5 April 1996

Hat-trick for telescopics…

By Andrew Faulkner

ITS all change in the telescopic loader market.

Already this year Sanderson has ditched its old Teleporter line-up and replaced it with the TL-series. And just two weeks ago JCB unveiled a new entry-level machine, the 520-50, as well as updates for its two existing compact telescopics, the 520-55 and 526-55.

So last week it came as no great surprise when a third firm, Manitou, announced the launch of a new cab and a number of spec changes for its now familiar five-, six- and seven-series telescopic handlers.

Comfort now matters, says the French firm, explaining the main thrust behind its latest product update. It reckons todays handler operators now expect the same levels of comfort as they get in a tractor.

To meet this demand, Manitou has widened and lengthened its previously confined cabin. This has been achieved by a slight shunting of the boom to one side on all models and the loss of one self-levelling compensating ram on six- and seven-series. The result is a 35% boost to in-cab volume.

Other interior changes include telescope and rake adjustment for the steering wheel, profligate use of plastic panelling and a curved glass windscreen.

The cab heater/filter unit moves from down in the footwell to up behind the drivers head and for the first time is exchangeable for a combined heater/air conditioning package.

So much for comfort. Existing Manitou users will also spot badging differences on the new machines (see box), equating to modest rises in lift capacity – 100kg on the five-series, 200kg on six-series and 300kg on seven-series. Capacity increases come from uprating hydraulic systems, which are now single-pump and load sensing as opposed to the old two- and three-pump layouts.

Drivelines remain largely unchanged – Perkins engines and Turner Manufacturing (formerly Dana Spicer) gearboxes – although the twist-grip Clark powershift (4F/3R) box is now a £1000 option on six- and seven-series. The manual box gets an electrically engaged "soft shuttle" for direction changes, replacing the firms outdated cable-operated system, along with a gear lever-mounted drive dump switch.

For loader control Manitou has parted from the mainstream and largely shunned electro-hydraulics. Standard spec throughout the range is now three levers mounted directly on to the valve chest:One for raise/lower/crowd/tilt, one for boom in/out and one auxiliary service.

Parting with an extra £1000 buys Manitous optional Mono-Ultra joystick. Admittedly, this lever does use electro-hydraulic buttons for telescoping and the auxiliary service but, as on base-spec machines, avoids electrics for the main boom controls. These are operated by an oil-over-oil, servo set-up.

Manitou MLTdata

HpLift capacity (t)Max lift height (m/ft)Price (£)






Five and Six-series also available with 90hp unit.

A bigger cab, uprated lift capacity and a "soft shift" reversing shuttle are incorporated on 1996 Manitou telescopics. Inset:Car-like cockpit has wrap-round, plastic dash and rake/reach-adjustable steering wheel.