Need opinions on Cat 308 excavators...

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by thepawnshop, Feb 27, 2006.

  1. thepawnshop

    thepawnshop LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 387

    After the boom broke on the Hitachi 160 I was demoing, I am back to the drawing board for an excavator. I know the 308 lacks alot of the size of the 160, but I can get a good one used for around 40k and it comes with the offset boom option and zero tailswing to boot. If I go with a machine of this size and type, I may sell my JD 35D mini.

    I would like to hear any opinions regarding the CAT 308 if possible, before I pull the trigger. BTW...the local CAT dealer wants 62k for one with 1100 hours and an individual wants 38k for one with 3300 hours. Any thoughts regarding hours would be nice as well.

  2. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 837

    Hey Doug, I'll be following this thread with interest as its likely we will up size our Kubota KX 161 to a compact radius 8 tonne machine in the next 12 months. According to some websites those prices are not outrageous for low hour machines. It appears low hours would be 1000-1200 hrs or less. I don't think 3000 is a lot for a machine of that size but it depends more on how its been used or abused. 6000 hrs is considered major overhaul time on a mini and probably the end of the road for many. A 308 makes the break across into the mid sized machines and most operators I talk to want 10 to 12K hrs out of their machines before getting serious with the spanners.

    Track condition is a biggey. Good Luck
  3. thepawnshop

    thepawnshop LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 387

    Thanks, Squizz...the local CAT dealer caled me a few moments ago...said he just sold one with 1100 hours for 58k. I like that 38k figure much looks like at this rate each increment of one thousand hours has equalled ten thousand dollars.

    OK, you guys who buy used equipment...are 3-4,000 hours ok for a used machine in this weight class? BTW...the John Deere dealer is trying to get me into an 80C with 4000 hours for 41k....but I really like the stats on the CAT.
  4. mastercraft

    mastercraft LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    I bought a Komatsu PC-75UU1 about a year and a half ago with 3200 hours and have had zero problems so far. Everything works, no leaks, nice clean machine. It has rubber tracks that I thought were on their last leg, but have hung in there fine so far, hopefully to be replaced with steel before this summer. I paid $18,000 for it from an equipment dealer. I would'nt be afraid of those hours on that machine at all. Mine has the ztr, and offset boom as well, and I absolutely love them. Good luck with your purchase!
  5. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    First off, the 80C isn't zero radius swing, so it's really not in the same league as the 308CCR, but it's close. Plus, I wouldn't give them $41K for that machine with 4,000 hours given your market prices.

    3,000-4,000 hours isn't a lot of hours for this piece, but how it was treated makes the difference. Would you rather have a machine with 2,000 hard hours or 4,000 "easy" or well taken care of hours. It's about like buying a car. I would take a higher mileage car for less money as long as I knew it was taken care of well beyond what was required by the manufacturer. I'll use myself as an example. I bought a 98 Audi A4 at the end of last summer after the sale of my maintenance business. I had 2 options: 1) buy an older car with under 80,000 miles, as at 80,000 miles $1,500 worth of work needs to be done (waterpump, timing belt, etc.) 2) buy a newer model year car with over 95,000 miles that I knew had the timing belt and water pump changed, otherwise the car would have blown up. I found one, bought it, and haven't looked back. I got it for a fair price and I knew the service record was impeccable. I find it's the same for equipment. If you find something with more hours, you can tell by looking at service records and the machine itself what kind of life it has had.

    I know that when I get into excavation, whenever that may be, I'm not going to be able to afford anything with less than about 7K hours. So inspection is going to be key and having $3-4K in the bank as a precautionary measure for breakdowns is going to be the route I take.
  6. thepawnshop

    thepawnshop LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 387

    Well, my father in law is strongly against me buing a machine from an out of state dealer based on pictures alone. I really respect his opinion, mainly because he recently retired from the construction equipment resale business (he managed the whole operation which had offices in several states). I am torn. Of course, the seller tells me he has babied the machine, but it (the machine) is in Wisconsin and I am in Virginia. His thoughts are, if it gets here it could be a total lemon. He thinks I should wait and buy a used machine locally and preferrably from a licensed dealer. Of course, that will set me back about another 20k.

    If any of you are curious about what I am looking at, here is a link to it:

    Take a look and give me your thoughts!
  7. thepawnshop

    thepawnshop LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 387

    Also, is there any way to avoid buying someone elses 'headache"? Meaning, how the heck do you avoid buing a lemon, short of always buying new? Is htere some type of service where you can pay an unbiased party to do a "pre inspection" prior to purchase?
  8. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    If you are going to buy a machine out of your area your best bet is go take a drive or a flight to look at it. Its far cheaper than buying something from picture and get it and the thing is a piece of crap.

    As for that style boom on that Cat try to avoid it one contractor here has a 312 Cat with the same style boom he says it adds too much weight above center. If he had a choice he wouldn't buy a machine like that again its too top heavy. He said if your not carefull you could roll backwards on a slope.

    I would also buy the lowest hour machine you can afford why buy a half worn out machine.

    Don't let anybody talk you into a Komatsu I would stick with Deere,Hitachi or Kobelco or you can go drain your wallet Yellow (Cat).

    Also stick with a 16 ton machine if you are excavating you go any smaller than it takes longer to-do jobs.

    One of the contractors I know bought a Hitachi Zaxis 75 its his mini machine but he can't do with out the 160 Deere which is only a year old and close to 1/2 paid for.

    Keep searching you can find a perfect machine for you don't let the boom falling off the Deere scare you away from Deeres they are a tough machine.
  9. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,129

    Gravel Rat touched on my point. If your buying an excavator to dig foundations I wouldn't waste time with a machine that small. It can be done and have done it with my 12K machine but it will be slow. I would not go any smaller than a 120-130 size machine. I am contemplating a Case CX160 it has 1500 hours with a thumb for 70K. I would really ponder what you want your excavator to do. Unless your only digging crawl spaces, you wont have enough machine. I am currently renting excavtors to dig the foundations. The smallest machine I prefer is a 160. The basements here are almost universally 9' walls which puts them about 8' in the gound and they range from 2K square feet and up. That is a lot of material to move. Combined with the fact that with a smaller machine you will need to bail dirt out of your way a second time because of lack of boom length. Something to think about.
  10. DKinWA

    DKinWA LawnSite Member
    Posts: 76

    The machine you linked to is a gray market machine. There cost is almost always lower than a similar north american model. Some say parts are harder to get and others say the parts are all the same. I know a guy with a broke down gray hitachi and it'll stay that way because the part he needs costs more to make than the machine is worth. If you can't afford to risk your money, I'd be very careful if you buy a gray market machine.

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