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Which telehandler is the RIGHT one?

Discussion in 'Forklifts/Telehandlers' started by Hammer & Nails, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. barklee

    barklee Senior Member

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    I would totally agree with that. A USA style machine is not what you want for digging anything, maybe scooping up debris around a jobsite but that's about it. You want an AG style machine. Look at a JCB 531-70, Manitou MLT 625-75, Bobcat versahandlers, or some Cat TH model machines. These are all built for what you need. I dont have experience with any of these machines, we dont ever really have a need for this application. It should give you a place to start though.
     
  2. bobb

    bobb Well-Known Member

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    i would rent one of each before i buy. i mostly have experience with gradalls. very reliable. they dont like being left out in the rain. i dont like the boom hoist control. too sensitive imho.
     
  3. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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    Ok, what makes these machines more durable then, from the looks of it, these style machines only have lift heights of less than about 20 feet give or take some, depending on make and model. So if I want height, I need to buy one for that, and if I want to use it for loading gravel, sand, moving snow or things like that I need a different one for those tasks then, if I'm understanding this, is that about right?

    As for renting one, that's not really an option in my area, for what I could afford to buy, I'd end up buying one wherever and trucking it in, there are virtually no telehandlers for rent in my area, even those that lift higher, we've been trying to rent one, they are either always rented out when I need it, or are sold and no longer around to rent out. Its not something done I guess in my area that much, I'd have to drive a quite a few hours one way to even find to rent, so for short jobs, its not worth it, and after doing that a few times, you might just as well buy one and get on with it. So while on the subject of renting, its been stated in prior threads that the 100 hour mark is the number of hours per year to break even on renting, is that hours on the meter or hours you use it, like for example, in a basket working while the engine is shut off. Most jobs we need it for are to use a basket with a person in it, who's working, in a weeks time, its used every day all day long and we wouldn't put 5 hours on the hour meter of the machine.
     
  4. barklee

    barklee Senior Member

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    99% of the time rent is based on how many days you have the machine and they give you 8 hrs per day. If you are renting by the month they normally dont watch the hour meter. The question about breaking even on one really depends upon what size machine you are going to buy. They vary anywhere from $1400 per month to $3000 per month (depending upon your area). Also on the condition and hours of the machine you buy. I would say that 100 hours per year on the meter wouldnt cover the cost of purchasing one. At 5 hours per day x 5 days = 25 hrs per week x 4 weeks = 1 month rental or 100 hours. Most rental companies do not rent the ag units, they rent the north american style booms so i think you might have a hard time finding one of these to rent.

    I am not too versed in the AG type machines so i cant really tell you what kind of reach you can get from one. I would call a JCB or Cat dealer and see what models do what you need to do. I was trying to look these up online and i dont want to tell you the wrong machine. If you google JCB Ag handler or Cat Ag handler it brings up each companies offering. I think just about every telehandler manufacturer offers a few models. In the JCB's i think the loadall machines are all set up for digging??
     
  5. 06Pete

    06Pete Well-Known Member

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    I have a TH63 Cat and It has done well for the 2.5 years I have had it. It lifts 41 feet 6000#. I have forks with tilt carrage and a 5 yard light material bucket for loading sawdust and horse manure it loads a 30 foot demo trailer in 10 buckets and lifts high enough to pack the load getting twice what the loader can get. It uses the same quickattach as the IT 12 and cat backhoes. I mostly run it myself and defnitly could see a dumba$$ break it up with the bucket but if you run it like you have some common sence it will be fine. The bucket can put alot of stress on the gooseneck if you dig with one corner of the bucket. I don't know how to work without it any more I use around the farm for feeding and building barns and for the excavating bussiness it is my shop crain, loading manure for topsoil and tree trimming lift with the basket on the forks. I picked mine up for less then 20K with 1700 hrs and it has definently paid for itself already with very few days it doesnot get started.
     
  6. Pipelinemech

    Pipelinemech Active Member

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    i have 3 customers that are building contractors fabbing up hotels, condos etc. each one owns at least three telescoping lifts. they have skytrack, lull and gradall. out of the three the gradall is made the cheapest. breaks constantly. week steering cylinders, electrical probs etc. the skytrak units are made the best. dont get me wrong skytraks have probs too just not as often as the rest. gradall and skytrak are now owned by JLG. if your in the north central us check with lingle equipment in saginaw michigan. i order all my parts through them and get them next day. they have online service and parts manuals and just overall good folks to deal with.
     
  7. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    That is my advice as well 06Pete. Randy if you are moving loose materials and know how to operate (which I believe you do) a NA style telehandler will serve you well.

    I have a 1998 Gradall (bought it new) with tilting carriage, man basket and light material bucket. I have moved many a CY of #57 stone backfilling retaining walls, etc with it and haven't had a problem in 15 years. Of course you have to know the limitations of the machine - it is not an excavating machine. Don't load the bucket with the boom extended, don't ram into a pile and don't try to dig hard ground with it. Loose materials like crushed stone, sand and topsoil can all be loaded with a normal telehandler. You have to adjust how much you load due to the weight of the material - use common sense and understand the capabilities and limitations of the machine you are using.

    I wouldn't sell "Ol' Blue" as I call her for what she is worth. She's worth more to me to have around for those lifting and high reach chores that come around every now and then. Currently I have it rented for a couple of months to a building owner doing a re-roof on a large industrial building. Not getting many hours, she's earning her keep.;)

    I also have two selective demo jobs coming up that Ol' Blue will come in handy with. She's paid for herself time and time again.
     
  8. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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    Thanks for the information guys, I'm not planning on using it in place of a dozer or skidsteer, I'm just needing it for lifting things higher, and to have a work platform to weld off of and use for some building projects, was my main goal. We do load a lot of logs, but I didn't figure those would be much different than handling lumber.

    Has anyone seen or ever heard of a swivel single person work platform, and adds about 10-15feet of reach on the telehandler, that can be used as an aerial lift, that moves side to side and also up and down, slides in and out, and runs off the auxillary hydraulics, I've seen them advertised in the past on the internet, but never seen one firsthand, just wondered if anyone had experience with them.
     
  9. 06Pete

    06Pete Well-Known Member

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    I have seen warnings labels on my th63 about one but never have seen one in person so I know cat made them. I would guess they would be expensive as it does not appear to be alot of them. I would figure that paying a man to move it from the ground would be cheaper than purchasing and maintaing one. I have had the thought of attaching a old bucket truck boom to mine but then think of the trouble to rig up and then how much trouble I could get into with another 30 foot of reach and I leave well enough alone. If you load alot of logs you might want to think of a grapple as logs like to slide off of forks or just add a top clamp to the forks. I would make sure one had the aux. hyd to the forks as the tilt forks help alot and also leave hyd to use for other things such as a grappel.
     
  10. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    Also remember the OSHA man when using man baskets on forklifts. I am not the safety police but it's a quick way to get a fine.:cool2 If using a man basket on a telehandler, the basket has to be approved by the manufacturer to be used on the machine.

    Another thing to consider is a telehandlers "stability triangle". I have learned the hard way that this must be respected..:cool:

    When you have the lift extended at full range, you cannot move the machine. Adding an additional extending man basket on the fork attachment will change the geometry that the machine was designed for. I don't know how this would work out stability wise but its something I would consider carefully.
     
  11. barklee

    barklee Senior Member

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    That is a really good point, make sure you get a machine that has aux hydraulics mounted on the side of the boom. I have seen a Cat basket that swivels but ive never seen one that telescoped in and out. That doesnt mean they dont make one though. Manitou makes one that fits on their rotating telehandlers but they are about $7000. We have a 20' platform for our machines and it works pretty well for 75% of what we do. They can be a pain sometimes but its inexpensive enough to justify. I would like to get a 10' basket at some point, i think that would be a bit more usable.
    Those Cat TH63 machines are pretty nice, have you had good luck with yours? Any down sides?
     
  12. 06Pete

    06Pete Well-Known Member

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    I have had no trouble with mine except one day it would not start moved some wires around it started and never had the problem again. I guess there is a bad conection somewhere but as long as it works I am not going to worry. I haven't found any down sides with the cat the only other lift I have ran is a skytrack and thought it was less operator friendly but OK they all have their blind spots sitting on one side but if you keep the boom low on the cat you can see over it then for a few feet up you have a hard time seeing the right side but then a few feet higher and you can see under it.
     
  13. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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    I don't know if its true or not, but the basket has to be narrower than the tread with of the machine its on, so less than 8 feet wide at most is legal. As for the basket being made for the telehandler, it has to have the brackets to hook directly up to the machine, no longer are forks that slide in the basket to stab it are allowed, is how it was explained to me. Does anyone know if this is actually correct, I don't fall under osha requirements per say, but its not to say, they couldn't or wouldn't stop in if they saw a machine up in the air and someone in a basket on it.
     
  14. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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    Ok guys, I've been asking questions, and now more questions to ask someone not selling me a telehandler, what the difference in brands, as far as the mechanical standpoint of each, the lull, skytrack and others, does one run a vehicle automatic transmission where as others run their own transmissions, can anyone shed light on the differences for me, and whats better for getting parts. I tend to keep things till parts are no longer available for them and its a big deal to me. We've been looking at the sky track 5028 and 6036 and the simular lull units, and also the gehl 553's and the newer model of the same unit, can't recall the number 5-34 or something like that. We did ask about the jcb units, but was told parts are really high priced and dealers in my area are pretty short supply, one dealer network in a couple hundred miles with a couple stores. We looked at the terex 6-36 but my dealers are totally new to them and know very little about them. I haven't even located a lull or sky track dealer yet in my area. Thanks for any information.
     
  15. barklee

    barklee Senior Member

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    My first choice out of the machines you listed is the Skytrak 6036 or 6042. We have one with 12000 hours and it still runs like a brand new one. Parts are not hard to find for those, there are a ton of them out there, they are basically built the same since the 80's. My second would be the Terex 6036, they are a very strong machine and still supported by the Genie parts network. The Lull 644 is a great machine but are scarce to find a nice used one. Plus they have more moving parts than other machines and are known to be a bit more maintanence. I wouldnt buy one of those unless you need a traversing carriage. Gradalls are good machines too, i just dont like the fact that they only rear steer. Other than that they really nice machines. You wouldnt go wrong on one if you can get past the steering. The newer JLG machines are basically a Gradall with 3 position steering I would look at some of the Cat machines as well, i dont have much experience with them but several people on here have commented and like them. You probably know the deal with Cat parts already?!
    Basically all these machines are used by rental houses and they stock parts or can readily get them for about every one.
    I personally wouldnt buy a JCB or a Gehl. They both are a little spotty to get parts for and have a mixed perception with buyers. If you bought one and didnt like it, i think you might struggle to sell it.
    My choice bar none would be a Skytrak. I dont think anyone builds a better 6000lb machine, but my opinion might be a little unbalanced!!
     
  16. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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    Barklee, can you tell me what makes sky traks so much easier to work on, what makes them different than some of the others, and also on the gradall machines can you shed light on the different models, and how the model numbers correlate to the lift heights and what's different about the models, a 524, and there are straight 524's then b models and also c models, along with 534's b models and c models, and the lifts on any are anywhere from 25-37 feet and I'm understanding they are only rear steer, is this on all gradall machines, or was there newer one's that had different steering options, some have perkins engines, some cummins, did they offer different engines or just over the years, they had changed engine manufacturers. How do the transmissions differ in the different makes, I was told some run simple automobile automatic transmissions where others run their own more specilized transmission and drive system.

    In today's trends of merger mania, who owns what company, are most still independent or bought out by one or two companies and were merged up. I was also told pettibone started it all years back and one of the best all around machines made, I've never seen one, let alone heard of them, are they still even in business today, and if so, whats so much better about them verses the other makes, or is it just personal opinion.
     
  17. 06Pete

    06Pete Well-Known Member

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    Cat if parts avalibilty is important parts are always available and I find they are not any more expensive than anyone else plus almost all parts are available next day or no more than second day.
     
  18. barklee

    barklee Senior Member

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    The Gradall numbering system has always been a bit confusing to me so i cant really help you there. If its a 534 there should be numbers after that eg. 534 9-45. The 9 is 9000# and the 45 is height. I think alot if not all of the Gradalls have a hydrostatic transmission. I have never seen a Gradall that wasnt a rear steer machine, so i am guessing they only offered that option. I know a few people who have had them over the years and they are a very solid machine. Also being that they dont make them anymore the price is a little better. The only negative i ever heard was that side by side a 6k Gradall couldnt go through the mud like a 6k Cat machine. How often would you ever be in severe mud though? They were bought and sold about a million times to its hard to say on the engine combination. Our skytrak has a Perkins so i wont say anything bad about those engines (older ones anyway). I personally have always thought the Cummins were dogs, but thats just a personal opinion.

    All these machines in general run either a powershift type 3-4 speed trans or hydrostatic. I cant comment on the hydrostatic as i have never owned one.

    Of the common machines out there:
    -Oshkosh owns: skytrak, Lull, JLG, and builds Cat TL models
    -Terex owns: Terex and Genie
    -Manitou owns: Gehl, Mustang, Mantou
    -Skyjack owns: Carelift and Ingersoll Rand (all now called skyjack)
    -Pettibone owns: Pettibone and Traverse lift
    -CNH owns: Case, Kobelco, and New Holland machines (i have no idea who builds them)
    -Alamo Group owns Gradall and dont make the telehandlers anymore (that i know of)
    JCB is JCB.....

    I think anymore they are all so similar that its personal preference. I think in each size range and vintage there are machines better than others. You need to narrow down the size and reach you require, then a budget price and we can go from there. I guess if it was me i would at minimum want a 6000# and 42' reach machine. The 36' comes up short more often than not for building type construction work. In the states its easiest to find and get parts for JLG, Terex, or Cat brand machines. Thats really because all the national rental companies use these brands. Another thing to look at is a low boom vs a high boom machine. The low boom is a european design. I have found that you either have to have the boom too low so you can see over it or too high to see under it. I dont have enough experience with all the makes to say they are all that way but i know the Manitou/ Gehls are that way, at least i think.
     
  19. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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    Thanks for the answers, it helps a lot, next question, which is better, the rollers for the boom's sections or the slide guides, I've seen them both ways, the slides maybe more than the rollers, nobody has ever really said other than when the slide guides get worn, the booms don't extend and retract like they should, but I'm told the slides are easier to repair.

    As for the size and lift, I originally wanted that 5000 lb and between 28-34 feet, to me, its got more to do with the overall size than the lift per say. Right now I don't have any telehandler, so anything would be an upgrade. To my current needs, I am wanting something over 20 feet, how much more, I'm not really sure at this time, yea the more the better, to a point, then it gets to where its too large to do 50% of what I need to do, cause its physically too large to get in where I need to. I'm wanting a jib boom to raise rafters, but I only have one large building to do, sometime in the next few years, otherwise its just mainly remodeling and renovation and the height is for a work platform more than physically lifting anything. I need to do painting of some buildings, right today, 35 feet high would be plenty good for most anything I'd have to do.

    As for the price range, the cheaper the better, two reasons, first is I really don't know what I want in a machine, let alone after I'd get it, what other jobs I'd have for a machine if it were larger or with more height, once I figured out exactly what I wanted, I could always upgrade, we've rented a couple of gehl 553 size machines, with 34 feet of lift, worked great and I thought it was about the idea size, but I only used it a few days, also rented a couple of jcb 506 machines, not as handy or compact as the gehl, but worked fine. I was thinking somewhere in the 5-12k range in price, something to use for a few hundred hours till I figured out exactly what it was I wanted, I've checked on renting or leasing, and unless its an almost new if not new, its not an option, and I'm not wanting or affording that much of a machine, let alone justify one that high priced. Some of the gradall machines, older ones sell for my price range, is why I was asking about them, most cats are higher priced, same as the skytrak's and gehls, terex isn't overly high priced, from the auction results I've looked at. This machine in all reality wouldn't get more than 50 hours per year on the hour meter, but a lot of hours up in air with someone in the basket, weeks worth of time spent using it for a areal lift and the engine shut off. After I figured out exactly what it is I wanted I could always upgrade, sell the old one at auction and move on, was my thought, rather than spend 15-25k on a used one to only find out, I hated it and wanted something completely different for size and lift height or options or whatever.

    I have rented aerial lifts in the past, mostly less than 32 feet in height and did anything I needed doing, just they are few and far between, that and a total pain to keep working, with all the electronic controls and switches.
     
  20. barklee

    barklee Senior Member

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    I think youre going to have a challenge picking up a nice machine for that price range. I watched a Pettbone 6044 sell for 11,000 last month and i thought that was a really good buy. It had around 6000 hours on it though. Although for what your doing that might work.

    Im not sure about the roller question. The only machine that i know of is a Terex that uses the rollers and i think they use wear pads also.
    I guess really for what you are doing i would think any of the above would work. I would say that the majority of the time you are going to get your best deal on a discontinued machine or an off brand. There are a ton of Gradall, Skytrak, JCB, Lull, Terex machines out there. Im sure if you shop you can find a nice machine for a good price. I am kind of looking for a 6000# machine i can keep at the shop all the time, but i have to be able to steal it. For me, im not going to look at anything older say than about 1998. It just seems to me that you never get done fixing odd little problems on machines older than that and i refuse to own anything that is constant problems. We started out with 1985-1986 Condor man lifts and it was literally every 2-3 days and you were replacing a hose or wiring or fuel repairs on those machines. They werent even worth having on a job for all the down time. Even to use around the shop it wasnt worth it. We could have rented machines for the cost of those lifts over the 5 years we had them. If you find a machine worth looking at heres a few things i look for. Oscillating carriage bushings, rear ends, drive shaft joints, wheel hub seals, steering knuckles, tires, boom wear pads front and back, inner boom hoses, boom chains, insure transmission shifts smoothly through all gears, run booms out completely and sight them for twisting damage or dings. Obviously you know all the other things to check out.
    Good luck and let me know if you find another really cheap machine!