Kubota SVL75 review
When it comes to the modern earthmoving scene, versatility is key. Someone who knows this all too well is Adam Turner from Turners Drainage & Contracting of West Auckland, who has put a new Kubota SVL75 skid steer to work.
With a long list of services on offer, including being registered drain layers, it comes as no surprise that the need for a skid steer compact loader was on the cards. Having recently purchased new Kubota 1.7- and 5.5-tonne excavators and having a good relationship with Norwood’s (CB Norwood Distributors Ltd), the decision to stick with Kubota when looking at his option on brand was an easy one, although he does point out he did test out the competition to see what was on offer before making a final call on his SVL75.
The Kubota SVL75 on review was fitted with a six-way, four-in-one bucket straight from the dealer. When I queried on price compared to a standard four-in-one bucket, Turner did admit that it was a bit more of an investment, but believes it will be worth it in the long run.
One thing that did catch my attention was the spider web of hydraulic lines and connections behind the bucket, which to me did not look very well guarded. A few more hours on this machine will see if it amounts to anything though. It’s also worth adding in here that these machines come standard with hydraulic quick hitch which makes changing attachments much easier.
Opening up the rear door and lifting the rear bonnet, reveals the machines 74.3hp Kubota engine. All daily routine check components seem to be easily accessible as expected and I noted that the radiator can be tilted forward with the removal of two easily accessible bolts.
While standing at the back of the machine, Turner points out that he would prefer if reversing cameras came as standard, though he does admit that he could install one himself.
I’m told that the cab on this machine can be tilted up 72 degrees for ease of access the hydraulic pump, valves, lines and tank, which is going to make life easier to replace that dreaded hydraulic hose when (not if) it spits the dummy in its later years.
Moving down to the tracks and its clear to see a bit of thought has gone in as the undercarriage is integrated and welded into the mainframe of the machine, which in turn gives it added strength and durability.
I’m also impressed with the way the undercarriage has been designed to eliminate build-up of material as best as possible. The bottom rollers are also triple-flanged to minimise the risk of de-tracking.
Access to the cab is via the front sliding door, which slides up above the operator’s head. In my opinion, it is a better design than the conventional swinging door, as it eliminates the risk of damage and allows for safer exiting in emergency situations.
Sitting in the operator’s seat, I’m instantly surprised by how roomy the cab is compared with other skid steers I’ve been in. The operator’s seat is a full back and head-rest suspension seat as standard, and is separated from the joysticks.
Controls for this machine are all via joystick, including the four-in-one bucket, (auxiliary) and the six-way, which are both operated by separate triggers.
Starting the machine up, I headed towards a stockpile of millings to put it through its paces. Putting the bucket into the stockpile, the machines engine feels the load but with the 74hp engine coupled with the anti-stall guard it quickly has it humming away again with a full heaped bucket.
Being mainly an excavator operator, un-furling the bucket gets me a bit mixed up as the joystick movement feels opposite to what you would do on an excavator. This is backed up by operator Simon Cunningham who said he still gets caught out on it every now and then but is slowly learning to adapt. After a good amount of time trying the machine’s various capabilities and with the daylight fading fast, I’m more than satisfied that I’ve put the SVL75 through its paces.
After operating the SVL75, it goes to show that a bit of practical thought and design can turn out an impressive piece of equipment and I believe Turners Contracting has made a wise investment with this purchase and will be even more versatile than they were before.
Read the full article in issue #263 of Deals on Wheels magazine. Subscribe here.