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  1. #1
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    Default Performance of CTL vs true Crawler Loader?

    Looking for some insight from those who have used both Compact track loaders and standard crawler loaders. A small crawler loader is something I'd like to add to my business some day and I've been wondering how these new compact rubber track loaders compare. I have some experience with crawler loaders, but have never run a CTL (do have lots of hours experience running wheeled skid steers)


    For the sake of comparison lets look at 10-12K lb. machines. I know this is about the top of the line for CTLs and the bottom for crawler loaders, but probably would make for the best comparison. Something along the lines of a 350B-355D John Deere crawler loader vs. the biggest rubber track machines. Primary use would be clearing land and excavating. By clearing land I mean actually digging out and laying over trees, pushing out scrub brush with the bucket, stumping, etc. As for excavating I'd be needing to do cut and fill work to level building sites, excavate for the occasional basement, etc.

    Any input from those who have run both types of machines would be great.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Performance of CTL vs true Crawler Loader?

    The ctls do fine for the dirt portion. they will move about the same amount as the crawler because of the speed and agility. When it comes to the pure grunt work of trees then the crawler shines. If tree and stumps are the bulk of work you will be far happier with the crawler and it will last far longer. I have both.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Rustyiron's Avatar
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    Default Re: Performance of CTL vs true Crawler Loader?

    If you have the ability to move #35,000 don't fool around with a CTL. Prices are too high for them and way way low on the heavy iron, especially in the mid Atlantic area (I understand that Alban Tractor sells close to 90% of ALL the crawler loaders that Cat makes!) You can get one heck of a 953 or 963 Cat for the price of a decent used CTL and there is no substitute for weight in relation to a machines ability to move heavy and stubborn things that were not meant to move! Now if you are really thinking of the (dinosoar) JD 350/450 etc. go CTL it'l run circles around either of them, slow, and no visibility, old.
    ]We need more people to WORK for a living and less people to VOTE for a living!
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Performance of CTL vs true Crawler Loader?

    I think for what are you describing, a crawler loader would be the best choice, although you would find an excavator would do as well. Most commercial operators have moved from crawler loaders to a combination of an excavator and a CTL. I know my brother can dig a foundation 2x as fast with a 12 ton excavator than he could with a 12 ton crawler loader. I can't remeber the last time I saw a new crawler loader-I'm not sure anybody besides Cat even makes them anymore.

    Will

    Will

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Performance of CTL vs true Crawler Loader?

    Thanks for the replies. If I were to go the crawler loader route I'd be looking at the small JD's mostly, anything from a 350B up to a 455D. My fascination with them is the ability to have a factory 3pt hitch and PTO, which would also be great for my fencing business. Also can be equipped with a fairly substantial factory backhoe. I can legally haul a 10-11K lb machine now, anything bigger would require a larger trailer and CDL (have a 2-ton truck capable of towing 20K, but hooking a trailer to it requires a CDL) The big loaders like a 953 CAT are above the scope of my work. They are an awesome machine no doubt, but much bigger than I need. The occasional work I have for a machine that size I sub-contract out to a guy with a 953C. Had him stump 2ac last spring, stumps ranging in size from 5" to 30". Very impressive machine to watch work, he could dig out those big stumps in about 15min.

    Around here you see some crawler loaders, mostly excavators now. I guess they are cheaper to run, but I'm looking for one machine to do it all. The thing that I like about a crawler loader is the ability to do everything from clearing a lot, excavating, and doing the finish grading with one machine.

    BTW, I fully understand the mechanical anguish that comes with old crawlers. I have a full shop capable of working on large equipment, and like to tinker, rebuild, etc.

    Keep the info and suggestions coming, I'm not ready to go out and buy anything in the near future, but am trying to nail down what I should be looking for in case a deal pops up.
    Kubota B3200
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    International 454D
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  6. #6
    Veteran Member SSdoxie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Performance of CTL vs true Crawler Loader?

    FYI, Bobcat offer the CTL with a steel track option so you get more of the traction advantage of a crawler but agility of the Skidloader. Can also get Backhoe attachments for them.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Bob Rooks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Performance of CTL vs true Crawler Loader?

    [QUOTE=Verticaltrx;2480281]Around here you see some crawler loaders, mostly excavators now. I guess they are cheaper to run,
    No, they are just that much more versatile.

    but I'm looking for one machine to do it all. The thing that I like about a crawler loader is the ability to do everything from clearing a lot, excavating, and doing the finish grading with one machine.
    Then you realistically need a six-ton excavator. With a couple of different buckets and a thumb they CAN do it all. Not to mention they can load a dump truck at least twice as fast.

    BTW, I fully understand the mechanical anguish that comes with old crawlers. I have a full shop capable of working on large equipment, and like to tinker, rebuild, etc.
    In that case I believe you have already convinced yourself to get one of the old track loaders. Maybe you will find one with the old Drott Four-in-One.[QUOTE]





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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Performance of CTL vs true Crawler Loader?

    The biggest difference, IMO, comes with the operator. I've got a JD350B w/4n1 and the old rotary vane hoe attachment. We also have a RC100, cat 953 and cat 325. the 350 is a neat, old piece of equipment I paid 5K for and it needed steering clutches. I found the hoe elsewhere and paid 300 for it. But, that thing requires physical effort and "manhandling" to get it to run, suspension wasn't even a consideration. It will do what you ask of it, although I think the rc100 (more than 2x horsepower) will do the same in 1/2 the time and is more comfortable to use for longer hours. For your fencing needs, you can get a 3 pt. adapter and hoe for a SS/CTL. Skid Steer LF 3-Point Adaptors
    For building site rough-in and foundations, an excavator w/thumb is hard to beat for comfort and time.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Performance of CTL vs true Crawler Loader?

    Thanks for the responses. I guess I might have more thinking to do. Maybe a small dozer w/ six-way blade, then eventually add a large mini-ex would be the best route to go. A lot of the large contractors around here run that combo on a much larger scale. Quite a few have something along the lines of a 20-ton excavator and a D6 Cat working in tandem.

    Certainly the 6-way blade would be better for grading and dirt work than a track loader. Sounds like a mini-ex would be the good for excavating and small tree removal, without so much movement as with a crawler loader. Maybe even a dozer and TLB combo, that would cover most any operations. Lots of options....
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Performance of CTL vs true Crawler Loader?

    Quote Originally Posted by Verticaltrx View Post
    Thanks for the replies. If I were to go the crawler loader route I'd be looking at the small JD's mostly, anything from a 350B up to a 455D. My fascination with them is the ability to have a factory 3pt hitch and PTO, which would also be great for my fencing business. Also can be equipped with a fairly substantial factory backhoe. I can legally haul a 10-11K lb machine now, anything bigger would require a larger trailer and CDL (have a 2-ton truck capable of towing 20K, but hooking a trailer to it requires a CDL) The big loaders like a 953 CAT are above the scope of my work. They are an awesome machine no doubt, but much bigger than I need. The occasional work I have for a machine that size I sub-contract out to a guy with a 953C. Had him stump 2ac last spring, stumps ranging in size from 5" to 30". Very impressive machine to watch work, he could dig out those big stumps in about 15min.

    Around here you see some crawler loaders, mostly excavators now. I guess they are cheaper to run, but I'm looking for one machine to do it all. The thing that I like about a crawler loader is the ability to do everything from clearing a lot, excavating, and doing the finish grading with one machine.

    BTW, I fully understand the mechanical anguish that comes with old crawlers. I have a full shop capable of working on large equipment, and like to tinker, rebuild, etc.

    Keep the info and suggestions coming, I'm not ready to go out and buy anything in the near future, but am trying to nail down what I should be looking for in case a deal pops up.
    Obviously the weight & steel tracks make them tougher than a rubber track CTL. They can be bought for next to nothing for understandable reasons.
    There's a Deere 455 with a factory hoe & ROPS on it sitting next to the highway up the road from my place that looks great. Just a little sunfaded. Been sitting there for months blocking a newly cut-in driveway. I agree with your sentiments about them. They are tougher, albeit a lot slower. With a 4/1 bucket, it could be a nice machine. I have thought about trying to track down the owner, but I have higher priorities right now.

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