Gas Wood-splitter Engine Substitution

how to solve an expensive engine replacement on an older wood-splitter by thinking outside the box. The significant savings made in this particular case may apply to repair of other types of motor-driven equipment.

A couple of weeks ago, I had occasion to hear a friend talk enthusiastically about his interesting solution to a problem that might have proved very expensive had he taken a more standard or normal approach. My friend owns a wood-splitter which he uses intensely for several days each year to replenish his firewood supply for heating each winter. The splitter has a gasoline-powered engine driving a hydraulic pump which forces a large wedge through the stationary log pieces (about 16″ firewood-length log pieces). I have used this particular piece of equipment several times myself with much labor and time-saving.

The following picture shows a similar but not the same splitter (thanks to Wikipedia and Daniel Christensen).

This year the engine, an older 5 horsepower Briggs and Stratton, finally became too worn to warrant re-furbishing, and indeed was producing unusual sounds when running. After some consideration and research, my friend opted for a different approach than a direct engine replacement with a new Briggs and Stratton, which would have cost several hundred dollars.

My friend also owns a relatively-new high-pressure washer, which uses a 6 horsepower Mitsubishi motor. Unfortunately, or fortunately in this case, he didn’t use the pressure washer enough to justify having it. After digging deeper, he found that the bolt pattern on each motor was the same, and perhaps a replacement motor was already at hand, in the washer. Realizing that he could order an adaptor that would make the connection to the hydraulic pump, he set about switching the Mitsubishi motor from the washer to the splitter. Although a little adjusting of the mounting position of the motor on the splitter framework was required, the job, with parts at hand, went very smoothly and was accomplished without difficulty.

The wood-splitter, a significant investment of $1500 (for a used splitter several years ago), now had a reliable, quieter, more economical, up-to-date motor and with a total outlay of less than $150. Wood has again been split with ease since the replacement of the engine. Unfortunately, not everyone has a spare motor laying around but the knowledge that many, if not all, stationary motors of similar horsepower have standard bolt patterns opens up  possibilities for re-use or re-cycling of unused equipment at reduced cost.

Before throwing out that unused piece of equipment, check to see if there is value in any of the components that may be of use in the future, either to oneself or others.

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  1. Nice one Dartman. I will show this to D – I’m sure he’ll be happy.

  2. Thanks for the kind comment, ambergs7.

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