Deere has updated it’s line of medium-sized skid-steer and compact-track loaders, filling a gap in the company’s offerings. The G-Series of loaders are powered by Tier-4-Final, 3.3-liter Yanmar engines rated at 69 hp to 74 hp, and feature a number of improvements over the E-Series machines they are replacing. The 320G and 324G skid steers, along with the 325G compact track loader, were displayed to the public for the first time at the World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas, held Jan. 23 to 26.
“Staying below 75 horsepower was a key target for these new machines,” says Gregg Zupancic, Deere product marketing manager for skid steers and compact track loaders. “Otherwise we’d require more aftertreatment to comply with EPA regulations."
Zupancic explains the machines are comparable in performance to the existing E-Series machines, but sport new enhancements and optional features intended to improve customers return on investment. “The market [for compact loaders] is explosive right now,” he says. “Folks that would buy a bigger product like a dozer or loader, their prices have gone up as well as we transitioned as an industry with emissions controls. They are looking for other solutions at a more economical price point.”
With multiple skid steers now asked to do the work of a single large machine, customers are spending more time in the cab, says Zupancic. “The price increase across the board due to meeting emissions means customers want more value for the price,” he says. New options include an LED light package and a rearview camera.
Ease of maintenance was a key design target of the new machines. With the removal of two 18mm bolts, the entire cab assembly can swing upward on a hydraulic shaft to allow access to the back of the engine and the assorted hydraulic attachment points. The engine oil filter is now remotely mounted, allowing for faster access during maintenance. Zupancic says the maintenance intervals are roughly the same as the E-Series, with an oil change at 500 hours and hydraulic fluid at 1,000 hours, but these procedures will be easier to perform with less downtime. The engine’s diesel-particulate filter has a service interval of 8,000 hours, roughly the life of the machine.
“Customers are satisfied with performance of the machines today,” says Zupancic. “Now they want an ROI on the product, in better serviceability and maintenance. This is being driven by our biggest customers in this product: construction contractors, landscapers and agriculture.”