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Time for an excavator

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Scag48, Apr 5, 2005.

  1. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Well guys, my dad said last night that if we could possibly justify an excavator this year, he'd look into buying one. I think he's realized that we could use one on just about every job we do, but for us it's too much of a hassle to go rent, plus the expense. Sure I could go rent a machine for $200 a day and that sounds cheap, but it's like our skid steer. Some days you just don't have time to run them all day and if you rent the machine, it's costing you a ton! You might have a machine for 4 days that you might put maybe 10-12 hours on and you're paying for 32 hours. Basically, you need it when you need it and renting is a PITA. So, with that said, I'm looking for a machine, not "cheap" just a good, solid machine. I'd like to stay with Cat because our dealer is awesome, no complaints, but Deere is another player as well. I've looked at 304CR, 305CR, 303.5, and 304.5. Ideally a 304CR is exactly what we need with a canopy, long stick and a thumb, not many bells and whistles. I found a machine in the dealer network that is a 2004 304CR with 120 hours, canopy, aux. hyd, and long stick for $38,000. Good deal? Machine looks brand new, inspection report shows that it's in great condition, undercarriage is stated at 95% remaining. Also found a 2002 303.5 with long stick, hyd thumb, canopy with 675 hrs. for $30,000, but I think that it's out of state and could be expensive to get it here. Anyway, just shopping the market on Catused.com. I think a 305CR would be too big, they're about 11,000 lbs and we need something under 10K, which puts the 304 just about right. Any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. greywynd

    greywynd LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    Hi there, I'm still new here, but here's a couple more thoughts for you. Is there someone in your area with an excavator that might be able to work with you on some of these jobs for a while, to help you decide/justify buying your own? I have an excavator and do a lot of 'sub' work for the landscapers. I'm only a one man operation, and don't have the manpower to do a lot of the labor intensive jobs. For example, I often do the digging for retaining walls for another local contractor, he builds the wall, and I go back in after to do any grading/backfilling, etc that needs to be finished up. We also try to help each other out, if someone asks him about a 'digging' job, he passes my info along, and I do the same for him if it's a job better suited to him than myself.
    Maybe with an arrangement like this, you can tally receipts (I charge him by the hour) for actual machine usage, and have a better handle on your machine needs.

  3. Planet Landscaping

    Planet Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    Just got a new Kubota u35, How did I live without it?????????????///// Go get one quick. Handy thing. :waving:
  4. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    There's one guy here in town that has a mini, but most of these guys are large contractors that are way too busy to stop what they're doing for us. I started looking at the Kubotas because most of the Cats I found were somewhat out of my price range with the exception of about 3. Will keep posted. BTW, Planet Landscaping, how much will that U35 lift? A pretty good sized rock? Also, if you don't mind my asking, what did you give for it?
  5. Planet Landscaping

    Planet Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    See Kubota specs for weights , Sorry. Its a digging fool. With the hyd. thumb it makes grabbing stuff easy. Go buy one. payup $34,000 0% 2 years. :waving: Keep it 5, Write it off, Then sell and bury the money :p
  6. Krois Landscaping

    Krois Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

  7. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,151

    I demoed several CAT excavators when I was in the market. I found the swing very weak (305). When working on a slope, the machine could not swing a bucket full of dirt up hill. The break out was barely adequate for my use. There are in my opinion much better excavators on the market. IHI makes an outstanding excavator. Extremely reliable and a great company to work with. I have the reps name in WA. if your interested. I have been very pleased with my Takeuchi TB53. They are very powerful. The side to side swing is much better than a swing boom IMHO. These weigh about 12K. I do miss the IHI's hydrualic "feel". Be careful of the extended boom. The extra boom length is not without sacrifice. You loose boom crowd force. Dumping in trucks a little awkward due to the boom length. May get unbalanced with a zero tail machine, especially when using a thumb. Lifting rocks will become more difficult (study the lift charts on a machine comparing the long boom and the standard boom). My issues with the Deere 50ZTS (and I was close to buying one until I spent serious time in one) are the thumb is absolute junk, way to light duty. They spec. poorly compared to the other machines. The reach was poor as was the bucket breakout. The JD quick attach is anything but quick. I also had overheating problems when pushed hard. I ran the CASE (Kobelco) and although I liked the cab and the hydrualics suffered from the same problems as the JD as far as break out and reach. My experience with the Deere and CASE machines were prior to their latest models being released. The C series Deere and the new series CASE excavators have improved digging performance according to their ads. I would not go below 10K if you plan on taking on larger excavation jobs. You can acutually go up to 14K without gaining anymore width. You will spend money them no getting around it. Of course you want a thumb and quick attach and in addition to a your digging buckets a large clean out bucket 50" or so is awesome. The important thing is spend time demoing before you buy. I cannot over emphasize that. You will also want to move toward a being able to pull both machines at once. It gets old pulling both a skid steer and an excavator to a job. good luck
  8. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    Kubota mini excavators are prolly the leader in the pack I would stay away from the Bobcat mini's the 6000lb machines I have ran are tippier than you couldn't beleive.

    As for Komatsu I'am kinda wondering how the quality is I know one machine in this area I think its a PC-40 and they want 14,000 for a final drive which the machine needs.

    A friend of mine has a Kobelco mini its in the 10,000lb range I'am pretty sure he is pleased with his machine I haven't talked to him in awhile.

    Cat machines are expensive not many people have Cat around here unless is a dozer or a wheel loader.

    With Deere they are no combined with Hitachi so who knows how good their mini excavators are. I know anything from a EX-60 sized machine is still tried and true but anything smaller I don't know.

    In this area the smaller mini's are no smaller than 10,000lbs anything smaller is potato patch diggers. If you still want to beable to clear small patches of land or dig house foundations you really need a 10,000lb machine or greater.

    The 10,000 and 11,000lb mini excavators have pretty much replaced rubber tired backhoes for doing utility work on peoples property. A mini will go dig where a rubber tired backhoe like a 590 Case will no go.
  9. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Thanks for the tips ksss. We don't want to go over 10K in weight, we have a gooseneck trailer but it's horrible to load and dad says he just doesn't want to load on and off of it. Dad has changed his mind today, I hate it when that happens. Say he wants to spend no more than $25,000. I know, I know, don't buy cheap, but if he can't afford one he won't buy one at all. My plan is to look at something for about $20K that is a decent machine that will get us through a couple years then trade up. Like I said, right now an excavator wouldn't get used nearly as much as our skid steer, so it doesn't have to be in completely immaculate condition, but I don't like buying junk. I'm looking at Komatsu, Hitachi, IHI, Yanmar, Takeuchi, maybe a few others. There's a large dealer on the other side of the state that sells TONS of mini ex's for under $20K and I really don't know how they do it. Actually, that link that Krois put up on Machinery Trader is that same dealer I'm talking about. That 98 Komatsu is what they specialize in, alot of machines like that. That machine is basically what we're looking for, a PC 40 or something that size for about $20K. I know a very good diesel mechanic who also has a larger excavation business and if I spot a machine that is worth a look I might take him along to check out the machine.
  10. Krois Landscaping

    Krois Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27


    I know 2 people with grey market Komatsu PC40's and they like them a lot. One has a PC40 with a cab, the other with rops. They are still able to get parts right from komatsu even though they're grey markets. Kitsaps there in WA deals a lot with the grey market machines, maybe try and get a list of people who have purchased PC40's from them and give them a call to see how the machines do, along with running one at the dealership.

    Gravel Rat-

    I've seen a lot of your posts and i have no clue where you get any of your information from. Final drive for a mini excavator $14k? are you on drugs? My friend bought a brand new final drive for an E120 Cat for $5k from HO Penn in connecticut. Also, how is a machine less than 10k lbs "worthless" in your mind? and mini excavators replacing backhoes for utility work? I highly doubt that.
    I think a lot of your information is second hand and deemed worthless IMO.

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