Easiest is taking it to the dealer for PM service. Bobcat charges me $400 or so once a year to do everything, including oil analysis and adjust and balance all controls. (i.e., the machine tracks straight with full input of the sticks, etc.). Now granted, I don't run mine 500 hours a year, but it works for me. I suppose if you run one 2000 hours a year, you would not find a lot of difference since you would by necessity be doing PM every few weeks, if you follow the protocol suggested by the manufacturer. I do not.
Compact machines are a pain to work on. Come to think of it they're all pretty much a pain but my Caterpillar has been pretty good over the years. It's been my experience that if you want a low maintenance skid steer go find yourself an old New Holland LX model. I swear those machines were virtually indestructible. I've been looking for one at the right price but haven't had any luck with that.
I'm with Peteo, all the compact equipment is tight. Lift the cab, get on your belly to reach anything under it, engine compartments are pretty small. The key is to take care of the little stuff as is happens and have operators that care for the equipment. We do all of the regular maintenance and bring them in the shop in the winter to go over everything. Has been working out pretty well to avoid major problems when you need them most.
We've always bought Bobcat skid steers and CTL's our T-300 is in the range of 7-8 years old with 4000+ hrs and still running pretty strong. Not as strong as when it was new, but it still is in pretty good shape. Biggest problem with the newer machines seems to be with the computer system more than anything else.
Our most reliable machines and also the easiest machines we have to work on are circa 2000 case 1845c's. 3.9 Cummins and most every component is mechanical and rebuildable. The new Holland L's are good but generally fetch more money. You can still find a lot of 1845c machines with around 1000 hours for under 10k. They're pretty hard to beat. Sure they aren't new and fancy but they always show up for work.
I had a bob cat 753 that ran for ever I bought it with 3500 hrs on it and used it for 6 years , sold it for 10,000 bucks .
We had water in the fuel once, fixed a head gasket 2 sets of tires a few pins on the boom 2 seats , 1 rear glass .
I bought a mustang 2054 with 800 hrs for 8500 dollars I think .
Ive used it 5 years and so far im in for 2 boom cable controls 300 bucks
a nail shot into the radiator , 2 safety switches cleaned and reinstalled , wore out the bucket , My guys broke the break on one side and the chain box was filled with water .
It turned to ice in the winter .
I added OT tracks and a large bucket 68" x 42" to move fill for a large job .
It seems like it is stressing the capacity . The rear lifts with every bucket .
I need tires again .
Now i have some chain slap the wheels mite have moved in a little or the drive chain is stretched . I should fix it but isn't bad if I go easy .
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