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Old 01-02-2010, 04:34 PM   #1
farmerger OP
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Skid Steer Loaders vs Track Loaders

I need the collective's input here. I'm thinking of switching from a tractor to one of these units on my 40 acre hobby/horse farm. Need it to do manure, plow snow, move dirt, plant fence posts, grade the yard, etc. Any opinions would be much appreciated.

I'm kind off leaning toward a track loader as in the spring and sometimes the fall the mud here can get pretty nasty. However, the local Bobcat dealer said the track loaders slide all over the place on hard pack snow and ice, which if true would be a deal breaker on the track loader. It's got to be able to plow/push/blow snow, that's a must.

So lets hear it.

Thx.
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:45 PM   #2
Carlo Muro
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keep in mind that track loaders have a different track than bulldozers. They don't have the "teeth" that a dozer does because they need to turn a lot.

It would also depend upon whether or not you need to move it around from location to location. I've not seen many track loaders small enough to tow behind a 3/4 or 1 ton pickup.
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:54 PM   #3
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I used to have a skid steer for my tree service but I went to a medium frame 4wd Kubota. Other than the skid steer's ability to lift more weight and fit in tighter spaces, the tractor wins out wrt usefulness in every way.

-easier to maintain
-3 point/pto attachments are cheaper
-detachable loader
-easier to transport
-less damage to finish lawn areas
-selectable 4wd
-if you put a set of chains on the front, it'll go places where a ss would get buried
-better on hills
-tires last longer than skid steer tires/tracks
-more economical per hour of use
-easier to get on/off the machine
-less stressful for the operator (skid steers can be noisy/bumpy/hot/cold to operate unless you have quite a few expensive options)


YMMV, but I think the tractor is much easier to live with and is much more productive if you're not doing full on excavating/construction work.
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:16 PM   #4
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Ditto

I just got rid of my Bobcat, 763. I had the auger, snow blade, bale fork, but also went to a medium size Kubota. After a week, I could not be happier. Easier to use on the snow, I can move bales with ease. Much smoother. Better on the side hill. I also have a wide variety of 3 point implements that I can use, that are cheaper to get than the Bobcat attachments. I have used the tracked bobcats on the snow and they do not work as well on snow as the bobcat. Kinda spooky on the hardpack as they will slide.
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:20 PM   #5
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I think the tractor is much easier to live with and is much more productive if you're not doing full on excavating/construction work.
+1

My dad uses his loader/hoe to dig out 8-foot snowdrifts in the winter. A skidsteer wouldn't touch them.

My buddy who works line maintenance for an equipment rental outfit hates the tracked skidsteers. They throw tracks constantly, which are a bitch to get back on. I've helped him on jobsites, and there's nothing quite as fun as laying in 2 feet of mud/swamp, trying to lever a slippery rubber track back on with a 10' bar.
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:34 PM   #6
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Have you looked at Bobcat toolcats? But a tractor would probably be better.
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Old 01-02-2010, 08:36 PM   #7
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You guys are trying to talk me out of a new toy, yikes! But it's not working. I have a couple of reasons for switching, the main one being that in a skid steer I will be able to see my bucket all the time. My depth perception isn't the greatest, and although I've gotten a lot better with practice, I want/need to be able to see the front of the bucket. Also, although my tractor is just about the right physical size for my acreage, it lacks in lift capacity; not to mention that driving around with a bucket full of dirt on a tractor over uneven ground is kind off tipsy. I would think a skid steer would be a lot more stable with a full bucket.

I'm a little perplexed by the comments that a tractor is better at snow removal. Unless you have one with a front mounted snow blower, I don't see how a tractor can compete with a skid steer. Not too mention that with the skid steers its real quick to change from a front mounted snow blade/blower to a bucket. It takes a bit more time and effort to retool a tractor. And driving backward with a 3 pt mounted snow blower is a real pain in the neck.

I saw the new Toolcats, way cool, and way expensive.

I appreciate your comments, so please keep them coming. I doubt you'll talk me out of ditching the tractor, so let's keep it to comparing skid steers vs. track loaders. I was thinking this afternoon, maybe the best way to go is a skid steer with aftermarket tracks for the soft stuff.
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:19 AM   #8
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Have you considered a Takeuchi TL150 tracked skid steer? Close in size and weight to an 863 Bobcat so it can be pulled by an F250. I've operated all kinds of skid steers by Case, New Holland, Deere, and Bobcat. The TL controls seemed more intuitive and the machine is much smoother to operate, in addition to the added stability of the tracks, which negates the wheel bounce encountered in rubber tired skid steers. Demo one and see what you think.
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Old 01-03-2010, 05:51 AM   #9
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I've got a similar operation to yours. I had the same thoughts too. I think the bottom line is, if you need one piece of machinery to do it all, a tractor is the best choice.

I've got a 4wd 38hp Kubota with a loader and blade on the back. I put chains on the rears for snow removal (although I'm tempted to put front chains on too, for better traction and steering). I can also do plenty of light dirt work with this combo. And a Bushhog goes on the back in the summer for mowing. I also turn my manure with it. I do have an old AC D17 that is dedicated to pull the spreader.

I would like to have a skidsteer sometimes to do the light jobs or work in confined areas. But I manage to get by with my main tractor. If price isn't any concern and you've got plenty of room in your machine shed, then go crazy.
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2whlrcr
I've got a similar operation to yours. I had the same thoughts too. I think the bottom line is, if you need one piece of machinery to do it all, a tractor is the best choice.
I respectfully disagree. In the course of 10 years of construction work, I have used a skid steer as a loader, trencher, fork lift, post-hole digger, tree spade, concrete shooter, concrete breaker, log skidder, log lift, and crane. Add to these uses like concrete saw, sweeper, and backhoe, and I can't imagine a tractor as versatile. Also, they are MUCH more maneuverable than even a center-articulating tractor, and more compact.
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farmerger
... I doubt you'll talk me out of ditching the tractor, so let's keep it to comparing skid steers vs. track loaders. I was thinking this afternoon, maybe the best way to go is a skid steer with aftermarket tracks for the soft stuff.
Seems people have missed your request, so I'll see if I can answer it more directly. I have some time in both, although my experience in a Bobcat goes back at least 12 years to the days of the X86 line. I have a lot of time in the 763 and the 963, their biggest at the time and much smoother than the 7 and 8 series. From there we went to an early Cat 257 like this one:

(Except not a B model)

After running the MTL, I can't imagine where the soft tire model could be better with one exception: road work or hard surface (yard work, materials etc).

Here are the things I really enjoyed about the machine that I feel are better than the skid steer:
-Quick - it's amazing how much faster this machine scoots around. I've used it countless times for shuttling material around a job when bigger machines were available because of the speed, maneuverability and impact.
-Ergonomics - My experience with the Bobcat is old, so perhaps this has changed, but the Cat style joysticks, foot accelerator (as well as static throttle) made for more precise control and comfortable workday. The amount of effort required felt more like you were driving with your mind than your body. Sounds silly, but it's huge if you use the same machine every day.
-Impact - Neither will be as delicate on a lawn as a tractor, but you can't argue with a lower PSI on the ground of the tracks. Turns are always an issue, but I'll take the MTL over the wheeled loader any day when it comes to customers lawn.
-Stones - Again, my experience with the Bobcat is old, but the CAT had more balls all around.

If memory serves correctly, ASV pioneered this technology and CAT bought the bottom ends and technology for their machines the first few years of the MTL.

If you plan to keep your tractor, then perhaps having another tool that is more different from your tractor (tracks vs wheels) will give you a better range in your toolset.

Good luck put up some pics of what you finally buy.

Edit: just found this, an interesting read.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:36 AM   #12
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There are hundreds of attachments for skid steer and if you want something different build it , cant say that for tractors and track loaders are obsoleate , from 5 to 10 grand for a set of tracks in as little as 1500 hours . If you must you can bolt a set of tracks on a skid steer with tires . Its not as good as real tracks but a lot cheaper in the long run .

I swore off bobcat after replacing axel seals and bearings in one years ago , now I only work on Case machines and a well kept 1845 is the best in my opnion , not the easyest to access the pumps but very tough little machine . The XT is still good but the new ones like the 450 are a plastic pile of crap . SEYA
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cagiva549
SEYA
What does that mean anyway?
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:25 PM   #14
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Another thing you might consider is a skid-steer with the track attachment for when it's really muddy. I had one (Bobcat) for 5 years and used the rubberized drive-on tracks in extremely muddy conditions or when I needed to protect a customer's surface when wet . It's a compromise, but if you don't need the tracks all the time, it's a good solution...I prefer the skid-steer whenever possible. FWIW
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cagiva549
There are hundreds of attachments for skid steer and if you want something different build it , cant say that for tractors and track loaders are obsoleate , from 5 to 10 grand for a set of tracks in as little as 1500 hours . If you must you can bolt a set of tracks on a skid steer with tires . Its not as good as real tracks but a lot cheaper in the long run .

I swore off bobcat after replacing axel seals and bearings in one years ago , now I only work on Case machines and a well kept 1845 is the best in my opnion , not the easyest to access the pumps but very tough little machine . The XT is still good but the new ones like the 450 are a plastic pile of crap . SEYA
I have one of those things. Straight 1845. No C or otherwise. A 1981 model. Other than a tandem pump re-seal, alternator, water pump, starter, tires, and general maintenance, it's been a great machine. They were a little noisy back then, but built much more solidly than the new offerings.


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