Bobcat T630 skid steer loader
BY: Terry Stevenson, PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Terry Stevenson
Bobcat has built the T630 skid steer tough and upgraded features to make this a mid-frame machine with the performance of a large frame one
- Large front door for good access and big cabin
- Tough construction
- Intuitive, easy to use controls
- Can turn on its own axis
The new Bobcat T630 skid steer loader was released at the end of 2009. The "T" designation means the Bobcat has tracks, compared to the wheeled "S" Bobcats.
With an operating weight (with driver and full fuel) of 3496kg, the Bobcat T630 is now the largest of the "M" (medium) series compact skid steer loaders.
Most of the tracked Bobcats that Clark Equipment imports now have suspension. The new T630 has an up-rated leaf-spring design, which allows the jockey rollers to push up and contact the tracks more when driving over undulating ground, making for a smoother ride and lower stresses on the tracks.
Performance and handling
Once I figured out the controls, I reckon anyone could drive a Bobcat. Most of my driving was conducted in the "normal" operation mode, so not that smooth. But when I remembered to press the "soft ride" button (which is also variable), which effectively constricts the hydraulic flow, my driving inputs became very smooth.
The rise and fall of the loader seemed to be progressive throughout the hydraulic stroke, until reaching its maximum 3073mm height limit.
The T630 is the way to go if you have a reasonable-sized job with access problems. The biggest thing that surprised me during my brief drive was the T630's ability to completely turn around, 360º... on its own axis.
Engineering and appearance
Bobcat has built the T630 tough; even the rear engine access door is now made using 5mm thick steel. The rear steep "bumper" now protrudes out from the door slightly, so the frame receives the rough treatment, rather than the panels.
Clark Equipment construction equipment sales manager Mark Glover says, "The horsepower is up, the bucket capacity is up and they have increased the pump pressures [to 3500psi] and the pump flows. With the performance enhancements Bobcat has put into this model, they've started to encroach on the larger frame machines. So you're getting the size of a mid-frame machine with the performance of a large frame machine."
Compared to previous models, the larger front door makes getting in and out easier, and the cab frame is lower in the chassis without reducing the ground clearance. This allows easier access for maintenance. Bobcat also angled the valve banks to 45-degrees for better access to both sides.
The cab is considerably larger, offering better viewing of the
work area, and the cab was brought closer to the front. All of the
windows are larger and have smaller window frames for greater
Glover says the noise inside the ROPS approved cab has been reduced, and I found the cab very comfortable in many ways. The seating position is great, the heavy duty adjustable seat has a simple weight-range indicator so you can make your own settings, both armrests are adjustable fore and aft, both joysticks fall in the right hand positions, and there's plenty of legroom.
There are several small pocket compartments for your lunch or sundry items, plus a drink bottle holder. The air conditioning vents are now positioned above the driver rather than from the floor.
The Bobcat controls are electro/hydraulic, allowing easy computer parameter changes of all the functions. Each joystick has a number of controls that include the operation of various attachments, including a side-shift, and a boom float button. The only foot control is the accelerator, complementing the hand throttle.
The T630 has a simple toggle switch to allow operators to either use the controls in ISO pattern, similar to a digger, or in the traditional Bobcat arrangement.
Once you start the machine, in ISO mode, pushing the left joystick forward or back will take the machine in either of those directions. Moving the joystick left or right will steer the T630 through the turns. The right joystick operates the loader rise and fall, and the crowd.
While reversing to go left, I had to move the left joystick to the right.
The Bobcat mode is quite different. You move forward by pushing
both joysticks the same amount, and steer by pushing one a little
bit less, depending on how sharp you wish to turn. The left
joystick operated the loader rise and fall by moving it left or
right, and the crowd is carried out by moving the right joystick in
a similar direction.
Each operation type brings its own style, so the key benefit is that an experienced Bobcat driver can jump out and another driver can get in, flip the switch and be driving the T630 without going through the control re-learning phase.
The Bobcat T630 engine
The four-cylinder Kubota diesel engine pumps out a maximum of 55.4kW (74hp) at 2400rpm. The 3.3-litre Tier 3 motor is turbocharged and features new engine mounts for noise suppression.
The T630 has a powerful 87L/min auxiliary hydraulic outlet with quick-couplers to power the likes of road planner or sweeper attachments.
A lockable cover allows access to the three radiators, all of which can be easily tilted up for cleaning.
Wheel or tracked?
Tracked machines are suited to conditions and tasks where extra traction is required, such as predominantly working in soft conditions or mud.
Wheeled machines should be working in firmer conditions such as roads, metal or naturally firm ground.
Read in-depth machinery reviews in the latest issue of Deals On Wheels magazine, on sale now.
See a range of used skid steer loaders for sale.
Engine type Turbo diesel
Fuel tank capacity 103.3L
Rated operating capacity 989kg
Tipping load 1978kg
Lift height to bucket pin 3073mm
Lift arm path Radius
Operating weight 3496kg
Width (with bucket) 1880mm
Cab height 2065mm
Travel speed - low / high 11.4km/h / 19.8km/h