538/538 LL Forest Machine

The Cat® 538 forest machine can load trucks, process logs, build roads, and more with a choice of configurations and attachments.

538 Forest Machine


Move more timber, make more money with superior performance and unmatched operator comfort.Move more timber and make more money with superior performance and unmatched operator comfort.

Latest Features

  • Optional integrated vehicle health management system alerts the operator with service guidance and parts needed to enhance uptime.        
  • Optional auxiliary relay powers on and turns off CB radios and other attachments without you taking your hands off the joysticks.
  • Enhance visibility to make service work easier and safer with optional inspection lighting.
  • Make the jobsite safer with an optional swing alarm.
  • Build Number: 07B

538 Latest Features

Superior Performance

  • The Cat® C7 engine is fuel efficient and can run on biodiesel and other renewable fuels.
  • Smart mode helps reduce fuel consumption by automatically matching engine and hydraulic power to working conditions.
  • Pick and place logs with precision and power with the all-new electrohydraulic control system.
  • Heavy lift mode and 10 percent more swing torque* help you move big logs with confidence.
  • Get to work faster with a 12 percent increase in travel speed*.
  • Auxiliary hydraulic options let you use Cat grapples and a variety of other attachments.
  • Work in extreme environments with standard high-ambient capability of 48° C (118° F) and cold start capability of -32° C (-25° F).
*All percentages compared to 2020 model year 538.

Unmatched Operator Comfort

  • Forestry cab comes in a choice of rear or side entry with tilt-up console plus 25 percent more space*.
  • Enjoy the all-new Certified Forestry cab’s 25 percent larger space.
  • New dual HVAC system keeps operators comfortable in either cold or warm weather.
  • A wider heated and cooled air-suspension seat makes year-round work more pleasant.
  • All controls are in front of you within easy reach to reduce twisting and turning and keep you focused on the work area.
  • Cab risers — 165 mm (6’1/2”) fixed or 1219 mm (48”) hydraulic tilt — are available to meet your work needs.
  • Special roof lining and window and door sealing reduce noise, making the interior as quiet as today’s top work trucks.
  • Stow your gear with in-cab storage beneath and behind the seat and in the consoles.
  • Use the standard radio’s USB ports and Bluetooth® technology to connect personal devices and make hands-free calls.

Simple Operation

  • Start the engine with a push button or use a Bluetooth key fob or the unique Operator ID function.
  • The engine’s regeneration system functions automatically with no operator input or interruption to work.
  • Navigate easily on the high-resolution touchscreen monitor.
  • The available Cat PL161 Attachment Locator helps you find tools you need up to a range of 60 m(200') — even if it’s hidden beneath overgrowth or debris.
  • Make moving the excavator much easier with Cat Stick Steer. Simply push a button and use one hand to travel and turn instead of both hands or feet on levers or pedals.
  • Make operating easier with the touch of a joystick button. An auxiliary relay allows you to power on or turn off a CB radio or other attachments without taking your hands off the joysticks.
  • Not sure how a function works or how to maintain the machine? Always have the operator’s manual at your fingertips in the touchscreen monitor.

Versatile Configurations

  • General Forestry configuration is available with boom, stick, and hydraulic options so you can equip it for road building, grapple work, or processing.
  • Log Loader configuration is ideal for shovel logging, Butt-n-Top loading, power clam applications, and millyard work.
  • Rugged, reliable, simple-to-service Cat forestry grapples range in size from 1322 mm (52”)to 1524 mm (60”).
  • Special Tri Link shoes are available for lower ground pressure and extra flotation in soft, wet underfoot conditions.

Easy Maintenance

  • Boost productivity with proactive service reminders. Our new integrated vehicle health management system alerts the operator with step-by-step service guidance along with parts needed so you don't experience any unnecessary downtime.
  • Expect up to 15 percent less maintenance cost than previous model. (Savings calculated over 12,000 machine hours.)
  • The diesel particulate filter requires no maintenance.
  • Replace fuel filters at 1,000 hours – twice the interval from the previous filters.
  • Get improved filtration and longer 3,000 service life with the new hydraulic oil return filter – 50 percent longer service than previous filter designs.
  • The high-efficiency cooling fan runs only when needed; program intervals so the fan automatically reverses to keep cores clean without interrupting your work.
  • S·O·SSM ports simplify maintenance and allow for quick, easy extraction of fluid samples for analysis.

Enhanced Safety

  • The cab meets the following standards: ROPS/FOPS/OPS/TOPS, ISO 8082-2:2011, ISO 8083:2006 11,600J,ISO 10262:1998 Level II, ISO 8084:2003,SAE J1356 2022, WCB G603 2021, and OR-OSHA 437-007-775(14).
  • Access most routine maintenance points at ground level.
  • New right-hand steps provide easy, safe, and quick access to upper service platform; the steps and service platform use anti-skid punch plate to prevent slipping.
  • Larger 32 mm (11/4” ) polycarbonate front window, smaller cab pillars, and a flat engine hood improve visibility by 50 percent.
  • Standard rearview camera enhances jobsite visibility; sideview cameras are optional.
  • The monitor’s slope and grade indicator tells you the machine's position to help optimize its performance.
  • Enhance jobsite safety. Add a swing alarm to alert people when you're rotating from trench to stockpile and back again.

  • Standard Equipment
  • Optional Equipment
  • Specs
  • Docs

Standard Equipment

  • CAB
    • ROPS Forestry cab with polycarbonate windows
    • 4-point harness seat belt
    • Heated and cooled seat with air-adjustable suspension
    • Integrated joysticks
    • Tilt-up left-side console (side-entry cab only)
    • High-resolution touchscreen monitor
    • Bluetooth integrated radio (including USB, aux port and microphone)
    • 12V DC outlets
    • Keyless push-to-start engine control
    • Automatic bi-level air conditioner
    • LED dome and floor lights
    • Windshield wiper and washer
    • Behind seat storage
    • Retractable sunshade
    • Cat Product Link
    • Remote Services capability
    • Maintenance-free 1000 CCA batteries (x4)
    • Centralized electrical disconnect switch
    • LED chassis, boom, and cab lights
    • Electric fuel priming pump
    • Three selectable modes: Power, Smart, Eco
    • Automatic engine speed control
    • Automatic engine idle shutdown
    • Up to 4600m (15,092 ft) altitude capability
    • 48° C (118° F) high-ambient cooling capacity
    • -32° C (-25° F) cold start capability
    • Hydraulic reverse fan
    • Two-stage fuel filter system
    • Double element air filter with integrated pre-cleaner
    • Boom and stick regeneration circuits
    • Boom and stick drift reduction valve
    • Electronic main control valve
    • Automatic hydraulic oil warm up
    • Automatic swing parking brake
    • High performance hydraulic return filter
    • Automatic two speed travel
    • Bio hydraulic oil capability
    • High torque swing drive
    • Swing cushion valve
    • Tool control software
    • Caterpillar One Key security system
    • Lockable service doors
    • Lockable external tool/storage box
    • Lockable fuel cap and hydraulic tank
    • Service platforms with anti-skid plate
    • RH handrail and handhold
    • Signaling/warning horn
    • Travel alarm
    • Ground-level secondary engine shutoff switch
    • Rearview camera
    • Side-entry service platform
    • Grouped location for engine oil and fuel filters
    • Ground level dipstick for engine oil
    • S·O·S sampling ports
    • High Wide undercarriage
    • Grease lubricated track with positive pin retention
    • Catwalks
    • Tie down points
    • Counterweight fuel tank
    • Heavy-duty track rollers and frames
    • Heavy-duty travel motor guards
    • Heavy-duty bottom guards
    • Track guiding guards
    • High drawbar final drives
    • Heavy-duty recoil springs
    • Heavy-duty hydraulic swivel
    • Heavy-duty hydraulic swivel guard

Optional Equipment

    • 5.7 m (18'8") Reach boom - General Forestry
    • 5.9 m (19'6") Straight boom - Log Loader
    • 2.9 m (9'6") Reach thumb-ready stick
    • 3.5 m (11'6") under/under stick
    • 3.8 m (12'6") over/under stick
    • 3.8 m (12'6") power clam stick
  • CAB
    • Rear entry
    • Side entry
    • 165 mm (6.5") fixed riser
    • 1219 mm (48") tilting riser
    • Cat Stick Steer
    • Auxiliary relay
    • Premium lighting - General Forestry - 6 additional LED lights
    • Premium lighting - Log Loader - 10 additional LED lights
    • Cold start package with block heaters and ether assist
    • Medium pressure circuit
    • Right-hand sideview camera
    • Easy lock cab tilting system
    • Cab riser light
    • Inspection lighting
    • Swing alarm
    • Integrated vehicle health management system
    • 900 mm (36") triple grouser Tri Link shoes
    • 800 mm (31") triple grouser shoes
    • 700 mm (28") double grouser shoes
    • 600 mm (24") double and single grouser shoes



Long Name:
538/538 LL Forest Machine


Engine Model
Cat C7.1
Net Power - ISO 9249
172 HP / 128 kW
Engine Power - ISO 14396
174 HP / 129 kW
4.1 in / 105 mm
5.3 in / 135 mm
428 r/min / 7 r/min


Maximum Travel Speed
3 mile/h / 4.9 km/h
Maximum Drawbar Pull
55303 lbf / 246 kN

Hydraulic System

Main System - Maximum Flow
124 gal/min / 468 l/min
Maximum Pressure - Equipment
5076 psi / 35000 kPa
Maximum Pressure - Equipment - Lift Mode
5511 psi / 38000 kPa
Maximum Pressure - Travel
5076 psi / 35000 kPa
Maximum Pressure - Swing
4351 psi / 30000 kPa

Swing Mechanism

Swing Speed
11 r/min / 11 r/min
Maximum Swing Torque
98 kN·m / 72281 lb/ft


Operating Weight: Processor
66140 lb / 30000 kg
Operating Weight: Log Loader - Over/Under
70280 lb / 31880 kg

Service Refill Capacities

Fuel Tank
262 gal (US) / 990 l
Cooling System
5 gal (US) / 17.5 l
Engine Oil
7 gal (US) / 25 l
Swing Drive
3 gal (US) / 11.5 l
Final Drive - Each
1 gal (US) / 4.5 l
Hydraulic System - Including Tank
69 gal (US) / 262 l
Hydraulic Tank
38 gal (US) / 143 l
DEF Tank
11 gal (US) / 41 l

Working Ranges

Max Reach at Stick Nose at Ground Level - General Forestry Processor
346 in / 8800 mm
Max Reach at Stick Nose at Ground Level - General Forestry Road Builder
387 in / 9820 mm
Max Reach at Grapple Mount on Heel at Ground Level - Log Loader Under/Under
425 in / 10790 mm
Max Reach at Grapple Mount on Heel at Ground Level - Log Loader Over/Under
454 in / 11540 mm
Max Reach at Grapple Mount on Heel at Ground Level - Log Loader Power Clam
381 in / 9680 mm


Shipping Height - Fixed Riser
144 in / 3670 mm
Shipping Height - Tilted Cab
130 in / 3310 mm
Handrail Height
129 in / 3265 mm
Length: General Forestry - Boom Stretched Out
389 in / 9870 mm
Length: Log Loader - Boom Stretched Out
579 in / 14710 mm
Tail Swing Radius
123 in / 3135 mm
Counterweight Clearance
51 in / 1300 mm
Ground Clearance
30 in / 758 mm
Track Length
185 in / 4695 mm
Track Length to Center of Rollers
149 in / 3795 mm
Track Gauge
110 in / 2790 mm
Transport Width
137 in / 3490 mm