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Just how bad/good are CAT MTL's?

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by bobcat_ron, Nov 10, 2007.

  1. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,131

    I've read everything here and over on www.heavyequipmentforums.com on the ASV system on CAT's MTL machines, just how bad are they?

    From what I've read, 50% say bad, reasons; too much up keep and cost of replacing tracks, avoid rocks and sharp objects blah, blah blah.
    The other 50% say they are the best for smooth riding and low ground pressure and operator comfort.

    This is the way I see it, I have gone through a set of OEM tracks on my T190 at 970 hrs, one side was so worn out that it snapped, cost of replacement was $3800 CAD to replace, since I had already bought and paid off the tracks 1 month prior, it was easy to do. I charge $5 extra an hour due to the CTL's ability to take extra work not usually meant for and smaller machine, but when we're in a pinch, anything that has tracks will suffice.
    I never abused my tracks and any cuts in my second pair were from minor mishaps when a rock strayed into my path as it fell out of my bucket on one of my many long hauls over floors and driveways. I am by no means a weekend warrior on these machines and I don't have the mentality of "oh, it can take it, it's built like a f***ing tank....." and just go off into the unknown and do some serious damage.

    My line of work that I take has shifted from 75% demolition work to around 25% demo and the rest is clean up and general excavation.
    I always keep a garden hose nearby in the wet season to wash the junk and mud that builds up in my T190's undercarriage and I never run over coarse rock with out smoothing it out first and if I do excessive turning on pavement, I dribble some sand or dirt down to decrease the friction.

    Upon getting a demo CAT MTL this coming week (assuming they have one, and they trust me) the first place I'm taking it will be the pre-load we are doing now, 3" minus gravel, blasted and crushed in a quarry, sharp rock, but soft and brittle under pressure, I want to see what happens when it gets between the track and rollers, then the mud, where it builds up and how long it takes before it starts to slow the machine down.

    If I struck up a deal, I'd be buying a used 247 or 257, the few hours I rack up in a week doesn't justify buying new anymore.

    So is it worth it?
  2. Digdeep

    Digdeep LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,840

    In my opinion, based on selling Bobcat's tracked machines against ASV and CAT the suspended system is superior in enough applications against the unsuspended machines that that is the reason I chose the ASV RC50 over a Bobcat or other model. I also personally feel that the ASV machines are better than CAT machines for the following reasons- CAT machines are too heavy for the ASV undercarriages (257), the weight distribution is just like their skid steers with the weight toward the rear 70-30 and it tears up the turf worse than the ASVs(all of them), they have the same ground clearance as a skid steer, they are too wide, their engines aren't matched to the extra weight the undercarriage adds to the machine. I think CAT builds an excellent skid steer, but I have demoed or operated almost all of the track loaders out on the market and I feel that the ASVs are the best across the widest range of applications- they are built to be a tracked machine.

    I also think that you have most of the bases covered when it comes to operating techniques. They are tracked machines and shouldn't be operated or maintained just like a skid. I have over 1,500 hours on my tracks and undercarriage (I have only changed 4 rear idlers) and I'm sure I will get 2,000 hours out of these tracks. i think you should give them a try too. You will see a big difference between the ASV and the CAT MTLs when it comes to nimbleness, ground speed, balance, width, rear visibility, etc. Good luck.
  3. AWJ Services

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

    This subject has been beat too death.

    The facts are you cannot use the ASV/Cat tracks every where that you use a conventional CTL without added expense.

    Also weight plays a large part.
    The lighter machines do well with ASV style tracks .
    The heavier machines do not have the same success.

    Here a Bobcat T190 would in no way be nothing but a light landscaping machine.Grading with it would be pretty much a lost cause because of ground conditions.Same with the RC50.
    My point being that ground conditions play a large part in this.
    As I said before Cat hates too sell the tracked machines here.
    They just do not hold up here.
    For DigDeep they do.
  4. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Messages: 1,892

    I'm curious how the C-series improvements make the UCs...
  5. Construct'O

    Construct'O LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Sw Iowa
    Messages: 1,387

    The machine i looked at my dealer looked better ,but still could use improvments as far as i'm concerened.The drive roller is more open ,looks like they would cleaner a lot better.I was comparing to the old model of machine setting right next to the new c series.

    I thought i read where they have a heavy duty track that has three rows,instead of just the two, of the lugs(located in the middle of the track) that drive the track.

    Replacable wheels that bolt on,to the hubs,just replace the wheel not the whole wheel assembly.Steel idler i think,not sure.

    Still have the fulky track tighter tho:hammerhead: .Get with it Cat!!!!!!

    They are at least trying.Just depends on if your pocket books is big enough.

    By the post on here for hours of use to replace and cost.The tracks for my dozer is cheaper considering! compared to MTL'S i get three times the hours out of my dozer.Thats steel against steel everything:usflag:
  6. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    Are you going to find a used Cat skid on tracks ?

    Have you checked with Finnings rental ?

    One of the local contractors he has a Cat CTL and runs the machine on all surfaces. He doesn't get into mud like some of you we don't get much deep mud.

    You say your moving 3 inch minus isn't that a little heavy work for a skid steer ?

    It is crushed 3 inch minus usually around here 3 inch minus is just screened dirt so its round rock and what ever. If its true blasted rock I sure hate to see what that would do to rubber tracks. Blast rock on tires is enough to gash good chunks out of them.

    What about a small trackloader like a International 125

  7. AWJ Services

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

    The rocks do the damage on the rollers here not the tracks so much.
    It gets up on the inside of the track and makes a mess when goining through the rollers.
  8. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,131

    The 3" minus we have here is blasted solid rock, crushed down to 3 inch with lots of minus, if I moved that type of gravel, I would just push through it with my 190, as the machine goes through the piles the sides fall into the track and you can hear the rock getting crushed between the roller, idlers and the track lugs, lots of flying rock too, but that is heavy work, so I always opt for moving it bucket by bucket to save wear and fuel.

    I am leaning more towards the 247 as I hate Vertical Paths, they seem to have a "dead zone" in the loader's geometry that doesn't allow them to lift a certain amount of weight at that precise spot, also the 247 is lighter and some say feels more nimble than the heavier 257.

    Finning's CAT Rental stores don't use them on the rental fleet, to many of the "other" type of operators out there.
  9. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,151

    If you think you need one go to Iron Planet. They sell tons of them and they go cheap. Like any auction some are better than others, condition wise.

    The following is strictly my opinion: I really doubt you will see a noticeable increase in productivity over your T190 with a 247. I will agree that the suspended undercarriage may give you an advantage in some conditions being able to pickup ground contact where a solid system may not. Is it worth it, that is up to you to decide. I doubt it. The suspended system flat costs more to run for the vast majority of people. The lists of people who have been disappointed by the machine far outweighs those who have good luck with from a reliability standpoint. There is no doubt it is quiet and comfortable to run. It just does not last and costs are out of control on keeping running. Look at the auction results of the CAT MTL compared to purchase price. They have fractions of their value after a thousand hours. The new system may be better but the old system is notorious. If you want one they are cheap, just buy it used and let someone else take the big initial hit. I would also be looking at replacing your T190, That machine is by far the weak sister in the BC tracked machine lineup. No power, loud and with the AHC the feedback is unacceptable. Again these are my thoughts, this and a .50 cents will buy you a cup of coffee.
  10. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,131

    In the past 2 years, the most hours I piled on were about 200 hours, most of those hours were spent running on driveways and any future hours will also be on hard surfaces, I like the Bobcat, don't get me wrong, hell look at my screen name, but the few amount of posts regarding the SJC problems and the fact I can't seem to get a used 180 with SJC here is the big killer.

    Ever since running a Bobcat 753, the biggest beef I've had against Bobcat in general is (1) Lack of sufficient oil capacity (2) No return-to-tank line from the auxiliaries, this was a killer on the old 753, every 200 hours, a line would rupture from the stress of the jack hammer I ran, now with the T190, it seems to be the same amount, or just a little dribble of oil.
    Cat has an impressive amount of oil capacity and they do run an open system in the hydraulics from what I've learned, but the rest is a grey area for me on the tracks.

    One post I read here (page 90'ish) there were a few remarks about getting 1000 hours out of the tracks, impressive to me, I got 963 on the first set with abuse, that's from hitting hard surfaces repeatedly knowing that hitting faster speeds on pavement will reduce the overall impact on my body, whereas going slowly and feeling each lug on the track as it comes over the idlers at a reduced speed really hurts.

    ***At this time, I should mention that alot of my work involves the dumping hopper, which when fully loaded, the skid steer has to push over 4000 lbs around and it has to bear at least half of that weight on the front, that's the bad vibrations I get, do that for 3 hours and you'll know what I'm talking about.***

    The best thing I can do is sit down with the CAT rep and hash this out, if he tells me I can only expect a minimal 800 hours out of the tracks, I'll ask him where to sign.

    By the looks of the older style ASV undercarriage versus the newer style, it looks like you can just upgrade to the new stuff with common tools, who knows, I do want to do as much PM as possible, unless it's something tricky like hydraulic repairs or something.

    Also, where is the link to ASV's 3 new track options? I seem to have lost it.

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