EQUIPMENT FOCUS: Skid steers and Utility Vehicles

Equipment Article July 06, 2012
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Speed is the ticket? John Deere focused on getting the job done faster with its 318D and 320D skid-steer loaders. Both models have a new two-speed option, increasing ground speed by as much as 62%. Higher speeds are achieved with the flick of a toggle switch on the left joystick, and gear shifting is controlled electronically for smoother transitions. Deere has worked on the cabs too, making them 24% larger with an extra 6 in. of headroom. Positive pressurization helps regulate interior air temperature, while the hydraulic fan drive and engine auto-idle features minimize noise.

 

No-slip grip?Bobcat's 3400 4x4 utility vehicle was designed to handle rough terrain using a four-wheel-drive system that applies torque to all wheels when the vehicle starts to slip. Combined with either a 32-hp gas or 24.8-hp diesel engine and electronic fuel injection system, the vehicle can reach speeds up to 30 mph. To ensure continued operation in tough terrain, all critical machine components are protected by a CVT cover, skid plate, suspension guard and bash plate. The cab offers quiet operation, bucket or bench seating and three-point?shoulder harnesses.

 

Fit for any job?Case’s Alpha Series of skid steers is all about versatility: it includes nine different models, which covers six radial-lift and three vertical-lift machines. Horsepower ranges from 46 to 90 hp, with operating capacities anywhere from 1,300 to 3,000 lb. In particular, the SR250 and SV300 have been upgraded to meet Tier 4 emissions standards via 90-hp, 3.4-liter diesel engines with cooled exhaust gas recirculation technology. Case offers a plethora of attachments for landscaping and?hardscaping applications.

 

 

Clear vision?Five new skid-steer models have been added to the Volvo C Series, offering wheeled or tracked options as well as radial or vertical lift. All of the new machines feature the single loader arm design for easier access to the side-entry cab and increased visibility. Along the same visibility line, a new, larger top window was installed for better vision when loading trucks. Maintenance is a cinch thanks to the tilt-forward cab and a large rear compartment service door. Operating capacities of the five new models range from 1,350 to 1,900 lb.

 

One arm is better than two?JCB has added five new skid steers and three new compact track loaders to its stable. Of the eight new models, three are equipped with radial lift capability for heavier loading and high-cycle applications while the other five emphasize vertical lift. The Powerboom design—which utilizes one loading arm instead of two—improves safety and visibility from the cab. Serviceability is improved with electrohydraulic servo controls and a forward-tilting cab.

 

Gas or diesel??The Workmax utility vehicle from JCB comes in gas- and diesel-powered versions (800 G and 800 D), both operated via a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with Kevlar belt. Handling is easy with the electronic four-wheel drive and diff lock. Both vehicles are designed for heavy work, sporting a payload capacity of 1,323 lb. A steel plate guard protects the transmission and a high-mounted air intake keeps the engine dry, improving durability. A range of optional accessories is available, including a cab radio kit, load bed liner and hydraulic lift.

 

Super performance?Five of the seven skid steers in the 200 Series from New Holland boast a Super Boom loader arm, which improves both vertical lift and dump height. A self-leveling bucket feature improves efficiency while the optional Glide Ride offers smoother movement on the larger wheelbase. Larger fuel tanks will keep the machine going for 10-12 hours before it has to refill. New features in the cab include keyless start, switchable ISO/H-pattern control options and a large rear window for added visibility.

 

Covering new ground  ?An air-cooled, single-cylinder, 6-hp gas engine with electronic fuel injection drives Kubota’s RTV400Ci utility vehicle, allowing quick and easy starts in nearly all conditions. In addition to four-wheel drive, the CVT Plus transmission sports an inertial clutch for greater control and handling on inclines. The vehicle can tow a total of 1,102 lb and hold another 440 lb in the onboard cargo box, traveling at speeds up to 25 mph.

 

Heavyweight power?With a rated operating capacity of 3,350 lb and vertical lift up to 11 ft, the Bobcat S770 skid-steer loader is suitable for a variety of heavy applications, including grading, pushing, loading and digging. Improved hydraulic flow makes the machine suitable for use with any Bobcat attachment. For increased operator comfort, Bobcat offers an optional pressurized cab for a cleaner and 60% quieter working environment. A 9-hp engine powers all S770 models.?

 

Less roll, more power?All three versions of John Deere’s Gator crossover utility vehicle (XUV)—the 825i, 625i and 855D—sport redesigned front and rear independent suspension systems, minimizing roll and providing better side-hill stability. Top speeds range from 30 to 44 mph. All XUVs can tow up to 1,500 lb and carry 1,400 lb in payload. The biggest difference between the models is the engine: the 825i uses a 50-hp EFI gas engine; the 625i has a 23-hp gas EFI engine; and the 855D boasts a 25-hp diesel engine.

 

Getting attached?The 385A, one of two new skid-steer loaders from LiuGong, is the company’s largest, with a breakout force of 5,900 lb for heavy digging. It accepts a variety of attachments, with an auxiliary high flow valve for tools needing additional power and a quick coupler for easy switching. The 365A is set apart by a control safety interlock system that disables the machine when the operator is not actively running it. The 365A also has a standard level-lift function for smooth movement.

 

Operator protection?Safety is the emphasis of Hyundai’s HSL850-7A and HSL650-7A skid steers, highlighted by a double-locking safety feature in the cab. Maintenance is safe and easy too, thanks to the centralized fuse box and boom locking system. Both machines provide easy engine access to minimize production delays. They also share water-cooled Kubota engines. The larger HSL850 sports a self-leveling control system.

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