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Skid Steer Lift Arm Question...

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

  1. thepawnshop

    thepawnshop LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 387

    I just had the local Cat dealer bring a 236B by and I was wondering if there was any advantage/disadvantage to a skid steer that employs "vertical lift" versus "Radial Arm" style of lift arm?
  2. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Messages: 1,892

    If you're comparing the 236B to the 232B, I'd go with the 236B for most work. It seems to be a heavier, stronger machine than its cousin.

    Vertical lift offers (usually) two benefits: first, most vertical lift models have better side visibility than radial-lift models do. This doesn't apply to all vertical-lift machines, but with the low-profile designs coming out today, it's pretty much a given.

    Most importantly, vertical lift models provide a constant (or near-constant) reach along the entire lift path. Where a radial lift arm goes out then back in, the vertical lift models tend to go out, out; out, or out, in, and out; constant, constant, out; or completely constant. Bobcat's models are generally out in out; Gehl is much more constant. For unloading trucks, this is useful because the lift arms are closer to the machine (as compared to a radial lift machine, where the lift arms are at their maximum reach at mid-lift). For dumping into trucks, well, that's the beauty of vertical lift: that's when many models have their greatest reach.

    The disadvantage is the notion that vertical lift models are somewhat weaker and less rugged. Case's design proves this wrong; the Deere, NH, and Bobcat designs are also very sturdy (and the Gehl 7810/7610 and Mustang 2199/2099 the same). The Cat design... I have a small problem with Cat's models' booms not resting against the machine chassis, but it is a solid design that affords tremendous visibility when the arms are at full height, important when loading trucks.

    Let us know if you need more specific information. I'll pasting a link below that gives a video of the designs. http://www.bobcat.com/vertical_lift.html
  3. Dodgemania

    Dodgemania LawnSite Member
    Messages: 97

    I've owned a 236B for the last 4 months. Great machine love the operation of it but I've had 3 brand new machines in 4 months ranging from a variety of problems mostly engine. I've got more hours on Cat's loaner machines than I've got my own. The B model is a new model and they've got a few kinks to work out. But all that being said they stand by there machines. Had a problem with the machine had a service man out on a job site 10:30 at night on saturday helping me out. That's the main reason I'm staying true to Cat, plus love the way the machine operates. I know I wasn't close answering the question but I had to throw my two cents in!

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426

    We have a verticle lift on our 246, and 257. The 275B has a switch that you can radial lift if necesary, as well as self level the bucket.

    The verticle lift is almost eeesntial for loading 6 wheelers in tight areas, as the bucket lifts straight up rather than rocks back as it lifts like a radial. There is also an additional 10" of lift on the verticle machines.

    Now, lets talk usage here. If you will be digging as well as lifting, and extra hieght is critical, go with a verticle machine. If however you are precision grading, radial machines are more rigid, and will make cuts more accurately with less mousing around to get the elevation on target. A competitor of ours who is equipment heavy has a 277, 287, and 247 257 machine. For all fine precision grading, they use a 247 set with GPS and lazer elevation poles so all they have to do is steer the machine. The computer is guided by the lazer or GPS. The difference is getting from 1/10 of final grade, to between 1/10th and rigth on final grade.

    It can be done with a verticle lift, just not near as efficiently. This is the largest reason I under our current work load, I would never own a New Holland or Deere machine. They will lift a house, but can't dig a booger out of a wet bucket of snot.

    Weigh out what your main functions of the machine are going to be. If they are fine grading, go with a radial. If you are doing excavation and loading, and are not so focused on fine grading, go with a verticle machine.
  5. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Messages: 1,892

    Just wondering... what do you mean by switch between radial and vertica lift?
  6. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    I'll put in my .02. Our 216 was in the shop for a couple weeks due to some hydraulic coupler problems and our dealer gave us a 242 to use, a vertical lift machine. I HATED IT. Can't see out the sides of the cab very well and it was slow and sluggish. I absolutely couldn't stand it. Unless you're doing alot of truck loading where you need the lift height, vertical lift is useless and a PITA. For landscaping and places where you're working in tight next to structures, etc, radial lift is all you need. BTW, our Cat dealer has been great. NC Machinery in WA has been awesome.

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426

    On the dash of the 257B, there is a switch where if you want to lift like a radiial you hit it, and the movement of the lift will change, as will the bucket become a self leveler. Great feature if you are moving alot of gravel of dirt.
  8. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Messages: 1,892

    ^ Ah, I see. Self-leveling is a great feature... definitely look into it.
  9. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,162

    The points are well made and are similiar to what we have learned over the years. Although the 70X has a lift height very close to the 95xt, the vertical lift 95xt is much easier to load trucks with and it fills from the middle if not the far side if your not careful. But when it comes to tight grading, the radial lift 70xt is much easier to grade with. The visibility and manueverability is much easier in the smaller, radial lift machine.
  10. TerraFirma Excavating

    TerraFirma Excavating LawnSite Member
    Messages: 163

    It seems like I've been reading that radius lift path machines offer better grading capability than vertical lift path machines, but I just can't picture why? I think the only difference is the path the bucket travels when lifted up. Most grading is performed when the bucket is down at ground level. I believe at the lowest level, radius and vertical lift path machines place the bucket the same distance in front of the machines, ie.: you can only get so close to the tires before they rub.

    I can't see any advantage to radial lift path machines in digging force either. Most digging and breakout will occur with the bucket at nearly the bottom of the travel. If the machines were exactly alike (ie. weight, length, etc...), except lift arm geometry, they should dig exactly alike. The only time a radius lift path machine should have more digging power is when the lift path begins to move backward and the load is brought closer to the center of gravity. This should happen at height, like when digging a hillside, and would not present an advantage when digging on level ground.

    I feel that I can stack material higher and load trucks easier with the vertical lift path machines because the load stays further out in front of you at height. I do note that visiblity to the rear quarters on the vertical lift path machines is hindered by the lift arms. Personally, I can't see myself owning a radius lift path machine.

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