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View Full Version : bobcat 331 good choice?


Wing 97
02-26-2006, 04:38 PM
Looking to buy Bobcat 331 excavator. Rented one last summer to dig foundation for garage. Seemed to do the job. How does it compare to other brands? I'm pretty happy with my s175 skid steer but I don't want to be blind to other brands. I've been offered a rental unit for $31500 with 275 hrs on the meter. Its equiped with enclosed cab, heat, and a/c. Any input would help.

Gravel Rat
02-26-2006, 04:55 PM
Welcome to the site :waving:

I would try a few other brands before you settle on Bobcat brand mini excavators the ones I have ran I wasn't impressed with them. I would also check out Kubota and to make the Cat freaks happy :laugh: check out Caterpillar also you should look at Takeuchi.

qps
02-26-2006, 05:21 PM
Welcome to the site :waving:

I would try a few other brands before you settle on Bobcat brand mini excavators the ones I have ran I wasn't impressed with them. I would also check out Kubota and to make the Cat freaks happy :laugh: check out Caterpillar also you should look at Takeuchi.

Cat freaks...thanks GR:usflag:

Scag48
02-26-2006, 05:59 PM
I suppose I'm a Cat freak. $70K worth of new Cat iron and counting....

Gravel Rat
02-26-2006, 06:03 PM
Or I could put it the people that are Cat Yellow Blind :D

More towards the posted question I'am not so sure about Bobcat mini's sure they make good skid steers but they are kinda new to the excavator market so to speak.

So before you slap down any money on the table go and try a few brands and see what works the best for you. Having a dealer close to you is nice especially when it comes to ordering parts or having a service man come to do repairs.

Some of these guys here are very Cat bias they breath,sleep,dream and drool over Cat equipment.

Wing 97
02-26-2006, 06:57 PM
Bobcat dealer 10 miles away, extremely helpful. What should I expect the price difference should be if I went yellow for a comproble size machine? What are the performance advatages or is it just preference?

Scag48
02-26-2006, 07:55 PM
Well, our biggest jump for Cat is SERVICE. Everyone who buys Cat will tell you that's why they did and it's the service. Just wait for Uniscaper to post here, I'm sure he'll post some horror stories of other brands and why he has switched to Cat exclusively. Don't get us confused with large excavation contractors, but as landscapers when our equipment isn't running, we don't make money. Uptime and service is key, even if you are your own mechanic. If you can't get the parts you need, when you need them, there's no point even owning the machine. With all that said, Cat certainly isn't the best machine for everyone. These days, it comes down to dealer service because the machines, between Deere, Hitachi, Cat, Komatsu, Case, Kobelco, etc., aren't all that different. They all are within a 3-5% productivity numbers and a bad operator could make a perfect machine run underproductive, it's just that simple.

With all that said, the Bobcat 331 looks to be an excellent machine. I'm assuming it's the current model series? $31,500 seems on par for the machine, we actually looked at a used 331 with cab before we bought our 303, but our Bobcat dealer isn't so good. To get a used 303CR with cab, heat, and A/C to be comparable with the 331 in hours/condition, it's going to cost about $4K more I'd say, probably around $34-35K. If the compact radius is worth anything to you, that might be something to ask yourself. I know for what we use our machine for it's absolutely unquestionable that we require a zero tail swing machine about 80% of the time. I hope that helped answer some of your questions.

Performance wise, the 303CR is about 400 pounds heavier than the 331, not sure if that makes any difference. Another concern of mine with the 331 is that it must burn a TON of fuel with a 40HP engine. Cat gets away with respectable numbers on the 303CR with 14 less HP so that's something to consider as well.

Wing 97
02-26-2006, 08:21 PM
Thanks Scag48

All of comments are a big help. I'm trying to stay around 7000 to 8000 pound machine so I don't have purchase a trailor in addition. I am hoping a 331 will be big enough to tackle reasonably sized stumps, trenches, and the occassional small foundation productivly. I'm I fooling myself?

ksss
02-26-2006, 08:33 PM
I had a 7500 pound IHI 35J for 4 years and did a lot of work with it. Great little excavator. I currently have a 12 thousand pound Takeuchi. To me the jump in weight class has increased my capability enormously. However you need to look at what you want to do with it as well. The 10-12K machines are a little more difficult to trailer but the few cons are well worth the many benefits. I would run as many machines as you can find in your area no matter what color they are. You may be surprised at what features you like best.

Scag48
02-26-2006, 09:05 PM
A 7,000 pound excavator will do more than you think. As ksss mentioned, you will be more capable with a 10-12K machine, but trailering can be an issue for some and you really have to ask yourself if you need a machine that large. We looked into a 304/305CR and stepped back, figured it was too much machine for the jobs we do. Don't kid yourself, these smaller machines can swing with the big boys. I dug a 35x60 pad for a pool on a slope for a friend, the top cut was 14 feet down with our 303CR in about 12-13 hours. I was amazed at what this little machine can do. I could have rented a 312, but I would have had to crawl up a 45 degree slope below the pool as that was the only access for a big machine and gotten the job done in about half the time, but our little 303 handled it and that's all that matters.

echovalley
02-26-2006, 09:11 PM
We were running a combo 863 and a 328[325 with a long stick].The 328 did way more then we thought it would,so I think the 331 is a good landscape size machine.

Gravel Rat
02-26-2006, 09:27 PM
I have to agree with Ksss sometimes its worth the extra hassels owning a 12,000lb machine like the 161 Kubota for the work you can do. Take for instance a 161 Kubota can do alot of work it is a very capable machine.

I would consider the KX121 (8800lbs) or the KX161 (12,326lbs). What I seen a 161 do is what has got me sold on one. When you can work on the steep slopes we work on and work in the conditions we do can't beat it.

Reasonably sized stumps for me would be anything that is in the 12"-20" trunk diameter. You also want the machine to beable to lift a good rock etc.

ksss
02-26-2006, 10:00 PM
I realize I am off topic but what I really like about the 12k machine is how much more effective it is digging utilities like water and sewer. The extra reach and power makes digging 6' water trench very easy. The 7K' machines would really struggle in our ground conditions. I actually came close to overheating a Deere 35D just digging water line. Our ground conditions are very rocky. With the zero tail on the 12K machines your basically taking up the same amount of space that a 7K conventional tail machine does. I have taken three stumps that were five feet across with the TK this year. I would dig around the base pulled on the top I would leave about 7' high, roll it out of the hole and split the stump with a 12" bucket and haul it off. Amazing

Wing 97
02-26-2006, 10:15 PM
At this time I am limited to a 01 Durmax 3500 dump and 10000 pound trailor and not quite ready to make the investment in a bigger set up. Unfortunately my buisness is primarily maintenance and hoping mini x would be a step toward bigger things.(sick of coming home with green shoes!) Just hoping I'm not limiting myself to much becuase of what i have to hual with.

ksss
02-26-2006, 10:32 PM
Well you have plenty of towing power but your trailer is lacking. A 10,000 pound trailer which depending on the manufacturer nets you about 7000 pounds of cargo. That is a problem. Running it at max. GVW all the time will certainly accelerate the wear and is unsafe. If your going to get into the the heavier aspects of landscaping I would recommend upgrading your trailer earlier rather than later in the process. How much trailer you need will depend on what you plan on buying. However, within reason alittle more trailer than you need is not a bad thing.

Gravel Rat
02-26-2006, 10:36 PM
You don't have to have your own truck to move the machine around right away. If you are a good hoe operator and you have a decent size machine you maybe beable to give up the lawn maintenance stuff and just do general excavating and hardscaping.

With your trailer is does it have 15" 5 bolt wheels ?

If its a light duty trailer I wouldn't want to be hauling anymore than a 6000lb mini on it. A excavator puts a concentrated load on a trailer sure it says 10,000lb gvw but the load has to be spread out on the deck.

Wing 97
02-26-2006, 10:48 PM
GR the trailor I'm currently using has 6 lug wheels and brakes seems to be holding up hualing s175 and attachments wihtout a problem. But iI do realize a heavier duty tailor would be in my future if excavating became profitable. Would slab removal(breaker rental) and small demo jobs be practical to take on with 331 sized machine.