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297C observations part 1

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by ccstrebe, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. ccstrebe

    ccstrebe LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 576

    Finally got to put her in the dirt today. Spent about three hours learning the ins and outs of my new machine.

    The suspended undercarriage performs exactly as I had hoped for out at the track. The things that I do out there that would have jarred your teeth and slammed you around in a CTL are handled by the Cat as if they wern't even there. I was a little worried about some of the comments of the body flexing from the undercarriage because of the torsion axles and how some people didn't like that. For me it actually seems to help when doing finish work with the bucket. Again, it just seems to float around as I'm using it.

    When you do a 180 in the soft dirt with the Cat the ground is only disturbed half as much as with a CTL.

    There is one jump with a steep face that the 450 would almost stall on, the Cat takes it just fine. It might be because the Cat is a few hundered pounds lighter, I dont know.

    The foot throttle is very easy to use, unlike the 450CT which had such a stiff foot throttle that it was unusable. Which doesn't make sense because the 440 I owned before that had a very easy to use foot throttle.

    The glass door is a lot stiffer than the poly door. It has a nice solid feel to it when opening and closing the door.

    I like how the seat height is about a foot higher than the Case was. I don't know about the seat height on other machines.

    The Ac was awesome. It was 109 today and after about a half hour on high I had to turn the blower motor down a notch to the middle setting. I have read in the past on here where there were complaints about the design of Cats AC ducting causing the lower half of the cab to get too cold and upper half of the cab not getting enough cold. I think that would be the case if all six vents are left open. What I wound up doing was to close the four bottom vents and adjust the two top vents to blow up into the cab and everything was fine.

    One area that Case has the Cat beat is the mounting plate/hydro coupler area. When trying to attach to the bucket or an implement the visibility is nowhere near as good as the Case. Once you are attached the visibility problem is quickly forgotten but it is not quite as smooth of an operation as it is with the Case. No big deal, though.

    I have a huge issue with the side windows. The concept seems to be fine but the implementation is faulty. They vibrate very bad and are very noisy. I was in pretty dusty conditions and they seemed to be sealed fine, no dust got in. The problem is the middle track that the sliding doors slide on, it floats on top of the bottom glass and is not fixed to anything allowing it to vibrate. It is probably a function of being able to take out all the glass for cleaning but I cant believe this is an acceptable design. When I demoed in San Diego I heard the vibrating but I thought it was the screen vibrating not the glass track. Now I know what Yellowdog was talking about. I already have a couple of things in mind on how to fix it, shouldn't be too hard.

    The ability to choose between Cat controls or Case controls is a great feature but to have to choose everytime the machine is started is very annoying. In my mind once a control is selected it should stay with that control until a new one is selected.

    E/H controls: There seems to be a lot of opinions on them, here is mine.

    There have been comments on how people didn't feel like they were productive and thought that the controls were inconsistent. One comment that I read was that they thought Cat was catering to everyday people. I think that it is exactly the opposite. These controls are very precise and the amics gives you even more precision and it takes a skilled person to operate them productively.

    Lets say that you have two inches of lever travel to move the arm up. If you just slam it all the way over like I would do in the Case it is going to seem to be jerky and slam hard, but when you learn that the first one inch of lever travel is very precise and you don't go past that first inch of travel you have a very smooth and controlled operation. This is where the amics comes into to play. The amics controls how fast the bucket or arm moves in that first one inch not the second inch. It is almost like the lever has two stages in each direction, stage one is controlled and stage two is full speed ahead and you better hang on.

    I feel like I have much more control now. Of course I'm using the Case control pattern which in my mind complements the amics.

    I also read the comments about the hesitation and how people didn't like that. Just to be clear, the hesitation is in the forward/backward motions not the bucket and arm motions. I experienced the hesitation and I suspect that it is built into the system so as not to rip off the lugs on the tracks. It didn't bother me at all, in fact I like it because there are times where I do a lot of real short and quick forward and backward operations in quick succesion and if there wasnt that hesitation it would be real jerky, but with the built in hesitation it now becomes a very smooth operation and in my mind less abusive on the running train.

    That's all I got for now. I can't believe it took two and a half hours to write this up. Part two will be on how she performs with the implements and the laser.

    KSSS wanted me to include the bad stuff too so here it is, I have already developed a leak somewhere on the right drive side, I'll take it in first thing in the morning. I'll have to use that half ton.
     
  2. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Posts: 3,752

    I had that same leak but it was never resolved. Though I have sold back my 272c, I got a recall notice in the mail yesterday. It is for auxiliary hydraulic pump or joystick or something like that. Have them check it out while it's in the shop to save you an extra trip.
    My thought on the windows was to remove the sliding windows and have a cut to fit lexan made to mount outside the mesh. It could then be sealed and there is still tolerance if you use a 1/4" lexan. Only issue would be cleaning it from inside the cab. Would take hose down and the CAT cab doesn't like that with the fabric seat.
    Good luck on the dust. Mine started off fine too but the rattles got worse. I would double, even triple check after that cab is lifted that it seated good on the AC evaporator under the cab. See if the snorkel kits are ready, too, to keep your air intake out of the dust which may help extend filter life.
    good luck. They are not bad machines but just have some issues to work out. The controls are excellent especially with the amics. I especially like that you can dial in the boom lift speed. Makes for precise movement when unloading bulky or overloaded pallets even if RPM's are up.
    I do miss the CAT seat. 24 hours in rocky terrain this week made me want to install a whoopee cushion under my seat!
     
  3. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    Can you lay some truck canopy weather stripping foam under or in the tracks from the windows to tighten them up? The foam I used on my cab seal project is actually kinda slippery if the plastic cover isn't peeled off, and it's only about 1/8" thick.
     
  4. ccstrebe

    ccstrebe LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 576

    The glass seems tight enough. The vibration of that bottom glass track seems to be caused by the resonation of the tracks and not being fixed at the ends, it doesn't do it at all times but when it happens it's annoying.

    I was thinking about making some kind of bracket to actually attatch the ends of that floating rail.
     
  5. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    What about using the foam that I used and sticking it to the side screens of the cab, that way it tightens then up side to side at least.
     
  6. MackCat

    MackCat LawnSite Member
    Posts: 158

    I have a new 2008 297C and i had terrible vibrations in the cab glass. Dealer came out and said there was definetly a problem so they took my machine in and they found that the tracks were too tight I thought that they were crazy until i drove the machine could not believe the difference. my dealer said that they have had a few other complaints with the same problem they said they were going to contact Cat to tell them. My tracks were adjusted just like the manual said.You May want to have them look at yours, also I got a recall in the mail today for the high flow wire harness
     
  7. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    I have never had my windows vibrate, the machine does vibrate when driving empty over pavement, but the windows stay steady, track tension would play alot in that problem.
     
  8. MackCat

    MackCat LawnSite Member
    Posts: 158

    My Windows would vibrate so bad I thought they were going to jump out. The Left side was worse,the track adjuster even vibrated loose. After they loosened the tracks it was like night and day what a difference! I was concerned about running them looser but I haven`t Had any problems
     
  9. ccstrebe

    ccstrebe LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 576

    Thanks, I'll look into that.

    That's a good idea. I forgot to mention that the vibration motion was a side to side motion.
     
  10. Junior M

    Junior M LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,539

    And where are the pics?
     

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