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Our most rented machines: the John Deere 160C excavator

One of our earliest blog articles was on the John Deere 200D excavator.  That is a big tough machines for serious jobs.  If you don’t need something that serious, but a backhoe isn’t going to get the job done, then the C-series from John Deere is right for you.  Despite being small they are very productive and have that “big machine feel.”
The C-series comes with the PowerTech engines, heavy-duty cooling systems, reinforced booms, and user-friendly (and comfortable!) operator stations.  Today I’m going to focus on those engines and cooling systems as well as the operator stations.  As someone renting from us those are probably your primary concerns, as we will take care of all the maintenance for you, and you probably already know the legendary reliability of John Deere, even if you haven’t experienced it for yourself.
john deere 160c monticello rental center
Engines
Inside the 160C is John Deere’s exclusive Powerwize II engine.  Its hydraulic management system balances hydraulic pressure and flow.  This helps to save fuel, maximize engine output, and enable multi-function operation with no hiccups.
The engine itself is charge-air cooled which improves fuel economy and engine durability while being “green” by reducing emissions.  How exactly, ask my construction junkies.  Fair enough.  There’s wide fin spacing in the cooling system which allows trash to pass through the cores.  But there’s also a removable trash screen to eliminate plugging.  The top and bottom tanks of the heavy duty cooling system are heavy wall extrusions that are TIG welded to the core so they will be long lasting and durable.
Did we mention the hybrid steel-and-plastic fan?  It has an airfoil-blade design which leads to better cooling performance using less horsepower.  It also runs quieter, which is never a bad thing when you’re out on a project.
Operator Stations
Inside the cab you will see a diagnostic display unit which allows techs to read diagnostic codes (fuel pressure, coolant temperature, manifold temperature) so there is no mystery if something does go wrong.
The operator station itself sits on six silicon fluid-filled elastic mounts.  These take the shock out of the cab and allow the operator to sit back and relax.  While doing so you realize that there’s adjustable lumbar support!  My car doesn’t even have that!  Look up and you’ll see a smoke-tinted sunroof hatch that allows you to have an eye on the sky during your jobs and there’s a retractable shade for when the glare gets too bad.  Charge your phone with our 12-volt phone jack, put your drink in our oversized cup holder, and keep the next beverage in our beverage cooler.
There’s a lot of glass surrounding the operator, which makes for great sight lines in almost every direction (it’s described by many as “panoramic visibility”).  If it gets muddy the wiper blade cleans 25 percent more of your viewing area before tucking out of sight.  There are also adjustable vents everywhere which makes the “blend air” climate control system a dream to operate.
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Should I build a swimming pool in my backyard? Part I: Decision

It’s getting towards the dog days of summer and as it gets hotter people might be looking into their backyard, considering just how much better life might be if they had a pool back there.  We’re a rental company so when we get the initial phone call for an excavator for someone who wants to possibly work on (at least part of) a project like this, we ask the originating question: why do you want to build a pool in your backyard?

Reasons to build:

1.  It’s a cool, relaxing feature.  Yes, this isn’t really disputable, is it?  When you see a pool in a backyard you automatically reach for a cold beverage and wonder if there are any lawn chairs.  Whether you are single or have kids a pool is always an option for a day off and when you have one in your backyard it’s just that much easier to get to.  You can add waterfalls to get that zen feeling or to have an added feature to play with in the pool.

2.  I love swimming and the water.  If you want to swim for exercise you can configure your pool in such a way that you can do that well.  You can also build it for floating and relaxation.  And, as we said above, during the dog days of summer, something cool is the best remedy for the heat.  Whether you’re splashing around or just building your tan, a pool is a great answer to the question of “what to do on a free day?”

3.  It’s great for entertaining.  Who doesn’t love pools?  People can bring kids, people can swim themselves, you can add a cookout, and very often visiting a home that has a pool is a treat for those who don’t have one.  You get to be Santa!

backyard_swimming_pool_monticello_rental_center

Things to consider:

1.  Owning a pool is not cheap to build or to maintain.  Should you get concrete or vinyl?  Aboveground or inground?  What kind of chemicals should you use?  Should you use a heater?  Yes, you can do the maintenance yourself if you make sure that you know everything about your pool – but make sure you do!  Add up the costs over a year and divide it up over 12 months so you can get an immediate sense of what it will add to your monthly bills.  Also keep in mind that depending on where you live, having a pool might make a home more difficult to sell.  On the flipside, if you live someplace like Florida (much warmer than Monticello, year-round) having a pool might be a “must” for homebuyers.

2.  The flipside of entertainment is liability.  Many people don’t know that having a pool immediately increases your homeowner’s insurance.  Want to add a diving board or a slide?  Get ready to increase it even more.  What happens if someone gets hurt?  What are the safeguards you are taking to protect your guests, in particular, small children?  Don’t let these questions scare you off: just make sure you have good answers for them.

3.  You will give up a portion of your yard that you cannot reclaim easily should you change your mind.  If you are going to go to the trouble of excavating, leveling, pouring concrete, landscaping, etc., keep in mind that this is a semi-permanent decision.  It’s going to cost you almost as much to get rid of a pool as it cost you to build one.  Keep in mind that you will also want to add landscaping, rock, etc. to make the pool “fit” the rest of your yard.

You’d be surprised, but we go through variation of these questions and answers with each of our potential clients who calls in to build a pool.  This week we wanted to stir these ideas through your mind so that next week (see what we did there – hooked you for our next blog article!) we can talk about the nitty-gritty of excavation and maintenance.

Stay cool as we head into July, whether it’s indoors or poolside!

Historical Husqvarna

One of the things I enjoy about our business is getting to know the stories behind the companies and products we use.  While we use plenty of Husqvarna products here at the Rental Center, Sweden (the home of Husqvarna) is not anywhere close to Monticello, NY.

As early as 1680, Huskvarna, a small town in Sweden, was home to a manufacturer of rifles.  This company supplied not just the Swedish, but also the Norwegian army, with rifles.  As time went on, however, the company moved on to sewing machines and bicycles and diversified out of weapons.  The Husqvarna we know today makes a lot of products and they use the older form of the Swedish name that has a “q” not a “k” in it.

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Husqvarna today is the largest producer of outdoor power products in the world!  They make garden tractors, chainsaws, trimmers, and even robotic lawn mowers.  Consumers and businesses in over 100 countries use their products.  Their stated mission is simple yet ambitious: “We provide innovative quality products and solutions to make garden, park and forest care as well as construction easier for professionals and consumers around the world.”

Often our customers rent our products with a specific project in mind that will be completed for a specific purpose and across a set amount of time.  Husqvarna takes a longer view of its products and their usefulness.  Their vision is: “We envision a world where people can enjoy well maintained gardens, parks and forests and experience refined buildings and roads.”  That’s not a one time project.  That’s an ongoing task and it assumes quality products and manufacturing so that you can rely on your tools and not worry about them breaking down.

We are a full-line Husqvarna dealer and carry all of their products for rental.  As always – if we can help answer your questions about equipment rental in general or about Husqvarna specifically, drop us a line.  We are proud to be your Husqvarna dealer in Monticello, New York.

Three Key Equipment Maintenance Times

We have several responsibilities to our customers here at The Rental Center of Monticello.  We rent equipment to customers – and that equipment is well-maintained and well-functioning.  But we also service that equipment, and as such we often have casual (and serious) advice that we pass on to our customers for self-maintenance.

Maintenance – that thing we often neglect because modern machines well enough that we forget that we have to maintain them!  So as temperatures start to rise as we slowly amble towards summer – at least here in Monticello – we wanted to share some important tips for maintaining your equipment whether it’s as basic as a mower or as complicated as a backhoe.  We wanted to arrange these by the “Times” of maintenance.

Daily

Certain things have to be done every day.  If you’re the type who forgets things, a checklist is best (In fact, even if you have an excellent memory, a checklist still provides a method and fall back to this part of your duties).  Some things to watch on a daily basis:

When doing a visual inspection

  • Look for worn parts

  • Look for signs of oil or coolant leakage

  • Check oil/coolant/hydraulics levels and fill as necessary

  • Lubricate parts that need daily grease

  • Check air filter

  • Check tire pressure

  • Check chains and belts for slack

  • Clean dirt and debris out of the machine (you don’t have to do a deep cleaning) and make sure caps are sealed

  • Make sure safety equipment and signage is properly displayed and that exterior lighting is functioning

  • If there’s trash or other debris in the cab – take it out.  While you’re in there, check on the seat belts.

Quarterly

The prevailing wisdom is that 500 service hours is when you should have some additional maintenance done outside of the suggestions we bulleted above.  The oil filter, hydraulic oil filter, and the oil itself need to be changed.  Some argue this should be done every three months regardless of usage and there definitely is some merit to that school of thought but each individual operator can make a decision on when is best – as long as they understand the principle of periodic maintenance beyond the above-mentioned daily tasks.

End of Season

It’s time to put things away at the end of the season.  Don’t forget to:

  • Change the hydraulic oil and transmission fluid

  • Check the antifreeze to make sure it’s ready for winter

  • Check belts and hoses

  • Make sure that you have arctic or blended fuel in the tank.  If you do end up needing your equipment you don’t want the fuel line clogged with summer-weight fuel that you forgot to drain

  • Wash the entire vehicle.  Make sure the undercarriage and engine get special attention.  Check the air conditioning and interior lighting – replace bulbs as necessary.

  • If the tires need changing – better to do them now than during the season so you minimize  your down time.

Heavy equipment, like all machinery, has a useful life and a strong justification for purchase will be the commitment to the maintenance.  Some of us remember begging our mom to let us take the puppy home and heard her remind us that we had to clean it and take it to the bathroom and feed it and take care of it and we nodded our heads earnestly.  Your excavator isn’t likely to lick your feet with a wagging backhoe to remind you to take care of it.  As we said above – the quality of the machinery can lull us into a false sense of security that the machinery works “because it works.”

As we’ve said other times on this blog, a big part of why people people might choose to rent first instead of buy is because it provides them with an opportunity to try before buying.  They can see if the equipment does what they need it to do and then return it without having to do any maintenance at all.  We take care of that for you before and after the rental.  You can also have conversations with us either before, during, or after your rental as you figure out what option makes the most sense for you and your project or ongoing work.

As always, we are here to answer any and all questions about equipment rental, and after today’s post, we hope you see that we can hopefully answer some of your maintenance questions as well.

As this article goes to press we are on the verge of Memorial Day weekend.  We here at the Rental Center of Monticello are grateful for the service our veterans have given to our country and we hope that you take some time to remember them throughout this weekend and on Monday especially.

Three Reasons we deal in STIHL

stihl-corporate

Different companies carry different brands for all kinds of reasons.  In our particular industry if our products don’t work there are major consequences: deadlines aren’t met, events don’t come together, and projects don’t get finished.

A big part of renting heavy equipment is making sure that you’re renting from someone who keeps his/her inventory in good repair.  But even more important than that is renting equipment from a brand which is high quality in the first place.  There is a lot of truth to the old adage, “you get what you pay for.”  That class, that quality, is how we feel about STIHL and we would like to take a few minutes today to tell you why we are proud to sell, repair, and rent out their equipment (and have been from the first day we opened our doors for business).

1.  We service what we sell.  As is the case with all STIHL dealers, if you buy from us, you can get service from us.  And we stock many parts (or can get them for you) if you want to service or maintain your equipment yourself.  You don’t have to worry about finding and developing a repair relationship apart from the place where you bought your equipment to start.  STIHL doesn’t just offer their products to anyone.  Each firm who wants to sell STIHL has to go through a screening process.  You can have the confidence that whether you come to the Rental Center of Monticello or any other STIHL dealer, you’re going to get the convenience of service at the point of sale.

2.  We are technical experts and are there to give you face-to-face customer service.  We know that not every customer who comes to us is an expert on a particular machine or even heavy equipment in general.  We can help everyone – from the novice to the expert – pick out the right equipment for his/her needs – be it for a long-term purchase a or a short-term rental.  STIHL ensures that its dealers deliver this level of service and expertise.  We won’t talk down to you or expect you to buy from us just because we’re talking.  We love what we do and are happy to talk about our products and what they can do for you.  Our most important value is listening to what you have to say so we can help you get the tool/equipment that will accomplish your task.

3.  We stand behind our products through a tradition of providing the best.  STIHL has been around since 1974 and while we can’t claim to have been around that long (we’ve been in business roughly half that time) we bring the same philosophy to work every day: offer the best products with competent and professional customer service so that people can TRUST in our products (and service).  We know that this philosophy will keep people coming back and instead of getting a customer for a day we can develop a client for life.

We’re proud to be your STIHL dealer in Monticello, NY, and look forward to helping you with any sales, service, or rental needs you might have!

Heavy Equipment: Buy or Rent?

Some things have always made sense as business models.  Renting movies, for one.  It made sense in the days of VHS and Laserdisc, it made sense in the days of Blockbuster Video, and it makes sense today, in the era dominated by Redbox and Netflix and streaming options.  Part of why this makes sense is because you only “use” the video for a short time, and then may not want to use it soon after, if ever again.  This is perhaps the first and most obvious reason people rent equipment from us.

Just getting the job done

They have a specific job they need to do they might need a highly specialized piece of equipment to do it.  Typically that equipment will be expensive and have certain maintenance responsibilities, and unless you are using it often in order to pay off the capital expense of the purchase, you run the risk of having a life-size toy sitting idle somewhere on your property.  Renting removes those concerns.  No maintenance, no storage, and no large capital expense.  In some places you’ll have property taxes and insurance concerns above and beyond those expenses!

Moreover, unlike other equipment rental centers that charge by the day AND by hourly usage, we just charge you for the day and don’t care about your hourly usage.  We know you just need to get the job done so we make the billing part of that simple for you.

Try before you buy

Let’s say that you are considering buying an excavator or a backhoe.  These are expensive propositions.  Renting can provide a great opportunity to try before you buy.  Deciding between two different models or two different brands?  You can try the equipment out for the job you are trying to do and if you still feel like you want to purchase, you can do so.  Your capital has to be spent smartly and part of that smart spend is taking the time to actually use the machines in the situations you are planning to use them in, instead of just guessing based on spec sheets you pick up on the internet.

A Yanmar mini-excavator

No upgrade angst

Machinery, like all other parts of our technical world, is constantly being updated.  There’s nothing worse than spending a large amount of money on a great piece of equipment only to see an even better piece of equipment come out for the same price or later months or even a year later.  With renting you can always get access to relatively new equipment.

Everyone’s situation is different, but unless you are a contractor who will use the equipment very frequently for a number of months – hopefully in situations that will either make you money or be worth money to you – renting is always your best option.  Our equipment costs money but our advice about what makes sense for your given job is free.  Give us a call at 845.794.0100.

Our most rented machines: The John Deere 200D

Continuing our series on our most frequently-rented items, today I want to talk about the John Deere 200D excavator.  This model is not just popular with our clients, but also with kids!  It’s a very popular toy (in its scaled-down version, of course).


Who is going to get an excavator?  Well apart from the professional contractor with a specific job in mind, we have many home/property owners who simply need to move a large amount of turf or earth around.  Maybe you’re digging a pool.  Maybe you’re trying to level out some area for a garden.  Maybe you want to create a berm.  Perhaps you want to do some finesse work like setting pipe.  For projects like these, an excavator is going to play an important role.

John Deere makes all kinds of excavators but the 200D is in their compact line.  In this case “compact” means capable of excavating 20 metric tons, powered by a 6-cylinder, 159 hp, Tier 3 Powertech E diesel engine with a 106 gallon fuel tank.  It has a spacious and comfortable cab.  It’s got a top speed of 3.4 mph (no speed demon, but that’s not what you are looking for in an excavator), a swing speed of 13.3 rpm, and swing torque of 50,662 lb/foot.  It has a digging force between 27,000-30,000 lb, depending on whether you need to use the Power Boost option, and it has a lifting capacity over front at ground level of 14,607 lb.  It has a maximum reach of a little over 30 feet, a maximum digging depth of 20 feet, a maximum dumping height of 22 feet, and a tail swing radius of 9 feet.

The 200D’s hydraulically driven van runs only as needed, reducing noise, fuel consumption, and operating costs.  There’s also a reversing option that automatically back-blows cooler cores to reduce debris buildup.

These advancements don’t come at a noise premium.  Noise levels (and with them, operator fatigue) have been significantly reduced in the 200D.  The dual-pass muffler, isochronous high-idle speed, and a variable-speed fan all help to make your job a little less noisy to those around you.

A quieter ride certainly helps the operator, but so do creature comforts.  The 200D comes with a huge amount of tinted glass to give great visibility to the operator.  There’s more legroom, more climate control options, more storage, and an AM/FM radio to make things go a little bit faster.  The short-throw pilot levers provide smooth, predictable fingertip control with less movement and effort.

And if you’ve never had a chance to work with a John Deere machine before you’ll come to find yourself that “nothing runs like a Deere.”

As with any equipment rental vs. equipment purchase, you don’t have to worry about maintenance and repair.  We keep the machines in top operating condition so that you can simply do your work and get the machine back to us without worrying about maintenance.  Give us a call at 845.794.0100 and let us know if we can help you with your equipment rental needs.