Manitou now has power on its side
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.