1. Thank you for visiting HeavyEquipmentForums.com! Our objective is to provide industry professionals a place to gather to exchange questions, answers and ideas. We welcome you to register using the "Register" icon at the top of the page. We'd appreciate any help you can offer in spreading the word of our new site. The more members that join, the bigger resource for all to enjoy. Thank you!
  2. ALL NEW MEMBERS READ THIS FIRST!! Thank you for joining Heavy Equipment Forums! If you are new to forums we communicate with "Threads", please search our threads to see if your topic may have already been answered and if not then click "Post New Thread" in the appropriate forum. This will allow all of our members to see your question and give you the best chance to be answered. After you've made a number of posts you will graduate to Full Member status where you'll see a few more privileges. Following these guidelines will help make this the best resource for heavy equipment on the net. Thanks for joining us and I hope you enjoy your stay!!

Homestead Machine Recommendations Needed

Discussion in 'Compact Track/Multi Terrain Loaders' started by koselig, Jan 2, 2020.

  1. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    2,994
    Occupation:
    excavation
    Location:
    Idaho
    I have run in shale but it doesn't sound like it was to level that you deal with. I would anticipate that you would see tracks get cut up and wear quickly just like other tires do. Add to that a high horse power track machine with poor operating habits and it would likely be even worse. I have found that tires like the Galaxy Hulk are the best solution for conditions like that. These are L-5 tires, deep tread, but not as many voids as a typical skid steer tread design. So they don't excel in mud, but I have gotten to the point it is the only tire I run now. If I have to run in mud, I chain them (not often that is the case, but I have done it). If it were winter I would chain up the Hulks and the chains will wear but that is the cost of doing business in the Winter. CTL tracks last me about 1000-1200 hours at about $1500 a track the math works for what my rates are. If I wanted to run tracks in conditions like you spec, you likely would be more productive than wheels, you just have to charge enough to replace the tracks faster. Koselig's situation where it is a home owner machine of course you cant charge for the wear, you just need a deeper check book. Being an inexperienced operator, the learning curve would likely be expensive, at least initially.
     
    old-iron-habit, DMiller and check like this.
  2. koselig

    koselig Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2020
    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Two Harbors, MN
    right on @KSSS . Those tires look cool. What would you suggest as a wheeled unit that has an especially long wheelbase? Something that could be had <1000hr, less than 5 years old, 74hp? Even around the "yard" there are lots of hills, uneven terrain, etc.

    Something I could haul with an F-350 and stay under 26,000lb, if such a thing exists, would be ideal. But I'm prepared to get a CDL if necessary.
     
    DMiller likes this.
  3. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    2,994
    Occupation:
    excavation
    Location:
    Idaho
    You would have to compare wheel bases of the various machines to know where the math comes out at, but I will give three options. Deere machines have a long wheel base. I have demoed them (been a while) not a personal fan but they are long. Recommending OEMs is really difficult to do without inputting a bias into the recommendations. If you want the most wheel base then you would want a large frame machine that stays under 75 hp. The CASE SV280, Deere 326E and CAT 262D all weigh around 8100 pounds and fit the bill. I would look for ride control as an important option (allows loader arms to act like shock absorbers). Makes operating more comfortable, and in rough terrain, keeps more material in the bucket. You can check the specs on these and others, they all excel in some areas and no so much in others. You just need to decide what specs are important to you. The Case machine has a DOC but no DPF, one less thing to maintain. That is a plus in my book. CAT has a better instrument panel than does the current CASE machine (the newest machine is much better but that is just releasing). I would also look at BC, NH is much like the CASE machine. WN is new to the market but I know it to be a very solid machine. Others may have other recommendations to consider, but look for a large frame machine for the most stability. The market has really turned to these sub 75 hp machines since Tier4f, great alternative if you don't need a 100 hp machine. The CASE website has a really helpful comparison page to easily compare machines.
     
    old-iron-habit and DMiller like this.
  4. check

    check Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2012
    Messages:
    779
    Location:
    in the mail
    You have made good arguments in favor of tractors. I don't know how steep the OP's terrain is but if his driveway is like mine, too steep to pull off with any machine, then a skid steer has a distinct advantage over tractors.....it can turn around anywhere and clean out ditches with the machine perpendicular to the road. I have tried to do driveway maintenance with a tractor on steep driveways and it only works where it's wide enough to maneuver them. I found myself having to travel a long distance to a turnaround or switchback to get the tractor turned around.
    It's best to have both skid steer and compact utility tractor.:)
     
    DMiller likes this.
  5. JBrady

    JBrady Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2019
    Messages:
    74
    Location:
    NE OK
    I completely agree. The longer I do this, the more I understand how every machine has its purpose. There is always overlap, but it's just hard to do everything with one machine. I have 2 miles of hilly road to maintain and I do just as you stated by cleaning ditches with the skid steer perpendicular to the road. Then I use the tractor with an 8' box blade to cleanup the spoils and windrows. One thing I have learned (and unfortunately have to sometimes "relearn") is that I am not invincible and others may not have the same experience and background I do. All my life, I have been driving 4 wheelers, dirt bikes, etc. all over different kinds of terrain, including off-camber hills. It all builds your experience to know how a particular machine will act over certain terrain. Even still, all it takes is one bad judgement call to change your life forever. Not long after I moved to our ranch, I was driving a tractor back to the house after doing some work. I had my 4 year old son with me on my lap. He wanted me to stop at one of the creek crossings for a minute so when I got to it, I pushed the clutch in and let him hop down. His foot slipped on the the first step and he went face first into the mud and water AND landed right in front of the rear tire. My first instinct was to jump help and help him, but something (I believe God) told me to stay put with that left foot on the clutch. I have replayed that scene over and over a thousand times since and it has significantly changed my behaviors and actions since. It was a tremendously valuable lesson I was able to learn without a severe consequence. Many of us on this site aren't playing in the dirt for a living, we are just trying to live out our dreams and look to the experts on this site for guidance. I don't think any of the recommendations to the OP were bad at all, but when his first sentence was "First things first - I know nothing! I have never operated any heavy equipment except for our antique tractor" we all have an obligation to think back to when we were first learning how to operate machinery and base our advice off of that.
     
    old-iron-habit, DMiller and check like this.
  6. check

    check Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2012
    Messages:
    779
    Location:
    in the mail
    There is a way to have a machine for every purpose, Buy old cheap junk. The disadvantages are you spend almost as much time wrenching as operating, older machines not quite as user friendly and less likely to have heated cab. I retired 20 years ago and my hands are still calloused. Given all the emissions and electronics of newer equipment, I think this is the best way to go. When I sell machines I no longer need, it's always at a profit.
    A guy with land and little wrenching experience has a much tougher and more expensive decision. I think the closest thing to "one machine to do everything" is still a skid steer. Wheeled ones are cheaper to buy and cheaper to run.
     
    old-iron-habit and DMiller like this.
  7. koselig

    koselig Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2020
    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Two Harbors, MN
    thank you for your account @JBrady - that is an amazing story. I also believe God held your position.

    I have a back blade for our tractor so I think for running down the road for a grade it still should serve a purpose. But I know enough to know it's not the right tool to manage our ditches, level unstable ground, move piles, or plow snow. I can see how a modern CUT would be even better, but still wouldn't fill the gaps a CTL/skidsteer would on a property like ours. I am indeed looking for the elusive "one machine".

    I do think for my purposes a modern CTL/skidsteer makes sense despite the maintenance challenges. I am an EE so electronics don't scare me. At this stage in my life I just don't have time to wrench and so I am looking for a reliable machine to just get the jobs done. But I can see the attraction of a 1980's Bobcat or something (we are in Minnesota after all). If I found a deal on one some day I might buy it just for the novelty, but I already have too many hobbies!

    I waffle constantly on wheeled vs. tracked but at the end of the day I think I have a much bigger chance of getting in trouble on our landscape with a wheeled machine.

    For what it's worth, I so appreciate everyone's advice. Now it all comes down to budgeting figuring out what I can realistically haul 2-3 times a year. As far as attachments I would rent augers, harley rakes, etc. when needed, and I will probably try to make do with just a bucket for now in the snow. Next I'd probably look at a snow blade, forks, grapple, and eventually a snowblower. Brush cutter would be really nice if I can find one that could handle our landscape for a fair price. Does that sound correct priority-wise?
     
    DMiller likes this.
  8. check

    check Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2012
    Messages:
    779
    Location:
    in the mail
    Second to the bucket, forks are the most useful attachment to have on a skid steer. I have a grapple and had a blade attachment, seldom used either. Snowblowers are extremely expensive and most require high flow hydraulics. I have a 7 1/2 foot snow/mulch bucket and it's handy for clean up after plowing with the truck. Stack snow where you want it, nothing to break.
     
    DMiller likes this.
  9. koselig

    koselig Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2020
    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Two Harbors, MN
    @check our plow truck (1994 Toyota 4x4) is on its last legs so I'd plan on doing the plowing with this machine. That is why I am thinking of a snow blade. We have a big truck (F350) but it is a 4 door long box and not maneuverable enough to be a practical plow truck for our property. I like the idea of using this machine to plow AND relocate snow, but again it is just intuition and not experience which leads me to this conclusion.
     
    DMiller likes this.
  10. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    Messages:
    3,780
    Occupation:
    Retired Cons't. Supt./Hospitals
    Location:
    Moose Lake, MN
    Next to the bucket I use my forks and grapple about equal. I often think about making a set of double grapple arms long enough to use with my 48" forks. The grapple tines are to short for what I want to grab most of the times.
     
    koselig, check and DMiller like this.
  11. check

    check Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2012
    Messages:
    779
    Location:
    in the mail
    When plowing with a blade, the blade tries to steer for you. Also when plowing, you aren't doing much unless you are moving 20 MPH. Speed and airflow throws the snow. Skid steers top out around 10 MPH. I think you will be a little disappointed. A plow truck ideally should be a 3/4 or one ton 4x4 with a big engine, chains on all four, power steering and automatic transmission. You need the strength of that kind of suspension to support the blade when it's off the ground. It should be at least 8' wide and have hydraulic power angle. The best way to rig a plow truck is buy a truck that already has one mounted and it usually doesn't cost much more than buying a new blade and having it mounted to your truck,
    My plow truck is dedicated to just that and I leave the chains on all four year round. Easy peasy, no tags no insurance.
    Toyotas are pretty tough long lasting trucks, you might also consider doctoring it back to life..
    Snowblowers are better for deep snows, but if you get a lot of 2 or 3 inch snows like we do here, you probably won't like it. If you use a blower and a plow, you will constantly be connecting and disconnecting (the hydraulic lines can be a pain).
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
    DMiller likes this.
  12. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    Messages:
    3,780
    Occupation:
    Retired Cons't. Supt./Hospitals
    Location:
    Moose Lake, MN
    With a 8100 lb. skid steer you would be well under 26,000. A skid steer trailer with tandem 7,000 lb. axles would allow you a empty trailer weight of close to 6,000 lb. without accounting for tongue weight. A nice low, easy to load when slippery, skid steer trailer would be well under that. Your F-350 must be around 8,500 curb weight tops. A new 2020 4 door, 4 wheel drive, gas engine, 8 ft. bed has a curb weight of 8,121 lbs. according to a online site I just checked.
    You could also add studs in the tracks if traction on ice turns into a problem while plowing snow. take your time to learn the machine and keep us posted with pictures.
     
    DMiller likes this.
  13. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    2,994
    Occupation:
    excavation
    Location:
    Idaho
    Running equipment is inherently dangerous, doesn't matter what kind. My neighbor had one of his operators tip over a 305 Volvo excavator at his sand pit a couple weeks abo. Edge gave way and the excavator was on top of it when it went. Nothing like a 70K pound excavator rolling over. Operator was not hurt. Tractor tip overs are not new and unfortunately will continue. New tractors have a ROPS, but the older and cheaper models don't. SSL and CTLs tend to see more injuries related to operators getting caught under the bucket and running other people over. Its not for everyone, that is for certain. My view is if you come to the 'net seeking advice on machines or operating techniques it is the OP's responsibility to put that information into the context that fits their application and ability. There is no way for anyone here to know the exact conditions the machine is operated, the learning ability of the OP and lets be honest......level of common sense. Posting "I know nothing" maybe a very rough baseline, but is far from a clear definition of ones ability or circumstance. We have all seen that some people can get into a piece of equipment and within hours be able to operate in safe, semi productive manner. We have also seen guys that have one year experience...20 times. The OP and anyone else reading and applying the nuggets of info, has to be responsible for applying it to their situation.

    As to compact tractors or any tractors: I really like running the newer ones. I grew up farming in North Dakota with my dad on a "for the time" rather large operation. I got into this business due to my love for running equipment based off that experience. I will say that operationally there are few things that a compact loader will do that a SSL or CTL cant do better and certainly faster. Brush hogging and the like are better suited for a tractor in a typical sense, but if we are talking about loader work, it is no contest in my opinion. Its great if you can own both a SSL and loader tractor, most people have to pick. You do that by renting/borrowing to find what works for you personally.
     
  14. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2014
    Messages:
    3,783
    Location:
    Canada
    One thing to remember between tracks and tires is when going over hills or climbing out of ditches, etc. A tire machine will keep all 4 wheels on the ground and go over bumps similar to car. A tracked machine will be like a crawler dozer and teeter totter over hills. It will do the same loading on a trailer. It can be a little unnerving until you get used to it.
     
    DMiller likes this.
  15. koselig

    koselig Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2020
    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Two Harbors, MN
    Thanks all! couple things -
    • Our 1958 Ford 961 Powermaster tractor is in great shape and has its original loader. So I really could use that for hogging. I know I could get a used PTO hog for a lot cheaper than one designed for skid steers. The loader has a trip bucket and needs a hydraulic rebuild, so it's not immediately useful for loading. I have moved pallets with the manure forks and this has demonstrated to us the value that forks would have on a skid loader. I can't see why I wouldn't hang onto the tractor to run a blade, pull a wagon, etc. It's obviously not as handy as a modern CUT but I can't really justify owning both a SSL/CTL and a modern CUT.
    • A neighbor up here has a 1999 ASV 4810, what a beast. That is his primary machine for dealing with snow. According to him it is unstoppable and he hasn't had to touch the undercarriage (or even the tracks!) after years of ownership. This runs contrary to most everything I have heard that these units have such a high cost of ownership, etc. and we're talking about a very early ASV "MTL" suspended design. So for our landscape this bolsters my intuition that a modern fixed-undercarriage CTL with zig-zag or ASV-style track pattern should be pretty darn good for most of the conditions we experience.
    As far as snows... we get a lot. Our proximity to Lake Superior plus our higher elevation vs. the shore puts us in a very snowy microclimate, even by Minnesota standards. So by and large we're not talking 2-3" snows. I think for that I'd just use our Honda Rancher to plow.

    @check I totally get what you are saying about plowing fast, that is a really good point. It took a few winters for me to learn that with our truck - at first I was trepidatious and taking my time to learn the craft. Once I gave in, hung the blade at an angle, and went fast it made a huge difference in keeping the driveway wide enough for comfort.

    So I am not sure where that leaves the blade idea, since obviously I'd be going slow down the driveway. Maybe not so wise. Most of the videos and advice relates to pros clearing parking lots, which is totally completely different from my situation. The driveway runs along streams and ponds, so it is not so practical to run down with a bucket and turn 90deg to dump each time the bucket fills up. But there are a few "run-offs" I could potentially develop further to break it into 3 or 4 segments, to run piles off for each segment. Maybe a good size snow bucket or even a box-style plow would be better given all of this. I was looking at the Virnig V-plows originally.
     
    DMiller likes this.
  16. check

    check Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2012
    Messages:
    779
    Location:
    in the mail
    • How many hours a year does he use the ASV? Tires last me about 300-500 hours grinding through the shale here. That adds about $2 an hour operating cost on my 246 skid steer. I've never used an ASV or CTL but guys who have them tell me you just have to figure about $10 an hour extra operating costs for the tracks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
    DMiller likes this.
  17. koselig

    koselig Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2020
    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Two Harbors, MN
    I don't really know, but I believe he uses it primarily in winter. We do get frequent storms, but I bet he gets that sorted within 2-3hr per event. In Spring/Summer we'd be talking relatively hard packed gravel and I don't know how much dirt work he does with it these days.

    I had another neighbor (retired operator who sold that one the 1999 ASV) comment about his experience with ASV's and a Kubota. He owns one of each. He told me one of those with a snowblower deals with our snow with impunity, and recommended I do the same especially given our narrow driveway vs. a plow. I am going to price out a used snowblower since so many are manufactured right here in MN.
     
    check likes this.
  18. CMC76

    CMC76 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2019
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    As a newer home owner skid steer owner ill chime in with my thoughts.
    I have some rugged land in southern Wisconsin. Densely wooded. Drive is about 3/8 mile. Some minor grade changes. But the initial stretch is pretty nasty. Peaks at a small section of about 11% grade. I put down over 200 ton of 3" limestone with fines over the summer to keep it stable. This weekend was the first opportunity I had to mount my plow and clean it out. Granted my aux hydraulic were not working ( seperate post ) but the plow still worked.
    My first thoughts, track is not ideal for snow. I had to pay attention not to spin the track on compacted snow. Just lining up to my plow took 10 minutes as I would slide sideways.
    Once I got the hang of it. And made sure to start out extremely slow, I was fine.
    I made sure to scrape all the way to the frozen stone. And that gave me traction.
    Cost of ownership hasn't been bad. But in reality I've put maybe 120 really easy hours on. Nothing compared to the work out machines see at work.
    The material on my site it sand, loam and small wash stone. The 3" I've imported is the worst it will see.
    But based on the back and forth I've watched on here, your best bet is getting some seat time in a variety of machines. Gauge your comfort and skill levels.
    The comments on here are also valid. A track machine can go bad fast. But So can any other.
    Whatever you get. Have some cash in reserve. Something will come up. It always does. Should have added. I've got a new holland c238
     
  19. CMC76

    CMC76 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2019
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I wanted to update. So we finally got some ice on the ground That is sticking around. Ice + hill + tracks= no good.
    I have to bring in some small material to put down in front of me just to get back up.
    Now I know. I'll be cutting in a far less steep drive in the spring.
     
  20. Coastal

    Coastal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    I've done this, for your use go with wheels. I tried the exact same thing with a bobcat t300... Plows great the first couple snowfalls then it ices up and they're almost useless. I studded tracks, did everything possible. Still useless.

    Get yourself a nice big 2 speed wheeled machine and some chains. The bigger the better for the type of plowing you'll be doing.

    Track machines chew through Undercarriage, they're bumpy, not as fast, and believe me, I loved that t300 for its performance in soft ground and stability. If I was to buy another skidsteer, unless you have specific jobs that you need a track machine... Don't bother.
     
    check likes this.