Volvo...or Kubota Part II

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Boondox, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. Boondox

    Boondox LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    I was all set to go with the Kubota KX91-3S mini excavator. The KX71 is too small. The KX121 is too wide (though the power is awesome!). But the 91 with a hydraulic thumb was just about right. It would help me harvest firewood (pick up logs to waist height, slice and dice with the chainsaw, move on to next log), harvest granite boulders and place them in my landscaping endeavors, sculp my land a bit and keep the ditches cleaned out.

    The problem is I've never seen a 91, much less taken one for a test spin. Dealers just don't seem to carry them. Spending $35k+ for something I've never seen makes me a bit nervous!

    Another contender was the Volvo EC35, a nice and solid 3.5 ton compact excavator built like a tank. The Kubota 91 out-speced it, but it had specs I could live with plus a cab to keep me and the controls nice and dry. In the end, the cost of the Volvo drove me to Kubota.

    But today I found one locally. It's a 2002 with 450 hours on it, never used by a contractor (personal use on a farm), in excellent shape with a 24" digging bucket and a 36" ditching bucket, cab with heat, and best of all it has powertilt (the articulating wrist that lets you angle the buckets so you can get creative sculpting your land). All this for $32k.

    I need a hydraulic thumb, which is incompatible with the articulating gizmo. But if the gizmo is easy to remove and store, I could install a thumb and switch back and forth depending on the project I'm working on at the time.

    Must check with the dealer on Monday!

  2. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Volvo makes me nervous with the availability/cost of parts. I don't have personal evidence to back this up, but I hear they aren't the most reliable machines out there. I know their articulated haul trucks are, but the excavators are another story. The Volvo excavators are using Samsung technology.
  3. Boondox

    Boondox LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    I thought the Samsung stuff was limited to the 5 ton and up range. Every EC35 user I've talked with locally loves the unit and the dealer. They describe them as absolute tanks. If you've heard different I'd love to hear details.

    And when I was researching excavators I priced common repair parts by brand; there was no appreciable difference between Kubota parts and Volvo parts.

    Thanks, Pete
  4. murray83

    murray83 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 347

    Hey Boondox what kinda machine is the one you found locally? sounds like a steal at $32K for an 02 with the cab and wrist bucket keep your eyes locked on that machine.

    Is it plumbed down the side of the stick? If so you could run a splitter valve off that and run a second line to a thumb of your choice.We did that to a 892 Deere at my old work for a breaker and thumb combo and worked nice.
  5. Boondox

    Boondox LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Murray83 -- It's an EC35 cab model. The powertilt adds about a foot to the length of the dipper, so I'm not sure using it with a thumb is the best way to go. It's not a wrist bucket like the kind I've seen before; it goes on the end of the dipper with the bucket pinned to the end of the articulating section. I haven't seen it in person yet, but my hope is the powertilt just unpins and can be left behind when not needed. I'd use a straight 12" bucket for stumps and stones, but that powertilt with the ditch bucket sure would be sweet!

    It's a financial stretch for us, and my concern is that for a couple K more I could get a brand new Kubota KX91 with a warranty. I'd probably sleep better, but that Volvo is an awesome machine and the cab would be a nice addition!

  6. start2finish

    start2finish LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 497

    the warranty on a kubota excavator is 12 months. period.
  7. Boondox

    Boondox LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Yup, and that's 12 months more than a used Volvo. I'm a little concerned that even though the Volvo only has 450 hours on it, it IS a four year old piece of equipment.
  8. minimax

    minimax LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 734

    Boondox, Is this the machine you are talking about,If it is it looks to be in very good shape. The wrist looks to be a pin on type but you could have the wrist and buckets relugged to fit on a wedge type couper that is thumb friendly a shop can relugg each bucket for less than $200 per bucket.


  9. Boondox

    Boondox LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Yes, that's the one. But I don't understand what you're suggesting. The aux hydraulics only let me use one thing at a time -- either the thumb or the wrist. Would what you suggest let me have both in place and I just plug in the one I want to use, i.e., if using the wrist the thumb is pinned up out of the way and if using the thumb the wrist doesn't move..?

    This will be my first excavator and my wife says the last one I'll ever have. So it has to last. I'm not sure what to look for in a mini-ex and even though it only has 450 hours it IS 4 years old. Might be a good idea to have it taken to the dealer's service dept for a going-over and whatever I decide to do about the thumb.

    Thanks for the input!

  10. turfquip

    turfquip LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 860

    My mini x seat time is way less than most of these guys, but here's my two cents worth...

    If you buy the Volvo you will worry about lack of warranty and what might potentially go wrong. This could raise stress levels with you and your wife. I could be wrong but, it sounds like she is 'tolerating' your purchase already. If something breaks uncovered by warranty, to explain the additional outlay to return the machine to operation well...

    With the Kubota, you will have peace of mind, good financing terms, and the pride of ownership in having a new machine. The machine specs better you already know that. The issue now is, can you stomach ordering a machine you've never seen except in a full color glossy brouchure.

    Well, if it helps, I did that very thing. Ordered a KX 41. Knew I'd love it and I was right. The wait was a little longer than I had hoped for, even though the machine was built and sitting on a lot in Georgia. Nonetheless, it is hard to find anyone who can refute Kubota's build quality, performance, and longevity...unless of course you talk to a Cat enthusiast. But even there you can expect to pay 15% to 20% more for a comparable machine.

    The Volvo hydraulic wrist thing is in my mind, nice to have but not a necessity. Since you are working on a farm you will probably have the luxury of positioning the machine however necessary to achieve similar results. A little less convenient perhaps.

    Anyway, good luck which ever way you go but I would suggest that if you decide Kubota, to get it ordered ASAP.

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