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View Full Version : Thoughts on John Deere 120C


jd5210
08-13-2008, 03:03 AM
Iam looking at a couple John Deere 120c 2003 models roughly 500 to 3200hrs.

Curious if anyone has experience with these machines good bad ugly? Any compareable models to be considering? I am buying one to dig a retention pond for myself. Not huge but that is why I want to stay around 15ton machines. Also for hauling I dont want to heavy a machine. Thanks

Gravel Rat
08-13-2008, 03:20 AM
If you can find Hitachi excavators in the same size you will be happier. The Deere machines are okay but the equivilant Hitachi operates better.

I would look for a 15-16 ton machine just for the reach and power a 12 ton machine isn't quite enough. I don't know how big this pond is or what your digging conditions are like.

The one benefit of the Hitachi machines is the Isuzu engines are good on fuel and they are very reliable.

ksss
08-13-2008, 03:35 AM
Nothing wrong with the Deere/Hitachi excavator. The Izuzu does run cheaper.


I would pass on the 120 and go to the 160. Whatever you plan on transporting the 120 with will also carry a 160 so the transport requirements are about the same. The 200-210's are when transporting becomes more of an issue. The 160 will give you more reach especially if you get a long stick. I really like my long stick 160. It makes digging deep much easier and translates into less repositioning and less rehandling of spoil piles. You lose some crowding force but I have not seen that to be an issue. The Deere 160's in the new models had cooling issues up in this elevation. I was told by a Deere salesman that they fixed that. If money is not an issue the Kobelco Blade Runner is high on the CDI factor. I would love to have one.

Gravel Rat
08-13-2008, 04:19 AM
The Komatsu 158 isn't too bad its a zero tailswing machine. Kobelco machines are good they are a little noisier as they run Cummins engines.

A 16 ton machine is easy to move on a tag trailer a 20 ton can be moved on a tridem tag but a lowbed is more common which is a pain.

The 160 size machine is the most common in my area and that size machine can do anything. Guys with 200s have troubles moving job to job.

crab
08-13-2008, 10:57 PM
actually and i could be wrong they are the same machine,Deere runs Isuzu in many of there machines,and last time i checked Hitachi has been making there excavators since oh 1988 or so,i also believe Deere and Hitachi are partners,pick you're color the machine is almost identical.

Gravel Rat
08-13-2008, 11:21 PM
The biggest difference is the Isuzu engines in the Hitachi's are quieter and burn less fuel.

One of the logging contractors have proven the Deere excavator and the same size Hitachi excavator that burns far less fuel. The Hitachi 350s get a full day longer out of a tank of fuel over the Deere. The Deere machines are louder and have less power.

coopers
08-13-2008, 11:33 PM
Oh the 120C:cool2: It's a nice machine. I personally never saw a difference or really paid enough attention to compare a Hitachi zx120 or a Deere 120C. I liked the 120C's that I used. Deere's 160C LC's are nice machines as well. Place I worked for a while ago rented these out too and we never had issues with them.

coopers
08-13-2008, 11:34 PM
One more thing JD, any links to look at these you're considering?

Scag48
08-13-2008, 11:39 PM
There can't be many differences, if any, between the Hitachi/Deere 120's aside from the engine. I'll agree with others, the Isuzus burn less fuel and are quieter. Even with the door and front glass open, it's substantially quieter than the Deere counterpart. However, I wouldn't let that sway me from buying a Deere. Typically, the Hitachi will be cheaper as well.

bobcat_ron
08-13-2008, 11:59 PM
actually and i could be wrong they are the same machine,Deere runs Isuzu in many of there machines,and last time i checked Hitachi has been making there excavators since oh 1988 or so,i also believe Deere and Hitachi are partners,pick you're color the machine is almost identical.

You are half way correct, some of the ZTS models, they retained the Izzy engine, the 228 has the Izzy engine, Deere's engine was too big for the room given.

crab
08-14-2008, 08:41 PM
that's why i said i could be wrong,i would say I'm 75% correct:dizzy:

coopers
08-14-2008, 11:06 PM
Here's a purtty one I like: http://usediron.point2.com/Xhtml/Equipment/Details/P2/Excavator-Crawler/JOHN-DEERE/120C/505975/ViewEquipmentDetail.html?src=www&vid=308

Throw on a CWS QC and buckets and thumb and she's ready...at least for me. :)

jd5210
08-14-2008, 11:08 PM
Well thanks for all the advice. Hitachi has been high on my wish list as I have operated and witnessed the fuel effiency first hand. Got me thinking about looking at a larger machine perhaps in the 160 as suggested. I have a single axle D/T GV??? rating about 33,000. I live in Texas about 30 miles east of Houston. Do not have any plans on hauling far are frequently. If you know this area at all, flat and lots of good ole gumbo. The toughest job I can think of would be digging stumps, the only thing I can think of that might remotely compare to the rocky conditions others on hear describe.

Well mute point on the machine I wanted as I was quicked drawed on ebay and lost it for a 100 bucks at that point. Who knows how bad the other guy wanted it as I wanted it bad. For those who care to look here's the ebay number couldnt figure on paste the direct link. ( 150281742547) It had 500 hours and appeared to be really nice.

Going in the AM to Ritchi Bros in Houston to look at a couple of more JD 120's and whatever else is compareable their. I know some hear arent fans of RB's but I just found out a mutual freind is running it at some level and hope to get a straight scope on what I like. Ive got to the end of the year to buy, but you know when they say we can get something the adreanline kicks in.

One more thought anybody hear or see a good deal, drop me a line if it is truly a good deal then delivery wouldnt be a big deal. Some stuff Ive been looking at has been some distance from Houston.

Thanks sorry for rambling

coopers
08-14-2008, 11:22 PM
Well here's one up here about 35 minutes south of me in WA state. http://cgi.ebay.com/2003-John-Deere-120C-Excavator-w-60-bucket_W0QQitemZ130244738419QQihZ003QQcategoryZ97122QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

That's a low price in my opinion for a C so you'd have to call and see what's up. What are the prices that you've been looking if you don't mind saying....

jd5210
08-14-2008, 11:38 PM
Coop the one I lost was at 53 and some change. I saw the one your talking about and used that partially as a guide. The one I lost yesterday only had 500 hours and was farmer owned and operated. I dont know prices your way and am just learning them my way. Ive got a couple of nice looking 3k to 5k hour machines in the low to mid 40's. I know I can pay retail in Houston easy but Iam striving for the best machine all around at the best price. The machines I talk about are Hitachi and Komatsu all about the same weight class. I just dont want to jump the gun to fast and certainly do not want to let a 500 hour machine go by thats in my price range again. I could tell you about the machine that I showed up late at the auction too! It was a court ordered sell on a bad day this machine shoulda brought 30k easy as I know now. I barely get my bid card walk up and it sells for 8 freaking thousand... Ive got a bunch of these only if stories. That one though Iam still missing a boot...If u know what I mean.

Gravel Rat
08-14-2008, 11:46 PM
Ritchie Bros is a good place to get a machine you just have to be carefull on what you buy. There are lots of large companies right now doing realignments which means selling off excess equipment so most of the time the machines are good they just don't have the work for them.

Scag48
08-14-2008, 11:51 PM
A single axle will not move a 160, maybe a 120 but I wouldn't recommend it. For only a few moves, I'd suggest hiring it out. A 120 is right around 26-28K pounds depending on how it's equipped, it would push a single axle dump pretty good. By the time you throw a trailer in the mix, you're looking at dragging upward of 36,000 pounds. Maybe someone can chime in a little more about that combo, but I've never seen it done.

crab
08-15-2008, 12:28 AM
avoid "farmer owned "machines like the goddamn plague:nono: .no one is harder on them sorry dirt-digger .and never buy anything you haven't run ,despite the deal.

coopers
08-15-2008, 12:30 AM
Scag is right,

I've seen some beat up single axels used to haul 120's. Tandem is safer. 8K for a 120C (which is from 2004-2007/8 I believe) is EXTREMELY cheap. Was it a C model or the older 120? In general from what I've seen a 120C goes anywhere from $80 to $105K. Every now and then I'll see one in the $60 or $70 range but that's not very common yet. Again that's what I've seen so far and I look almost daily for the past 3 years.

crab
08-15-2008, 12:34 AM
scag where i am they move 315's all the time single axle,heavy single,but no problems.providing you're trailer and brakes are good.without mountains you can move them.

Junior M
08-15-2008, 12:34 AM
avoid "farmer owned "machines like the goddamn plague:nono: .no one is harder on them sorry dirt-digger .and never buy anything you haven't run ,despite the deal.
not all farmers are hard on there equipment... i know a few that live in my hometown (ohio) that treat there equipment alot better than alot of operators i know...

crab
08-15-2008, 12:39 AM
so they dont grease there machines with dirt.?

Junior M
08-15-2008, 12:42 AM
so they dont grease there machines with dirt.?
what? no they dont. They grease them everyday... wash them weekly if they have the time... service them regularly... do the standard stuff...

crab
08-15-2008, 12:46 AM
that's a joke kid,relax,i have friends who farm and do there best,but they never have enough cash to do everything! that's my point .did you buy you're machine yet?:laugh:

Scag48
08-15-2008, 12:47 AM
Farmers are cheap, it's as simple as that. Typically when they buy something, they plan on running it into the ground. That's all fine and good, just don't buy a high hour machine from a farmer because it's almost guaranteed to be worn out.

crab
08-15-2008, 12:54 AM
thank you scag.

Junior M
08-15-2008, 01:00 AM
that's a joke kid,relax,i have friends who farm and do there best,but they never have enough cash to do everything! that's my point .did you buy you're machine yet?:laugh:
sorry....... but no we havent... we are goin to wait until spring... and the guy we are working for is talking about buying a backhoe and a skid for pools.. so we could use them any time we want!! haha that will be nice but i kinda doubt he will tho he is just so tight...

yeah but the farmers i know try and upkeep there machines so they dont always have stuff breaking...

Junior M
08-15-2008, 01:04 AM
Farmers are cheap, it's as simple as that. Typically when they buy something, they plan on running it into the ground. That's all fine and good, just don't buy a high hour machine from a farmer because it's almost guaranteed to be worn out.
usually a farmer wont put alot of hours on a machine unless its a tractor they might put alot of hours on a backhoe but most the farmers in ohio are still running old 580 case backhoes...

crab
08-15-2008, 01:14 AM
thats why you only buy tractors from farmers,and when i asked if you had bought a machine i was being nice.shop around ,move away from bobcat.you future is bright.

Junior M
08-15-2008, 01:17 AM
we are goin to buy an excavator first and i dont like the cat... and my dad had two komatsu's and the pins and bushings wore really fast even getting greased everyday... plus we can get a really good deal on the bobcat and out of all the excavators that one is my favorite... why do you say move away from bobcat?

crab
08-15-2008, 01:30 AM
because they are overpriced and under performing!at least for the price get pretty machine!try this takahuchi, yanmar, Hitachi, Deere,all very good minis and depending on dealer support lots more bang for the buck.sorry about the spelling.

Junior M
08-15-2008, 01:35 AM
we want a conventional swing because you dont get that bounce when your boom is all the way out because we do alot of grading with the bucket so we need to be as steady as possible... so that icksnays deere, and i have never ran the others... course there arent any dealers for them around here either...

crab
08-15-2008, 01:44 AM
you would be surprised what you you can get used to,i think people set there mind on one thing and cant move past it .with skill those things become minor issues keep in mind you have the most hours on the the bobcat.

jd5210
08-15-2008, 01:52 AM
The $8000 machine was a Link Belt 2700 or 2800 something or another. Sorry for the confusion. The price on the 120 I thought was excellent at 53k only thing wrong I got 2nd place and thats like last in an auction. The prices been on the low about 70k and then it just goes up. A takmcho or whatever with 124 hours blade loaded went for around 80k today on ironplanet. I am the cheapo guy they are talking about, I want the most I can get for the least amount of green. If I wasnt this would all be mute and I would of ordered a new machine. I havent seen any 160 any where around here, either they arent here are they are and they aint letting them go.

I would agree about some farmers but alot farmers I know depend on their equipment and are mostly family operated. Therefore they shed their equipment and do basic maint as a standard. They are usaully high hour given thats what they do. I get more nervous around higher hour machines then anything, as pointed out already. This forum seems to have brought out (real) operators that truly love what they do and take care of their equipment, that view crulety to equipment on par with laying hands on a women or etc. So I would not buy from you or a farmer solely on what you do, I try not to hold those types of bias's. BTW my Dad was a Union operator for 30 some odd years here in Houston. An instructor in the Army for the proper operation of Heavy Equipment, I only know what he has drilled in my hard head. He has forgotten more then I will ever know about dirt and life in general.

To the hauling issue I am a flat lander with a HD single axle truck with 85k on the clock good brakes etc. Equipped with the proper trailer and air brakes I would haul a 15ton machine from one property to another. I am set up as doing custom farming, I would not run through downtown Houston, but I wont even do that in my dually. My properties are fairly close and on good old back country roads. I do carry insuaraunce for what I do. I bet in the hills and mountains this might not go over.

Junior M
08-15-2008, 01:58 AM
you would be surprised what you you can get used to,i think people set there mind on one thing and cant move past it .with skill those things become minor issues keep in mind you have the most hours on the the bobcat.
actually i have more hours on IHI... some were crap because of the way there were treated but still... but i have done more precise work with the bobcat so i have more expierence on a bobcat but more hours on different model IHI's.. and i just hate sticking my boom out and bouncing all over the place... i dont want to get used to it i want to get something that will never bounce on me... that and a zero tail swing really tears my back up.. course sitting in one pisition does it to.. but that is what i get for all the fun of horses and the wrestling team...

crab
08-15-2008, 02:02 AM
jd52 ihere you we all do but if it sounds to good to be true..........i will say i own a linbelt with over 6000 hrs is it the finest around?no but it works hard every day cant remember the last time it let me down,might be a good alternative for you,and for the record id buy from a farmer i knew before i bought sight not seen at auction.

crab
08-15-2008, 02:04 AM
jlm they all make non zts machines???

Junior M
08-15-2008, 02:08 AM
John deere doesnt... and like i said i dont like cat,, dad never had good luck with komatsu, and the other brands you listed dont have dealers around here... and plus we are getting the bobcat for a steal.... so it will work...

crab
08-15-2008, 02:10 AM
enjoy then!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jd5210
08-15-2008, 02:15 AM
I here you and can certainly agree with you..Its hard on here to explain your process of doing things are my own. Alot of holes get left that you may or may not be covering. I would have paid 55k for that particuliar machine no problem. I then would of went down there personally examined the machine to make sure it was what it was stated to be, then called for the haul truck to haul it home. I personally could not of even given them a deposit, without viewing unless it was in a escrow type account. But that is just me I have bought several pieces of equipment this way and sometimes on the smaller stuff just flat out rolled the dice. I havent gotten burned YET. I did get burned with a dozer that I had a year and the crankshaft broke. The father in law is a metalurgist and inspected it for me and determined it was a bad repair job.. It happens...
Buying stuff even new nowadays is a challenge, that is why I came back to this board to get different opinions and their has been some good ones. Not to make like a big buyer this would be my biggest equipment purchase to date. I am a bit more nervous then usaul. Appreciate the help.

crab
08-15-2008, 02:31 AM
JD i hear you ,if you can find a link belt 130 lx or 160lx in you're price range you wont be disappointed ,these are good machines ,and it sounds like you have a lot more auction experience than me.if you're handy with a wrench than go for it.i am always nervous about spending money without actually seeing it,but if you can go escrow than do it,the 120 and 160 are nice machines i have run them both.

Junior M
08-15-2008, 12:08 PM
enjoy then!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
dude my dad had two 331's back in the ninety's and he put 4500 hours on one and 3000 on the other one. and the only problem he ever had was a hydraulic hose busted and he puts tracks and rollers on both at 3000 hours... when he sold the one with 4500 hours the guy thought my dad had put pins and bushings in it but he hadnt he just greased it everyday... he sold the 331 with 4500 hours he bought a komatsu pc45 and at 500 hours it had more slop than his 331 at 4500 hours and the komatsu was greased everyday like the 331's, and i was five and could tell you there was slop in the boom on the komatsu. is that good enough for you? and personally i have ran cat, komatsu, case, IHI, and i like bobcat the best.. cat the machine that was in our price range was basically like stepping back into the ninety's the auxiliary was on the floor, no air ride seat, hour meter was between your legs, the throttle was backwards, the blade just looked cheaply built and there was no cab and it still cost us more than a bobcat, case they are basically a komatsu a good machine but slop was our worry and talked to an owner and he said that was the only problem he had and plus it was still a zts, and IHI has no dealer around here... and besides i am not really paying for it... its really my dads decision on what we buy and what he has decided on i really like it.. what is your big deal on trying to get me away from bobcat?

coopers
08-15-2008, 09:36 PM
what is your big deal on trying to get me away from bobcat?

JLM, this thread is about Deere 120's and anything similar without getting too far off topic. If you want to go back and forth about the dependability of bobcat product or lack there of, do it on another thread please. This bobcat topic is quite old and is no where in the same class as a 120. I'm not trying to be rude but I hate reading these topics about bobcat.

Thanks

Junior M
08-15-2008, 10:30 PM
he started the conversation i just answered his questions...

jd5210
08-17-2008, 12:50 AM
Hey just wanted to say thanks to whomever put the bug in my ear about going with a bigger a machine. Looked at several on Friaday and am definitely gonna be tring for more machine. Somewhere around 35,ooolbs, if that falls through Ill be back down to 28-30,ooo lb machines. I did look at a linkbelt but the turntable had me bee-bopping as my brother said. I think that machine was used under harsh conditions.

thanks again for the help.

coopers
08-17-2008, 01:30 AM
There are a lot of nice 160 size machines out there.

Gravel Rat
08-17-2008, 01:45 AM
You have choices of brands in the 160 class machine so Hitachi, Deere,Hyundai,New Holland,Kobelco etc.

The largest machine I would go would be a 200 sized machine because they still can go into some places where a 160 can and the 200 is still easy enough to move.