Wheel Loaders: Workhorses of the Quarry

Tina Grady Barbaccia

July 1, 2011

Wheel loaders are the work horses in many quarries. Here’s a selection of the available thoroughbreds.

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From efficient loading to fuel usage, efficiency is the name of the game for these wheel loaders.


Caterpillar’s 992K wheel loader is designed to efficiently load 70- and 100-ton capacity quarry trucks. Features include the C32 ACERT engine, U.S. EPA Tier 2 emissions compliance, 801 net horsepower, positive flow control hydraulics for enhanced responsiveness, and ease of maintenance.


Kawasaki says its 92ZV-2 wheel loader’s dual Z-Linkage and new chassis design make the machine strong and well-balanced. The wheel loader’s outboard-mounted sealed wet disc brakes, adjustable declutch, dual boom kickout control, idle management system, ELS (efficient loading system), and dual mode engine switch provide safe and efficient work.


The Terex TL260 compact wheel loader incorporates transverse-mounted engines for stability to lift and transport high payloads, while consuming less fuel. An oscillating rear axle provides comfort and easy handling. The 175-horsepower wheel loader offers bucket capacities between 3.3 and 6.0 cubic yards and a breakout force of 26,995 pounds.


Volvo Construction Equipment says its F-Series wheel loaders are the toughest, most fuel-efficient loaders on the market. Features include OptiShift with Reverse By Braking, which automatically assists deceleration; a T-linkage lift-arm system for greater breakout force; and the company’s CareTrack telematics system to manage productivity and maintenance.


Komatsu’s WA470-6 wheel loader features 272 net horsepower; an operating weight of 51,850 pounds; a 10-foot, 5-inch dump clearance when equipped with a 5.5-cubic yard bucket; and a large-capacity torque converter. Komtrax technology monitors operating information such as daily fuel consumption and efficiency, working hours, and maintenance alerts.


With 56,438 pounds of breakout force and a fuel-efficient 280-horsepower Cummins Tier III diesel engine, Liugong says its 877III wheel loader is designed to compete with other models. Other features include a Z-bar linkage, 5.5-cubic yard bucket, ZF automatic powershift transmission, and automatic load-leveling system.


Case Construction Equipment says its 921E wheel loader features superior stability, traction, push power, and lift capacity, as well as operator comfort, easy maintainability and serviceability, and superior fuel economy. The 297-net-horsepower machine is equipped with a 5.8-cubic yard bucket. Case Ride Control enables better material maintenance and machine control.


Extra-large payloads demand the use of extra-large wheel loaders.


The Liebherr L586 hydrostatic wheel loader has a 7.8-cubic yard capacity with an articulated tipping load of 45,050 pounds. Its fuel-efficient diesel engine produces 340 horsepower at 1,800 revolutions per minute. Cab displays and controls are arranged to form a precise, comfortable work environment.


Dressta North America offers several sizes of wheel loaders; its largest offering being the 560E with a bucket capacity of 8.5 cubic yards and 427 net horsepower. Features include joystick controls for the boom and bucket, three-speed countershaft transmission, and wet internal brakes.

Customer input and electronic innovations drove upgrades and improvements.

John Deere

A Customer Advocacy Group directly influenced key features on John Deere’s K-Series wheel loaders. The series includes eight models ranging from utility size to the largest 842K and 844K models. All models include keyless start, seat-mounted joystick controls, expanded sealed switch module, and LCD monitor with multi-function interface.


New wheel loader models offer more power and quality engineering.


Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas, Inc.’s new HL770-9 wheel loader features a load-sensing hydraulic system, a fully automatic power-shift transmission, multi-stage clutch cut off, integrated payload system, GPS-capable satellite system, 5.5-cubic yard bucket, and integrated rear-view backup camera. Large, removable housing doors provide easy access for service and maintenance.


Doosan Infracore’s new DL420 articulated wheel loader features a bucket capacity of 5.2 cubic yards. The 49,163-pound machine features a 659-cubic-inch, six-cylinder turbocharged Cummins engine with 280 horsepower at 2,000 revolutions per minute and maximum torque of 1,070 pound-feet at 1,400 revolutions per minute. A Z-bar lifting system provides 47,210 pounds of bucket breakout force.

Top 10 Used Wheel Loader Sales from 2005-2010 (5 cubic yards and larger)

1. Caterpillar 980-G

2. Caterpillar 966-G

3. Komatsu WA-380

4. Caterpillar 980-C

5. Komatsu WA-500

6. Caterpillar 966-C

7. Komatsu WA-450

8. Caterpillar 988-B

9. Caterpillar 966-F

10. Caterpillar 980-H

Source: EDA maintains the nation’s largest database and tracks financial transactions involving construction equipment through UCC filings. A Randall-Reilly company, EDA is based in Charlotte, N.C. Call 800-288-8262 for more information.

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