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Thread: Operating a skid steer

  1. #1
    Senior Member upnover's Avatar
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    Operating a skid steer

    Got to run my buddies Cat 248 on the weekend leveling some clay for him.

    Is it just me or is running these things harder than it looks. First off you cant see the edge of the bucket from the seat so you dont know if you gouging or tilted too high. The visibility from the cab on these things is terrible as well. I'm thinking a front wheel assist tractor with hydro and a blade would be much easier to operate.

    You guys who run these things daily...what is the trick. Or is the Cat just hard to see from? The pilot controls are great but thats it.

  2. #2
    Member trouble007's Avatar
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    practice, i have been running a skid on a farm ever weekend and summer for the past two years and i find that the more seat time you have the better you get. as for not seeing i prefer the braille method and eventually you get a better feel for where your bucket should be.

  3. #3
    Senior Member TomG's Avatar
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    I operate a Bobcat T300 and A300 on a daily bases and i can see the front edge of my bucket just fine. I have never operated a Cat machine before so i cant comment on them. I think the bobcats have good viability except for out the sides of the machine. I have been operating Bobcat skid steers for 14 years and i think it takes a considerable amount of time in the seat to become good at grading and leveling in a skid steer. Our A300 has pilot controls and I'm not a big fan of them, i find it is a lot harder to do fine grading and small movements with pilot controls. Our T300 has sticks and foot pedals. I find its a lot easier to do grading with these controls because you can feel the resistance on the pedals and sticks. With pilot controls it's all electronics. That's just my opinion though.
    Tom

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    Founder Steve Frazier's Avatar
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    I've got a cat 248 myself and I can grade better with it then I ever dreamed of with my John Deere 310 loader backhoe. I have no problem seeing the edge of the bucket. Like anything else it comes with practice.

    I wouldn't trade my pilot controls for anything. I find them to be a more precise than anything else I've worked with. I can grade faster and more accurately than any other machine I've used. Keep working at it.

  5. #5
    Founder Steve Frazier's Avatar
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    I've got a cat 248 myself and I can grade better with it then I ever dreamed of with my John Deere 310 loader backhoe. I have no problem seeing the edge of the bucket. Like anything else it comes with practice.

    I wouldn't trade my pilot controls for anything. I find them to be a more precise than anything else I've worked with. I can grade faster and more accurately than any other machine I've used. Keep working at it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member upnover's Avatar
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    Maybe it was that particular day. I ran a Linkbelt 240 hoe in the morning, then jumped on a Bobcat 331 mini hoe, then finished with the 248. It was also a transition going from running hoe to skidsteer cause I kept wanting to jerk on the left joystick to make the bucket work and thats the travel lever! The best advice is practice, practice ,practice.

  7. #7
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    Alot of it seat time. N the other guy is right about feel I actually use my mini ex for fine grading I do good with skid but the mini ex is my machine. The biggest thing is get your pad level n come back to that spot every time. Enough seat time n ull be able to feel if the machine is level if it's purging left or right n how much. I got a guy that I do his excvation on his hardscapes n I tell him now I charge him extra if I check it cause it's n extra step n time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TomG View Post
    I operate a Bobcat T300 and A300 on a daily bases and i can see the front edge of my bucket just fine. I have never operated a Cat machine before so i cant comment on them. I think the bobcats have good viability except for out the sides of the machine. I have been operating Bobcat skid steers for 14 years and i think it takes a considerable amount of time in the seat to become good at grading and leveling in a skid steer. Our A300 has pilot controls and I'm not a big fan of them, i find it is a lot harder to do fine grading and small movements with pilot controls. Our T300 has sticks and foot pedals. I find its a lot easier to do grading with these controls because you can feel the resistance on the pedals and sticks. With pilot controls it's all electronics. That's just my opinion though.
    Tom how can you say you dont think bobcats have good side visibility thats a first? you can see the tracks or the tires on the bobcat with the boom all the way down thats a plus in my book. Go try operating a deere or a new holland or even the older series cat there a nightmare

  9. #9
    Senior Member TomG's Avatar
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    On the A300 and T300 the arms are quite large and some times get in the way, is what i was referring to...but that's probably on every machine. I'm sorry i miss spoke. Overall the viability on Bobcats are excellent. I have operated a Deere in the past and i agree with you they are a nightmare. Again i have not operated too many other brands other than Bobcat so i cant really comment on them, but i did get to try out the new M Series Bobcats last week and if you think the current bobcats have good viability... the new M Series machines are even better.
    Tom

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  10. #10
    Senior Member heavylift's Avatar
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    I prefer Cats also... but I'm really a fan of the 247 ... small and quick... I did alot of jobs that were sand backfill.... some up to 10 feet deep...

    What I like on the Cat is the smaller lugs... they tear up less ground...

    we have all the different brands but I still would rather have the Cat

    I use a tooth bucket for everything..but i do use a flat edge once in a while

    As for grading you don't need to see the edge, you can feel the bucket setting flat...

    and it seems there is alway a new laborer that wants to DRIVE the Loader...

    after and hour they come back with sweat rolling off their bodies wanting their shovel back...
    It always the same statement.... You make that look easy... well it is... but 30+ years of operating tends to make tasks easier...

  11. #11
    Senior Member upnover's Avatar
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    I think my biggest problem was transitioning from running the hoes to skids in one day. My hands were doing things the brain didnt think was right. My foot was trying to use the throttle and I'm straining to see that crummy bucket.

  12. #12
    Senior Member heavylift's Avatar
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    I think the cat pilot controls are set to the basic Cat (ISO) excavator pattern... So if your hoe is set to the JD ( backwards pattern) then it will give your brain a wrong signal for a bit...

    for a level bucket... set it on the ground... tip it forward.. if not flat the arms will raise... now as you tip it back the arms will lower as it get to the flat position... when it passes the flat position the front edge will not be on the ground...

    most buckets won't cut setting flat as the cutting edge has been worn... thus there is a need to tip the bucket forward slightly so it will cut...
    that's why I like the toothed bucket... the teeth will wear before the cutting edge... plus the teeth just work the whatever better... whether it's dirt, rock or sand....

    the key thing is PRACTICE...

  13. #13
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    I have no idea what it is like to operate a skid steer with hand controls. My experience has always been with hand/foot control machines like Bobcat, Mustang, etc. You cannot see the tires very well, and you have to guess what's behind you. The advice above about leveling the bucket is very useful. A wheeled skid steer always finds the low spots so if you try and cut forward it will tend to dig in. The type of soil is critical too. On sand and dry clay it is easy to just scrape and dump, with backdragging to level out. Around here dirt and rocks are common so I like to drive back and forth over it to push down the rocks before scraping backwards. If the time ever comes that I operate a machine without foot pedals I will relate my experience.

  14. #14
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    i find it is easier to back brag then to lvl in forward direction and i hate the hand controls

  15. #15
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    i have a jd 250 i bought off ebay , yeh i know it was stupid , the bucket has about 2 inch play from side to side is this normal ? think i should stop working with it . first time on a skid steer , always farm tractors for me. ii have been backdragging a lot with it and its starting to concern me

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