Sometimes machinery design can be downright annoying.
I used to own an older Nissan Xterra. At some point in the design process, an engineer came up with the bright idea to protect the oil filter with the skid plate.
Sounds like a pretty good idea at first. No need to worry about a rock piercing the filter. Yet, like myself, I'd wager 95%+ of Xterra owners never took the thing off the pavement.
So, every time I went to change the oil, I had to pull six bolts to remove the skid plate, just so I could get to the filter. It was annoying.
That's why I found some of the simple things John Deere did with their new E-Series of skid steers and compact track loaders to be sublime. Here are the smallest design changes that make a big impact.
SIMPLE TAKEDOWN: Deere reps readied this compact track loader for maintenance in about 1 minute. Another ease-of-use bonus point: the operator can lock the boom in the up position from the cab.
• Did you learn on an old-model skid steer with a foot-pedal control pattern? But, your son is best at operating with a dual joystick control pattern? No worries. John Deere has you covered. With the E -Series, you can switch on the fly between three control patterns (H, ISO and foot control). The feature adds a lot of versatility in a fleet application.
• Reversing fans are becoming commonplace in larger equipment. John Deere decided to start incorporating the feature on smaller machines. The E-Series is the first line of skid steers and CTLs to offer the reversing function. As dairy operators well know, this feature really helps keep sticky feed out of the engine compartment. The operator can program the fan to reverse on a schedule, or set it to manual.
WORKHORSE: The 333E is the largest compact track loader in Deere's new E-Series.
• If you're buying an E-Series with the intent to do some sort of contract work, chances are you're going to trailer it. On some models, backing a skid steer flush against the trailer maximizes space, but renders the operator unable to check fluids or fuel the machine. Not with the E-Series. The hood pops straight up, which allows the operator to fuel and check fluids even if the skid steer is touching the trailer.
• During the media event, one of the coolest demos was how quickly the E-Series breaks down for maintenance/repair. (Can you tell I'm a mechanic's son?) After the hood pops up, the side panels lift out, rendering the entire back-end open for inspection. Need to remove the cab? Pull two 18mm bolts and it lifts up out of the way. About the only way it could get any easier is if it jacked itself into the air.
• Any skid steer operator knows just how nasty the floor of the cab can get. Mud, muck and manure can make for some heavy build up. Well, John Deere's made clean-up a cinch by designing a rubber insert that pops out. Still dirty? The entire foot-well can be removed for a thorough hosing out.
That's all the little stuff that made a big impression on me. Now, here are some of the specs on the new E-Series.
The E-Series skid steers and CTLs are powered by Yanmar 3.3 or 3.1 liter diesel engines. The large-frame model engines provide up to 10% more horsepower than the previous D-Series models. Engines over 75 hp will meet Interim Tier 4 emissions requirements, while engines under 75 hp will be Final Tier 4 compliant.
The E-Series consists of nine total models. In skid steers, there are three large-frame models (326E, 328E, 332E) and two mid-frame models (318E, 320E). In CTLs, there are two large-frame models (329E, 333E) and two mid-frame models (319E, 323E).
For more information, visit www.deere.com.