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Skid Steer Thoughts

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Barrett Landscaping, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. Barrett Landscaping

    Barrett Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,603

    Thinking of eventually buying a skid steer and would like some input. I am most likely going to be getting a bobcat s250 or new holland 180 sized machine. I would be using it for landscape installs, loading trucks at the shop, and eventually snow work. I know that wheels are ALOT less expensive and maintenance intensive but I want to have tracks as well to not year up yards as much. I have found a few companies that make rubber, not metal over the tire tracks and was wondering if anyone has experience with them and how they do on traction and ground disturbance. Thanks.
  2. Bigred350

    Bigred350 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 779

    Over the tire tracks are old school. Find you a nice CTL machine and don't look back. Plus you can make more money with a tracked machine.
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  3. Barrett Landscaping

    Barrett Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,603

    I know that the CTL will be more effective for landscape installs, however, I know that they cost alot more to upkeep and that they are awful in snow from what I have heard. The only two options that I know of are over the tire tracks (rubber ones in this case) and then VTS tracks. The downside of the VTS is that it takes a long time to switch them over versus over the tire tracks. I just want to get a machine that will best suit my needs. Also, what is considered a good amount of hours for my first skid to have? Ive seen machines from no hours to over 5,000.
  4. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    No one has conclusivley proved that a CTL is more expensive too own than a wheeled machine except for in extreme situations.
  5. Barrett Landscaping

    Barrett Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,603

    I've always heard and just assumed it due to it being more expensive to maintain the undercarriage of a CTL over just replacing tires on a wheeled skid.
  6. bobcatexc

    bobcatexc LawnSite Senior Member
    from IL
    Posts: 272

    I started out I had steel tracks for years which worked fine except when crossing driveways and other sensitive areas. I later bought a used set of Solideal rubber tracks thinking it would be a less expensive alternative than buying a CTL. It worked fine until after running it for a year or two and started putting a lot of stress on the axles and drive chains. The rubber tracks will not allow material to fall out of it as easy which makes the tracks super tight, which puts wear on your axle bearings and puts more stress on the chains trying to turn the wheels and tight tracks. Once I seen what was happening I took the tracks off and sold the tractor, and found a good low hour CTL and have never looked back. Don't waste your time with the rubber tracks, it seems like a good idea but it don't work, plus I had heavy duty sidewall tires and they tear the hell out of the sidewalls.
  7. Premier Landscaping

    Premier Landscaping LawnSite Member
    from ND
    Posts: 81

    VTS is not a bad option, especially when using it as a only machine. We have two machines with VTS for the summer and wolf paws snow tires for the winter. Depending on the brand of machine some of the VTS machines can get really wide is a big downfall for some machines. We run them on 252 Cats so they are only 78" wide so a deckover trailer is not needed. I will say I prefer our 259 and will probably only buy CTL's from this point over the VTS units, but that's due to not needing any more snow removal units we have 4 wheeled skids for the winter and a our loader, and not looking to do more snow than they can take on. But if you do a lot of hours of snow removal, and only have the funds for one machine I would recommend the VTS. After you get used to changing them out its not a big deal to swap them, we can put them on and off pretty fast.
  8. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    From who? Actual owners are the the internet?

    No one ever factors in tire costs, lost time due too flats. lost revenue due too wet conditions, productivity, etc in factoring the difference in operating expense.
  9. swanny

    swanny LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 656

    OTT rubber tracks don't have the support in the middle between the tires to keep the weight distributed like a track machine does. You'll find they still will rut a yard up, but not as much as tires do. Plus, they tend to wear a lot faster than steel tracks, making your cost per hour go up pretty quickly.

    The 12 or 13" narrow tracks on a CTL like Takeuchi will still leave trails in a soft yard. One or two gentle turns in the same area and you'll be fine, more than that and you'll leave your mark. You'll have to go to a wider track like ASV, VTS, or a wide ctl track system to really benefit working in people's yards.

    VTS can make your machine heavier and wider than you want for towing it. Ground speed will be slowed due to gear reduction. Parts are expensive, unless you have the means to chase down bearing replacement from a NAPA or similar. Can put a lot of stress on the single drive chain, unless you go with unit from CAT set up from the factory with dual drive sprockets and chains.

    CTL track replacement availability is getting more competitive every year, so the prices are dropping.

    If you buy smart on a CTL (used, low hours, durable make and model), it shouldn't cost you much on operating expenses. If you don't have employees operating your machines you could take the risk and go for a newer 247 cat MTL.
  10. Barrett Landscaping

    Barrett Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,603

    Thanks for the responses everyone! Im glad that people are finally explaining to me why the tracks wont work comparied to a CTL. So for a first time CATL what would be a reasonable amount of hours to buy one with?

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