|Case 586E Forklift
Featured here is the CASE 586E which was manufactured approximately from 1987 to 1999. With a couple of exceptions these machines are very similar to earlier models. From an operating standpoint the learning curve is very small. The controls are almost exactly the same. The machines look alike but there are some changes. The mast is different in that the E model uses 2 small lift cylinders mounted to each side of the mast instead of a larger one in the middle. This improves visibility looking forward. Secondly, and a major reason we bought the later model to replace the older one, is that on the E model a mechanical four wheel drive (MFWD) was an optional feature and is present on the machine we got. This is makes a big difference in how well the machines get around as they have massive counterweights on the engine end and particularly without a load on the forks, the machine really doesn't get around that well in slippery conditions, but this is remedied by the MFWD as the wheels with weight on them become driving wheels.
The third change and the one that likely justified changing the model number was the change in engines. The CASE diesel engines were somewhat dated in design (think evolving emissions standards), and ultimately Case and Cummins jointly developed a series of small industrial engines which became 'Case engines' if sold in a Case product, and a Cummins engine if sold by Cummins. Although it the engine in these tractors are often called "Cummins" that is at least legally not true. They were made in a jointly owned factory without any identifying marks as to which owner they were intended for. Only when the engine was ultimately ordered shipped did the shipping clerk affix a serial number and trade mark tag to the timing cover designating whether the engine was a Case or a Cummins. The engines in the case equipment have CASE stickers on them and are therefore Case engines.
Case sold a "D" series from about 1981 or 1982 until 1986. The "D" series had the old Case engine.
I do have a 'spec sheet' on the Case 586E which may be viewed at the forgoing link.
Case introduced the G-series in 1999 and they have a completely reworked drive train.
As you can see these tractor based forklifts have been around for 35 or 40 years. The large tires make them capable of working outside which is something that traditional industrial forklifts don't do very well. Many lift trucks are confined to concrete or asphalt floors. Early on this design found considerable acceptance in the hoome building and construction industry for lifting building materials. However, the squirt boom 4 wheel steered machines easily outclassed these for that application. These are fast and have a smaller foot print which makes them functional in large buildings. They are now often referred to as 'field forklifts' which I think is reflective of the indoor/outdoor capability, particularly in loading and unloading trucks in unimproved areas such as around a farm.
The now commonly present mechanical 4x4 greatly extended the usefulness of this design. The thing sort of looks like a farm tractor and you would think it would go anywhere a farm tractor would go, but without the 4x4, this simply isn't so. The reason because of the massive counterweights on the 'engine' end. The two wheel drive model, though unlike the industrial designs which sink, still doesn't get around very well without a load because you have thousands of lbs of counter weights on surrounding the radiator, and no weight on the driving wheels. The 4x4 avoids the embarrassment of getting stuck on wet grass when unloaded.
This type of forklift has historically been offered in several lifting capacities, but the basic tractor isn't much different. The difference is mostly in the number of counterweights.