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Ripper Retrofit for the Sweco 480 Trail Dozer

Recreation Tech Tip logo   United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Technology & Development Program
February 2000 2300 0023-2310-MTDC

Bob Beckley, Project Leader

The Sweco 480 Trail Dozer (Figure 1) is a 4-foot-wide minidozer that can perform a wide variety of forest operations. This 80-horsepower dozer is 11 feet and 1 inch long and has a ground pressure of 7.3 psi. It is easily transported, is cost effective, and is available commercially.

Picture of the ripper system on the Sweco 480 Trail Dozer.
Figure 1--The Sweco 480 Trail Dozer.
The ripper is mounted behind the dozer.

Two types of ripper systems can be used on the Sweco 480 Trail Dozer. The older version consists of a 4- by 4-inch square steel tubular bar ¼ inch thick. The newer version of the ripper system consists of a 4- by 6-inch square steel tubular bar 5/16 inch thick. The rippers are placed in three slots cut into this bar. These slots are 2½ inches long and ¾ inch wide. The individual rippers are 2 3/8 inches across the top flat and 11/16 inch wide. A metal wedge or spring keeper holds the rippers in place.

Earlier versions of the Sweco 480 Trail Dozer Ripper System may require modification to ensure that the individual rippers fit securely.

The slots these rippers fit into may become elongated through use, allowing the rippers to fall out. A common cause of this problem is backing up without first raising the ripper system. The spring keeper or wedge is made of a softer metal than the ripper. The keepers lose their shape, allowing the rippers to fall out.

A simple low-cost modification can eliminate the problem caused by elongated ripper slots. This modification can be done by most skilled welders or a metal fabrication shop. This modification takes about 2 hours. The steps are as follows:

  • Weld hardface to the inside of the elongated hole, restoring it to its original size of 2½ inches long by ¾ inch wide.
  • Weld a piece of keystock ¾ by ¾ by 2 inches long to the bottom backside of the square tubular steel bar. The keystock should be flush with the back of the slot the ripper fits into (Figure 2).
  • Weld a piece of keystock ¾ by ¾ by 2 inches long to the top front of the square tubular steel bar ½ inch in front of the slot the ripper fits into (Figure 3).
  • Replace rippers in the slot. Secure the rippers with new wedges or spring keepers.

Picture of the weld keystock flush with the bottom back of ripper slot
Figure 2--Weld keystock flush with
the bottom back of ripper slot.

Picture of the weld keystock ½ inch in front of the top front of the ripper slot.
Figure 3--Weld keystock ½ inch in front of
the top front of the ripper slot.

The manufacturer recommends either outershield welding or stick welding using welding rod LH-7018 (either 1/8 inch or 5/32 inch) at 125 to 130 amps.

This modification will secure the rippers and should prevent future failure or loss of rippers.

Newer versions of the Sweco 480 Trail Dozer ripper systems include this modification. A new ripper system costs $500 to $600 from the factory. The manufacturer can be reached at:

Sutter Equipment Co.
80 Chambelain Ave.
Novato, CA 94947
Phone: (415) 898-5955


The Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture, has developed this information for the guidance of its employees, its contractors, and its cooperating Federal and State agencies, and is not responsible for the interpretation or use of this information by anyone except its own employees. The use of trade, firm, or corporation names in this publication is for the information and convenience of the reader, and does not constitute an endorsement by the Department of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable.

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Updated: 04/14/2014
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