Assembling the RuggedSplit 700-Series Log Splitter

See the unboxing and assembly steps for a RuggedSplit 700-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 positioning the hydraulic tank to give you lots of room to stand next to the beam make this the most ergonomic model we have ever offered. We will show you how to put it together and get up and running. Follow along and enjoy your new log splitter from RuggedMade.

Video Transcript

Welcome back to RuggedMade. I'm Jared. Today we're going to assemble a 700-Series log splitter. This particular model is a 737-24 with a Briggs engine but the assembly process is the same for any of the other models in the 700-Series or the other engines that are available, such as the Raven or a Honda.

The splitter comes in a crate as a complete kit. The only items you'll need to complete assembly are some tools, 12 gallons of hydraulic fluid, a couple quarts of engine oil, some bearing grease for the wheel bearings, and a battery if you want to utilize the electric start feature. So let's take a closer look at what tools you'll need and how the splitter comes in the crate and then we'll get started on assembly.

Position the crate in the area where you'll be assembling the splitter. Start by cutting the straps and removing the lid. You can take all of the parts out of the crate or you can remove the four sides, as we've done here. This will make it easy to access all the parts, especially the beam.

Start by preparing the wheels for assembly. Each hub contains two taper roller bearings. The inside of the hub also has a bearing grease seal. Remove the outer bearing and use a socket to gently press the inner bearing and grease seal out of the hub. Grease both bearings. This can be done by hand but an inexpensive bearing packer, like this, makes the job easy. Now, reinstall the inner bearing and gently press the grease seal back into the hub. Pack some grease into the center of the hub and reinstall the outer bearing. If you're not going to mount the wheels on the tank now, use one of the dust caps to keep contaminants out of the grease. Prepare the tank by removing the protective wrap and the castellated nuts from the axles. There's additional hardware in the white cardboard boxes. Take out the dust caps, thrust washers, and cotter pins that will be used to secure the wheels to the axles. Mount the wheel on the axle. Be careful not to damage the lips of the seal on the threaded portion of the axle. Before pushing the wheel all the way onto the axle, place a thrust washer on the outside of the outer bearing. Apply pressure to this washer as you push the rim onto the axle. To prevent the outer bearing from being pushed out, install a castellated nut and tighten until the wheel does not turn freely. Back the nut off slightly until the hole in the axle lines up with two of the slots in the nut. Insert the cotter pin. Bend back the two prongs of the cotter pin but make sure that there's clearance for the dust cap on both ends. Install the dust cover by gently tapping with a mallet and wood block. Install the other wheel in the same way. Remove all other parts from the crate so you have access to the beam. Use some blocks to raise the blade-end of the beam so that we can mount the towing tongue. All of the mounting hardware can be found in the cardboard boxes.

To mount the tongue, use four of the M12 x 40 flange bolts with nyloc nuts. Both the head of the bolt and the nut take an 18-mm wrench. Mount the tongue under the blade end of the beam and tighten the four nuts.

Now let's install the bipod support leg. In order to do this, you need to lift the beam off the ground. The best way to do this is using a ceiling hoist or equipment such as a tractor or Bobcat. If you don't have access to equipment like this, we recommend getting assistance before lifting the clevis end of the beam. Either suspend the beam from secure straps or place it on stable blocks. To mount the bipod leg, use the M10 x 75-mm flange bolt with Nyloc nut. The head of the bolt takes a 15 mm wrench and the nut takes a 16 mm wrench. There is also a square bale PTO safety pin that will lock the leg in either the up or down position. When mounting the support leg, note the orientation of the holes. The pivot pin hole is a larger diameter than the safety pin holes. Raise the blade end of the beam and deploy the support leg. Lock it securely with the safety pin. Raise the clevis end of the beam in preparation for mounting the hydraulic tank. When looking at the lower portion of the I-beam under the cylinder, you will see five holes on both sides. This is one of the unique features of the RuggedSplit 700-Series. You have the option of installing the tank in one of four different positions. Mounting the hydraulic tank in the position closest to the blade will make it easy to move the splitter around and lift it from the handle on the tongue. Mounting the tank in the rearmost position closest to the clevis end of the beam will give you more room to stand when operating the splitter but it will be heavy when lifting it from the handle, such as when connecting it to a tow vehicle or when deploying the bipod leg. Most customers find that the middle position is the ideal compromise providing enough room to operate while not being too heavy. A few things to consider when deciding where to mount your tank are how often you move your splitter around, do you have equipment to help you move it around, and do you primarily operate it by yourself or with two or more people.

Now it's time to mount the engine. The 700-Series is available with a few different engine options but they all mount the same way. Place the engine on the engine platform. Make sure that the front of the engine with the pull starter is facing the blade-end of the beam and that the pump is on the clevis end. Use the four M8 x 40-mm hex head bolts with Nyloc nuts and washers. Both the bolt head and the nut take a 16-mm wrench. If your engine includes electric start and you intend to use this feature, install the battery tray now. The battery tray kit includes a spacer plate. This plate must be installed under the engine on the outside in order to keep the engine level. Mount the battery tray on the inside of the platform under the engine. Be sure to insert the bolt through the large ring terminal on the black ground wire before putting it through the engine block. Tighten all four bolts to secure the engine. Connect one of the ring terminals on the red battery wire to the post on the back of the starter solenoid. Make sure you use the post with a wire going to the starter panel and not the post with a wire going to the back of the starter motor. Secure the ring terminal using the nut lock washer and flat washer with a 10-mm wrench. Do not over-tighten this nut. If your engine is equipped with electric start, connect an appropriately sized battery now. Connect the black wire to the negative terminal and the red wire to the positive terminal. Be sure to get the polarity correct. Install the battery in the battery tray and secure it with the rubber strap. You may need to add a spacer, such as a rubber pad or a block of wood.

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 2x8 hydraulic cylinder, as well as the nuts and bolts used to secure these parts to the beam.

Another unique feature of the 700-Series is the ability to install the log lift on either side of the beam. This allows you to decide which side is more convenient. Some people like to use their left hand to control the valve lever and keep their right hand on the log being split. Some people prefer the opposite. You might have a preference for one side or the other based on whether you typically operate the splitter alone or with another person.

The two hoses that connect to the log lift cylinder are long enough to reach either side, so once you've made your decision, it's time to start putting the parts on the beam.

In this video, we will be installing the log lift on what we consider the right side of the splitter or, the engine side. Start by attaching the upper log lift bracket and the log cradle using the four M10 x 40-mm flange head bolts and Nyloc nuts. These bolts and nuts take a 16-mm wrench. These bolts are long enough to pass through the bracket, the center of the I-beam, and the cradle. Do not tighten these nuts all the way yet.

Now, let's install the lower bracket by using the four M10 x 50mm flange head bolts and Nyloc nuts. Note the orientation of the lower bracket. The two arms that support a pivot pin should be facing away from the centerline of the beam. Install the 2x8 hydraulic log lift cylinder. Note that the rod end of the cylinder should face down. Prepare to mount the upper log lift table by removing the pin from the upper bracket. When the four arms are aligned, reinsert the pin and secure with the spring clips. Connect the rod end of the cylinder to the other end of the upper table. Check the alignment of the various pivot points and then tighten down the eight bolts that secure the upper and lower brackets to the beam. To mount the fenders, use the provided M8 by 20-mm flange head bolts and Nyloc nuts. These bolts and nuts take a 13-mm wrench.

It is time to install the two control valves on the valve platform and install the various hydraulic fittings. We'll start with the MD30 Power Beyond valve. This valve can be identified by the additional plug next to the outlet port. If you're going to mount the valve in a vise, remove the two plastic plugs from the work ports so that they're not damaged and no pieces drop down inside the valve. Use a wrench and remove the plug covering the Power Beyond port. Install the Power Beyond sleeve in this port. The Power Beyond sleeve seals with an O-ring, so do not over tighten it.

Let's talk for a moment about the types of connections used in fluid power systems. Your log splitter uses two of the most common connections. The first is NPT which stands for “National Pipe Thread.” This is the same thread standard that is used in plumbing, but the hoses and steel fittings used on your log splitter are rated for much higher pressures. Never use the pipe or fittings available at your local hardware store, unless they are rated for these pressures. NPT threads are tapered. The seal takes place by deformation of the threads. To ensure a leak-free seal, use the provided PTFE thread seal tape or hydraulic thread dope on these connections. Nearly all of the NPT connections on the 700-Series are 3/4". This includes the pump outlet, the valves, and the main splitting cylinder. The log lift cylinder ports are 3/8" NPT. The other type of hydraulic connection used is JIC 37 degree flare. JIC stands for “Joint Industry Council.” This standard is also known as SAE J514. Both the male and female fittings have a 37 degree seat. The seal takes place between the male flare and female cone seat. The threads hold the connection mechanically. Do not use seal tape with this type of connection and do not over-tighten the threaded collars.

Identifying the size of a JIC 37-degree fitting can be confusing. Fortunately, only two sizes are used on the 700-Series. The larger one is 3/4" tube size which is also described as 1-1/16-12 nominal thread size. The smaller one is half inch tube size or 3/4"-16 nominal thread size.

Now, let's start installing these fittings on our control valves. First, take one of the 3/4" NPT x 3/4" JIC 37-degree elbows and install it into the outlet port of the MD-30 Power Beyond valve. It's important to install this elbow fitting first in order to have clearance to rotate it. Apply thread seal tape to the NPT threads. Note the direction of rotation of the tape. If you wrap it the wrong direction, the tape will unwind as the fitting is threaded in. Apply tension to the tape while wrapping, but do not apply too much tape. If too much tape is applied, it can be pushed off the fitting while it's being threaded in and it will not help with the ceiling. 2-3 layers is typically sufficient. Install the elbow using a large wrench. Be careful not to damage the threads. NPT fittings require a fair bit of force to install properly due to the taper of the threads and the fact that the threads need to deform slightly to seal. If you're unsure exactly what direction an elbow like this should be pointing in when finished, it's best to stop a little before you get to what you think the final position will be. You can come back later and tighten it further based on hose alignment and other considerations, but make sure you will have access to that area with a wrench before doing this. If you go too far and you need to unthread the fitting, you'll have to remove it completely and reapply thread seal tape. Connect the two valves to each other using the straight fitting that has 3/4" NPT male threads at both ends. Install this fitting into the Power Beyond port on the MD30 valve and the inlet port on the other valve. Connect the two valves to the straight fitting securely, but don't worry too much about the exact distance between the two valves. The valve mounting platform has elongated holes. Slide the lower valve platform onto the beam. Use the four M10 x 30-mm flange head bolts and Nyloc nuts to secure the lower valve platform to the beam.

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These nuts and bolts take a 16-mm wrench. The valves must be installed on the upper valve platform before the upper platform is secured to the lower platform. Each valve is secured with three bolts but because of different mounting patterns, the valves can only be installed on the upper platform one way. Install the spacer plate so that the valves sit level on the platform. Mount the valves using the provided hardware.

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The upper valve platform is connected to the lower valve platform using the four socket cap bolts and serrated flange nuts. The socket cap bolts take an 8mm hex wrench. Place the upper valve platform onto the lower valve platform and secure it using the four cap head bolts. Note the orientation of the valves. The positions where the valve levers will be mounted should be facing the blade-end of the beam. The valve on the engine-side of the splitter will be connected directly to the pump. This is the first valve, or, the upstream valve, and it will control the log lift.

Install a 3/4" NPT x 3/4" JIC 37-degree elbow in the inlet port of this valve. Install another 3/4" x 3/4" elbow into the outlet port of the second, or, downstream valve. This will be one of the return lines feeding fluid back to the reservoir. Install the two 3/4" NPT x 1/2" JIC 37-degree elbows into the A and B work ports of the upstream valve. It doesn't matter which fitting you install first because there's enough room to install them without interfering with each other. For a typical installation, these two elbows should be pointed toward the rear of the splitter and slightly to the outside of the beam.

Install a 3/4" x 3/4" elbow into work port B of the downstream valve. This fitting must be installed before the fitting in port A because the ports are close to each other and based on the direction of the elbows, there will not be enough room to install the fitting in work port B later. Install a 3/4" x 3/4" elbow in work port A. These two elbows should be pointing approximately toward the pump on the other side of the beam. Install the remaining two 3/4" x 3/4" elbows into the ports on the main splitting cylinder. The clevis end fitting should face the front of the splitter and the rod end fitting should face the rear of the splitter. Install the return hydraulic filter using the provided fittings. Install the straight fitting into the bung in the sidewall of the hydraulic tank. The dimensions of this fitting are 1-1/4 NPT male x 1-1/4 NPT male. Install the return filter housing onto this straight fitting using the outlet port. The direction of flow of the head is critical. There is an arrow on the top indicating the direction of flow. The arrow should point toward the hydraulic tank. You can use a wrench on the flat sides of the filter housing, but do not over-tighten it as it is made of aluminum. Install the reducer fitting into the inlet port of the filter housing. The dimensions of this fitting are 1-1/4 NPT male and 3/4” NPT female. Install the final 3/4 x 3/4 elbow into this fitting.

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Lubricate the rubber gasket with some hydraulic fluid and install it into the filter head. Spin the filter element onto the head.

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Use the 1-1/4" ID suction hose to connect the barb on the tank to the inlet barb on the pump. Secure it with hose clamps. Hose pressure ratings are printed on the outside of the hose. High-pressure hoses have a working pressure of 4,000 PSI and a burst pressure of 16,000 PSI. Low-pressure hoses have a working pressure of 1,000 PSI and a burst pressure of 4,000 PSI. Be sure not to use low-pressure hoses in any high-pressure applications. Use one of the 3/4" ID high-pressure hoses to connect the outlet port of the pump to the inlet port of the upstream valve. Make final adjustments to the direction of the elbow fitting, as necessary, to route the hose.

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Connect the 3/4" ID return hose with the built-in 90-degree elbow to the out port of the upstream valve. Connect one of the other 3/4" ID return lines to the outlet port of the downstream valve. Then, connect these two hoses to the T-fitting.

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Use the final 3/4" ID return hose to connect the T-fitting to the return filter.

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The return filter can be oriented in different ways. If the splitter will rarely be moved and will only be towed on the road, the filter element can point down. If the splitter will ever be towed off-road, the filter should be rotated to the horizontal position to prevent it being hit by stumps or rocks. Connect work port B of the downstream valve to the gland end of the main splitting cylinder. Connect work port A of the downstream valve to the clevis end of the main splitting cylinder.

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Connect one of the 1/2" ID high-pressure hoses to work port A on the upstream valve.

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Install the log lift hose bracket on the beam before connecting the hoses to the log lift cylinder. Route the hose through this bracket and connect it to the welded end of the log lift cylinder. Connect the remaining 1/2" ID high-pressure hose to work port B of the upstream valve. Route this hose along the beam and through the log lift hose bracket. Connect it to the rod end of the log lift cylinder. Move the log lift table up and down and check for interference between the hoses and the beam. Adjust the angle of the fittings as necessary. Go around the log splitter and tighten all of the hydraulic connections. Use two wrenches to prevent the hose from twisting as you tighten the collar. Do not over-tighten these collars. Install the valve control levers. This is the incorrect way to install the lever. If the lever is facing back towards the valve, you will not have full throw in both directions. Install the valve levers so that they are angled away from the valve. Each lever has a long pin and a short pin and two cotter pins.

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Install the towing safety chain using the provided hardware.

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Assemble the catcher tray by inserting the two dowels into the tubes. Secure these dowels by tightening the four bolts. The catcher tray is attached to the beam using two hitch pins. The 700-Series hydraulic tank holds 12 gallons of hydraulic fluid. Use an ISO 32 10-weight or ISO 46 20-weight hydraulic fluid. Do not use universal or general purpose tractor fluid. Remove the hydraulic tank cap which is also a dipstick. Pour 12 gallons of hydraulic fluid into the tank. The dipstick should read 12 gallons.

The 700-Series is available with different engines. The most popular options are the Briggs 2100-Series, the Raven 420, and the Honda GX390. The oil capacity of these engines is 1.16 quarts or 1.1 liters. Most engine manufacturers recommend a synthetic 5w-30 oil for year-round operation down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also use conventional 30 weight oil for warm weather operation or conventional 10w-30 for year round operation down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

The engine has two fill ports. One has a plug and one has a dipstick. Remove the dipstick and add engine oil. We recommend filling the engine oil up to the threads to ensure the low oil cut off does not kill spark to the engine. Add fresh fuel to the fuel tank. We recommend using 90 octane or higher. If the splitter is not going to be operated regularly or is being put away for the season, fill the fuel tank with ethanol-free fuel. Before starting the engine for the first time, be sure to wear eye protection and cover all exposed skin in case there are any hydraulic leaks.

To start the engine, move the fuel lever to the “on” position. Turn the choke on and set the throttle to approximately 1/3. Turn the ignition switch to the run position. Pull the engine over until it starts. As the engine warms up, turn off the choke. Once the engine is warm, move the throttle to the full throttle position. Cycle the valve levers a few times to purge the air from the system. The hydraulic rod may move rapidly and in a jerky manner until the air has purged from the vented cap. Check the log splitter valve for correct operation. When the lever is shifted forward toward the blade, the rod should extend. When the lever is shifted back towards the valve, it should stay in a detent. The cylinder rod should retract. When the rod is fully retracted, the valve lever should automatically pop back into the neutral position. Check the log lift valve for correct operation. When the lever is shifted forward toward the blade, the log lift table should lower but this is personal preference. If you would prefer the log lift table to go up when the lever is shifted forward, you can swap the two hoses on the A and B work ports of that valve.

To use the log lift, insert the dowels on the lower half of the log lift table into the tubes of the upper half. Secure the lower half in place using the two pins. The 700-Series comes standard with a four-way slip-on blade.

Another feature of the 700-Series is the stroke restrictor plate. When installed on the beam, the stroke restrictor plate allows you to use the return detent feature of the valve to save time. If you have a 24-inch splitter, you can install the stroke restrictor at the 20-inch position. This way, if you're only splitting 18 to 20 inch rounds, the rod will retract to the 20-inch spot and then stop. If you have a 30-inch beam, there will be two positions to install the stroke restrictor. One at 20 inches and one at 24 inches. Install the stroke restrictor by removing the two pins and sliding it under the cylinder. Reinsert the pins and secure from below using the wing nuts. When not in use, the stroke restrictor can be stored in a dedicated position under the valve platform.

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The 700-Series can be made more compact for storage and for towing. Start by removing the lower half of the log lift tray. Lower the log lift and fully retract the cylinder rod. Insert the dowels of the lower half into the tubes of the upper half. Secure it in place with the two pins. There is also a dedicated storage position for the catcher tray. Remove it from the beam and mount it at the top of the blade. Now your splitter is ready to be covered by a tarp or parked in a garage or towed down the road. Do not start the engine when the splitter is in this configuration. If the main cylinder was extended, it would damage the log lift.

Your new 700-Series RuggedSplit is now ready to split many cords of wood.