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Skid Steer or Track Loader

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by jefftb, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. jefftb

    jefftb LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 563

    Allright guys, here's the dilemma. I need to purchase a machine in the not too distant future-it will be a used machine in all likelihood.

    I need a machine with a good deal of traction and will use it to install pipe, irrigation equipment, trenching work etc. The areas will always be in wooded or field areas and never in someone's backyard. There might be potential for some land clearing in the future as well. I'm not a landscape contractor but rather a utility contractor so tearing up the ground is not an issue on my projects. I've always rented tracked machines due to their performance in the environment on our projects. Never had a wheeled machine before but most of my subs have wheeled machines and not track.

    Given the job description would you purchase a wheeled machine and add the tracks over tire option to it or exclusively a tracked machine? I'm basing my decision on the fact that you can usually find pretty good deals on used wheeled machines with less hours than most tracked machines. Hours of use a year will be pretty fair but not what most consider heavy. Meaning that it might have a week or two here and there where it sits idle.

    Let me know your thoughts-I'm hoping your experiences help me finalize my decision making process.
  2. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,162

    I would find a wheeled machine that you like and add the VTS system to it. Remember that the VTS can be switched from some machines to another. CASE and CAT can run the same set of VTS if the wheel base is close. Bobcat has its own VTS and cannot be interchanged with any other machine. So deciding what machine you want up front is pretty important if you go this way.

    This set up will give you max. versatility and trade in value.
  3. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,136

    VTS is the only way to go for a newbie, its a lot more of an added cost, but it's something you can take to the next machine in the distant future.
  4. P.Services

    P.Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,319

    i would say buy a used ctl with a 1,000+ hours to get a great machine at a low price. they are built to last.
  5. BIGBEN2004

    BIGBEN2004 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    I would say go with a wheeled machine and then if the need aris where you see yourself needing the extra traction of tracks then you can upgrade and buy a set of VTS. This way if you don't need tracks you won't spend the extra cost up front and in constant maintenance and replace$$$$$$$$$
  6. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,162

    That is only a good idea if you are aware enough to properly evaluate an undercarriage. Most machines need work after a 1000 hours, be that tracks or undercarriage components. As far as built to last, generally they are just like regular skid steers, but the undercarriage is only getting weaker from the time you buy it until you rebuild it, much like a dozer in that respect.
  7. jefftb

    jefftb LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 563

    I'm not exactly a newbie to the operation of equipment but would be a newb in the world of ownership and that's the most significant part of my decision. I know what I think I want but need to finish the process.

    I'm going to always need the traction of a tracked machine. Right now we are working a decent slope and wheels would not work (believe me I know, I had a demo from a very eager company rep on a dedicated vib plow machine-the tires either spun at times or "walked" down the hill).

    Wheeled machines just are not going to cut it unless we are on flat ground with low to no ground moisture and no tall vegetation-they will work there for what we are doing.

    Good lord, I just described the outfield of a baseball stadium....:rolleyes:
  8. Fieldman12

    Fieldman12 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    You could also choose a skid steer and add the over the tire tracks if needed. It would probably be your cheapest solution to get you started in your own machine. Like others said once a CTL reaches a 1,000 hours it is going to need some undercarriage TLC no matter what the brand. One thing to consider though is most of the CTL machines are a little more beefed up in some areas.
  9. P.Services

    P.Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,319

    mine has almost 2,000 hours and has only had new tracks put on it, no other proplems or issues with it. everything looks perfect now. if it was a asv or cat i think that may be a diffrent story.
  10. jefftb

    jefftb LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 563

    How much do the tracks over tires sap machine performance? Seems to me if I slap a set of steel tracks over the tires its going to reduce machine performance due to weight.

    True or not? If so, what's the estimated penalty?

    Why are used Gehl tracked machines so much lower in price? Why are Mustang's so much more?

    Who here has run a Takeuchi TL120? Comments?

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