Find My Fit | Track Loaders vs Skid Steers

Compact Track Loaders vs Skid Steers | Find My Fit

When looking at a compact loader option, you have 2 great options between a skid steer and compact track loader. Really,it all depends on what the job consists of and what you need to have in order to get that specific job completed. Or it depends on what your daily routine is and how you’ll use the machine each day.

From cleaning chicken houses to grading, it all depends on the application that you want to use the machine for. There are few instances where one would need tracks to clean out a chicken house but if there’s quite a bit of mud around your area, perhaps a compact track loader would be better to move around in and keep that stability.

Job Conditions

When it comes to grading, there are some people who prefer wheels over tracks. However, some people think a track machine would be better for grading because of its sole stability and its ability to maneuver around in weak underfoot like mud and loose dirt. Again, it all depends on what job you’re trying to do and what the little obstacles you need to go through are to get that certain job done.

Service Differences

In regards to each of their maintenance, a skid steer just simply has less components than a compact track loader. Nevertheless, that’s not to say skid steer maintenance is easier than CTL’s.  Skid steers are chain-drivin by a hydraulic motor on the inside that is contained; while on a compact track loader, you have an external planetary that that drives the actual tracks like the 317G in the video. On the 317G in particular, you can see the sprockets and idlers and they actually have a single idle and double idle in the front. All in all, because of the more components that compact track loader has, they may take more time to maintain; but that’s just because of the extra components they have over skid steers.  

The undercarriage of the 317G compact track loader that they show in the video is a wide-track system that has a tapered support beam that makes it better for shedding dirt, gravel, or anything else that you might get packed in there. It also makes it easier to clean; which is very helpful.

These compact track loaders are very popular machines. With that being said, James River Equipment gets a lot of these coming through their shops to get their routine inspections, maintenance, and servicing done. They are experts at working on these machines and know exactly how to make them run at their optimal performance.

Daily Maintenance

One of the most common issues seen when customers bring these machines into the shop is how components don’t have enough grease and/or parts are over-tightened. Both of these issues have similar consequences on the wear of certain parts. You’ll have excessive wear on your idlers, sprockets, and a lot of the undercarriage components aren’t going to last as long as they should. Over time, this will decrease the longevity of your machine’s overall performance. These consequences also apply to an under-tightened track. You could potentially have the track coming off and damaging idler sprockets and everything else. Thus, proper greasing and tightening is really important for maintaining your machine.

When it comes to greasing your compact track loader or skid steer, John Deere recommends doing it every 8 hours. However, James River Equipment recommends greasing your machine before you use it and after you use it. You want your machine to last as long as possible and to be the most productive as they can; so proper machine maintenance is key for overall performance.

Test The Best

If you are interested in testing out the best compact track loader out there, go to any James River Equipment location near you or give them a call to schedule a demo today!


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