How Does Case TV450B CTL Perform?

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Compact Track Loaders

Case TV450B compact track loader.

The 90-horsepower TV450B is the largest compact track loader offered by Case Construction Equipment and has sold well since its debut at World of Concrete last year.

Case cites its 8-inch multifunction LCD screen, rearview camera, and speed- and response-selectable electro-hydraulic (E-H) controls among the biggest reasons why.

Construction Equipment asked the independent experts at the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 in Wilmington, Illinois, to see if the company is right. Operator/instructor Brian Russell and third-year apprentice Bakarie Wilks, hand-picked out of a skid steer loader class for the assignment, were eager to test the vertical-lift machine on a rare sunlit January day.

First, Case veteran George MacIntyre, product manager, compact track loaders and skid steers, set the table by giving the Local 150 pros a walk-around highlighting the most important features of the Case TV450B CTL.

Case TV450B CTL Updates

“We’ve made major updates inside the cab from the previous Alpha Series,” MacIntyre says. “The 8-inch LCD display makes it easier and more intuitive to operate, and adjustable electro-hydraulic controls are switchable between ISO and H-pattern with one switch in the cab. On the controls themselves, we used to have push-button controls on the back, and now we’ve gone to trigger switches.

“There’s also a new turn knob for turning the unit on and off, and a big push-button to operate is just below, which makes everything live for the controls,” MacIntyre says.

Also new on all E-H CTLs is a creep mode feature that allows operators to dial into an exact speed for running attachments such as brooms. “It allows you to set the increment you need,” MacIntyre says. “We’ve actually made the range very wide; it’s 1 to 100, and that allows you to dial an exact speed for that attachment.”

In addition, this particular machine was equipped with an enhanced high-flow option for attachments. High-flow on the TV450B is set at 3,450 psi, but switching to enhanced high-flow boosts pressure to 4,000 psi for work with implements such as mulching heads or cold planers.

But the key to many of the day’s tests and the driver of many of the operators’ opinions would be the buttons directly under the LCD display. The first three buttons, MacIntyre explains, are for picking the machine’s control settings: Low, Medium, and High.

“The left [Low] is the most sensitive, best for fine grading and curbs, and it slows things down for the loader and the drive,” MacIntyre says. “The Medium setting, second button in, is the place you’re going to be most of the time. It gives you the best of both worlds, not extreme aggressiveness, but not slow, either. The third button is High, which makes the controls faster and allows you to really move dirt.

“The fourth button is custom settings, and within those, you can have everything set with your own setting,” MacIntyre says. “It will save your preferences, automotive style, like your pickup truck.”

After the walk-around, it was time to let the experts loose on the selected tests: coring out dirt to simulate a sidewalk construction; starting a building pad; loading CA6 stone into a tandem dump truck; and also loading snow.

Case TV450B CTL.

Both operators used the CTL to cut a long, narrow trench, similar in width and depth to sidewalk construction. The operators had to tackle the dirt in layers, due to the frozen soil, frequently stopping to break up hard chunks with the edge of the 78-inch-wide LP extended 0.57-cubic-yard bucket. The fill, once broken, was placed and graded as a building pad.

“There is a little bit of hardened frozen ground on top, so I was trying to take it off in layers, get that frost peeled off, trying to get it down to more useable dirt,” Russell says.

“I started off in the Low mode, and I can see where that’s going to be very useful for grading around a lot of manholes or grading for curb,” Russell says. “Sometimes you’ll be using attachments to peel a stone out away from the curb before you get ready to go and prep. That would be useful for that, the fine grading.”

Russell found only two of the three settings useful for his preferences.

“The Medium setting, I’m not sure what I would have for that,” he says. “I’m either slow or fast for the settings, that’s how I operate. I want to go turtle or I want to go rabbit. The Medium setting for myself isn’t really something I would probably use too much. I went to the High setting and that was more my speed. When I push those levers, I want reaction.

“The reaction was very good, very quick in the High, and you can definitely tell the difference between the three settings,” Russell says.

He tried to negotiate the harder ground in the Low setting. “It just didn’t seem like it had the reaction, didn’t seem like it had the kickout power to pop that material. My way of running equipment is to try and lay off the speed and use more of the hydraulics. The older I get, I don’t want to bounce any more than I need to. But it was very comfortable, even while digging hard. There was no unnecessary bouncing. The machine reacted very well,” Russell says.

Both operators slammed the bucket edge down to break up chunks of earth.

“The highest setting was the best for that,” Russell says. “When I had it in the Low mode, it didn’t seem like enough to go push it down and break it; it pushed [the chunks] more down into the dirt rather than punch through them.”

Wilks started his portion in Low mode.

“The first mode, I really liked it, it was very responsive,” he says. “The second mode, the speed was available there, however when it came to lifting the bucket, I didn’t like it—it dragged a little bit, so the first and the third modes were probably more efficient for me. Second mode, I think, I’d probably have to do a custom setting on it.

“It was responsive in Low,” Wilks says. “It was more or less a matter of getting under the material pretty good. It was responsive in the first mode and the third mode. The only problem in the second mode is that it wasn’t, as far as the raising of the boom, as responsive as in first and third. I think I did a better job in being able to pulverize the dirt and break up those big chunks in the third mode.

“The first mode, I think it would probably be better for maybe landscaping or something like that, but when you need that extra power to kick in, you need that extra ‘umph’ from the machine, third will probably work better,” Wilks says.

A relatively loose mountain of CA6 stone sitting in a field of mud was the next task, along with a tandem dumper for loading. Russell chose the High setting to charge the pile.

Case TV450B CTL display.

“It was very responsive, and it did everything I was expecting it to do,” Russell says. “I took a big bite, always full buckets. The stability was great. There was no loss of power. I’ve run other competitor CTLs where there is loss of power when you go to try to turn and lift at the same time, but I found none of that.

“There’s plenty of hydraulic flow for multitasking; I found nothing wrong,” Russell says. “At lift, it had all the speed that I wanted, and the stabilization, there was nothing unstable about it.”

Russell also lauded the visibility for truck loading. “Visibility in this application is most important, because you’re going to be out loading on the street, you’re going to be around foot traffic, around vehicles, and the visibility was great on that machine. Up top, you’re able to see the bucket and everything else.”

Wilks was interested in the vertical-lift machine’s performance and clearance during loading and dumping into the truck.

“I started in the first mode, Low mode, but I wasn’t as happy with it doing this as I was with the test in the dirt,” Wilks says. “But I went to the third mode, and it was pretty good. This time around I used the second mode, and the power was really good as far as lifting up. It gave me the opportunity to get lined up with the truck prior to lifting the bucket.

“That sort of lag in it [lifting] in the second mode was more beneficial for loading the truck than working with the dirt and building a pad,” Wilks says. “So it was more effective for me in the second mode for loading because then it gave me more time to line up, focus on the truck, and in the process raise the bucket without worrying about it shooting up too fast.”

Wilks liked the stability, as well.

“The stability is awesome,” he says. “I tried to go get as much as I could in the bucket a few times without spilling over, just to see what kind of response I would get. I didn’t feel at any point that I was going to lose the load at all. And that was operating in the first mode, second mode, and third mode. I never felt like the load was too much for the machine to handle. At no time, even getting it up by the bed of the truck, did I ever feel like the rear end of the machine was going to lift up, so I was comfortable with it,” Wilks says.

Visibility at the bottom of the pile was a slight concern for Wilks.

“I’m used to lower-profile buckets with the teeth on them where you could see, but I guess if you’re using the top of the bucket as a reference point, you can keep your grade,” Wilks says.

“I’m like 6 foot [tall], but even at that height I sort of have to look over a little bit to make sure the blade of the bucket was on grade. So that visibility probably wasn’t the best for me,” Wilks says. “I don’t know if that would be fixed with a different bucket on it or not, but as far as the actual sit in the seat, the visibility of the blade of the bucket wasn’t as good. I had to lean forward and did that working in the dirt, as well.

“In both circumstances, I had to sort of ‘get up’ and lean toward the glass to have full visibility of the bucket,” Wilks says, noting that he never broke all contact with the seat. “That’s a full lean forward instead of sitting back and comfortably navigating the machine. I think it would be a task with that particular bucket.”

The responsiveness and ergonomics impressed the apprentice. “The responsiveness of the machine was dead on. It’s really smooth. I think it’s a really good machine. I’d like to have it for a month or two, it’s a comfortable machine. And then the profile of all the switches on the left post is really cool because you don’t have to jump from side to side, looking to your lower right, looking to your lower left, top right, top left; everything is lined up in a nice order. It takes a lot of guesswork out of it, which makes it easier to operate,” Wilks says.

“I liked the extra room. I’m comfortable in there, which is extremely rare,” Wilks says. “Entering into the machine is a lot more convenient than some of the other machines, and then once you get in it, the elbow room that’s available, I mean it’s priceless.”

The Case TV450B has a rearview camera system that gives operators the choice of leaving the rearview displayed on the LCD monitor constantly (split screen mode, with the camera view perpetually on top and machine vitals on the bottom), or appearing intermittently, only when the machine is in reverse.

“I can see the camera coming in very useful when you’re doing building pads inside a building, grading around pipes, plumbing, things like that,” Russell says. “Myself, I’m old school, I don’t really ever use the camera, but I found myself using it more today, just because I remembered it was there. I could get used to it.”

But Russell sees a definite benefit.

“To fight operator fatigue, it’s going to be easier just looking up there like that [at the monitor] instead of looking over your shoulder all day long,” he says. “If I was going to use it more, I’d have it on the constant [split] screen setting, just because of the fact that a little bit of motion forward kicks the camera off. If it was set where the monitor was full on the digital display, the camera would go on and off, kicking back and forth all the time, which might be distracting.

“Also, one concern I had, maybe add some kind of little visor over the camera lens to block the sun,” Russell says. “One time I was out there loading the truck and I did have a glare coming across there, a blind spot.”

Wilks did not operate the camera in the split screen mode. “I had it set up so that the camera would kick in in reverse mode, which I think I probably would prefer, because it gives me the option to look at other things on the screen throughout the day if need be,” Wilks says.

“But I think the camera really helped out a lot because out here at the training facility, the most important thing is making sure that you look before you move,” Wilks says. “I think over the period of a day, the time that it takes to stop, turn, and check everything behind you—that time will be cut down by the camera. I think that camera is really beneficial for a lot of the safety issues we face.”

Pros rate the Case TV450B CTL

Russell breaks his final observations on the CTL into pros and cons.

“The pros are comfort and visibility,” he says. “The screen is very helpful, and so are the different settings for fine grading and for being aggressive; the Low, Medium, and High, I should say. The Medium, myself, I probably wouldn’t use it. But Low, definitely for working around things, doing the grading work. There was always plenty of power for that, and good power on the Fast setting, also.

“The cons, the only things I could see were the placement of the hydraulic sight gauge and the step back behind the bucket,” Russell says. “It would be better if that could be a grated step [instead of solid], so if you’re really hogging dirt or stone and it happens to fall off or come back over the top of the bucket, it’s not just sitting on the step where it falls down the back when you dump your bucket and maybe bounces off the windshield. If it were grated, debris could fall through there easily.”

Russell felt the sight gauge for checking the hydraulic oil level was difficult to see.

“It’s kind of buried back in there behind the fender alongside the wall, and I can see it getting overlooked very easily for seeing how much hydraulic oil you have,” Russell says. 

“Because of the positioning of the filter—and as the machine gets older, there’s going to be oil leaks and whatever else—and it’s just going to be very hard to see in there. It’s not very accommodating as far as a fluid check,” he says.

Russell was very satisfied with the TV450B’s power. “I’ve run other brands, and I’ve had problems trying to lift and turn at the same time; it seemed like there was a lack of hydraulic power. You could hear drag on the engine itself. I had no problems with this one [lifting and turning].”

Wilks didn’t hesitate when asked how he’d characterize the machine for his fellow apprentices.

“I would tell them it’s going to spoil them,” Wilks says. “Because the screen is great, the camera is a benefit, and the extra room in the cab is a benefit. And then just opening up the back, where everything is available right in front of you for servicing—you don’t have to go around the machine looking for much. It’s going to spoil them in comparison to other CTLs that are around.”

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