Well, while demoing the 2001 Hitachi 160ex that I was planning on buying, the boom broke in half...right above the cab. Now the dealer is telling me he can repair it to be even STRONGER than it was when it was new. Someone else is telling me that when they weld plates onto the boom to repair it, that the metal will be weaker wherever the actual welding takes place due to the heat used. I really like the machine...she only has 3100 hours and seemed fairly tight....well...till the friggen boom broke with a bucket full of dirt in it! For those of you who may be wondering what I was doing when it broke, I was simply digging a foundation in soil with no rock. I am curious to hear from some of you larger excavator salts what your opinions are regarding boom repairs. It is my understanding that boom breaks are more common on larger machines due to the kind of work involved with them. I would also like to know is this: In your opinion, would the boom breaking possibly signify that the machine has been "rode hard and put up wet"? With a used machine, you never know what you are going to get, but the dealer thought enough of this machine to plumb it for a hammer and they were going to put it into its rental fleet. Be brutally honest...and let me know your thoughts!