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Buyer's Guide: What to look for in a used wheeled loader

Adding a used wheeled loader to the line-up can provide generous muscle for the clamp. But what should you be looking at?

 

Geoff Ashcroft runs through a few areas to consider...

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Buyer's Guide: What to look for in a used wheeled loader

A used wheeled loader can be a useful investment for those faced with a lot of clamp work. And equipped with a toe-tip bucket, wheeled loaders can also overcome some of the lift height shortcomings on other work when compared to a telehandler.

 

But be mindful that a wheeled loader is no ballerina. On the plusside though, you need weight to move weight, and these brutes can easily dispatch a trailer-load in just a couple of pushes, thanks also to powerful hydraulics. This translates into more time for rolling and clamp consolidation.

 

With the exception of JCB’s ag-derived Agri range, most will be construction-spec, so expect industrial tyres, multi-lever controls rather than joysticks, and fixed headstocks that may require adaptation for swapping attachments.

 

But finding a good used example should not be too difficult. Most will have auto-lube systems to take care of regular greasing, so do not let high hours put you off.

 

A lot of these machines will also have been run on repair and maintenance contracts to reduce downtime and maintain reliability with their industrial customers.

 

So what is on the used market?


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JCB 434S

JCB 434S

THE benchmark by which others are often measured, JCB’s Agri series wheeled loaders, once badged Farm Master, have been around for decades.

 

Latest models have come a long way and the current 435S plus its predecessor, the 434S, have long been at the top of many contractors’ wish lists.

 

The 434S arrived in 2005, packing a 220hp Cummins QSB 6.7 engine that boosted to 230hp. Power went through a 6F/3R Smoothshift transmission, and Graziano axles with limited slip differentials to put the power down. A 40kph travel speed was achievable.

 

Operator comfort was provided by an all-new cab over the old 160hp 416 that the 434S superseded to become the new flagship.

 

A remote-mounted cooling pack with wide-core radiators and reversing fan lent the 434S to clamp work.

 

Popular options included an auxiliary fuel tank boosting capacity by 130 litres, while an 1,800kg counterweight replaced the standard 920kg item.

 

In 2014, the 434S made way for the 435S, which brought an EU Stage 3b emissions-compliant version of the Cummins QSB 6.7, complete with diesel particulate filter (DPF) and diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC).

 

Peak power remained unchanged, but an 1,800rpm economy setting was joined by a low idle feature, cutting tickover to 700rpm after 30 seconds of inactivity.

 

A full-turn tipping load of 8.4 tonnes, and a 48kph travel speed were possible; the latter through torque converter lockup in all six gears, giving a 16 per cent fuel saving potential during transport.

 

In 2016, the firm’s CommandPlus cab arrived, along with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and DOC for EU Stage 4 emissions compliance, ditching the DPF.

 

 

POINTS TO LOOK OUT FOR

  • Condition is everything, so pay close attention to the machine’s overall appearance. It starts with tyres, with most supplied on 750s for improved clamp climbing. Replacing these will be a significant cost and remaining wear levels need to be a consideration.
  • Pin and bush wear can account for the lion’s share of running costs with these machines, as can the centre-pivot joint and its steering rams. Replacement will not be cheap for parts that have suffered from infrequent visits with the grease gun.
  • Machines fitted with auto-lube will deliver greater longevity compared to those that get an occasional lick of grease, but auto-lube was optional on the 434S.
  • In the cab, check joystick functionality and the proportional button for the third service.
  • There is no torque converter lockup, but shifts through the six-speed transmission should be smooth.
  • Be aware of cracked or perished hydraulic hoses.

 

SPOTTED FOR SALE

  • 2013 434S, 5,000 hours: £60,000
  • 2010 434S, 6,800 hours: £54,000
  • 2008 434S, 12,300 hours: £41,000

 

HYUNDAI HL740

HYUNDAI HL740

SOUTH Korean maker Hyundai has been producing the HL740 since 1999, with the HL740-3 being the first version to arrive in the UK, through Ernest Doe.

 

Dash 3 ran until 2004, when the HL740-7 arrived with a 140hp Cummins QSB 5.9 and a 7.9-tonne fullturn tipping load.

 

Then 2007 saw the HL740 get a facelift to dash 7A, with a Cummins QSB 6.7 and a power increase to 145hp, in response to EU Stage 3a emissions.

 

The cab received a mild refresh, which included improved comfort, lower in-cab noise levels and Hyundai’s Smart Key system of keyless push-button engine start.

 

The HL740-7A also gained joystick loader controls as a standard fit, with multi-lever controls as an option.

 

Automatic transmission modes were introduced for the 4F/3R, ZF powershift, and the forwards neutralreverse function was also available as an option on the loader joystick.

 

In 2010, the range jumped to HL740-9 to coincide with emissions changes to Stage 3b, and power rose to 154hp, eventually changing to a dash 9A in 2013, as the next round of emissions forced an update.

 

Full turn tipping load was 8.4t. After three years, the HL740 was completely overhauled to create the current model, the HL940.

 

 

POINTS TO LOOK OUT FOR

 

■ With auto-greasing being a relatively new adoption in the last 10 years, take the trouble to check boom and bucket pins, plus bushes and the loader’s articulation joint. Steering ram bushings do a lot of work too, so check they are still tight.

 

■ The powertrain is robust, but look for overheating, which could lead to a head-gasket replacement.

 

■ Axle specifications can include open differential and limited slip versions; a serial number check with the dealer will reveal what is fitted.

 

■ A used machine could have done anything from 6,000-16,000 hours on its original components, so check the transmission works smoothly and the brakes work too. Both are items that can cost dearly.

 

■ Make sure there is an auxiliary line to the attachment carriage if you want to run a grab or folding fork or high-tip bucket. And most will probably have a Volvo-style attachment carriage.

 

 

SPOTTED FOR SALE

 

■ 2013 HL740-9, 3,800 hours: £53,488
■ 2006 HL740-7, 10,000 hours: £27,000
■ 1999 HL740-3, 12,200 hours: £19,341

VOLVO L70

VOLVO L70

VOLVO’S L70 has been around for years. Current models carry the H suffix, with L70G and L70F being readily available on the used market.

 

Volvo’s L70F arrived in 2007 and ran for five years. Electronically controlled EU Stage 3 engines with a four-speed automatic powershift transmission were configured to make the most of high-torque, low revving performance with frugal fuel consumption.

 

The D6D Volvo engine packs 154hp, while loader performance included an 8.1-tonne tipping load at full turn, boosted by Volvo’s TP torque parallel linkage to deliver greater front-end performance by combining Z-bar geometry with parallel lift action.

 

Comfort Drive Control option offers joystick steering, axles include hub-mounted oil immersed disc brakes, and Volvo’s Care Cab offers a generous level of operator comfort. In 2012, the L70G arrived and came with an exhaust after-treatment package which included a DPF regeneration system to meet Stage 3b status regulations.

 

Full turn tipping load rose to 8.4t on the L70G. Its D6D engine also gained power, rising to a peak of 171hp at 1,400rpm.

 

A hydraulically driven, electronically controlled cooling fan was introduced to further lower fuel consumption and reduce sound levels, while an Eco throttle pedal was fitted to afford push-back pressure encouraging low working revs in the 800-1,600rpm range.

 

 

POINTS TO LOOK OUT FOR

  • Demand is high for mechanically straightforward models such as the L70F. It will not be a bargain, but should also command a strong residual value.
  • Make sure that pins, bushes and the Z-bar linkage have been well-lubricated and are still tight. Auto-lube is essential to help Compared to the dash 5, the WA380-6 benefitted from greater stability too, improving lift capacity. In 2012, Komatsu introduced the WA380-7, which ran for a five-year period. It brought a fuel efficiency gain of 10 per cent, thanks to a larger torque converter with lock-up through gears two to four, which delivered improved hill climbing ability. Bucket capacity, engine power, Z-bar linkage and connectivity remained unchanged. The dash 7’s EU Stage 3b engine came with a diesel particulate filter and, being covered under Komatsu Care, the get the best from hard working kit, and if not already fitted, it is worth the investment as a retrofit.
  • The L70F has a strong following, thanks to its robust design and tough powertrain. They are relatively easy to work on and repair, and it is not unusual to find these machines wearing 15,000-20,000 hours and barely showing it.
  • Later L70G models brought a little more complexity with emissions kit, but if well looked after and worked hard, they will give little trouble.
  • It is important they have had the correct software updates for engine management. A serial number check will confirm.
  • Also, check the plastic header tank, as they can crack and leak on older models, which makes it important that the correct Volvo-spec coolant has been used; the additives are essential.

 

SPOTTED FOR SALE

  • 2014 L70G, 4,600 hours, quick coupler: £57,752
  • 2011 L70F, 10,500 hours, quick coupler: £51,266
  • 2007 L70F, 17,000 hours, ride control, CDC, quick hitch: £45,618

KOMATSU WA380

KOMATSU WA380

KOMATSU’S WA380 appeared in 2001 as a dash 5 model, before being replaced in 2006 with the dash 6 version: an 18-tonne, 192hp model that met EU Stage 3 emissions.

 

It boasted a good spec, with torque lock-up, auto-transmission and auto kick-down to first gear, reverse cooling fan, auto-lube and load-sensing hydraulic pumps, plus a lower in-cab noise level of 71dB(A).

 

Greater legroom came from moving the air-con system from behind the operator’s seat to beneath the front windscreen.

 

Compared to the dash 5, the WA380-6 benefitted from greater stability too, improving lift capacity.

 

In 2012, Komatsu introduced the WA380-7, which ran for a five-year period. It brought a fuel efficiency gain of 10 per cent, thanks to a larger torque converter with lock-up through gears two to four, which delivered improved hill climbing ability. Bucket capacity, engine power, Z-bar linkage and connectivity remained unchanged.

 

The dash 7’s EU Stage 3b engine came with a diesel particulate filter and, being covered under Komatsu Care, the DPF should have been changed at 4,500 and 9,000 hours. Auto-idle and engine shutdown were featured.

 

WA380-7 offered a new cab, integrated joystick control mounted to the operator’s seat, larger front windscreen and a further reduction of in-cab noise levels to 68dB(A).

 

Swing-out radiators and air flow in through the sides and out through the rear helped heat management.

 

 

POINTS TO LOOK OUT FOR

  • Start with pin and bush wear for the loader arms. If the auto-lube has done its job, the front end will be tight.
  • Check functionality of switch gear and seat suspension, and pay attention to engine covers to ensure they are not seized. It is a good indication of servicing and the environment the machine has worked in.
  • Service records will tell a prospective purchaser a lot. Most Komatsu machines were sold with warranty and service contracts, and the firm’s Komtrax remote monitoring is a useful tool for those with one eye on residual values.
  • Look for a third line service and a quick-hitch frame too. It is a cost you will not want to incur, just to meet the needs of frequent attachment changes.

 

SPOTTED FOR SALE

  • 2014 WA380-7, a/c, 3,900 hours: £85,000
  • 2011 WA380-6, a/c, 7,800 hours: £55,600
  • 2005 WA380-5, 40 per cent tyres: £22,500
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