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tbach
08-26-2004, 12:53 AM
First, this is not a "who makes the best skid loader" thread - I've got a couple very specific questions I'd like answered so try to stay on topic please :)

I'm looking at a Cat 246B skid loader. I'm also demo'ing a Case 90XT. I much prefer the Cat's controls, mainly because the loader joystick works exactly like the joystick on a tractor's front-end loader. However, I'm a little curious as to whether or not I'll be able to use the Cat to effectively move materials around the job site.

Capacities on the Cat are as follows:

Rated Operating Capacity: 2000 lb.
Rated Operating Capacity with Counterweight: 2100 lb. (is that all you gain?)
Tipping Load: 4000 lb.
Breakout Force, Tilt Cylinder: 5484 lb.
Breakout Force, Lift Cylinder: 4657 lb.

The first question is, which of these capacities is the best indicator of how much you can actually lift? My guess is that the limiting factor would be the Tipping Load, followed by the Breakout Force on the Lift Cylinder? I'm assuming that "Rated Operating Capacity" is not necessarily indicative of what you can actually carry on the end of the arm - is this correct?

Secondly, can anyone with a Cat 246B (or similiarly-sized model, please check capacities) tell me if I can unload a pallet of brick, Versa-Lok, or pavers? These are the heaviest pallets we come across on the job site and I'm hoping to be able to move them occasionally with this skid-steer.

Thanks for the help, I know this is a pretty specific question but it's very important for us!

Tigerotor77W
08-26-2004, 12:25 PM
First question: none of them are excellent indicators of what the machine can lift. ROC is simply half of tipping load usually, but sometimes manufacturers will screw around with their tipping loads. Kinda odd, no, that most machines have very clearly defined tipping loads? Like at 4001 lbs, the machine will tip, but at 3999, it won't? The only way to figure out what your machine will lift is to lift with it. Besides -- the Cat 246 might have the same ROC as the Deere 320, but most likely, the 320 will be more stable.

Breakout force -- Deere claims its 332 has a breakout force of 11,600 lbs. That's more than the 9400 (max) the machine weights w/o counterweights. Okay, so if you dig, you raise the rear of the machine. Not a good way to judge, either.

ROC -- no, you can lift more than the ROC unless you are using like a Bobcat 743 which can barely handle its own bucket. (That's mean; I'm sorry.)

Second question: you might find yourself front-heavy with a 246B for that machine, lifting those loads. Counterweights should solve the problem; or just do with a larger machine (not necessarily physically larger; for example, the 257 will handle those loads without difficulty, as will the 267 and 277.)

I am NOT saying you can't go by those numbers to figure out what machine you want. If you know you need to lift pallets that are roughly 2500 lbs, you obviously don't want a 1350-rated ROC machine. However, if you want extra stability, the ROC won't tell you everything. It takes a demo to figure out which one your want. Have one of those "heaviest" pallets out there and demo the machines -- usually alphabetically works well if you wan to try everything. Keep in mind that lifting ability is not the only thing -- servicability is another major factor. Don't get a machine that can lift like none other but can't be serviced. (Hydramac, for example.)

Good luck -- hope that helped somewhat. (Sorry I can't provide details on the actual lifting ability of the 246.)

(And I purposely left out the "B" designation on Cat's machines.)

Tigerotor77W
08-26-2004, 12:29 PM
This doesn't follow your original guidelines of staying on topic -- but I'm curious.

On that note, why have you limited your options to only Cat and Case, and why the 246B and not, say, the 262B?

If you are looking for a radial machine... the 90XT is probably the best out there. The Bobcat S220 may be a little cheaper but it also offers the Cat-style hand controls.

AL Inc
08-26-2004, 12:55 PM
I've got the 246 and have moved skids of sod and Penn wall stone with no problems. I don't do a lot of brick and paver work, so I'm not much help to you there. My feeling would be probably not a full skid, but remove a few from the top and it will lift it. I've had my Cat since April and I've been very happy with my decision. Dealer service has been excellent, also. If you can afford it, and do enough brick work, go for the bigger machine.

tbach
08-26-2004, 06:38 PM
Thanks for the input guys.

I'm starting to look pretty hard at the Cat 262B. It seems that the Cat salesguy assumed I'd be doing a lot of digging and pointed me to the 246B because he claimed the 262 was "too ass-heavy" to dig well. I'm not sure that I agree, but at any rate I explained the situation as follows:

We are real-estate developers/general contractors. In other words, we build buildings but only for ourselves. The projects range from office buildings to multi-family residential developments. We generally subcontract everything, except for our apartment maintenance and a single laborer.

Because of this, the machine we buy has to serve a variety of needs. We often find ourselves with a need to shuttle materials around the job site, grade construction entrances, clean up the job site, remove snow, and sweep the street with an angle broom. We would also find it cost-effective to offer the use of our machine if a sub would otherwise have to rent one. We save not only the rental fee (over and above what it costs us to run ours) but also the contractor's markup.

So in other words, this has to be a do-it-all machine with an emphasis on material handling.

With this in mind, does the 262B sound like a better choice to you guys? Do the salesman's "ass-heavy" comments have any bearing on the situation? I find it hard to believe that a 262 couldn't dig a pretty good hole if I wanted it to :)

As for why I've limited my options, I really *really* like the Cat controls, and the local dealer has a reputation for good service. The Case dealer has a good repuatation as well, but I'm not so much a fan of the controls.

AL Inc
08-26-2004, 07:22 PM
Not sure if "ass-heavy" is a good or bad thing. I would think it would be a good thing when you are lifting and moving materials. A friend of mine has the 262 and has no problem digging.

Scag48
08-26-2004, 11:04 PM
Your ROC is about what you can lift about halfway through the lift cycle, maybe a little higher. Our 216 is rated for 1400 but will lift around 2000 lbs. at ground level pretty easy.

Tigerotor77W
08-27-2004, 04:19 PM
I wouldn't think that the 262 would be too ass-heavy. He is probably trying to show you away from a vertical lift machine because they tend to require more repairs. More bushings and the like would require more maintenance. However, I'm not sure that's still the case these days... seeing as how the 90XT has more bushings than any other skid on the market. :rolleyes:

I think you have eliminated Bobcat from your potential list, but the Bobcat S220 is rated at 2200 lbs (2300 with counterweights) and has as an option the Cat style hand controls. It is radial lift but should be able to handle your pallets fine.

Again, strongly suggest demo'ing the machines. Scag's comment is pretty accurate for radial lift machines; vertical lift machines will lift a little higher before tipping.

ksss
08-28-2004, 09:59 PM
If you plan to really work the machine I would hands down pick the 90XT. It is bigger, faster, more capacity and more powerful, faster cycle times and they hold their value. The only downside to this machine is it weighs almost 10K so you wont be pulling with a 1/2 ton pickup. However, you can get all the comforts with this machine (AC, hydraulic QC, 3000 or 5000 psi high flow system) I would be sure to spec. "ride control" if you order one. When activated it allows the loader arms to work like a shock absorber makes moving pallets or full bucket loads of material much easier and increases the comfort level of the operator. Liking the controls is important, but don't forget your buying a skid steer to get something done. I would compare both machines and see which preforms for you better. I much prefer the CASE controls to the CAT but after 10 years of CASE controls I wont be switching to another control pattern. I have a 70XT which has a 2K operating capacity. Lifting pallets of block off the trailer is touchy. If doing it all the time I would spec. a a larger machine.

Tigerotor77W
08-29-2004, 10:08 PM
Very good points, ksss. For yet another time: definitely make sure to demo the machineS before buying one.

UNISCAPER
09-04-2004, 08:44 PM
We have both the 246 and a 257B loader along with a TH300 to reach the tops of walls we build. We also run several pieces of Cat steel tracked equipment.
Our work, along with landscape and swimming pool construction is engineered, geo grid reinforced segmental walls and site grading. We have no issue with either machine lifting pallets off flatbed semis and carting them off the the trenches. The 257B also has a 6 way blade that we can side slope on 3 or 4-1 angles with little trouble at all. If I had my druthers, I would want 30 more HP, and as soon as we get out of warrantee, I am turning the injection pump to get what we need.
Case makes a great machine. We buy only Caterpillar here, would not even consider loooking at another brand as long as they make a model in the size we need. The one exception being a 463 Bobcat which when using the 36" kit, we can get in to dig pools where others need to be craned into the back yards.

The one option we are going to get when we trade the 257 for a C model in 3 years is a cab with air. Not because of the temperature, it rarely gets under 40 here, nor over 85, the issue is dirt and dust filtration. Turn the air on, and it is filtered . Get out at night and your pants are clean.

Right now, Cat is offering 3 years at 0%, which is pretty hard to beat. If you do go with a Cat, make sure you take the instruction class on opewration and maintenance. The $250.00 you pay (they did 2 of our guys for $250.00) is well worth the run time vs down time. Also make sure if the radiator gets low you use only Cat anti freeze, which is pink in color, otherwise you could void the warrantee...Your sales person should inform you of all that.