying attention to belt tension, and "belts last forever if you get them adjusted right" people. Obviously I shall strive to be among the latter.

 
Eric Thomas
Posts: 108
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
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Go to source for manuals for almost anything, ManualOwl. Check the model number... Troybilt manual
Make sure your firewall and AV are on and up to date, went for one manual and the bells and siren went off on mine, no harm but got my attention. Hasn't happened since.
 
Dan Boone
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Eric, no joy for me at that link, but thanks for cluing me in to that site anyway!

Limited tinkering time today and I am going very slow, looking for gotchas and checking everything I can think of that might need to be tended to on a machine that's been sitting for so long. Good thing, too! When I popped the shroud off the air filter, I found that over the years the mud dauber wasps had colonized the heck out of it:



Starting at the Briggs and Stratton page, I got a part number for the filter, worked some internet part number interchange sites, and eventually came up with a NAPA auto part number. Called the three NAPAs closest to me and struck pay dirt on the third one, about 16 miles away. Zipped over there before they closed for the day and got back just before dusk. Didn't have time to drain and replace the ancient motor oil, but I just *had* to try starting it up. Put fuel in, pulled the cord, got a pop on the second pull, choked it on the third pull, sputtered on the fourth, turned the choke back off and it fired right up on the fifth pull. Turned it off instantly (because I didn't do the oil yet) and checked again in five minutes; it started on the first pull that time. I was feeling pretty happy about my purchase by then!

Tomorrow I have to check for fuel leaks (high probability of dried out, deteriorated, or leaky gaskets in the fuel and carb systems), drain whatever old oil remains, and put nice clean oil in. Then I should be ready to chip!

 
Dan Boone
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Making progress. Small hitches. Got the oil changed. Filled with fuel. Discovered that plastic fuel tank is made from two halves with a bonded seam, which has split and now leaks. I'm pretty sure I can find an adhesive that will re-bond that seam.

Was aware that this unit was missing its "optional" discharge screen (a piece of curved spring steel with holes, available in various sizes). Some sorts of material are said to chip OK without a discharge screen, the function of which is to hold the wood in the shredding chamber until it is sufficiently reduced to fit through the screen. Howevever, several runs of my test material today (flexible green brushy saplings) proved that my stuff tends to get frayed and ejected as large/long shreds and twigs, up to 24" long. I will want a discharge screen. This is going to be a challenge.

First step: Find the right parts catalog. This turns out to be the right one for the 47285. From it, I learn that this is the "Non I/C Standard" model, which means it's the model that doesn't have the "Industrial/Commercial grade" Briggs and Stratton engine. It's also known (this we learn from the link John Polk provided) as the "Tomahawk VI", which is a designation that matters on some parts lists and interchange diagrams.

Second step: Identify the right model numbers. These turn out to be:

1900321 (standard 3/4" holes discharge screen)
11531k (optional 3/8" holes discharge screen)
11532k (optional 1" holes discharge screen)
11573k (optional 1.75" holes discharge screen)
11575k (optional horizontal bar grate for shredding)

Third step: find any of these parts. So far, searched ebay (no current listings, one just sold two days ago, I have set alerts on all these part nos) and amazon (no hits). General internet searches turns up only industrial keyword spam sites and a couple of legit catalogs with "unavailable" or "out of stock" designations on all these part numbers.

Looks like ebay is going to be my best bet. Now for some patience, until I get hits on my alerts...
 
Russ Herring
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Dan,

Did you ever find the Operator's Manual?  I have it.  I also have a solution for the belt problem of wearing out.

Russ
 
Russ Herring
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Some info on the Tomahawk chipper.  I have had one since 1995.  I now have 3 of them.   There are 16 free-rotating flails mounted on 4 bars.  Each flail has 4 cutting edges (one on each corner).  When flails wear down, they get smooth.  You can reach down into the hopper and feel them.  These flails can be rotated to expose a new cutting edge.  To do this, a roll pin on each of the 4 bars that the flails mount on must be driven out.  The bar can then be driven out from the engine side and flails rotated or replaced.  Brent Chalmers sells them on ebay.  The chipper knife can also be replaced or sharpened.  The chipper chute must be removed for that.  The location of the flails and spacers must be duplicated especially near the chipper blade.

The belt wears out quickly for two reasons.  First, the idler arrangement and the fact that the belt must act as the clutch stinks.  As does the belt as it screeches during startup.  This removes rubber, makes the belt loose, and eventually shreds the belt.  The second reason is that the idler pushed on the back of the belt.  These belt are not designed for that.  It bends two directions on every revolution.  That makes it hot and heat wears out belts.

I fixed both problems.  I removed the engine pulley and replaced it with a v-belt centrifugal clutch.  I replaced the idler with a v-belt idler that pulls on the belt.  I attached a spring to the idler handle to provide pulling force against the idler which tightens the belt just like on a car engine.  The result is that the belt is not the clutch anymore.  When the engine is started, it has no load on it until it reaches 1800 RPM at which point the centrifugal clutch begins to engage.  This spins up the shredder cage smoothly.  No belt slippage.  When you turn off the engine, the whole assembly spins down to 1800 RPM where the clutch disengages and the engine stops while the cage spins freely down to stop.  Works great.

Russ
 
Kevin Derheimer
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Location: Fort Myers, fl - Durango CO
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Dan-great find! I have a super tomahawk that I bought new a few decades ago and carted all over the country with me, love the machine.  Years ago I bought a grinding wheel that is good for sharpening carbide, it allows me to sharpen the blades fast and easily, just need a square edge on the flails.  You can turn each flail 3 times to use each of the cutting edges, I do a lot of reprocessing free tree mulch and get stones a lot, which quickly dulls the cutting surface, sometimes also dulls the cutting surfaces not in use.  I have some flails that are original and thru sharpening, look quite different from the new ones, not bad for 30 yrs of use.  I bought a complete set of replacement flails years ago when Troy built laughed at me for using an antique!  You can still find them for around $2-$3 per flail online.  It takes me less than an hour to change out the flails, I tie up the discharge chute lid so it is easy to reach the cage, and use a punch, to remove the pin holding the shaft in place.  You have to rotate the cage to slide the shaft out the access hole in the side.  I do one shaft at a time to keep track of alignment of spacers and flail position, I also dont drive the pin all the way in so it's easier to get out the next time.  It's a bitch to hold the cage steady and drive the pin out with hammer and punch when the cage wants to rotate, a piece of wood jammed in the hopper helps with this. 

I have replaced the Phillips flathead screws holding the cutting bar in place a few times with Allen type flathead screws so you can use a socket wrench with extension to get them out easier, works well.  I use a small awl to clean out the Allen recess of woody debris first. 

I have processed 2 1/2" - 3" limbs, fresher ones are easier than old dried out ones, but you might want to wear gloves and hang on tight as the chipper will vibrate the heck out of your hands while you push the limb into the shoot. 

I removed the rubber protective gadget on the hopper many years ago to make it easier to load leaves and coarse wood chips, i would be careful as the chipper literally rips material out of your hands into the hopper.

I bought 3 screens and a mesh bag as accessories with my super tomahawk, I use the smallest screen for dried leaves, the medium screen for all around chipping and shredding, and the large opening screen for course woodchips.  I used the bag once, a waste of time unless you just process a bushel of material, I find the machine too heavy to move around for just a little stuff, so I gather loads of debris or 4-6 yds of rough wood chips and process all at once.

I replied to a post on permies some time ago about someone wanting to process wet or green garden waste, I found a manual online and saw the bar type grate recommended for wetter material.  I tried to find the bar grate, but no luck.  I hate processing wet material, I found that if you add wet stuff, it just clogs the screen, but if you add a pitchfork of drier stuff right after wet stuff, it works better.  Shredding without a screen is almost pointless since the screen holds the material in the machine till it reaches the size of the screen holes.  Chipping may be ok with no screen since the knife has already it up the material.

I always use a screen, even when chipping.  Also, I will gather twigs and jamb them all together into the chipping chute, I find it does a better job, doesn't bog down the machine, doesn't rip the material from your hands (a little scary), and you don't get as much blow back out the main hopper (more of a problem for me since I removed the safety gadget)

Glad to hear of the mod referenced above to help save on belt life!  I found a dozen belts on eBay some years ago when I couldn't find the originals anymore.  Not sure if the original ones were made differently to allow pressure on both sides,  but they certainly last longer than ones not made for the Troy built.
Hope you enjoy it
Kevin
 
Nathan Stewart
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Russ Herring wrote:
I fixed both problems.  I removed the engine pulley and replaced it with a v-belt centrifugal clutch.  I replaced the idler with a v-belt idler that pulls on the belt.  I attached a spring to the idler handle to provide pulling force against the idler which tightens the belt just like on a car engine.  The result is that the belt is not the clutch anymore.  When the engine is started, it has no load on it until it reaches 1800 RPM at which point the centrifugal clutch begins to engage.  This spins up the shredder cage smoothly.  No belt slippage.  When you turn off the engine, the whole assembly spins down to 1800 RPM where the clutch disengages and the engine stops while the cage spins freely down to stop.  Works great.


Russ - do you have any pics of your idler conversion? I love this idea. I just bought me one of these chippers (only have the 3/8 screen which I found clogs really fast trying to shred leaves/twiggy stuff).  My chipper  blades have been sharpened but I'll check on the flails.  I was initially thinking about drilling out my 3/8" screen to larger holes. I'm not sure if I'll ever need a 3/8" screen but man - screens are running $150-$200 on ebay right now and I paid $350 for the chipper.
 
Permaculture isn't that hard to understand. Sometimes a little bump helps: richsoil.com/cards
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