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General Forestry => General Board => Topic started by: killerman on February 20, 2015, 12:34:44 AM

Title: Info on skid steers
Post by: killerman on February 20, 2015, 12:34:44 AM
I'm looking for advice on skid steers. I'm looking to buy one in order to dig a basement under an existing house, lift logs for my mill, and possibly a stump grinder and general farm use down the road. What I need to know is how much HP do I need? Torq?  Will standard hydraulics work or do I need more flow? What do I need to know when buying used? Would one brand be better than another for these tasks, Whats the max hrs do I want to see on a used ones. Tracks vs tires? Just everything someone who has never owned one before need to know.
thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: slider on February 20, 2015, 09:04:50 AM
We picked up a nice low hrs 325 john deere a while back.62 hp std hydraulics.It is well suited for work around the mill.I am thinking it will lift around 5000 lbs.It was a great addition to my set up.Much faster for moving slabs than a fel for me.Be careful of not getting enough lifting capacity.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: THUNDER BEAST on February 20, 2015, 09:09:38 AM
In the skid steer industry my research points to Bobcat as being the #1 brand sought after. For the descriptions of chores you listed I'd go with tracks. Obviously the units hrs. would be as low as you can afford, though a machine is only as good as it was taken care of. Good luck with your purchase.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: Chuck White on February 20, 2015, 11:21:05 AM
I don't know much about skid-steers, but I have heard that some models are a real bear to work on, that is, a lot more difficult than some of the other models!

Just sayin'.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: pabst79 on February 20, 2015, 12:04:28 PM
 Case, Gehl and Cat all make good machines, but as previously posted Bobcats are #1, a very good friend of mine has been a service manager at Bobcat for 20 years. Our company owns a S185, thats the first size that has a turbo, I would make sure you get one with a turbo for extra power, the work you describe lends itself to a tracked machine, if you don't have much experience operating skid steers you may want to rent a couple different machines before you buy! Lots of options and gadgets are available on all of them. Keep in mind the newer machines have lots of emission stuff on them and their price reflects that, mine is a 2006 and my buddy says its one of the last "good ones". It had 250 hours when we bought it and if I remember correctly we paid 21k. To give you any idea that same machine sells for about 30k, that's used with low hours today. You probably could get a nice Bobcat 773 or Case 1845c for way less but also with way more hours. Then if you decide you want a track type, prices range 20-70k depending on size and hours. Like I said, renting first will help you not regret a major purchase later on.  ;) 
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: red oaks lumber on February 20, 2015, 06:23:51 PM
bobcat #1 really?  that brand would be my last choice  :(but i probably don't  have much experiance  :)
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: Brian_Rhoad on February 20, 2015, 07:06:38 PM
I agree with Red Oaks. I have a 943. I think an elementary schooler could design a better machine.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: POSTON WIDEHEAD on February 20, 2015, 07:12:03 PM
I've never owned one but I know the price of a new one has went sky high!
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: red oaks lumber on February 20, 2015, 07:39:07 PM
to a goat the sky looks high ;D
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: NWP on February 20, 2015, 08:45:43 PM
bobcat #1 really?  that brand would be my last choice  :(but i probably don't  have much experiance  :)

X2
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: Dave Shepard on February 20, 2015, 08:50:50 PM
The Case 1845C is the smoothest skid steer I've ever run, and I've run a lot of them in the last 30 years. All of the Bobcat's that I have run have not been very smooth, although I did like the T300 that I used to run. Until it ate the trailer it was parked on and had to be put down. :D It was traded on a big Takeuchi, which I never got to try out. The JD's I've run have been smooth for the most part, but I can't stand their straight up loader geometry. I did run one JD tracked machine that had all the charm of a dead carp. Really pathetic.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: stumpy on February 21, 2015, 07:39:07 AM
This is a "Chevy vs. Ford" debate, so the best you will get out of everyone is personal preference.  I own a Hew Holland 785 and here's why. 1) it is the easiest for me to get in and out of. 2) it's a mid 90's model so it has no electronics. which means I can fix just about anything that goes wrong with it. 3) it is "level lift" design.  New Holland was the first with this but now most have some form of it.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: Cedarman on February 21, 2015, 08:40:21 AM
I bought a used NH 785  with about 5000 hours on it.  It now has almost 15,000 hours.  Easy maintenance.  Have plug in heater, so it starts easy even below zero.  It is fabulous for moving cedar logs and bundles of lumber.
We have a couple Cat 277 and 287 on rubber tracks.  They start easy in cold weather and have much better mobility than the wheeled NH.  Downside is that the tracks need to be cleaned if it is going to freeze at night.
I know nothing about kittens or deer.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: pabst79 on February 21, 2015, 09:09:53 AM
bobcat #1 really?  that brand would be my last choice  :(but i probably don't  have much experiance  :)




 How silly of me, Bobcats are actually garbage, made of tooothpicks and elmers glue, don't buy one!
In all seriousness putting aside the hopeless brand debate, (that's why I listed other brands) , what dealers do you have close to you? A great deal on a machine won't matter if you can't get parts or service.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: okmulch on February 21, 2015, 11:18:40 AM
I own four Cats. Three track models ranging from 11 years old to 2 years old, and a wheeled one with Mclaren no air tires with steel tracks over them. Although Cat seems to be a little pricey if I need a part I can get it next morning in a drop box in my town. This saves a lot of time and money in the long run by being able to get things back up and running.  Plus Cat  and Terex are the only brands that have the type of tracks that work well in our application. Terex's are hard to get parts for in my area.
Bobcat ,Deere and the other brands track designs don't hold up well in our application and come off easily.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: sandhills on February 21, 2015, 01:36:15 PM
Not going to get into the brand war here either, just my personal experience.  Bobcat is what I've primarily run (a lot) so always felt comfortable in one and never had any major issues.  I've ran an older case that I didn't care for much, hard starting in cold or warm weather and it was kept inside all the time plus plugged in.  I don't remember the model but I climbed into a big Cat with tracks in the dark and was working in tight quarters (salebarn, a lot of narrow alley ways and tight turns) and absolutely loved it for never running one before.  The same place also owned a much smaller Gehl and still does, I've never been able to get used to the controls in it and I've ran it quite a bit, but it has held up good.  I've never ran a New Holland, but in MHO try them out before you buy and see what you feel comfortable in, me personally, if I had the money it would be a Cat.  On a side note, digging a basement under an existing  house goes a lot faster if the bucket has teeth (just ask my BIL)  :D.   
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: THUNDER BEAST on February 21, 2015, 02:45:14 PM
I have no stakes in this debate and really do not care, I stated that my research showed that Bobcat is the #1 selling brand of skidsteer type machine, and data was all I was using. Machinery Pete: Skid steer debate - Agriculture.com
www.agriculture.com › Machinery › Construction › Skid Steers
Jul 11, 2010 - Greg Peterson Publisher, F.A.C.Ts Report Who makes the best skid steer? ... Below are links for eight of the top selling brands of skid steers. Greg Peterson
Publisher, F.A.C.Ts Report
Who makes the best skid steer?
This question caught my eye in an interesting thread going this week in the Machinery Talk discussion group.
So what do you think? Lot of factors go into forming an opinion on a question like this. Obviously, personal history you've had with various makes & models of skid steers would form the base of your decision. Which ones did you like? Why? What didn't you like about particular makes or models? Perhaps feedback you've picked up along the way from your friends, neighbors, dealers, etc.
I enjoyed reading the comments in the discussion thread. One good point more than a few folks brought up was the importance of dealer support and also the distribution network. Is it easy to find parts? To get proper service done in a timely manner?
Over my nearly 20 years of compiling auction price data I've had countless discussions with folks on the topic of skid steers. Guys looking to buy, looking to sell, trying to figure out what theirs is worth. You name it. In years of listening I've heard good and bad things about nearly every make & model out there.
But Pete, which skid steer do you think is best?
Ha, nice try. I'm not going there. What I can do though, is provide insight and facts into resale value on skid steers of all makes & models, just as one post from Wrangler Steve asked me to do in a related Machinery Talk question, "Pete, what skid steer holds its resale the best?"
Resale value is piece of the puzzle, its not the whole deciding factor in "who makes the best skid steer?" Take it for what it’s worth. Perhaps it can refine the conversation, or provide a starting point..."yes, its worth X, but what about&?"
As the question posed was so broad, "Who makes the best?," I decided to provide you a wide swath of our auction sale price data. Below are links for eight of the top selling brands of skid steers. I have included all the models we've seen sell at auction from 2006-2009 for each make.
One last tidbit I'll leave you with. Based on the raw data I have compiled over the last dozen years, here are the top four brands, listed in terms of number of items I've seen sold at auction:
- Bobcat (1,283 sold at auction)
- Case (736 sold)
- NH (538 sold)
- JD (425 sold)
At least in terms of volume, it isn't close. It's Bobcat by a mile.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: Stuart Caruk on February 21, 2015, 03:14:42 PM
Most any skid steer will work for moving stuff around the mill as long as it has a high enough lift capacity. Tracked loaders generally lift more for their size than wheels, since you'r pivoting around the front idle rather than the front tire, so you have more weight behind to balance the load. You stump grinder will suck on standard flow and shred on high flow. We just picked up a high flow Bobcat T320 and it makes our stump, grinder, brush mower, and trencher really productive tools, rather than just O/K tools.

Whoever had this machine before us notched out the rear door and added a receiver hitch. It's the handiest thing on a tracked Bobcat. This sucker goes anywhere, and now I'm building a log arch to hook into it. I was going to do it before but driving everywhere backwards to skid logs would have been such a pain. The receiver hitch is just such a simple idea. Wonder why you don't see more of them.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: redprospector on February 21, 2015, 04:27:04 PM
Hmm, where to start?
In the brand war, pick a machine that has a "good" servicing dealer close to you. Having said that; The only brand that I've had a bad experience with was Terex/ASV, I hope to avoid ever having another experience with them.
If you plan to run a stump grinder, or mulching head, you will definitely want high flow hydraulics. If you won't be using these attachments much, you'll have to weigh out the added cost.
As far as lifting logs, and how much horse power, I'd say figure out what you think you need, and then get a machine at least one size bigger. I've got a Bobcat T320 with 92 hp. that will lift a heck of a lot, and sometimes it's not big enough (especially on less than flat ground).
Max hours? That would depend a lot on what it was used for by it's previous owner. If it was used for general work (pushing dirt, moving logs, etc.), and was maintained decent, these machines are good for several thousand hours. I sold a Bobcat 863 with 5000 hrs. in 08. The guy that bought it sold it last year with 8700 hrs. still working good. If it was used in the mulching business then all bets are off. A lot of dealers figure that a 100 horse, high flow machine is only good for about 2000 hours in this line of work.
Tracks vs. Tires? Tracks have a lot of advantages, mainly stability and lift capacity. But they are expensive to maintain. I just put aftermarket tracks on my T320 at a cost of about $2500. I need to replace the sprockets and rear idlers to the tune of another $1200 real soon. Tires can be replaced one at a time for $150 to $200 a pop (depending on what you've got). If you choose to go with tracks, which in my opinion are the better option, check on the cost of wear parts for the undercarriage, some brands are way more costly to maintain than others.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: NWP on February 21, 2015, 05:13:17 PM
Something I've done on both of my machines is foam filled the tires. No more flats. Best money I've spent. Something to think about.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: red oaks lumber on February 21, 2015, 07:44:32 PM
the thing i find very interesting is everyone says have a good supply for parts and service. why? in the last 16 yrs i have needed one turbo ,one main hydralic line. other than filters i don't need much service. granted in 16 yrs it was 6 new skidsteers but hours total was over 21,000. i run 14 -17.5 tires which gives me 11'' of ground clearance 
meaning i can go any where i want, i don't use tracks and not sure for me i see the need.
 if you are looking for a machine that can do the job and be dependable i wouldn't look any older than 2010
 thunder beast
 the way i read the auction info is the more of something auctioned off the less people are happy with something. if its good your going to keep it right?
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: Dave Shepard on February 21, 2015, 08:01:46 PM
rol, that's the what I was thinking re the auction results, too.

We've been running skid loaders here since the '70's. It is a vital piece of the puzzle, and when it's down, things get ugly. Having a good dealer with a good parts system is very valuable. I wonder how many parts you would need if you were running machines with more than 3,500 hours on them. We have bought them new and run them to 10,000 hours. They break eventually. ;)
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: scsmith42 on February 21, 2015, 08:10:11 PM
I have a John Deere 270 and it's been a good machine.

Around here, all of the contractors that switch to Takeuchi swear by them.  They have a reputation for having more lifting power, smoother operating and less unscheduled maintenance.  If I was buying new, Takeuchi would be at the top of my list.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: red oaks lumber on February 21, 2015, 08:48:34 PM
that name just screams american made :D
dave
 the whole point to owning equipment is to run them not work on them :) i can't afford to be down so, i keep upgrading every 2000 hrs. which my current one has 2400 hrs now :) i get tremendous trade in value,alot of times it costs me less than $5 /hr 
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: Dave Shepard on February 21, 2015, 08:54:35 PM
That's a good business plan, but one that was not an option for us for over 30 years. For smaller operations, like many of the small mill owners on here, buying a new skid loader is not an option, so being prepared for the eventual breakdown is a good idea. It takes a sizable operation to maintain a turnover of equipment like that, and not likely a one or two man show, either. I'm sure there are other benefits to that approach as well, such as depreciation schedules etc. There is a big farm near me that buys two new skid loaders every year, and they get rid of them in two years with over 10,000 hours. No hard starting problems in the winter, they run them 24 hours a day. :D
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: ozarkgem on February 21, 2015, 09:06:30 PM
you have to pick what you like. The reason Bobcat is rated #1 is they make more skidsteers  than all other combined. I like Case also. Cat would be my next choice.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: redprospector on February 21, 2015, 09:23:11 PM
the thing i find very interesting is everyone says have a good supply for parts and service. why? in the last 16 yrs i have needed one turbo ,one main hydralic line. other than filters i don't need much service. granted in 16 yrs it was 6 new skidsteers but hours total was over 21,000. i run 14 -17.5 tires which gives me 11'' of ground clearance 
meaning i can go any where i want, i don't use tracks and not sure for me i see the need.
 if you are looking for a machine that can do the job and be dependable i wouldn't look any older than 2010
 thunder beast
 the way i read the auction info is the more of something auctioned off the less people are happy with something. if its good your going to keep it right?
Wow! The thing that I find interesting is a "savvy businessman" such as yourself not seeing the need in readily available parts and service. It just boggles the mind.
11" of ground clearance is all fine and well, but the fact that you don't use tracks of any kind tells me that you are not using the machine to it's full potential. But you did say that you could go anywhere you want. I probably go places in mine that you'd never consider.
Here's the importance of a "good" servicing dealer as I see it. These newer machines are computer controlled, and there's no way to get around it. If you don't have a "good" servicing dealer, be prepared to spend $4 to $6,000.00 on a computer program to service, and diagnose any problems that might arise. That is, if the company you choose will sell you one not being a dealer yourself. In 2011 I bought my only piece of brand new equipment. It was a Terex PT-100G Forestry model. I owned this particular machine for a total of 5 months...of which it spent 62 days in my "not so good" servicing dealers shop. The next closest dealer to me was in Austin, TX over 600 miles away. My current machine is a 2008 Bobcat T320 that has been very good, but like I said earlier; These machines are computer controlled. I'm having a little problem with it that I can't figure out on my own, so I have a choice of paying my dealer that is 120 miles away for a service call, or load it up and take it to them to have it diagnosed.
Maybe things are different where you are, but service is important out here.
I'd like to know what brand of machine you are running, because they sound really good. I might switch brands again.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: red oaks lumber on February 22, 2015, 08:00:30 AM
maybe i don't use my machine to its full potenial but, i doubt it :)i have buddies that have tracks ,from what i see their machinces just tear up the ground where they work. if its deep mud i wouldn't be going there anyway.
 lets see, i did stumps out dig rocks out,  some i can't lift which i can lift and carry 5000 lbs. work in the log yard /spring breakup i'm dragging bottom moving logs.clear land us my tree puller(6"dia.)use it to pick rock after a recently plowed field. muck out silted water ways,feed cattle throught out the winter in 2 ' snow no problems, go on sidehills that are quite steep .
 service? i have filters and occasinal parts shipped , computer problems ,i make a phone call they can walk me thru computer diagnosis and go from there. maybe i'm lucky cause all the major brands are within 30 miles. my main point to all this is ,if your skidsteer is a very important part of your business staying almost new removes most issues that might arise. alot of people own newer trucks  just because, instead of putting that money towards a tool that maked you money :)
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: redprospector on February 22, 2015, 02:21:53 PM
I apologize, I see that I came off as trying to start a pissing match in my last reply, and that is not my intention.
I understand your theory, but it is just that...a theory. I mentioned the brand new Terex that I bought for the exact same reasons that you mentioned, and it was a sore disappointment, spending 40% of the time that I owned it in the dealers shop under warranty issues. I actually went out and bought a used 2006 Fecon machine to finish the contract I was under by the deadline.
So much for being cheaper to own new (in my experience).
My dealer walked me through the computer diagnosis the other day too, and we determined that it was possible that my problem could be that the lift, and tilt actuators were both bad at the cost of $650 each, or it could be the control sensor in the stick that was bad, at a cost of $750 or so, or it could be the ACS controller at around $1500. But there was no way to be sure of what it was without hooking it up to their computer to pinpoint the problem. So I can throw $3600 bucks in parts at the problem and hope for the best, or I can pay the dealer...probably $600 to come diagnose it and know what I need, or I can haul it to them and get the same results.
We evidently operate our machines in much different scenarios. 2' of snow may be negotiable on a certain terrain, where 6" of snow may stop you dead in your tracks on a 30% grade. A sidehill that is quite steep to you, may be fairly flat to me...or visa versa.
What the OP asked for was what information someone would need that has never owned a skid steer before. I think that he should know first off that owning a skid steer (or any other equipment) is not all sunshine and roses, even if bought brand spankin' new, and maybe especially if bought used.
 
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: red oaks lumber on February 22, 2015, 03:08:04 PM
i didn't take it personal :) basically a skidsteer will  be a money pit the older they become. my suggestion is newer should give less issues plus you have the latest techinalogy.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: Corley5 on February 22, 2015, 04:36:50 PM
  I bought a high hour 1999 753 Bobcat at auction in May of 07.  It had 9,300 chassis hours with 1,200 hours on a new Kubota crate engine, four brand new tires with rims and new paint and decals.  I was concerned about the high hours but for the price I wasn't too worried.  I've put a couple thousand hours on it loading the firewood processor, handling round bales of hay, plowing snow, augered thousands of post holes, moved dirt, you name it.  I had to replace the belt tensioner, electric fuel shut off, and only a couple hoses.  I'd buy a Bobcat  ;) ;D :)  My only other skidsteer experience was with a 610 Bobcat.  It was a good old machine too.  I test drove a Cat at The Ag Expo at MSU one summer.  It was pretty DanG nice 8) 8) 8)
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: ely on February 23, 2015, 09:50:09 AM
you mentioned digging a basement on an existing building...imo for that you will need a low profile unit... may be better to rent that aspect of the use.
then you can use that experience to purchase the one you want.
I own a bobcat 773 great machine for me,thought it was the best forever, but I have ran a terex at work with tracks and a cat 227? with tracks that a friend has. both are twice the machine my bobcat is. although we are always have issues with the terex, new machine leaks and such.
Title: Re: Info on skid steers
Post by: barbender on February 23, 2015, 11:15:14 AM
I own a Case 1845C, I believe it is a 98 or 99 model, 2200 hours. I have put hundreds of hours on these machines in very demanding conditions (I'd call a lot of it abuse), with  very few  breakdowns. 2 broken drive chains, 1 hydraulic line. They are simple, Cummins powered, they have enough power to do the job but not enough to hurt themselves. I've also ran newer Case 90xt, and a 450ct, (same machine, on tracks), they have a lot more power and get more done, but they are more complicated and will tear themselves apart more readily. Also, lots of hours in a  at 287 ctl, good machine but watch out for the perkins engine. They have a habit of oil pump failures at low hours, other than that the machine was solid with no mechanical issues, except with the ASV undercarriage. They are a high maintenance item in my experience, but they have capabilities others don't. Those are the only machines I have personal experience with.