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553C Wheel Feller Buncher
553C Wheel Feller Buncher
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From thinning through final harvest applications, the C Series model line up is the most versatile in the industry. The third C Series wheel feller buncher model, the 553C has all the performance, reliability and serviceability advances of the 563C and 573C, but is powered by a different engine. The 553C is designed for thinning to final harvest on primarily flat terrain.

Standard Equipment


110 in


Travel Speed (High Range with 28L × 26 Tires)
0-19.8 km/h (0-12.3 mph)
Travel Speed (Low Range with 28L × 26 Tires)
0-7.2 km/h (0-4.5 mph)


Operating Weight w/o Attachment
30560 lb
Estimated Operating Weights without Attachment Based on Tire Size – 24.5L × 32 NOAW
30520 lb
Estimated Operating Weights without Attachment Based on Tire Size – 28L × 26
30560 lb
Estimated Operating Weights without Attachment Based on Tire Size – 28L × 26 NOAW
30560 lb
Estimated Operating Weights without Attachment Based on Tire Size – 30.5L × 32
32280 lb
Estimated Operating Weights without Attachment Based on Tire Size – 30.5L × 32 Dual Inner (2× Ring)
32680 lb
Estimated Operating Weights without Attachment Based on Tire Size – 30.5L × 32 NOAW
32280 lb
Estimated Operating Weights without Attachment Based on Tire Size – 67 × 34
32280 lb


Engine Power
174 hp
Engine Model
Engine Power – ISO 14396
174 hp
Engine Speed
2200 RPM

Service Refill Capacities

Fuel Capacity**
84 gal

Hydraulic System

Attachment Pump*
155 L/min @ 27 579 kPa (41 gpm @ 4,000 psi)
Hydrostatic Pump*
242 L/min @ 37 370 kPa (64 gpm @ 5,420 psi)
Primary Hydraulic Pump*
155 L/min @ 27 579 kPa (41 gpm @ 4,000 psi)
We Get It.

We Get It.

You asked, we answered.

Lower Owning and Operating Costs

You’ll burn less fuel and get more power because of Caterpillar’s advances in engine technology and machine design. This includes an on-demand cooling fan that only spins when needed and, therefore, draws less engine power.

Ground Level Serviceability

Serviceability has been reinvented with the C Series - the first and only wheel feller buncher that can be serviced standing on?the ground. This includes fueling. Many other features contribute to the ease and safety of servicing the C Series machines: hinged access panels, tilting cab, and three-sided access to the engine and hydraulic pumps, to name a few.

Powerful Performance

Power, stability, agility and superior multi-functioning capability work together to give you the performance you need to maximize productivity. The engines deliver power where and when it is needed as a result of PowerDirect Plus, a new system that optimizes machine efficiency, performance and productivity. You’ll see better performance in all applications on both steep and flat ground. Simultaneous lift-tilt and lift-steer functions and saw recovery are significantly faster than major competitive machines.

Unprecedented Stability and Agility

Place trees where you want with the unmatched cut and carry capability of the C Series. The engine was placed at the back of the machine providing better weight distribution and balance. The center hitch is positioned between the front and rear axles to facilitate tire tracking. Combined with the improved weight distribution and balance that results from the rear engine position, the agility of the C Series is a distinct advantage.

Unmatched Reliability

Robust box section frames and a field-proven center hitch design provide a solid foundation for a machine designed to keep you in the woods. New components - like the control valve, pumps and cylinder seals - were “torture” tested to ensure reliability. Steering cylinder mounts and chrome plated lift arm and tilt link pins are two more examples of structural changes built into the C Series to increase uptime and machine life.

Comfortable and Adjustable Operator Station

The cab is centered between the axles for a smooth ride. The standard air suspension seat with neck and back support and new high capacity HVAC system adds to your comfort. A clean three-piece front windshield, large rear windows and skylight give you a 360º view, including the rear tires. The C Series features additional functions including Control Adjustability, Terrain Selection Mode, Creep Mode, and Road Steer Mode.



More horsepower, less fuel

Cat C6.6 ACERT™ engine

The Cat C6.6 ACERT engine performs at U.S. Tier 3 and EU Stage IIIA emission levels and provides clean, quiet operation while delivering superior performance and durability. The engine features a flat power curve for outstanding response in the working RPM range, noise reduction technologies, and patented ACERT Technology combined with common rail fuel system, smart waste gate turbocharger and crossflow head design for reduced emissions.


Both engines allow the use of biodiesel (meeting ASTM 6751 or EN 14214) up to B20 (biodiesel 20 percent mixture).

Cooling System

Cooling System

High capacity, easy servicing

The high capacity cooling system and on-demand reversing fan keep the machine running at the proper operating temperature, optimizing performance, durability and fuel efficiency.

Cooling System

The cooling system is arranged in two panel sections for easy access to all components. The air conditioning condenser is in a hinged panel that tilts out for easy cleaning and access to the primary section with the side-by-side mounted hydraulic oil cooler, engine radiator and air to air after cooler (ATAAC).

On-demand Reversing Fan

The oversized, hydraulically driven fan spins at a slower speed overall and only turns as fast as needed to maintain proper hydraulic and engine temperatures. In colder weather or when the machine is first started, for example, the fan spins more slowly to conserve power and fuel and reduce noise. Air is pulled in from the side - not from the engine or from under the hood - preventing debris build-up around the engine. It automatically reverses every five minutes of run time to keep the cooling system free of debris. A manual override allows the operator to activate reversal between scheduled cycles. A heavy-duty fan shroud provides protection when servicing.

Power Train

Power Train

New pump layout adds to durability

Cat engines, field-proven hydrostatic drive and Cat axles make a solid, responsive power train. A new design to keep the pump drive and gearbox well lubricated provides even more durability.

Dual Pad Pump Drive

Caterpillar’s C Series design features a dual pad pump drive. One drive runs the attachment and main pumps; the other runs the hydrostat and fan pumps. The improved dual pad pump drive is more durable because it is not dependent on splash lubrication.

Two-speed Gearbox

Similar to the pump drive, the two-speed gearbox is now mounted horizontally instead of vertically, eliminating the need for splash lubrication and improving durability.


Axles feature a full-length oil sump for excellent heat rejection and long component life when using single tires (up to 30.5 × 32 with chains), odd size dual tires (up to 30.5 × 32 with 24.5 × 32), or wide flotation tires (up to 73 × 44). An oscillating rear axle absorbs shock loads caused by stumps and holes and helps isolate the cab from axle movement for a smooth, comfortable ride, while maximizing fore-aft stability.


The inline parking brake is spring applied and hydraulically released. Inboard service brakes provide excellent performance and are protected from water, dust and oil.

Differential Locks

During normal operation all four wheels move independently to maximize agility. In extreme conditions like slippery or steep terrain, pressing and holding a trigger button on the joystick will engage the front differential lock to make the front tires turn in sync. The rear differential lock is easily engaged and disengaged by an on/off button on the right hand console.



Durability built into every part

Robust box section frames provide a solid foundation for a machine designed to keep you in the woods. Every structure was engineered for durability and verified through lab and field tests.

Center Hitch

The field-proven center hitch design features large dual tapered roller bearings and 76.2 mm (3 in) diameter pins providing maximum durability. With up to 90º articulation, maneuverability in tight thinning stands is an advantage of the Cat wheel feller bunchers.

Lift Arms

The precision manufactured lift arms are rugged and designed to support severe loading from the attachment.


Lift arm and tilt link pins are 63.5 mm (2.5 in) diameter and chrome-plated to prevent corrosion. Micro?cracks in the chrome plating help retain grease on the pin surface to increase durability.

Steering Cylinder Mounts

The steering cylinders are mounted to large, thick plates that are integrated into the frame and extend from the steering cylinders in the center hitch to the axle housings in the front and rear of the machine. These plates carry the steering cylinder force straight to the axles, rather than sending the load through the machine’s frame, increasing structural life.

Other Structural Features Include:

  • Robust guarding on the tilt arm cylinders to prevent damage from limbs.
  • New cylindrical steering stops designed to take abuse and protect the frame when the machine makes a hard turn.
  • Big, rigid steps with gripper surface.



Fast and smooth with PowerDirect Plus

The heart of the C Series hydraulic system is the new PowerDirect Plus system, which goes beyond load sensing to efficiently distribute power to increase the capability of each system and maximize productivity.

Electrohydraulic Controls

The new C Series features an electrohydraulic control system. The pedals and joysticks communicate through the machine controller to the pumps and motors using electrical signals, rather than hydraulic, to produce more precise and smoother control.

PowerDirect Plus

PowerDirect Plus is a new system that optimizes the machine’s performance by monitoring operator and attachment demand and delivering power where and when it is needed. PowerDirect Plus does not require the operator to reduce demand or do anything differently - just focus on the work and push the machine. Critical machine systems in the C Series are oversized, which increases overall machine capacity. This gives each machine system - hydrostat, main, attachment and fan - more capability than ever before. PowerDirect Plus provides better performance in all applications on both steep and flat ground. If you’re carrying a tree in the head and backing up a hill, the system will focus full power to the drivetrain. On flat ground where drivetrain demand is lower, more power is available to the attachment and the oversized attachment pump pushes more flow to the saw. Saw recovery time is significantly faster compared to previous wheel feller bunchers.

Control Valve and Pumps

Multi-functioning, always an advantage for Cat wheel feller bunchers, is the result of a high performance control valve. In addition to field-testing, we put the control valve and hydraulic pumps through extensive lab “torture” tests that simulated the most brutal logging conditions and environment. The tests verified a significant increase in the service life of the control valve and pumps.

Cylinder Seals

Rigorous testing similar to the control valve and pumps and side-by-side testing against competitive cylinders was conducted on the new cylinder seal packages to ensure durability.


Dual spin-on hydraulic oil filters keep hydraulic oil clean, which is critical for machine health. The electric fill pump uses a quick coupler hose stored on the machine to pump oil through the filtration system before it enters the tank, safeguarding the hydraulic system.

Cat Hoses

Cat ToughGuard™ hoses and O-ring face seals throughout the machine improve machine life and reliability, particularly along the lift arms and through the center hitch due to the increased strength and flexibility. The ToughGuard cover consists of a layer of UHMW polyethylene bonded to the rubber cover, providing exceptional abrasion resistance. Extreme-duty rubber tube covers provide additional protection to the lift arm hoses. The covers reduce downtime by deflecting impact to the hoses from debris.

Operator Station

Operator Station

Superior comfort and visibility

Comfort and visibility, of course, but you’ll find cab features that go beyond the basics to give you control options that can be customized and new operating functions, including special modes for thinning, road travel and terrain settings.


Sit on either end of a teeter-totter and feel every bump; sit in the center and get a level, smooth ride. This principle applies to the new C Series. The cab is centered between the axles for the most comfortable ride possible. No bucking. The standard air suspension seat with neck and back support adds to a smooth ride, keeping the operator comfortable and focused.

HVAC System

The durable, high capacity HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system provides dependable cooling or heating no matter how hot or cold it gets. Vents in front and on both sides can be directed toward the operator or the windows. This also contributes to increased operator productivity and can help reduce mental and physical fatigue at the end of the day.


A clean three-piece front windshield, large rear window and skylight give the operator a 360° view, including the rear tires. The operator can see the work zone easily without having to strain or move the machine around all day. With a clear view to the treetops, picking out the bad or stunted trees in thinning jobs is faster.


The display allows the operator to continuously monitor the machine’s systems. Early indications give the operator the opportunity to react before potential problems become actual problems. A clean and clear monitor provides detailed machine data to maximize machine uptime and productivity. Finding information is intuitive:

  • The home screen displays the condition of primary systems, such as fuel level, engine and hydraulic temperatures, and engine and saw rpms. Press the corresponding button along the bottom of the screen to get more detail on any item. As an example, under the hydraulic system selection, the two-speed gearbox oil level indicator is displayed.
  • If an engine or hydraulic problem occurs, the monitor will display an easy-to-understand text explanation, along with any applicable fault codes.
  • If a machine condition requires immediate action, a warning buzzer will sound to draw the operator’s attention to the monitor. The operator must acknowledge the warning to turn off the alarm. Depending on how serious the warning, the alarm will continue to sound until the condition is remedied.
  • Everything the system does is recorded in the system log, a useful feature for monitoring machine health and operator activity.

Control Adjustability

All key operator functions - steering, lift and tilt - are fully adjustable through the machine monitor. Overall speed and response to operator input can be adjusted, maximizing operator comfort and performance. The gathering arm and bunching finger controls also are easily reversed, if the operator is used to that configuration.


New electrohydraulic joysticks mold to the operator’s hands for all day comfort and increased functionality. Converting to electrohydraulic control also means the hydraulic pilot lines running to the joysticks could be removed, eliminating a potential source of heat in the cab.

Button Pad

The button pad on the right hand console features on/off buttons clearly labeled with large icons for many features, including the parking brake, hydraulic arming and reversing fan.

Other Cab Features Include:

  • Two cup holders
  • Two 12-volt power points for cell phone chargers etc.
  • Coat hook
  • Optional AM/FM/CD/Sirius satellite radio package with USB and auxiliary inputs
  • Multiple steering and gathering arm control configurations

Advanced Controls

Advanced Controls

Maximize machine and operator performance

Unique operating modes, combined with complete electrohydraulic controls, provide the operator with a smoother machine with increased productivity. These modes include Terrain Selection Mode to optimize performance on hills or flat ground, Creep Mode to improve machine functionality, particularly in first thinnings, and Road Steer Mode for high-speed transport of the machine.

  • Terrain Selection Mode: Quickly and easily optimize machine performance based on application requirements. Select Hill Mode to boost drivetrain power for working in rough conditions like hills, wet ground or bedded plantations. Select Flat Mode to maximize speed and optimize fuel efficiency when ground conditions are good.
  • Creep Mode: A great feature for first thinning applications, Creep Mode gives the operator the ability to dial down the speed of the machine when a propel pedal is depressed completely. This allows the operator to keep the pedal depressed - rather than continually having to start and stop - while working down a row of trees. No need for feathering to find that sweet spot - just relax and push the pedal completely down. The Creep Mode makes it easy to get into a steady rhythm of cutting, gathering and dumping. Productivity is increased and operator fatigue reduced. Here’s how it works: On the monitor set the Creep Mode speed to the percent of maximum machine speed desired. Hit the creep button on the joystick and fully depress the forward pedal to move forward at the set speed. Cut the first tree, cycle the arms; cut the second tree, cycle the arms, etc. When the head is full, hit the Creep Mode button again to regain full speed while backing up, dumping and driving back to the trees. Hit the Creep Mode button and depress the forward pedal to go back into Creep Mode and begin cutting again.
  • Road Steer Mode: Fast steering is required when working in the woods, but slower steering is preferable when driving down a road to a new job site. Road Steer Mode slows the joystick’s response so the operator can steer the machine safely to the next site.

Pressurized Compartments

Pressurized Compartments

For a cooler and cleaner machine

In designing the C Series, special attention was focused on keeping the machine cool and free of debris. The machine is segmented into separate compartments that are pressurized to prevent debris from entering. Less debris build-up means less time required for cleaning it out and better performance. The pressurized airflow keeps electronics, sensors and other key components cool during long workdays.

Engine/Hydraulic Compartment

The engine and hydraulics are located in a separate compartment at the rear of the machine. An electric reversing fan draws cool ambient air into the compartment. This forces hot air out of the engine compartment while pressurizing it, preventing debris from entering and keeping engine electronics and sensors cool.

Cooling Compartment

Removable rubber baffling separates the cooling system from the engine/hydraulic compartment. This prevents the cooling system from pulling hot air from the engine through the cooler, maximizing the cooler’s efficiency.



Easy ground level servicing to keep you safe

The C Series is the first and only wheel feller buncher to be truly serviceable from ground level. This includes daily service checks, preventative maintenance, and emergency service.

Engine/Hydraulic Compartment

Large hinged doors at the rear of the machine, along with hinged doors on both sides and the bottom of the compartment, provide superior ground-level access to the engine, hydraulic pumps and key components, including:

  • Fuel, air and oil filters
  • Starter
  • Drive belt
  • Water pump
  • Alternator
  • AC compressor
  • Engine oil drain
  • Hydraulic hose connections
  • Centralized bank of pressure test ports around the pumps
  • Engine and pump drive oil level check

Cooling Compartment

Removable rubber baffling and a split side screen protect the cooling system while making it easy to access for servicing. A locking latch on the lower half of the side screen allows for quick and easy access for cleaning out debris.

Tilting Cab

The tilting cab provides full access to the interior of the machine, where the two-speed gearbox and hydrostat are located. You can also access the hydraulic hoses and electrical harnesses where they enter the center hitch area. The tilting cab also improves access to clean the machine and remove the batteries.


No more climbing up on the machine, dragging a fueling hose to fill the tank. The fuel tank is located behind the rear axle and the fill is at ground level. Simple, easy, safe.

Hinged Access

Additional hinged panels are used throughout for easy access to other components, such as the batteries, hydraulic filters and strategic bulkheads. All hinged panels are fabricated of heavy-duty steel for durability and can be completely removed if desired. Large hinged mesh screens over the door windows protect the operator when the sliding windows are open. These mesh screens swing out to remove debris caught between the door and screen. Heavy-duty belly pans are also hinged providing durable guarding and access to the bottom of the machine for machine clean out.

Electric Hydraulic Oil Fill Pump

Hydraulic oil is added to the system quickly and easily from ground level with the standard electric hydraulic oil fill pump and a quick coupler hose stored on the machine. Oil is pumped through the filtration system before it enters the tank, safeguarding the hydraulic system.

Electrical Routing

Electrical harnesses segregate the wiring and connections within the core systems they support and are bulkheaded between each system. So, for example, a separate electrical harness that supports the engine is bulkheaded where it connects to the cooling package electrical harness. No more complex, spaghetti wiring. Troubleshooting electrical issues and replacing wires are greatly simplified. Just a single, short harness (bulkheaded on both sides) crosses the center hitch. This harness is protected, making it much less prone to damage, and is easily replaceable if necessary. All electrical harnesses are bulkheaded before they enter the cab, instead of lines fed in through holes in the floor. This keeps the cab quieter.

Hydraulic Hose Routing

The same thinking was applied to hydraulic hose routing. Strategically placed bulkheads keep hoses short. In the center hitch, hoses are short and positioned dead center as they cross through the center hitch, so bending is minimized as the machine turns. Special attention was focused on limiting the number of different hose sizes that would be needed in the woods. Lift arm hoses are all the same diameter and common lengths are used wherever possible.

Integrated Technologies

Integrated Technologies

Work smarter

Caterpillar offers solutions to help you work smarter.

Machine Troubleshooting

The C Series machines come with a troubleshooting feature that allows the operator to drill down and pinpoint the root cause of a problem, reducing the need for service calls and holding down costs. The operator can also check the main hydraulic pump and attachment pump pressures through the monitor in the cab - a feature unique to Cat wheel feller bunchers.

Cat Product Link™

It pays to know where your equipment is, what it’s doing and how it’s performing at any given moment, so you can maximize efficiency, raise productivity and lower owning and operating costs for your fleet. Product Link is a remote monitoring solution that enables efficient and effective fleet management. Its easy-to-use interface, called VisionLink, enables customized health and utilization reports, enhanced mapping and mixed-fleet capabilities. And Product Link transmits the information via cell and satellite. Visit for more information on Cat Product Link.



Safely home. Everyone. Every day.™

Safety features in the Cat C Series wheel feller bunchers include:

  • Ground level fuel and hydraulic oil fills
  • Ground level servicing
  • Four-sided access to the engine and hydraulic pumps
  • ROPS/FOPS/OPS certified cab with tough Lexan windows
  • Additional mesh screen guarding on side windows
  • 360° visibility of the work area from the cab
  • Hydraulic disarm and parking brake automatically engage if door is opened
  • Safe and secure access into and out of the cab with grab handles and big fixed steps with gripper surface
  • Forestry-duty cooling packages
  • Pressurized engine/hydraulic compartments to minimize debris accumulation
  • Ground level machine kill switch
  • Halogen working lights
Caterpillar cares about worker safety and has developed many safety videos and checklists and safe job site practices. Visit for more information.



Resourceful in every way

The C Series wheel feller bunchers are designed to maximize efficiency and productivity while conserving natural resources.

  • The C6.6 engine in the 553C meets U.S. Tier 3 emission standards.
  • The C Series burns less fuel. Less fuel burned means reduced emissions.
  • Fewer parts and longer component life, less fuel and fluids, means less to replace and less to dispose.
  • Major structures and components are built to be rebuilt, reducing waste and replacement costs.



Work tool attachments to meet your needs

New work tools have been developed to meet the increased capabilities of the C Series wheel feller bunchers, including the new SH-56B, the most versatile and balanced high capacity bunching saw in the market. At the heart of each saw attachment is Caterpillar’s field-proven and patented tapered saw shaft and bearing design. The tapered shaft supports the continual shock loads created in high cycle applications. Sealed upper and lower bearing chambers are individually lubricated and vented from the bottom up. Highly abrasion-resistant materials are used extensively in the saw housing, carry plate, and discharge chute areas to maximize durability. Many of these areas are reinforced with additional pieces of replaceable abrasion-resistant material.

SH-56B High Capacity Bunching Saw

The SH-56B excels at cutting and handling high volumes of small stems, mixed stems and large single stems up to 56.0 cm (22.0 in). The saw features Caterpillar’s patented Strait Grip bunching finger and no-pinch-point tower. The bunching finger is the most powerful in the industry and keeps bunches tightly compressed and straight, providing excellent productivity in thinning applications. It also optimizes skidder and loader efficiency because the stems are well organized. The SH-56B can also handle single and multiple large stems. The load is carried inside the lift arms for superior balance, and the no-pinch-point tower prevents stems from getting caught in the pocket, as is the case with other high capacity bunching saws. The SH-56B is also the first saw in the industry to feature tapered roller bearing joints in the high cycle pin joints of the gathering arm and bunching finger. The extended life joints, robust structure and abrasion-resistant materials make the SH-56B an extremely durable, high capacity bunching saw. Common fittings and only two hose lengths are used for the SH-56B lift arm hoses.

SC-57 Center Post Saw

The SC-57 excels at cutting and handling large single stems up to 57.6 cm (22.7 in). It also bunches medium and small stems, making it a versatile saw for thinning through final harvesting. The gathering arms and tower work together to grip and tightly hold large single stems and smaller stem bunches for better control. A single cylinder and link control the left and right side gathering arms and bunching fingers simultaneously, improving speed and holding power. The large, robust structure supports the twisting and bending loads of large stems on the gathering arms and bunching fingers. Chrome plated pins and abrasion-resistant materials are also used to provide a durable center post saw for many applications. Common fittings and hose lengths are used for the SC-57 lift arm hoses.

SS-56 Felling Saw

The SS-56 is a highly versatile saw specially designed for harvesting large timber. It features a single cut capacity of 56.0 cm (22.0 in), along with small stem accumulation. For harvesting larger diameter trees, the SS-56 features the industry’s only side cut door, a unique solution for harvesting trees up to 76.0 cm (30.0 in) from a single side on either flat or adverse terrain. Common fittings and hose lengths are used for the SC-57 lift arm hoses.

Customer Support

Customer Support

Count on Caterpillar and your Cat dealer

Your local Cat dealer is your forestry consultant who can recommend the machines, work tools and services to maximize your operation and provide the support to keep you at top productivity.

  • 24-hour parts availability, where and when you need them, to minimize expensive downtime
  • Operator training to get the most out of your Cat equipment
  • Field services to provide on-site help when needed
  • Timely repair and replacement services
  • Customer Support Agreements to lower your operating costs
  • State-of-the-art diagnostic programs, such as S·O·SSM oil analysis, inspection services and trend reporting to help avoid unscheduled repairs
  • Financing programs for buying, renting or leasing Cat equipment
  • Cat Access Account, a fast and convenient way to pay for or rent anything offered at any Cat dealer or The Cat Rental Store
  • Cat Insurance to cover equipment losses from theft, collision, flood, upset or overturn, fire, vandalism and more
  • Product Link to manage your equipment fleet through remote monitoring
For more information on Cat products, dealer services and industry solutions, visit