Monroe states that it is hard to beat a tracked machine for straight-line excavating. The wheeled machine was capable of accomplishing this task, but is was more of a challenge to reposition.
“It is not as easy as one thinks,” says Monroe. “It seems like a slight turn of the wheel and you are off of a straight line pretty easy. It moves easy, but straightness is the key.”
Litwiller used the outriggers on the wheeled excavator because he thought they resulted in increased accuracy by eliminating side to side movement. “If you are trying to dig fast and you have your outriggers up, that makes you wobble more off to the side when you are swinging back and forth real quick,” he explains. “But if you lower your outriggers every time, that is going to slow you down, too.
“A tracked excavator would be a lot quicker digging a trench like that,” he adds. “For trenching, you can move in and out a lot faster and you don’t have to lift and set the outriggers.”
A unique tool
As you can surmise from these contractors’ comments, the wheeled excavator is a unique tool that isn’t a replacement for a conventional tracked excavator. But it has attributes that allow it to operate in environments not well-suited to tracked machines, while still allowing you to occasionally perform the tasks traditionally handled by tracked excavators. It is a matter of choosing the tool that is most appropriate for your operation.
Underfoot conditions will influence your decision. “If you are going cross country, the track machine makes more sense,” says Sigler. “Being able to drive around town is sure a plus for the wheel machine. You don’t have to take it off and put it on a truck.”
Monroe adds, “To me, this machine was built for street work.” As proven by this test, the wheeled excavator also shines in lift and carry applications, especially in underfoot conditions that allow the wheeled machine to take full advantage of its increased speed.
And despite the outriggers, steering wheel, axle lock, etc., the wheeled excavator is relatively easy to operate. “It is operator friendly,” says Powley.