bobcat 331 good choice?

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Wing 97, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. Wing 97

    Wing 97 LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Posts: 62

    Looking to buy Bobcat 331 excavator. Rented one last summer to dig foundation for garage. Seemed to do the job. How does it compare to other brands? I'm pretty happy with my s175 skid steer but I don't want to be blind to other brands. I've been offered a rental unit for $31500 with 275 hrs on the meter. Its equiped with enclosed cab, heat, and a/c. Any input would help.
     
  2. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    Welcome to the site :waving:

    I would try a few other brands before you settle on Bobcat brand mini excavators the ones I have ran I wasn't impressed with them. I would also check out Kubota and to make the Cat freaks happy :laugh: check out Caterpillar also you should look at Takeuchi.
     
  3. qps

    qps LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indy
    Posts: 1,484

    Cat freaks...thanks GR:usflag:
     
  4. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    I suppose I'm a Cat freak. $70K worth of new Cat iron and counting....
     
  5. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    Or I could put it the people that are Cat Yellow Blind :D

    More towards the posted question I'am not so sure about Bobcat mini's sure they make good skid steers but they are kinda new to the excavator market so to speak.

    So before you slap down any money on the table go and try a few brands and see what works the best for you. Having a dealer close to you is nice especially when it comes to ordering parts or having a service man come to do repairs.

    Some of these guys here are very Cat bias they breath,sleep,dream and drool over Cat equipment.
     
  6. Wing 97

    Wing 97 LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Posts: 62

    Bobcat dealer 10 miles away, extremely helpful. What should I expect the price difference should be if I went yellow for a comproble size machine? What are the performance advatages or is it just preference?
     
  7. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    Well, our biggest jump for Cat is SERVICE. Everyone who buys Cat will tell you that's why they did and it's the service. Just wait for Uniscaper to post here, I'm sure he'll post some horror stories of other brands and why he has switched to Cat exclusively. Don't get us confused with large excavation contractors, but as landscapers when our equipment isn't running, we don't make money. Uptime and service is key, even if you are your own mechanic. If you can't get the parts you need, when you need them, there's no point even owning the machine. With all that said, Cat certainly isn't the best machine for everyone. These days, it comes down to dealer service because the machines, between Deere, Hitachi, Cat, Komatsu, Case, Kobelco, etc., aren't all that different. They all are within a 3-5% productivity numbers and a bad operator could make a perfect machine run underproductive, it's just that simple.

    With all that said, the Bobcat 331 looks to be an excellent machine. I'm assuming it's the current model series? $31,500 seems on par for the machine, we actually looked at a used 331 with cab before we bought our 303, but our Bobcat dealer isn't so good. To get a used 303CR with cab, heat, and A/C to be comparable with the 331 in hours/condition, it's going to cost about $4K more I'd say, probably around $34-35K. If the compact radius is worth anything to you, that might be something to ask yourself. I know for what we use our machine for it's absolutely unquestionable that we require a zero tail swing machine about 80% of the time. I hope that helped answer some of your questions.

    Performance wise, the 303CR is about 400 pounds heavier than the 331, not sure if that makes any difference. Another concern of mine with the 331 is that it must burn a TON of fuel with a 40HP engine. Cat gets away with respectable numbers on the 303CR with 14 less HP so that's something to consider as well.
     
  8. Wing 97

    Wing 97 LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Posts: 62

    Thanks Scag48

    All of comments are a big help. I'm trying to stay around 7000 to 8000 pound machine so I don't have purchase a trailor in addition. I am hoping a 331 will be big enough to tackle reasonably sized stumps, trenches, and the occassional small foundation productivly. I'm I fooling myself?
     
  9. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,131

    I had a 7500 pound IHI 35J for 4 years and did a lot of work with it. Great little excavator. I currently have a 12 thousand pound Takeuchi. To me the jump in weight class has increased my capability enormously. However you need to look at what you want to do with it as well. The 10-12K machines are a little more difficult to trailer but the few cons are well worth the many benefits. I would run as many machines as you can find in your area no matter what color they are. You may be surprised at what features you like best.
     
  10. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    A 7,000 pound excavator will do more than you think. As ksss mentioned, you will be more capable with a 10-12K machine, but trailering can be an issue for some and you really have to ask yourself if you need a machine that large. We looked into a 304/305CR and stepped back, figured it was too much machine for the jobs we do. Don't kid yourself, these smaller machines can swing with the big boys. I dug a 35x60 pad for a pool on a slope for a friend, the top cut was 14 feet down with our 303CR in about 12-13 hours. I was amazed at what this little machine can do. I could have rented a 312, but I would have had to crawl up a 45 degree slope below the pool as that was the only access for a big machine and gotten the job done in about half the time, but our little 303 handled it and that's all that matters.
     

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