Prevent Skid Loader Overheating When Mulching

Hydraulically powered attachments like mulching heads and brush cutters are very effective attachments for use on skid loaders or compact track loaders, supporting powerful land management machines. These heavy-duty attachments can also be abusive to the equipment and the operator. A mulching head causes the engine to work much harder than some other attachments.

Pairing the Perfect Matchhigh flow hydraulics for mulching

It is critical when pairing a loader and attachments for land clearing applications to ensure they are not only compatible but are also equipped to maximize machine operation and operator safety. Be sure to select the right attachment for the job based on the task at hand and the environment where they will be working. This will help determine which attachment is best suited for your needs.

For example, if large trees and stumps must be removed, a forestry cutter attachment and a stump grinder would be the best choice. If the primary application is clearing brush, however, a flail cutter or rotary cutter would be a good choice. Once you determine the best attachment for your loader and application, you can check with your local dealer for assistance with ensuring compatibility and optimal performance.

The most important specifications to evaluate would be the size of your track loader, the rated operating horsepower and capacity, and the available hydraulic flow to power the attachment. Reach out to Stucchi’s hydraulic specialists with any questions about maximizing hydraulic flow with safe and efficient operation.

FREE Guide to Mulching and Hydraulics

Standard Flow Versus High Flow Hydraulics

upgrade to high flow hydraulics when mulchingStandard flow hydraulics may work for light to medium jobs, although using an attachment with an underpowered machine will undoubtedly result in lessened productivity. Not only are you much less productive, but you also run the risk of damaging your skid loader equipment and posing safety risks to the operator. When operating a forestry mulcher, for example, not every skid steer or track loader will effectively operate the attachment.

Some forestry mulchers have the capability to handle large limbs of 8-inches or more in diameter, with a wide 5-foot cutting width. Only a machine with high-flow hydraulics will provide the horsepower needed for this attachment to get the job done correctly and safely. A skid steer with high-flow hydraulics at a rate of 37 GPM with at least a 90 hp rating is the best choice for these heavier-duty attachments.

prevent overheating when mulchingSome equipment solutions may include installing a cooling system inside the head that maintains the proper temperature of the hydraulic system; while this might prevent overheating and catastrophic events that can cause, it does not necessarily help your equipment work more efficiently or with any more power.

Additional skid loader considerations include making sure the equipment can handle the weight of the attachment. This also includes considering the weight of any stabilizing counterweights required for heavy lifting. In general, if you plan to use your skid loader for land management, clearing or mulching operations it is best to use a more powerful loader with high flow hydraulics. The problem occurs when dealers sell high-flow equipment capable of supporting high-flow attachments, but with standard OEM couplers installed. Users must be aware that in order to run high-flow attachments, they must first upgrade the hydraulic couplers to open the flow path and reduce pressure drop (heat). This prevents overheating while maximizing equipment performance.

Stucchi offers Auxiliary Kits for skid loaders, compact track loaders, excavators, and mini-excavators to ensure optimal hydraulic flow for your application.  We can help you understand how to replace your existing OEM couplers with Stucchi high-flow, heavy-duty hydraulic couplers.

First, you need to remove the existing block and upgrade with Stucchi’s high flow hydraulic quick couplers that prevent overheating.


Upgrade Standard hydraulic block to high flow
Standard Block


upgrade to high flow hydraulics to prevent overheating
Remove existing block


Replace OEM Couplers for High Flow Hydraulics
Replace OEM Couplers

Prevent Overheating and Fire with High Flow HydraulicsSkid Steer on Fire from overheating hydraulics

Attempting to use a high-flow skid loader with standard couplers installed requires a few alterations for heavy-duty mulching applications to minimize premature component wear and prevent safety concerns. Pushing a skid loader with standard couplers to the limit with heavy-duty land management attachments will overwork your motor resulting in overheating, and can actually catch on fire. We have seen plenty of cases where this happens which poses serious safety risks to the operator, the environment, and anyone in the area.

Stucchi offers many resources to improve equipment performance with hydraulic solutions that prevent overheating when mulching.


Review this Mulching/Land Management Case Study on how Stucchi improved performance and lowered operating costs for one mulching owner/operator.

Mulching Case Study

View this FREE GUIDE to Guide to Mulching and Hydraulics for more information on how Stucchi hydraulic solutions prevent overheating when mulching, improve equipment performance and increase safety, productivity, and profitability.

FREE Guide to Mulching and Hydraulics

Even if your overheated machine does not catch on fire, you are still faced with downtime to let your loader cool off or be forced to operate much more slowly and less productively. Overheating and creating a fire risk can be prevented by properly equipping your skid loader with the right heavy-duty hydraulic solutions for mulching. Stucchi’s solution with a heavier-duty version of the Saturn Block and larger, 1” threaded, flat-face couplers are solving this problem for mulching operators.

The dirt and debris generated during mulching applications pose another safety risk and fire hazard, as this debris can act like a fire starter when exposed to overheated hydraulic oil. Tree sap is a unique extra hazard often seen when mulching and can build up on the rotor or the teeth and reduce the life of the bearing. It is important to keep machine coolers and air intakes clean to extend engine performance and to improve safety by minimizing the risk of fire.

Stucchi’s Saturn Block HD Prevents Overheating When MulchingSaturnHDRev04

The Saturn Block HD is a direct field replacement for many skid steer connect under pressure systems. The differentiating factor of Stucchi’s Saturn Block HD vs. the Saturn Block, is that the HD features 1” VEP, threaded, flat-face couplings to support high-flow hydraulics. The Saturn Block HD is proven to prevent the common failure of overheating when running your mulching head, thus reducing the safety risks of fire while also supporting optimal equipment performance for maximum productivity.

Stucchi’s Saturn Block HD increases flow to your mulching attachments while reducing pressure drop, this eliminates hydraulic heat issues.  The VEP threaded coupling allows for quick connect and disconnect with residual pressure while also eliminating the brinelling effect. Unique to Stucchi’s Saturn Block design, the red pressure relief valve is simple to use and reminds users to simply pull the red knob and move up and down to quickly and easily relieve pressure on the machine side.

If your machine does not allow the installation of the Saturn Block HD, our VEP threaded flat-face coupling kit is another solution that provides the same benefits. No more waiting around for your machine to cool off or worrying about dangerous overheating; just call Stucchi for answers to all your hydraulic questions and challenges.

Stucchi offers brand-specific solutions with compatible auxiliary hydraulic kits to upgrade hydraulics on John Deere, Takeuchi, ASV, and Bobcat, for example. Watch these videos to find your solution, or contact a Stucchi hydraulic specialist with any questions.

Watch these videos to learn how to:

Contact us if you do not see your brand solution and with any questions on upgrading your skid steer hydraulics to prevent overheating and improve performance.

Stucchi is recognized as an authority and leading provider of hydraulic connection solutions for a multitude of applications worldwide. We focus on providing innovative product solutions which improve your process and overall business operations. Contact us to speak with a hydraulic specialist and learn how to eliminate overheating in your mulching application for improved safety and productivity.