While fuel prices have somewhat stabilized, the economy remains daunting. As such, homeowners are seen taking on more improvement projects themselves, allowing some advances in rental and light construction markets. Skid-steers are a staple of both areas and are pushing into other fields as budgets tighten.
Thomas Equipment has recently unveiled the 185 to replace the previous 175 model and hopes that it will be able to meet more than just the demands of do-it-yourself projects. Petter Etholm, President, said, “The Thomas 185 reflects our aim to help productivity on construction, agricultural, mining, and other worksites from grading and paving to lifting and loading.”
The 185 is powered by a Kubota V2003T four-cylinder diesel that meets Tier 3 regulations. The 2-L engine produces 59 hp (44 kW) and 122 lb·ft (165 N·m). Its hydrostatic transmission allows for a top speed of 7.7 mph (12.4 km/h.)
The diminutive 185 has a mere 139-in (3538-mm) overall length but has a hefty operating mass of 7200 lb (3266 kg) and a breakout force of over 2 ton (18 kN). Twin hydraulic bucket cylinders allow for a bucket height of over 11 ft (3.4 m), a maximum dump height of over 9 ft (2.7 m), and a lift capacity of 1850 lb (840 kg).
All rollover-protection systems (ROPS) and falling-object-protection systems (FOPS) regulations are met, and the cab is also lined for sound suppression. A protective seat bar applies the parking brake for user safety, and roof and rear glass help to keep some debris and dust from the operator. Work lights, a dome light, horn, and locking fuel and hydraulic caps are all included, and the electronics are ready for future additions, as Thomas offers a large number of compatible accessories for the 185.