A Pair of Skid-Steer Loaders Handles the Grading Work

Sept. 1, 2000
Gx Bug Web

When Morrie Krovitz of Rock River Landscaping in Roscoe, IL, bought his first skid-steer loader in 1986, it replaced a rubber-tired tractor. The increased maneuverability of the skid-steer loader made grading work much easier, he reports.

Krovitz still owns several tractors, which he uses for fine grading and seeding. But he now owns two skid-steer loaders. One, a 60-hp Case 1845, has a rated operating capacity of 1,750 lb. The other, a Case 90XT, is powered by an 85-hp engine and provides 2,450 lb. of rated operating capacity. It weighs 8,950 lb., about 2,800 lb. more than the smaller, older model.

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Krovitz uses the smaller machine in tight places where he can’t use the larger loader. That includes fence gates, which he says are rarely wider than 6 ft. The smaller model also has less impact on lawns.

The larger unit has a big edge when it comes to production, Krovitz notes. “It’s a workhorse and can move dirt and grade open areas extremely well and do it faster than the smaller loader. The bigger loader also has a two-speed drive and saves time when working at different sites in a subdivision. Top speed is about 11 miles per hour, compared to 6 miles per hour for the smaller machine.”

For tough grading work, Krovitz can equip his loaders with a smooth-edge bucket, which has a bolt-on tooth bar. He also has a combination bucket, which he uses with his larger loader for digging, leveling, grappling, and loading. That particular bucket adds to the loader’s versatility. Recently, for example, in reshaping a ditch he wanted to remove sod to get to bare dirt. Wet conditions prevented him from operating the loader in the ditch bottom. So working from the top of the ditch slopes, he used the cutting edge of the bucket to undercut the sod and push it down and into a pile at the bottom of the ditch. Then using the bucket as a clamshell, he reached over the top of the pile and clamped onto the sections of sod, lifting them out and into a dump truck.

Similar to a growing number of contractors who do excavating work, Krovitz often uses his skid-steer loaders with a compact excavator. In his case, it’s a 7,020-lb. machine with rubber tracks, which replaced a more expensive tractor-loader-backhoe. Sometimes the skid-steer loaders complement the work of the excavator. Other times the excavator’s tracks allow him to use the machine in place of a loader in wet, muddy areas.