IF YOU NEED lots of lifting power in a small maneuverable package, you will be hard-pressed to find a better machine than a skid-steer loader. The new Case IH 400 series skid steers fulfill that ideal of compact power or “power density” with operating loads from 1,500 to 3,000 lbs.

Two types

The machines, built in Wichita, KS, range in price from $20,000 to $65,000 and include five radial-lift and three vertical-lift models. Models ending in zero signify radial arm, and those ending in five are vertical lift. Radial-lift models are configured for fast cycle times and quick digging capabilities, while vertical-lift models can reach higher for operations such as stacking hay bales.

The machines use high-torque, durable 4- or 3-cyl. diesel engines that have been known to provide 20,000 hours of service without an overhaul. Some models are turbocharged. The frame itself is made of ½-in.-thick steel, and the chains that drive the wheels are the 120 size, the largest drive chains of any skid-steer loader.

Operator comfort

All controls are on the two joystick-style handles on either side of the driver; the loaders have no foot pedal controls. A specially designed yolk that pivots down in front of the operator provides a handy, ergonomic armrest that makes fine maneuvers easier and reduces fatigue. When transporting a heavy load, the operator can press a ride-control button that activates an accumulator in the lift circuit for less bounce and a smoother ride. There's also a trigger-style switch that activates a higher gear for road travel.

For working in cold, heat or dusty conditions, glassed-in roll cages are available with heat and defrost as well as air conditioning. The machines are also adaptable, with more than 75 available attachments — from bale spikes and posthole diggers to snowblowers. Attachments and buckets can be swapped quickly with a “quick coupler” configuration. Track models for better flotation, designated by the letters CT, are also available.

Contact Case IH, Dept. FIN, 700 State St., Racine, WI 53404, 262/636-6011, visit www.caseih.com.