The Bobcat 873 was made from 1995-1999 and became a favorite machine for a number of people and businesses in many professions.
Bobcat is the name in the industry when it comes to the best skid steers and the 873 is a great model that has stuck around to this day.
Its versatility, reliability, and durability made it one of the best skid steer loaders when it was released, and is still to this day a great choice to pick up secondhand.
Unfortunately, the years aren’t always kind to these machines and neither are the owners. You’re going to encounter some problems with your Bobcat 873 that need fixing from time to time.
Some of these fixes can be done by you but some may require you to bring it to a Bobcat dealer with a repair shop or a third-party repair shop to fix them.
The Most Common Bobcat 873 Problems
Like all machines, you need to keep up with regular maintenance on your Bobcat 873.
Unfortunately, even with maintenance, things can go wrong. Luckily, if you’re having a problem, it’s usually something small that can get fixed.
Bobcat 873 Deutz Engine Problems
Engines aren’t designed to last forever. The most common problems you’ll encounter with your 873 are going to be with the engine.
Stuck Intake Valve
If one of the intake valves is stuck, you’re going to have to perform some lengthy repairs.
In order to fix a stuck intake valve, you’ll have to remove the cylinder head. Sometimes you can lightly tap it until it becomes unstuck, but you’ll probably have this problem again down the road.
You’re better off removing and reinstalling the valve, and cleaning it as you go. Lastly, replace the cylinder head gasket while you’re under the hood.
Timing Belt Problems
Occasionally, your timing belt may snap. It’s important to replace it immediately because it is crucial in ensuring the engine on your Bobcat 873 functions properly.
You should be checking and replacing your timing chain every 2000 hours. Timing belts are cheap, or at least cheaper than the repairs you’ll have to make.
Blown Head Gaskets
A new head gasket is cheap, but the cost to install a new head gasket, unfortunately, isn’t.
A blown head gasket usually requires a professional to repair since it’s hard to get to and install properly, but if you’re mechanically inclined you may be able to do it yourself.
You may even have to get a whole new engine since irreparable damage could have occurred when the gasket blew.
RPMs Too High
If your Bobcat 873 has high RPMs at idle, or abnormally high RPMs under load, you may have a problem with your fuel system.
Check things like the fuel fill hose, the fuel lift pump, and the fuel lines. If the engine isn’t getting enough fuel, it can act funny and start revving up.
A turbo is essential for getting more power out of your engine. The turbocharger compresses more air into the combustion engine and while you can operate your Bobcat 873 without a working one, it’s ill-advised.
If you’re noticing poor acceleration, poor performance, more exhaust smoke than usual, or black exhaust smoke, you may have a bad turbo.
Once the turbocharger goes bad, there’s really nothing you can do except replace it. Luckily, there are turbos available online you can order and install.
Like all diesel engines, the Bobcat 873 uses a glow plug to ignite the fuel mixture in the engine. There are a few signs you can look out for that point to bad glow plugs.
If you notice that your having a hard time starting the Bobcat, it idles weirdly, the engine misfires, or you have black exhaust smoke – you may need to check your glow plugs.
If the glow plug looks burnt, you will need to replace it.
Problems Starting The Bobcat 873
Occasionally, you may have a starting problem with your Bobcat 873. Thankfully, this isn’t a major problem – usually.
Here are two of the most common reasons you’d have trouble starting your Bobcat.
Fuel Lift Pump
Occasionally the fuel lift pump on older Bobcats can go. A fuel-starved engine is commonly caused by a bad fuel pump or a possible restriction in the fuel lines.
Check both parts to ensure that the engine is getting enough fuel if you can’t get it started and have a full tank and working glow plugs.
Bad Fuel In The Fuel Tank
While diesel can last for a long period of time in storage or a tank, fuel can get contaminated in a number of ways.
Contaminated fuel can cause poor engine performance, lead to costly repairs, or just flat-out refuse to work in your Bobcat 873.
Check your fuel and if you notice anything weird or off about it, remove it all from the fuel tank and check the fuel lines for contaminants.
Loader Arms Hydraulic Issues
Another common problem on an older Bobcat 873 is the hydraulic loader arms begin to fail or weaken over time. Here are some common hydraulic problems and possible solutions.
Low Hydraulic Fluid
Whenever you notice problems with some sort of hydraulic system, you should immediately check your fluid levels.
Often when there is not enough hydraulic fluid in the system, the pumps can’t generate the pressures needed to operate the loader arms or other attachments.
Hydraulic Pump Problems
If you have plenty of hydraulic fluid, but notice low or no power in the loader arms, you may have a faulty hydraulic pump.
The hydraulic pump can be replaced but will cost between $500 and $1500 dollars depending on if you buy an aftermarket pump or a genuine one.
Bad Hydraulic Relief Valve
If your hydraulic pump is working and you have enough fluid in the system, you may have a bad relief valve which is not uncommon on these machines.
A bad relief valve can happen due to a number of different things. Any sort of contaminants like rust, sludge, dirt, or even a misalignment can cause your relief valve to malfunction.
The valve also has a balance hole that can become plugged or an inner spring that can break.
Any of these situations will require you to purchase and install a new relief valve on your Bobcat 873.
Things To Do Before Operating A Bobcat 873
Before turning on your Bobcat and operating it, you should do a quick once over of it. This will ultimately help keep your skid steer operational in the long run.
Some quick things to check are that the ROPS is in good condition and that the seat belt and bar are working properly.
The lights on the vehicle should all function properly as well as the parking brake.
The tires should not be worn or damaged and you should regularly check the tire pressure for changes.
Lastly, you should inspect the fuel, oil, and hydraulic fluid for proper levels or possible leaks.
Suggested Regular Maintenance
Like a car, the Bobcat 873 requires regular maintenance on different parts of the machine every certain number of hours.
Here are several parts of the Bobcat you should keep an eye on.
You should check the oil level on your Bobcat every 8-10 hours of use. This will help prevent damage from dirty or low oil levels.
The oil filter should be replaced every 500 hours of use but should be checked regularly.
On the display panel there should be an indicator light for the engine air filter.
When it is on, you should replace or clean the air filter.
The alternator belt should be checked and adjusted every 250 hours.
If yours is worn or damaged, you will need to replace the belt in order to prevent future problems.
In order to avoid some of the transmission problems that are commonly reported on the Bobcat 873, you should drain the contents of the transmission and replace it with fresh, new fluid every 1000 hours.
The timing belt should be replaced every 3000 hours, but should be checked more often than that.
If you notice signs of wear or possible imminent failure, you should replace the timing belt immediately.
The timing belt is a crucial part for proper operation of the Bobcat 873 and should not be neglected.
If you purchased a Bobcat 873, you made a great choice. These machines are great as skid steer loaders and will last you years to come if taken care of properly, but like all machines, problems will arise.
Luckily, there are a number of spare or after-market parts available online and the repairs usually aren’t that expensive or hard to do.
If you’re having trouble, there is a forum community dedicated to troubleshooting Bobcat machines on the internet here.
Hopefully, you were able to find a solution to your problem here, but if not we recommend heading over to that forum or calling a local repair shop or dealer to help diagnose your problem.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What engine is in an 873 Bobcat?
A Bobcat 873 has a Deutz oil-cooled motor model BF4M1011. It had 4-cylinders and a turbocharger to help power it.
How much horsepower does a Bobcat 873 have?
The Deutz engine in the Bobcat 873 skid steers has 73.5 total horsepower, more than enough to power through any task you have.
What years did they make the 873 Bobcat?
The Bobcat 873 was manufactured between 1995 and 1999 before being discontinued in favor of other, more modern models.