Assembling the RuggedSplit 300-Series Log Splitter

In today's video, we're taking you step-by-step through how to assemble a RuggedSplit 300-series log splitter. The kit comes complete with almost everything you need. You only need to add hydraulic fluid, engine oil, and grease. The log lift on this model makes it super easy to get those larger rounds up into position.

The horizontal “push-through” design makes for a high production rate. Features like the option to mount the log lift on either side and a multi-positional valve platform that can be maneuvered to fit your splitting style make this one of the most ergonomic models we've ever offered. We show you in detail how to put it together and get up and running, and also break down the different pump mount and engine options. Be sure to watch the whole video before getting started.

If you cannot stream the video where you are assembling your log splitter, you can download it to your device by clicking here: 300 Series Assembly Video Download.

Follow along and enjoy your new log splitter from RuggedMade!

Video Transcript

Welcome back to RuggedMade. I’m Jared. Today we're going to do an assembly video on a 300-series log splitter. This is an RS-322-24 splitter. It's available with a couple of different options for pump size and a few different engine options, but this assembly video is going to walk you through the process for all of these different versions. So, the complete splitter comes as a kit in the crate. The only things you'll need to provide are some tools, eight gallons of hydraulic fluid, one to two quarts of engine oil (depending on which engine you chose), some bearing grease, and a battery. If you want to use the electric start option, be sure to watch this video the whole way through before you start to assemble your splitter. There are a few points where you're going to get to decide how you want to set it up. One major choice is which side to install the log lift on; it can go on either side of the machine. You'll also get to decide how you want to orient your valve platform. Here, it's oriented 45-degrees towards me, but you might want to orient the other way depending on whether you're left-handed or right-handed, whether you operate the splitter alone or with help, so this way you can get the splitter all set up to be optimal for you.

So, let's get started. So this is the crate that your log splitter will arrive in. So let's get it opened up and get the parts taken out. There are lots of little nails here, so just watch those. So you can take everything out of the crate like this, but what I like to do is break down the sides and then everything is visible and accessible. So as you can see, this gives you really nice access to everything. Now we'll start getting it all pulled apart, organized, and we'll start the build. The hardware for the splitter is in these three white cardboard boxes. Things like nuts and bolts, and hydraulic fittings. So let's start getting this stuff unpacked and figure out where it goes.

So let's start by getting our wheels ready. These come with dual taper roller bearings in each wheel. They do come greased from the factory but it doesn't hurt to put some more grease in here and if you're going to be towing the splitter at all, it's a good idea to pack some grease into the hubs. So let's do that now. The inside of each rim has a seal and we're gonna push that out carefully from the inside using, in this case, I found a 27-mm socket is just the right size to gently push on the inner bearing. So you can pack these bearings by hand, but an inexpensive bearing packing tool, like this, makes the job a lot easier. And, if you're towing your splitter much, this is something you should be doing on an annual basis anyway.

And when you see the fresh grease coming through the rollers of the bearing, then you know you've got it re-greased. So we're still on the inside of this rim, and now we can put our seal back in. Now, before we pack the other bearing and put it in, let's pack some grease into the hub using our very specialized grease packing tool. Now that one is nicely packed with fresh grease as well. Now, if you're ready to put this right onto the axles of the tank of the splitter, then you can do that now. We're just going to set it aside and we're going to use the dust covers to keep any contamination from getting into the bearings.

Now, we'll move on to the second wheel and then we'll move on to getting these mounted onto our tank. So let's get the wheels mounted on the axles on the hydraulic tank. So we've got our castellated nut. The other hardware we're going to use is the dust cap, the thrust washer, and the cotter pin. Some tools will be a large wrench, a pair of pliers for the cotter pin, and a mallet and a wood block for tapping the dust cap onto the hubs. So let's take our dust caps off, but make sure that the bearing stays inside. So our inside has the seal and that's what's going to go up against the inside of the tank, and, you can also tell the inside and the outside by seeing which side has the valve stem. So the trick with this is to have the thrust washer gently pressed against the outer bearing and as you push the wheel onto the axle, you want to make sure not to damage the rubber parts of the seal on these threads and you don't want the axle to push this outer bearing out and have it fall down, so I'm going to be gently pushing against this as we install. So with our castle nut, we're going to use these notches and line one of them up with this hole that's cross-drilled in the axle and that's where the cotter pin is going to go. So let's get the nut on and get the pre-tension set. So, use the wrench and tighten the nut until the wheel doesn't turn freely. So now the wheel has stopped spinning freely, we're gonna go a little tighter to really seat the bearings, and then we'll back off. And here we've got one of the holes lined up with the crenellations in the nut for the cotter pin and the tire is able to spin pretty freely. Install our cotter pin.

So in order for the dust cap to get into this rim, we're gonna have to bend these prongs up flush against this and, for that, it's sometimes helpful to actually tap them in with a drift. And now we'll insert the dust cap.

So we've got the end of the beam hanging out over the pallet and that's going to allow us to mount this flange for the tongue. So we're going to use our M12 x 40 bolts, which use 18-mm tools. And, before these bolts get tightened up, just make sure that your tongue is straight and then cinch down on these bolts. Now, let's mount the bipod leg. The orientation of the leg should be like this because when it's mounted, the leg is going to fold back that way. Notice there are two smaller holes here and here and a larger hole here. The larger hole is for the bolt which is an M10 by 75. That's going to be the pivot pin and it corresponds to the larger hole here, which is the rearmost of these three holes. So I’m going to lift up the beam and feed this through. Now you might want to get help for this step. So now our bipod leg is locked in place and we can move on to the next step, which is getting the tank under the back end of the beam.

Now it's time to lift the beam up into position so we can roll the tank under it. A few different ways to do this: if you have a tractor or a ceiling hoist, you could use that, get a neighbor to help, or in this case, I'm just going to slide it onto a floor jack.

So I've slid the jack forward to open up access to the four holes that are at the back of the beam where the tank is going to mount. Just be careful, obviously, that this doesn't fall off the jack. It's good to have someone else around to stabilize it. So here's our tank and I'll go up a little higher on the jack and then we'll be able to get these holes lined up and for this we're going to use the remaining 4 M12 bolts. The other thing to note when you're mounting the tank is the orientation. Over here, we've got the engine platform, the suction for the hydraulic fluid, that needs to be pointing back or away from the blade. And, don't tighten them down yet wait until you got all four relatively snug and then just make sure that the tank is aligned with the rest of the beam.

Check that the 10 bolts that secure the push plate to the beam are tight. This should be checked on a regular basis.

Now we're going to extend the cylinder out to here. First, we have to remove this clamping plate, which is just for storage. This is going to get thrown out. The heads of these bolts use a 13-mm socket.

And so now the cylinder is free to slide, but we've got to get these locking plates out of the way. There's one on each side. These are going to lock the trunnions into this position.

Now we can slide this back into position. Note, these little collars here, these washers, need to be on the inside of the beam on both sides. Those are spacers. Now with the trunnion ear all the way back in its spot, we can remount these trunnion-locking collars. These hex bolts take a 16-mm socket. Don't tighten these bolts down yet. The valve platform uses these 4 bolts in addition to 2 more bolts that go in these holes to secure itself. Mount the fenders using the 4 M8 x 20-mm bolts. The nuts and the heads of the bolts take a 13-mm wrench.

It's time to mount the pump on the engine. The 300-Series is available with a few different engine options. If you opted for the 13 gallon-per-minute pump, the most common two choices are going to be the Raven 212 CC or the Honda GC190, both rated for approximately 6/6.5 horsepower. If you opted for the 16 gallon-per-minute pump, that's going to need a bigger engine and this most common choice is the Raven, which is a 300 CC engine.

So we'll go through the install process and a couple of small differences depending on which engine and which size pump and bracket you're going to be using. Some tools that you'll need: a screwdriver to get the safety cover off, either of the two different size pump mounts, uh, a 13-mm wrench and/or socket which will cover most of the bolts that are going to mount the pump to the bracket and the bracket to the engine, and you'll need a 4-mm, yes, it’s a 4-mm Allen key, which will take care of the set screws that lock the jaw couplers onto the shafts. And because this is a high vibration part of the machine, a bit of blue Loctite on the bolts is not a bad idea.

So we're not going to install the pump on the Honda today, we're just going to point out one difference, which is the bolt spec for mounting the pump mount bracket to the engine. The threads are different on the Hondas. This is an SAE-standard bolt and it's a fine thread, so if you order this engine, you'll get the right bolts for it. If you have one of the Raven engines, it would be a metric bolt, and again, it would come with the right bolts for your engine selection.

So both of these pumps, the 13 gallon-per-minute and the 16 gallon-per-minute, have a 4 bolt flange and both pumps would mount on either of these brackets, but you'll get the right bracket for the engine you selected. So on the Raven 212 here, we're going to be using the smaller of the brackets. It's square and we'll get the safety cover off first so we can have access and have a way to get the jaw coupler installed.

Okay, so this is our pump side. This is our engine side. We're going to have this solid piece down so that when this is all finished, the cover will be on the top and if you wanted to remove that, and for example, check the tightness of these set screws, then it would be easy to open up that top and have access.

All right, so to mount the bracket, we're going to use our M8 x 1.25 x 25-mm bolts. And, a couple things to note about the bracket, there's a centering ring here that is on the engine side and that should line up with the ring on the face of the engine. To get the jaw coupler in there, we're gonna have to do that on this bracket as it's going onto the shaft because you won't be able to slide the bracket, uh, the jaw coupler on afterwards. You'll see later when we do this one, the jaw coupler can actually fit in there. So a couple of considerations: we've got a key in the keyway here. As we slide this jaw coupler on, we want to make sure that we don't push that key back and out of its keyway, and, we also can use our 4-mm Allen key and back these set screws out a little bit in case they were in the pathway of the shaft and most of these jaw couplers have 2 set screws.

So, here we've got the larger of the two bores. This is 3/4" for the engine side on this engine and it would be 1” on the larger engine for the shaft. The engine shaft. And here we've got our elastomer spider. So, I'll pull the spider out so we can see where the jaw coupler should end up. You basically want to start with it flush to the end of the shaft. And, we're going to tighten down the set screw just snug for now to hold it in that position.

So now we can put our elastomer spider back in place and put the pump side jaw coupler in place. And now we're ready to mount this bracket to the engine. We'll throw a little bit of Loctite on these bolts. So the heads of these bolts take a 13-mm wrench, uh, we're gonna get it nice and snug but we've got the Loctite, so we don't need to over tighten this. Because, keep in mind, you've got steel bolts going into cast aluminum. On the 300-Series, the pump orientation should be like this with the suction nipple pointed down and this plug is the high pressure port, so we want that facing up. So, again, we've got a key that we want to be careful not to let the jaw coupler push it out of position. A screwdriver or a tool like this can be useful to keep this key from getting pushed out of position as we slide it into the jaw coupler.

So now let's mount the pump with these bolts. And these are the M8 x 1.25 thread pitch x 20-mm bolts. Now because of the shape of the flange on this pump, a couple of them are really easy to do, a couple of them are tricky. So let's do one of the easy ones and then one of the tricky ones. So these ones are pretty much straight through. I got those lined up and we'll get this one started, but don't thread it in any farther than that because over on this side, if this pump is all the way forward, we won't be able to get the bolt in there.

So what I like to do is use my finger to apply some forward pressure while I'm turning the wrench and that usually will help get the plate started. So once this one is started, then we can put the rest in. The one directly above it also has a bit of curvature to the casting, so that one can also be a little tricky. So now that we have a 13 gallon-per-minute pump installed on this bracket, it's time to double check the spacing of the gap between the two jaw coupler halves, tighten down the 4 set screws, and reinstall the cover. Now, typically the gap between the two coupler halves should be about the thickness of a business card. We're going to use this tag as some typical cardstock to help set that gap. Now, once that's set, we can tighten down the 4 set screws. On a new installation like this, it's best to check this after about 10 hours of operation in case those set screws have backed out. There's no reason to over-torque them, but you need to check them periodically to make sure they're tight.

So now that that's on, we can install our safety cover with some little Phillips head screws. So if you have this engine and pump package on your splitter, we're ready to move on to installing it on the frame. If you have a bigger pump and engine, keep watching and we'll do the same pump mount bracket install over here. So for the 300 CC engine, we've got our larger pump mount bracket. We're going to also install it with the safety cover facing up. So let's remove those screws. So this is the top side. Here we have that centering ring which is gonna align it on the engine face, but in this case we're gonna pre-mount the jaw coupler on the shaft and then slide this mount bracket right over it.

So, same parts as before, we've got 4 set screws that we're gonna just back out to make sure they're not gonna interfere with the shaft. And, we've also got our key in our keyway, so, roughly flush with the end of the shaft tighten that just snug it down, our spider, or elastomer, and then our 1/2" bore jaw coupler for the pump end. And, again, we're using the same M8 x 1.25 x 25-mm bolts to mount the bracket to the face of the engine. We've got a 13-mm socket on here and because we're going into aluminum, I like to tighten by hand so we don't over-tighten it. So, same orientation with the 16 gallon-per-minute pump, inlet nipple pointing down. Now our flange here is a little bit bigger, so we've got a little more room to work with but, again, down here, it can get a little tight. And we also, again, want to make sure that our key doesn't get pushed out of position as we slide it into this jaw coupler.

So get all 4 bolts started before tightening and tightening any of them down, particularly this one here at the bottom. So we've got our pump mounted, we've got our jack holders in there, we haven't tightened down our set screws. We'll do that now and we'll set our gap between the two jaw coupler halves, again, using our cardstock.

And we're ready to put the cover on. And these are ready to go onto the splitter, so let's get our 200 CC engine with a 13-gallon-per-minute pump mounted. Notice on the engine platform, we've got multiple sets of holes. We're going to be using these inner 4 to mount the smaller engine and, you'll see in a moment, that to mount the electric, uh, start battery tray with the smaller engine, we'll be using these outer holes if you have electric start provisions on your engine. And the battery tray has its own two bolts for that mounting.

So, let's get this in position, and notice, the pump is going to face towards the back of the splitter or, in other words, away from the blade. So if you're going to use the battery tray for your electric start powered engine, you're going to be mounting this here with the 200 CC engine. You're not going to need this spacer plate. We're going to just mount the battery tray independently with the provided hardware. The hex bolts take a 12-mm and the nuts are also 13-mm and we'll come back to this later to hook up a battery. The Honda GC190 mounts to the engine platform in the same way as the Raven 212 we just showed.

Let's install the 300 CC engine now. On the platform, again, we've got the multiple sets of holes. We're going to be using the outer 4 holes and if you have an electric start and you're going to use your battery tray, one difference between this and the smaller engine is the engine is going to mount on top of this plate, which means you'll be using your spacer plate on the opposite side, so that the engine mounts in a level way. And that'll be hard to see in the next step, but this plate will be there under the engine. And we're also not going to need the hardware provided to mount the battery tray, since it'll be held in place by the bolts that secure the engine.

So the most important thing here is getting that spacer plate lined up with the holes.

For this rear bolt, we're not going to tighten it yet because, assuming you're going to install the battery, our negative ground strap is going to go on that bolt. Now it's time to decide which side of the log splitter you want to install the log lift on. It can go on either side, so it's really up to your personal preference. Some people like to stand on this side, operate the valve with their left hand and keep their right hand on the log but if you prefer the other way just install the log lift on this side. And then you also will be able to orient these valves in the other way, 45 degrees that way.

So now let's get into the details of how to install the log lift.

The main components of the hydraulic log lift consist of the upper and lower halves of the tray, the two locking pins with R-clips, an upper bracket and lower bracket, a log cradle, and a 2 x 8 hydraulic cylinder.

Let's use our M10 x 40 bolts to secure the upper log lift bracket to the log cradle. These bolts are going to pass right through. Let's install the lower log lift bracket using our M10 x 55-mm bolts, and, again, sandwiching right through the upper bracket, the beam, and the lower bracket. We're going to leave these bolts just a little bit loose to help with final alignment after we install the cylinder. So here's our log lift cylinder. The fittings should face towards the back of the splitter regardless of which side you install the log lift on. This is gonna be the bottom end. This is gonna be the upper end. We're gonna mount that here but first we need to pull one of these clips off. We're going to mount the upper log lift table from these upper brackets on this.

The lower half of the log lift will get installed into the bottom of the upper half after we have the hydraulics connected.

So here we've got our two valves. This is what we would call the upstream valve, or, the first valve. It's going to get the fluid coming up from the pump into this inlet port and then this has a Power Beyond feature, so, and this valve is going to control the log lift and then fluid is going to flow through this Power Beyond sleeve that we'll install in a minute into our downstream, or, second valve, which has the detent and that will control the main splitting cylinder.

So, before we get these all connected let's just talk for a minute about the two different types of fitting standards used on the splitter. The 2 standards are: pipe thread and JIC 37 degree. They're both very common standards. The main difference between these 2 is the NPT, or, national pipe thread, is a tapered fitting and when the male end threads into the female end there's some slight deformation between the threads which creates the seal. Nevertheless, we use tape or dope to make it a more effective seal. The other standard is JIC 37 degree and 37 degree is referring to this cone the male end has a 37 degree cone and the female end has a 37 degree seat and this, this is a parallel or straight thread, so when you hook it up to something like a hose, as that swivels on, it will just mechanically pull the two cone seats together and create the seal there, which is why we don't use tape or dope on this type of thread. And, there are only a couple different sizes used on the 300-Series. You can see here we've got a few of the different sizes. This would be a 1/2" JIC 37 degree and that would be for a hose coming up from the pump. This is 3/4" NPT. There is more 3/4" NPT. This is 3/4" JIC which would be used on some of the return lines.

So, you can do this in a vise. We're just going to clamp this valve to the table and that will allow us to get these fittings mounted. So, here we've got our Power Beyond port but the way it comes from the factory is with a plug, so we're gonna remove that, swap it out for the sleeve, and then we're gonna install this elbow. And, you have to follow this sequence of events correctly.

So, there's our plug, and, notice this seals with an o-ring, so it does not need to be overly tightened. The NPT threads are always going to get wrapped with some PTFE thread seal tape, and notice the direction of the wrap; we go clockwise if you're looking at it from that angle, so that when we insert it into a port, it doesn't unwrap itself. Depending on the thickness of the tape, 2 to 3 wraps is usually sufficient. You don't want too much tape on here. Otherwise, as you thread it in, the tape will get pushed back and it won't really be able to do its job of helping seal. We're doing this elbow first because the next fitting to go on is this straight fitting and if we do them out of sequence we won't be able to rotate the elbow all the way. So, a big wrench like this is very useful for installing these fittings. Be careful not to damage the threads. Make sure the wrench is snug to the body of the fitting.

Sometimes it might be necessary to come over the top where it's particularly important to keep the wrench tight so that you don't damage any of the threads. Now, we'll leave this fitting angled towards the back. That's the orientation of the return hose going back to the filter. Make sure that none of the tape wraps over the lip of the fitting. You don't want any contamination getting inside your hydraulic system. Let’s make sure our Power Beyond sleeve is tight. Notice that on the hydraulic valves, the inlet ports and outlet ports are clearly marked, so this being the second valve, we're going to connect the inlet port of the second valve to the outlet port of the upstream valve.

Now as this gets close to being tight, we want to think about making sure that the bottom surfaces of both valves are flat to get them aligned. These valves are going to end up being mounted to this plate. And notice that the holes are elongated so that the distance between the two valves, there's a little bit of wiggle room, because it's very difficult with NPT fittings to have a very precise depth. And that's dead level. And, again, it's better to under-tighten it a little bit because you can always go a little bit farther to get them perfectly flat.

So now we're going to mount the two valves onto what's called the upper platform. The spacer plate goes under this valve and that will make sure that they both mount flat to this upper platform.

Use the 3 M8 x 55-mm bolts to secure Valve 2. So, it's easiest to get started with a couple of the bolts that are in the middle of the plate. Use the 3 M10 x 55-mm bolts to secure Valve 1. And, before you tighten down the bolts, just make sure you've got your valves nicely aligned and that you have your spacer plate installed under this valve.

Use one of the elbows with 3/4" NPT on one end and 1/2" JIC 37 degree on the other. Apply thread tape to the NPT end and install the fitting in the port on the rod end of the main splitting cylinder. Connect a 1/2" ID high pressure hose. Be careful not to over tighten the swivel collar. This hose and fitting should be installed before the valve platform because access to this area will be difficult once the platform is mounted. To mount the valve platform, we're going to remove the 4 bolts holding these trunnion collars and we're going to use the additional 2 M10 x 30 bolts with lock washer and flat washer.

So, now we're ready to mount the upper platform to the lower platform, but this is where we get to a really exciting feature of the 300-Series. Traditionally, the two valves would just mount straight to the platform and they would be oriented this way and depending on which side of the splitter you were on, you would be cycling the valves like that, but we now make it possible to choose different angles. So, the extreme would be 90-degrees facing this way or 90-degrees facing that way, but, what based on customer feedback and our own experience is the most effective and comfortable and ergonomic way to operate it is at a 45-degree to one side or the other depending on how you like to operate the machine, which side you've installed the log lift on, and considerations like that. And, of course, there's always the standard option of just mounting them that way which can be pretty effective if you often operate the splitter with two people, so that both people can operate it from either side.

In this case, we've installed our log lift on the left side of the machine, so we're going to be installing the platform this way so it's angled at a 45 towards me where I would normally be operating it. You have to make this decision first before you finish the installation of the remaining fittings because the angles of these elbows depend largely on which way you've oriented the platform.

So, you've got a return line here, an inlet here, those depend on this angle, and then you've got a bunch of fittings up here for the two hoses to the main cylinder and the two hoses to the log lift. All that depends on this orientation. So, once we've established that we're going to install it this way, we can move forward with putting on the rest of the elbows and we can now secure the upper platform to the lower platform using the four cap head bolts. To choose the angle of the platform we're just going to choose four out of these eight holes on the lower platform and match those up with the four holes on the upper platform. Don't tighten these down until you've got all four installed. So now we've got all four bolts installed. Let's tighten it down using a 15-mm wrench on the nuts and for the cap head bolts you can use either an eight-mm allen key or a 5/16.

So now we've got our valves mounted and we can move on to the rest of the fittings and then start the hoses.

Let's start with a 3/4 MPT x 1/2" JIC on the inlet port of our upstream valve. Now, before we go any further, let's install the next fitting.

Here is a 1/2" MPT x 37 degree 1/2" and, note, we've already wrapped the NPT threads of these fittings with the tape but not the compression end, so we'll install this in the outlet port of the pump. Now, keep in mind these are steel fittings going into aluminum, so we definitely don't want to over-tighten this fitting. So we're going to stop there and get our hose and test fit and this is what you want to do throughout most of the assembly to get the fittings aligned. Now, this is one of the 1/2" ID high-pressure lines the machine comes with 5 of these. This is the third longest one. So, here we've just test-fit it and the angles look good. There are no kinks and the hose is neat and out of the way, so we can pretty much just leave our fittings where they are.

Install 1 of the 3/4" NPT x 1/2" JIC 37-degree fittings in the welded end of the cylinder. Be sure to install the next fitting, which is a 3/4" NPT x 1/2" JIC, into the “B” port of the downstream log splitter valve. The reason for this is after installing the next fitting in the “A” port you may not be able to rotate this 360 degrees. So, we'll angle that towards the back. This “B” port fitting connects to the rod end hose, so let's get this test fit and that's going to be fine. Now we can put our next 3/4" NPT x 1/2" JIC in the “A” port and we'll make it roughly parallel. So this is the connection we want to make. Now we can turn this a little farther to give us the length we need and we can adjust this a little bit more so that they're parallel.

So now we have our main cylinder connected to the “A” and “B” ports on our downstream valve and we can move on to the fittings for the log with cylinder. The remaining two 3/4" MPT x 1/2" JIC fittings go in the “A” and “B” work ports of the upstream valve for the log lift. These don't have the interference issue, so it doesn't matter which one you install first.

We'll start with this pointing straight back and we'll test-fit one of the long 1/2" high-pressure hoses. that's going to connect to the logless cylinder. We're looking for routing that doesn't have any kinks, tight turns, you don't want any stress on the hoses. So that looks pretty good and we'll set this one up to be parallel.

So now we can connect the other end of these hoses to the log lift cylinder. We're going to start by routing the hoses through the opening in the lower half of the beam and down the length of the beam. Install the hose bracket in the hole.

The hose that goes to the “A” port on the valve should get connected to the fitting on the welded end of the log lift cylinder. This 45-degree elbow may need to be adjusted for angle in order for the hoses to connect smoothly. And connect the other hose from the “B” port of the valve to the rod end of the log lift cylinder. To install the return filter, take the plug out of the return bung in the tank. Use the straight 3/4 male x 3/4 male fitting. These are both MPT threads so we've taped them both. The head of the filter has the inlet and outlet clearly marked with the direction of flow. The direction of flow should come from the valve back into the inlet, so we're going to connect the outlet to the fitting. This filter head is aluminum so don't over-tighten it. Now, if you're going to be towing your splitter off road often and potentially, hit, going over stumps and rocks, it's a good idea to leave your filter oriented like this to keep it up out of the way.

Apply some hydraulic fluid to the gasket for a better seal. Spin the filter on and then get it hand-tight. Now insert the male MPT end of one of the three return line hoses. And, don't over-tighten this fitting because it is going into aluminum. Install the last 90-degree elbow into the outlet port of the downstream valve. This is 3/4" NPT x 3/4" JIC 37-degree. I’ll angle this one pretty much straight back. Connect the last two return lines and the “T.” We'll put the line with the elbow on the upstream valve.

And then, connect the third return hose to the bottom of the “T.”

Install the suction line on the two barbs. And, tighten down the hose clamps. Now, tighten all of the hydraulic connections. For these swivel connections, you can use two wrenches to prevent the hose from twisting. Don't over-tighten these swivel connections. The collar of a JIC 37-degree hose connection should be able to thread on with just fingers before you tighten it. The trick to getting these on is to hold the hose straight, make sure it's aligned, and take any tension off of the hose so that the collar bottoms out. If you aren't careful, you could have the hose slightly cocked and the swivel gets tight and you think that it's bottomed out, but it hasn't. You want to make sure that that cone and the seat meet up properly.

To mount the levers, start with this bracket on the log splitting valve using one of the longer pins. The valve lever needs to go on so that it is pointed angled away from the valve. If you mount it backwards like this, you won't get full throw in both directions, so make sure it is angled away. Use the short pin for this upper bracket and use the remaining long pin for the lower bracket. And, you want these, particularly this pin, should go from the outside in, towards this detent adjustment nut so that you can install the cotter pin. And secure all the pins with cotter pins. For the log lift valve, use the longer pin on the upper bracket and the short pin on the lower bracket, and then secure them with cotter pins. So now we have full throw on both valves. Mount the safety chains through the hole in the tongue.

The log catcher tray is assembled using two dowel pins that slide into these two tubes on the bottom of the tray. And then use a 16-mm wrench to lock down these bolts. The catcher tray mounts to the web of the I-beam. And it's secured in place with these two pins. And then each pin is held in place with an R-clip.

The 300-Series uses 8 gallons of hydraulic fluid. Use an ISO 32 10-weight fluid or an ISO 46 medium-weight fluid, depending on where you live in the country and the time of year. For most purposes, an ISO 32 fluid is fine. Don't use universal generic or tractor hydraulic fluid.

The fill port is also a dipstick. Remove the dipstick and add the fluid. Start by adding 7 gallons of fluid. We'll add the eighth gallon after we run the hydraulics. Most engines ship without engine oil and they usually have two fill ports; one is just a plug and one has the dipstick. Most manufacturers recommend a synthetic 5W30 oil for year-round use, but you can also use a 30-weight oil for warm weather use or a conventional 10w30 oil for year-round use, except for extreme heat or cold. The 300-Series is available with a few different size engines which have different oil capacities. Today we're showing it with the Raven R300, which has a 1.16 quart capacity but the smaller Raven 212 or the Honda GC190 both have a 0.6 quart capacity. These engines have a low oil cut off, so we recommend filling the oil right up to the top of the filler port. This way, if you're operating the splitter on some slightly uneven ground, the low oil cut off won't think that you're low on oil. And you check your level on the cross hatch marks on the dipstick.

Put fuel in the fuel tank. You should run the splitter on at least 90 octane fuel. And if it's going to be used infrequently, or if it's being put away for long-term storage, we recommend using ethanol-free fuel. This will help reduce the chances of problems with water that gets absorbed by the ethanol in gas from the gas station. Before running the splitter for the first time, be sure to cover all exposed skin and wear gloves and eye protection in case there are any hydraulic leaks. Once you've made sure the engine has oil and you've added some gas, turn the fuel petcock to the “on” position. Move the choke lever into the choked position. Set the throttle to about 1/3. Turn the ignition switch to the “on” position and pull-start the engine.

As the engine warms up, you can turn off the choke and advance the throttle. Cycle both valves and check for hydraulic leaks. The cylinder may move in a rapid and jerky manner due to air in the system. Keep cycling the cylinder until this smooths out and the air is all purged. Check for correct valve operation: the lever controlling the main cylinder should extend the rod when the lever is pushed away from the valve and the rod should retract when the lever is pulled back and set into the detent. Check that the detent is working correctly: the rod should retract and then the lever should spring back to neutral by itself when the rod is fully retracted. The return detent is adjustable. Depending on the temperature where you're operating the splitter and the type of hydraulic fluid you're using, it may be necessary to make a small adjustment for the detent to operate correctly.

Moving the log lift valve lever away from the valve should lower the log lift and pulling the lever back towards the valve should raise it; however, this is personal preference. To change this orientation, switch the hoses on the “A” and “B” ports of the valve. Now that the log lift has been raised, you can install the lower half of the log lift tray, insert those two dowels into the slots, and secure it with the two pins. And then secure the pins with R-clips.

So, now that we've run the hydraulics, there's fluid in the hydraulic cylinder, the pump, the valves, and the hoses, so we can now top off with the eighth gallon and our hydraulic fluid comes up to the fill line. Note that the main splitting cylinder is in the retracted position for this check. The 300-Series comes standard with a slip-on 4-way blade.

A really cool feature of the 300-Series is this stroke restrictor. This plate allows you to use the detent of the valve and save time by having the rod only come back to the 20-inch position when you're splitting 16 to 18 inch rounds instead of the normal unrestricted 24-inch position. And here, we've already extended the cylinder to reveal those holes in the beam and now we're just gonna secure it with the big wing nuts. If you're going to use electric start, put the ground terminal on this last bolt that goes through the engine block. Connect one end of the positive wire to the terminal on the back of the starter solenoid. Make sure you connect it to the right terminal, and you can determine that by seeing which terminal has the big thick red cable. That's the one going to the starter motor and usually is covered by a boot, so do not connect this wire to that terminal. And don't over-tighten the 10-mm nut on the back of the starter solenoid. Now connect the positive and negative wires to the terminals on the battery. And then place the battery in the tray and secure it with the provided strap. Depending on the size of battery, you might need to put a block under it so that it fits snugly.

The second position on the start panel is for the electric start. Before towing the splitter, check the tire pressure on both tires and top off if necessary. When you're done splitting, the modular design of the 300-Series allows you to collapse it down into what we call either storage or transportation mode. So we'll start by taking the catcher tray off. We can take the lower half of the log lift off.

Take off the four-way if you're using it and secure the catcher tray right on top of the blade. Now that the lower half of the log lift is stored in the upper half and the catcher tray is secured on the blade, it's a much smaller form factor which is perfect for towing or if you want to throw a tarp over it and store it that way.

And now the 300-Series is fully assembled and ready to tackle that wood pile. So, thanks a lot for watching, and be sure to check us out at