Bobcat Toolcat Problems – What Are The Causes & Solutions?

The Bobcat Toolcat is available in 4 models, including the UW56, UW53, 5610, and 5600. Regardless of your model, these machines offer unmatched versatility and power at 61 horsepower. But like other similar machines, the Toolcats have several issues.

So, what are the most common Bobcat Toolcat problems? One common issue with the Toolcat is difficulty changing gears. In addition, you may experience problems like a hard cold start, hydraulic line failure, and loss of power when driving uphill. Other issues include rust damage and the wheels getting out of alignment.

Nothing to worry about, though! In this guide, you will learn everything there is to know about Bobcat Toolcat issues, including how to fix them. 

Common Issues With The Bobcat Toolcat Table

Below is a summary of the problems typical with the Bobcat Toolcat and their possible solutions.

Hard Shifting GearsSeal leaking points or replace the leaking hoses and seals
Add fresh hydraulic fluid and replace the filter
Replace the battery and the charging system
Faulty Hydraulic LineChange the fuel filter and prime the fuel system
Replace the prime ball and bleed the system again
Hard Cold StartReplace the faulty speed sensor immediately
Power Loss IssuesClean the exhaust system and air inlet
Change the fuel filter
Replace the turbo
Rust DamageClean the rust
Replace the rusted bolts
Install new hydraulic hoses
Wheels Getting Out of AlignmentAdd fresh oil
Replace the hydraulic filter and damaged hoses
Change the master cylinder for steering

What Are The Different Bobcat Toolcat Problems?

The Bobcat Toolcat is excellent for many things, including all yard work, snow removal, and brush mowing. However, this super handy machine is susceptible to several problems that include the following:

1. Difficulty Shifting Gears

With the 2012 and 2018 Bobcat Toolcat 5600, you may experience difficulties going into forward or reverse gears. When this occurs, your machine will start and run fine.

Typically, this problem has many causes, including dirty or low hydraulic fluid since the Toolcat uses a hydrostatic transmission. 

Another possible cause is a bad battery and dirty fuel filter, leading to a lack of engine power in all the gears.


  • Start by checking for any fluid leaks around the hoses and seals. Then, seal the leaking points or replace the seals or hoses.
  • Inspect the hydraulic oil for any discoloration and the hydraulic filter for traces of debris. 
  • Then, put in new fresh fluid and replace the filter. 

Below is a video of how to make the replacement:

  • Check the battery voltage and replace it if it is below 12.0 volts and the battery is over 3 years old. 
  • Also, replace the charging system if it reads over 15 volts. 

Tip: Inspect the hydraulic hoses, tubes, filter, and fluid regularly to minimize transmission problems.

2. Hydraulic Line Busting

The hydraulic line of the 5600 Toolcat is highly prone to bursting. When this happens, your machine may turn over but not start. However, adding more hydraulic fluid and diesel may not help fix this problem. 

Besides high temperatures, the hydraulic line of your Toolcat may burst because of fluid contamination, abrasion, or poor assembly. Also, a dirty filter can cause fluid contamination, leading to hydraulic line bursting.


  1. Change the fuel filter.
  2. With the new filter on, prime the fuel system by turning the ignition on for around 30 seconds. However, don’t start the engine. 
  3. Then, turn the ignition off and crank it for 15 seconds.
  4. Replace the primer ball if it does not pump any fuel. 
  5. Then, prime the fuel system. Your Toolcat should start after a few cranks.

Tip: You can install an inline filter to catch more dirt before it gets to the injectors, causing hydraulic line failure.

3. Hard Cold Start

This is a common issue with the 2003 Bobcat Toolcat 5600. The machine may hesitate to go when the temperatures are 40 degrees and below. 

Generally, your Toolcat may take longer before the front and rear tires can turn. The rear wheels will want to move immediately, but the front won’t until they warm up for at least 30 to 45 minutes. 

One of the causes of this problem is a faulty speed sensor for the front or rear axle. 


  • Disconnect the speed sensor for the front axle. If the problem remains, put the sensor back.
  • Next, remove the rear speed sensor. If your Toolcat starts fine when cold without it, replace the sensor as it is faulty. 

Tip: Always follow your Toolcat’s maintenance schedule to reduce the risk of the speed sensor failing. 

4. Power Loss Issues

With the 2008 Toolcat 5600D, it may lose power rapidly at higher RPM and especially under load. This mainly occurs while driving back uphill.

When this happens, the machine may produce clear blue smoke from the exhaust and run rough. Also, it won’t run above 2200 RPM in neutral. But if you idle down, the smoke reduces.

Sometimes, the Toolcat will barely make it uphill. This may occur due to a blocked exhaust system, damaged seals in the turbo, or a clogged air inlet.


  • Check the air inlet and exhaust system for any blockage and clean it out.
  • Then, replace the fuel filter.
  • Replace the entire turbo or just the core if damaged.

Tip: To prevent blockage in the exhaust, you can straight-pipe it with a mesh screen. 

5. Rust Damage

The rockers, bolts, and floor pans of the 5600 Bobcat Toolcat are highly prone to rusting. Unfortunately, rusting may occur even when your machine has very low hours.

One of the causes of this rust problem is leaking hydraulic fluid. If the fluid leaks to the floor pans and some chemicals react with water, it may produce acids that cause corrosion.  


  • Clean the rust on the floor pans and rockers using white vinegar or WD-40. Then, repaint the surfaces.
  • Replace the rusted bolts.
  • Install new hydraulic hoses to prevent more fluid leaks.

Tip: You should apply a corrosion-inhibiting coating, especially on the floor pans, to protect your Toolcat from rust damage. 

6. Wheels Getting Out of Alignment

Sometimes, the front wheels of your 2005 5600 Toolcat will straighten, but the rear ones will be out of alignment. This happens only when you use the 4-wheel steering feature for several hours and with lots of turning.

Apart from a hydraulic flow issue, another cause of this problem is a leak in the master cylinder.


  • If it is a hydraulic flow problem, drain the oil and add a fresh one.
  • Replace the hydraulic filter and any leaking hoses.
  • Install a new master cylinder for steering.

Tip: Always inspect the master cylinder regularly to avoid more expensive repairs, including for the power steering pump.

Final Thoughts

Based on research, most Bobcat Toolcat problems are familiar to the 5600 models. These problems include difficulty changing gears, loss of power, rust damage, hydraulic line busting, and wheels getting out of alignment. You may also encounter hard cold start problems.

However, many practical solutions are available for all these Bobcat Toolcat issues. Even better, you can prevent some of these problems from occurring through regular maintenance of your machine. This includes changing the filters and oils frequently, as recommended by Bobcat.

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