Let me share my experience with my Bobcat T-250 final drive repair. Perhaps, I can shed some light on how to save some money, while getting your track loader back to work. Here’s my story, that led to my understanding and appreciation for the mechanics that keep our machines up and running.
10 months ago, while I was running the machine, I began to lose power. As I moved the machine off the road, I lost the ability to move the machine’s tracks and bucket control. As I exited the machine, I noticed a small hydraulic leak. This was confirmed as I checked the hydraulic level indicator. With reduced hydraulic levels, the machine will not run. Confident, I could fix the leak and top of the hydraulic fluid level, we would be back in action.
After moving the machine to a preferred mechanic, I was informed the final drives to the machine had failed. In fact, one of the final drives exploded and snapped off a number of the housing bolts. The initial mechanics had never seen a catastrophic failure of this nature. Upon further inspection, the hydraulic motor filter casing was full of metal shavings and particles. This was Bad News.
This fact, confirmed by me, meant the complete removal of one final drive. Upon further inspection, it was discovered both final drives had locked up. The initial estimate for repair, was going to be approximately $30,000.00. $30,000.00 would pay for the removal and replacement of the final drives, pumps, filters and cleaning of the hydraulic line system. This was terrible news. The T-250 track loader had a value of approximately $16,000.00 with 2500 hours. $30,000.00 could not be justified.
In order to confirm, the prescribed and necessary work, I sought out a second opinion. The second mechanic confirmed the initial repair findings. In addition, neither mechanic was interested in providing service. What I surmised, was any completed repair would make the mechanic liable for future warranty claims. Neither mechanic would want me to return with additional mechanical issues, they would have to honor.
How To Save Money
Moving forward, I had to remove the machine from the mechanic place of business. As the machine sat, I proceeded to explore other options. I worked hard to find parts that could be purchased at a price less than Bobcat Part Price. I was discovered remanufactured final drives in Texas with core exchanges. In addition, they can rebuild the hydraulic pumps. Anyway, I was able to reduce the cost of parts.
With reduced cost in parts, I only needed to find a mechanic that was interested in providing service. As for my search for a qualified mechanic, I found no takers.
Finding A Mechanic
As my search for other possible options, a friend contacted me about a Bobcat listed on Facebook Marketplace. After contacting the owner, I was able to confirm the parts were interchangeable. I was able to confirm this, by contacting Bobcat of Northern Virginia and providing the two serial numbers. The counter parts team confirmed the parts, were interchangeable.
Getting The Donor Machine
With interchangeable parts confirmed, I headed to Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, I loaded the T-250 (parts machine) onto my equipment trailer. With the parts now secured, my search was on to find some mechanics willing to provide service.
In my search, I knew that the both final drives needed to be changed out. As I searched, I was unable to find any mechanic willing to do the work. I even contemplated selling both machines, I was at the end of my rope.
Miracle In Woodbridge, Virginia
As I exhausted my options, one of my associates, Will informed me he knew of a couple of great and experienced mechanics who could and would be willing to take on the repair challenge.
As for the repair, I moved both machines down to Woodbridge, Virginia. There, we were able to remove both final drives. With the final drives removed we installed the remanufactured final drives onto the original machine. With the final drives replaced, I took a more active role. I worked to remove and replace the hydraulic fluid, filters and hydraulic line filters. The first go round (15 minutes of operation), I changed out the fluid and all hydraulic line filters. I found a tremendous amount of metal filings. After another 15 minutes, I repeated the process. After inspection of the filters and fluid, I detected less metal filings. Again, I ran the machine for 15 minutes and changed out the filters and hydraulic fluid. This time, there was less metal filings. Again, I changed out the fluids and filters. This time, I got a hydraulic line leak. After noticing the leak, I provided the necessary O Ring replacement. With this complete, I ran the machine for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, I changed out the all the filters and fluids. I was meticulous in my inspection of the fluids and filters. As I ran the machine again, one of the hydraulic lines to the bladder came loose. You could hear the fluid dripping into the catch pan below the hydraulic lines. I again, lifted the operator’s cab and secured the hydraulic line. With the line secure, I have not detected any loss of hydraulic fluid.
The Saga Continues
When moved to the job site, the machine hydraulics performed perfectly. That said, the right side front roller, seized up. With the front roller seized, we will replace the two rollers from the donor machine. We will grease the two roller bearings prior to installation.
As it turns out, the machine performs flawlessly. The Bobcat T-250 is a great machine. I am grateful for the help from Ivo, Will, Antonio and Ramone. Had it not been for these men, I would have suffered a great financial loss.
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