Mini Excavator help wanted

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by xtreem3d, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    Hi Guys,
    i am looking at some mini's and want to know what are some things i would want to make sure it has. For example being able to use a thumb,breaker, wrist , quick release bucket ect. Is there a year cutoff that most mini's wouldn't have this? anything else I might consider.(cab is not important) The budget at this point is pretty low at $13,500.00 max
    PS is 3rd valve same as aux hyd's?
    something like this
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  2. TomG

    TomG LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 674

    If this will be your first mini, get a basic machine, digging bucket and grading bucket. You can worry about all the fancy attachments later. Rent them now, when you need them. Especially seeing your low budget. There really isn't a cut off year for those attachments you mentioned. You can put a quick attach on a 30 year old machine if you really wanted. Not exactly sure what 3rd hydraulics are but if i had to guess... if you look at the pictures to that machine, look at the 3rd picture. There is one hydraulic line on that side and if you look at the first picture there is regular aux hydraulics, so the "3rd hyd" is probably that one line on the one side. What its for? I have no idea, never seen it before, but its obviously for some attachment.

    Personally I would never buy a mini without a thumb. Its way to useful not to have. The first time you have to stack brush or pick something up you will realize you should have gotten a machine with one.
  3. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,623

    Most machines can be plumbed regardless of the year.

    My neighbor has an ancient excavator, about a 10,000# machine. And it runs perfect and gets the job done.

    When buying a used machine check all the bushings on the boom and the blade, they do wear out. Check the hoses. There's a trillion hoses under that housing. Hydro hoses aint cheap to replace.

    If the machine was used heavily for breaking concrete - it's endured alotta vibrating and banging around, etc. Would probably be best to pass on it.

  4. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,665

    ^ good advice
  5. scagrider22

    scagrider22 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,272

    I had a $13,500 excavator and Im going to reccomend you either buy a new one or rent! It seemed like my old Bobcat blew a hose once a month. Buying a new 6-ton excavator sounded like a huge expense at first but we are getting jobs done much faster and we are taking on jobs that I would not have done before. It has also opened up a lot of winter work, Ive been busy digging footers for commercial buildings at $100 per hour when I normally wouldnt be working at all.
  6. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,623

    Keyword: Bobcat



    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. scagrider22

    scagrider22 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,272


    99% of minis at that price point are junk.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. SDLandscapes VT

    SDLandscapes VT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 581

    $13,500 really isn't enough to fish in the pond, though you might find a hidden gem in a barn somewhere.

    DVS mentioned something on here a while back about renting excavators and at first it went down a bit sideways with me then I looked back at our jobs for the last season where we used an excavator and honestly we didn't rent any one machine enough to make a purchase worthwhile---but we used an excavator almost every week. Size is a huge concern with an excavator and it isn't one size fits most. Just make a good arrangement with your local rental place and encourage them to keep a full range of machines in stock and you will always have a well maintained machine of the right size for your job that you don't have to worry about paying for through the winter. Our rental yard has one 17, four 35's, one 45 w/cab, heat, & wrist, two 55's, and one 100. Everything has a thumb and two buckets except the 17-and we are working on them to get a 27 for the rental fleet as this would probably end up being the machine we rent the most.

    I would hold my money if I was you...
  9. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,623

    Excavators and Powerstroke diesels go hand in hand - they're ego things.

    If you ever look closely in your travels as you pass by highway construction jobs - you'll see many of the excavators have rental company / lease company stickers on them. if you make it a point to look you'll see what I mean.

    I've written on here before about my buddy that owns an excavating company. Has everything from track loaders, dozers, skid steers, rollers, trench compactors, end dumps, etc. But they don't own any excavators! He told me "it's never the right size, either too big or too small, so when we need an excavator we rent one on a monthly basis" (monthly rates are lower).

    The problem with used equipment is used equipment can be hard to buy at low prices. This is because much of the used equipment is sold at auction for outlandish prices, loaded into sea containers, and shipped overseas. Heck, I just sold a KTM 50cc dirt bike that is enroute to Bolivia.
  10. vtscaper

    vtscaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 159

    mostly good advice so far... idont fully agree with the ego comment but I see the point DVS is trying to make.

    I think if you are using one almost every week for similar tasks then its time to buy. However unless you can afford the payment of a new one...which are typically overpriced....then it can be a painstaking process to find a good deal on a quality used machine that fits within whatever parameters you have.

    I searched for almost two years before i purchased my gently used CAT 304. I ended up paying nearly half of the cost of a new one and it was/is just like new.

    Same for our 257 we have...i drove to KENTUCKY for the right deal after looking for a year.

    I would have to say If I were you I would give yourself another 6 months or year to look and save save save so you can spend at least 25-35k and you should be able to find something quality.

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