Review: Hyundai HL770 wheel loader

By: Ron Horner

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  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

In addition to trying out an old Komatsu D375A-2 dozer whilst on a trip to a north NSW quarry, a new Hyundai HL770 loader also caught Ron Horner’s eye

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Hyundai 770 loader in action

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On the same trip to Sandstone Quarry on the north coast of NSW where I found a beautiful old Komatsu D375A-2 dozer ripping and pushing up the material in the base of the recently re-incarnated sandstone pit, a new bit of gear hauling, loading and tramming also caught my attention.

A really neat 23t Hyundai HL770-9 loader was the workhorse of choice on this site so I made a beeline to the boys on the ground in hope of securing the go ahead for a demo and a couple of hours in the cab.

Tick given … Russ Hardy and Bill Dawe, owners of the quarry, gave me the nod to grab it during the lunch break and see what I thought of the "second newest" addition of equipment to their operation (that Sandvik screener being hot off the press).

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400 litre underbody fuel tank keeps the weight to the ground.

WALKAROUND

Cab vacated, a bit of a walk through the muck where the new "Cat Boots" got their first taste of mud and water (we have endured a year of drought in Queensland) and there she was.

Overall the Hyundai HL770-9 looks a well-balanced and designed loader, but those crappy-looking rear full mud guards drag the eye from the beautiful design to this out of balance side view.

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Rear view of the HL770-9 loader

Now I know some of you will say that "it’s not the aesthetics that maketh the machine", but as practical and efficient they may be at keeping the mud and road splatter off the machine, they look crappy in my  opinion and detract from a really good looking loader.

Criticism aside, I was keen to give this loader the once over as everyone knows that Hyundai have come of age and are now pushing the leaders in the industry to new and higher standards than ever.

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Tidy loader this model

IN THE CAB

Climbing the steps to get my bum in the seat I could not help but notice the physical dimensions of the machine once I was in an elevated position. I was surprised that it was in fact pushing the Komatsu 480 and the Cat 966H and the Case 1021F in size.

This particular 2019 loader with 150 hours on the clock was the newest version I had been in for a while but as far as operator comfort, vision, technology and ease of operation this could well be one of the best I’ve sat in.

In the cabin you can easily adjust the steering column and wrist rest to best suit your preferred comfort level. Pilot-operated joystick controls are easy and comfortable to operate.

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Great operator friendly cabin

A FNR (Forward/Neutral/Reverse) switch on the control lever facilitates easy selection of travel direction and bucket crowd, lift, load and dump operation all in the one joystick ensures the right hand has no free time and the left joystick has forward and reverse switches for the automatic transmission although gear selection is via the steering column mounted screw-grip.

This is a very smooth loader in operation and the limited slip back end combined with the 4.3m cubic meter loaded bucket gets rid of those empty truck and dogs in a flash.

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Excellent vision out of the full glass cabin

This machine was equipped with the optional ride control system, which has a shock absorbing accumulator that cushions the boom, improves operator comfort and reduces material loss and is a must have on all loaders these days. The operator can control this action via an overhead switch.

The centralised grease and auto-grease is a godsend in machines these days as we push for more productivity and less maintenance time. The olds days of taking 30 mins at the end of shift to grease up are definitely on the way out.

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Nice and easy to operate joystick controls

UNDER THE HOOD

The Hyundai HL770-9 runs the Tier 3 Cummins QSL six-cylinder, turbo charged, direct injection, electronic controlled diesel engine pushing out 280hp (209kW) @ 2,000 rpm.

Hyundai have a great relationship with these engines and are world renowned for their reliability and spare parts availability.

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Locked and secure fuel filling point

When you hook this up to the fully automatic power shift transmission with four forward and three reverse gears, it is a very successful combination. Selecting of gears is via the steering column mounted twist grip and joystick forward and reverse switch mounted left of the operator seat.

With a top ground speed of 41km/h, it’s above the legal speed limit of school zones, so you’d better check your speed in those areas if it’s your turn to pick up the kids!

Access to the engine bay is mostly at ground level once the doors are opened, which works well in the fitter’s favour at any time, so overall this tidy loader is a getting thumbs up thus far from me.

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A big monitor keeps you on track

ON THE JOB

Although I could not work the machine for any real length of time in the quarry I was certainly able to make a somewhat positive appraisal of what was under me.

Powerful hydraulics had no problem in lifting 4m of wet sand and tramming it some 200 meters away to an unsuitable materials stockpile. The optioned Ride-Control was engaged so the smooth flowing movement of the loader across the pit floor made my life quite easy in the cab and the big open glass cabin ensured I had perfect vision forward and laterally. Big, heated mirrors complemented this action and the big 14cm monitor and reversing camera got me through the tighter areas around the screening plant.

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Ron Horner was left impressed by the Hyundai HL770-9 loader

The load out time is pretty good as well as I was able to load a truck and dog with 4x4cm  buckets in about six minutes, including some tramming time.

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Autogrease ... the only way to go

BOTTOM LINE

In the quarry and mining industry of today there is the expectation from operators and owners that the new gear will be manufactured to the highest quality, most comfortable and technically efficient standard as humanly possible.

This Hyundai HL770-9 is up there with the best loaders of this category/size I have seen.

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Certainly came a long way

Speaking to other Hyundai loader owners/operators they all have something to say about the gear and that is its bloody good … as is with much of the equipment pushed onto our market today.

The killer in my opinion on where the industry is let down is through spare parts availability, service and aftermarket costs. These combined, at times, are horrendous and can cripple an owner-operator or fleet owner in a very short period of time, so you want to hook up with someone who has a very real overview and grasp of the market requirements.

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Rear mud guards look out of place

Porters are the Hyundai and Sandvik agents in Australia and are the largest privately owned industry identities here, with its business model being adopted in other countries: says a bit for a kiwi who started it all off in 1945 in New Zealand.

With NZ and Australia tied up with Hyundai and Sandvik distributorships, a huge hire fleet of not only the core branded items but also Cat and Bomag, Porters have hit a home run and are the envy of plenty of industry leaders.

The "Anzac spirit" certainly is alive and well in our industry. Hats off to the late Arthur Porter: you done good mate!

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