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grading with a mini-ex?

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by CutRight, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. CutRight

    CutRight LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 257

    Im in the process of buying a mini-excavator (Kubota 161-3) and the job im planning to demo the machine on may require some grading and swaling to be done to capture runoff water in the drainage system to be installed. Im posting to see if it is even possible or how well this machine and its front blade could be used to do this type of grading. or is it necessary to use a dozer.
  2. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    You can grade with the 161 decently. Certian models have 4-way blade on them instead of a 2 way, which would help.

    You could also hold a big steel I-beam in your bucket and grade with that. Works quite well.
  3. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    With mini excavators being so short they follow the contours of the ground you can do as Jon says get a chunk of H beam grab the top flange with the buck and thumb. You can try use the clean up bucket to grab the beam you might need the digging bucket to have some grip.

    Building the swails shouldn't be that hard depending on how hard the ground is you can use the heal of the bucket to create the swail.

    The blades on mini's are more for backfilling than grading. The 161 has good pushing power not so sure about the rubber tracked models as the one I used is on steel track.
  4. Planet Landscaping

    Planet Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 607

    My 121-3 With angleblade does a great job grading.
  5. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,129

    There are buckets available that are similiar to clean out buckets that articulate, although I don't have one I think they would be perfect for cutting grade. Using the front blade on the miniex, I find too slow to grade with. Mine is a large mini so my issues with the short length are not as bad as the smaller ones but it just takes too long. Only if the ground conditions are too wet for a skid steer or too steep do I use the mini to grade with. I usually bring the large clean out bucket and grade with it before I will use the blade in most applications.
  6. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    I'm the same way, I only grade with the excavator if I can't get the skid on the terrain due to mud/grade or if the skid steer isn't on site at all. I usually just use the cleanup bucket when grading with the mini ex if it's a small area.

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,426

    That is why the 6-1 blades on our 257's are the most versatile hunk of iron in the toy box. They take alot of getting used to in order to control them, but once you learn the moves, the 257 will do things our D-3 will not, and vise-versa of course.

    I could not imagine how long and how awkward it would be even on the smallest yard with a mini X, but hey, if that is the tool you have in the box, you gotta try right?
  8. vntgrcr

    vntgrcr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    Bill, would you mind relaying what you paid in your neck of the world for the blade. I have a large grading job coming up and have been considering renting a small dozer, using my 257 as is or getting a blade for the 257. What size/depth of bite/ cut can you make with that setup? Is your machine a turbo motor? Just looking for some insight from someone who has done it and know's what they are talking about. Thanks

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,426


    We have one Bradco, and one Caterpillar 6 way. The Cat blade was not available at the time we bought the Bradco. Both are just as good overall, the Cat blade will cut a little better on a side angle.

    Cost for both were in the $5500.00 range. What are you trying to do with your blade? that will tell me weather or not you can get by with the blade, or need to rent a D-3. Without a doubt, tthe D-3 is more productive, but, it can't side slope the 2-1's we do with the 257. We have used the 257's for grading of a large for this area property (1 acre with 2-1 slopes built as code) we dug 5' deep under where the foundation pad was going and compacted the soil to 90%, then graded and leveled off the pad. The machine was a tad small at the time, but all we had available when that job needed to be done, and it worked well.

    Depth of bite will vary upon soil hardness. It is not going to push like a steel tracked dozer, nor will any other rubber tracked machine. It will work at a lower production rate and you will get your job done unless you have too much task for the size machine you have on the job.

    The 257 uses a 57HP Perkapillar turbo charged engine. If I had one wish, I wish I could put a 287 engine in the 257, but in all reality, it has enough power to do everything we have expected the machine to do.

    So, i can't be of much help unless i know what you are setting off to accomplish by using a 6-1 on a 257.
  10. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 837

    AaaHa!..is that like the 3044 Catsubishi in my machine:rolleyes:

    The first thing people notice about my machine is just how much grunt it has. I know the tracks put power to the ground more effectively but I just can't imagine being without that 3044.

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