PDA

View Full Version : Picking out a Mini X


Longhorn Diesel Inc
08-12-2007, 12:39 AM
Hey all,

I am going to buy a Mini X in the next couple of weeks and i have narrowed it down to A CAT 303, 303.5 or 304 and a Bobcat 430 with long dipper.
I am mainly using it for utilities, footers and a septic system now and then.
I can get the best deal on the Bobcat but I already love my CAT 277 so I am leaning toward the yellow paint. I am going to get some out here for a demo but was just wondering everones opinion...

Thanks!

qps
08-12-2007, 07:02 AM
Hey all,

I am going to buy a Mini X in the next couple of weeks and i have narrowed it down to A CAT 303, 303.5 or 304 and a Bobcat 430 with long dipper.
I am mainly using it for utilities, footers and a septic system now and then.
I can get the best deal on the Bobcat but I already love my CAT 277 so I am leaning toward the yellow paint. I am going to get some out here for a demo but was just wondering everones opinion...

Thanks!

I have a new 304 and its a nice machine, take a look at all of them..the TB53R is a good machine also....takeuchi brand.....

ksss
08-12-2007, 09:31 AM
I would go as big as you can that will still allow you to get in the areas you need to work. The bigger mini ex's can get a lot of work done and are not much wider than the smaller machines. I went from a 7500 pound machine to zero tail 12,500 pound machine and it was one of my better business decisions. I can take on the bigger jobs yet still work the smaller stuff. I have had to rent a smaller machine just once because of the size of my 12K machine. If you want a CAT Iron Planet moves a lot of those mini excavators at great prices something you may want to check out.

RockSet N' Grade
08-12-2007, 10:01 AM
The 303 is 30 net hp, 7575 lbs, 9' 7" dig depth with a 61" blade. The 303.5 is 39 net hp, 10'3" dig depth, 7' wide blade. The 304 is 42 hp. net, weight is 10,600, almost 11' dig depth, 78" wide blade. The 430 is 42-43 gross hp, 71" wide, 7,800 lbs, with 10' plus digging depth. These are all in the same neighborhood. Like Ksss has mentioned, I think more would be better. The question I would ask: what trailer/towing set up do you already have so you can get a machine and not have to change trailer/towing set up? I would also ask what the narrowest situation is from past jobs for access and throw that into the mix. I personally have a 20,000 lb. machine and do utilities and such and have found it to work out just fine for me........no real access problems to speak of, but your situation may be different. I would go with the biggest machine you can handle with the longest reach possible with the best finance available. Certainly alot to juggle to come to a decision about........

Longhorn Diesel Inc
08-12-2007, 10:13 AM
I can haul 8 tons and up to 81" wide with my current set up. So everything I have been looking at will fit just fine. Right now all the jobs are being done with a case trencher that has a backhoe on the end, so it will fit in many places a mini wont but withe the extra reach, I should be OK. I want to make sure that the machine I get will handle a 3' bucket so I can do septic installs. I also dig footers, so I don't want a slow machine....

ksss
08-12-2007, 10:27 AM
Unless your ground conditions are very easy digging you will struggle with a three foot bucket on anything less than a 304 and even at that it will certainly be slower, especially in heavy material. You would want to demo one with the bucket you want to see how it would work in your ground conditions. A bigger bucket does not necessarily mean getting done faster if you have more bucket than machine. A 2 foot bucket does not prevent you from digging septics I have dug many with a 2' bucket. Our ground conditions are tough and I use a 30" primarily. I also use a 2' when I need to. Assuming your systems are similiar to ours, the biggest issue is having enough dig depth for digging the tank. The lines are not an issue. We are using Quick 4 Infiltrators and with so 2 bucket widths on a 2 foot bucket and your there.

AWJ Services
08-12-2007, 10:57 AM
I get will handle a 3' bucket so I can do septic installs. I also dig footers, so I don't want a slow machine....

The older Cats will struggle with the 3foot bucket.
I spent about 10 hours in a 305 with a 2 foot bucket and it would not handle a 3 foot bucket in the soil here.
The new C series is supposed too have improved power.
The smallest machine I demoed that would pull a 3 foot bucket effectivley is a Takeuchi TB145 which is similar too the TB153 in power.

The new 304 c series is supposed too be equal too what the 305 was in previous years.
Just demo it with a 3 foot bucket.

Longhorn Diesel Inc
08-12-2007, 11:12 AM
A friend of mine has a CAT 304 and digs many septics with a 3' bucket. He says it will rip through the ground with no problem at all. Also the 430 Bobcat I am looking at was used mainly for septic installs and footers. They said the only reason they traded was because Bobcat came out with the hydrolic bucket changing system.
I do worry about the Bobcat 430 being big enough but I guess thats what the demo is for. My biggest concern is how will a Bobcat hold up over time compared to a CAT?
I know when it comes to the skid loaders, I would not have another Bobcat.

Dirty Water
08-12-2007, 11:43 AM
You really should look at Takeuchi's offerings, and the Kubuta KX-161.

Unless you have an issue buying foreign iron.

ksss
08-12-2007, 12:15 PM
Your concerns maybe warranted. I question BC hydraulic set up. Small plastic tank that continously has to recirculate building heat. There is one on IRON Planet with 2500 hours and a cracked boom. If your serious about a BC you may want to look at the pictures of this one. Of course one machine is not indicitive of all of them. Running a TK as a comparison may not be a bad idea. They have great digging power and are ok speed wise although I think that Bobcat cycles faster. Bobcat cant hold a candle to a comparable TK machine for breakout or crowd force. I compared a 305C to the TK 153FR and they were within hundreds of pounds of each other on breakout. The advantage for me goes to the near zero swing ability of the 153. The CAT cab is prettier to look at than the TK and of course the BC cab is also very pretty. Comes down to what you want to run and what kind of dealers you have in your area.

qps
08-12-2007, 04:45 PM
A friend of mine has a CAT 304 and digs many septics with a 3' bucket. He says it will rip through the ground with no problem at all. Also the 430 Bobcat I am looking at was used mainly for septic installs and footers. They said the only reason they traded was because Bobcat came out with the hydrolic bucket changing system.
I do worry about the Bobcat 430 being big enough but I guess thats what the demo is for. My biggest concern is how will a Bobcat hold up over time compared to a CAT?
I know when it comes to the skid loaders, I would not have another Bobcat.

If it's not the new C series 304 I doubt it handles a 3ft bucket with ease...maybe in sand or very light material, get it full of muck and watch the cab go bouncey..bouncey...with the boom hung out....

Longhorn Diesel Inc
08-12-2007, 05:05 PM
So how would the 430 Bobcat handle it?

qps
08-12-2007, 05:40 PM
So how would the 430 Bobcat handle it?

Can't honestly say, but my feeling is any mini-ex is maxing out with a 3ft bucket, I've got one with mine but haven't used it yet, 2 ft does everything and need so far...it and the 1 ft. bucket

ksss
08-12-2007, 06:25 PM
The Bobcat 430 is not going to handle the 3' bucket any easier. You will need to step up to a 10K machine and up to get enough power and weight to throw around that kind of bucket weight.

The Bobcat 430 has a max weight over the side of 580 pounds at max. reach. Take the weight of the bucket, thumb and coupler if applicable and your buckets certainly wont be full unless you want to see a close up of the ground.

RockSet N' Grade
08-12-2007, 06:46 PM
I have done the "close up to the ground" scenario........and then had a snap-back as the machine came back up, right side up. My face got modified by the windshield of the cab as it spanked me..........Step up in machine size if in doubt......

Scag48
08-12-2007, 08:50 PM
Don't know why everyone gets hung up about running a 3' bucket on a mini. Most utility trenches don't need to be any wider than 24", typically. A 3' bucket isn't going to save you any time if you're hogging dirt for a septic tank or something along those lines, your cycle times are going to be slower than they would be with a 24" so it basically negates any advantage plus a larger bucket is harder on the machine. I dunno, maybe I'm curious. At one time, I thought we needed a 30" bucket for our 303, but found that the 24" handles our needs most of the time with our 12" bucket handling smaller utility trenches and our 40" cleanup bucket is great for moving loose materials around.

ksss
08-12-2007, 09:27 PM
There is a place for them but you have to have enough machine to run them. I like the bigger buckets on additions and bigger footing digs. Other than that a 2' is fine. I have a big clean out bucket and the TK handles that bucket fine as well. The center pivot system really is a killer idea. The pivot point is more on the center of the machine allowing for better weight distributation. The swing boom is out in front of the machine extending the weight away from center.

Longhorn Diesel Inc
08-13-2007, 12:11 AM
The only reason I want to run a 3' bucket is for septic fingers and maybe back filling. I would love to get a larger machine but I need to stay as small as I can to get in the tight spots doing utility work.
Thanks for everyones input thus far!

AWJ Services
08-13-2007, 07:13 AM
I would love to get a larger machine but I need to stay as small as I can to get in the tight spots doing utility work.


Most of the Utility diggers here uses KX-161.



Don't know why everyone gets hung up about running a 3' bucket on a mini.

Most of the septic trenches here are 3 ft.
In my area trying too do this with a 2 ft bucket is tough because of the soil.
I was digging the footers for a wall the other day and I had rented a PC-27 with an 18 inch bucket and it would not even break the ground.
I had too scrap with the teeth and and remove the loose clay.

I guess I am often biased against the smaller machines because of this.
Here there is about 4 months of easy digging.

Planet Landscaping
08-13-2007, 07:16 AM
Kx 161-3 My 1.2 cents

Longhorn Diesel Inc
08-13-2007, 10:26 PM
Well, I have been throwing dirt around this evening with the 430 Bobcat demo with a 3' bucket. It handles it with ease! I even took it down to the creek and dug out a 24" tree. I tried it in the hard dirt as well as the creek mud and it never complained.
However, I am very disappointed with the lack of power in the swing and the stop on the swing.
I do really like the Fast Track system. It does travel much better than other minis I have operated in the past.

All in all, I would own the machine but I will make my decision after demoing a CAT....

Joe74
08-16-2007, 09:45 PM
I just bought a Bobcat 335. It is comparable to a 430, just not zero tail. I wanted a lighter, narrower machine and did not want to give that up for zero tail. I demo a case, terex, and bobcat. I definitely liked the bobcat the best overall. They all had good points. The 335 was what I was looking for and the price was the best and financing too. I have a thumb and use it with a 39 clean out bucket and also I use a 36 gravedigger bucket and have no problems with power. I also have a 13 and 24 bucket too. I also have a question. I usually charge hourly for myself and machine. If I have a helper, should I also charge full rate for him or just a laborer rate of say $ 35.00 hr.

Longhorn Diesel Inc
08-16-2007, 09:52 PM
After having the Bobcat in my hands and looking at CAT and Komatsu. I will not buy a Bobcat. Everything on the Bobcat is built much lighter.
My local Komatsu dealer is dropping off a PC40 tomorrow for me to use and I am getting s 304 from CAT to give a whirl.

Around here, the normal charge for a laborer is $28 an hour...

ksss
08-16-2007, 10:07 PM
I charge $80.00 an hour for my excavator and $35.00 for labor if I have someone with the excavator. If the job requires the operator is out of the machine and laboring for himself. That bills out at the same excavator rate. Thats how I do it. Good luck with the excavator. Everybody's idea of mini ex utopia is a little different thats why everyone has a piece of the mini ex pie.

AWJ Services
08-17-2007, 06:48 AM
My local Komatsu dealer is dropping off a PC40 tomorrow for me to use and I am getting s 304 from CAT to give a whirl.


I sure would like too hear your thoughts on the Komatsu compared too the others you have demoed.

Fordsuvparts
08-17-2007, 08:16 AM
Do not buy The Bobcat, We have one and bought it new in 06, it is weak compared to other machines. We have a 13" 24" and 39" clean out bucket and we can't wait to trade it in on a cat C seriesin a few weeks.

Bayrat
10-04-2007, 05:41 PM
I am looking for a mini as well. The local Case dealer has a 2004 CX36 with 700 hours (a trade, not a rental) for 28k. Any opinions on this machine?

ksss
10-04-2007, 09:52 PM
I demoed a 36 when they first came out in 03 and came a way under impressed with it. I latered demoed a B series 36 and found in much better. I have rented a 36B from time to time and really have come to like the feel of the hydraulics and the push button boom swing is sweet. My opinion would be try to find a B series machine. However demo it yourself perhaps you will like it (04-CX36). They are built by Kobelco which is to say it is a solid machine.

Bayrat
10-04-2007, 10:45 PM
The salesman said this is a CX36B and when I asked what the B stood for he did not really say much other than it is the model number. Could the 2004 be the upgraded B model?

ksss
10-05-2007, 01:04 AM
It could be. It did not take long as I recall to release the B series. The improvements in breakout were impressive as well as speed. If it is a B series I would consider the machine. Does it come with a thumb and/or coupler. If not I would try and negotiate that in the purchase.