Most Common Problems with Bobcat 873

Bobcat 873 is a classic skid-steer loader that has a great fan base in the respective field. Even though this boy cannot cope up with the modern days’ skid-steer loaders in specifications, it works like wonder in real-life performance. 

How much performance do you expect from a product? Usually, your assumption should be less than the specification. But things are quite opposite here. You can expect and get much more out of a Bobcat 873 than its specifications. 

Sadly to say, this classic also has its own share of problems like every other one does. In this article, we are going to discuss some of the most common problems with Bobcat 873 so that you are not confused while buying one. Without any further ado, let’s get the real thing started. 

Most common problems with Bobcat 873

1. Starting Problem

Let’s start with the starting problem. It is a pretty common issue with Bobcat 873. That is why you should not be surprised if you see a dealer or an owner is selling a Bobcat 873 for starting issues. 

Remember one thing- if you face issues with starting, most likely, there isn’t any problem with the turbocharger, since a turbocharger doesn’t play any role to start the engine. 

A Bobcat 873 with a Deutz engine may have issues with starting because of the following reasons-

Frozen or bad fuel

Yes, you saw it right. The starting issue may happen mostly because of two factors- air and fuel. If the airflow is fine and the fuel is also in good condition, then most probably you won’t face any trouble with the starting. 

But if there is any problem with any of these two, such as frozen air or bad fuel, then things can go wrong easily. 

Head gaskets 

We have a detailed section about the faulty head gaskets below in this article. But as the head gaskets are also responsible for the starting issue, we are giving a little touch about them here. 

How are the head gaskets responsible for the starting issue? The purpose of a head gasket is to provide a barrier between the cylinder head and the engine block. If the head gasket becomes faulty or gets blown, it won’t be available to provide the seal. 

Consequently, oil and coolant will constantly leak to the cylinders. As a result, things will become messy, as these portions of oil and coolant are not supposed to enter into the cylinders. That’s how faulty or blown head gaskets become responsible for the starting issue. 

Stuck intake valve

You may face a starting issue with your Bobcat 873 due to a stuck intake valve. First of all, what does an intake valve do? An intake valve will open only to provide air/fuel mixture flow to the cylinders. 

Things get difficult for the engine when the intake valve gets stuck. If that happens, there won’t be any flow of fuel or air to the cylinders. And if the cylinders don’t get the fuel, how will the engine even start? 

2. Snapped Timing Belt

Another common problem with a Bobcat 873 is the timing belt issue. Many owners have reported this. At first glance, it may not seem a big deal, but it is. 

Timing belts usually ensure that the opening and the closing of your engine valves happens at the right time so that everything remains smooth while operating the engine. If the timing belt gets snapped, you will leave your engine for potential damage to the valves. 

The longer you leave the issue untreated, the more damage will happen to your engine. For this reason, it is even wiser to change the timing belt every 2000 hours. Although the timing belts are more durable than this limit, prevention is always better than cure. 

Most probably, you will face the timing belt issue due to the oil leak problem. If oil gets connected, you know what will happen to a rubber. Regular diagnosis and changing the timing belts every 2000 hours are efficient ways to deal with this situation. 

3. Blown head gasket

As we have mentioned earlier, a head gasket is responsible for providing a seal so that the coolant or the engine oil doesn’t enter into cylinders. The moment the seal is blown, unwelcomed coolant or oil will enter into the cylinders. And that’s not a good news for your engine. 

Bobcat 873 is a 20-year-old model. It is commonly known that some of the parts of this skid-steer will react if you try even to complete a single task. If the head gasket is old enough, it will get blown in no time as soon as you do a task that is responsible for overheating. 

Now, how are you going to handle the issue? 

You will get to know about the head gasket issue when you find the following symptoms-

  • Engine overheating
  • White smoke 
  • Coolant loss even though there are no leaks. 

As soon as you see any of these symptoms, you have to diagnose the head gasket to confirm whether it is okay or not. If you are moderately skilled in mechanics, you should be able to replace the head gasket by yourself. Since the local shops or your dealer will most probably ask a price that is sky-high!  

4. Faulty Turbo 

This is another area where most users complain about Bobcat 873. Keeping the turbocharger in good condition is a must if you are going to use a machine that is almost 20 years old. Because the turbocharger will make sure that you get more power out of the engine. 

This extra will come in real handy. It doesn’t matter how much extra power you get from a turbocharger. Keeping a faulty turbo untreated will leave your machine into a series of problems when a machine like Bobcat 873 depends largely on the turbo to give more output. 

You will face poor acceleration, the skid-steer will emit more exhaust smoke, and you may even get a check engine light. 

For the reasons mentioned above, it is always a wise decision to replace the turbo as soon as you see the symptoms. Although you can still run a Bobcat 873 with a bad turbo, it will cause further troubles for the engine. 

As oil-related issues like oil starvation or oil contamination are the usual culprits to make your turbocharger bad, you should keep a regular observation on your oil to lengthen the life of the turbocharger. 

5. Revving Way too High

Although this issue is also related to the starting issues, we are keeping it in a different section so that you understand it better. 

Sometimes Bobcat 873 will rev way too high. You may not even be able to shut it off with the key. To make things quiet, you have to stall it out. 

As far as we know, the issue happens mainly because of a bad idle stabilizer or even due to an air leak. If you can keep these factors out, it will be an easy task for you to handle this issue just like a piece of cake. 

6. Issues with the Loader Arms

People often complain about Bobcat 873 for their loader arms. Sometimes they get stuck and other times they even go up and down automatically. Sounds annoying, right? 

Before you get to know the solutions to these problems, let us talk about the probable reasons behind them. The issue with the loader arms will mainly happen due to a faulty ACS lift actuator. There may be a problem in the potentiometer that gives information to the ACS control. 

The components that are inside of the actuator may get stuck, and sometimes the actuator may even get contaminated with hydraulic oil. You have to replace the actuator to overcome this issue as there are no other ways to resolve the problem.

And for the diagnosis part, you have to see the hydraulic fluid level first. The reservoir should not be overfilled. Watch out for the hydraulic fuel filter too. If the filter is jammed, the loader arms won’t be able to work freely as the power will be lesser. 

Final Thoughts

First, don’t get overwhelmed with the series of problems mentioned above. We were just giving you an overall idea about the issues that you may face with a used Bobcat 873. That doesn’t mean they will always be present in a used Bobcat 873. 

Bobcat 873 is still a choice of tons of people although they are not rich in specifications like the new skid-steer loaders. People love it because this boy can still give a hell of a performance if you can maintain it properly. For this reason, you should not turn down a deal just for the minor common issues. Go for it!

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