Single Arm Skid Steer & How they Work

Stan: Alright guys, the sad truth is the Skid Steer training programs at a lot of companies go something like this. There's a pile of dirt, there's a skid loader, go. Well, we're going to try to fill in that middle part today so that if you're a noob to skid loaders and you get thrown into one of those positions, you feel a little bit more comfortable before hopping into a big giant piece of equipment that you've never ran before. 

Stan: But we're going to be using something a little bit different than what you're usually familiar with seeing. We're going to be using a mono-boom or a single-boom skid loader. So before we launch the entire training session, which is four parts, we're going to actually compare and contrast, today, the differences, the critical differences, between a single-boom skid loader and a dual-boom skid loader. And then in parts two and three, we're going to actually go inside of that machine and start teaching you the basic operations. How to do things. But not just basic, we're actually going to get into some things that are going to actually help you on a job site like learning how to cut in a road. 

Stan: And then in part four, we're going to really go deep and we're going to show you how to load trucks, how to grade soil and how to do some advanced techniques that, well, they take a little bit of practice, but if you have the concept right right out of the gate, you're going to be miles ahead of just trying to figure it out on your own. 

Stan: So without wasting any more time today let's start with comparing and contrasting a mono-boom or single-boom skid loader with a dual-boom and then make sure you stick around because the rest of it's coming down the pipeline. 

Stan: All right guys, the next thing we're going to be tackling today is how to run a skid loader. And when I was on my way out to Pennsylvania to shoot this video, I realized that I've been running a skid loader for way too long. I can't even remember what it's like to climb into it for the first time. But then I realized my wife has never ran a skid loader before.

Speaker 2: Nope.

Stan: And so she's actually volunteer ... Well, she didn't really volunteer. 

Speaker 2: No I didn't.

Stan: She didn't volunteer, guys. Well, I mean I asked nicely and she didn't say no, but she's never ran one before. And so we're going to be teaching her how to run a skid loader. 

Stan: You guys, this is Kevin from Volvo. Kevin, what do you do here at Volvo?

Kevin: I'm a product manager and Skid Steer's one of my product lines.

Stan: Okay. One of the things that's different about the Volvo skid loader versus some of the other skid loaders out there as you guys have one arm instead of two. 

Kevin: Yes. And that one arm allows us for a side entry door versus the front entry door, which most of the 2-arm machines have.

Stan: So you're not crawling over, you're not getting oily and greasy.

Kevin: Yeah, and it also allows you to enter and exit the machinery regardless of where your attachment, your arm, is in it's stroke. If it's half way up, all the way up, you can always safely enter and exit the machine because you're not getting in the path of the travel.

Stan: Can you walk us ... Just get us familiar with this Volvo skid loader? Because a lot of the guys, maybe some of them, aren't familiar with skid loaders at all, but other ones may not be familiar with single arm skid loaders, so this is a great opportunity to do both.

Kevin: This is our MC135, which is our largest wheeled skid loader. It's a 3,000 pound rated operating capacity machine. We also have three other wheeled models and also some track models. As you can see, the one arm is the key feature which allows for the side entry door, so it's just like entering any other piece of equipment really, like a wheel loader, excavator, side entry, even a car. 

Stan: How does that balance, though? 

Kevin: Good question.

Stan: When you dig in and you're gonna load something heavy wouldn't that just kinda throw the whole balance off?

Kevin: If we look right here, so the center of the machine is actually right here where my finger is or my hand is, you can kind of see the can and even some hydraulic components underneath the cab are offset to the left hand side of the machine, balance that weight left and right.

Stan: Oh.

Kevin: See the center of the bucket right here?

Stan: Yeah.

Kevin: This is actually the center of the machine, believe it or not, and you can see how everything's kind of offset in that direction. It's a lot more weight is offset to make up for the extra weight of the arm [inaudible 00:04:43].

Stan: The lift cylinder is not in the center of the bucket is it?

Kevin: No it's not. The center of the bucket would be like right here.

Stan: So the lift arm is on the side-

Kevin: There's only one lift [inaudible 00:04:54] instead of the normal two, but if you look at the size of it it's about twice the size, so it still has the same performance as having two. But it allows less grease [inaudible 00:05:02], less hydraulic fittings.

Stan: This is a concept, guys, that I just ... This is-

Kevin: It's unique.

Stan: Yeah. It's actually pretty cool now that I see that you're ... Because on a typical machine, your center is going to be dead center of the operator, right here. That's where ... And then you're gonna have dual lift arms on both sides of it and then you're gonna have-

Kevin: Your door would be right [inaudible 00:05:27].

Stan: Visibility, too. I mean, in a regular skid loader, visibility is not good-

Kevin: Yeah.

Stan: And then you've got some skid loaders, which I'm not gonna name them, but you've got some of them where they've got a camera so that you can actually see what's behind you and in a skid loader that is the stupidest thing. I don't care who you are. Some of these guys are going to argue with me, but I've got tens of thousands of hours of running these things and the last thing I'm going to trust when I'm going forward, backward, forward, backward, forward, backward, constant, constant, constant is a camera. 

Stan: I want to be well aware of my surroundings to the point whereas I'm driving forward, I'm comfortable with my visibility on both sides and if I have to look behind me for a reason, I want to be able to do this and not rely on a camera. I just don't personally like that. I want to be able to use my own skills, not technology to compensate because of a bad design. That's my feeling. 

Kevin: Makes sense.

Stan: What I see in this thing ... I'm gonna take this camera inside the cab. Visibility in here is ... Holy crap. 

Kevin: So, [inaudible 00:06:33] rear visibility, you don't have that cross member connecting the two arms, so you have good rear, especially left and front visibility. 

Stan: This is crazy. This is some of the best visibility that I've seen in the industry.

Speaker 2: So, when you lift something heavy with it it doesn't go this way?

Kevin: If you look at the thickness of the steel and how it's plate steel and not sheet metal. It's got the same physical amount of steel in this single arm as it would in a two arm machine, it's just thicker and laid out better, more efficiently.

Stan: Okay, so, question is what's the point of going with a single arm versus a dual arm system that's been inherently accepted in the industry.

Kevin: Great question and I would say two things: safety and visibility. So, believe it or not, there's a lot of injuries of people getting in and out of machines, especially if they have an attachment, that's up or they try to get out of the machine with the attachments up in the air. 

Kevin: So having a side entry door eliminates a lot of those issues because you don't need to touch the attach to get in and out of it. Regardless of where it is you can get in and out. But also visibility. 

Stan: So, because we're running the single arm machine and ... This is, I actually ... This is really cool guys, I mean, because I've never had a chance to run a single arm machine like this before. 

Stan: What are the unique design features of this machine? And then I can point out how that's different from a regular machine because that's what I'm familiar with. 

Kevin: Okay. Well, the coupler here is the same coupler as most [inaudible 00:08:00] but the placement that's different. It's on the right hand side-

Stan: Yep.

Kevin: Instead of your left had side. A little different, but-

Stan: So it still uses the universal attachment.

Kevin: Yep.

Stan: Coupling system. You have it protected in right on the boom arm, so I can see where there's ... That's well thought out, that design. 

Kevin: You have one tilt zoner, one lift zoner, instead of two.

Stan: Okay.

Kevin: And then your safety straps is over here, and it's actually ... So if you wanna put your safety strap on one person can do it, they can safely lift the arm up, get out of the machine on the left hand side, walk around it so they're never walking beneath the unsupported boom, and then put in their own safety strap without having to do two people to do it or have to do if from inside the cab.

Stan: Okay, so typically the way that you would do this in a skid loader is you would raise this up and then you'd have to have a ground pounder on the outside of the machine, put your safety straps in, which, these are your safety straps, and then you can get out. But what a lot of guys do is they lift the machine up and then they get out, so the hydraulics are not supported and they feel they're perfectly fine. Or the worst thing yet, they put a board underneath the bucket.

Stan: Guys, if you've ever seen a set of hydraulics slam to the ground uncontrolled you would never do this. I've seen ... You wouldn't survive. You just don't survive. You're done. You're just, there's ... You're squished, basically. It's like a bug on a windshield at 60 miles an hour. That's what you would look like. 

Stan: When these hydraulics come down, they don't come down, they don't come down smooth and fluid. It's like that. It's terrible. So what a lot of guys do is they crawl out. The hydraulics are not supported, they're not safe. And then they put the cylinder in, they put their safety in, then they crawl back in and then they bring the hydraulics down until they feel it connect up and then they get out.

Stan: Now, they're doing two points of entry unprotected. I'm not trying to sell this thing, but I can see where this would be a benefit to lifting it up, walking out the door over here, you're never underneath the hydraulics, coming around, putting your cylinder in and getting back in safely and setting it down. It's a one-man job and you're never underneath them.

Kevin: Yep.

Stan: I get it. I get that.

Kevin: Another cool thing about skid steers is the commonality, right? So we have the same lug pattern, same tire and wheel sizes on these skid steers as everybody else does. Same coupler. So you can switch attachments from a Volvo skid steer to any other manufacturer. It's the same size coupler. So that's a cool thing within the skid steer industry that is somewhat unique. We don't see that in the excavator industry and the wheel loader industry. It's just different sized couplers.

Stan: So you're using the universal quick attach system.

Kevin: You can switch your machine without having to switch all your attachments.So, if you wanna switch to a Volvo machine from some other manufacturer you don't have to buy all new attachments. They'll work on [inaudible 00:10:47] attachments.

Stan: Okay.

Kevin: Which is nice. 

Kevin: So, fuel is right here. Diesel right there, and this whole part here is actually fuel. 27 gallon fuel tank, which is one of the bigger ones in the industry. 

Stan: Okay.

Kevin: Hydraulic tank is on this side [inaudible 00:11:02] drain [inaudible 00:11:04] here. There's a quick drain on that side and [inaudible 00:11:06] on that side. You can drain them. 

Kevin: We also have all four tie-down points to tie it on a trailer. Every corner's labeled so you can easily tie it down.

Stan: Where do you check your fluids? Where do you do your maintenance?

Kevin: All your maintenance is done inside the engine compartment here. So, here's your oil, here's your hydraulic tank, air filter, battery disconnect, oil fill, your main engine block. It's an inline 4 [inaudible 00:11:31] turbo diesel and it's not a transverse engine, so some manufacturers actually run their engine like a front wheel drive car, then they have their pump like right here. Ours is actually inline, like a rear wheel drive car, and then the main hydraulic pump is actually right beneath the operator.

Stan: So battery disconnect, where do you jump your-

Kevin: Unfortunately you have to pull this plastic out to get to your battery. There's no quick [inaudible 00:11:59].

Stan: Oh, so where do you jump it?

Kevin: You take this off, you pull this out, then you just gotta put it on the main terminals-

Stan: Okay.

Kevin: Here and then there.

Stan: Uh.

Kevin: Fuel filter, oil filter.

Stan: Fuel, oil. All right. Well, let's get into running it. Drive around, get comfortable. Go play in the dirt pile.

Stan: Alright guys, in the next part of this series we're going to go into the machine and get you familiar with the basic functions of it because once you get your basics down, you got a good solid foundation to begin working off from. And then in part three we're going to actually take you out and demonstrate some techniques that you will use on job sites, like the ability to cut in a road through a steep bank or the ability to grab and move heavy wet material. These are conditions you will eventually encounter so you might as well get familiar with them before he actually meet them in real life. 

Stan: And then in part four, we really screw things up intentionally. We're going to show you some of the most common mistakes that people make when they're first trying to get in a skid loader. Like how not to load a dump truck, how not to do a grading job, how not to dig into a pile, and then demonstrate the right way to do it so you can compare and contrast and see the difference. 

Stan: So make sure you stick around for the entire series and a giant thank you goes to Volvo for sponsoring this and helping put this on. Without their help none of this would be possible. So do me a favor and thank them in the comments down below. See you in the next video. 

Stan: This is gonna sound kind of weird, guys, but I noticed that I closed that video without saying God bless and go get them and I'll tell you, it just doesn't feel right. So God bless. Go get them, guys.


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