Posted September 12, 2013

John Deere introduces new compact wheel loaders

Designed specifically for lower-clearance applications, John Deere introduces the 8-foot-tall 204K and 304K compact wheel loaders.

Both machines include features to increase productivity, visibility, versatility and lower daily operating costs.

"The 204K and 304K are the next generation of John Deere compact wheel loaders designed on feedback from various landscape and agricultural customers," said Doug Laufenberg, product marketing manager for compact wheel loaders, John Deere Construction & Forestry. "To be successful on the jobsite, our customers wanted a shorter machine with simplified hydraulics, loader linkage and electrical systems along with a skid steer style coupler and a standard open canopy."

A foot lower than other compact John Deere wheel loaders, the 204K and 304K feature rigid front and rear axles to meet the 8-foot height while lowering the center of gravity and increasing stability and the tipping load limit. The two new models can easily reach and work in areas with restricted access such as door and trailer openings.

Both models come standard with an open operator station designed to withstand the elements, featuring weather-resistant gauges, extended rooftops, nonskid floor mats and optional vandal proofing. The open-canopy model is intended for applications where the operator has to frequently get on and off the machine, or applications where the operator does not want to worry about breaking glass. For year-round comfort, operators will still have the option of utilizing a heated and air-conditioned cab. The cabs are comfortably equipped and offer unobstructed views of attachments and the surrounding work area. To enhance operation, the boom, bucket and forward-neutral-reverse switch are on the same ergonomic, low-effort lever for convenient one-hand control.

The 204K (59 hp/ 44kW) and 304K (64 hp/ 48 kW) boast an Interim Tier 4 diesel engine and a two-speed transmission with a top speed of 12 mph to swiftly navigate the jobsite. If one wheel slips when navigating soft terrain, limited slip differential transfers that wheel's power to the opposite wheel to restore traction. Articulated steering assists in turning ability and offers operators flexibility when picking up or positioning loads. Fingertip control of the coupler, travel speed, park brake, lights and other machine functions are close and convenient to the operator. An optional creeper control allows slow, incremental travel speeds while maintaining full hydraulic flow.

To keep operating costs at a minimum, a transverse-mounted engine allows for quick and convenient daily servicing. The electrical system minimizes the number of wires, mechanical relays and unsealed connections for maximum durability and uptime. In addition, the machines' vertical filters and environmental drains are also easily-accessible at ground-level.

A push-button actuated skid-steer style coupler is standard on the boom and enables operators to attach and release John Deere Worksite Pro attachments quickly, without tools or leaving the seat. The coupler can connect to numerous implements from blades, buckets and pushers, to scrap and brush-tine grapples and augers.