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My thoughts on the Taki TB257 FR

Discussion in 'Compact Excavators' started by KSSS, Jan 18, 2022.

  1. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

    Feb 27, 2005
    I bought a new Taki TB 257 this late Summer. For those that are familiar with the Taki 153 and the 053 before it, the 257 is the latest version of this design. This was my 4th FR style machine. The last model year for the 153 was about 2014. Due to EPA issues, the replacement for the 153 was a long time in coming. Last Spring, Taki sent me run a prototype of the 257 before it released officially. Overall, I liked what I saw and was able to get one of the few that would make it ashore in 2021. I have put about 250 hours on the 257 and thought that now would be a good time to post my thoughts on it.

    Those that are familiar with the FR machine, can skip past this, but for those that are not familiar with it, perhaps would benefit from a short explanation of what makes an FR different from other mini excavators. The FR is not a typical swing boom mini ex. They call it, appropriately, a side to side boom. The boom pivots from under the center of the machine, this has a couple major benefits and some negatives. The positives are that, because the pivot is under the center of the machine and not out front it like a swing boom, it can lift a lot of weight. The other benefit is that is can articulate the boom to the right far enough to act like a conventional excavator with the boom coming up along side the cab. Downside is, there are a lot of moving parts to make that happen. It is not quite a zero swing/zero tail machine but very close.

    The 257 runs the same cab as other 200 series Taki excavators. I had issue with this immediately in the prototype. After sitting in the cab of the 370 at Con Expo, the 200 series is not nearly as well laid out as the newest 300 series. After waiting so long for the new 153, I am not sure why this machine didn't receive the 300 series cab. If your familiar with the 200 series cab, it is much the same except for switches that are particular to the FR series machines. The airflow in the 257 is not great, little air to the front windows, proving to be somewhat problematic in the Winter especially. The AC (which has been an issue in previous FR machines) works well so far. The stick and arm length are the same, as well as the overall dimensions.

    The hydraulics are faster than in the 153, cycle times much improved. I will say that the bucket breakout is not as strong as in the 153. The numbers are lower on the 257, but it is actually a difference that can be noticed if you spent enough time in a 153. Track power is much stronger than previous machines. The house swing speed I wish was a bit faster. I ordered a hyd coupler with this machine, and it is a Strickland. That proved to be defective from the factory and the cylinder was replaced by Strickland. Overall, I like the coupler. I ordered an HPF pro link thumb for the machine that was installed by the dealer, awesome thumb as always. It has dedicated lines for the thumb, coupler and aux hyd. Very nice to flip a switch for single flow, and still have thumb use. The thumb can now be set to give against the bucket, without losing psi at the aux curcuit. It makes about 24 gpm, so running hoe pacs is effortless. I have not run my flail mower on it yet. It only comes with a straight backfill blade.

    The engine is now Kubota, I was not real happy about that. So far though, it works fine. Turbo is nice, especially working above 6K ft. which is where the NA Yanmar would start losing some power. The Yanmar is just a great engine, that while having a couple quirks, always ran, always started in subzero weather (minus 43 below in Big Sky ski resort for my personal record). I have little faith in Kubota and their DPF system, which this has. We shall see how this goes.

    Overall, I like it, I am glad I waited. These machines can do some incredible things, which is why i waited for their return to replace my old one. The machine could have been a lot more, especially for as long as it took to hit the market, but it improved upon the previous generation machine. If your familiar with them, you like the new one. The zerks are better placed, no more plastic grease lines, still a lot of them, but except for one on the main pin, they are better. I was told there should be more coming in 2022 than what hit the ground in 2021. There is a lot more I could talk about, but if anyone has any questions about this machine, let me know.