Need actual user opinions on the CAT 236B Skid Steer

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by thepawnshop, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. thepawnshop

    thepawnshop LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 387

    I am seriously considering the Cat 236B and would like to hear from actual users about their satisfaction/dissatisfaction regarding that machine. I will be using the steer for basic construction duties...landscaping, digging out crawlspaces, moving scrap and snow removal. I am also considering the JOhn Deere 320 and the Bobcat S185. Any and all feedback positive or negative would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!

    Doug Brandt
    Brandt Custom Homes
    Roanoke, VA
     
  2. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Posts: 1,891

    I haven't had any experience but strongly suggest you compare more... for lack of a better word, comparable models: the 320 and S185 are vertical lift; the 236B is radual.

    You mentioned quite a bit of digging. I would suggest going up to a 246B size machine. This isn't to say the 236B is inadequate; the 246B will simply handle the job more efficiently.

    Of the three, I would go with either the Deere or the Cat. I don't believe the S185/175/205/160/150/T190/T180 are big enough of a machine for that size class.

    Between Deere and Cat... personally, I'd go with the Cat, but the Deere has a very, very nice ROC and stability going its way. Not to mention enough axle torque to push down the Sears Tower. All considered, however, I think the Cat is the better buy.
     
  3. thepawnshop

    thepawnshop LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 387

    Xing, first let me thank you for the quick response...you are an incredible asset not only to this board, but the "tractorbynet" board as well.


    As far as the 246B goes, as I see it, you are only getting 250lbs more ROC and a tipping load of 4,000 versus the 346b which has a tipping load of 3,500. Also the 246b has an additional 8 horsepower, but the rest of the stats including dimensions are identical. Please forgive my ignorance, but based on the 8 additional horsepower and 500 extra pounds of "tipping load" weight, how would that generate much more digging power.


    Doug Brandt
    Brandt Custom Homes
    Roanoke, VA
     
  4. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,218

    Doug, I have the 246. I use it for landscaping, moving skids of stone, sod, etc. I also have done a fair amount of digging with it, including some monster tree stumps. I don't have anything bad to say about the machine. My dealer has been great (H.O. Penn here in NY)
     
  5. Dodgemania

    Dodgemania LawnSite Member
    Posts: 97

    I posted on your other question. I own a 236B. The main thing your going to have on your side is dealer support. I'm not knocking any other machines but the great dealer support I got from Cat opening there doors after hours meeting me on job sites two counties away, and giving me loaners on the spot when mine has had troubles has far exceeded my expectations of them. Other companies may do that but I'd be a little surprised if they do. Big difference in power between A models and B models. Hope that helps
     
  6. Dodgemania

    Dodgemania LawnSite Member
    Posts: 97

    I don't know what kind of jobs you've tackled but I've been on jobs where I could have used a smaller skid loader. Thats just something to think about.
     
  7. thepawnshop

    thepawnshop LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 387

    Dodgemania I am wondering what you meant by saying that you could have used a smaller skid loader. Were you saying that the 236b was too big for certain jobs? I know it will be impossible to get into 6' openings with the stock wheels, but the dealer said that they have tired made for that application that gives you a bit more clearance. The only time that would be an issue would be like it was on my last house...we had framed the basement wall and still needed to get teh gravel inside and the skid wouldn't fit in the door...what a miserable mistake that I hope will never happen again!

    Thanks to all that post and hope to hear from more "Cat" owners. I plan on hitting the local John Deere dealership in the AM to check out their 320 model, though I do seem quite convinced that I am going to end up in the Cat...

    Doug Brandt
    Brandt Custom Homes
    Roanoke, VA
     
  8. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Posts: 1,891

    Okay, I get your post now. I was a little confused (it's getting late after a bit of hw) but okay.

    And actually, it was I who was mistaken... I'm far too used to Bobcat and Case nomenclature... you are right, the 236B and 246B share the same chassis. :duh: In that case, you might not notice much of a different between the two. However, as the 246B does weigh a little more and does have more horsepower available, you may notice a difference in pushing power. Where the 236B may spin its wheels, the 246B *may* be able to get through. That's pure assumption, of course, but it might be worthy of a demo. The extra 500 lbs. is essentially the weight of the bucket -- that much less of a headache if you're working on a slope.

    Your original point is stil valid -- the performance increase of the 246B is essentially only in the engine tweaking. If you have the time to demo a 246B vs. a 236B, I'd recommend it.

    Last of all, as a plug for Bobcat (not affiliated at all), the S220 is a large machine that will do great work as well. [That is all.]
     
  9. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Posts: 1,891

    My first reply disappeared... :(

    Doug -- thanks for your comments. You and ksss both were very gracious in your words, but please keep in mind I am still a student. I have no experience actually diggin' in the dirt so really can't be much help in that matter. I'm trying to get on a skid steer, but until then, I'll have to stick with being a numbers-person (which really doesn't mean much anyhow).

    Dodge's point is a good one. Digging garages may necessitate a smaller machine; I know Bobcat offers an "inset wheel rim" option on their machines, and I am sure Cat does as well -- just with a different name. You might consider looking into that. Keep in mind that lateral stability will be affected by a change in width.

    The Deere 320 or 317 -- I have yet to be convinced that Deere skids are up to their hype. They have huge engine horsepower and huge breakout force and huge axle torque (heck huge everything) but... if their machines are so much better, you'd assume everyone would just start throwing gargantuan engines and pumps in the machines. Not the case. But go for it -- the Deere probably won't disappoint and the dealer will probably be very eager to sell some skids for a change. Keep in mind that if you do lifting comparisons, the 300 Deeres are vertical lift... you will notice a difference if you try to lift 5,000 pounds. The Deere may well lift it...

    I'm attaching a few files for your consideration.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. TerraFirma Excavating

    TerraFirma Excavating LawnSite Member
    Posts: 163

    thepawnshop,

    If you are looking for a skidsteer loader for general construction site duties and are not worried about size constaints, I'd go for the largest, most powerful one you can afford. Then look at the next one up in size and price and see if you can swing the extra money :)

    I purchased the 773T (now the S185) for what sounds like the same purposes you are looking for. The machine does great and I use it for everything. I love the vertical lift path and would not own another machine without it. I does somewhat restrict visibility to the sides, but offers better truck loading. I didn't realize how rough the ride was until I used my brother-in-laws 873. Wow, a world of difference. His wheelbase is 48.8" vs. my 40.6". That extra 8" really smooths out the ride in rough terrain. If I had to purchase another skidsteer right now, it's would be the S250, S300, or possible the A300. I see the Cat 246B's wheelbase is 45", so I don't know how this compares with the longer Bobcat's wheelbase for a smoother ride. Rated Operating Capacity, HorsePower, and weight are all important factors, but I think wheelbase is one that is very easily overlooked and is critcal to operator comfort.

    Personally, my business is migrating more towards landclearing and prep work of larger areas, so I am looking at a T300 because of the tracks, increased HP, and more hydraulic flow for attachments.
     

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