Skid-Steer and Compact Track Loaders Team Up to Tackle Various Soil and Slope Conditions

Sept. 1, 2000
Gx Bug Web

Excavating contractor Mark Wangerin, another long-time skid-steer-loader owner, also owns a compact track loader, which he bought last year. He uses it, plus two skid-steer loaders and a compact excavator, in his business, Mark’s Bobcat Service in Prior Lake, MN. He uses the equipment for such work as digging holes for deck footings and fence posts, excavating for house basements and additions, and finish grading.

His smallest skid-steer loader, a 43.5-hp Bobcat 753 with a 1,350-lb. rated operating capacity, is reserved for working in tight quarters, such as between buildings or under house decks, where it can dig out for hot tubs or remove decorative rock for a remodeled landscape. His largest skid-steer loader, a Bobcat 863, is powered by a 73-hp diesel engine and offers a rated operating capacity of 1,900 lb. It’s used for about everything else unless conditions are really soft or sandy. With this larger machine, he’s taking on larger and more diverse types of projects and finishing more quickly.

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Wangerin calls his compact track loader, a 73-hp Bobcat 864 with a 2,000-lb. rated operating capacity, his “sweetheart.” “It’s a do-all machine. We use it more and more because it does so much more on slopes and soft ground. It’s not too big and allows us to do a wide variety of work for more income.”

Tools for the loaders include several different sizes and styles of buckets, an auger with 12-, 18-, and 24-in.-diameter bits, a hydraulic breaker, and a sweeper.

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Wangerin bought his 7,020-lb. Bobcat 331 compact excavator four years ago. He frequently pairs it with one of his loaders for digging foundations and frost footings, installing water and utility lines, and completing lakeshore restoration projects. For example, if he’s excavating a basement where working room is limited, he’ll use the excavator to dig and have a loader haul the spoil away and load it into a truck. Other times, the two machines may work independently of each other on the same site.

“Buying the excavator was one of my better decisions,” he believes. “Between that and our compact track loader, we take on some pretty big jobs.”