Picking out a Mini X

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Longhorn Diesel Inc, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. Longhorn Diesel Inc

    Longhorn Diesel Inc LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 17

    Hey all,

    I am going to buy a Mini X in the next couple of weeks and i have narrowed it down to A CAT 303, 303.5 or 304 and a Bobcat 430 with long dipper.
    I am mainly using it for utilities, footers and a septic system now and then.
    I can get the best deal on the Bobcat but I already love my CAT 277 so I am leaning toward the yellow paint. I am going to get some out here for a demo but was just wondering everones opinion...

    Thanks!
     
  2. qps

    qps LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indy
    Posts: 1,484

    I have a new 304 and its a nice machine, take a look at all of them..the TB53R is a good machine also....takeuchi brand.....
     
  3. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,128

    I would go as big as you can that will still allow you to get in the areas you need to work. The bigger mini ex's can get a lot of work done and are not much wider than the smaller machines. I went from a 7500 pound machine to zero tail 12,500 pound machine and it was one of my better business decisions. I can take on the bigger jobs yet still work the smaller stuff. I have had to rent a smaller machine just once because of the size of my 12K machine. If you want a CAT Iron Planet moves a lot of those mini excavators at great prices something you may want to check out.
     
  4. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454

    The 303 is 30 net hp, 7575 lbs, 9' 7" dig depth with a 61" blade. The 303.5 is 39 net hp, 10'3" dig depth, 7' wide blade. The 304 is 42 hp. net, weight is 10,600, almost 11' dig depth, 78" wide blade. The 430 is 42-43 gross hp, 71" wide, 7,800 lbs, with 10' plus digging depth. These are all in the same neighborhood. Like Ksss has mentioned, I think more would be better. The question I would ask: what trailer/towing set up do you already have so you can get a machine and not have to change trailer/towing set up? I would also ask what the narrowest situation is from past jobs for access and throw that into the mix. I personally have a 20,000 lb. machine and do utilities and such and have found it to work out just fine for me........no real access problems to speak of, but your situation may be different. I would go with the biggest machine you can handle with the longest reach possible with the best finance available. Certainly alot to juggle to come to a decision about........
     
  5. Longhorn Diesel Inc

    Longhorn Diesel Inc LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 17

    I can haul 8 tons and up to 81" wide with my current set up. So everything I have been looking at will fit just fine. Right now all the jobs are being done with a case trencher that has a backhoe on the end, so it will fit in many places a mini wont but withe the extra reach, I should be OK. I want to make sure that the machine I get will handle a 3' bucket so I can do septic installs. I also dig footers, so I don't want a slow machine....
     
  6. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,128

    Unless your ground conditions are very easy digging you will struggle with a three foot bucket on anything less than a 304 and even at that it will certainly be slower, especially in heavy material. You would want to demo one with the bucket you want to see how it would work in your ground conditions. A bigger bucket does not necessarily mean getting done faster if you have more bucket than machine. A 2 foot bucket does not prevent you from digging septics I have dug many with a 2' bucket. Our ground conditions are tough and I use a 30" primarily. I also use a 2' when I need to. Assuming your systems are similiar to ours, the biggest issue is having enough dig depth for digging the tank. The lines are not an issue. We are using Quick 4 Infiltrators and with so 2 bucket widths on a 2 foot bucket and your there.
     
  7. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Posts: 4,276

    The older Cats will struggle with the 3foot bucket.
    I spent about 10 hours in a 305 with a 2 foot bucket and it would not handle a 3 foot bucket in the soil here.
    The new C series is supposed too have improved power.
    The smallest machine I demoed that would pull a 3 foot bucket effectivley is a Takeuchi TB145 which is similar too the TB153 in power.

    The new 304 c series is supposed too be equal too what the 305 was in previous years.
    Just demo it with a 3 foot bucket.
     
  8. Longhorn Diesel Inc

    Longhorn Diesel Inc LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 17

    A friend of mine has a CAT 304 and digs many septics with a 3' bucket. He says it will rip through the ground with no problem at all. Also the 430 Bobcat I am looking at was used mainly for septic installs and footers. They said the only reason they traded was because Bobcat came out with the hydrolic bucket changing system.
    I do worry about the Bobcat 430 being big enough but I guess thats what the demo is for. My biggest concern is how will a Bobcat hold up over time compared to a CAT?
    I know when it comes to the skid loaders, I would not have another Bobcat.
     
  9. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    You really should look at Takeuchi's offerings, and the Kubuta KX-161.

    Unless you have an issue buying foreign iron.
     
  10. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,128

    Your concerns maybe warranted. I question BC hydraulic set up. Small plastic tank that continously has to recirculate building heat. There is one on IRON Planet with 2500 hours and a cracked boom. If your serious about a BC you may want to look at the pictures of this one. Of course one machine is not indicitive of all of them. Running a TK as a comparison may not be a bad idea. They have great digging power and are ok speed wise although I think that Bobcat cycles faster. Bobcat cant hold a candle to a comparable TK machine for breakout or crowd force. I compared a 305C to the TK 153FR and they were within hundreds of pounds of each other on breakout. The advantage for me goes to the near zero swing ability of the 153. The CAT cab is prettier to look at than the TK and of course the BC cab is also very pretty. Comes down to what you want to run and what kind of dealers you have in your area.
     

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