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CTL's are the Devil: Fact or Myth?

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by stuvecorp, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. stuvecorp

    stuvecorp LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,246

    I have limited experience on the costs or problems of CTL's and so far my experience with the MTL(RC30) and VTS has been good. So what is the truth with the CTL's? The resale is horrendous, is that fair? I complain about the ride but with a more forgiving track and if ride control was an option, would it be 'good enough'? I'm curious to hear from guys that have more hours with them and some viewpoints from the sales guys.
  2. curtisfarmer

    curtisfarmer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 511

    I posted this on the current T300 track thread:

    I am still amazed at how much tracked machines cost to run.....new tracks at 1,00o hrs. I hear horror stories that include new sprockets, rollers, and other stuff adding up huge. I run 2 Kubota L48s (TLB) and a KX121-3 and always argue (friendly) with friends in MA who run Bobcats as to what is better. They work in tighter situations but nothing my machines cannot do. When told of $8-9+K in track/ UC repairs, the discussion gets animated. My operating costs are less than 1/2 of a tracked machine with = performance. Granted there are some areas each type of machine is better, but overall I am amazed at how many people run tracked machines for applications where another machine would be better and cheaper. I love my Kubota TLBs, very versatile. I will usually bring the KX121-3 and a L48 to a job site and have everything covered. Looking forward to Kubotas CTL even though I will never buy one.
  3. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Messages: 4,281

    TLB's are wonderful but they are in no way comparable to a CTL when it comes to moving dirt in terms of production.
  4. curtisfarmer

    curtisfarmer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 511

    I would say a TLB (full size meaning 8-10K lbs.) such as HST L48/ M59 is about 90% of the capacity in shear pile push over force of a CTL, but I find the TLBs more productive in most other dirt tasks especially having grader blade, rake or some other implement on 3PT in most other circumstances. I would like to see a tracked machine with optional hoe!! Compound that with high initial purchase cost and higher operating costs it doesn't work for me. I know alot of people are CTL guys and that is great, excellent machines. *trucewhiteflag* The versatility of what I do requires a more functional machine. This is probably a topic for another thread.:drinkup:

    The tracked machines sure are cool, I love having the KX for my tracks required situations.
  5. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Messages: 4,281

    I am one of the few people that has no need for a wheeled skid steer.
    The reality is a machine should make you money, hopefully lots of it so if it is really a big deal that your machine brought 25k rather than 18k on trade in maybe you are in the wrong business.
    A machine's primary purpose in life and it's most important reason to purchase is it's ability to generate income and that means moving material which generates income. Ride, resale value, cost of ownership, etc are secondary. This may bristle a few feathers but I just feel that often people bias there opinions to suit there color and so that there purchases are justified and the ultimate need to be proven right. For some people change is not good.LOL

    I could not have done 50% of my work this year with a tired machine. Sure I could have spent 15k extra for tracks but we all see the resale of the setups so I cannot fathom why it would be a viable alternative without even taking into consideration the fact that no one know's what the long term operating costs of that setup will be or what damage it will do to the machine.
    I also could go steel tracks over tires but I spent time on lawns, streets and concrete. Just not a viable solution.
    So I bought a track machine. It starts every day and works in all climates and conditions. I never have to think twice of whether I may need different tires, steel tracks, VTS, blah blah blah. I just go to work. When I get done I load the machine up and come home.
    At a 1000 hours I will spend about 3500 dollars. Take the cost of your tires from that and then thats what I will spend more than you. If anyone here cannot justify spending that on a machine after 1000 hours frankly you are in the wrong business. Plus I do not get flat tires , do less damage to lawns and unless your using your machine to haul loose material around a job site I will be way more productive. Even if I spent twice that the machine more than make up for it.
    On the ride? I just do not think it is an issue.

    KSSS may not be a fan of CTL's but the first thing out of his mouth when you ask him about his experience with his equipment is" This machine is Productive" he does not first mention he has an ipod plug in port or xm radio, amics, suspened undercarriage, blah blah blah he always opens up first with production. I have a feeling he might be on to something.

    Does that mean everyone needs a CTL?
    Maybe, Maybe not.
    This "CTL is a money pit and your crazy for owning one" repertoire is getting old.
    The only thing I can say that I would consider factual is that if you are excavating, grading year in and year out a CTL will out work a tired machine.
    My opinion is if you use a CTl and bill it correctly over the the life of the machine it will have a lower percentage of cost in relation to generated money than a tired machine.
  6. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Messages: 4,281

    I agree on versatility but I own an excavator and a CTL and a Tractor.:weightlifter: Problem solved. LOL

    I really want a Kubota TLB and I see why you have them.

    My friend has a JD 310 hoe and he can not even get 1/2 the production I do from my CTL covering our Septic systems up.
  7. stuvecorp

    stuvecorp LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,246

    I can't understand why you're not concerned with plowing snow?:laugh::p

    You bring up the 'money pit' and that is what one of the points that may be way over done? What is a set of tires go for and how long is average life? I know on my first 440 the tires were wearing with the steel OTT's.

    I will agree that production is why we have these machines but you give me the choice to run the Case/VTS or the Tak I will go to the Case as I like running it better. Now production wise they are neck and neck, both lift the same and really seem to push the same. Money wise it's not a fair comparison as I basically got my VTS for nothing.

    I just feel the track machines are getting a bad rap, my little ASL is at 1100 hours and tracks are still fine.
  8. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,793

    this thread came at a good time. As some of you may remember, I wrote about days off this fall due to wet weather. While many of my jobs are in rocky terrain, I do a few thousand dollars a month just moving trees, brush, and large trunks out of yards or improved properties for a tree company. Most of this brush is moved to large burn piles and some moved to grinding piles. About 1 out of three jobs requires carrying the brush a fair distance but many jobs allow me to pile the brush with 100 to 150 yards of my work area.
    I have really come to like my 2 speed but, as an example yesterday, I was carrying very heavy logs on my s330 (switched to 12-16.5 tires) and the ground was soft. Not only did I sink, I left some ruts.
    I'm in a tough situation. I could probably find enough work and stay away from the really rocky terrain but what if? Also, I find that I am working more and more with these larger trees and I am bouncy and tippy in a wheeled machine on unlevel ground. I have been working in and around creeks that flow regardless of the drought and when it is wet, I simply stay home (haven't found a way to get the mini ex to work with the trees yet).

    So, I'm very interested in this thread progression. I just turned about 1000 hours on my s330. I have the hulk tires and they are more than 50% with only 1 nail hole (plugged and running slime) and I have done about 3-4 demo jobs with loads of nails. That has been cheap maintenance but I have also sat home 3 out of 5 days for the last few weeks. With a CTL, I could have set up my chipper and moved trees to the chipper if nothing else but I've been unable to get my machine in.

    I have tried OTT tracks in the past (loegering trailblazers) but the extra weight and bucket width make me think a CTL would have more power to weight plus my experiences with metal tracks and wet ground got me many complaints back when I ran them.

    HMMMM... now you got me thinking. just going to work and doing something and not worrying about what is the right tool (knowing you have traction) makes me think the CTL is the right way to go but how easy is it to destroy a track or get a log into the sprocket?
  9. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Messages: 4,281

    I was very exact in my wording.LOL
    Plus I do not think my snow plowing will generate much income either.:rolleyes:

    The other problem with this discussion is we all work in different conditions.
    Your rocky conditions and my rocky conditions are not the same.
  10. curtisfarmer

    curtisfarmer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 511

    great posts here, I can see evryone speaks from experience. I'll try to get the posting techniques better as I get "older" here at Lawnsite. AWJ states a JD310 is only 50% vs. a tracked machine. Probably so, but a JD 310 is not a HST TLB but rather a full size hoe (not the full size bar fly type). I still maintain that I am slightly less productive to a CTL doing things such as covering a septic, but make up in much more productivity, versatility, at a much less overall cost. Lets see a CTL install a system, dig out rocks, spread load, rake ect. more productivly that a TLB at a cost as effeciently. These are great posts regarding costs I have seen so far. On my TLBs, 1 1500 hrs, the other 157 hours, no where near $3500 in "wear" parts. How much more do people get around here for CTL's vs. TLBs....about the same. 1 Man bands like me usually have TLBs but unless you have a huge company that needs that specific task of moving super quickly in rough terrain (just throwin that out there for operating example), most people here have different set ups. I have never priced a top end CTL but I still think a good TLB and miniX setup is the most productive and cost effective.:weightlifter:

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