Caterpillar C-Series Loaders Sport Steel Undercarriage

By Andrew Baltazar, Associate Editor | September 28, 2010





Caterpillar has updated its line of rubber-track loaders with the introduction of the C-Series compact track loaders. Central to the 279C, 289C and 299C are the steel embedded track and steel undercarriage components, which extend machine life even in rough operating environments.

“It’s actually a rubber track with steel bars embedded inside the tracks,” says Pierre Verdon, Caterpillar skid steer and multi-terrain loader industry manager. “And the way it works is that the sprockets located in that area are going to plug into the track and create traction.”

Designed for durability and aggressive traction, the undercarriage utilizes an external-type sprocket, steel track rollers and idlers, conventional spring-type recoil mechanism, and rubber tracks. But even with its sturdy build, the C-Series offers a smooth ride for operators, as the undercarriage is suspended by a pair of torsion axles on each side allowing the track assemblies to flex independently.

“The one thing I do like about this machine, with the new undercarriage that it has underneath and the steel tracks with the sprockets, is it does seem to have a little bit more power,” says Steven Stratton, president of Steven Stratton Inc. “You get more power to the ground. It is a lot easier to clean and it’s quieter.”

During a visit to Caterpillar's facilities in North Carolina, we were able to compare the rides of the rubber-tracked MTL and the new CTL, which were extraordinarily similar. The steel-on-steel contact of the undercarriage made the machine sound like a quiet crawler dozer more than a compact track loader.

The C-Series’ steel undercarriage boosts power and facilitates cleaning while delivering a smooth ride.

The C-Series is powered by the Cat C3.4T inline, four-cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine with a 201-cubic-inch displacement. Boasting two-speed drive systems capable of reaching a maximum speed of 8.5 miles per hour, the three models can quickly traverse large work sites. 

Rated operating capacities are 3,200, 3,850 and 4,150 pounds at 50 percent tipping load, with a net horsepower of 82 for the 279C and 289C, and 90 for the 299C.

Thanks to a foot throttle, which can be used to adjust engine speed or reduce sound levels, operators can be productive while remaining comfortable, according to Cat. The C-Series track loaders also feature independently adjustable joystick controllers, which are console-mounted for improved forearm support, and a suspension seat. For added comfort, Caterpillar offers a sealed, pressurized and heated cabin, with options to upgrade to air conditioning and an air-ride seat.

“You can see right down onto the tracks, which is really good for us because we’re working right next to the buildings,” says Shon Johnson, operator with Arizona Onsite.

To facilitate maintenance, the lift-arm safety braces, rear door that swings 90 degrees, and tilt-up cab give technicians easy access to important internal components.

Caterpillar C-Series Compact Track Loaders
Model Rated Operating Capacity (lb.) Operating Weight (lb.) Net HP Bucket Pin Height at Max Lift (in.)
279C 3,200 9,892 82 123
289C 3,850 10,365 82 127
299C 4,150 10,730 90 129