PDA

View Full Version : ZHS vs. Conventional Minis


srl28
07-13-2008, 10:01 AM
Looking to purchase a mini excavator in the coming days and I'm looking in the 8k range. So far I like the bobcat 430 and the kubota kx 91-3 or U35. The U35 and 430 are Zero Clearance models. the 91-3 is conventional. The machine will have a thumb and will mainly be used for picking and placing boulders, brush, digging out stumps and light excavation work. Which do you think is better for me? Does the smaller counterweight of a ZHS model really hurt ya when trying to pick up heavy weights? Most of our propertys are large and at least large enough to not worry too much about clearance. May have answered my own question lol but I want to hear what you all have to say. :usflag:

AWJ Services
07-13-2008, 11:15 AM
The Kx series is not a conventional tail swing but a reduced tail swing.
The Takeuchi TB145 is a conventional tail swing.

The Kx series is fine for all but the tightes spots.
I have a KX-161 and it is a good machine.
The machine has really fast cycle times and the cab is comfortable.
I prefer the Kubota over the Bobcat.

srl28
07-13-2008, 11:34 AM
Just curious why kubota over bobcat, I agree but just wanted to hear your opinions. Worth getting a cab machiine too? 121 wont fit on a 10k trailer and dont want cdl issues so 91-3 is biggest kubota ill do. goot lift capacity and all?

AWJ Services
07-13-2008, 11:53 AM
I hate Bobcat excavators.:)

I prefer Takeuchi,Komatsu and the new Cats with Kubota in the mix.
Takeuchi machines have the best digging power but slower cycle times.
The Komatsu machines have really good controls and I feel they are easiest too run precisely.
The new Cat machines have a good blend of speed ,power and feel.
The Kubota machines are very fast and well built.
The bobcats I have run have terrible controls.

Here in Ga we have concrete hard ground 6 months out of the year.
A 6000 pound machine will barely dig in the heat of the summer because of ground conditions.That plays a large part in my opinion.Your soil may be easier too dig so you may need less raw digging power.
I would recommend a cab.It really helps the resale and keeps the operator happy.

I think all of the Excavators will have similar lifting abilities.

Just demo them and find out what fits you the best.
I personally feel they will all be very durable even the Bobcat and you may like the Bobcat the best.
Everyone is different in what they need out of a machine.
I hated Cat excavators till they came out with the new series and they hit a homerun with that machine.

bobcat_ron
07-13-2008, 11:55 AM
Bobcat's still seem to have pump issues here and they are tippy compared to the reduced tail swings from anyone else.
Also, reduced tail swings are still better, how many times are you going to be working so close to a wall that your tracks are leaving rubber behind? With ZHS/ZTS machines, you sacrifice overall undercarriage width and cab space and balance, with RTS machines, you still get a good cab with a counter weight that actually does it's job.

srl28
07-13-2008, 12:32 PM
Very helpful thank you, kinda the way i was leaning anyway but I love the botas and will probably do that conventional style and with a cab and thumb, no angle blade up front tho, dont see much need for it. thanks guys! Any one else?

AWJ Services
07-13-2008, 01:11 PM
They do not offer the angle blade on the 91.
But I thought I did not want one either till I had it.
If you dig trenches it is worth it's weight in gold.

ksss
07-13-2008, 01:14 PM
Very helpful thank you, kinda the way i was leaning anyway but I love the botas and will probably do that conventional style and with a cab and thumb, no angle blade up front tho, dont see much need for it. thanks guys! Any one else?


As far as reduced tail swing to no tail swing vs conv. swing you have to go with the reduced or no tail swing I think. You can never have enough room. These tight tail machines perform great so why handicap yourself with a conv. machine. I would look also at the TK 138FR, the side to side boom swing is a great feature. I also would look past BC, I have no use for their excavators.

Gravel Rat
07-13-2008, 01:49 PM
If your worried about CDL issues carry the machine on a truck. A 8000lb machine should be your bare minimum anything less is a patato patch digger.

I'am with the rest Bobcat mini excavators are CRAP I would hate to be trying to build boulder walls with a BC mini you would roll over reaching out with a rock.

As for my take on zero tail swing I never really liked them they are too bouncy and I never been in a area where I have needed it. For a machine building rock walls you want some counter weight balancing the machine.

What ever you do stay away from the Bobcrap excavators. If you are in rock wall building etc make sure the mini has thumb control on the joystick and not on the floor.

ksss
07-13-2008, 02:35 PM
I have never had a boucing problem in my zero tail machine. The tracks are longer and the frame wider on these machines to compensate. They also are heavier than a comparable conv. machine. I can fill a 50 inch cleanout bucket full of pit run extend all the way out the side and the machine is solid as a rock. I also have a thumb and coupler at the end of the stick. Still no problems. I have spent considerable time in a large CASE 225 with thumb and coupler and large bucket and that machine was as solid as any conv. tail machine. Properly designed, you should not see a bouncing issue with zero tail. Maybe I have just been lucky.

Canon Landscaping
07-13-2008, 03:18 PM
What about volvo excavators I have run the ecr58 and really liked it but no one ever says anything about them on here do they not sell many machines or what?

RockSet N' Grade
07-13-2008, 03:29 PM
First off, what ever machine you get.....do yourself a great favor and get a cab. Well worth the money.......Around here, there aren't many volvo mini's, but alot of guys with big machines are switching to Volvo because they are fuel sippers vs. guzzlers and price/finance rates are the best around (in our area). One of my friendly competators has a Volvo and Cat.......the volvo uses $100-$135 LESS in fuel a day to their comparable Kitty-Cat.

ksss
07-13-2008, 03:34 PM
There is a large landscape company here that has one. I was on a project with that machine and its operator. He thinks the machine is underpowered and lacks lift capacity. Thats the only one around here so I am not sure if that is the consensus or not.

RockSet N' Grade
07-13-2008, 03:42 PM
Ksss.......any opinion or personal preference to cab or no cab? :)

ConstSvcs
07-13-2008, 04:04 PM
I own a 2004 KX 91-3 no cab just open ROPS. I must say that I love not having a cab.......and I live in CT. The visibility out weighs the creature comforts of a cab on that size machine. It runs like a Swiss watch. Here it is :

AWJ Services
07-13-2008, 04:19 PM
The resale value is more than worth it in my book.
It does cut down a little on Visibility but The Kubota cab is pretty good.

My 161 does not have the stability of the TB145 I demoed but it is still good.You just have too be conscious of what you are doing because it will lift a bunch and if you extend with too much weight it gets fun in a hurry.LOL

Min ex like a Tak or a kubota have really good power for there weight.
They weigh 5 and 6 tons and have 12,000 pounds of breakout where a 39,000 pound excavator has around 22,000 pounds of break out.
Pound for Pound the mini's really have good performance too weight ratio.
So I think it takes a couple years for companies too get up too speed on the mini's.It took Cat a few years too get the 305 too dig with the leaders in it's class.

ksss
07-13-2008, 04:25 PM
Ksss.......any opinion or personal preference to cab or no cab? :)


After I got my feeling back in my toes I ran to the dealer and traded my 03 TB53 with open ROPS for an 07 cab model, nothing like 43 below zero to drive the point home.

Gravel Rat
07-13-2008, 04:33 PM
You need a cab a open ROPs machine is horrible even in the summer time when your getting covered in dust etc. The cab also keeps the noise and exhaust away from you.

ksss
07-13-2008, 04:39 PM
I own a 2004 KX 91-3 no cab just open ROPS. I must say that I love not having a cab.......and I live in CT. The visibility out weighs the creature comforts of a cab on that size machine. It runs like a Swiss watch. Here it is :

When the weather is good I would agree, which is why the first two minis I had were OROPS machines.

What I learned the hard way was the 10K and over machines have a longer working year than the smaller machines. That meant I was working later in the year and earlier, at least here that means unfavorable weather conditions. Honestly I had not seen that coming. I traded my 53 earlier than what was financially wise to do so. I could not take the weather conditions any longer. The increase resale especially here will get me back some of the beating I took on my machine that I traded (I think the dealer still has it and that was over a year ago, so open rops are not in big demand here). I am convinced that a cabbed machine will not cost any more to own over the life of the machine than an OROPS when you figure the increase resale and the increase in productivity over the course of a year. When the windows are all open and the door is open, it is just like an OROPS machine practically anyway from a visibility stand point.

AWJ Services
07-13-2008, 05:28 PM
On a 5 year loan the added cost will only be about 70-80 dollars more a month for a cab.
That is less than 2 extra hours a month worth of billable machine time.
Kinda easy too see where it makes sense when it only takes about 20 hours extra work a year too pay for it.

RockSet N' Grade
07-13-2008, 05:35 PM
If you factor in the cost of Carhart overalls, heated socks, bug spray, dust eating, and overall happier attitude with a cab - in my little book, its a no brainer......

ksss
07-13-2008, 05:46 PM
If you factor in the cost of Carhart overalls, heated socks, bug spray, dust eating, and overall happier attitude with a cab - in my little book, its a no brainer......


And the radio, don't forget that.:weightlifter:

sven1277
07-13-2008, 07:32 PM
I have a tak 135 w/ cab but no a/c and it is definately hotter in the cab even with it completely open

srl28
07-13-2008, 10:49 PM
ConstSvcs- Do you find that the 91-3 has enough power for all that you need it to do and so on? digging, stumps, thumb work, etc...??

ConstSvcs
07-13-2008, 11:03 PM
ConstSvcs- Do you find that the 91-3 has enough power for all that you need it to do and so on? digging, stumps, thumb work, etc...??

Works for me. Stumps............anything to 12" is fair game, as for larger stumps a 12,000 lb class machine would be much easier. I use a fixed thumb since I prefer to remove all the thumb components to lighten the load when using an auger or jib attachment for lifting.

srl28
07-13-2008, 11:10 PM
Ok, we ll do a hydraulic simply for ease of use and what not. Thanks! Sure a 12k would be easier but I think a 91 is best for it can still get on a 10k trailer. Id go for the 121-3 but that is too much for a 10k trailer and then we need cdls to pull it around.

ConstSvcs
07-13-2008, 11:57 PM
Ok, we ll do a hydraulic simply for ease of use and what not. Thanks! Sure a 12k would be easier but I think a 91 is best for it can still get on a 10k trailer. Id go for the 121-3 but that is too much for a 10k trailer and then we need cdls to pull it around.

I'm in the same boat.

buzzyng
07-14-2008, 01:33 AM
We wanted a cab (price on a 303 was only $2k more) but since we are in/out so much, we weren't able to enjoy the comforts :-) So, we have decided to forgo the cab. The 91, 135, and 303 all handled fine on out 14k (10k payload) trailer.

Scag48
07-14-2008, 01:52 AM
Cabs are nice, but I'd have to agree that in this size class, the visibility of an open cab is much more appreciated than the cab itself. When I was running my old man's 303CR, I was always jumping on and off the machine. With minis, you never really sit for hours on end digging. The cab is almost more of a hassle in this size class.

As far as conventional vs. ZHS, definately go zero swing. These machines are already not capable of lifting hardly anything to begin with, the conventional tail isn't going to give you much more. I've needed the additional clearance more times than I can count vs. very few times a little extra lift capacity a conventional tail would provide. The objective of these machines is to be nimble, ZHS enables that.

srl28
07-14-2008, 08:18 AM
Thats sort of what Im thinking too, although the resale is nice with a cab, not having to smack you head each time and all when you get in is nice! I'm not that short or small and gettin in aint always easy. Anyone have pictures of their minis? What attachments or buckets do you have for them and how much?

Gravel Rat
07-14-2008, 01:39 PM
A thumb is a must also have piping for a rock breaker or hoe pack or any other hydraulic attachment.

srl28
07-14-2008, 03:00 PM
good point, those hoe packs are nice!! Lookin at a twist-a-wrist down the road too.

Gravel Rat
07-14-2008, 03:30 PM
You want a separate hydraulic circut if possible so you don't have to disconnect the hydraulics from the hydraulic thumb. There would be two quick connects that you could use for a breaker. That control can be on the floor as a pedal.

srl28
07-14-2008, 04:48 PM
Yea that what i was thinking. Id really love to go to the 121-3 instead tho. Problem is is that it weighs 9k and thus i would need a 12k trailer and if im correct, in NJ that means CDL.....anyone?

srl28
07-14-2008, 05:04 PM
And would a kx71 be way to small?

mrusk
07-14-2008, 06:25 PM
You need a cdl if the gcvw is over 26k. So if your truck is rated at 16k and the trailer is rated at 12k you need a cdl.

Since I tow my 12k trailer with a pickup truck I am fine since I am under the 26k #.

What types of jobs are you doing that you need to buy a machine? Its a tough economy out there right now, unless you have signed contracts in hand for a quarter mil in work or more I do not know if i would be buying a new machine.


Also a used machine would most likely be better for you. You are not a excavating contractor, I doubt you will put heavy hours on it. I have had my 246b skid for 2.5 years now and only have 700 hours on it and I do big jobs. If I knew how little hours would acctually be put on it, I would of bought used for sure.

srl28
07-14-2008, 07:06 PM
Yeah we have stuff signed and what not ready to go to answer that question. And i will be buying used most likely as I really dont see much value to buying new. Lookin at under 700 hours and all set up like I want. Leaning towards the 121 now cause i have a good deal on one and can pull it with my 350 or have a cdl guy take it on the 4500. a

Any comments on the 121?

jefftb
07-14-2008, 07:24 PM
Am in the same dilemma as OP. I'm about to buy an excavator but have narrowed it down to the the Kubota or Komatsu-both brand new. The PC35 is a very well made machine, that is very well balanced, with great lifting capability. However, it comes up short on bucket and stick force when compared to a KX121. The Kubota machines overall spec out very well. I think they fall short on the dealership experience though. They just do not understand the construction side of the business very well-at least in my area.

I believe if you can swing it, the cab is always the best choice. In the heat of summer (I'm in the South) productivity stays higher if the operator is in an air conditioned cab. Furthermore, I know when my tookas is in the seat, I want cab and air. I do not like trees slapping me in the face, bees/horse-flies/gnats always in my face or sweating my you know whats off running a machine. I believe my employees appreciate those things too. When its winter you also keep the feelings in your ears, feet, and most importantly-your hands, since you are operating a machine with your hands.

If its you as the operator then its your choice.

Regards the trailer, if you are below GCWR of 26,000 lbs. then you do not need a CDL.

mrusk
07-14-2008, 07:47 PM
srl28- Why don't you post some pics of your work.

Junior M
07-14-2008, 08:03 PM
I dont like the zero tail swing on any mini excavator... i just hate the bounciness....

the I love bobcat excavators....but i will admit the zhs bobcat sucks beyond all belief....
all the people i know with bobcat excavators have never had pump issues out of any one other than a zhs..... the bobcat dealership i rent from is about sell there bobcat 430 becuz of all the pump issues it is having. and it is a 2005 with only 450 hours on it....i bet you can guess why it is used so little..... but i would just get a conventional type excavator

srl28
07-14-2008, 08:11 PM
mrusk- Will do, gotta bring the camera in lol. one trucks in the shop for work and the cameras in there. havent had the time to sit down and resize pics and all.

not doing a zhs model. probably will do a 121-3 from the same dealer I've used before. Its a 2007 with 400 hours on it, no cab for 28k delivered and all. just needs a thumb,

srl28
07-14-2008, 08:11 PM
rusk- got any recent pics or anything btw?

mrusk
07-14-2008, 08:32 PM
Current gig.

bobcatexc
07-14-2008, 08:53 PM
Glad to see the silt fence uphill. I hate when you get a good rain shower and the water runs uphill, what a ***** that is!!:dizzy:

mrusk
07-14-2008, 08:59 PM
Glad to see the silt fence uphill. I hate when you get a good rain shower and the water runs uphill, what a ***** that is!!:dizzy:

Its called surrounding the entire area of distrubance with silt fence. County has strong regulations on erosion control.

AWJ Services
07-14-2008, 09:18 PM
Its called surrounding the entire area of distrubance with silt fence. County has strong regulations on erosion control

We have strong erosion control laws here as well.
The fence is sop.

On Kubota's specs the book specs do not add up.
I have a Kx-161 and it specs well but it does not translate too digging power.
The Takeuchi machines have a noticable amount more digging power.
So Like I said earlier ,put down the spec sheets and demo the machines.
:weightlifter:

srl28
07-14-2008, 09:18 PM
haha yes they do, rightfully so IMO. Looks nice! doin the driveway too? or is there one under all that stuff lol

mrusk
07-14-2008, 09:20 PM
Driveway is changing alittle bit.

srl28
07-14-2008, 09:22 PM
Yea thats what I've done so far. Brochures only give you the specs that are tabulated in a factory or yard somewhere. every soil condition, climate, stone types, work load, operator, experience etc vary too much. 121 and the 91 were both really awesome machines and i loved em. Heard wonders about takeuchi but the dealer is somewhat far and have heard some negative things about them as well. Dont see them used up here either. Wanted to try volvo but wont for the same reasons.

srl28
07-14-2008, 09:23 PM
pavers or asphalt? you dont do the asphalt right? Looks great, matches the house well too, Techo?

AWJ Services
07-14-2008, 09:26 PM
Heard wonders about takeuchi but the dealer is somewhat far and have heard some negative things about them as well. Dont see them used up here either.

The Kubota has it's advantages over the Tak so do not misread what I am saying.
I really like my Kubota.

jefftb
07-14-2008, 09:28 PM
Forgot to mention earlier that my Kubota Excavator dealer indicated that Kubota had passed Bobcat as the market leader in mini-ex sales.

Hard for me to believe myself; but others here surely have another opinion in the matter....:rolleyes:

srl28
07-14-2008, 09:32 PM
I actually wouldnt doubt it, at least around here. Dealer support seems better with bobcat but that may be cause you seem them around more cause theyre breaking down more often lol...Have never had a problem with any kubota i ran, did have problems with the cats and bobcats.

AWJ-I hear ya loud and clear on that and I really appreciate your input, had i a better dealer and closer for tk I would look into them more

coopers
07-14-2008, 09:45 PM
I swear by the 121's. When I use minis that's all I like to use (aside from the 161). The 121 is my opinion has great power and is a perfect sized machine. 71 is too small IMO but it really depends on the job. If you get a small job or tight job for that matter, you might need to use a 71 (rent one) but for the most part if you feel the 121 size machine will do then go for it. I've really pushed the limits of the 121's and they preform very nicely. I'll eventually pick one up once I take more jobs (my excavation business is my second job so not priority at times) starting next year and start bringing in the green stuff but for now it's rent.

srl28
07-14-2008, 10:12 PM
Thanks for the pics! Looks like a really great machine. the 161 looks sweet too, little bigger but the 121 is perfect for now for me at least. does that one have the angle blade? that looked like a handy add on and when I quoted it it was like a 1200.00 option. not too bad. Thanks for the pictures. You just do general excavating?

AWJ Services
07-14-2008, 11:15 PM
The angle blade is a godsend.

I sunk my 161 in my lake today cleaning it out.
It took a Cat track loader too get it out.
Broke all my 3/8 chains.LOL
I was goping too take some pics but I could not bring myself too.
It is a mess.
Nothing like seeing a 50k dollar machine sinking in the lake.;)

srl28
07-14-2008, 11:34 PM
OOh ouch, is it ok? any damage? other than the chains of course. Yea if i can find one with the angle blade I may take it but it seems hard to find where Ive been looking, oh well. have a b7800 compact tractor with loader that we use for finish grading and what not so Im not really in need of the angle blade and all for grading.

srl28
07-14-2008, 11:37 PM
Does that price sound about right? its a 2007 kx 121-3, no thumb yet, open cab, 450 hours or so, excellent condition all around, $28,000

Scag48
07-15-2008, 12:25 AM
Thats sort of what Im thinking too, although the resale is nice with a cab, not having to smack you head each time and all when you get in is nice! I'm not that short or small and gettin in aint always easy. Anyone have pictures of their minis? What attachments or buckets do you have for them and how much?

This thread got busy today, glad to see that everyone was out working instead of posting up 3 more pages on this thread today :rolleyes:

Hydrualic thumbs are a necessity in my book. Having an excavator, especially a mini, without a thumb is a serious mistake. You'll have a general digging bucket, typically the bucket that comes with the machine is the GP bucket. Get a 12" trenching bucket and if you have enough $$$ go for a cleanup bucket as well. A quick coupler is a necessity as well, think resale and added versatility.

coopers
07-15-2008, 12:41 AM
Thanks for the pics! Looks like a really great machine. the 161 looks sweet too, little bigger but the 121 is perfect for now for me at least. does that one have the angle blade? that looked like a handy add on and when I quoted it it was like a 1200.00 option. not too bad. Thanks for the pictures. You just do general excavating?


It doesn't have an angle blade and I guess I do general excavating. lol, I am marketing myself more for the land clearing forestry work but am willing to come in and do various other odd jobs. I don't have time some months to do jobs because I do it all myself and I have another more important primary job/career that requires my undivided attention at times. I just happen to like land clearings for some reason but again I'll do other stuff when it comes up if I'm comfortable with it (meaning, I know what I'm doing).

AWJ Services
07-15-2008, 01:28 AM
I paid 41k for a 161 with all options, 3 buckets and 100 hours.2006 model.
I have since found another machine identical and the same price with less than 200 hours.

AWJ Services
07-15-2008, 08:45 AM
This thread got busy today, glad to see that everyone was out working instead of posting up 3 more pages on this thread today

Things have been a little tough her in the big Atlanta which leads too more time too sit in the AC and talk about equipment.:dancing:

srl28
07-15-2008, 09:42 AM
oh so the price isnt too off. Markets and regions are different too. Yea a trench bucket, 24 inch general bucket and a cleanup bucket are what I'm looking for, go kubota or aftermarket kinda brand?

AWJ Services
07-15-2008, 09:56 AM
I can get a Kubota quick attach 30" bucket for around 1300.00 new where an aftermarket bucket will be around 1000.00 give or take a 100 dollars.
The good thing about having your buckets built aftermarket is you can have them altered somewhat for your specific needs.
Say if you are handling loom or other light soils you can have some extra capacity added.

RockSet N' Grade
07-15-2008, 07:58 PM
Just a thought here on buckets......On your 24" bucket, get a "D ring" welded onto the high back heel of the bucket (on the outside of course) so you can run cable, slings and such through it. Very inexpensive addition, but very handy and the "D" really doesn't inhibit the ability or functionality of the bucket.

ConstSvcs
07-15-2008, 08:37 PM
Does that price sound about right? its a 2007 kx 121-3, no thumb yet, open cab, 450 hours or so, excellent condition all around, $28,000

That sound like a great deal. I paid 20k for '04 KX 91-3 with 1000 hrs two rears ago.

srl28
07-16-2008, 03:12 PM
Oh wow so then that is a good deal! Cool, thanks for the info. And apparently you must have a quick coupler to have a kubota thumb now, which is all the better to me. Yea, I'll probably weld a ring or a hook in or on the bucket myself. Possible some on the blade and anywhere else needed to better secure the machine on a trailer