View Full Version : How to pick a skid steer

08-30-2004, 07:55 PM
I have never owned or operated a skid steer, but am now looking to buy a small used unit. What do a look for mechinically, motor wise& etc...? Looking for a unit to lift approx 500 lbs...what types of units to stay away from? Any input would be appreciated.

08-30-2004, 11:26 PM
500 pounds? That's it? Anything about the size of a Bobcat S130, Cat 216, Case 1825B, New Holland Ls125 or 120, Bobcat MT52, will do.

I want to elaborate a little more... but got to get going for the moment. Basically, the smaller units are compact skid steers built to fit in small spaces.

In the meantime -- I would suggest taking a look in the other SSL threads. They might help a bit. Good luck!

09-03-2004, 12:00 PM
Having taken another look at your original post, anything in the realm of a Bobcat 463 or 553 will suffice for your needs. The 463 should be enough as it lifts 600 pounds; the 950 lbs of the 553 might be more than you need (though it won't hurt). The MT52 is a stand-on/walk-behind unit that doesn't lift as much (520 lbs), but if you are really pressed for space, it'll be a bit better than the 463.

There really isn't all that much out there in terms of the smallest skids. The Bobcats I mentioned and the New Holland Ls120 and 125 (125 is diesel and lifts a bit more than the 120, but mostly the same) are about it for sit-type loaders. (That is, ones with cabs.)

There are, however, many companies that make stand-on machines -- Vermeer, Ditch Witch, Bobcat, Kanga, and Ramrod to name a few. Again, those are the stand-on types -- ones without a cab.

09-03-2004, 08:07 PM
I have a small tree service and don't do the large trees because I don't want to have to deal with employees. I was just wanting to get a small skid steer to help speed up some of the jobs I do. Was just trying to make sure I don't buy a lemon. But I do appreciate any information I can get.

09-03-2004, 10:04 PM
Here, try thishttp://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=76501 (http://)
(hope this works)

I guess it doesn't. Go back a few pages and find the thread titled
"MT 52". That should give you some useful info.

09-04-2004, 07:38 PM
Sounds like you're more in the market for a used tractor. Now I'm assuming with a tree service you'll be working with clients that have established landscapes, a job that a tractor suits a little better, mainly because you're not going to tear the grass to pieces. Now, you can run skid steers on grass and not mess up the grass too much, and yes you can turn on the grass, but it's just slow and annoying with a skid and you have to think about every move you make. For someone that doesn't need a dedicated "earth mover" or serious attachment afficionado, I'd say a smaller tractor will do you just fine.

09-05-2004, 07:36 PM
Scag48 makes a good point. A tractor may be more suited for your needs than would be a skid steer.

09-29-2004, 06:04 AM
I just picked up a Bobcat 553, 02 model with 700 hours on it. I wanted to put a grapple bucket on it but the weight of it takes up more then half of its lifting capacity. So I was looking on e-bay and a guy has a grapple attachment that mounts on the bucket but requires a flow control ( don't know what that is). Is this a good route to go, or any better ideas? Thanks

09-29-2004, 11:52 AM
Flow control should be aux hyd where you can adjust the amount of flow going to the attachment -- that is, rather than on or off, you can feather in between.

Smaller machines are limited in what they can handle attachment-wise. Be careful if you order the attachment. I would suggest renting one to see how it handles, then purchase it.

09-29-2004, 02:06 PM
I bought the Bobcat construction grapple and it is nice to have ( I only use it on my land ) but I am getting frustrated by the aux. hyd. hoses. I have only used the Grapple for approx. 25 hours and I have busted the hoses 4 times plus broken of the metal pipes on the grapple itself.
I also use Grouser tracks so there is not that much clearance,

I thought I had fixed it by making a big D bracket ( 12 inches ) to keep the hoses out of the tracks but no such luck so now I am thinking about re-routing the hoses so the stay on top of the Grapple.

Anyone else have these problems,

09-29-2004, 11:48 PM
Are the hoses breaking under hydraulic pressure or because they're getting caught in the stuff you're grappling?

09-30-2004, 02:16 PM
They get caught. One time I had a stick getting caugth in the tracks sticking out far enough to tear both hoses.

10-01-2004, 12:27 AM
Interesting. You might have to clamp the hoses down somehow. You might try contacting Bobcat so they can address the issue.

In the meantime -- good luck!

TerraFirma Excavating
10-01-2004, 02:38 AM
I rented Bobcat's industrial fork grapple once before and was really impressed with it for picking up brush and depositing it in a burn pile. I was even utilizing it to move logs. It was great, right up until the point when I pinched the hose between the loader arm and the bobtach. It was Memorial Day weekend about 5 PM Saturday, so I couldn't get a replacement hose until Tuesday morning when I was returning the attachment. Needless the say I had a full load of logs in the grapple and had to cut them out with my chainsaw. A better hose guide system would be great for my SSL.

I saw a hose guide (basically a loop made out of cold roll steel) for sale on eBay a few months ago. Looks like it bolted to the loader arm and provided better control of the hoses. I can't find it on eBay right now and even searched on Google with no success, but you might keep your eye out or ask your dealer for something similar if you frequently have problems with your hoses.

TerraFirma Excavating
10-01-2004, 02:45 AM

Congrats on the purchase. So far (I now it's too soon), how does it fit your needs? I know first hand that later you (me too) always wish you had bought bigger even if your needs are smaller now. With the 553, you can always buy bigger later and keep the 553 for the applications that really need a smaller machine.

I have been considering a smaller machine (if the price is right) for certain jobs. I was thinking of a 453, but my salesman said they are tiny and even difficult to fit in the operators seat. I may have to look at the 553 also. I rented a MT50 a few weeks ago and was really impressed by it and may end up going this route.

What were you planning on using a grapple for? Their may be other solutions depending on your needs.

10-01-2004, 12:13 PM
Two notes, TerraFirma.

First, now that you have both demonstrated that the grapple's hydraulic lines are poorly designed, it'd definitely be wise to talk to Bobcat about it. Go through your dealer if they are reputable; otherwise, get in contact with the attachments manager at Bobcat. (That might not be the exact title.)

Second, the 453 is no longer manufactured. It was replaced by the 463 in 2002 or 2004. The 463 isn't significantly bigger than the 453 (I believe it's actually the same physical size), but has a stronger engine and hydraulic pump. I have sat in the cab a few times and didn't feel it to be cramped. The salesman might not make such a large profit off the 463, so that may be a reason he wants you to move up. Along the same lines, the MT50 has been upgraded to the MT52 with changes in travel motors, operator controls, and lift arm design.

Good luck, both of you.

10-01-2004, 02:49 PM
I did send a note to Bobcat and they referred me to the dealer plus they
notified the dealer about my problem. I got the notion that Bobcat would prefer to have the dealer work with me to fix the problem. Besides some suggestion to protect the hoses with some heavy duty water pump hose they had no suggestions. I already have some spiral over the hoses.
I will try Ebay for the metal pipe

10-01-2004, 07:23 PM
It's typical of a company to send you to the dealer. Keep watch on the product. Bobcat will start shipping units with your idea in them but will take credit for it.

Hope things work out.

10-02-2004, 02:58 AM
Cat already has Bobcat beat with hose guiding. Our Cat came with a simple loop, but with our Harley rake we're runner larger diameter hoses and they wouldn't fit in the loop, so our dealer custom fabricated a new setup. They took the loop, cut the long end of the "D" (loop) in half so you have 2 "L"s and staggered the height. Works pretty well, just slip the hoses through the side versus having to feed them through the loop.

10-02-2004, 04:54 PM
It's too soon to tell, but I do have a problem with moving the pedals (legs too long) I think there is some adjustment to them. The grapple would help with loading logs, can't find one that is light enough though, so my welder is making one that will bolt onto the top of the bucket. I will let you know in about 2 weeks if I bought the right size, the biggest reason I went with a smaller unit is less hours & demand .