Cat Introduces Lower-Cost, Fuel-Saving 966 GC Wheel Loader

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A versatile machine for rental, municipal and general contractor markets, the new Cat 966 GC wheel loader is designed to reduce fuel consumption and keep operating costs down.

It is powered by a 321-horsepower Cat C9.3B engine that meets Tier 4 Final emission standards. It features a four-speed forward/reverse electronically controlled, automatic planetary powershift transmission with shift protection and single clutch gear shifting for smooth gear changes. According to Caterpillar, the loader’s optional ride control and limited slip differential axle configurations further improve operating smoothness over rough terrain and increase traction.

Cat 966 GC Wheel Loader dumpingWhen equipped with Cat Performance Series buckets, the Caterpillar Z-bar loader linkage provides strong digging capabilities and high breakout forces.Caterpillar

Savings and productivity

Caterpillar says the engine’s automatic Cat Clean Emissions Module, including SCR catalyst and diesel particulate filter, works in the background without impacting the production schedule. The Cat Engine Idle Management System, Auto Engine Idle Shutdown, variable speed fan and load-sensing hydraulics result in lower fuel consumption and reduced noise. An optional automatic reversing fan assists in cleaning cooling cores to improve performance in high-debris environments.

When equipped with Cat Performance Series buckets, the Caterpillar Z-bar loader linkage provides stronger digging capabilities and high breakout forces. The load-sensing implement hydraulic system continuously controls flow and pressure to match job and condition requirements, reducing the load on the pump and overall fuel burn. Using a system-based approach to balance bucket shape with the machine’s lift and tilt capacity, weight and linkage, the Performance Series Buckets are available for a range of applications including general purpose, flat floor, heavy duty rock and light material. Design features enable operators of all experience levels to routinely attain 10% higher bucket-fill compared with legacy designs to improve production and reduce fuel consumption. 

An optional Cat Payload kit provides on-the-go weighing for precise load targets. The system weighs the material while moving to the truck and lifting, eliminating any interruption to the load cycle, and allowing the operator to meet exact specifications and move more material faster.

Also, Cat says the 966 GC can be equipped with the Cat Fusion quick coupler and controls. Combined with optional third-function auxiliary hydraulics, the coupler allows use of a wide selection of Cat work tools.

Cat 966 GC whee loader dumping into a truckAccess to the cab is easily attained with ladders and integrated handholds on both sides of the machine and a wide door that opens to the front to provide wide access to the operator area.Caterpillar

Operator environment

The 966 GC loader is equipped with an intuitive and ergonomic control system with an operator interface display that includes six analog-like gauges, color indicator lights and an LCD screen to monitor machine systems. Low-effort, pilot-operated implement controls feature a remote transmission kick-down switch for operating comfort. 

Operators are seated in a cloth-covered mechanical suspension seat and have an option of air suspension seat. Access to the cab is easily attained with ladders and integrated handholds on both side of the machine and a wide door that opens to the front.

According to Cat, visibility is good around the entire machine. From the front, the cab has a larger roof-to-floor, distortion-free front windshield that offers visibility to the bucket and front tires. The cab roof has channels that direct rain off the corners to help keep the windows clear, and there are front and back wipers. A high-definition rearview camera comes standard, and exterior mirrors have integrated spot mirrors.

With time spent in the machine, the cab is designed to be comfortable. Sliding side windows on both sides help provide ventilation and enable communication with ground staff. Also, the standard heating and air conditioning system has 10 louvered vents.


Cat said routine maintenance time on the 966 GC loader is reduced with ground-evel access to multiple service points. Large gull-wing engine hood side panels and a tilt-up rear grill provide unrestricted access to daily service points, fuel and DEF fills, greasing points, filters and fluid-sampling ports. 

In addition, an integrated optional Autolube system provides full lube system monitoring and diagnostic test visibility to reduce daily maintenance and increase component life.

Further helping manage fleet location, hours and maintenance scheduled is Cat Product Link. Integrated with the machines, Product Link captures operating data, remotely monitored via, the Cat App or VisionLink.

 Quick specs

  • Engine: Cat C9.3B
  • Gross Power: 321 hp
  • Operating weight: 48,018 lbs.
  • Breakout force: 36,974 lbs.
  • Static tipping load with tire deflection: 30,072 lbs.
  • Wheelbase: 11 feet 8 inches
  • Bucket capacity range: 5.0–9.25 yd3
  • Lift arm clearance: 12 feet 1 inc
  • Bucket pin height: 13 feet 11 inches

Cat 966 GC wheel loaderThe Cat 966 GC is powered by a Cat C9.3B engine.Caterpillar