Get Off My Lawn
Join Date: Aug 2006
Member # 77386
Location: Little Rock, AR
I found this and it has me rethinking a MTL.
ASV's were popular here in my neighborhood when they first came out, a lot of farmers bought them, some contractors as well, I've run all the rubber tracked skid steers, when you compare them to rubber tired skid steers, the dollars per hour climb considerably. I'd call them a fad for this area, as one told me, everyone needed one until they got it, then they couldn't get rid of them fast enough. I know quite a few mechanics that work on them, none of them have much good to say about them. There must have been somewhere between 30-50 of them in my neighborhood when they came out, there are none left, most all were traded on rubber tired skid steers after only a short time. A lot of the owners told me that unless you absolutely need one don't buy one.
I hear all the complaints and the list is pretty long, if your in an area where it freezes during the winter, good luck running one, depending on what you plan to do with it and who runs it will determine just how high priced the upkeep is on one, I've heard most all the horror stories of the repair costs there has been associated with them, maintenance is also an intense ordeal, especially when its frozen out or in severe mud, the cat versions seem to cause even more problems than the asv's, not sure if its the power put to the tracks or not, but those tear the drive lugs off the tracks more than the asv's, idlers cause considerable grief, as does the terrain that you use them on. I've run them all, to use them they are not bad, but I'm glad I don't have to pay to repair them and keep them going, all my customers that had one, provided us with one to use when we needed a skid steer on site to use instead of bringing in our own skid steer, several owners told me that it costs about 100 bucks ever time you turn the key on, I don't know of any that claimed to get over 1000 hours on a set of tracks, most are under 500 hours, usually due to some failure or drive lugs torn off or tracks stretched to render them useless. I've seen them with the undercarriage snapped clean off and laying on their sides, with locked up idler wheels, worn idlers with tracks spit off, tracks torn up, stretched tracks, drive lugs missing on belts, frozen solid track components, blown drive motor hoses which I've helped to fix, a job you only volunteer to do once. A new machine would be nice to own, a used one, depending on who had it and how it was operated, I'll pass, someone else can have the fun.
I've also noticed over the years, that with tracks you can get a lot further into the mud than with a rubber tired machine, I've seen them so far in and then sank that only to top of the rops stuck out, whereas the rubber tired machines would have never got far enough into the mud to worry about, not sure if its a bragging point or not. We've run them side by side with a rubber tired machine and for some reason they won't climb a hill as steep as a rubber tired machine will loaded, they stall out or spin the drive lugs in the tracks, I'm told thats how you stretch the tracks out, not sure if its true or not. I've been called in to retrieve so many of them that I've lost count, they are heavy and will float over soft terrain up to a point, then they sink like a rock and by then most can't be pulled out, they are like most tracked machines and when the tracks sink, your done moving anywhere and since the front of the tracks are not too high and when loaded the weight is on the front idlers more and causes them to sink pretty fast, this is an observation and also what owners told me over the years. I've also been told that when they bog down in the mud, they don't have the ability to pull themselves out and will stall the tracks or rip the drive lugs off the belts, I've run one that did just that, I can't say I was impressed with the performance of them, on dry ground or just soft ground they work fine, in mud I'd opt for something else.
With the hours on the used ones you mentioned I'd never buy one with a run out undercarriage, the repairs might exceed the value of the machine. I'd also talk to the local repair people that actually work on them, and also price the undercarriage components and figure about half the life of what anyone tells you to expect to get, especially if you've never been around the rubber tracked machines before. There are a lot of variables to determine track life, most are where you plan to use them the rest is who is running the machine, nobody will ever tell you there is such a thing as how to extend the life of the tracks, only what shortens the life of them, a big point to keep in mind.
I have no idea what your planning on using one for, but I'd talk to plenty of people that have owned one and also still have one before ever buying one, if a rubber tired machine will do the jobs your wanting to do, buy one of those instead and hire someone will a rubber tracked machine for the jobs that a tired machine won't do, otherwise best of luck.
I'm not trying to put down any machine and I hope the asv lovers here don't take my post as an attack in any way, its just observations and also what owners have told me over the years from my area and how they were used, I'm sure there is plenty of people who think the world of the machines and in their applications they might be just that.