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Thread: Help me pick a skid steer?

  1. #1
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    Help me pick a skid steer?

    Hello all, I have experience w/ tractors, but absolutely none with skid steers other than internet homework I have been doing. I am relatively sure a skid steer can do everything I need done but would appreciate feedback from folks w/ first-hand experience.

    Some tasks I need a piece of equipment to do:

    Stack & handle large rolls of hay.
    Backhoe attachment to clear driveway ditches, install culverts, and clean a couple of small ponds.
    I am cleaning out an old house which has about 10 years' worth of garbage in it - hauling it about 100 yds.
    I need to dig a big hole to dump the garbage into, burn, and cover what's left.
    Future plans include digging a basement.
    Also reclaiming pastures, and will be pulling up small trees & digging up some stumps (nothing huge though)

    Knowing only what I have given, I need to know what size to be looking at. From what I've read, they tend to fall into 3 horsepower catagories: small (less than 40 hp), med. (~40 hp), and large (~70hp). Lift ranges seem to be all over the place - need advice on what I'd need to safely handle rolls of hay?

    Also if anyone could comment on how horsepower & weight effect digging ability that would be great. I will be working in N. Arkansas, mixture of loose soil & rocks.

    Sorry I know this is a lot to read!


    Thanks -

  2. #2
    Senior Member littledenny's Avatar
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    Couple quick questions for you, Oilburner:

    After the basement, are you planning on using this equipment for other business, or is it just staying in the family for personal work? Are you talking big round bales?

    There's several guys here with more experience on skidsteers than I, so I'll let them discuss things from their experience.

    Since you've got tractor experience, I'd suspect that you have considered and ruled out a CUT with an FEL and Hoe. Would seem to me that you could see around a bale better from a tractor seat than a skidloader seat. Like wise, seems to me for things like digging culverts and cleaning out ponds, I'd rather use a CUT with a hoe than a skidsteer mounted hoe, as with the CUT, you have hydraulics on both ends, and better counterbalance for nosing rearward down banks. Another advantage of the CUT is the ability to use 3 point hitch implements, for pasture maintenance, pulling the trailer, etc.

    Others here would argue stongly for skidsteers, but I'd caution you to think long range. Regardless of what you end up with, you can always rent something to do something specific. (And the easy answer for cleaning out the pond might just be a mini-excavator. 360 rotation makes pond cleaning easy, and neither of the backhoes can do this.) Skidsteer Guys? - your turn.
    Littledenny

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    I would suggest reading up (searching) on ********.com, here, and tractorbynet.com to get a brief overview. My opinion is that you're looking at a heavier loader -- definitely not a 1500 ROC machine (about 40-60 horsepower depending on make and model) if you're looking to dig a basement. I would personally suggest taking a look at the Bobcat S220 or S250, the Cat 246B or 252B, the Case 430 or 440, or the Deere 320 or 325. I think the Case 440 is probably is best bet for your needs; however, the Deere 325 and Bobcat S250 are very competent machines. The Cat 252B is also a good machine but apparently some think it lacks traction. (Not sure why that's an opinion yet, but just wanted you to know it's out there.)

  4. #4
    Charter Member Bob Horrell's Avatar
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    I have a Bobcat S250 and a John Deere 110 TLB. For what you describe, I would definitely go with the 110TLB. The front loader on it accepts skid steer attachments and the backhoe is excellent. Also, the backhoe removes easily and you can use all the 3pt. equipment necessary to maintain your pastures. I love skidsteers but your job is not one I would use them on.

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    I'd have to say to go with the JD 110TLB. It makes more sense for what you'd be using it for. Especially digging the basement.

    Bob, How do you like your S250? Any complaints? Thinking about demoing one.

  6. #6
    Charter Member Bob Horrell's Avatar
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    Erthmover,
    I love my S250. Had it 2 years now and absolutely no problems. It is a real work horse. I do all of my own maintenance and it is easy. I wish it was that easy to do maintenance on my 110 TLB. In that regard, John Deere could take a lesson from Bobcat.
    I now have the new Loegering VTS track system for it. This is a dedicated track system that bolts to the hubs instead of the tires and wheels. Before I bought the VTS system I demoed a bunch of track machines. I really liked the CAT machines for the controls but they lacked hydraulic power compared to Bobcat. I can use my 2 speed with these tracks and it really makes it efficient. I suspect I will keep the tracks on most of the winter and switch back to tires during the summer. I have really been using the tracks a lot with all the rain we have had here in California. Doing a lot of clean up I wouldn't otherwise be able to do.

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    Bob,
    Thanks for the reply. Bobcat has always made good machines. Guys I talked to also had lots of great stuff to say about them.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Horrell
    Erthmover,
    I love my S250. Had it 2 years now and absolutely no problems. It is a real work horse. I do all of my own maintenance and it is easy. I wish it was that easy to do maintenance on my 110 TLB. In that regard, John Deere could take a lesson from Bobcat.
    I now have the new Loegering VTS track system for it. This is a dedicated track system that bolts to the hubs instead of the tires and wheels. Before I bought the VTS system I demoed a bunch of track machines. I really liked the CAT machines for the controls but they lacked hydraulic power compared to Bobcat. I can use my 2 speed with these tracks and it really makes it efficient. I suspect I will keep the tracks on most of the winter and switch back to tires during the summer. I have really been using the tracks a lot with all the rain we have had here in California. Doing a lot of clean up I wouldn't otherwise be able to do.
    Got any pictures?

  9. #9
    Charter Member Bob Horrell's Avatar
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    The customer I was working for last weekend took some pictures so as soon as he sends them to me I will post.

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    A skid steer backhoe will not have enough reach to clean a pond--after it is all said and done, by the time you reach out and down, you will be lucky to get 4-6 feet out. A mini excavator will have same problem. I tried a 10,000 lb. class Cat and gave about the same results. A full size extend-a-hoe will give you maybe 12' of reach by the time you try to perch on the embankment without going a___-over-apple-cart. I used a Cat 320C (70,000lb. class??) excavator with a 35' reach. By the time I went out and down it was less than 12' of reach---in fact the backhoe had more reach and that's how I finished the job. (The backhoe pivot point is closer to the water's edge versus the excavator which is in the center of the "house"---and the backhoe boom/stick will stretch straight out and the excavator's reach-out actaully decreases as it goe down.)

    So after much trial and error screwing around with dedicated machines I built a 21' long boom out of 4" gas main pipe for the skid steer (New Holland LS180). At the end of the boom I chained a 12' piece of railroad track. It works great. What I do is pick up the railroad tie with the boom, drive forward to the edge of the pond, then go back and forth to get it swinging, and drop it when it goes away from me. This gains about 2 feet past the boom. Then I drop the boom until it just rides on top of the underwater embankment. This allows gravity to help hold the track down; any lifting of the boom decreases the angle-of-attack. The weight of the railroad track isn't quiet enough to actually pull out the cattails in one cycle (it might if it had rake-type teeth on it), but after about 4 or 5 tries they usually come out. After dragging the track through the water it loads up with muck which adds several hundred pounds--add to that the track, the weight of the boom, and the combined leverage and that is enough to lift the back tires (5,500lb. rated tipping load)---but it works. Let the cattails dry, and scoop them up for fill somewhere else.

    Another way is to pump-down the pond and get closer in--I have done it but the outriggers have to have huge pad feet on them or you'll sink in the mud (I saw a guy bolt automobile "save-a-spare" rims with tires to his outriggers. Don't know if it worked, or if it was for working on pavement.)

  11. #11
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    I'll start posting SSL industry news here to try to consolidate our threads on SSLs but also to try to see if we can get more users to this forum. The target audience here is potentially much larger than that of green industry forums, and I think it would be interesting to see just how diverse we can make this place.

    (Steve: we had discussed this before; you may edit my first post to remove the content you had mentioned earlier.)

    First piece of news: Larry Stewart wrote an article for the December issue of Construction Equipment Magazine that answers some questions about the most effective way to use a skid steer.

    Is it possible to repost that here, Larry, as it doesn't appear (at first glance) to be on the CEM website?
    Opinions expressed in this message are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Caterpillar, Inc. or Bobcat Company, both of which are copyrighted trademarks of their respective companies.

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    Opinions expressed in this message are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Caterpillar, Inc. or Bobcat Company, both of which are copyrighted trademarks of their respective companies.

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    Opinions expressed in this message are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Caterpillar, Inc. or Bobcat Company, both of which are copyrighted trademarks of their respective companies.

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