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Excavator Boom Repair Question


LawnSite Senior Member
Roanoke, VA
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!

Gravel Rat

LawnSite Fanatic
British Columbia
The boom must have had crack in it and it finally let go. I'am still unsure where the boom broke you said above the cab so it broke around where the lift cylinders are on the boom ?

As for repair if it broke completely off replace the boom with another one or a new one you can't repair the boom very well if it broke in the curved part of the boom. Hitachi excavators are good don't let this sour you on them all excavator booms get cracks. I have a feeling this machine you have has been beat on a little bit before you bought it. Do you know if its ever had a rock breaker on it ?

When we grease machines we are inspecting the boom as we grease looking for potential problems like cracks. If you catch them early enough you can Vee them out and weld them back up. Once the steel has ripped then you will have one h*ll of a time trying to repair it. To fix the boom properly you would have to take it off the machine put it on a concrete floor which you can level both pieces and square them up.

If you are taking the boom off you might aswell stick a used boom back onto the machine. With out pictures to see how severe the damage its hard to tell how hard it would to fix your problem.

Like I said cracks in booms is usually from rough treatment you never know what has happened to it before you got it.


LawnSite Fanatic
i would look hard at the machine if it broke how tight is the rest of the machine?
be glad no-one was hurt when it broke
as for welding it is the dealer going to warrenty it and for how long
send out an oil sample if u can to see how whooped the engine is
was the machine repainted befor u got near it if so run from it


LawnSite Fanatic
Marysville, WA
I would be questioning the integrity of the rest of the machine after seeing a boom break in half. You really have to hammer the piss out of a machine to snap a boom in half. I would pay someone to check that baby out or it might be best to just look for another machine.


LawnSite Fanatic
Rigby, Idaho
Hitachi has historically had issues with boom strength. Like others have said the rest of the machine should really be scrutinized now. Remember that hour meters don't tell much of a story. If you still want the machine, I would never allow it to be patched. The cost of that patch in terms of resale will kill you regardless of how strong it may or may not be. For me it would be a new or used boom in good condition or nothing. Perhaps this is why the excavator was priced so cheap? Do not take a patched boom excavator ( unless it is unbelieveably cheap).


LawnSite Member
pawnshop, if you give me a few more details, i can contact a friend who owns a large and sucessful welding shop specializing in mobil and heavy equipment repair, and see what his oppinions are in terms of repair vs. replace, just post whatever details you have on here and ill get his opinion.