Factors to consider when configuring a Caterpillar wheel loader

  • Editorial Team
  • Wheel Loaders
  • 26 October 2019

While the Caterpillar wheel loader is designed for power and heavy-lifting, the right configuration is necessary to achieve maximum efficiency without breakdowns. When deciding on the right wheel loader to either buy or rent, the correct specs should be considered to ensure the machine is suited for its intended application.

Some of the factors to consider include whether the wheel loader is to be used for bucket or fork work, the weight it will be required to lift, and the height it will be expected to reach. The most crucial factor to keep in mind is the FTSTL of the wheel loader, as this determines the strength and ability of the machine.

Choosing the right FTSTL

The full turn static tip load (FTSTL) is the amount of load weight it would take for the wheel loader to tip when the loader arms are kept at level, and the machine is fully articulated.

The FTSTL determines the rated load, which is the safe weight for the machine to lift when in operation. For a bucket, the rated load is 50% of the FTSTL, while the fork has a rated load of up to 80%. For instance, if the target weight the bucket is expected to lift is 5000 pounds, your wheel loader should have a full turn static tip load of 10,000 pounds and a rated load of 5000 pounds.

The FTSTL is also used to determine the ideal size of the bucket. The acceptable rule of thumb is dividing the rated load of the wheel loader with the density of the material to be carried. Therefore, the right bucket size is the (FTSTL/2) divided by the density of the material.

Choosing the right horsepower

A common misconception is that the power of the wheel loader determines its FTSTL. When using a properly designed loader, a lower horsepower does not translate into a lower FTSTL or vice versa.

The hydraulic horsepower is a consideration if the intended application requires the use of hydromechanical attachments such as snow blowers, brooms, cold planers, or power box rakes.

Another essential factor to consider besides the FTSTL and horsepower is the dimensional requirement of the job site. A site with a tight turning area will require a smaller wheel loader than one with a wider turning radius.

The factors offered above are those that will help you match the base wheel loader to your application needs. Below are other factors provided by our experts for operator comfort, reduction of wear, and increasing time efficiency:

1. Ride control – this is a feature that allows the use of lift cylinders to absorb shock when working out of the road.

2. Cylinder snubbing – this is a mechanism to slow down the equipment towards the cylinder stroke end to improve material retention and to facilitate a smoother operation.

Following the tips offered above, you will ensure the wheel loader you choose to buy or lease suits your needs. If you are looking for a used wheel loader for sale, browse our websites for more insights such as the best maintenance practices for heavy equipment.