Review of the new Kubota SSV65 Skid Loaders

Neil provides a review of the new Kubota SSV65 skid loaders.

Here with the very first of our Kubota SSV skid steers. We're really excited to show these to you here today. This is probably for us one of the biggest Kubota product launches we have ever had. The demand and excitement among our customers and our staff here is probably a new record among products that we've had through here before. For us as a company, we already had 10 of these machines pre-sold which really speaks to the faith that our customers are showing in this machine. Let's do a quick walk around here, and we'll show you what Kubota has done.

Initially, Kubota shipping two different models in this range, an SSV65 at 65 horsepower in an SSV75 at 75 horsepower. Both machines will share a lot of common features, you'll notice the two-speed transmission is standard equipment and every one of these machines. You have two major options that come along as part of the base model. An option for KSR Kubota shock less ride, which is hydraulic accumulators for the boom, which allow it to bounce as you're going across rough terrain, or hydraulic quick coupler on the front for your attachments.

Those two things or factory installed equipment that the dealer is not able to do and need to be ordered as part of the base machine. There is some lift capacity difference as well, besides just the horsepower, the SSV65 has a lift capacity at 3,900 pounds, and the SSV75 at just about 5,400 pounds. Kubota positioned these right in where the bulk of the sails are in this market. So they should target most of the customers that we have for a skid loader. One of the things that we appreciate the most about Kubota products is the thought that they put into a simple mechanical design that's nice and reliable.

When we swing open the back of the hood here, you'll notice that the engine is mounted in long ways. This puts the hydraulic pumps and everything up under the cab, where everything can be bolted together. You'll notice in some skids designs they mount the engine in here sideways, and then off the engine have to drive all the alternator, the pumps, the motors, everything that's involved in the mechanics of the machine off a serpentine belt in the end. Not only our serpentine belts not terribly efficient every belt that you have in this system has a certain amount of heat that it generates and parasitic loss to the system, but it's also not as reliable.

Just like the Kubota SVL machines that we've sold for years now, you'll notice that the pumps, and everything are bolted on to the end of the engine with no belts and stuff in the system. One of the unique things that you'll see in this design that we haven't seen from other manufacturers before is the location of the fuel tank. Kubota chose to put the fuel tank right here in the back door. The load specifications for these machines at 3900 and 5400 pounds are with an empty fuel tank. When you have this thing full of fuel, you're putting about another 200 pounds of ballast in the back of the machine that would give you a higher safe operating load because of that extra ballast.

The back door here itself is not vented, because of that tank in order to protect it. The description that we were given by Kubota is that this door is heavy enough, that you can run a fork from a 16,000-pound forklift, right into this back of this machine at full speed and not penetrate the door. Rest assured the fuel tank is very safe back here, and adds a little bit of extra ballast to the rear of the machine. If you take a look at the boom here, you'll see there's some interesting linkage back here underneath the rear of it. Both the Kubota SSVs and SVL series are vertical lift designs.

Vertical lift machines are a little bit more expensive to build because the extra engineering and parts that it takes in order to build a vertical lift boom. Essentially, what that is when you lift your load up, your load will go straight up and down. If you're lifting with a set of pallet forks your load goes straight up and down. The alternative is a radial lift design which is just a more simple hinged boom, but as you go up your load comes backward over top of the machine. That becomes problematic where say you're loading a dump truck, or a trailer, well you're going to want that reach forward in order to get over the side and in.

The radial lift is the load comes back it becomes then difficult in order to dump over the side. You notice here on our SSV65 it comes fitted with this little tag here in the front from the factory. This particular machine is made in Japan, oddly enough the SSV75 is actually being made here in the US. Kubota at this point has two assembly lines that are going to be running these machines, one in Japan, and one down in Georgia. Right now, the SSV75 production line is being ramped up at KMA. Kubota Manufacturing of America located down in Gainesville, Georgia.

This particular machine right here is a high flow unit. If you look at your coupler stack over here at the side you have a standard flow coupler in addition to a high flow set over here. Now, on any of these machines come in equipped with high flow the multi-function control is also coming as standard equipment. Kubota has done a nice job of giving us a quality control stick now. Those control sticks that we had for the multi-function before on the SSV ended up being kind of an add-on kit that went up here on the side of the stick. These are control sticks that are being built in-house by Kubota as opposed to being an aftermarket or somebody else's design. I have one over here on the left with two rocker switches and two buttons and then run over here on the right with my proportional control and two more rocker switches in two additional buttons. In addition to triggers here on the bottom that operate my two-speed.

When I go to look down here, you'll see I have my instrument cluster. A bunch of idiot lights, altimeter, temp gauge and fuel, and the throttle for this machine is located right here on the dash. The neat thing about the positioning of this throttle is when my hand is here on the control stick, and I push forward, I'm actually able to reach the throttle right here with my fingers. In that situation where you're going to drive forward for some kind of distance and you kind of go to full stick, and you want a little bit more speed the throttle control is still right there at your fingertips and something is you can easily roll.

It's one of those little details that you can see Kubota really put a lot of thought into that doesn't make this feel like a first generation machine. But work my way down the controller pillar up here. I have the activation switch for the hydraulics, a parking brake light, activation switch for the auxiliaries, work lights, DPF inhibit, since this is over 26 horsepower it has a DPF on it. If you need to bypass the burn cycle, you simply push the button right there. On my other pillar, I have my hydraulic quick coupler. This is a hydraulic coupler model. This will turn off hydraulic self-leveling as the boom goes up and down, and the windshield wipers.

The serviceability of these machines can be a real concern. If you're somebody that works on your own stuff or even needs a repair done to a machine, if you look at the complexity that it takes to get to some of the guts of some of the skid loaders out there it can be a little intimidating. In the case of both the Kubota SSV is the end SVLs getting to the guts of the machine is two bolts. I am a salesman not a mechanic by any stretch of the imagination, but I grab the wrench remove these two bolts from the front of the machine right here, and with just that this cab will flip right up.

It's on a hydraulic assisted strut so it comes up and locks, and holds itself right there in position. Easy as that. If you take a look down here inside the machine you can see where those pumps are located. Right down in here, you see the large hose is coming off, and stacked right down here in the bottom there's two pumps. One for the high flow. One for the standard flow, and one for the hydraulic system. All mounted inline there with the engine. Like we were talking before that type of design limits the amount of rubber hoses and belts, and complexity in the drive-line of those things that we know that suck power, and cause mechanical head lake headaches down the line.

Much better where we can have things bolted together, hydraulics run through ports and stuff rather than through hoses. It's a couple things to point out down here in a little bit more detail. This is a high flow machine, if you look here coming off the engine you have three hydraulic pumps, one, two, three. All bolted to each other and inline. When a machine is not high flow, you wouldn't have this one down here on the end, that one would be missing. If you look further back in here, you'll see the engine is mounted on these large dampers. Should keep all the vibration and noise out of the cab. Your hydraulic filter is located right here at the side, easy to get to if you need to service it. And a DPF canister right back here in the rear.

This is a hand and foot machine right here, if you've run skid loaders before this stick works one side, this stick works the other side. Pilot controlled options will be coming shortly. One of the neat things about the positioning of the linkages, if you watch when I move this back and forth, those are the mechanical linkages right there that actuate the hydraulic pumps in order to steer the machine. It keeps all the linkage up and out of the way. Out of the dirt and debris that can clog these things up and make them difficult to move. Right now, they're nice and fluid and don't require excess force in order to push back and forth.

We're going to go for a quick drive here. Get a sense of how this thing runs. Unfortunately, the first lot of these things that we have are all sold. We're not able to go out and put what into the dirt today. A couple things you'll notice here about these things the cab on this is extremely wide, if you've ever been in the SVL series before it's very very large, and spacious have. If I have any complaints here the bars that are down here across my lap. If you're a larger operator with big legs you might find these things challenging to get underneath your legs, so something you probably want to jump in the seat and run.

I'm going to dot idle right now, and you'll notice I go back and forth there's not a whole lot of herky-jerky around. I'm going to asphalt with the standard tires, and as we go front here we want a little bit more speed and I was saying before how you can reach the throttle with your fingertips. Right there it is, I don't have to take my fingers off the sticks I could reach right down there and hit the throttle. There's my two-speed control again standard equipment on all these things, it's right down there on your finger. Foot pedals to raise and lower my boom. Also adjust my bucket back and forth. Since I have high flow, I've got all the buttons for the multi-function up here on my fingers. Right down here on my left hand grip on the bottom button is the feature for Kubota Sharples ride. If you're moving ground bales, it's really the best application for a shock with system on the skid loader. What that will do is engage a hydraulic accumulator on the boom that allows it to bounce up and down.

That's our video of the Kubota SSV series. We're really excited to breed these things out and offer them to our customers. There's an application that you have for a machine like this. Give us a call and let us know if we can help.