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Thread: How good are backhoe attachments?

  1. #1
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    How good are backhoe attachments?

    I am looking at buying a second hand bobcat 607 backhoe attachment. Having looked up the specs of this unit, it seems to be quite a competent piece of gear when compared to a small excavator.
    I fully realise that I will not have the 360 degree slew of an excavator, nor the ease of movement, but it seems that this will be a very handy tool for trenching and small scale excavation on a farm.
    Have I missed something and do these attachments have any particular drawbacks? The carrier will be a 4SDK8 Toyota, which is roughly equivalent to a Bobcat 763 in size. The current owner has been using it on a 743 Bobcat.
    What are people's thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member joispoi's Avatar
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    Here's an old thread addressing the same question. http://www.heavyequipmentforums.com/...d-how-are-they

    I haven't had to use one myself, but I have to agree with the comment that it's much better than using a shovel.
    "You can't have 'no' in your heart." - Joe Dirt

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    Thanks for your reply joispoi.
    You are so so right anything is better than a shovel!
    I note that in the other thread, lack of breakout force is mentioned. Comparing the figures on the 607 attachment and the bobcat 323 that I have hired lately, the attachment has higher figures for Bucket force 5000lbs versus 3751, Dipper force 2700 lbs versus 1996 and digs 5" deeper as well. Reach is 30" less for the attachment though. Obviously no where near as compact as the 323 either.
    I will get a demo of it on the sellers machine and see just what the access to the cab is like with the attachment on as I feel this may be the biggest possible hassle in the whole operation.
    Any other thoughts from people here?

  4. #4
    Senior Member 245dlc's Avatar
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    I've thought about doing the same thing as the backhoe is much cheaper than the mini-ex especially if your just starting out like me. I've talked to a few people about them and I haven't heard to many good things about the Bobcat brand ones somebody told me once that it takes a fair bit of time to get use to as the swing is really fast and kinda jerky. I've also been told avoid the ones where you still sit in the cab and the controls tilt into the front, because visibility is so poor, if anything see if you can demo the backhoe attachment and see how you like it. It's definitely got its place and could be handy for fixing shallow water and sewer pipes or putting electrical lines in, heck even digging graves. lol

  5. #5
    Senior Member KSSS's Avatar
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    I had when I first started out. It was jerky as well. If you could run that attachment smooth, you were smooth as glass on a backhoe or excavator. Logistically they have some value, you can put this on a trailer along with your skid steer much easier than humping a mini ex and skid steer. Economically they are cheaper than a mini ex. However from a productivity standpoint they are pretty poor. I used mine for everything, and what I quickly learned is that they are not efficient enough to take on anything other than really light digging. I traded it off after a couple years. I then bought a used mini ex and I would suggest going that route if you can at all afford it and forget the attachment. About the only use I can see for them is when you have some really light digging to do and rather than make two trips or haul a mini ex and skid steer you could throw the attachment on and be good. Beyond that, I have a hard time seeing much value in them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KSSS View Post
    I had when I first started out. It was jerky as well. If you could run that attachment smooth, you were smooth as glass on a backhoe or excavator. Logistically they have some value, you can put this on a trailer along with your skid steer much easier than humping a mini ex and skid steer. Economically they are cheaper than a mini ex. However from a productivity standpoint they are pretty poor. I used mine for everything, and what I quickly learned is that they are not efficient enough to take on anything other than really light digging. I traded it off after a couple years. I then bought a used mini ex and I would suggest going that route if you can at all afford it and forget the attachment. About the only use I can see for them is when you have some really light digging to do and rather than make two trips or haul a mini ex and skid steer you could throw the attachment on and be good. Beyond that, I have a hard time seeing much value in them.
    I was hoping that you would comment on this KSSS.
    I am interested as to why you specify light digging as the attachment seems to be stronger than a 1.7 tonne excavator - on paper at least.
    This attachment would be used for tasks such as trenching, digging holes to bury dead stock on occasion and similar tasks.
    I can't justify an excavator, although I would love one, but I also don't want to curse this machine every time I use it. I can understand why the slew may be jerky on these, (perhaps a flow restrictor in the lines may fix this?), but surely the other functions should not be too bad if good operating principles are used?
    Obviously this will be nowhere as productive as a mini excavator, but I am hoping that it may be an acceptable compromise.

  7. #7
    Senior Member KSSS's Avatar
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    I recommend them for light duty digging not because they dont have decent breakout or crowding force because they do actually spec pretty good, but rather they are clumbsy to use, digging trenches requires switching back and forth from the backhoe seat to the skid steer (the versions that allow you to sit in the seat have almost zero vision to the hole), they are a long package and difficult to get into some tighter areas. Although there are those BH attachments that allow you to put a thumb and coupler on them but those are harder to find and I have to feel they are harder to use than a mini ex thumb would be. The jerky feeling is not so much a result of too much flow (although that can be the case, I ran mine at half throttle) but the hyd. control package on these are at the very low end of the quality spectrum. You will never have the control in a BH attachment that you have in a dedicated machine simply because the components just are not the same quality level.

    The light duty digging (and I mean really light) I could compete at the same price point. However the larger the job, the less competetive I was. Certain jobs you just could not take on verse what I could with a mini. That is why I say it is a light duty job type attachment only. Given enough time you may be able to accomplish the same task as other equipment, but when bidding or working by the hour its simply to inefficient.

    As far as "an acceptable compromise" that is an individual benchmark. I can only say for me it was not. For all the reasons I listed above, I could not effectively compete and had to make a change. I cannot remember anymore what the percentage of increase in my gross income was when I got the used mini ex (IHI 35J) but it was substantial (that was in the late 90's) like 30% increase in my gross as I recall.

    If you wanted to use the attachment for what you outline above and see how it goes I would say try it, assuming your getting a decent price on the attachment. I would suggest never buying one of these new. If it is acceptable to you then you win, if not as long as you can get your money back out of the attachment you can always find a used mini ex and sell off the attachment.
    Last edited by KSSS; 02-19-2012 at 03:40 PM.
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    Thanks KSSS. I thought that may have been the reason that you mentioned light digging.
    I can wholeheartedly understand the shortcomings of these attachments in a commercial sense.
    I will organise a thorough demo of this attachment on the current owners machine and see how it goes.

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    I had a Case unit when I first got started. I did some horse trading and got it in inoperable condition for four cords of firewood, $300 in parts later it was up and running. When I got it I thought it was the cat's a$$ because it was so much better than a shovel and dug a ditch so much easier than a 6' bucket. a year later I was looking at mini ex's and two years later I sold it for a down payment. It was ok to plant a tree, dig up a small stump, or something where you were sitting in one place. Trenching or digging ditches it was horrendous because every five feet or so you had to climb from one seat to another like a monkey, and heaven help you if you slipped because there were so many things to smack your head on. Mine was jerky at best because of a "cheap" six port valve Case used. Probably the worst thing was if the ground was muddy and you were digging hard the lousy thing would come unlocked so all that held it in place were my homemade stabilizer arms. Then it was quite an art to get it hooked back up without bending or breaking something, and its a horrible pain to dig alongside a building with the wretched things. It beat a shovel, but my IHI 30NX will run rings around it anyday, and do more different jobs, and make more money everyday.

    John

  10. #10
    Junior Member mike s's Avatar
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    I have used the bobcat and the john deer 911. The bobcat worked......... The deere was cool with the extend a hoe. They are way better then a shovel. I know two guys that use them every day and they love them. One of the guys has 3 bobcat hoe attachments one for each loader.
    Chevy 2500hd, C4500 Dump With Plows and Spreaders.
    Case W14, Bobcat 864, ASV RC30, and a Bobcat 325.
    Attachments, Trailers, Snow Pushers and all kind of other stuff.

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    I have a cat backhoe attachment for my 262 skid steer it is a joke I put about 2 hours on it and it has been sitting in my shop for 5 years !!!

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    biggest issue i see is finding bh mounts for your skid steer that will safely connect to the bobcat backhoe.

    do not use a backhoe atachment on a skid steer without the proper mounts.


    older bobcat BH attachments have a safety shutoff valve that wont let the hyd operate if it's not prpoerly connected to the machine. they also have a sfety chain that wraps around the bobtach to insure the attachment cant come off the machine while working.


  13. #13
    Senior Member KSSS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Peter View Post
    I have a cat backhoe attachment for my 262 skid steer it is a joke I put about 2 hours on it and it has been sitting in my shop for 5 years !!!

    That is an expensive piece of shop art. I am really surprised that CAT branded that attachment or maybe they actually built it themselves. While the idea of being able to stay in the cab is a good idea, not being able to see what you doing you would think would trump the convienence of being able to sit in the skid steer cab. That certainly was not the case.
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    I have tried to sell it...I don't think I can give it away.. Cat usually comes out with great products but not in this case !!!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Bumpsteer's Avatar
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    I've had the Bobcat 709 for 15+ years, its been an excellent attachment. As has been said, not a replacement for a mini ex, pita to switch back & forth between the hoe & bucket when on a job.

    Heres a few pics from a job I worked on in '10, no way possible to use a mini, they are to tall to fit under a building like this one.

    Ed
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