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View Full Version : Another CTL opinion thread


KPS
01-08-2008, 02:05 PM
Hey, New member, I've been looking at this site for a week or so and love all the top notch opinions and suggestions. So my problem is this... We currently own a 2002 T190,ACS controls, 1300 Hrs. kind of a love/hate relationship with it. It lifts a ton but vibrates the snot out of me and house foundations we run beside. The machine has been somewhat of a lemon, in the shop numerous times for various electric, hydraulic, track, drive motor failures. The downtime it costs us is rather expensive as we usually have two triaxles and one mini ex with the clocks running when it decides to quit. This year we decided that it was time to invest in another machine to replace it cause our warranty is done and the drive motors failed this year and was costly to repair. The only serious companies around here are Bobcat and CAT. Our needs are very specific, vertical lift to reach into tri-axles, no wider than 68" less than 12' long. Bobcat and CAT really are the only ones who make a machine in that category.We only really use it for one thing, loading trucks all day two to three times a week. The prices we've got from both dealers is comparable, i just don,t know whats a better gamble, the Bobcat has a fairly bulletproof undercarriage but the SJC controls and other electronics seem to be unreliable. The CAT on the other hand has proven electronics but a undercarriage more easily damaged by debris. I Don't want a machine in the shop all the time with SJC issues, but the CAT will cost more in undercarrige maintenance. Our current Bobcat Dealer has a great Service Dept. but i don't know if i wanna operate another "shaker" for four more years. I know also that I will be pissed if I only get 500 hours out of Cat tracks. I don't abuse the machine but it gotta work hard and i don't always have a choice as to what I run over and across. I know you've all got opinions so let me know what you would do and why.

ksss
01-08-2008, 02:37 PM
If your loading trucks all the time does it have to be a tracked machine? If not you would have other options.

JDSKIDSTEER
01-08-2008, 03:10 PM
If you have not changed tracks on T190 it should be about time. Change to Solid Deal and that will take the vibration out.

KPS
01-08-2008, 03:37 PM
We do need a track machine, we have heavy steel and wood plates we put between the houses to run across so we don't make ruts or destroy the acess way but if the ground is soft than a tire machine just sinks out of sight cause we usually have very limited space in the back yards we work in. And we have changed the tracks already, TWICE!!! we are very hard on our equipment.

Scag48
01-08-2008, 03:56 PM
A Cat isn't the best choice if you've gone through 2 sets of tracks on a Bobcat in 1300 hours. Cat's undercarriages are more maintenance intensive, however I feel in some applications the Cat undercarriages bring more to the table than unsuspended carriages. If this machine is operated by someone other than yourself, do not buy a Cat, the undercarriage costs will eat you up. Even then, you'll be putting twice as much into the undercarriage. I feel Cat's tracked machines are somewhat superior to the competition's in some aspects, but those luxuries come at a cost. As long as you can come to grips with the operating costs, they are great machines.

KPS
01-08-2008, 04:07 PM
I just don't want to have the potential problems that Site Solutions had with his SJC equipped machine. Wear wnd maintenance we can control but with electrical issues our hands are pretty much tied.:realmad:

Scag48
01-08-2008, 04:16 PM
I can safely say that the new Cats are pretty well bug-free, I haven't heard of any serious issues and it's doubtful Cat will have serious issues. However, it is a new series and they haven't been out for too long, but we would have heard something by now.

I estimated the operating costs for our 277B when we had it was somewhere around $10 an hour. That's a nice pillow to sit on, we were defiantely able to do $10 more work per hour with a tracked machine vs. a comparable wheeled machine. Half the time, a wheeled machine wouldn't even be able to get around in the sandy, loose conditions we have back home. I buried our 216 up to the belly pan trying to work in sand the 277 blew right through and across rough ground at full speed. Keep in mind that our 216 stays with our landscape crew and the 277 was basically replacing a backhoe on our excavation sites. I'd take it down nasty slopes to backfill foundations, places a wheeled machine absolutely would not make it out of.

So, $10 an hour is a high number, I don't think that machine would have needed $10,000 worth of work at 1,000 hours, but it's nice to know you have yourself covered. And we were the only one in the valley with a tracked machine, we kept it pretty busy while we had it. Great machine to team up with 12 ton excavator, which it was doing most of the time. Between a 312CL with 3 buckets, a hydraulic thumb, plumbed for hammer/hoepack and the 277 with a combo bucket and 85" root grapple, we could do all sorts of work with the pair.

ksss
01-08-2008, 04:18 PM
I could not, and still keep a straight face, recommend a T190 to anyone but you have one and know the issues. I agree with Scag if you tore up the BC tracks twice in 1300 hours a suspended machine is not for you. I would probably go BC again, and in the purchase agreement get an extended warranty which includes you getting a loaner machine for when the 190 or whatever you end up with goes down at no additional cost. I would figure what your costs were on your current 190 from downtime and repairs. That would give you an idea of what the extended warranty and a loaner would be worth. I am sure it would be substantial. I would check and recheck the wording on the purchase agreement before signing and keep a laminated copy of it in your pickup (the last part was a joke...kind of). I don't see an option besides BC for what your specs are.

KPS
01-08-2008, 04:27 PM
Thanks Scag and KSSS. that was kind of my gut feeling too, BC might be a little more tough to operate but is a tougher undercarriage for our kind of application. BC is giving us a good warranty and the dealer really wants us to buy from him again so maybe it is our best bet.

Scag48
01-08-2008, 04:33 PM
That's probably your best bet, honestly. I like Cat MTL's, but if you know you're going to be hard on a machine, maybe it's best if you stick with BC. I'm tough on equipment too, but I don't abuse them, I just run them tough.

ksss
01-08-2008, 04:44 PM
[QUOTE=Scag48;2090474]I can safely say that the new Cats are pretty well bug-free, I haven't heard of any serious issues and it's doubtful Cat will have serious issues. However, it is a new series and they haven't been out for too long, but we would have heard something by now.

I estimated the operating costs for our 277B when we had it was somewhere around $10 an hour. That's a nice pillow to sit on, we were defiantely able to do $10 more work per hour with a tracked machine vs. a comparable wheeled machine. Half the time, a wheeled machine wouldn't even be able to get around in the sandy, loose conditions we have back home. I buried our 216 up to the belly pan trying to work in sand the 277 blew right through and across rough ground at full speed. Keep in mind that our 216 stays with our landscape crew and the 277 was basically replacing a backhoe on our excavation sites. I'd take it down nasty slopes to backfill foundations, places a wheeled machine absolutely would not make it out of.




I don't know Scag that you had that machine long enough to really say what your costs would have been. Without any machines similiar in your area and the fact that you sold it before you accumulated many hours who really knows. I have done the math on some that were North of $25.00 an hour to run. Sand is abrasive and would have likely taken a toll on the undercarriage, to what extent who knows. I just think throwing the $10.00 an hour number around with the information you had to work with is not very accurate (either high or low). Spending 10K on a 277 undercarriage is not unheard of.

Scag48
01-08-2008, 05:01 PM
I'll agree with you, but at the same time, look at it from an overshot approach. There were guys 35 miles away running MTL's, just not in our little part of the valley. Two big companies have been running Cat MTL's since they've been available, one guy has 6 or 7 MTLS and just as many skids, the other guy does hydroseeding and uses MTL's only. We actually sold our 277 to the hydroseeding guy, he had 3 or 4 Cat MTL's at the time. He had 3 257's and he hated them all, so he bought our 277B to compliment the one he already had and tried to sell one 257 to my dad, which would have bought it if I hadn't talked him out of it.

I talked to the guy who bought our machine, his operating conditions are basically the same as ours, except he's doing grading and finishing work. He says he was replacing tracks at 1100-1200 hours and doing the bogies as well. I think the tracks were $4K and bogies were right around $2-3K or something like that. He said it was costing him somewhere in the neighborhood of $8K for every 1,200 hours. I'll agree that sand is abrasive, but it's not like working in rock, not even close. I think working in rock with a rubber track machine is equivelant to working in sand with a dozer, they just get torn up.

KPS
01-08-2008, 05:05 PM
everything i've heard about CATS is that they are a costly MTL in the long run and up front purchase price. I really wish there was a happy medium ie. comfort and durabilty in the rough stuff. I wonder if ride control on the BC will really help that much? Bobcat_ron's pics of his early roller chunking don't really instill much confidence in me that the rest will look very good at 500 Hrs.

ksss
01-08-2008, 05:10 PM
The ride control option on a wheeled machine (CASE) is priceless. I have never run a tracked machine equipped with it. Does Bobcat offer ride control? If they do I would order it. I can fly around a job site with a full bucket at full speed and not lose any material and not beat the heck of you while your running it. I know that RC is now offered in CAT machines although I have yet to run it in a CAT. I hope to in the Spring.

RockSet N' Grade
01-08-2008, 05:23 PM
Another option: buy a Cat wheeled machine and put VTS tracks on it.

ksss
01-08-2008, 05:26 PM
VTS system would probably provide a happy medium between suspended and rigid system but they are wide, perhaps too wide to work for you given the specs you gave. The VTS on my 440 is 79". It would also reduce some of the heavy depreciation costs we are seeing on the dedicated CTL/MTLs.

KPS
01-08-2008, 05:27 PM
Yes BC does have ride control. We thought about going the wheeled and VTS route but the consensus was that the wheeled machines aren't really meant to have VTS run on them full time.

ksss
01-08-2008, 05:34 PM
Yes BC does have ride control. We thought about going the wheeled and VTS route but the consensus was that the wheeled machines aren't really meant to have VTS run on them full time.

That is the million dollar question. I will find out at least for myself. I think if your doing grading and truck loading you would not see an issue. I do wonder about heavier excavating type work. I am relying on the fact that you don't hear many issues with either the VTS or the host machines. There are guys that have run them since they came out, fulltime on their machines and not have any issues with the skid steer drive train. I hope to be one of them.

KPS
01-08-2008, 05:43 PM
I wish you the best KSSS! I just heard of people running so hard that they shearer off the wheel studs;). Not too many contractors around here run them so its hard to tell how well they work. The VTS web site sure looks convincing though!!!

ksss
01-08-2008, 06:01 PM
Wheel studs I can live with. It is the axles, chains and the like that I don't want to buy.

bobcat_ron
01-08-2008, 06:21 PM
My 247B2 MTL is holding up better than I thought, I spent 3 days in gritty sand running back and forth moving sand in and out of a barn, and bull dozing 6 large piles of sand and in the heat of the fun, got the undercarriage buried in sand up to the final drives. I can provide photos of what my undercarriage looks like right now, there is no difference in what it looks like now as it did on the pics I posted of when I first demo'ed it. I have only washed the machine off 2 times since December 12/'07 and there is still no track slack or roller wear since taking on delivery of it.

In the 2 hours I spent "bulldozing", I got the final drives warm enough to see steam coming off the mud that was dripping off the inside of the tracks and the 247 kept begging for more. It is much more fuel efficient than my old T190, I got 6 hours on not even a full 17 gallon tank, whereas the T190 would have gone through that tank in 5 hours, my fuel tank times are getting better as I go through the hours. As it stands, I have 39.4 hrs on the service meter, all of which have been through crushed rock, mud, topsoil and gritty sand and numerous trips doing power turns on pavement.

I have only slightly altered my operating habits, I am now looking ahead of where the large rocks are to avoid driving over them, the suspended undercarriage is so much better, all of the track is on the ground and it helps keep you more comfortable and even my customers are amazed at the lack of vibrations coming from my machine as I whip back and forth.

As for vibrations in the cab, imagine you are driving your T190 over pavement with out any bucket or load on the front, just flat out high ballin' across and down the road, that's what it feels like when I'm carrying my 68" combo bucket with a full load of gravel 247B2 - if you did that with a conventional CTL, you'd be cussing.

I went through the same process as you are going through, I had to keep 66" of width and the VTS makes any machine too wide and those damn Deere's are just an inch to wide. Take a 257B2 for a spin for a week and see for yourself.

ksss
01-08-2008, 06:34 PM
I would only say BobcatRon that with less than a hundred hours it is still early in the "dance". When the "fat lady" starts singing, that is when it matters. Sorry, I guess I am a glass is half empty kinda guy.

KPS
01-08-2008, 07:01 PM
Bobcat_ron I am a believer:clapping:. I demo'd a 257B2 this summer and it was quiet, smooth, fast, powerful, and great visibility. A CAT is a top shelf piece no doubt but i just don't feel the track system will hold up as well.

bobcat_ron
01-08-2008, 07:27 PM
If you had problems with the Bobcat, why in the world would you even consider going back? I had major problems with hydraulic leaks and cooling problems, once I saw how Cat's fittings are made and how the cooling system works, I was hooked, there are better machines out there than Bobcat.

KPS
01-08-2008, 08:38 PM
I understand your point bobcat_ron, however, the service team at Matthews Bobcat always treated us fair and cut us a break on repairs after our warranty was up. Cat is better in most situations but a costly track system could be just as agravating as a rougher running, bullet proof one. Trust me though, the CAT is one heck of a nice machine, it must work good for them to stick with relatively same undercarriage for the last 5 years. Bobcat feels the same however as our salesman told us, Bobcat believes in their track system too. I am however not happy with the lack of foreward movement with BC technology as far as simply adding another roller as the only change in 8 years. A BC track will not de-laminate like a CAT track though, and any way you slice it steel makes anything stronger. I just want to make the correct decision cause I will be operating it for the next 4 or 5 years, a long time to be in the wrong machine.

bobcat_ron
01-08-2008, 09:25 PM
No kidding, I'm only going to be in my machine for 2 years, then I'm packing it in, all of it, it's a shame you don't want to go another 2 inches more, the Deere 322 is a real monster, it was 3rd on my list under Takeuchi.

kreft
01-08-2008, 09:46 PM
What do you mean packing in, going out of buisness or upgrading?

bobcat_ron
01-08-2008, 09:52 PM
Packing it ALL in, there's no way in hell there will be enough work here when the housing market gives up after the 2010 Olympics.

talus
01-08-2008, 10:16 PM
Ready.5 4 3 2 1 here comes Gravel Rat. Ha ha.

bobcat_ron
01-09-2008, 12:24 AM
Has GR even posted here in the past 2 weeks?!?!

talus
01-09-2008, 12:37 AM
I have no idea. That post just made me think of him and I couldn't't resist. It sounded gloom and doom and the sky is falling in the great white north.

ksss
01-09-2008, 01:27 PM
Where are you going to move to BC ron?

bobcat_ron
01-09-2008, 02:27 PM
I figure I'll just stick around for awhile, I have enough money set aside (still living at home) to take a vacation if and when I sell everything I'd like to see the rest of BC and hit the Alaskan Highway too.

qps
01-09-2008, 04:15 PM
Has GR even posted here in the past 2 weeks?!?!


Rumor has it GR moved to Rigby and is staying with a old war buddy..:laugh:

ksss
01-09-2008, 04:29 PM
Rumor has it GR moved to Rigby and is staying with a old war buddy..:laugh:


That is funny. However, it is untrue. My mom just moved in with us and too many moms spoils the stew.

JDSKIDSTEER
01-09-2008, 04:40 PM
I figure I'll just stick around for awhile, I have enough money set aside (still living at home) to take a vacation if and when I sell everything I'd like to see the rest of BC and hit the Alaskan Highway too.
You could always be an Ice Road Trucker.

bobcat_ron
01-09-2008, 05:33 PM
Too cold to pee out in the open, I don't want a "pee-cicle" hanging off my trowsers!

kreft
01-09-2008, 06:50 PM
What ever happened to "What happened to Mrusk" thread?

bobcat_ron
01-09-2008, 09:18 PM
It got sent to "deletion limbo".