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Thread: Oldish Hopto Excavator

  1. #1
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    Oldish Hopto Excavator

    Found this 'little gem' for sale in a mining town. It's the only Hopto I have seen with my own eyes; I guess they are rare because of how short a time they were made before the Gradall absorption. Just thought I would share this one.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member dayexco's Avatar
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    actually, hopto is one of the oldest hydraulic backhoe/excavators out there. my dad bought his first 180 hopto in i think 52, after that, he had 3 or 4 200's.....and 1 - 300....

    the model you have there, is one of the last models they produced.
    do you teach best what you need to learn the most?

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    Senior Member biggixxerjim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dayexco View Post
    actually, hopto is one of the oldest hydraulic backhoe/excavators out there. my dad bought his first 180 hopto in i think 52, after that, he had 3 or 4 200's.....and 1 - 300....

    the model you have there, is one of the last models they produced.
    I thought Cat introduced the first hydraulic excavator, the 225, back in the mid 70's....????

  4. #4
    Senior Member dayexco's Avatar
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    cat from american manufacturer standpoint....was a latecomer in the game. the old american made hydraulic excavators....hopto, shield bantam, koerhing, hy-hoe, hein warner, american, hydra-unit, warner swasey, drott, bucyrus erie, northwest, all before cat entered the market...come on dudes, help me out, i know there are more than what i've got here.
    do you teach best what you need to learn the most?

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    Super Moderator CM1995's Avatar
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    P&H, O&K, Hydra-hoe?

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    Senior Member nedly05's Avatar
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    The first hoes around here were hopto's, however they were a backhoe mounted on the back of a truck!

  7. #7
    Senior Member dayexco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedly05 View Post
    The first hoes around here were hopto's, however they were a backhoe mounted on the back of a truck!
    yes, all my dad's hoptos were truck mounted.
    do you teach best what you need to learn the most?

  8. #8
    Senior Member insleyboy's Avatar
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    I worked on 560, 600 and 3500 Insleys for a pile driving co In Trenton Michigan. They were the cream of the crop they said back in the mid 70's. They're problem was Cat, Kobelco and the like were gaining popularity and redefining the operators comfort while Insley, Hydra-Unit...all kept the cheap to produce heel-to-toe type controls and were very quickly a thing of the past!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Deere9670's Avatar
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    Were did Drott come into play? I know they got some history to them. I wish they still made excavators like the drotts because of the tilting turntable, so you could level yourself out with the push of a pedal.

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    Senior Member Lashlander's Avatar
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    Hey Insleyboy, Welcome to the forum. I've spent quite a few hours on an old H3500C. It was 1 of 14 made special for the Alaskan Pipeline. They were called Pipeliners. I'm not sure what all was changed on them but do know they had beefed up swing boxes for the steep ground. It was probably the hardest machine I ever learned to operate because of the foot peddles. It had four peddles on the floor for bucket and stick, then the two handles were for boom and swing. The swing was forward and aft. I'd be concentrating on swinging and booming up and forget that my foot was stepping on a peddle. It had an 8-71 jimmy engine and it was a beast.
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    Deere, I worked for a company that had a Drott 50. The house leveler was a nice feature when it was new. However it didn't seem to take long to get a little slop in the pins. Then the house would get to rocking when you went over the side. This would speed up the wear. Finally it would have to get rebuilt. Then we'd start the process all over.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by insleyboy View Post
    They're problem was Cat, Kobelco and the like were gaining popularity and redefining the operators comfort while Insley, Hydra-Unit...all kept the cheap to produce heel-to-toe type controls and were very quickly a thing of the past!
    I have a "late model" Hydra Unit that actualy has modern style controls, it even has a pilot assist system on it. And a dozer style undercarriage instead of the old crane style that after you broke a few lugs from digginig over the side wouldn't move 30 feet without throwing a track.
    Anyone remember how the Unit's had variable width undercarriages? You would expand them out for stability when working and then pull them back in to make the machine only 8' wide so you didn't need permits to move it. Like the Drott tilting house, it was a nice feature when it was new (or at least in good shape) but could be a major pain when it was worn out.

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    Insley 1500B

    This girl stills runs great... they really were bulletproof.
    She has a 6-71T and a complete bottom with about 500 hrs on it.
    Trying to post a picture, but it won't let me

  13. #13
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    Cat for sure was late to the game with hydraulic excavators. I got a new 225 on a job in Buffalo, Wyoming in 1974. Never did know why they stayed out of the market so long, other than to speculate that they were concentrating on their core models such as dozers and scrapers. Cat was never first to the party with a lot of equipment that is common as dirt now a days. Pretty conservative at the factory I guess.

  14. #14
    Senior Member insleyboy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the welcome Lashlander. Yeah the 3500 with the screaming Detroit engine was a beast. Had 3 boom lift cylinders and would all employ when needed. Had an old D8 undercarriage. Never a problem there. I personally broke our swing gear. They had specially made a long reach stick for the C model and after a few years the extra gear if you will, was too much stress on the brake system...Took them 2 weeks to find parts for it. Hey 76a...My first job in high school the boss had the old vaiable width system,on a Hydra Unit.. Seemed odd that more companies did not use that system to reduce permit loads. Manitowoc used it on it's 2900 track model cranes but thats the only 2 I can recall that actually used that technology. Great to be here. Can't wait to post and read from you all on down the line!!!

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    what town is it in? do you know what their asking price is?

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