Learn­ing some­thing new

New Zealand Logger - - Iron Test: Stan Barlow -

THEY SAY YOU CAN’T TEACH AN OLD DOG new tricks, but I cer­tainly learned a new way of op­er­at­ing this Hi­tachi ZW220-5.

For years on wheel load­ers I’ve been chang­ing from for­ward to re­verse us­ing the lever on the steer­ing col­umn and never thought any­thing of it. But when Leighton showed me what a dif­fer­ence it makes to change gear us­ing the joy­stick by the driver’s right hand, which usu­ally lifts the arms and forks, I re­alised what I had been miss­ing out on.

Old habits die hard. Even when this func­tion has been avail­able on the joy­stick of oth­ers ma­chines I’ve op­er­ated, I chick­ened out and went back to the old steer­ing col­umn lever, be­cause it’s what I know.

I tried do­ing that when load­ing the truck with the ZW220-5, but it was a bit of a pain hav­ing to keep tak­ing my hands off to use the other con­trols.

As soon as I started us­ing the joy­stick, it was bang-on, leav­ing my left hand to steer while the right did ev­ery­thing else. That’s a re­ally good set up and it helped me get my smooth­ness straight away.

It cer­tainly en­hanced my opin­ion of this ma­chine.

It’s fast and re­spon­sive, as well as be­ing smooth, and it’s got the power – what­ever I put in that beak, it never strug­gled at all. And thanks to the big coun­ter­weight you don’t re­ally no­tice what you’re car­ry­ing – just dial your speed down and keep the weight in the forks low as you am­ble across the skid.

I fol­lowed Leighton’s ad­vice and kept it in third and that was all I needed, even when push­ing it hard in some places – the power is al­ways there when you need it.

The only time I felt the weight was when turn­ing and lift­ing with a re­ally big load in the beak, but even though it rocked a bit, it was never un­sta­ble – though, from a safety view­point, that’s some­thing you re­ally want to avoid.

I like how ma­noeu­vrable it is. There wasn’t a lot of turn­ing space on one side of the truck, but I never had trou­ble po­si­tion­ing the ma­chine, be­cause it has such a good lock and I was able to make good use of the spin­ner on the steer­ing wheel.

The cab is ex­cel­lent, I had no prob­lems with the vis­i­bil­ity and be­ing able to see down on ei­ther side of the front and rear bon­net. You can see around the skid re­ally well and I like how the rear-view cam­era comes on when re­vers­ing. With such a lot of glass the large sun vi­sor also came in very handy as the sun was get­ting lower. That A/C works damn well and will be very wel­come as sum­mer ap­proaches.

Hav­ing good vis­i­bil­ity means you can be more ac­cu­rate when pick­ing up logs and plac­ing them on the truck and trailer. It made it a lot eas­ier to lo­cate the forks and see where the ends were. I found the process eas­ier than some wheel load­ers I’ve driven and a lot of that is down to just what you can see and then hav­ing that power and dex­ter­ity to back it up.

The seat is very sup­port­ive and soaks up the bumps over the lumpy sur­face. Also, it’s prob­a­bly one of the qui­etest wheel load­ers I’ve driven, even stand­ing out­side you don’t hear it that much.


Iron Tester, Stan Bar­low, uses the right joy­stick to change gears in­stead of the lever just un­der the left side of the steer­ing wheel.

Great view down to the ground just in front of the forks makes load­ing eas­ier.

This is Leighton Lip­sham’s first ex­pe­ri­ence of a ma­chine in the for­est.

Iron Tester, Stan Bar­low.

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