Deere Overhauls Skid-Steer Design

By Walt Moore, Senior Editor | September 28, 2010

John Deere makes no small claims for its new five-model lineup of skid-steer loaders. These 300 Series machines, says the company, have been engineered with more than 100 improvements that make them more productive, more reliable, and less costly to operate than their 200-Series predecessors. Standard rated operating capacities for the five models—the 317, 320, 325, 328 and 332—range from 1,750 to 3,175 pounds; and with added counterweight, from 2,100 to 3,525 pounds.

All the 300-Series machines feature Deere's patented vertical-lift boom, which yields hinge-pin heights from 114 to 127 inches. Boom-lift cylinders are "cushioned" at the end of their down stroke to reduce both bucket spillage and noise, while smoothing operation. A "universal" Quik-Tatch coupler system allows easy hook-up to a wide array of attachments, and a hydraulically actuated version of the coupler is available as an option. Deere makes the point that many of its WorksitePro attachments for skid-steer loaders also can be used with its ZTS excavators, 244J wheel loader and 110 backhoe-loader, providing added utility for the multiple-machine user.

The power train in these new machines features a turbocharged John Deere PowerTech diesel engine, the 2.4-liter 4024T in the two smaller models, and the 3-liter 5030T in the larger units. These engines feature direct fuel injection, hydraulic valve lifters (no valve adjustment needed), serpentine belt with automatic tension adjustment and a high-torque-rise design. The hydrostatic transmission in the 317 and 320 provides speeds to 6.8 mph, and the two-speed system in the 325, 328 and 332 yields a top speed between 11 and 12 mph, depending on the model. The three larger models also feature servo-assisted control levers.

In the cab, hand controls are an optional choice (in lieu of hand/foot controls), and an optional cab enclosure with air conditioning and heat delivers 30 percent more flow than previous models. Features of the new instrumentation package include a larger LCD, self-diagnostics, diagnostic codes for problem identification, sealed rocker switches, automatic shut down and automatic pre-heat capability.

300-Series Specifications
317 320 325 328 332
Rated Operating Capacity (lb.) 1,750 1,950 2,500 2,750 3,175
ROC w/counterweight (lb.) 2,100 2,300 2,850 3,100 3,525
Engine HP (net) 57 62 70 76 85
Hydraulic HP (Std. Flow) 34 38 40 40 43
Hydraulic HP (High Flow) 53 61 63 67 76
High-flow output (gpm) 27 31 34 36 41
Main hydraulic pressure (psi) 3,000 3,000 3,000 3,000 3,000
Hinge-pin height (in.) 114 115 125 127 127