Not all skid-steer attachments are compatible with every make of skid steer. One example is the recent introduction of undercarriage kits that convert skid steers to compact track loaders. Before installing a tracked undercarriage conversion kit, be sure to check whether the manufacturer of your particular skid steer approves their use to avoid voiding the machine warranty.
Certain attachments also place greater stress on the machine. "Hammers and cold planers typically place the greatest demand on a skid-steer loader," says Hughes. "The hammer is constantly pounding and all of that energy is transferred to the skid-steer loader. A cold planer, as it grinds up pavement, has similar characteristics. That's why those attachments are recommended for use on higher-capacity skid steers, which are engineered to withstand the abuse the attachments dish out through their everyday use."
Keep it cool
Heat is the enemy of any hydraulic system. "Any attachment that creates excessive heat can be detrimental to the hydraulic components of a skid steer," says Zupancic. "For any attachment operating in abnormal or abrasive conditions, it is critical that the [rental business] and the dealer are communicating with the manufacturer of both the skid steer and the attachment to make sure the units will perform and be reliable. In some cases, additional cooling or a custom debris package may be needed to run an extreme attachment."
Some manufacturers offer optional oil cooling packages to address this issue. "John Deere machines provide industry leading cooling capabilities for 95 percent of attachments. However, there is a custom cooling package, which can be installed at the dealer level in conjunction with John Deere Product Support, that will provide extreme attachment application cooling," says Zupancic.
Other machines come equipped from the factory for handling extreme conditions. For example, Gehl models come with oil cooling packages already installed.
It's important to keep in mind that skid-steer loaders are called on to perform a wide range of applications, and each machine provides different levels of performance in several key areas. Identify the characteristics that are important to your customers, so you can determine which models are best matched to their specific application.
Mustang Skid Steers
- Eight models
- SAE-rated operating loads of 1,050 to 3,850 lbs.
- Designed to perform tough tasks
Bobcat K-Series Loaders
- Hydraulically driven SmartFAN cooling system
- Drive chain size upgraded to 120 HSOC for 38 percent more strength
- 2 in. added to lift height on large-frame vertical lift path loaders
- K-Force hydraulic system added to medium-frame models
Caterpillar Vertical Lift Skid Steers
- 232B, 242B, 252B and 262B vertical lift skid steers offer rated capacities from 1,750 to 2,700 lbs.
- 6,661- to 7,861-lb. operating weights
- 49- to 78-hp Caterpillar electronically controlled, Tier II engines
- Two-speed option available on 252B and 262B with maximum travel speeds up to 11 mph
- Also feature an improved hydraulic system design, anti-stall system and pilot hydraulic joystick controls