View Full Version : earthmoving euip

01-09-2003, 09:02 PM
Basic Q is will a skid steer do this.....
we have 11 ac property. I'm not sure what to buy, skidsteer, backhoe, or small dozer.

first job is a driveway. about 150m (450ft) in total. fors 40m(120ft) will be across a 30-40% slope. hill is shale/rock.

First quote says 12 days & Au$50,000 (USA$25K). 2nd quote due soon but estimated @ 4 days. ummmm....3rd guy coming out this w/e

Based on first quote I'm thinking I should buy my own toy.

Rough calc on a 5m(15ft) wide 10% slope driveway would mean moving around 10,000m3 @ 2.2m3/T = 4,500Tonne or 450 loads inthe farm truck! (I'm visualising a small mining camp to pop up somewhere :-))

Anyhow is this beyond what a skidsteer could do (however slowly). I'm thinking I might buy & sell it in 12 mths once the work is all done & irrigation & landscaping is in etc etc.
or would this size job 'kill' a skidsteer?.
Would a backhoe do better / worse? What about a dozer (thinking D4 size) or do I need a D9 & a 20T excavator?

Many thx for any thoughts.

01-09-2003, 11:09 PM
Well, I'm guessing you're going to remove cement too, or what? It all depends, it would be easy in my opinion to use a trackhoe, with a thumb of course. Although, using a backhoe isn't that big of a hassle either. If you use a backhoe, it's really very convenient to have an extendahoe, it's all the better to have a thumb on it, a good one! That way you can load the cement into the truck, better than having to use your own energy to put it in the front end, then you can use the front end to load the dirt. If you really want to get detailed, using the trackhoe would be fine too, and when you remove dirt, get a larger bucket (don't remember the size) that has the smoot edge with out the teeth. That way it's nice and pretty once you've scraped, and it holds a lot more. But it's not really ment for hardcore work like the buckets with the teeth. I personally don't care for skid steers, I try to not use them if possible. That's also one heck of a job in laoding all that dirt with a skidsteer. But, I'm only 18 and have had not nearly the amount of knowledge nor experience as others on this site. If you go the tractorbynet.com, you'll get a lot of people to help you as well. Just have to join.


01-09-2003, 11:30 PM
Hi Blake,
Not sure where you read cement from (no existing cement to deal with). At this point I expect we will use crushed rock or similar as a base. need to get driveway cut first however.

I've not hear of a trackhoe, have to look up what one of those is.

Thx for reply

Gravel Rat
01-09-2003, 11:40 PM
I would buy a excavator a EX 150 Hitachi is about the smallest I would go a EX-200 would be better you can't beat a excavator for building road and clearing land. If you get one make sure its equiped with a hydraulic thumb a mechanical thumb can be used just takes a little longer. We call them Excavators here in Canada but they also are called crawler excavators its almost all we use to clear land and build road.

Good luck I wouldn't try doing the project you have in mind with a skid steer loader even a rubber tired loader it would take alot of time.

Remo Sid
01-12-2003, 11:30 AM
Here in the southeast U.S. most people refer to a "excavator" as a "trackhoe".

I think a backhoe will serve you well. A thumb is very handy, especially if you are not very experienced in using a backhoe, or trackhoe. Another must have is a 4 in 1 front bucket on a backhoe. If you prefer a boom extension type backhoe, and you buy used, you need to make sure it doesn't have a lot of "play" in it. Extendable booms are fine when new, but can get rather sloppy pretty quick, especially if not properly maintained.

A skid steer is out of the question.

A trackhoe has advantages over a backhoe. To sum it up quickly. A trackhoe is not much more than a suped up backhoe.

The drawbacks of a trackhoe is mainly cost, and moving it around. You can drive a backhoe rather long distances, but not a trackhoe.

01-12-2003, 06:35 PM
Hi Remo , thx for reply & explaination of trackhoe.
I've been trying to find a comparision between the 2.
eg I'm looking at a CASE 580 backhoe and wondering how it compares with a trackhoe for digging in shale / rock. eg is this machine about the same as a 4T or maybe a 7T excavator (trackhoe)? (I was looking at some of the small Jap machines eg Yanmar)

The backhoe offers lots of advantages for a farm compared to a trackhoe. and avoids the costs associated with the track maintenance (which seem to be huge if it needs work during the 12-18mths I'll have the machine).

I've read a couple of bad reports on 580K's & think a 580SLE (?) is the better choice to look at. And I think I'm looking for something with roughly < 5000 hrs.

OTOH Ford 4500's are cheap, MF960 looks similar and the JCB?CX seems to be a direct copy. (There is a 2, 3 and a 4CX from what I've seen so far.

Is there a web page somewhere that outlines what to look for when buying this sort of machine?

Anyone care to comment on maintenace / running costs or any of the above brands / makes or on suitability of any as an alternate to a 7T-12T excavator (trackhoe)

Many TIA

Gravel Rat
01-12-2003, 07:58 PM
The things I can see wrong with a backhoe is sharp rock and tires don't mix if you will be chewing up tires like no tommorow and tires are not cheap. If you are going to buy a backhoe it should be 4x4 a 2wd backhoe is almost useless on slippery surfaces and on steep slopes. The expenses to operate a excavator isn't much more than a backhoe it you get a machine in good shape it shouldn't cost you anymoney.

The only benefit I can see using a backhoe is if you gotta cart material long distances but if you got a dump truck that shouldn't be a problem.

Like I said around here excavators are used for almost all road building and excavating ya you need a trailer to move a excavator but if you are working on one site that shouldn't be even a problem for you.

A 580 Case is a good machine the 590s are better and it should be 4x4 just keep in mind older Case machines use the frame of the machine for fuel and hydraulic tanks. These machines are prone to cracks and you get diesel leaks and hydraulic leaks very hard to fix. The Johndeere 410 and 510 are fairly good machines the 310 is alright its a lighter machine the only problem is you would if you get a older 2wd model you should put low profile tires on the back to reduce the tippyness.

To get a good 2wd backhoe look at spending 25,000 dollars CND a 4x4 30,000 a good excavator is gonna cost you around 30-35,000 depending on year and condition.

01-12-2003, 09:11 PM
Hi Gravel
Appreciate your view re excavators.
Out of interest what size excavator does a backhoe compare with for digging ability? (I'm not sure of the correct term here - is it breakout force?)

Many TIA

01-12-2003, 10:14 PM
Here is the backhoe I use at work. It's an extendahoe, with a thumb. This model is a 580B, older, but a very good machine.

Just click on the link, or copy and past it in the URL box.


That should work, take a look.


Gravel Rat
01-12-2003, 10:23 PM
It all depends on what size of hoe you get but a 580 would have about the same power as a EX-60 maybe a EX-100 Hitachi one contractor I work for they own a 151X Kubota and it digs pretty good its a 11,000lb machine. They also have a 217S JCB rubber tired hoe its got the 4 equal sized wheels it can dig harder than the Kubota but it can't get into the places the Kubota can.

If your doing this project yourself and the time line is no real big concern you may get by using a 580 Case but a contractor wouldn't want to try tackle a good sized landclearing or road building job with a backhoe. A experienced operator makes the maching work to its fullest using a backhoe takes alot of skill they are harder to run over a excavator. When using a backhoe on steep slopes you gotta know how to use the hoe stabilizers etc to keep yourself moving or preventing a flip over.

01-12-2003, 10:42 PM
Hi Gravel,
Thx, so backhoe equates to around a 6-10T machine. OK that should be OK (if a bit slow)
There seem to be more JCB's @ a cheaper price than CASE around here. I'll look up the 151x Kubota.

I gather I should be looking at "breakout force" ?
Is there somewher on www, that lists machines & this value?

As far as slope goes the drive is down and across a 15-18 degree (approx 26-32%). The driveway itself is planned to be 5-6 deg (10%). If I have it planned correctly & start at the top the backhoe should not have to work on anything but a 10deg (front - back) slope and a couple of deg into the face across the driveway.

Am I way of base here?

01-12-2003, 10:46 PM
Hi Coopers,
thx for pic, yhat looks like the sort of machine I'm after.
I'm still researching re "B" vs "K" vs "S" etc. But so far it seems "K" is a bit of a prob re maintenance requirements.

Have you operated an excavator? How would you compare your 580B with an excavator?

Ever formed a road (driveway) across a 15deg (26%) slope? Is it "dooable" or a test of pucker factor?

THX in advance

01-13-2003, 06:11 PM
Fredbear, I have never operated a trackhoe (excavator) before except when I was 10. But anyway....a trackhoe could be some ways, a little faster just because you have a 360 turn compared to a 180 with the backhoe. The drawback is that our machine doesn't have a hydraulic thumb, it's mechanical, moves when the bucket does. A hydraulic thumb is SUCH a nice attachment, for backhoes, it's a lot of work to put in. But a trackhoe without one in my opinion isn't worth having. I personally can work just as fast as someone could with a trackhoe in certain cases, but when it comes to land clearing etc. A trackhoe is much easier and more efficient to use. My boss has gone on some extremely steep slopes, none that I would never do even with tons of experience. He basically will put the stablizers down, swing the hoe out all the way and point it uphill, and go on his way, maybe with some dirt in the hoe bucket. Honestly, I don't have a firm grasp of what a 26% slope looks like, so I couldn't tell you. A trackhoe is nicer to have on slopes, but with the backhoe, you can start using the loader end if you need to. It's a toss up. I guess I need a picture of what you're talking about to really help make a good opinion.


Gravel Rat
01-13-2003, 11:50 PM
Excavators can be tippy especially some minis the most tippiest machine I have ran is the 323 Bobcat mini excavator I rented it to do some work on my parents property. It took me a bit to get used to it if I didn't have previous excavator experience I think the machine would have rolled over. On one part of the road I was working on it was steep enough it didn't want to crawl on its own the rubber tracks are not so good.

I have mostly operated excavators because its all what most of the contractors use for most excavations minis are used for doing septics and working around tight areas.

I can't really picture what you are working on so its hard to tell you what will work the best like Coopers said if you got any pics the better we can help.

01-14-2003, 08:28 PM
Gravel rats right, I forgot about trackhoes being tippy. That's a downside, especially when working on a slope.


01-15-2003, 10:54 PM
I am new to this site but thought I would "toss my hat into the ring". It would be interesting to know what the bid says is being done for the 25K being spent. Fredbear must also know that it will take more than one piece of equipment to complete the job at least as I understand it. Unless he is an experienced operator with a trackhoe, he will need a grader and a loader (backhoe or front end type). The subbase will need to be compacted as well as the gravel topdressing. Depending on soil conditions,a water truck may be needed to get proper compaction. The idea of buying a trackhoe to accomplish this job seems crazy to me. Perhaps a better solution is to have the road built professionally and buy a backhoe or skid steer to complete the landscape portion of the project and sell upon completion. It doesn't sound like a job that should be done by a homeowner to me. Fredbear if you still need to check specs get the "EQUIPMENT WORLD" magazines 2002 spec. guide. It will give you every spec on any machine used that works in the dirt. Good luck with your project.