PDA

View Full Version : Mini Excavator - I've got the bug


Stonehenge
06-30-2001, 12:30 PM
This week I was working at a residence within view of a residence where a competitor was working - he had a tiny little mini excavator. When the operator sat in it, he looked like he was just about busting out of it. The only markings I saw on it was an "IHI", it was light blue in color. And it made me green with envy....

I ran a search and surprisingly found very little about mini-x's. I like the idea of one of those really small ones (3-4000#'s), and am thinking about all kinds of uses for it, including excavating for retaining walls, excavating for paver walkways, placing stones in a retaining wall.... :blob3: :blob1: :blob4:

What I'm wondering, and looking for guidance in, is this: the ones I've investigated in size and HP (10-25hp), are they large enough/powerful enough for these applications? (something like a Kubota K008, or KX41-2SV) Also, are there brands I should avoid? I've seen many models from japanese mfgs that seem inexpensive, but I don't want to spend time fixing my toys. What kind of $$ should I expect to shell out for something like this?

paul
06-30-2001, 10:14 PM
Undersizing, be carefull!
With Mini-X's you need to know what you want to do with it, too small and you'll be renting larger ones, too big and you can't get them where you want. We settled on 7,000 lb machines not too big where you can get them in places and not too small where they won't lift or load a truck. I like Kubota for lifting and placing stone, it's slower controls help in swinging large stones out in rivers. Takeuchi is better at digging, hogging out fast, it's cycle times are great and the controls smooth.

This is one time I would look at buying used, we have 2 machines but we might only put on 500 hrs a year. Used machines in this size run about $19-26K

SCL
07-01-2001, 12:14 AM
Stone
I rented a #5000 Japanese something or other about two years ago. Man can you dig with these things. Beats the heck out of my three pt. JD backhoe but beats the heck out of my bank account too. I've kinda had the same burg here but I was looking at Bobcats. Really like their #7000 er's I think its a 331. Lotsa bucks though. One thing I saw with the smaller ones is there's some with retractable tracks too get them through a 36" gate. I just don't think they'd be very versatile and like Paul says, you need to get all the use out of them that yo u can.

Alanky
07-01-2001, 02:17 AM
i used to run a little IHI nana 7J and another one (cant remember the model) Like paul said be careful not to undersize. We mostly used the 7J to get into backyards and other limited access spots. A skid steer goes along with these things good to, loading the skid steer bucket with the mini saves alot of travel time.

Anybody used the new new-holland minis? wonder how good they are.

cat320
07-01-2001, 05:11 PM
I rented a german one called a scahaff don't know spelling of it.It was a 3,000lb machine And like Stone I had the bug to go buy one.I think that every one has hit the nail on the head with the 7Klb machine not to big and not to small.But then again it depends on the use and locations it will be used.If you do a search on altavista you might have some luck.

bubenberg
07-01-2001, 05:39 PM
Stonehenge,

power trac is american build .... they have been in the mining and landscaping business for many years. the 425 fits throu a 45 inch door, lifts 800 pounds. Cant't beat their price and the many very sturdy attachements.
we mow residential and clean pasture with it, stump grind and move pallets around in the warehouse and since their is no inexpensive solution like the mulch mule, we install about 50 - 100 cubic yards a week using the 425. with the grappler bucket i cleanup behind the crew when we trim bushes and trees (afterwards we blow the residual with a back pack into a small pile and off we are) .
their rotating brush can remove up to 6" of wet snow and beats with a larger model the swiss machine AEBI by 5 degrees in hill mowing ...that is hard to swallow, my father worked for that same company in the last century and evidently they could not do anything wrong.hahahahahahahah!

paul
07-01-2001, 06:39 PM
Power Trac comparied to a Mini-X? Here we have a dedicated machine meant for digging footings, lifting heavy stone, with a 360 house rotation. Power Track is a multi use machine that doesn't have the lift or the 360 house, it does have it's usages yes but like any machine, a single use machine will out work it and the cost of attachments will out do the machine cost! One thing I would like to see is the Power trac working in some of the rivers we work in, lifting stone that weighs over a ton and setting them in place.

I understand that you are very happy with your machine, I hope it keeps performing for you, in it's many tasks but I have talked to Stonehendge about this type of equipment before and he is looking for a machine that doesn't need to be hooked up all the time or he would have gotten a backhoe for his skid steer.

Rex Mann
07-01-2001, 07:55 PM
Stonehenge,

Last fall be purchased a TB125 manufactured by Takeuchi. It is in the 6000# class. It has 26 horsepower and a digging depth of 10 1/2 feet. We looked at other brands, Bobcat, Deere and others, but the 125 was the machine for us. It has more craining ablity than the 331. It is approximately 57 inches wide with the blade. We use it to dig walks, patios, walls and set Siena Stone wall. We even use it to grade. The blade is very effective. It is allmost like a mini dozer.

It has the "flip lever" to change from cat to deere controls. It is also very quiet.

It is one of the pieces of machinery or tool that makes you wonder how you ever survived without it.

Rex

steveair
07-02-2001, 08:16 PM
Hello,

I believe we rented the same IHI machine for a job we did last year. Yes, it sure is small........you sit on it and your elbows overhang the sides.

We ran it for a for weeks for a specialized job. We had to dig in big game fencing that we had installed around the airport. It worked perfectly for digging a 12 inch deep trench along the already installed fence, and then the blade did a nice job back filling the fence into the trench.

However, after seeing machines like the bobcat 320 and some of the small kubotas in action, I will say there is not a whole lot of jobs they can't do that the 'mini-mini excavator' can.

I think for those rare instances where access is very limited, it is nice, but they really aren't that common. I would say rent one when needed instead of buying one. If your going to spend the money, get something larger.

The one we rented had a 8 inch bucket.......try digging in wet soil and boy is it useless.....the bucked (which is equivalent to 2 shovel fulls I'd say) just gets clogged right up and you are banging it out after every scoop.

I've thought too though about it being a neat toy. I could put my dingo and the mini-mini on a dump trailer and become the 'small job' guy. I suppose if you could find a niche market for that kind of work, say helping electricians out/plumbers out with trenching, and doing small jobs for other contractors, you could probably do quite well.

The other way I would look at is in the same way you would look at machines like dingos and mini-skidsteers. If you set your crews up with a mini machine like that, the days of digging any kind of hole by hand would be over. You could probably load it on you existing equipment trailers and treat it as just 'another hand' tool. Worker's attitude may greatly improve knowing that they don't have to use that nasty old pick axe any more. Its an interesting idea. I believe machine technology is going to replace ALL manual labor someday, and this is the type of thing that starts it. Think of all those jobs where you had to dig in one tree by hand and it ended up being solid rock. Now, you would just pull it off the trailer, dig it quick, and be on your way.

With the right business set-up, I think it could be a great asset, but a expensive one at that. For now, most guys will just send 3 mexicans to a job at $6 dollars and hour to dig the holes.....maybe, as labor gets harder to find, we will all be turning to machines like this to save our backs.


steveair

dan deutekom
07-02-2001, 09:11 PM
I too have used a mini hoe that was rented. It was a great machine for the use it was put to. A very confined area for digging a french drain. I sometimes wonder if these small machines save a lot of time or labour on a small job. By the time you hook up the trailer, load the machine, unload the machine and get it working the hole could be dug and the dirt wheelbarrowed away by one guy and a shovell. BUT the machines sure are a lot more fun!

Stonehenge
07-02-2001, 10:34 PM
Thanks for all the great info and please keep it coming - I too was curious about the bucket size of .8 cubic foot - a heaping shovel is about that.

So I'm now leaning toward a larger machine - 4-5K#, and am thinking used might be the way to go, to save a bit of cash. But this is our best year to date, and I've been in a toy buying frenzy over the last month. Gets addictive!

I have one more question - I'm trying to figure out how much each model can lift, and there is no straight SAE lifting capacity, just bucket breakout force, and a couple other non-specific ratings. What number can I use to determine what size stones I can lift?

Rex Mann
07-03-2001, 08:52 AM
Stonehenge,

What you are looking for is called craining ability. They rate it several ways.

What it can lift directly over the blade(assume they are keeping safety in mind)

What it can lift over track side.

The further out the boom the less lift.

They have these numbers in the manuals. When we shopped for our mini-x everyone had to look them up. The TB125 had more than the Bobcat 331.

Rex

paul
07-03-2001, 11:25 AM
Craning or lifting? look here :) http://www.takeuchi-us.com/products/TB125.html

Stonehenge
07-04-2001, 10:53 AM
Thanks Paul. That's the first site I've found that lays out lifting ability like that. I've asked them for more info... :blob3:

Scag48
07-06-2001, 12:50 AM
I have used a Mini X once. Well, okay, I didn't dig with it, but I ran it for a while. I was on vacation and some guys were down the road from our cabin operating 2 mini x's. So, I went down and watched them for a while. Anyway, there was an excavator about the same size about a TB145 and a smaller one, like TB016. At first, the small one was helping the other one back fill the hill that they were working on, they were digging a trench and laying pipe for a septic system. So, once they got done running up and down the hill leveling it out with the blade, the little on went down the street to work on somebody's driveway. The big one was parked and the guy running it jumped out and was using a shovel. We started talking and he asked me if I wanted to drive it. I said sure and jumped into the cab. I must say, the controls were very smooth, very easy to use. I didn't dig or anything but just played with it. I've ran larger machines before (Deere 200LC) and it was just as nice and very well counter balanced. It seemed like it handled just about anything that came up, including some tree stumps they pulled out. That's my .02.

STEVE HATFIELD
07-30-2001, 01:35 PM
HAVE YOU LOOKED AT A TORO DINGO????

paul
07-30-2001, 06:08 PM
Steve we are talking about mini excavators! not small loaders

Technoid
04-29-2002, 06:17 PM
Originally posted by Stonehenge
This week I was working at a residence within view of a residence where a competitor was working - he had a tiny little mini excavator. When the operator sat in it, he looked like he was just about busting out of it. The only markings I saw on it was an "IHI", it was light blue in color. And it made me green with envy....

I ran a search and surprisingly found very little about mini-x's. I like the idea of one of those really small ones (3-4000#'s), and am thinking about all kinds of uses for it, including excavating for retaining walls, excavating for paver walkways, placing stones in a retaining wall.... :blob3: :blob1: :blob4:

What I'm wondering, and looking for guidance in, is this: the ones I've investigated in size and HP (10-25hp), are they large enough/powerful enough for these applications? (something like a Kubota K008, or KX41-2SV) Also, are there brands I should avoid? I've seen many models from japanese mfgs that seem inexpensive, but I don't want to spend time fixing my toys. What kind of $$ should I expect to shell out for something like this? I rented a Bobcat excavator to dig out a corner basement. The machine was small and quite manuverable. The bucket could reach out and down about 15 feet. Had a 20 hp briggs engine. Very smooth and quiet. The rental place told me that particular machine was bought for $25K new.

hardscaper
05-01-2002, 08:57 AM
I would go with your local dealer whatever make that would be. I have been quoted $15500 for a new unit with a 5'5" digging depth and track widening it also has aux. hyd. remotes to run a hammer, it was the smallest one I could find for our particular application.FYI

steveair
07-06-2002, 06:47 PM
Hello,

I just got a deal on a bobcat 320 mins-x and decided to buy it and then remembered this post.

I've been renting the machine from my friend over the past year, and absolutely fell in love with it. He was downsizing his operation, so a good oppurtunity came to purchase.

I'm already upset that I didn't have it before! Seems like I'm doing everything and anything with it now.

I basically got sick of the slow operation of a tractor mounted backhoe.......even the bigger tractors with 40 or so hp can't compete with the efficiency of this thing, and all in all, the power is about the same. I'm so happy I don't have to do the old "flip the seat, move the tractor, flip the seat, dig, flip the seat, move the tractor, flip the seat, try to dig but realize you moved the tractor to far, flip the seat, move the tractor............etc. etc, etc.

Buying used seemed the best way to go.....most guys are saying they get close to 3000hrs on them all most problem free. You can pick up a used one with half of that for a good deal less than new and be set for a long time.

Just figured I may get your interest stirring again stonehenge to go out and buy one!

steve

cat320
07-06-2002, 08:49 PM
guy down the street from me has a bobcat 322 for sale for about 14,900 don't know the year but does not look to new has like a square back to it with new paint on it of coarse.

sbvfd592
08-01-2002, 01:30 PM
my dad has a mini yarmar idk the n on it but its at a job i can hardly sit in it but it works grate in small spaces. but nothing beats the case backhoe

digger242j
08-04-2002, 06:12 AM
I've spent a lot of time on a Kobelco SK70 in the past year, which is small for an excavator, but certainly not a "mini". This month we've had a Kubota KX91 on the job. I gotta say, in tight spaces you can't beat them. The only thing that bothered me was that the Kobelco has zero tail swing, and I love that. This Kubota has a couple feet of tail swing to keep in mind and I was in a spot between buildings that were only seven feet apart. I had to actually pay attention.... :(