View Full Version : Anyone used a Bobcat B-Series B300 on hills?

06-18-2004, 12:31 AM

Anyone ever used this one a hill before? I think this is what I'm gonna rent for a few days while I do this retaining wall project. I've gotta go down this hill right here, I think it's about 25* or so.

The bucket will be loaded with bags of concrete, rebar, and backfill dirt. I will be driving from that rod iron fence (taking out the fence) and driving down the materials to the bottom of that picture. (That pile or dirt will be removed by the way.


The excavator is the Bobcat B300.


I want something thats very rugged because I will be spending two days down in an extremely rocky creek bed prepping the base and moving around gabian rocks and such. So, I personally feel this will be a much wiser choice than a mini-excavator.

So, I know I will be using that excavator for sure, but would a tracked skid steer model be a better choice for constantly moving up and down that hill? Thanks guys!!

Moe Fish
06-18-2004, 09:39 AM
Um I hate to sound like a smart a$$ (ok I realy don't)

but here it goes you have a bobcat and a big pile of dirt. You can make the slope what ever you want it to be right?

D Felix
06-18-2004, 10:03 AM
That pile of dirt isn't large enough to do jack-squat with as far as changing the grade of the hill.

It may be a PITA to switch from one machine to the other, but personally I would be using the mini-ex and the skidsteer. Just the fact that you can swing 360 degrees with a mini-ex makes them worthwhile to me. Get a tracked skidsteer too. You will probably like that method better than the B300, it has a higher center of gravity, thus, higher pucker factor on the hill. A tracked machine will be more stable.

Just my $.02 worth.:)


Moe Fish
06-18-2004, 11:13 AM
you would not need to change the whole hill. Just make a ramp so to speak to drive up and down while loaded then finish cleaning up the pile/ramp

06-18-2004, 12:42 PM
Haha, yah, if I changed the whole hill, then I'd have to clean it back up as well. No thanks! Good idea D Felix, but I'm running across of tons of gabian rocks in the base of the creek (cant see it in the picture), but would a tracked mini-ex still be able to drive through all those rocks and such?

06-18-2004, 12:45 PM
D Felix, is this the mini-ex?


If I took that thing down in this creek bed, I'd flip right over. Do you have any pics of model numbers of some better ones? Thanks again!

06-18-2004, 08:59 PM
That hill doesn't look too bad to me. You could use a skidsteer if you don't rush and follow the directions. Put the heavy side downhill. Figure you're not going to go down that hill with an overloaded bucket either. Take it little by little!

06-18-2004, 10:58 PM
That is a little more mini then Felix was talking about. I have used them down in creek beds and on rocks with no control problems. You can use the arm for stabilization and to "pull" the machine if needed.

Keep in mind working down in water may bring up some erosion / contaimination concerns.

06-19-2004, 02:26 AM
The creek bed is dry, so water issues won't be a problem. It only fills with water when the customer gets heavy rains, and rips away their backyard, so they need some retention, and soon. It's not everyday you have a customer calling you a few times a week asking when I can get started on a 10k project. Any pictures of a min-ex?

06-19-2004, 01:10 PM
I would use something like this.


06-19-2004, 01:32 PM
ASL Rc-50 would be good. It has rubber tracks and a lot of power. The B300 looks like you would roll it.

06-19-2004, 07:42 PM

Skidsteer saftey 101.... When traveling up or down slopes with machinery we always keep the heavy end uphill. Skidsteers with loaded buckets the heavy end is the bucket end, when the bucket is unloaded the heavy end is the back end. This often means backing downhill with fully loaded buckets and backing uphill with empty buckets thereby preventing Bobcat summersaults.

Safety first, Quality always, Productivity a must.

06-20-2004, 12:42 AM

I was thinking of dumping a heavy bucket half way up a hill. Instantly changing the heavy end to the light end, that could suck!



06-20-2004, 01:08 AM
Ok, I don't think these mini ex's can handle the terrain in the creek bed. I'm going to need something with 4 individual wheels (4wd too to excavate). I'll try to get all the excavating done in one day so I only have to pay for one day of rental. After than I'm just gonna use a tracked skid steer loader thing. I'm gonna go by the Holt Cat Rental place Monday morning when they open up to get some estimates on rental cost. I need to get a forklift attachment, and then a loader bucket. How much am I looking at per day for a loader (a yard bucket) and a fork-pallet attachment?

06-20-2004, 08:53 AM

That would work too so long as the bucket is is half full before you crest the hill. It is at the point when the front wheels start on the downhill path that the machine is most likely to tip. In many situations half loads could very well be the only safe way to get the job done. I just wanted to make sure it was understood that the heavy end goes to the high side when moving on slopes and that the heavy end changes with loaders. As long as I am on my little safety rant anyway I will also mention that we should travel straight up and down the slope never across. Work safe my friend.

06-20-2004, 10:13 AM
I definately think that you are going to want tracks over wheels. Based on experience I cannot fathom a rocky terrain that wheels will be an advantage. Individual wheels are going to allow you to get high centered or possibly get stuck with a rock between the wheels. I have seen this happen. A tracked vehicle will be able to crawl and pull itself and give you a much more stable platform. Just my thoughts.

Got a picture of the creek?

I would probably even get a tracked skid to go up and down the hill. No matter what after a couple passes the lawn will be hurting and the tracked will again give you more stability and traction.

D Felix
06-20-2004, 12:09 PM
Here's a picture of the "mini"-ex I was talking about. Though you may not want an "E" version. This is a Bobcat 331E, the "E" meaning "extension". For what you are doing, a 331 or 334 would be fine, a hydraulic thumb may be a good attachment consideration for picking up rocks that may be in your way. It may not be too clear in the picture, but the back end of the machine is 3' in the air, and only about 1/2 of the tracks are on the ground. That's major pucker factor for a new operator, but it's very stable. If you know what you are doing, you can put the mini-ex's in about any position you want....

It's much easier to change the center of gravity and shift weight with a mini-ex than it would be with the B300. All you have to do is raise or lower the boom, and/or rotate the cab some, and you have more or less wieght on one set of tracks versus the other. I've been doing it a lot here lately at home, I just dug out for new footers under my existing sunroom this week! I'll post pics sometime when they get developed....

Anyway, without seeing the creek, my first thought is still to use a mini-ex. Now, if the rocks are 2' diameter, then it's a whole 'nother ball game. You won't be able to get a B300 in there, let alone a mini-ex. That's when it's time for plan "B", i.e.- a large crane!

Now, for the discussion on which way to drive up and down a hill, with a skidsteer, tractor, or anything with a bucket, the bucket should always be downhill! If you start to tip forwards, it's better to drop the lip of the bucket and loose the load. YOU CAN ROLL BACKWARDS if the bucket is empty and uphill. I've seen it happen. Point is, backUP hill, drive down hill. And always, ALWAYS carry the load low!


06-20-2004, 02:32 PM
As fas as the excavator goes...the wider the tracks the more stabilty you will have..i would go for a 7 - 10# machine minimum.....when going down the hill with the ex use the arm as a brace incase yoou tip foward a little....also tracks are mandatory when working in a creek...tires will slip and get stuck.....definatly go with two machines....if you get an ex that is large enuff you might be able to move piles of dirt up hill without having to move the machine, just center it between top and bottom of the hill scoop and swing your boom....this looks like a high liability job as far as safety please charge extra for the propery machinery and extra time.....there is no dollar amount for a human life.....


06-20-2004, 03:04 PM
I will be going through terrain like this...


Gotta be able to fit through that far end there on this next pic.

I think I wanted wheels to be safe getting down into the creek, but I see how a track would be better once I'm down there.


What about this???? Can I excavate from the top of the creek bed? I I know an excavator would EASILY be able to reach down 6', so is is easy to dig down over the edge so I can get a level base? Like, in those pics, just plop the machine on the edge and drop the arm over the edge???

Can I just roughly dig it out and then level it out with topsoil for the base (after compacting that is)? ANd drop the topsoil over with the bobcat skid steer loader the next day.

Oh man, that's a much better idea. Thoughts please.

D Felix
06-20-2004, 07:24 PM
Based on those two pics, there's nothing there that couldn't stop a mini-ex. But I haven't seen the site in person....

And, yes, you can excavate from up above. It's easier in fact. Most of the mini-ex's on the market today have the ability to fold the boom flat to one side of the machine for added flexibility. The pic I posted previously shows what I mean.

Can you operate a mini-ex? I only ask since it doesn't sound like you have used one much.... Sounds like you need to hire me for the job. Pay my airfare and all.:p


06-20-2004, 07:45 PM
No, I've never used one. But i pick up things really fast. I just have to excavate 125 feet in one day. Doesnt sound too hard, I think I can just learn on the spot. Oh Dan, the reason why it would be hard to get the mini-ex down in the creek is I've got to crawl down a 6 foot hill at 45* or so, and then drive across all of this broken brush, and 1-2' ledges. I'm just afraid of tipping over trying to get down in there, that's all. I do like my life (besides being in all these car accidents). hehe.

Anyways, when the CAT rental place opens up, I'm gonna get some quotes on some machinery. On my bid, do I need to markup the equipment any (besides the time it takes me to clean it, and pickup/return it)? Seeing how I'm renting, I don't really have any maint cost on it.

D Felix
06-21-2004, 09:01 PM
Make sure you figure in damage waiver (if applicable), tax, fuel, etc. on rented equipment. Here, tax is 6%, damage waiver is usually 5%. Our Bobcat dealer requires either a certificate of insurance showing coverage for rental equipment, or we must purchase an insurance policy from them (15% of rental, OUCH!). Find out what policies are in place. Don't forget about delivery and pickup charges, usually they work out to be much cheaper to have the equipment delivered than to go pick it up. That, of course, depends on how far away you are from the rental yard....

Don't be afraid to mark up equipment 25% or so, to cover any unforeseen problems.

Something I need to add to the tips and tricks thread; if you are planning on a week or so for the job, figure the price for rentals as 5 (or 6) one day rentals. That will CYA in case of rain outs, etc.... Anything over a week, figure on weekly rates.

I'd still rather have a mini-ex in the terrain you describe as opposed to a backhoe. You can use the boom to help to lower yourself down the hills, and also to lift yourself up onto ledges, etc. It may be slightly slower than you may like, but it will be more stable.

Also, I would bet dollars to donuts that the learning curve for the mini-ex will be faster than for a backhoe. Mini-ex's are so much faster to position than backhoes, not to mention that you can swing 360*, as opposed to less than 180* for most hoes. Plus, the ex's are easier to operate, they have excavator controls, versus most hoes having hoe controls. What that means is you will only be moving your wrists and hands most of the time, as opposed to your whole arms.

Pucker factor will be high, whether you use a mini-ex or a backhoe. I won't lie to you about that! Once you figure out the tricks with a mini-ex, you can go many, many, many more places with one than you could ever even HOPE to get to with a hoe. I can take an ex up and down 2' ledges without a problem. You CAN'T do that with a backhoe. At least not easily.

Whatever you end up getting, run it some at the top of the hill. If you get a mini-ex, let me know, I can try to describe the process for going up and down ledges.


06-21-2004, 09:49 PM
No but I have used a S185 on flat land.

Sorry, I just couldn't resist. Sorry for the stupid humor, its the only thing that keeps me sane some days.

06-22-2004, 12:34 AM
Hey, continue this talking on this URL:


I'm getting a CAT 326B skid steer, and a Cat 302.5 Excavator.

I figured in delivery and insurance and stuff for it. But I forgot about gas for the bid.

Take a look at what I've got on there so far. And mind this is just the material cost, havent figured up labor. I think I'm gonna x3 for final cost.