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Wheel Loader, what works best?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Husker Mike, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. Husker Mike

    Husker Mike Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    Would sure appreciate some advice, the 20 years I have been in the snow business, I have only used trucks with plows, I have been looking at adding a loader with a box or a blade to my fleet and would like to have some input from those who have used them. I have some big accounts that I think a loader would make a big difference on in combination with one or more trucks. I am looking in the 25-40k range. Here are some questions I have:
    How important is the differential lock?
    box plow or wing plow ?
    brand and size of loader?
    Anything else that would be important?
    I have found a 644c JD that is in the price range but does not have the diff lock. Was thinking of a daniels box plow because I would be using it in combination with trucks anyhow. In a big parking lot like a super walmart, would a loader with a 12' box move twice the snow as a 9-2 boss vplow in the same amount of time? Opinions please.
  2. RJ lindblom

    RJ lindblom Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    Not sure about diff lock, I would think it would not be a problem. Snow Farmer would know. The 644 seem to be a pretty good machine. Scottsbluff is small enough that drive time with the loader should not that bad.

    Off topic, how did you fare in the last couple of storms?
  3. Mark Witcher

    Mark Witcher Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    I do a Wal mart super center and another big parking lot. We have a 10 ft box plow that we have used on various types of machines. Backhoe, large farm tractor, Cat loader. A diff lock is not really needed. I wouldnt want to plow these big lots again without our loader and box plow. It more than pays for itself in time saved versus just pickup plows. We use the PUs to windrow and the loader pushes the piles to the ends and stacks. The Cat 920articulated loader we have works the best of the machines we have used. A 12 ft box plow will move 5 times as much as a 9 ft V plow.
  4. SD-Dave

    SD-Dave Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 237


    I used to lease a Deere 644J nice machine and pretty big and powerful...that said I wouldn't worry about the diff lock but make sure you have good tires...that will make a bigger difference. I would go with a 12 or even 14' snow pusher...machine will definitely handle it...if transport is an issue pro-tech makes a folding one for easy transport.

    In a parking lot a loader that size with a 12' pusher will crush a plow truck with a 9' v-plow whatever.

    Goodluck...once you use a loader you will never go back to a pick/plow combo for large parking lots.
  5. Husker Mike

    Husker Mike Junior Member
    Messages: 3

    We didn't have the snow that Denver had, in the first storm we had 7-8" with wind and the 2nd we had around 6". Only 2 times the ground has been white this year. As for our snow operations, 1st storm I had staff issues, 3 drivers out of 14 didn't show up as planned, had already been through my backup driver list, ended up running 3 trucks short. 2nd storm, had staff, but was plagued with mechanical issues but not severe. Just glad to have the snow. Thanks so much for your advice.
  6. salopez

    salopez Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    Um ....I would put an 18 or maybe a 20 foot protech pusher on a JD 644. thats a big machine. Most people are running 16s on a 544.

    At that point, your truck (no need for more then one) would clear your drive lanes and your loading dock.

    Good luck to you.
  7. spiviter

    spiviter Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 74

    Just be careful of the weight of the machine you get, There can be to much weight for the pavement to handle.. I have a large lot that will not handle a machine over 20K. The last guy who ran a big machine destroyed parts of it and had to replace it....
  8. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655

    Are you going to try and run....

    Are you going to try and run your loader while customers are in the lot?Traffic?
    If you are you'll have to consider lane width, if your loader and a car/truck could pass each other safely???
    If you are in a retail lot you know how good some of the other drivers can be.....
    A pusher will move more snow cleaner than any plow.A loader and pusher is like having two machines in one, one to move the snow and one to stack the snow.Make that three,four... one to load trucks,salt,sand,snow......Scrape up pac...The list goes on....
    I've seen guys running 988's(to big) 966's(still to big) If you are around traffic I would think a 544 would be a good size or something like a IT28 quick and easy to maneuver etc...I ran a Cat 950 and that is really a quarry machine just to big to be whipping in and out of cars with ,even though I did.
    As mentioned before good tires,most lots are pretty flat so Diff lock or chains shouldn't be an issue.
    Just my thoughts...
    I forgot dealer support....Who can get you parts the quickest if needed???You notice I didn't mention Case, that is because we had some real issues with our local Case dealers. Cat for the most part has gone above and beyond the norm to keep contractors happy in my old neck of the woods.It paid off for them too.
  9. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,258

    spiviter, somebody did a really bad prep job if a loader ruined the pavement.

    As for what to use, it depends on what you will be plowing and if you will be traveling with it. 12' or 14' is real small. We run 16's & an 18 on a JD 524, Cat 938 and a Cat 950. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure those are all smaller than a 644.

    As for production, the above will replace approximately 3 trucks. Plan on a truck to setup for the loader-along edges, pull out loading docks, make a pass along cars into the middle so the loader can push it to the end. A 12' would probably replace 2 trucks, however you would be wasting the production possibilities of this machine.

    What types of lots are you servicing? Does all the snow have to go to one end? Or can you windrow like you would with a truck? A Daniel's Wing plow can be fitted with a mechanism that will help carry snow and still have the versatility of a plow that you can windrow with. A pusher box is awesome for areas that have all the snow carried to one or a few spots. If you have to transport, ProTech does have a folding unit and the Daniel's folds for transport. On the other hand, for the price of 1 Daniel's or 1 folding ProTech, you can purchase approximately 2 16' ProTechs.

    I will guarantee that no matter which one you buy, you won't view snow plowing the same again once you see what they can do.

    OshKosh, I disagree on the size somewhat, a 950 is an excellent size machine. And around here, you get a lot more respect in a loader with a 16' pusher than you ever will a truck, even a larger truck. That's why we mostly use 16's, an great size for daytime getting in and around cars, while still being very productive when the lots are empty.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2007
  10. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655

    I guess we agree to disagree...

    Maybe your 950's are different than the one I ran (model year 2000,I thought it was a bone!) The It 28 could run circles around it in traffic and tight areas.But maybe thats just me.
    All depends on how is is going to utilize it.
    I agree on the rest,I have even seen/heard of guys putting pushers on trucks and they love them for bigger areas like town commons and the such.
    Depending on the lot you may consider a trip edge setup,there are pros and cons to rubber versus steel versus trip but if your lot has rough spots, manholes etc a trip would take allot of stress of the loader arm pins of your machine. Again just some thoughts.
  11. murray83

    murray83 Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    I agree with Oshkosh,a 950 and above is overkill.I've ran loaders for snow removal in parking lots of all sizes anything from a IT28G to a Komatsu WA 600 in a Wal-Mart parking lot.The smaller loaders were more ideal as I could manouver around objests like cart corrals,light posts and parked cars.The 950G and 966C,E and G just ate up way too much room and were just too much machine for the lots we did no matter how large or small.

    Production means nothing with bigger equipment,my machines of choice were the backhoes or IT28 size and I did double the work of the larger machine.Mind you we used buckets since snow pushers are just popping up in these parts but I can out produce a larger loader with a backhoe anyday in a lot big or small.

    As far as I know the 544 Deere loaders compare to a Cat 936-950 and the Deere 624-644's were built to compete with the 966 series.
  12. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,258

    I'm curious murray and OshKosh, do you run these machines daily or during snow season only? Or something in between?
  13. charlefoxtrtot

    charlefoxtrtot Member
    from MD
    Messages: 62


    My company uses a Komatsu WA120 w/12' push box. No diff lock. You can't beat it for pushing, driving, etc...
  14. murray83

    murray83 Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    I work off and on for a local civil contractor so our loaders are used in the pit or quarry mostly in summer loading trucks or we bring them on certain jobs such as sanitary sewer or watermain work where they shine best.Winter work is just to keep us busy as best as possible.Equipment time varies since I'm placed job to job and on any machine in need.
  15. 2004F550

    2004F550 Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    I agree with Mark....A CAT 950 is the perfect size for snow...a 950 isn't seen in a quarry, unless the quarry is a joke, rock would kill a 950. We use a 936 and a 950 for snow with angle plows for shopping centers and its no problem, you do need good operators though.
  16. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655


    As stated before it all depends on how he is going to use the machine(Stockpile machine,on the road,seasonal ,job site,quarry the options are endless) How he plans on transporting the machine from site to site etc....
    I Cannot say one is better for him Only he knows how it is going to be used.
    The machines I ran where year round machines....I ran a 950,It938 and It928 all late model, the last two ran circles around the 950 on the road.The 950 didnt come with street lighting(Headlights,blinkers, four ways) as it was over sized for the road(our roads anyways).
    I don't know much about the details on loaders other then my seat time and that is all I am commenting on,my experience with the above machines.
    As far as older 950's I've been told to stay away from them as the engines leave something to be desired.The guys who run that equipment in my circle prefer the older 966's instead.
  17. plowinginma

    plowinginma Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 326

    Ummmm My kamatsu W-A 500 and I will not only out plow your Little backhoe ....but load it in the trailer dump and have coffee while you figured out what just happened ....

    I own equipment from a bobcat to large front end loaders ... A backhoe is a great piece of equipment .. it may even out plow my little GMC 1500 Z71 short bed pickup .. and ,I might note ,I love my back hoe for backhoe jobs ... but not for competition ..Especially snowplowing

    I prefer a 966 with a 14FT pusher on it for plowing .. (I can plow a 5 acre site in about 70 min.. regardless of how much snow is in it .. ... and the biggest possible machine for loading snow and pushing up piles .. Just my take
  18. Oshkosh

    Oshkosh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,655

    How many years experience?

    How many years have you been running equipment?
  19. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,258

    Thanks. I was wondering because I have found that it makes way more sense to have someone who operates heavy equipment year round to plow for us.

    THe largest loader I own is a JCB 212. My subs have the larger loaders. THey have had everything from a backhoe to a 966 plowing for me. The 950 is a G model with a Balderson (sp?) hitch. The pusher mounts directly to the loader and it is an amazing machine. The others have the pushers attached to the buckets. The operators that are provided are only limited to what they can do by the width of the bucket and the sideplates on the pushers. Otherwise they can plow about 95% of the lots without any setup truck\equipment.

    We have been using loaders and ProTechs since '99 and have had no problems with these size loaders.

    I have never seen a loader as small as a 950 in a quarry. Maybe in other parts, but not around here.

    As for a backhoe outproducing a loader in any size lot? Drive on down, I'll put you up against any one of my subs.
  20. 2004F550

    2004F550 Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    I have been running loaders in quarrying for about 6 years on and off between other duties...in these operations i used 936's, 950's, 966's, and now a new 980H.....you are right about the 950 leaving much to be desired in the motor department. The 966 is a much better choice on the high side or the 936 for smaller work. In quarring however the 936 and 950 and even the 966 can not stand up to charging crushing plants. Hence a 980 now. A 950 can fill in to load stock piles etc, but it is not meant for a quarrying, fine for sewer/water pipe, other site duties but no quarry machine. The 936 and the 950 do, however, work very well for snowplowing in our shopping centers. I have visited Conway a number of times, do you plow anyof those outlet centers?