Setup was easy and straightforward. The low-pressure suction hose came with some dents from shipping, but I was able to press those back to the original shape. Champion has a video online on how to set it up which I found helpful to watch beforehand, but once it arrived in the crate, I used the supplied instructions and had it up and running in about 45 minutes. After initial setup, I added conventional 10W-30 oil and 4 gallons of hydraulic oil. The engine started on the first pull which I don’t think has ever happened to me before out of the box. I then cycled the ram a few times to purge the air and shut it down. The last step is to add 1 more gallon of hydraulic oil until you see the oil in the sight glass. One important note would be during the first 5 hours of run time, Champion suggests to vary the engine speed RPM’s from time to time to allow proper piston break in. Be sure to change the oil to any conventional or full synthetic after 5 hours of run time.
I had a very green pile of birch, Norway spruce and white pine to split. Moisture readings on the 16” rounds were anywhere from 25-45% depending on the species. Rounds ranged in size from 6” up to 38” on the largest round. I got right into it running at about ¾ throttle and split some pine and birch. I was really happy with the piston cycle time! My old splitter was significantly slower and I can feel how much time I’m going to be saving. The log catchers work wonderfully at catching the log halves as they split. Then, if needed, you can grab one-half, split it again and throw it in your pile. On many units I had considered, log catchers are an added expense so I was happy to see them included with my purchase.
On the large rounds, I pulled the pin on the splitter beam, switched the unit to vertical mode, and locked it back in place. Some of the birch rounds weighed around 100 pounds each so trying to lift them up to horizontal splitting would have been a back breaker over time. In vertical mode, I sat on a log round while putting the log I was splitting into place. The hydraulic lever is easily accessible and it was very fast to split, re-align, split again and so on.
If you are not familiar with two stage hydraulic pumps in log splitters, the first stage is low pressure and high volume. This allows the splitting maul to travel at a fast speed but with less force. When splitting green or very dense wood, keep the lever engaged and the second stage will kick in automatically. The second stage is high pressure, but low volume and this is where the real force of the 25 ton is apparent. The wedge plowed through some serious pine knots and wood that was so wet I could see the water squeezing out of the wood grain.
As of today, I have three cords split and it is running like a top. The engine starts on the first pull and it tracks behind my ATV wonderfully hooked up to a 2” ball. I got a little lazy and put a very heavy log on the beam in horizontal mode and when it split, I bent one of my log catchers in the process. I should have had it in vertical mode for this big of a log so I cannot blame anyone but me for that one. Lastly, keep in mind if you are going to tow any log splitter, they are only rated for 45 MPH, so don’t plan on letting the in-laws borrow it and they send it down the interstate at 70!
I did not see many pictures or any videos so I’m going to include some in case you find those helpful. If I have any future thoughts I’ll post them back to this review with an update or if you have a question, I can try and help. I hope you found this helpful and good luck with your wood pile!