How to Operate a Caterpillar 988 Loader


The Caterpillar 988 loader is a large machine that is used mostly for industrial and construction jobs. The 988 loader comes equipped with either a bucket on the front of the machine or a log grapple, depending on the type of job for which it is used. The driving components on the 988 loader consist of the steering wheel, forward and reverse levers, brake pedal, gas pedal and the bucket raise and lower lever. Always familiarize yourself with the machine before driving or operating it.

  • Walk around the Caterpillar 988 loader and ensure that all four wheels are inflated. Check the engine oil and the radiator coolant before operating the machine. Inspect the driving path of the loader to ensure that there is no debris in the path.

  • Climb up onto the loader and secure the seat belt around your lap. Familiarize yourself with the instrument panel and all of the levers. Move the gear selector lever on the right side of the steering wheel to the neutral position. The neutral position is in the middle of the steering column.

  • Turn the key to the accessory position for about 10 seconds and then crank the engine. Allow the engine to warm up for about two minutes before operating the loader. Press down on the brake pedal. The brake pedal acts as a brake and a clutch. Push forward on the gear selector lever to drive the loader in a forward direction.

  • Press down on the gas pedal to drive the loader. Turn the end of the gear selector lever clockwise to change the gears to increase the speed of the loader. Use the lever on the right side of the seat to raise and lower the bucket or the log grapple.

  • Press forward on the bucket lever to lower the bucket or the log grapple to the ground. Pull back on the lever to raise the bucket. Move the lever to the right side of the console to rotate the bucket upward in a scooping motion. Move the lever to the left-hand side of the console to rotate the bucket downward in a dumping motion.

  • Bring the loader to a stop by pressing in on the brake pedal and turning the end of gear selector until it is back in the first gear position. Pull the gear selector lever back to the middle of the steering column to put the transmission in neutral. Drive the Caterpillar 988 loader in reverse by pulling back on the gear selector lever. You can also change the gears in reverse by turning the end of the gear selector lever clockwise.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always check the tire inflation, engine oil level and the radiator coolant level before operating the machine.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and familiarize yourself with the loader before operating it to prevent any accidents.

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  • "Caterpillar 988 Wheel Loader Service and Maintenance Manual"; Caterpillar Inc.; 2000
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