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Grey market excavators

Discussion in 'Excavators' started by DKinWA, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. DKinWA

    DKinWA Charter Member

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    Occupation:
    Biologist and Contractor
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    Western Washington
    I've been looking for a cat 312B or C excavator and I'm finding a lot of grey market machines for sale. I have a relative that used to be a cat mechanic and he suggested I stay away from them. His reasoning was parts can be difficult to track down on some machines making repairs very difficult. Do any of you have grey market machines and have you found chasing parts difficult? I've found some nice low hour machines that are 15-20K less than comparable north american versions which is very appealing financially. My preference would be to purchase a north american version, but we're talking about a significant chunk of change for a solo operator like myself. Thanks
     
  2. Steve Frazier

    Steve Frazier Founder

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    I had a John Deere 310 that was imported from Belgium. Every time I needed a part for it, the counter man couldn't find the serial number listed in his parts source. Often times the parts ordered for the machine wouldn't fit, the North American version was that much different.

    Once we established what the problem was, ordering parts became a bit more reliable, but usually resulted in a 2 week waiting period. There also was a hefty shipping fee involved each time.

    I wasn't relying on my machine for income, it was mostly for grounds maintainence here at home. I doubt I could afford the lay up time for each repair if I were depending on it for my livelihood.
     
  3. cat320

    cat320 Charter Member

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    That has been the big thing with gray market machines the parts for them .You would think that they would be the same but they are not.
     
  4. Taylortractornu

    Taylortractornu Charter Member

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    Occupation:
    Privvate landfill operator/manager
    Location:
    Iuka, Mississippi
    The 312 and 320 are very close to the US models. A friend of mine has a 320 the only thing different was it had 30 inch pads for swamp warks and a blade. The only thing with the blade was it had an extra cricuit for the hydralics in the rotary valve. It had to take a metric seal to fix that leak.
    Some of the Yanmar and Mitsubishi models Ill stay away from But weve owned a few Komatsus and Hitachis.
    THe hardest things Ive found to get parts for is the European grey market machines like MF, some of the JD equipment.
     
  5. BKrois

    BKrois Charter Member

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    Occupation:
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    Location:
    Connecticut
    My friend is a heavy equipment/ truck mechanic. I saw this thread and when i was at his shop today i asked him about grey market machines. He said a few of his customers have grey market caterpillar machines and they didn't seem to have a problem getting parts.

    I got my Rock and Dirt mag. yesterday and there are a lot of ads for caterpillar parts. One advertiser even specialized in grey market excavator parts, here is their website- www.cscparts.com



    Hope this helps.
     
  6. DKinWA

    DKinWA Charter Member

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    Thanks for the information and the link. It's funny how I keep flip flopping back and forth and can't decide what I want to do:D I've decide to wait till spring (no use buying a machine that's going to sit for 4-5 months) to purchase a machine, so I've got lot's of time to decide which route to go. Thanks again for the information.
     
  7. BKrois

    BKrois Charter Member

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    If you're looking to save money, remember-

    Hitachi and John Deere are the same

    Caterpillar and Mitsubishi were the same also in the 80's and early 90's i believe.

    Link-Belt and Sumitomo are the same

    Many Japense brands are the same or very similar to American machines, just different paint and names.




    You might want to look around now, sometimes equipment dealers try to make sales before the end of the year for their year end sales totals, might be able to get a good deal now.
     
  8. DKinWA

    DKinWA Charter Member

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    Nothing wrong with JD/Hitchi and I'd buy one in an instant if they wouldn't have closed the local (15 minutes away) dealership a couple of years ago. Right now the closest JD dealer is about 70 miles away and cat 30 miles in the opposite direction. JD is in Tukwila where traffic can really suck and the hour+ drive can easily turn into 2+ hours. Even in the worst traffic the cat dealer is a 40 minute drive tops. I've also developed a pretty good working relationship with the cat dealership and they treat me well, so I'd like to keep giving them my business. Thanks for the idea though.

    I think this forum is going to be a real asset to a lot of us:cool:
     
  9. dozerman

    dozerman Charter Member

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    Occupation:
    Owner operator excavation
    Location:
    Friday Harbor, WA
    grey market

    Be careful of these machines with questionable histories. I went to see a cat 307B with 1000 hours on it and found a rust bucket with (I am guessing) 5000 hours. This was from one of those direct importers (had 150+ machines in stock).
    You have to wonder, are the Asians so done with earth moving and selling idle iron cheap, so cheap that a broker can buy it overseas, step on it, ship it to the states, step on it again and still sell it 30% cheaper than local?

    As always, look over the iron and assume nothing.....B
     
  10. Super Duty John

    Super Duty John Charter Member

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    I used to own a 311B (North American) and a grey market Yanmar mini.
    The mini's are OK to do, larger size like the 312 would be out of the question for me.

    If all warnings are in Japanese, don't buy it!
     
  11. DKinWA

    DKinWA Charter Member

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    Occupation:
    Biologist and Contractor
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    Thanks for the responses everyone. Between your responses and my own predjudice, I've made up my mind that the gray market machines are out. I'm not a gambling man (especially with my own money) and there's too much risk for me. My luck I'd pick a gray market lemon and be double jinxed:D
     
  12. Super Duty John

    Super Duty John Charter Member

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    They are cheap for a reason :rolleyes:
    I've had luck with the mini but once I had to wait 2 to 3 weeks for a track roller.
     
  13. BPinKitsap

    BPinKitsap New Member

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    Location:
    Kingston, WA
    Komatsu PC75UU-1

    I bought a Komatsu PC75UU-1 from Canada and have had pretty good luck with it. I did have it throw a rod and had to scrounge a motor from Canada but otherwise my local dealer, Modern Machinery, has taken care of me. There have been some high shipping costs getting parts from Japan.

    I only use this as a personal machine to work on my acreage, not as a commercial machine, so my experience may not be relevant for those of you who will use ths machine harder than I do.
     
  14. Bearmtnmartin

    Bearmtnmartin Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    excavation contractor
    we have 2 grey market machines, one ex 160 & one ex 150 Hitachi Both were purchased thru a dealer, and parts are no problem. I thought the only difference was political, ie, dealers circumventing the official North American inporters, which would explain the cost savings. The only difference I am aware of is that the factory radios are tuned to odd frequencies, so they never really pick up our radio stations! Also didn't get the same warranty.
     
  15. Super Duty John

    Super Duty John Charter Member

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    Location:
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    Well, I just sold my Yanmar after 5 years. It was a great machine.
    I replaced it with a new Kubota KX121 5 ton class excavator.
    I'm about to do the first oil change today and it's a good machine so far.
     
  16. JIM VILARDI

    JIM VILARDI Member

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    Occupation:
    Senior parts CSR
    Location:
    Pleasant Valley, NY
    GRAY MARKET MACHINES

    WORKING FOR A KOMATSU DEALER FOR OVER 25 YEARS, WE HAVE MANY CUSTOMERS WITH GRAY MARKET MACHINES(GMM). OUR CUSTOMERS HAVE PURCHASED NEW TO LOW HOUR GMM. THEY GET LOW PRICING ON THESE MACHINES MAINLY BECAUSE THERE IS NO WARRANTY FACTORED IN.
    KOMATSU, LIKE CATERPILLAR, MANUFACTURES MACHINES WORLD WIDE. EUROPE, CANADA, US, SOUTH AMERICA, AND ASIA. THE S/N OF THE MACHINE TELLS ALL. 90 TO 95 PERCENT OF THE MACHINES ARE THE SAME, BUT IT IS THE EUROPEAN MACHINES THAT HAVE THE MOST DIFFERENCES.
    AS USUAL, WHEN BUYING ANYTHING, KNOW YOUR PRODUCT.:usa
     
  17. BPinKitsap

    BPinKitsap New Member

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    Location:
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    PC75/128 Class machines

    I am going to sell my PC75UU-1 and be in the market for either a PC75UU-2 or a PC128UU-1. What can you tell me about serial numbers and those machines? Any other buying tips? My -1 has been a bit of a parts hog and I would like to avoid that with the next machine.
     
  18. JIM VILARDI

    JIM VILARDI Member

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    Occupation:
    Senior parts CSR
    Location:
    Pleasant Valley, NY
    PC75/PC128

    THE PC75'S WERE NOT ORIGINALLY MARKETED IN THIS COUNTRY, SO PARTS ARE NOT AS READILY AVAILABLE AS THOSE MACHINES THAT ARE MARKETED HERE. HOWEVER THE PC75'S AND MANY OF THE OTHER MINI'S HAVE MANY COMMON PARTS.
    IF YOU OPT FOR THE PC128 STAY ABOVE S/N 2400. FROM THAT POINT ON THESE MACHINES WERE MARKETED FOR THE USA. EVEN IF YOU BUY A MACHINE THAT WAS ORIGINALLY FOR OVERSEAS MARKETS, YOU CAN STILL GET ALL THE DECALS IN ENGLISH THAT WILL DIRECTLY CORRESPOND TO IT.

    HOPE THIS HELPS.
     
  19. manohman32c

    manohman32c Member

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    Location:
    Haynesville, Louisiana
    I once worked for a crane company that had a grey market p&h truck crane powered by a cummins engine and the operator ran it hot and burned up the engine. I dont know what size cummins it was but they had to order all parts from japan. d**n for a cummins i figured it would come from north america
     
  20. Willis Bushogin

    Willis Bushogin Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    owner
    Location:
    NC
    grey market

    I bought a GM Cat320L excavator about 2 years ago, I didnt realize it was a GM, until I needed a part. I went round and round with different Cat parts guys, until I found the one I needed. You can get all the parts you need for this machine, but you have got to have the parts book, for this machine in Japanese. The description is in Japanese, but the part numbers are in English, so you select the item you need and just get the part number and away you go. I have never needed a part, that I couldnt get the next day. If anyone needs any help with Cat greymarket parts, send me a PM and I will give you this guys name and number.
    In my opinion, the price for a GM machine should be less, so thats a point you might use, if you are buying one
    Just my 2 cents worth