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Old 02-20-2019, 12:15 PM
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Default Excavator shopping

I just had some work done on my property for a big slip that covered our road to the river.
I had a professional operator with me and he estimated we moved 300 tons of dirt, rocks and trees.

We used a John Deere 50 and it did the job nicely.

More rain here today. I feel lucky that we got the work done before the rain, ice and snow started up again.

Plenty more excavator work to be done. I had been thinking of renting one for a week, or month to get er done but now I'm wondering if buying one and taking my time getting the work done with thoughts of selling it in a year or two ...or maybe keep it for the invariable trail work that seems to need done every couple of years.. Sure would be handy.

Two recommendations so far:
No smaller than a 2 ft bucket
32HP or more. (which I think you'd need to run a 2 ft bucket.).

Any words of wisdom on this topic?
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Old 02-20-2019, 12:42 PM
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Default Re: Excavator shopping

I don't have a lot of wisdom but will throw out these tidbits.

I think you can get by with something smaller then that JD 50. A friend of mine has a Bobcat compact (E32?) and it can really do some work.

When you're going to go look at one you're considering purchasing, if at all possible, take an experienced equipment operator with you. My same friend has years of experience and he can tell if it's operating as it should. E.g. when he bought his, he looked at something like 3 or 4 of them but could tell right away whether they had the power and performance the machine should have.
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Old 02-20-2019, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: Excavator shopping

Good Tips Brian. I do plan to take Jack with me. He's been on most makes and knows them well.

I agree the JD 50 is more than I'd need. Plus even well used they are more than I would care to spend. The slip was a bigger job than most. I could have got it done with a smaller hoe but it sure would have taken longer. IF I had one at my disposal I would have waited till things dried up a bit before I would have tackled this job. Jack is due to be called out on a job and who knows when he'd be back and available so we got er done while he was free.
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Old 02-20-2019, 02:38 PM
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Default Re: Excavator shopping

Do you have a backhoe on your tractor? It'll be slower than an excavator but a lot cheaper. If you don't have one, is buying a backhoe for your tractor or a used TLB an option?

Myself, if I can't do the work with the FEL and some kind of blade off the tractor, I borrow or get someone with a TLB to come over. At most, it costs me a case of beer.

I am fortunate enough to have friends with excavators and other heavy construction equipment that'll come over but rarely charge me. Even at $100/hour, the right piece of equipment with a good operator still works out nicely IMHO (as opposed to buying one).
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Old 02-20-2019, 03:42 PM
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Default Re: Excavator shopping

as far as the compact equipment goes I would go Kubota or cat they seem to hold their value better.
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Old 02-20-2019, 07:02 PM
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Default Re: Excavator shopping

I'm a big fan of Kubota. Not seeing a lot of Kubota excavators out there. More CAT, JD and Bobcat.

I'm just tossing around the idea for now. Shopping in the title is accurate but I have not made up my mind to buy anything at this point. I might pass on it all and rent like BC mentioned. That has been my strategy for the past 10 or 12 years but I suspect I've spent 12k or more. So I'm looking for the best long range bang for the buck and ....some fun.

I have considered a back hoe add on for my tractor. I am leery of the 3PH option and would only go sub frame. That runs 8k last I checked. Plus it would need changed out to brush hog weekly or monthly and it would be a shorter BH arm than the excavator. Other draw back is no blade like the excavators have. For trail maintenance the blade is a huge part of the job. Switching BH, to blade to brush hog on the tractor is not a trap I'm willing to fall for. If I decided to sell, selling would be harder also. If I was done and wanted money back from the excavator I think I could sell it easier than a specific BH for my particular tractor.

Just weighing all my options. Thanks for the input.
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Old 02-21-2019, 09:58 AM
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Default Re: Excavator shopping

In your case I feel it's important to have sheltered storage for it to preserve both it's reliability and value. If something stored outside is utilized often it's actually far better for it.
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Old 02-21-2019, 10:26 AM
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Default Re: Excavator shopping

you could get away with a 35 size hoe as long as it has a quick disconnect for the bucket.then just get a cleanout bucket for it.just remember they get real tippy with a bigger bucket.still no issue when you have a blade.imho,cat is best but overpriced,best to look at something from a rental fleet as they have been maintained.john deere or kubota would be best bang for the buck.Bill w
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Old 02-21-2019, 10:54 AM
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Default Re: Excavator shopping

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamby View Post
In your case I feel it's important to have sheltered storage for it to preserve both it's reliability and value. If something stored outside is utilized often it's actually far better for it.
Agree 100% Bamby. I have room in my pole barn. Will have to kick out one of the son in laws boats from winter storage but hey ...., they can get it wrapped. LOL

Quote:
Originally Posted by bill w View Post
you could get away with a 35 size hoe as long as it has a quick disconnect for the bucket.then just get a cleanout bucket for it.just remember they get real tippy with a bigger bucket.still no issue when you have a blade.imho,cat is best but overpriced,best to look at something from a rental fleet as they have been maintained.john deere or kubota would be best bang for the buck.Bill w
Interesting Bill. Would you elaborate on the quick disconnect and cleanout bucket please. All new to me. Thanks!!!!!
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Old 02-21-2019, 11:05 AM
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Default Re: Excavator shopping

For the quick disconnect, not sure if they're all the same but on the Bobcat, you pull a cotter pin then knock out the big pin it was holding in place. It takes about a minute to swap buckets.

For the cleanout bucket, I think Bill is referring to the wider buckets that are normally used for cleaning once everything is loose. If you're doing serious digging, you go with a narrow bucket then put the wide bucket on to clean up.
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Old 02-21-2019, 11:08 AM
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Default Re: Excavator shopping

Thanks Brian.
We used the quick disconnect to switch from jack hammer to using a bucket 5 years ago, so got that concept now.

I've never seen those big clean out buckets used. Seen pics of them but that is all new to me. Will learn. Slow but sure.

Thanks guys!!!!
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Old 02-21-2019, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: Excavator shopping

I have a Volvo ECR38 with quick change buckets including 12” and 24” digging buckets and a 36” cleanout bucket and hydraulic thumb. The quick change is a wedge secured by a single 3/4” finger tight bolt. The thumb really increases the capability of the machine and would not buy one without it. I purchased the mini with 1500 hours from a Volvo Rents that was going out of business. The ECR38 is a 7200lb machine with canopy and 27hp Kubota diesel. It gets most things done but is slightly under powered. The cleanout bucket is great for finishing but it will tip the machine if you have it loaded. The thumb allows you to grab a length of I-beam or timber to use as a scrapper to grade/smooth out the hillside above and below the road.

I have no complaints with the machine and do all of my own service work. The only complaint is that Volvo will not direct sell parts to me online as a private owner and require me to go to a authorized dealer which went out of business and the reason I have the machine.

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Old 02-21-2019, 02:46 PM
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Default Re: Excavator shopping

Nice machine. I agree the thumb would be indispensable. I never considered it for smoothing out a trail but for clearing areas that I need cleared it would sure be handy.

That is the same size machine I hope to find. I'm surprised a Volvo has a Kubota engine. I assumed Volvo made their own engines. I've seen plenty of boats with Volvo/Penta engines. Those are gas engines though.
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Old 02-21-2019, 03:52 PM
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Default Re: Excavator shopping

Yeah, just get a good name brand machine, take good care of it and you will do fine when you decide to sell it (if you ever decide to sell it).
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Old 02-21-2019, 04:27 PM
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Default Re: Excavator shopping

Those mini excavators are handy. Our campground owner has one. We're always borrowing it to dig holes and move dirt in our campsites when needed.

Canadian eh!!!
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Old 02-21-2019, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: Excavator shopping

Sheesh, not sure where I came up with Kubota, it is Yanmar 27hp.


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Old 02-24-2019, 01:36 PM
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Default Re: Excavator shopping

I got a little seat time in a Kubota x71-3. 2007 model. 2100 hours. Only used for septic work (LOL, like only driven by little ole lady to church).
Excavator would not start. They had replaced the glow plug button and it simply would not start. Sprayed a little ether in and it fired right up. Sounded okay. Worked it through the motions. Not bad. Seemed small to me. 18" bucket. Basic blade. It looked like the unit had sat outside most of it's life. Kinda rough in my estimation. 16.5k.

At least I got some seat time. No rush here, I'm simply trying to educate myself and understand the market.
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