Dingo K9-4

By: Terry Stevenson, Photography by: Terry Stevenson

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The Dingo mini skid steer loader is a jack of all trades which can perform those small tasks with ease

Dingo K9-4
Dingo K9-4
  • Compact size
  • Can get almost anywhere
  • Large range of attachments
  • Powerful watercooled engine
  • Power divider boosts hydraulic power when needed

There are so many uses a Dingo can turn its tracks to that it seems there's almost nothing this little machine can't do.

Performance and handling

I found the Dingo's controls were quite difficult to learn to use.

At first I thought the levers were too close together, but after a while I reckon they are too far apart. That's because to keep stable on the often bucking machine, I had to hold onto the two dedicated handgrips and use the reach of my fingers and thumbs to operate the main levers.

The tiny Dingo isn't a stable operating platform. I had to hold on fairly tight to the handgrips because of all the moving and sliding it does over the typical rough ground it'll be working on. But the actions are fast too, such as lightning quick turns and driving on slopes, which left me thinking the hydraulic valves bring on the power too suddenly, for a small control movement. As such, I was often using my body weight to help keep the Dingo as stable as practicable. Which is why Johnson filled the soft tyres with water, lowering weight distribution while increasing grip.

To me the controls also felt sticky, which made the machine difficult to drive in a straight line. The wide yet low footprint Teflon tracks tended to skid pretty easily when driving over mud or sand, and even dirt when I was on a slope.

When Johnson first took delivery he said the controls were too sensitive. His solution -swapping the forward/reverse control lever springs with stiffer springs.

I was able to position the versatile Dingo accurately to drill 600mm diameter holes and dig a deep trench, and when I went about other tasks with more gusto it seemed to get easier to operate, although harder to stay on.

Engine and power

Underneath the bonnet is a powerful Yanmar 1.116-litre diesel which pumps out 27hp. It's also watercooled, so a radiator is shoehorned in there as well, with a fan.

It produces 19.9kW (27hp) at 3200rpm from its three direct-injected cylinders. The 3TNV76 motor has been beefed up with a stiffer crankshaft and pistons for greater durability, with less engine vibration. The Euro 3A engine has its own cooling fan to keep cool air flowing through the radiator at all times.

The maximum hydraulic pressure is 3400psi, with a max pump flow of 47 litres per minute - which is a considerable figure for an 80hp tractor, let alone a 925kg Dingo.

The K9-4 has two hydraulic pumps. When more drive is required for any of the attachments, the driver shifts the far left positioned control lever upwards until the right amount of variable hydraulic power is reached. This is called the power divider. This removes power to the drive wheels and transfers it to the attachment. Another way of adjusting the hydraulic power output for auger rotation etc is to lower the engine revs.

Operator Steve Johnson says, "We do everything; site excavation, section clean-ups, dropped soils and metals, sand pads, post hole drilling, trenching, landscaping, soak holes fencing, section levelling, and we do heaps of house footings. The commercial work is often retaining walls and getting it level and ready for the planters to come in.

"I couldn't do my job without tracks, but you've got to drive it like there's no tomorrow - it'll do anything, so long as you don't abuse it. I love them, they are very robust."

Control is everything

The Dingo is a skid-steer machine which can turn right around within its own length using the dual forward/reverse (when used together) and left/ right levers (when used separately) directly between the handgrips. These are operated by using the thumb and index "trigger" finger. On the outside of each of these levers are a pair of paddle levers, both are close below the handgrips and are normally used by extended fingers. The left one operates the arm rise and fall, while the right lever controls the tilt bucket.

On the outside left is the hydraulic flow control lever, and on the far right are the throttle and two-speed drive levers. An experienced person could use these without taking their hands off the handgrips.

In front of these main controls is an hydraulic auger rotation clockwise/anti-clockwise lever, which I used during drilling and trenching. Alongside that is the bucket crowd lever.

See a range of skid steer loaders for sale.

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