Bobcat 873 Electrical Problems – In-Depth Troubleshooting Solutions

The Bobcat 873 is a workhorse in various industries, known for its versatility and ability to tackle a wide range of tasks. Whether you’re in construction, agriculture, or any field that demands heavy lifting and precision work, the Bobcat 873 has likely been a valuable part of your fleet. Its reliability makes it indispensable, which is why keeping it in top condition is a priority for many operators.

Addressing Electrical Problems: A Timely Necessity

The electrical system in your Bobcat 873 is the lifeblood of the machine. It powers everything from the engine to the lights, ensuring smooth operations. When electrical issues arise, they can bring your work to a halt, leading to downtime and potentially costly repairs. That’s why addressing these problems promptly is of utmost importance. Ignoring electrical issues not only affects productivity but can also create safety hazards in the workplace.

Purpose of the Blog Post

In this comprehensive blog post, we aim to provide you with in-depth troubleshooting solutions for the electrical problems that can plague your Bobcat 873. From no-start issues to flickering lights and malfunctioning controls, we’ve got you covered. By the end of this guide, you’ll have the knowledge and tools to diagnose and address electrical problems with confidence, saving you time and money while keeping your Bobcat 873 in peak condition.

So, let’s dive into the world of troubleshooting and get your Bobcat 873 back on track!

Overview of the Electrical System Components

1. Battery and Charging System

The Bobcat 873’s electrical system is a complex network of components, and understanding its key elements is essential for troubleshooting. The heart of this system is the battery and charging system. The battery provides the initial power needed to start the engine, while the charging system ensures the battery remains charged during operation.

  • Battery: A good-quality battery is crucial for reliable engine starts. If your battery is weak or failing, it can lead to starting problems. Regularly check the battery for signs of corrosion on the terminals and ensure it’s securely fastened to prevent loose connections.
  • Charging System: The alternator is responsible for maintaining the battery’s charge while the engine is running. It’s essential to inspect the alternator and related components to ensure they are functioning correctly. Any issues here can lead to a dead battery, resulting in starting problems.

2. Wiring and Connectors

The wiring and connectors form the electrical highways of your Bobcat 873. These are responsible for transmitting power and signals to various components, making them an essential part of the electrical system.

  • Wiring: Regularly inspect the wiring harnesses for any signs of damage, wear, or fraying. Damaged wires can cause electrical shorts, which can lead to various issues, including failure to start or malfunctioning controls.
  • Connectors: Properly seated connectors are essential for the smooth flow of electricity. Loose or corroded connectors can cause voltage drops, resulting in dim lights and other electrical issues.

3. Fuses and Relays

Fuses and relays are the safety mechanisms of the electrical system. They protect your Bobcat 873 from electrical overloads and short circuits. Understanding their role is crucial for troubleshooting.

  • Fuses: These are designed to blow or break when an electrical overload occurs. When a fuse is blown, it interrupts the electrical circuit and prevents damage to the components. If you experience problems like flickering lights or controls not responding, check the fuses first.
  • Relays: Relays are switches that use low current to control high-current circuits. They play a critical role in routing power to various components. A faulty relay can result in a component not functioning correctly, so be sure to inspect and test them if you encounter problems.

Common Electrical Problems in Bobcat 873

Now that we’ve covered the key components of the Bobcat 873’s electrical system, let’s delve into the common issues you might encounter:

1. Failure to Start

One of the most frustrating problems is when your Bobcat 873 fails to start. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Weak Battery: If the battery is discharged or failing, it won’t provide enough power to start the engine. Regularly check your battery’s condition and charge it if needed.
  • Bad Starter Motor: A faulty starter motor can prevent the engine from cranking. Listen for any clicking sounds when you turn the key, as this can indicate a starter motor problem.
  • Ignition Switch Issues: Problems with the ignition switch can also prevent your Bobcat 873 from starting. If you turn the key and nothing happens, this may be a potential culprit.

2. Dim or Flickering Lights

Dim or flickering lights can be a nuisance and a safety concern, especially if you’re working in low-light conditions. Common causes of this issue include:

  • Low Battery Voltage: When the battery voltage is low, it can lead to dim lights. Ensure your battery is in good condition and charged correctly.
  • Wiring Problems: Damaged or corroded wiring can lead to voltage drops, causing lights to dim. Inspect the wiring for any issues and replace or repair as necessary.

3. Malfunctioning Gauges and Controls

When your gauges and controls don’t respond as they should, it can hinder your ability to operate the Bobcat 873 efficiently. Potential causes of this issue include:

  • Wiring and Connector Problems: Faulty connections or damaged wiring can disrupt the signals between gauges and controls. Inspect and repair any issues with the wiring and connectors.
  • Faulty Sensors: Modern Bobcat 873 models use various sensors to monitor engine and equipment conditions. A malfunctioning sensor can result in inaccurate readings on your gauges. It’s essential to diagnose and replace the faulty sensor.

Understanding the key components and common issues within the Bobcat 873’s electrical system is the first step in troubleshooting. In the next sections, we’ll explore the steps you can take to diagnose and address these issues effectively, getting your Bobcat 873 back in action.

Safety Precautions

When dealing with the electrical system of your Bobcat 873, safety should always be a top priority. Electrical systems, if mishandled, can pose serious risks to both you and the machine. This section emphasizes the importance of safety, recommends personal protective equipment (PPE), and provides guidance on disconnecting the battery and securing the machine.

Importance of Safety When Working with Electrical Systems

Working with electrical systems, especially in the context of heavy machinery like the Bobcat 873, can be hazardous. Here’s why safety is paramount:

  • Electrocution Risk: The electrical system carries high voltages that can cause serious injury or even be fatal if mishandled.
  • Fire Hazard: Electrical shorts or faulty connections can lead to fires, especially in an environment where dust and debris are common, like a construction site.
  • Personal Injury: Failing to follow safety procedures can result in personal injuries, such as burns or falls, which can have long-lasting consequences.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Recommendations

To minimize risks when working on the Bobcat 873’s electrical system, it’s crucial to use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Here are some recommendations:

  • Safety Glasses: Protect your eyes from sparks, debris, and chemicals.
  • Insulated Gloves: Wear insulating gloves designed for electrical work to protect your hands from electric shock.
  • Steel-Toed Boots: These provide protection for your feet in case heavy equipment or tools fall.
  • Fire-Resistant Clothing: Choose fire-resistant clothing to reduce the risk of burns when working around electrical components.
  • Respirator Mask: When working in dusty environments, a respirator can help you breathe more comfortably.
  • Hearing Protection: Noise from machinery can be damaging to your hearing, so wear ear protection if necessary.

Disconnecting the Battery and Securing the Machine

Before you start any electrical work on your Bobcat 873, it’s essential to follow these steps to ensure your safety and prevent any unintentional electrical mishaps:

  1. Park on a Level Surface: Ensure that your Bobcat 873 is parked on a flat, stable surface to prevent accidental movement.
  2. Engage the Parking Brake: Activate the parking brake to prevent the machine from rolling.
  3. Shut Off the Engine: Turn off the Bobcat 873’s engine to eliminate the risk of electrical components engaging while you’re working.
  4. Disconnect the Battery: Prior to any electrical work, disconnect the battery to cut off the power supply. Start with the negative (black) terminal, followed by the positive (red) terminal. Be sure to secure the disconnected cables away from metal surfaces to prevent them from accidentally reconnecting.
  5. Wait for Capacitor Discharge: Some electrical systems may have capacitors that can store electrical energy even after the battery is disconnected. Wait for a few minutes to allow the capacitors to discharge completely.

By following these safety precautions, you not only reduce the risk of accidents but also create a safer working environment for yourself and those around you. Remember, safety should always be the first consideration when working with electrical systems on your Bobcat 873.

Troubleshooting Steps

When electrical problems strike your Bobcat 873, a systematic approach to troubleshooting can save you time and money. In this section, we’ll explore a detailed step-by-step process to help you diagnose and fix issues with your Bobcat 873’s electrical system.

Step 1: Visual Inspection

1. Checking for Loose or Damaged Wires

  • Visual Inspection: Begin your troubleshooting journey with a visual inspection. Look for any wires that are loose, disconnected, or visibly damaged. Pay close attention to the wires in areas where they may have been subjected to wear and tear.
  • Corrosion and Wear: Check for signs of corrosion or excessive wear, particularly on connectors and terminals. Corroded connectors can disrupt electrical flow and cause problems like flickering lights or malfunctioning controls.

2. Inspecting Battery Terminals

  • Battery Terminals: Next, focus on the battery terminals. Ensure that they are clean and securely fastened to the battery posts. Loose or corroded terminals can lead to starting issues, so address any problems here.

3. Examining Fuses and Relays

  • Fuses and Relays: Open the fuse and relay boxes and examine the fuses and relays closely. A blown fuse can cause various electrical issues, while a malfunctioning relay can disrupt the power supply to critical components. Replace any damaged or blown fuses and relays.

Step 2: Testing the Battery

1. Using a Multimeter to Measure Voltage

  • Multimeter: To test the battery, you’ll need a multimeter. Set the multimeter to the voltage (V) setting and connect the red lead to the positive terminal of the battery and the black lead to the negative terminal.
  • Voltage Reading: A healthy battery should read around 12.6 to 12.8 volts. If the reading is significantly lower, your battery may be discharged, and you should charge it. If it’s consistently low, consider replacing the battery.

2. Evaluating Battery Condition

  • Load Test: If your battery’s voltage is within the normal range but you suspect it might still be failing, perform a load test. You can do this with a load tester, or you can take the battery to a professional service center. A load test simulates the demands the battery will face during starting, helping you determine its overall health.

Step 3: Testing the Charging System

1. Checking the Alternator

  • Multimeter Test: Start the Bobcat 873’s engine and use the multimeter to check the voltage across the battery terminals. At idle, you should read around 13.8 to 14.2 volts. If the reading is significantly lower, it may indicate a problem with the alternator.
  • Belt Inspection: Ensure the alternator belt is correctly tensioned. A loose or damaged belt can lead to insufficient charging.

2. Verifying the Voltage Regulator

  • Voltage Regulator Test: If the alternator is providing the right voltage, but the battery is not charging, the voltage regulator may be at fault. Consult your Bobcat 873’s manual for information on how to test and replace the voltage regulator.

Step 4: Assessing Wiring and Connectors

1. Tracing and Testing Wires for Continuity

  • Continuity Test: To ensure that the wiring is intact, perform a continuity test using a multimeter. This test will help you identify breaks or damage in the wiring. Replace any wires that do not show continuity.

2. Ensuring Proper Connections

  • Connector Inspection: Inspect all connectors and ensure they are correctly seated. Look for signs of corrosion or loose connections, as these can lead to voltage drops and electrical issues. Clean and secure the connectors as necessary.

Step 5: Diagnosing Specific Issues

1. Addressing Issues Related to Lights

  • Bulb Replacement: If you’re experiencing issues with lights, such as dimming or flickering, start by replacing any faulty bulbs. Old or damaged bulbs can often be the root cause of lighting problems.
  • Wiring Check: If the issue persists, double-check the wiring connected to the lights. Repair or replace any damaged wires or connectors.

2. Troubleshooting Gauge and Control Problems

  • Sensor Inspection: If gauges and controls are malfunctioning, inspect the sensors responsible for sending signals to these components. Faulty sensors can give incorrect readings or disable controls.
  • Wiring and Connector Review: Verify that the wiring and connectors associated with the gauges and controls are in good condition. Replace or repair any damaged components.

Step 6: Replacing Faulty Components

1. When to Replace Fuses, Relays, or Wiring

  • Replacing Components: If you find damaged or blown fuses, relays, or wiring during your troubleshooting, replace them with genuine Bobcat parts. Using high-quality, OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) components ensures the longevity and reliability of your Bobcat 873’s electrical system.

2. Importance of Using Genuine Bobcat Parts

  • OEM Parts: Always opt for genuine Bobcat parts when making replacements. These parts are designed to meet the manufacturer’s specifications, ensuring optimal performance and safety.

By following these troubleshooting steps systematically, you can identify and address electrical issues with your Bobcat 873 with confidence. Remember to prioritize safety and use the right tools and components to keep your machine in top condition.

Preventive Maintenance

Proactive maintenance is the key to preventing electrical problems in your Bobcat 873. Regular checks and routine care can extend the life of your machine and keep its electrical system running smoothly. In this section, we’ll emphasize the importance of preventive maintenance and provide you with a comprehensive checklist to ensure your Bobcat 873 stays trouble-free.

Importance of Regular Maintenance in Preventing Electrical Problems

Preventive maintenance isn’t just about keeping your Bobcat 873 looking good; it’s about ensuring the reliability and efficiency of its electrical system. Here’s why it’s so crucial:

  • Minimize Downtime: Regular maintenance helps you catch potential issues before they become major problems, reducing downtime and keeping your operations running smoothly.
  • Safety Assurance: A well-maintained electrical system is a safe one. Preventing issues like electrical shorts or failures is vital for the safety of both operators and those nearby.
  • Cost Savings: Preventive maintenance is often more cost-effective than reactive repairs. Regular checks and care can help you avoid expensive emergency repairs.
  • Longevity: By taking care of your Bobcat 873’s electrical system, you can prolong the life of the machine and protect your investment.

Maintenance Checklist for Bobcat 873 Electrical System

Now, let’s delve into the preventive maintenance checklist to ensure the electrical system of your Bobcat 873 stays in top shape.

1. Cleaning and Inspecting Connections

  • Regular Cleaning: Start with regular cleaning of all electrical connections. Dust, dirt, and debris can accumulate and cause corrosion or disrupt electrical flow. Use a soft brush or compressed air to clean connectors.
  • Corrosion Control: If you notice signs of corrosion, use a wire brush and a corrosion-inhibiting spray to clean and protect the connectors.

2. Replacing Worn-Out Components

  • Battery Inspection: Regularly inspect your battery for signs of wear, corrosion, or leakage. Replace it if any issues are detected. Clean the battery terminals to ensure a good connection.
  • Wiring and Insulation: Check the wiring and insulation for signs of damage, especially in high-stress areas like where wires pass through openings. Replace any worn-out or damaged wires and use proper insulation materials.
  • Fuses and Relays: Periodically inspect the condition of fuses and relays. If you find damaged or blown components, replace them with genuine Bobcat parts.

3. Lubricating Moving Parts

  • Moving Parts: Lubricate the moving parts of your Bobcat 873 as recommended in the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. Proper lubrication can reduce friction and wear on electrical components like switches and connectors.
  • Grease Points: Pay attention to grease points in your machine’s electrical system. Regular greasing ensures that moving components operate smoothly.
  • Protective Measures: Use dielectric grease on electrical connectors to protect them from moisture and corrosion. Dielectric grease can also help maintain good electrical contact.

By following this preventive maintenance checklist, you’ll greatly reduce the risk of electrical problems in your Bobcat 873. Remember to consult your machine’s manual for specific maintenance schedules and guidelines. Regular care will ensure your Bobcat 873 remains a reliable workhorse in your fleet.

Resources and Additional Support

Solving electrical problems in your Bobcat 873 can sometimes require more than just knowledge and tools. In this section, we’ll explore various resources and avenues for additional support, from finding essential manuals to connecting with the Bobcat community.

Where to Find Bobcat 873 Electrical System Schematics and Manuals

  1. Bobcat Official Website: The Bobcat official website is an excellent place to start. You can often find owner’s manuals, parts manuals, and electrical system schematics in the “Support” or “Resources” section. These documents are valuable references for troubleshooting and maintenance.
  2. Online Parts Retailers: Some online parts retailers specialize in providing manuals and schematics for various Bobcat models. They can be a good source for obtaining the documentation you need.
  3. Local Dealerships: If you have a Bobcat dealership near you, don’t hesitate to reach out to them. They often have resources and manuals available to their customers.

Contacting Bobcat Customer Support

  1. Official Support Channels: The Bobcat Corporation maintains official customer support channels. You can find their contact information, including phone numbers and email addresses, on their website. This is an excellent option if you have specific questions or need personalized assistance.
  2. Local Dealers: Your local Bobcat dealer is a valuable resource for support and advice. They can provide insights into common issues and often have experienced technicians who can help you diagnose and fix electrical problems.
  3. Technical Support Hotline: Bobcat may also offer a technical support hotline. Check their website or reach out to your local dealer to obtain the hotline’s contact details.

Joining Online Forums and Communities for Bobcat Owners

  1. Skid Steer Forum: Websites like Skid Steer Forum have dedicated sections for Bobcat owners. Here, you can ask questions, share experiences, and connect with others who may have faced similar electrical issues with their Bobcat equipment.
  2. Bobcat Enthusiast Groups: Look for Bobcat enthusiast groups on social media platforms like Facebook. These groups often have active members willing to offer advice and share their knowledge.
  3. Online Equipment Communities: Broader online equipment communities, such as Heavy Equipment Forums, often have sections for Bobcat equipment. These can be great places to seek advice and learn from the experiences of others.


In conclusion, addressing electrical problems in your Bobcat 873 is a task that requires a combination of knowledge, tools, and resources. By following the steps in this guide, you’ve gained a systematic approach to troubleshooting and maintaining your Bobcat’s electrical system.

Remember, safety should always be a top priority when working with electrical systems. Use appropriate personal protective equipment and adhere to safety precautions diligently.

Utilize the resources available to you, such as manuals, customer support, and online communities, to enhance your troubleshooting and maintenance efforts. Bobcat is a reputable brand, and you can count on their support to keep your machine running smoothly.

With regular preventive maintenance and access to valuable resources, you can ensure that your Bobcat 873 remains a reliable and efficient partner in your various industrial endeavors.

Leave a Comment