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Bobcat S300 Single Speed for 1 km (0.6 mi) steep driveway?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by NorthernWild, Nov 15, 2015.

  1. NorthernWild

    NorthernWild Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    We have a 1 km (0.6 mi) driveway with over 250' of rise in probably 1/4-1/3 of the length. A typical snowfall is 4-6", but I've seen 2' overnight twice (in one week). Back then all I had was a snow shovel! Wait for grader...

    Snow season is pretty well beginning of November to early April, though most snow falls in the first half of that window most years. Typical snowpack seems to be around 2' (seems to just settle down more with each layer added, can walk on top it by end of year). One year we had 4' we could walk on top of.

    Driveway surface is rough dirt and rocks--nothing smooth about it, though I hope to make some summer use of the S300 to begin changing that.

    Currently driveway is cleared with Polaris Big Boss 6x6 with plow and a large walk-behind snowblower (use plow till banks are too high, then plow to center and blow it out). Needless to say, this takes too long.

    The S300 has high flow and I think I'll eventually want a blower. But the part of the driveway with all the rise is cut into the side of a bluff and lots of rocks drop onto it (I've changed way too many shear pins). I'm thinking even with a big skid steer snowblower, I may want to plow this section at least most of the time to avoid blowing rocks. For that matter, I understand that as long as the plow will work, it ought to be faster than blowing the snow.

    Is the lack of high speed range on an S300 (means max speed 6 mph at wide open throttle) a no go for plowing? What would you recommend in the way of attachments for the S300 for snow removal on this driveway?

    I also plan to use the machine for brush hogging, likely chipping a lot of limbs (pine, along with willow, trembling aspen and occasional other stuff), unloading/loading/moving heavy stuff, clearing out ditches, improving driveway, digging holes, pulling fence posts, moving brush piles, and anything else it may prove useful for on 20 acres of partially tamed wilderness. Is the S300 a good choice? Or would you recommend I rethink this? I considered a T300 for added stability and flotation, but am not sure I can justify the extra cost when I can afford to be choosy about when to do the work (when it's dry) as it's just for work around my own place.

    All suggestions/questions/feedback welcome. Shoot! :)
  2. NorthernWild

    NorthernWild Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    S300 is gold package with heat & a/c (though there is a good crack between closed door seal and frame on latch side). It's ~4500 hrs and quite clean. Apparently it spent most of its life working in a warehouse. Problems I've noted are suspension seat has no suspension (flopped down flat, broken), roof has some surface rust on top (rest of machine has very little rust--a touch on a scratch here and there), and one tire slowly goes flat (apparently over 2-3 months). Tires are probably 60% tread.

    I will definitely need to do something about the seat--back bugged me after a few minutes bouncing in there. I'm not sure if these are a fix or replace item.

    It has three couplers for hydraulics and a high-flow button. Present owner has never used auxiliary hydraulics, and neither of us have any hydraulic attachments presently. Is there any way to confirm they are in working order without an attachment (attachment rentals are 10 hr one-way drive away)?
  3. NorthernWild

    NorthernWild Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Oh, and kind of hard to tell when it is freezing outside, but it doesn't seem as if the A/C is working on the S300. Present owner used it only for snow removal at their place and never used A/C. I won't either in winter, but do plan to use the machine plenty for summer projects as well.

    I'm curious what you figure a clean gold package single speed S300 from '06 with ~4500 hrs would be worth in Canada.

    TKLAWN PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,637

    Personally I'd consider a smaller size bobcat maybe a s185/205 that has lower hours. The 300 just has too many hours for me.

    A blower seems most logical to me, maybe consider a v plow too.
  5. 90plow

    90plow Senior Member
    Messages: 739

    4500 hours is a lot for a skid steer. I would look at a smaller machine or even look at a tractor. The problem with skid steers is the way you run them wide open throttle most of the time which would wear out any engine let alone one that's jammed in a small compartment with high heat all the time. I own an 05 s300 with roughly 2600 hours and the hours are really starting to show. Why not get a nice Kubota tractor with 45 horse power or so. The nice thing with a tractor is you can leave the bucket in place and use your blower off the rear pto. Also the attachments are much cheaper for a three point pto setup over a hydraulic skid steer attachment.
  6. NorthernWild

    NorthernWild Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Thanks guys. S300 does start real well with little smoke at 0 degrees C without being plugged in and has a smoother idle than my '02 7.3L (which is overall in very good condition--I like to maintain stuff well). I get the impression the S300 wasn't run WOT that much, but am hesitating over the hours anyway. By appearance, I would've guessed lower hours. It's nearby while anything else will be 10 hr + drive away, so if this happened to be the right machine it would be convenient.

    I looked seriously at Kubota tractor options in spring. I really don't want to blow snow backing up on a driveway this long (whiplash injury years ago, neck just doesn't like doing that). I also like the idea of hydraulic pressure relief instead of shear pins. A front hydraulic blower is possible on tractors, but costs as much as a skid-steer blower. And to get any lift capacity on the loader (for other jobs), the tractor needs to be fairly large. All that said, I think I'll end up with a tractor as well in the future, but I'm doubtful it's what I want for the driveway and heavy lifting jobs.

    If I do end up with a skid steer, how much is speed going to matter with a V-plow for this driveway? I'm thinking the S300 should have the weight to push the widest V-plow Bobcat sells (and perhaps there are better options). Is the lack of 2-speed a problem?
  7. abbe

    abbe Senior Member
    from RI
    Messages: 718

    I have nothing to add except holy hell 10hr drive one way. God bless you
  8. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,174

    Normally a two speed is preferred for plowing lots, for a drive, and what year describing, its perfect.

    What is ur location?
  9. NorthernWild

    NorthernWild Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Thanks! We're close to the Yukon, and not far from Alaskan panhandle. Am I understanding that 2 speed is best for lots, but not so much for a driveway like I'm describing?

    What would you recommend attachment-wise for moving the snow? I'm thinking blower and maybe a v-plow (as TKLAWN mentioned)--or straight plow with a move-able wings to keep snow from tumbling off the wrong edge (not sure if I know what I'm talking about here--have seen something like wings where one on leading edge of plow is sticking out ahead). I've also wondered about the pushers and huge snow buckets, but am thinking one version or another of a plow seems like it would be most productive when conditions don't warrant the blower. Blower purchase will probably wait a winter or two while other priorities are higher.

    Some years snow blowing wouldn't be necessary (had one winter recently where I always had room to put it with the ATV). I have no experience moving snow with anything motorized other than the ATV plow and walk-behind blower, so I don't have a feel for which of the skid-steer snow moving options would be best suited outside of the blower.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015
  10. allagashpm

    allagashpm Senior Member
    Messages: 797

    What is your budget like? Have you considered a plow for your truck instead?
  11. NorthernWild

    NorthernWild Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Plow for the truck was my first thought, but then everyone up here told me not to beat up my truck. It is the family vehicle, primarily used for 24 hr one-way drives to civilization and back, usually hauling/towing something back.

    The other problem is sometimes I come home from one of those trips to a driveway with 2' or so of settled in snow. I could leave the plow at the bottom, but doubt plowing uphill would work so well. I could get a dedicated plow truck to drive down from the top, but really want the utility of a skid steer for other uses.

    Budget is ~$21k Canadian. If I want to spend much more than that, I'll need to wait for next winter.
  12. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,123

    I would get a snow bucket first - then a V plow if you think the bucket is to slow. Put chains on two tires, 10 foot bucket and on small snows just use it like a plow. With 2 feet you may need to dig your way out.
    I would not buy a skidloader with 4500 hours unless it was real cheap and I had lot of time to fix it. Lots of parts to break.
  13. NorthernWild

    NorthernWild Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Thanks maxwellp. I was wondering about the 10 foot bucket; like you say, for small snows it wouldn't need to be emptied often if at all.

    Skid comes with 4 chains (though only has back installed and I understand they don't like to stay on front tires too well during skid-steering), HLA SB78BO500 bucket, forks that still have most of their paint on, and a spare glass door.

    Thanks for all the input; really appreciate it. I ran a Bobcat 763 and then Case 85XT for a few hundred hours years ago, but this is my first time looking at buying a piece of heavy equipment.

    The hours do concern me some. Apparently it spent most of it's life idling between unloading bales of hay from trucks onto a conveyor inside a feedlot warehouse. It looks good, idles smooth, lift/tilt work smooth, and overall it seems to be in fairly good shape. No leaks I could find. I'm not sure how much this balances out the high hours. Asking price is $25k Canadian.

    Only things I noticed that bugged me outside of those noted in previous posts are:

    1 - Somewhere between 1800 and 2300 RPM it hits a resonant frequency in something in the control sticks--quite the racket if you're not holding onto them. Is this normal?

    2 - There's a bit of a jerk when engaging push button float. Is that normal, or should it be engaging smoothly? Other than that, it seems to work well as long as you curl the bucket out at the end of the float. If you just go to lift the arm while floating before getting arm to bottom of stroke by curling out bucket, it gives the arm a bit of a jerky push down and then up (control direction is up the whole time, and it doesn't matter how gently I move towards up on the sticks). I still feel a bit of a jerk exiting float when arm is already at bottom, but much less pronounced. I'm not sure if this is all normal or not. During typical back drag floating, it's doesn't seem bad as curling out the bucket before lifting results in relatively smooth disengagement of float. It's been too long since I've driven another machine to compare. Does this sound normal, or like something is wrong?

    3 - after parking brake is engaged and disengaged, it seems you need to back up slightly before going forwards to get brake to disengage. Would this be normal/easy fix/bigger problem?

    4 - right side window latch mechanism is detaching from window (seems glued on), so it doesn't stay latched well, interior light probably needs a new bulb, and one of the back lights is missing a small piece of the lens.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2015
  14. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,174

    3, yea that common.

    Do you have other use for the machine?
  15. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,123

    What Year? That's $18,766.51 US
    What Engine?
  16. NorthernWild

    NorthernWild Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Likely uses on 21 acre wilderness property, not necessarily in order:
    1 Clear driveway of snow
    2 Maintain/improve badly neglected dirt/rock driveway and ditches, including taking sand/gravel from pit along driveway and spreading on driveway, hauling away stumps from removed trees we'll undercut in the process.
    3 Unload and place pallets of stuff brought home
    4 Move heavy stuff
    5 Move dirt. Have some lower spots to fill in, some ground that we'd like to reshape, etc
    6 Brush hog along driveway and ~10 acres of fields
    7 Possibly run hydraulic feed chipper to chip a lot of pine branches, poplars, willow, etc, clearing out and thinning forest
    8 Won't be surprised if it ends up taking part in one form or another in yearly harvest of 4-5 cords firewood
    9 Pull old fence posts
    10 Bury old rotting wood under rows in garden
    11 Dig holes for adding fruit trees to garden
    12 Assist in excavations/backfill for building barn, shop, and hopefully new house over next decade or so

    If I had to wild-guess, I'll probably put 100-200 hours on it at most per year.
  17. NorthernWild

    NorthernWild Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    2006 S300 T3 81 HP. It's also nearby, while anything else will be 10+ hr one-way drive away. I do have the truck and trailer to haul one in, but that costs a bit even doing it myself and it would be convenient if the one nearby is suitable.
  18. allagashpm

    allagashpm Senior Member
    Messages: 797

    I really would consider a tractor personally if you don't want a plow for your truck.
    Sounds better suited to your needs but that's just my opinion.
    Or widen your search. Just because it's the only one for sale in your area doesn't mean that's the one you should get.
  19. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,123

  20. jomama45

    jomama45 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,190

    1 - I have no idea, perhaps the handles need drive levers need to be adjusted.

    2 - Yes, they're stiff on purpose, there's a detent built into them, and hardly anybody uses them.

    3 - Is the e-brake a toggle switch above the front door? If so, I've never had one stick like that. The old mechanical foot pedal always sticks though, but I don't think Bobcat put those in this series, at least not as new as 2006.

    4 - Easy fix, re glue the glass to the channel. The window units actually come out pretty easy.

    I won't comment on price, as it may be hgh for the hours here, but your cost of living is ALOT higher than that here in the Midwest.

    As for the hours, my first 2002 s250 was a farm unit that had 4000 hours on it when I bought it, and it was only a few years old. If it didn't have a Duetz, I might still own it.

    I replaced it with a new one in 2007 and I think the only major things I've had to do was have the seals in one tilt cylinder replaced and I replaced one set of tires. I should have the injectors looked at soon, as it's startign to smoke a little. Not too bad for 2500 hours IMO. These machines were built to run a long time with llight use and decent maintanence...........