Zoom Boom Telehandler Maintains Heavy-Duty Build for a Rugged Machine

Privately owned for 45 years, telehandler manufacturer CareLift Equipment and its Zoom Boom product line were purchased by Guelph, Ontario-based Skyjack in fall 2007. The Zoom Boom product line ranges from the 6,000-pound ZB6042 to the 32,000-pound ZB32032. The ZB6042 has been on the market for eight years and still maintains its robust design and build.

Dave Bristow, Skyjack’s vice president of telehandler sales, says the concept for the unit is all heavy-duty metal construction, a philosophy that applies to the entire Zoom Boom line. The deep heavy-duty frame offers a steel under belly that provides 18 inches of clearance and allows components to be carried high in the frame to protect them from damage.

The machine is currently powered by a Tier-2 99-hp Cummins 4BT4.5 diesel engine. The company plans to transition the engine to Tier 3 this year. The machine runs a Dana 212 axle at the front and rear, combined with a Dana three-speed transmission. The mid-mount engine design provides excellent visibility for the operator. The lower engine cowling allows the operator to see the right rear tire when looking to the rear of the machine or when backing. Bristow points out that this is a critical feature on jobsites where reverse travel is used frequently.

A swing-up door on both sides of the engine allows access to the oil check and filter and radiator for easy service and inspection. The hydraulic and fuel tanks both have 41-gallon capacities. They are mounted side-by-side to the frame just opposite the cab. Although adjacent to each other, great effort has been taken to prevent fuel oil cross contamination. Special mention needs to be made regarding the use of a green cap. Green is the international color code for diesel and will go a long way in preventing someone from putting gas or hydraulic oil in here. Frame sway on the machine is 11° left and right of center.

The ZB6042 uses a single, larger displacement cylinder on the back of the machine to keep the fork carriage level. It has an externally mounted extension cylinder on the bottom of the boom, which provides for ease of inspection and service. At the back of the machine, a boom inspection door plate allows for easy visual inspection of the wear pads and the chain assembly. The air cleaner is also tucked away between the rear boom supports to protect it from possible damage such as falling objects.

Skyjack offers both open and closed cab configurations on the ZB6042. On the standard open cab, a mesh cover on the right side protects the operator, and the rear window is covered with glass to prevent mud from being slung into the cab by the rear tire. The front and back windows have latches on the bottom that can be opened for ventilation and also serve as an exit point in an emergency. The cab is isolated, rubber mounted to the belly pan so it doesn’t transmit vibrations to the operator.

The cab design allows for field installation to convert it to the enclosed cab option. The boom’s joystick controller is mounted on a fully adjustable pedestal. This allows operators of any size and height to tailor the geometry of the controller to be in just the right position. This works nicely with the standard adjustable suspension seat.

Zoom Boom telehandlers are popular products in Canada, so an engine block heater comes standard. Three-speed heater, defrost, sound insulation, dome light, and an exhaust fan are part of the enclosed cab option. A split door on the cab is also offered to protect the operator. In the cab, the front joystick is fully proportional hydraulic for the boom lift and tilt functions. The rear joystick controls frame leveling and auxiliary hydraulics. The entire joystick console adjusts forward and back to enhance operator comfort.

A simple mechanism on the carriage allows the operator to lift up a single latch and slide out the pin to switch over to jib boom and bucket attachments. A full array of attachments is available, including side-tilt carriages, jib winches, mechanical jib boom, and buckets.

Besides an enclosed cab, air conditioning, auxiliary hydraulics, side tilt and swing carriages, and a 4,000-pound hydraulic winch are available. At this time, work platforms are not approved for use on Zoom Boom telehandlers. Pneumatic tires are standard on the machine with optional rock lug tires, shown left, are available as well.

Lift and Access Perspective: Although born from different owners, I doubt that Skyjack’s engineering department would have designed a machine much differently if they had started from scratch. Robust and simple to maintain has always been Skyjack’s mantra, and the Zoom Boom is all that and more. From top to bottom, this machine is sturdy when it comes to design and construction. Yes, some can throw stones at its deeply nested mid-engine design, but those barbs will bounce right off its all-steel tank-like construction.

About the only issue we can find is the engine noise. Combine the engine’s placement with the fact that only a mesh partition separates the operator and the engine, and the result is the highest registered decibel reading of the group when the engine is at the maximum rated RPM. (See the Lift and Access Showcase Review in the January issue.) Of course this issue is moot when you enclose the cab. Just a little added insulation to the engine compartment would surely remove this minor blemish from what is otherwise a quality product that will provide an excellent return on anyone’s investment.

Download complete specs on the Zoom Boom model at the Skyjack website.