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John Deere 300 Series Skid Steers Boast Quicker Cycles

Mon April 02, 2007 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The John Deere 300 Series skid steers provide numerous features designed to enhance productivity. Among these is increased stability, resulting in faster speeds and quicker cycles. This stability is delivered by a low center of gravity due to heavy components being mounted low in the frame, a long wheelbase that provides a smoother ride with less fore-to-aft rocking, optimal balance due to 60/40 weight distribution on the front and rear axles and large tires.

A vertical-lift boom provides a true vertical lift pattern, ensuring the machine remains stable when lifting heavy palletized loads from flat beds. The boom allows maximum reach to be achieved at full lift height, ideal for center load placement during truck loading.

Thirty-five-degree rollback translates into a level bucket at carry position, resulting in more material carried with less spillage. A 45-degree dump angle allows quick and clean shedding of material from the bucket.

In addition, ample height-to-hinge pin provides the extra clearance needed when loading high side-boarded trucks, and cushioned cylinders ensure a smooth deceleration at the end of the boom lower cycle for less noise and reduced material spillage.

Like the prior John Deere skid steer line, the 300 Series features QuikTatch technology, which allows effortless attachment engagement and disengagement from the operator’s seat with a simple push of a button.

Powerful hydraulics delivered to the loader boom, bucket and attachments also enhance productivity. High-flow hydraulics are available as a factory-installed option for equipment owners requiring more hydraulic power.

“Massive breakout forces provide the performance needed for tough digging, as well as heavy load and carry operations, and best-in-class hydraulic horsepower maximizes the performance of attachments,” said Gregg Zupancic, product marketing manager, John Deere Construction and Forestry division. “In short, the 300 Series skid steers can mill and trench more feet per hour than competitive machines.”

Direct-injection, high-ring piston design results in optimal starting and fuel economy, and hydraulic valve lifters provide quieter operation and eliminate valve lash adjustments, according to the manufacturer.

Several operator station features provide increased protection while boosting operator performance, including 360-degree visibility; wet-disk brakes that apply automatically anytime the seat belt is unfastened, the operator leaves the seat, cab door is opened, engine is shut down or brake switch is engaged; and lower steps and four handholds that provide easier entry and exit.

On models 317 and 320, low-effort manual pump controls allow a full day’s operation without fatigue, while models 325, 328 and 332 feature Servo pump controls that provide light, controllable efforts for increased productivity. Hand controls are available as a factory-installed option.

A comprehensive instrumentation package provides more than 20 enhancements, including automatic preheat; glove-friendly rocker switches; a larger LCD for easier viewing, job clock, sealed rocker switches for increased reliability, diagnostic codes for quick problem source identification, self-diagnostics check, automatic shutdown with alarm, and an audible low fuel warning with LCD text message.

An integral, in-cab boom lock is engaged and disengaged from within the safety of the operator station and can never be lost or misplaced. Optional hydraulic self-leveling eliminates spillage and automatically adjusts bucket cylinders to maintain a level load position throughout the loader arm raise cycle.

The optional four-season cab enclosure, which features air-conditioning and a heater/defroster to allow the operator to control temperature and humidity, has been enhanced to provide more than 30 percent more air flow. All air-conditioning components are easily accessed for maintenance or service.

Low Daily Operating Costs

Several design improvements keep costs low by ensuring fast and easy service of the 300 Series machines, according to Zupancic. The oil cooler swings out with rear door for full, easy inspection or cleaning. Engine oil changes are simplified with extended, 500-hour oil change intervals with John Deere Plus 50 engine oil and filter.

All models are equipped with visual hydraulic fluid level checks, resulting in fast, easy and no-mess daily checks.

A quick-pivoting ROPS provides access to major components — simply remove two nuts and raise the ROPS in two minutes or less. The rear door, engine top cover and side panels provide quick, no-tool access, while a single-point lock for vandal protection secures all engine and hydraulic service points and fluid reservoirs.

In addition, environmentally friendly, easily accessed drains are provided for all fluids, eliminating excess effort and mess.

Reliability, Durability

“Deere has designed the engine, power train and electrical system to help ensure that the 300 Series skid steers deliver best-in-class reliability and durability,” Zupancic said.

The four- and five-cylinder John Deere 250 Series Power Tech Engines in the 300 Series also provide several features that enhance reliability and durability, according to the manufacturer.

Precision joint connecting rods stand up to the most severe load conditions, and hydraulic lifters design provides quieter operation and eliminates the need for valve lash adjustments. The serpentine fan belt with an automatic tensioner eliminates the need for belt service.

The electrical system is newly designed to ensure maximum durability. All critical connectors utilize weatherproof seals to prevent failures due to corrosion. Fuses and relays are centrally located and easy to access. The new instrumentation package includes a self-diagnostic check and diagnostic codes to assist in identifying a problem.

“When designing the 300 Series skid steers, we continued to focus on ensuring that our machines provide maximum uptime,” Zupancic said. “These machines are built on the quality of the previous generation, with many enhancements and vigorous durability testing.”

For more information, visit

A low center of gravity on the

300 Series results in faster

speeds and quicker cycles.

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