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Buying a Wheel Loader

Wheel Loader Buying Tips and Models to Consider

Buying a wheel loader considerations

Wheel loaders are one of the most important pieces of equipment in many construction arenas. The machine is used by industries including recycling, landscaping, construction, material handling, mining and others.

The fact the front loader bucket can be swapped out to fit grapples, forks, and other attachments gives wheel loaders the versatility needed on job sites.

If you’re in the market for a good wheel loader, there are a few things you need to consider before buying including trends, specs, types, and attachments.

Leading manufacturers include John Deere, CAT, Komatsu, and Volvo. They are joined by dozens of other makers of wheel loaders giving you a wide range of models to choose from. Which one is right for you?

The first question you should ask is if you need to buy a wheel loader at all? Machine rentals, especially wheel loaders, have increased dramatically over the past few years. One of the main reasons is EPA restrictions on emissions. Tier 4 engines are required for machines in operations. The cost of new wheel loaders has many construction companies opting to rent instead of buying machines. It’s something you should look into.

If you decide to buy, it’s then important to look at what types of post sale agreements dealers offer. Emergency repairs, maintenance, and the monitoring of EPA compliance are very important factors to consider when deciding on who to buy a wheel loader from.

Once you've decided to move ahead to purchase a wheel loader for your business, you need to know what specs are right for the work you need the machine for.

Your dealer should have the information you need to make an educated decision on the wheel loader that is right for you, but in case your dealer doesn’t seem to have a clue, here is a breakdown of the specs you need to consider.

  • Emission rating
    Back to the wonderful EPA, though it stands for Environment Protection Agency, it could very well stand for the Empty Pockets Agency. Anyway, the new or used machine you buy will have to have an engine that will comply with emission standards.

  • Load and bucket capacity

    Know what bucket capacity you will need. They range from .65 cubic yards up to 32 cubic yards. You will also need to know the breakout force. That’s the amount of force the loader can exert in a rollback operation for a task such as tearing out a tree stump. Breakout force should be between 9,000 and 47,000 lbs.

  • Tipping load
    Know the tipping load you need to be within. For straight tipping loads, capacities range between 8,100 lbs. and about 56,000 lbs. Full turn tipping loads start around 7,200 lbs. and usually cap out at about 48,000 lbs.

  • Tire size
    Know the tire size and type you need. Most tires are designed for exterior use on uneven rough terrain. There are a lot of tread depths to consider. Wheel loader tires can be anywhere from 48" to 63" in diameter, 12" to 24" wide.

  • Operating weight
    If your wheel loader is going to be operating on ground susceptible to damage, be sure your machine isn’t too heavy. Operating weights will range from only 6,800 lbs like the Komatsu WA30-1 to as much as 420,000 lbs like that of the CAT 994.

  • Attachments
    Finally, know what type of attachments you will need and what the wheel loader you are interested in can adapt to. Attachments include grapples, forks, snow removal, along with many different bucket sizes and capacities.

Buying a wheel loader models

Here are top 10 wheel loader models according to B&R Equipment. (link)

  1. Case 521F - The CASE 521F is provided with 4-tier technology engine that combines comfort, adaptability, and superior service. It is extremely beneficial to the operator for being fuel efficient and fast speed. The service costs are also low due to simple SCR design which makes it easy to maintain.
  2. Case 1221F - This is the perfect model which can move large quantities of materials. It combines power, control and productivity. It is a powerful heavy equipment which has tier 4 technology of engine installed in it which makes its operators to use for longer duration and consume minimum fuel. It also has power shift transmissions which permits the operator to set the shift transmission according to the needs for a particular application.
  3. CAT 990K - This model of wheel loader has proven unique features and finds its application as one of the finest tool for loading. This version has Tier 2 EPA technology and is powered by ACERT technology which makes it very productive by consuming less fuel. The speed of the engine is lesser which helps in saving fuel.
  4. Hyundai HL760-9 - It is very fuel-efficient heavy equipment. This model of wheel loader has three forms such as Power, Standard and Econo. One unique feature of this model is that it has an advanced color visual display with 5.7 inch LCD for the user to operate the machine easily by reducing the glare.
  5. JCB 411 - This 411JCB model is equipped with tier 4i technology of engines which makes it fuel-efficient. It also has operator cabs that are large in size and it also has a remote monitoring system. The JCB live link technology enables engine information to be accessed from distance.
  6. JCB 416 - It also 4i tier technology engine which helps in reducing fuel costs. It is very economical and does not require diesel oxidation, expensive diesel filter. Its speed is regulated by a viscous engine fan situated in the machine.
  7. Hitachi ZW 180–5 - It is designed to give top class productivity and comfort to the users. The machine has a relaxing cab which is user friendly and can be controlled easily. The features of the machine make it easy to maintain. It is safe and sustainable and does not have harmful discharge complying with the EU rules of emission standards.
  8. Volvo L330C - It is a good model which is extremely fuel efficient and comfortable to the operators. It is equipped with an alternator and a water pump.
  9. Volvo L30B - This is top model of wheel loader which has innovative design, immense driving comfort and versatility. It has an electronic service which makes it to maintain easily.
  10. Volvo L35B - It is an excellent model of wheel loader which has great power and stability owing to the computer aided design. It is long lasting and can be moved easily. It also comprises a comfortable cab and slender doorposts for all-round visibility.
  11. John Deere 644K - A bonus machine added by ConEquip Parts is the John Deere 644K. The machine has an operating weight of 40,500 lbs. With a net power output of 232HP, it is 20% more powerful than a typical competing model in its class. It can lift up to 14,000 lbs.

Obviously there is a lot to consider when buying a wheel loader (used or new). We hope this article gave a little insight into the items to consider when buying along with a short list of models to consider

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