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Old 10-04-2004, 11:36 PM
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excl Bobcat T190

I rented a Bobcat T190 today and can honestly say, I wasn't impressed. It was a rental machine with about 150 hours on it so read my comments with this in mind. I admit the machine had excellent traction and could lift a ton, especially compared to my 763. However, I just didn't feel 'comfortable' running it.

The biggest problem I had with the machine is the controls were WAY too sensitive. Several times when loading the bucket the machine ended up in a back and forth rocking motion that kept going, even though I took my hands off of the controls. I found it impossible to move forward at a crawl without the machine starting to pulse and buck. No matter how easy I took it the machine wouldn't yield and let me control it. Also, the hydraulics were loud. I wonder if the machine had some air in the hydraulic lines.

My second problem, and possibly a problem with all vertical lift path machines, was that the boom was very loose and felt like it was flopping all over the place. I could raise the load no problem, but I just don't like the way it shifted side to side once you got it off the ground.

I like Bobcat, I own a Bobcat, I think the 763 and T200 are great machines. However, after four hours of use I can guarantee that I will never consider buying a T190.

In all fairness, the machine did grade a lawn with 40 yards of topsoil in 1 1/2 to 2 hours and I really can't complain about performance.

I simple didn't 'like' the machine.
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Old 10-05-2004, 08:11 AM
Whip
 
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I would have to agree with you on the sensitivity of the controls. There is an 'upgrade' to add dampeners on the controls to help with this problem. Notice I didn't say eliminate. It did help somewhat. This would be my biggest complaint with our 190. Other than that I love it.

It works best to be using full throttle and if possible to not feather the controls, which is sometimes impossible and all the time a pain to have to remember and do this. It has something to do with Bobcat using servo's to control the bucket\boom instead of mechanical linkages (if I remember correctly).

I haven't noticed the the 'looseness' on the boom on ours, maybe I don't know any better, but we have over 900 hrs on hours and it still seems tight.
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Old 10-05-2004, 10:34 AM
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Though bobcat does make a dependable machine, I have never liked the way the machine is controlled, and like even less Case style controls offered.

The advantages to machines that are controlled by joysticks using two limbs rather than 4 are too numerous to list. Cateripllar and Gehl both use only two limbs, and have a gas pedal for throttle along with a joystick. Gas pedals are best simply because once you train the operator on using them, rather than the joystick throttle, it is easier on the machine because many operators get out while the machines are turning at high rates of output. With a gas pedal, throttles go back to idle.

I realize controls are more a personal preference thing, but that is a huge part of skid steer or MTV selection.

The pulsations and bucking from Bobcat MTL's come not only from the controls, but also from the rigid frame and under carraige which senses every bump, dip and pebble you run over. That is one more reason to select a machine with two hand operation over foot pedals. It is far easier to control ytour hands then it is to keep your feet still, at least in my opinion. We rented abobcat T-190 for 3 weeks before we bought our 257B Cat. At that same job, our Cat rep brough out a 257B for 4 day no obligation demo.

After half a day I called and told him to draw up the paperwork, bring us our forks and 6 way dozer blade, it was sold. I have to admit, I am a little predjudiced towards Cat, I believe in thier products, own stock in Cat, etc. But, when the guys were telling me the same thing, I knew it was not just me.

After getting off this machine from an 8 hour day of side sloping, I brushed off the dust and went home. A guy running another brand which uses foot pedals got out, his hands were numb, his feet shaking. I think the controls of the Cat have so revolutionized the skid steer markets that those who have been in it and become complacent with thier products are now scrambling to find easier ways to control thier products. It will be interesting to see what others come out with.

As far as the boom shaking, well, being a rental piece, in 150 hours without proper care, bushings could be destroyed. Just a thought. We did not have that issue with the one we rented, and it had close to 500 hours on it. That said, I know the yard who we got it from takes extreme good care of equipment, even sending field trucks out every few days to grease machines.
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Old 10-05-2004, 12:08 PM
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Bill, I've got the same opinion of Cat. I was in the market for a skid steer when I heard in 1998 that Caterpillar was going to begin manufacturing them. I talked to my Cat salesman about the features and the pilot controls really interested me. I had rented Bobcats a few times and just found the hand/foot controls awkward no matter how long I was in the machine. I'm 6'4" and wear a size 14 boot, that might have something to do with it.

I demoed a 246 when they became available on one job, and asked about high flows. At that point they were still 6 months out, but I waited and bought the first 248 that H.O. Penn sold. I've never regretted this decision, it's one of the wisest purchases I've made.

Anyone who hasn't tried a Cat skid steer or tracked vehicle owes it to themselves just to at least demo one. The hydraulics and cab are so quiet you don't need hearing protection unless running a hydraulic attachment at high rpm. The hydraulics are at full power just above idle so you see a fuel savings there. I run my backhoe at about 700 rpm over idle and can dig along side of a JD 310 with no trouble.

The foot accelerator saves fuel and wear and tear on the machine too. I only use the hand throttle when powering attachments, otherwise I use the accelerator like in a full sized loader.

The controls are what sells this machine though. They are servo actuated by 2 joystick controls. The right lever controls your boom and curl like on a 1 stick wheel loader, and the left controls movement. Basically you just point the stick where you want to go.

These controls are so smooth and precise you can do grading that you'd never consider possible with a skid steer, and in a short amount of time too. Operator fatigue levels are reduced too, this machine is just a joy to operate. Try one and you'll be hooked!
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Old 10-05-2004, 08:44 PM
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Thanks for the info Mark. I'm glad to hear that I'm not a lousy operator, part of the blame is on the machine. My next question is why my Bobcat dealer said the machine must just need a little adjustment when I called them. Perhaps they are trying to hide something.

Next time I rent I'll look into a Cat. One preference I have with tracked machines is that I like the wide tracks over the narrow. The narrow are too agressive and do the same damage my wheeled skid steer could do, though they have 200% better traction.

I tried the hand control mode with the T190 and my hands just don't work that way. Perhaps with time.

Finally, I do like Bobcat products in general. Just not crazy for the T190.
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As a father I was always aware that I was raising my sons to leave home, marry, establish families, and be men who could stand on their own two feet. We must fulfill our own destiny. I really wasn't concerned about what they might 'do' but I wanted them to 'be' good men.
- David Epps
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Old 10-07-2004, 07:39 PM
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I've had a T190 on the jobsite since the first of July. Other than being a tad underpowered I love the machine. We would have been lost at this job without it. It has been up and down a wet 50% slope hundreds upon hundreds of times. It only takes a few drips of rain and the wheeled machines are euchered. Thank you Bobcat for making a nearly impossible job simple.

My preference has always been Bobcat, but I do look forward to the day I get to jump into a Cat. So far all I have to compare the Bobcats to is few rickety old Case and Thomases. On skidsteers I am equally comfortable with hand or foot controls but given the choice I would use the foot controls. However put me on an excavator with backward controls and I'm sure to knock your block off with the bucket. I'm not sure whether it's the Cat or Deere pattern that I prefer though.
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Old 10-08-2004, 10:53 AM
Whip
 
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I would agree, about 10-15 more HP would make this the ultimate machine, for us.

I have some pics someplace of us aerating a nice little hill at one of our customers. I'll try to dig them up and post them.
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Old 10-08-2004, 07:44 PM
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If anyone is operating one of these machines, (Cat or Bobcat) you owe it to yourself to have the dealer put the engine on the dyno and make sure the injection pump is set at maximum output. When we first got the 257, we were overall satisifed but pulling 3-1 slopes with a bucket loaded the engine had a bit of a strain. It turned out the injection pumps have a range where our illustrious EPA will let them run. As long as it is in that range, it will not void the warrantee. Setting the pump really made a difference in performance.
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