View Full Version : School Me on JCB

05-03-2011, 05:32 PM
Im in the process of selling my 1995 Case 580 SK, and upgrading. I have been looking at other newer models of Case, but I was looking at other brands, and JCB came to mind, just due to the prices.

So are they any good? What are some bad points? Im basically looking for something of similar capacity of my 580 SK, both with digging power, engine power, dig depth, etc.

One thing I have learned to be concerned about is pins and bushings. Im assuming they are able to be replaced?

Any other advice, discussion is appreciated!

05-03-2011, 05:50 PM
JCB=Junk Coming from Britain.

05-03-2011, 07:28 PM
I've only run a 1995 JCB. I find it hard to see from and hard to get comfortable using the hoe. Need to sit on the edge of the seat to see what I'm doing. It was solid and seems built strong but very awkward to operate.

05-03-2011, 10:54 PM
I agree, Ive run a few older ones, and a 214 series 3 I think it was. Aqward machines. Not a fan, personally I'd stick to case and deere.

05-03-2011, 11:42 PM
I'm a mechanic, not an operator. That being said, I would prefer a Case over a JCB, but's that's only because of certain design reasons, not because I consider JCB to be junk. Furthermore, I think it's a little harsh to say JCB is "Junk Coming from Britain" as I'm sure there are many folks of this world wide forum that are fond of their JCB machines, and it's far from me to slam their (supposed) junk.

05-04-2011, 12:54 AM
Thanks for the replies, I probably will stick with another case, its been a hell of a machine, and its a "dreaded" sk!

Atco, care to elaborate a little on the design reasons..??

05-04-2011, 04:53 AM

I am thinking of importing a JCB 214 (2001) does ayone know the differences and simmilarities between the 214 and 3CX because they look fairly identical excpet for the rear jacks? or is there more tan meets the eye? any guidance is appreciated

Anto Modded
05-05-2011, 05:04 AM
We had Jcb for years and our last one was a 2001, they always seem to give niggly bits of trouble. I drove a 428c cat for 3 weeks and loved it, the power difference was very noticeable. I also like the 2004 onwards case backhoe, it is also a great machine to operate.

05-05-2011, 10:25 AM
JCB=Junk Coming from Britain.

Hey Joe, I only know little bits about them, but that ain't right anymore.
Now they are made in Savanah Ga.
Now you have to say:

Junk City Backhoe;)

Don't anybody get mad, just laugh.

05-06-2011, 05:36 AM
Ahh Yes, the old JCB vs Case vs Cat debate.
A bit like the Ford vs Holden (GM) debate in Oz.
Here's my 2c.
My own 89 JCB 3CX is a solid and reliable machine. Some JCB stalwarts say the "Grey Cab" was the best backhoe JCB ever built. I haven't owned later model JCB machines, however a mate of mine who runs his own earth moving company is seriously looking to get rid of his later model JCB and find a Grey Cab. It seems his (I think) 2000 model JCB is giving him a heap of grief not least of which is a second trans rebuild when the same bearing failed again.

Before everyone who is an advocate of Case or Cat jumps in, I don't have good things to say about the latest offerings from either company.

At work, we bought a brand new Case backhoe (have to check which model) in 2010. Since we've had it, it has spent more time in the workshop than hours being used. We have had a myriad of electronics failures, oil leaks and other faults and one time the front wheels nearly fell off as the machine managed to get through the Case factory and pre-delivery inspections with the wheel nuts loose! :eek:
Even now, there are some hydraulic leaks and we are waiting for parts. Also we noticed that one of the top loader arm pins has the grease nipple in such a position that we cannot even get a 90 degree grease gun fitting onto it. :Banghead What kind of R&D is that?
Now onto Cat. One our contractors bought a brand new 2010 backhoe last year which arrived around the same time as our Case around Oct/Nov.
Their machine has faired no better than ours. The Cat machine has had a few electronics failures. Twice the machine stopped dead in the middle of the road and would not re-start due to ECU problems. It then developed an oil leak in the side shift with 20 hours on the clock. Cat seemed to be aware of the ECU & side shift ram seal faults, yet the machine was delivered to a customer. The ECU had to be sent away to be fixed and the side shift seals took weeks to arrive as the machine was so new. On yet another new cat backhoe, a known manufacturer defect caused a bypass problem in the steering system which meant you had to continually turn the wheel to the right whilst driving along, or the machine would steer hard lock to the left and throw you off the road.

All I'm saying is that all machines have their good points and their bad. Like anything else we buy, manufacturers will try to find ways to streamline their processes to keep costs down and profits up. Sometimes we get a mid week product, sometimes a Friday arvo.
Most people say you get what you pay for, however when you spend well over $130k on a machine and still get problems, I'd hate to think what the cheaper machines are like. At the end of the day, I think it largely comes down to personal preference when choosing a machine.


05-06-2011, 07:56 AM
I own a 215s3. I don't consider it to be a bad machine. Twice we sheared the rear axle shaft. That was expensive and frustrating. But otherwise, its been good.

It out specs any other machine in its class. The loader is a brute, and the 4 equal size tires will carry it through mud you would never get through with anything else.

The hoe is unusually wide, and yes, rear visibility is poorer than a case. I don't know why they don't narrow up the boom to fix this.

JCB's claim to fame is they build more backhoes than anyone else worldwide.

I wouldn't be afraid to buy another one.

05-06-2011, 10:26 AM
I get a deere or a Cat.
I ran a 01 214 it was just junk !


05-06-2011, 08:07 PM
Our company machine is a 590 Super R now with 250 hours on the clock.
This morning the E-Hoe electronics gave up and now the E-Hoe is stuck out! :Banghead

Back to the workshop again.

05-06-2011, 10:56 PM
I just sold a 2000 214, nearly 5000 hours, turbo went out, aside from that minimum problems. The 214 got superceded by zero swing excavators, tracked skid steer but, it would dig, 1200' of 4' deep trench in a day, lift a 8' x 12' T-1 steel crossing plate
(3900 Lbs) with the backhoe. It was no piece of junk and I'd bet a dollar would out lift, out push, out dig some if not most of the year 2000 competators backhoes.

05-07-2011, 02:47 AM
I cant really knock JCB, not a huge fan, little experiance with them. Ive heard some good, not to much bad. I know many guys here from Ireland and most of them all own cases. A few with other brands. Ive asked them why(JCB being so popular over seas) they dont buy JCB. Ive heard some say cause its a junk machine, some say price, some just like another brand better, some say because cant get a sideshift here in the states easy.

In the utility business Case is some what of a "universal" machine, dime a dozen round here. Everyone has their preference and every machine has good and bad. I'm not going to knock a JCB cause I havent spent season after season in one like I have with Cases. Sometimes opinions get a bit biased because of running one brand for long periods. I think Deere is just as good as case if not better, but perfect example. I had to hop in a 410G the other day for a few hours, powerful smooth hoe. Couldnt wait to get back in a case just because I was all out of place in a different machine.

05-19-2011, 03:55 PM
i owned a 1996 jcb 214 very good machine very powerfull i am looking into buying another one

05-20-2011, 01:25 AM
with regards to cat problems i had a new 432 last june.it had endless problems and in the 3 months i owned it i had a fitter out for 10 full days over this time.the worst problem was being impossible to grade with it.i complained many times and nothing was done untill i said id sell it if it was not sorted.had the uk experts out and said i was not sitting corectly and levers not i right place etc and nothing wrong with the machine.ive been running backhoes for 30 years by the way.so i told em i would get rid of it.they then offered my full purchase price back which i accepted.i have a collegue on another forum and he told me over the weekend that a firm he knows bought 8 cat432 machines and they all have problems and they cant grade with any of them.if any one from cat read this forum sort your products and dont sent out machines that are not faault free.the way i was treated when the machine went back to finnings,id never buy a cat machine again

Leon Phelps
05-20-2011, 05:18 PM
Just a couple things to consider....parts.

had a friend who rented one. Trans blew. Was at a customers location. Needed to have the work done on site. Not a pretty sight when it took four months to get the parts and it was still on the yard of a home that was finished and sodded around the planter.

Think of a Jaguar car. Lots of people take great care of them, and they talk them up. Then look online and see how Americans put LS1 engines in them because their engines are crap. A great selling point for a Jaguar is that you need to take the engine off of the mounts to change the plugs.

Lots of hot air about the machine. My 73 580CK "B" tractor can pick their backhoe up. Dont ask me how I know.

05-20-2011, 09:45 PM

I am thinking of importing a JCB 214 (2001) does ayone know the differences and simmilarities between the 214 and 3CX because they look fairly identical excpet for the rear jacks? or is there more tan meets the eye? any guidance is appreciated

World-wide, all JCB full size backhoes have always been number/letter combinations for the model numbers. The only place they weren't was the US (214,215,217). That is, unitl about half way thru 2006, they changed all the US built machines to the 3CX/4CX nomenclature. There have been various changes to the machines over the years, some of the most notable in the hydraulic system and the engine. 2006 Brought the new Dieselmax JCB engine, which will spank any Perkins out there for power and fuel efficiency, and a much welcomed change (for me anyway). Most recently, the "next Gen" backhoes, Late 2010/2011 machines got a hydraulic system change. They went from a flow share valve block, to a full-flow block. This bascially makes the machine a bit more difficult for a novice operator, but an experienced operator can really thread the needle with one. Big boost in digging power too.....and I agree with some on here that the boom is a little "thick in the britches."

All US machines are standard with pivoting stabilizers (like everyone else), but you can option for vertical stabilizers if you want them. There are certain types of work where they really come in handy.

As far as the parts support....a lot of that depends on your dealer, like most other brands. Hope this helps.

11-20-2011, 04:46 AM
can you get sideshift jcb 3cx in the us/canada thats my question it seems to be that the sideshift version is a lot better than the centrmount version i would stick to the 3cx than case myself

11-20-2011, 05:41 PM
My 2001 no swing tower busshings for tower pins or the swing cylender pins. New pins not help much. Holes were eeg shaped and tower made of ducktile iron. New 214 at dealer had swing cylender rod busshings in the swing tower but still no bushings for the main swing pins. Tough mashine but line bore is $. Mudpile.

11-20-2011, 08:44 PM
Pretty decent the JCB's ..

Typical HEF "If it aint USA its junk thread"

Well there so junky CAT virtually copied the 3CX for there 428 then even bought Perkins thats powering the two.

I'de go for the best dealer network in your area. beware of the Jake cross over hydraulic controls .. Still gets me confused.

11-21-2011, 07:52 AM
I am a newby to backhoes, but I would offer this. I have spoken with others that says the older Case models are better than the newer ones.
One fellow bought a new Case in 2010 and still has it, but he liked his older Case BETTER. He puts in septic tank (30 years now) and he says the new one just seems weak digging a hole.
I think he paid 49K for the new one.
Mine is a 1985 580 Super E and I am spending a good deal of $ rebuilding cylinders etc, but it's still a pretty good machine.
I do not know the model numbers for when Case changed.

08-20-2012, 05:12 PM
I'm trying to but a JCB backhoe. Anyone know what is the different between 214 Series 3 and 215 series 3?

08-20-2012, 05:15 PM
I'm trying to but a JCB backhoe. Anyone know what is the different between 214 Series 3 and 215 series 3?

Backhoe stick length (along with larger stick cylinders), HP, and break-out forces. Otherwise, the machines are fairly similar.

08-20-2012, 05:35 PM
So 215 has different engine and hydraulic pump compare to 214?

08-20-2012, 06:38 PM
Engine is the same, just a bump in HP....hydraulic pumps are different. The 215 has a bit larger displacement pump than the 214 for more GPM.

08-22-2012, 01:20 PM
Thanks for your advise. Do you know what is the different between 214 Serie 3 a dn 214e IV? They both 2000 model.

08-24-2012, 04:48 PM
Hi optionzone, as Leon Phelps points out, make sure a plentiful supply of parts is available as the machine will be no good parked for weeks awaiting parts. here in the UK we can obtain parts from none OEM sources, reason being there are so many JCB backhoes around. My advice would be see which of your US built backhoes are most plentiful then check out the parts availability.
Good luck, Ex tractor fan.