Cab vs no cab for forestry work?

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Boondox, Feb 4, 2007.

  1. Boondox

    Boondox LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    I live in New England where the weather is often pretty ugly, so on the face of it the decision seems like a no brainer. For reasons of comfort as well as protecting my investment from the elements it seems like a cab is the way to go. I didn't get the cab model on my L4630 for a couple of reasons, though:

    1) I have a low breezeway the tractor can pass under only with the ROPS lowered; a cab would have made that impossible.

    2) One of the primary uses of the tractor is to harvest firewood in our dense hardwood forest using a logging winch; the old timers advised me against going with a cab because they are invariably damaged by branches. In fact, the day I bought my tractor a cab model was returned with a shattered back window and that curved glass is EXPENSIVE!

    Now that I'm in the market for a mini-excavator I'm facing the same decision.

    Pros of a cab: A cab would keep me much more comfortable in the cold and if it's not too hot (can't afford AC) it would keep the black flies and mosquitos at bay. It would also keep the rain, ice and snow off the controls probably adding to the durability of the unit.

    Cons of a cab (for me): They cost an additional $5000 that could be better spent on a more capable model. I could afford a Kubota KX121 without a cab but only a KX91 with a cab. Concerns about damage would make it less manueverable in the forest. My dogs often accompany me and are under voice control, but it's hard to call them from inside a cab. In the summer months without AC (remember I can't afford it) the cab would be like being in one of those coolers in a movie about a POW camp.

    Would you go with a cab...or without and get a bigger piece of equipment?
  2. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    The unit without a cab is made to have the controls exposed to the elements. I would not worry about that degrading the machine. I think you pick the size of the machine by the type of work you need to accomplish. If the KX91 will accomplish the mission you need it for then why consider a 121? If the KX91 is too small that you should not even consider it and go with a 121. The advantage you have with this excavator is that it does not sound like you are doing any commercial work. Therefore you are the driver of the operation not committments to customers or project deadlines. You can avoid running it when the weather is extreme. Which may allow you to go without a cab. Having purchased a large mini excavator without a cab I will not do that again. If I could have that to do over I would gladly have paid the money for the cab. It would have been cheaper in the long run. However our situations are different. Our weather is much more extreme and I don't have any control over when things need to be done. Perhaps you can find a used 121 with a cab, that way you could still get a larger machine and the cab. The cabs can be opened up in the summer. The glass rotates over head and the door locks open and the side windows can be opened. I would either find a used 121 with heat and AC, or wait until you have enough money to properly complete the purchase. Also remember that the money you lay out initially for a cab will come back to you (atleast a good portion of it) at trade in or sale time.
  3. RockSet N' Grade

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

    Its a no brainer for me on this one. What is the difference in payments for $5,000 for a complete cab with heat and air? At 6% for 5 years, it is $96.67.....that's about $3 a day? Is my health, well being, safety and comfort worth $3 a day? Your productivity will go up by being comfortable and out of the elements.....My equipment all have cabs, and come to think of it, so does my pick up and dump truck and automobiles.....why would I want to short change my self in my work environment? I'm worth it, and I think you are too.
    Get the bigger machine with a cab and figure out how to make $3 more a day to pay for the cab.
  4. Boondox

    Boondox LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Well, that would in fact be a no brainer if I was using this for work. But it's going to be used to maintain my 155 acres: repairing logging roads, maintaining ponds and streams, replacing a few old wooden dams with boulder dams, harvesting firewood and stones to rebuild my stone walls, digging trenches around the vehicles of the occasional trespasser. That sort of thing.

    So if conditions are truly awful I always have the option of waiting for a better day.

  5. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    I wouldn't own a machine with a open ROPS even if you bought soft sides for it your better off with a full cab. Its quieter with a full cab your not getting soaked to the azz you have heat you have air conditioning in the summer. You not getting covered in dust you have protection from things flying up at you.

    I seen guys running open ROPS machines with full rain gear on :laugh:
  6. murray83

    murray83 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 347

    Screw that,ever worked in a field or the woods and disturbed a hornets nest?

    I vote cab in the long run its worth the investment.
  7. minimax

    minimax LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 734

    A cab can be the diff. between life and death in a accident! My mini is in the woods allot and saves me allot of the time from tree Branch's and bee nests.

  8. RockSet N' Grade

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

    Work for a neighbor 1 day a month and ask them to pay expenses plus $100 and there is your cab payment. The Rat and Murray gave good points and if that wasn't/isn't enough, Minimax just gave you true words of wisdom in two short sentences.
  9. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    Speaking of bee's nests a excavator operator that I have known for years and is related to me was telling me he was doing a land clearing job and got to this old cedar stump. Started ripping it apart then the wasp nest was disturbed he said it was a big nest. Seen all these bee's flying out so he quickly closed the front window and side door if he didn't he would have been stung to death. He ended up trying to squash the nest while there was bees swarming all over.
  10. TerraFirma Excavating

    TerraFirma Excavating LawnSite Member
    Messages: 163

    Almost the same thing happened to me. I was picking up a old log with my skidsteer and forks when wasps starting swarming out of it. Luckily I was safe and sound in my air conditioned cab. The wasps were slamming into the cab window pretty hard trying to get to me, I'm sure I wold have been stung multiple times. So I just used the forks to split the log in half and smash the nest.

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