Caterpillar Small-Chassis Skid Steers Get Major Upgrade

For 2015, Caterpillar is rolling out four new small-chassis loader models that incorporate the design innovations of the larger D series machines introduced back in 2013. The new loaders, which include two skid-steer loaders and two compact track loaders, will have the same sealed, pressurized cab; electro-hydraulic controls; redesigned lift arms; premium seat choices; and the option of an Advanced Display with a rear-view camera.

Skid-steer loaders
The 232D skid-steer, vertical-lift model was designed specifically for the ag market. “This vertical-lift, extended-reach machine makes loading mixer wagons or stacking hay bales even easier,” says Jeff Brown, Caterpillar. “These features make this skid steer well suited for agricultural applications.”

The 232D has a standard rated operating capacity (ROC) of 1,850 pounds, increasing to 1,950 pounds with the optional counterweight. The 232D’s radial counterpart is the 226D, which has a standard ROC of 1,550 pounds, up to 1,650 pounds with the counterweight. Both machines have a two-speed drive system with a top speed of 11 mph.

Compact track loaders
“Track machines are also finding their way into more ag applications,” adds Brown. “Ag customers are finding more uses for those machines because of the low ground pressure, soft footprint, and ability to get out into parts of a property where a wheeled machine can’t go.”

The radial-lift 239D and vertical-lift 249D compact track loaders have standard ROCs of 2,050 and 2,300 pounds, respectively; the optional counterweight increases to 2,250 and 2,500 pounds.

The track loaders are equipped with a suspended undercarriage and are available with standard 12.6-inch-wide, block-tread tracks or optional 15-inch-wide tracks with a wide-bar tread that provides low ground pressure, minimal ground disturbance, and added flotation.

Standard features
An electronic Cat C2.2 engine that meets Tier 4 Final emissions powers all four models. The engine uses a high-pressure, common-rail fuel system; direct fuel injection; and a maintenance-free DOC as the only required exhaust aftertreatment. The 67-hp. engine provides 10% more horsepower, 10% more torque, and delivers a 14% increase in fuel efficiency, compared with previous models. A demand fan is standard to ensure optimal cooling and reduced horsepower draw.

The D-series cab is completely modular and self-sealing, leaving no part of the cab attached to the chassis when the cab is tilted. A redesigned HVAC system supplies 20% more airflow and about a 50% increase in heating and cooling rates.

Lift arms for all D series machines have a tubular design that provides optimal lift characteristics and strength yet with a narrower profile that improves sight lines to the sides of the machine, tires, and to the work-tool/coupler interface.

Maintenance is made easier with ground-level access to all routine service points, including filters, battery, and engine-oil fill and check points. The air conditioner condenser is mounted to the inside of the engine compartment door and is easily accessible for cleaning or service.

The new models also feature an electric priming pump with automatic air bleed for the fuel system, making it easier to replace and prime the fuel filter and water separator. For added safety, a dead-engine/boom-down actuator is repositioned for easier access, and the boom arms incorporate a one-person safety brace.

Available upgrades
An optional Intelligent Leveling system is capable of dual self-leveling, electronic stubbing, return-to dig, and work tool positioning, all functions that significantly increase productivity.

The dual self-leveling system automatically levels the loader linkage when raising and lowering the lift arms. Electronic snubbing automatically cushions the descent of the lift arms. The return-to-dig feature allows you to set the digging angle of the bucket and then to automatically recall the setting by depressing a trigger switch on the joystick as the lift arms lower. The work tool positioning feature allows the angle of the tool to be preset, and then to automatically recall the setting if the machine is repositioned.

An automatic work-tool coupler is also available. This electrically actuated coupler replaces the previous hydraulic version. The new coupler design is simpler, eliminating hoses and connectors. An available high-flow auxiliary-hydraulic system provides flows up to 26 gpm and pressures up to 3,336 psi. Both standard and high-flow auxiliary systems use connect-under-pressure quick disconnects.

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