277's are awesome machines, that is of course if you NEED one. We used ours a lot the first 3 months we had it, did a few jobs that the 277 proved to be absolutely crucial in job success, yet when you don't need the extra traction you've paid a ton more money for something a wheeled machine could provide. Do I think suspended undercarriages are expensive to maintain? Not at all. There isn't anything more complicated there than any other machine other than the torsion bars and there haven't been very many, if any claims of torsion bar failure at less than 2,500 hours, more hours than a single owner would keep the machine anyway.. If anyone tries to tell me there's more to break than Bobcat's machine they are simply ignorant. There's a few more rollers but big deal, those are repairs that are done in thousand hour intervals. Truth of the matter is suspended undercarriage machine puts more power to the ground as the undercarriage contours with uneven terrain. I am absolutely confident that you can do more with a suspended carriage vs. unsuspended and if you can take advantage of the higher productivity that suspended machines provide then you shouldn't be complaing whatsoever when it comes to replacing the tracks as Cat's replacements are more expensive then unsuspended systems. Here's what it really comes down to: If you're on the fence about choosing wheeled or tracked you're better of going with an unsuspended machine. They are cheaper (as they're not built by Cat), the maintenance is a little less, and I think you can be harder on them without causing too much damage. I think unsuspended is the way to go if you're not running the machine yourself. For us, we're owner/operators, we service the machine, we do all our own maintenance so we can keep a much closer eye on our equipment. That's the difference. And when it really came to putting the hammer down on getting a job done, the 277 didn't let us down. As long as you know the machine you're operating, how to operate it correctly, you're going to get more life out of. I think most guys complaining about high undercarriage maintenance is due to misuse or abusive operation, you simply cannot run Cat/ASV machines like a skid steer at all.
This is all assuming that you actually need a tracked machine. I kinda laugh at the guys getting into the biz and thinking right off the bat they need a tracked machine when they've never run a wheeled skid. Until you try both at similar tasks you're never going to know if you can get away with a wheeled machine or not. For us, with the jobs we were doing, no way a wheeled machine would do it. The sandy terrain we work in is fine and good until you need to push heavy loads, then you're sunk. We basically replaced a dozer and backhoe with our 277 and it did a great job for us.
Go hard, go fast, or go home
Last edited by Scag48; 10-10-2006 at 03:26 AM.