Farm Ireland

Saturday 17 March 2018

Manitou now has power on its side

Derek Casey

Derek Casey

Side-mounted engines are becoming more popular in telehandlers. The main reason is better engine accessibility, as a side-mounted power plant makes servicing components such as alternators, starter motors, batteries, and fuel and engine oil filters much easier. A machine with a side-mounted engine and low boom pivot also has a shorter head at the end of the boom for mounting attachments. Plus, the cab is quieter.

So far so good, but as with everything there is a flipside; a side-mounted engine also has some disadvantages. The main one is reduced visibility to the right-hand side of the machine, which can be an issue for certain applications such as construction site use where loads have to be carried at a low height.

Interestingly though, farmers tend to be a little more accepting of these machines because they can carry loads (such as a round bale) higher so they can see underneath the boom to the right of the machine.

One of Manitou's more recent offerings in this category is the MLT 625-75H. It differs from its predecessor in this bracket, the MLT 523, in a number of ways. The most significant of these is the layout. Like its bigger brothers, the new machine places the engine to the operator's right, going away from the 523's rear-engined format. The result is that rear visibility is much improved, as is service access.

Items such as the diesel filler cap remain at the rear, easily accessible and handily enclosed by a lockable steel plate cover. There are also some other nice service touches, such as a grease bank on the chassis adjacent to the offside rear wheel, which has four nipples that look after the bottom of the main lift ram – the compensation ram – and the bosses on either side of the rear axle.


Manitou uses a Kubota engine for this machine, with the four-cylinder unit producing 75hp. One of the relatively few downsides to side-mounted engine format is greater air intake exposure to dust and debris.

To address the issue, Manitou fitted a fan, on which the direction of rotation automatically reverses for 15 seconds every three minutes to blow the radiator clear. Activation of the system is via a switch in the cab.

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On down the driveline, power is transferred through a two-range Sauer hydrostatic drive system to Dana Spicer axles fitted with 18in agricultural-spec tyres. Top speed is 25kph, so this isn't a machine you'd want to spend much time on the road in. But, the nature of its compact build and the yard-based work it's likely to be most often found doing mean this isn't really an issue.

The vital statistics of the MLT 625 are small, but that is exactly what many potential buyers look for in a telehandler because it allows access to tight buildings. This machine will squeeze under a 2m doorway or shed roof, while for those with narrow passageways or entrances to negotiate, minimum width is just 1.82m.

But don't be fooled by its small dimensions; this machine still packs a punch for its size. Maximum lift capacity is 2,500kg, and maximum lift height is 5.9m, with maximum reach of 3.3m – at which maximum lift capacity is 800kg.


If required, the 625 should be capable of moving away from its natural day-to-day yard-work environment to tackle more heavyweight tasks such as grain shed work, stacking big bales or loading muck.

A 90l/min, 235-bar hydraulic gear pump gives good cycle times for repetitive loading tasks. For this machine, Manitou quotes times of 7.2 seconds for raising the boom to full height, 4.9 seconds to lower it and 3.2 seconds for both crowd and dump. As on Manitou's larger machines, all this is operated through the firm's combined shuttle and joystick.

As is becoming the industry norm, the cab door is a one-piece with a fold-back upper window. As the door opens to only 90 degrees, it cannot be left open.

Manitou says that as the industry seeks to reduce the number of telehandler accidents in agriculture, the adoption of electric windows, rather than fold-back ones, is likely in the near future.

Up at the business end, hydraulic attachment locking is an option that comes when the higher of the two spec levels is ordered, while there is a handy button at the front of the machine to release pressure in the third service when coupling attachments. The hydraulic oil tank is sited at the rear of the cab.

In conclusion, it is easy to see why more and more telehandlers with side-mounted engines are springing up on Irish farms. They provide much better engine accessibility and, while there is admittedly a drawback in terms of reduced visibility, farming operations still suit the design.

Irish Independent