9 or 15 ton excavator???

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Alchemy, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Alchemy

    Alchemy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    I am in the market for a larger excavator, I currently own a kubota kx41-3v that I use for pretty much anything it will handle. I have a 18” gp bucket and a 30” ditch bucket. It is great for what it is with the retractable tracks I can get into some pretty tight places but it gets pretty small real quick elsewhere.... I have been renting larger excavators or subbing out when needed. I leave the big jobs to my site contractor but rent everything from 50-80 sized machines when needed.

    I am wanting to purchase but here is my delima: Purchase 9 ton or 15 ton machine???

    Type of work I do: I’m a GC who self performs small cut/fill building pads, landscape/irrigation, backfill/final grade, stormwater drainage, clear and grub.

    Beyond my construction sites I own land that always needs something done. And I don’t even bother bringing the kx41 mini I have out there, as it’s just not made for that kind of work. I currently own a CTL with tree shear/grapple bucket that I do light clearing with.

    as far as towing either machine that brings up another delima. Right now I have a F350 srw psd and my field tech has a gmc 2500hd 6.0 we pull the mini and ctl with a 14K tilt tag trailer or on rare occasion in one of the 14k dump trailers.... my tech is due for a upgrade and if I went with the 9ton machine I would upgrade him to a 20-25k duel tandem gooseneck flatbed with either a F350 or considering a F550 flatbed PU. I’m just not sure where that puts us weight wise.... So pretty much if I bought a 9 ton machine I’d have to also upgrade truck and trailer, but don’t want to fool with med cards, cdl, yada yada... (I try to be legit but I’m in a rural small town and fortunately don’t have to travel for jobs more than 20 miles)

    So with having to upgrade and possibly being in cdl territory I’m just considering getting 15 ton machine and having my site work contractor do the hauling for me. He quoted me $300 per move whether it’s 2 miles or 20, can’t really beat that.

    How much more capable is the 15 ton machine? I build multi family/light commercial so sometimes jobs do get tight others are wide open... obviously reach/depth/capacity will be greater.

    Here is a list of tasks I’m wanting to do with either machine:
    Dig mainline
    Clear and grub
    Load trucks
    Grade slope
    Pretty much anything you’d do with a ex on site or on a ranch

    Either machine will have to have the following:
    Hyd coupler
    Hyd thumb(would like progressive link, defiantly on 15 ton machine
    GP bucket and ditch bucket
    Min tail swing

    9 ton machine I’m considering is the Takeuchi tb180fr/280/290
    Kubota kx080

    15 ton
    Deere 135 C or D zts
    Cat 314 c or D
    Komatsu 138
    Dealers are all about the same....

    80,000 budget
  2. Junior M

    Junior M LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,686

    I had a long reply for this, but there’s no perfect machine. Buy what fits you now and you’ll be on the hunt for another machine to compliment this one.

    I bought a 60g that I could move easily and I’m now on the hunt for a 15ton machine because let’s face it, I’m not lugging the 15ton machine around to move water services. Or back fill curb..
  3. hort101

    hort101 LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from S.E. New England
    Messages: 16,099

    You probably already need a dot medical card
    Over 26 k is CDL . :weightlifter:

    Some states 10 k is Max for a non CDL trailerThumbs Up

    Imo get the truck you need to safely and legally haul whatever size machine fits your jobs
    Walker56 likes this.
  4. Bigred350

    Bigred350 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 863

    I would buy the 9 ton. You should be able to do 90% of your jobs with it. And be able to haul it yourself. If you need a bigger machine from time to time the rent or hire it out.

    Paying someone to haul a big machine will get expensive quickly.
    hort101 likes this.
  5. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,185

    You don’t have a good excavator until you have an ex60
    Biggest you can get with rubber tracks is what I say

    Gawd I luv the ex 60
    It’s the right everything
  6. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,147

    9 ton for starters, my dad ran a pair of 8 ton units for 25 years and always kept busy with work that wasn't suited for a mini or a 15 ton or larger.
    hort101 likes this.
  7. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,226

    I agree I would do the 9 ton machine. No machine will do it all, but by the sounds of what you do this size machine would cover the majority of your work. The Taki 9 ton is one of the best in the industry in my opinion. The WN ET90 is right there with it.
  8. Alchemy

    Alchemy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    Thanks for all the replies. The more I consider a larger machine it sounds good from a production stand point but it also comes with added cost of upgrading truck/trailer or paying a local hauler on every move which would be inconvenient.....

    I have now considered selling my kx41-3v machine and purchasing a 5-6ton machine. I have the equipment to tow a machine that size already, would be small enough but still have enough grunt to do small clearing, trenching, grading, drainiage etc....

    Machines im looking at are:
    Takeuchi TB153FR
    Cat 305
    Bobcat E50
    Kubota U55

  9. Junior M

    Junior M LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,686

    I’d try John Deere if the dealer is an option.
  10. bobcat_ron

    bobcat_ron LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,147

    Buy a machine based on how well the AC system works in the summer. Don't buy a Deere in other terms.
    BrandonV likes this.

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