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How big of machine for land clearing

Discussion in 'Excavators' started by Farmrboy, May 16, 2016.

  1. Farmrboy

    Farmrboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2016
    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    Hi guys I'm new here and got a few questions for you, we farm full time but got some ground that needs cleared so was thinking of buying a older trackhoe and doing it ourselves. We already have a old d7 with a rake so we're good there. Also got some ditches that need cleaned out. Few questions to start out with.

    1. How big of a trackhoe does a guy really need? I don't want to small of one because there's some pretty good size trees in there.

    2. Hydraulic or manual thumb?

    3. What's a good starter brand? I'm open to anything but do have 4 cat dealers within a hour and half.

    4. How many hours are to many?

    5. What do I really need to look at hard if I go look at one?

    Thanks guys pretty new at the excavator market so sorry for the dumb questions.
     
  2. Twisted

    Twisted Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Messages:
    389
    Location:
    MN
    #1 do you need to haul it and how big of a machine can you haul? The bigger the better to get jobs done. You have a D7 so a 20 ton class machine would be a nice match. Now.... What exactly are you looking to do? Complete clearing or a combo with both rigs? Pile? Windrow? burn? How do you do stuff there?

    Anyway... A 20 ton hoe will do anything you want to do but faster or slower than another machine. They are a good pick. Common. Readily available. Not much if any permits to haul. As a farmer you may be exempt.
     
  3. Farmrboy

    Farmrboy Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    Thanks for the reply we have a couple buddies who move stuff for us. And a few have 50 ton lowboy so I don't think that's much of a issue. My thoughts were lay the trees down with the trackhoe and stack into a pile with the trackhoe then rake with dozer and burn the piles with the dozer then with what's left we will bury.

    My neighbor has a 320B and he thinks it's to small for clearing that's what scared me. I found some 30 ton machines and even some 50 ton machines reasonable are these to big? Thanks
     
  4. movindirt

    movindirt Senior Member

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    You could probably find a decent older 330 Cat for less than a decent 320 Cat, and if you have a buddy with a 50 ton lowboy then that will work fine. I'd get it with a hydraulic thumb if possible, and maybe a Q/C so you could throw a ditching bucket on it easily.
     
  5. Farmrboy

    Farmrboy Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    What about a 235 cat were those any good?
     
  6. etd66ss

    etd66ss Well-Known Member

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    May 14, 2015
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    Location:
    Lockport NY
    I did most of this work: http://i.imgur.com/iXMdzJz.jpg With a Cat D6C and a CAT 225. The 225 has been great for land clearing and pond digging.
     
  7. JGibson

    JGibson Well-Known Member

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    Jan 20, 2014
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    Location:
    Ct/Vt
    25-30 ton hoe. Definitely a hydraulic thumb. Agree with movindirt on the q/c and ditch cleaning buckets as well. Link Belt/Case, Deere, and Volvo are all great choices.
     
  8. etd66ss

    etd66ss Well-Known Member

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    I have a manual thumb on my 225, it sure would be nice to have hydraulic.
     
  9. joispoi

    joispoi Senior Member

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    1,284
    Location:
    Connecticut
    1. If you don't have to transport it much, you can generally get a better deal on a 30 ton machine than a 20 ton machine. You can also get a lot more work done with a 30 ton machine.

    2. Either one is fine. Hydraulic is a little nicer than manual. A manual thumb is a LOT nicer than no thumb.

    3. I can't speak for the Cat's. I had a Komatsu PC300lc-5 (the one in my avatar). Great machine. When I sold it in 2009, it was worth more than the -6 series machines. It would definitely be worth considering if there's a good deal in your area on one.

    4. It depends on the maintenance. Some need a rebuild at 10,000 hrs on the engines and pumps. I've heard of some with 18,000 + hrs on the original engines. (Every seller will tell you that the machine he's selling is one of the ones that will go for 18,000+ hrs ;)) It comes down to what kind of life the machine had.
     
  10. Dapperdan16

    Dapperdan16 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    158
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I just bought a 1983 Cat 225 with 10,360 hours weighing in around 50-55k only used it for a few hours but seems to be plenty strong, now it's down to repair a few leaks "started a thread, Cat 225 rear main seal replacement" in the few hours I ran it I dug 3 36in-48in oak stumps no problem, of course an older machine is going to be a little slower.

    Things to look for, especially on older excavators

    #1 bolts that hold house to car body, also play in the swing bearing "extend the stick all the way out, lift bucket a foot off the ground, get out of machine and push on the bucket back and fort with your hands, see how much the house swings back and forth
    #2 cracks/welds on stick, boom
    #3 leaks on track motors, final drives, hoses, swivel joint, cylinders
    #4 play in pins and bushings on the bucket, stick, boom
    #5 undercarriage, pads, idlers, pins, bushings, track rollers
    #6 check all fluids for anything foreign "metal, water" engine oil, hydraulic oil, final drive oil
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
  11. td25c

    td25c Senior Member

    Joined:
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    5,251
    Location:
    indiana
    I like the 20 to 25 ton machines best for all around farm work.

    Hydro thumb is handy but I like the simplicity & strength of a manual fold

    My fist thoughts are later Cat 215 or 225 excavators .

    Hour's ? I don't pay much attention to advertised hours or the meter .

    Generally run the machine on site ( take a mechanic buddy with you ) for an extra set of eyes .

    Check undercarriage , swing bearing play , worn pins & bushings in boom structure , engine & so on .

    That's great you already have the D7 dozer , your going to be in for quite a delight after adding the excavator as when those two machines are paired up together ain't nothing ya cant handle , damn near unstoppable .:)
     
  12. wilko

    wilko Senior Member

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    Location:
    Oregon

    Good machine if you find a nice one.
     
  13. Farmrboy

    Farmrboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2016
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    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    Thanks for all the responses guys lots of good information looked around at the local cat dealers and 1 has a kobelco sk300c another has a kobelco sk480LC IV and another one has a Hitachi ex300lc-3 all 3 seem reasonable in price the smaller kobelco and Hitachi both have a manual thumb are any of these decent machines? It's not like there going to get used everyday but still want something reliable thanks guys.
     
  14. etd66ss

    etd66ss Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Lockport NY
    With used machines, my main concern is always parts availability. One reason I like to go with older CAT equipment.
     
  15. 390eric

    390eric Senior Member

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    Location:
    pittsburgh PA
    I have many hours in a kobelco 480. It's a big machine. She would burn that tank in a hard 10 hour It's big bulky and for clearing think might be a little too big in my opinion. 300 sounds good. We have a lot of the newer 350 kobelcos and those are awesome all around machines. Great power quick and small enough to take clearing in my opinion. Kobelcos are 8 to 10 thousand hour machines and they need a lot of money put back into them. Just for your knowledge
     
  16. movindirt

    movindirt Senior Member

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    I always thought that too, till I had to repair a final drive, or find a stick cylinder on my 1980 Cat 215 then its "Yeah, we can get it, but it will cost 2x what the machine is worth" I'd stick with something newer IMO
     
  17. Dapperdan16

    Dapperdan16 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    New Jersey
    Thats when you look for a machine that is being dismantled for used parts
     
  18. Farmrboy

    Farmrboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2016
    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    Thanks for the info both machines have right at 9000 hours so better make sure they've had some work done to them, I figured the 480 was to big, it's a shame because it's only 5000 more lot more machine for little money. but I figured it would act like a boat anchor in the mud.
     
  19. 390eric

    390eric Senior Member

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    Location:
    pittsburgh PA
    I wouldn't say its a boat anchor I never had I buried I couldn't get out but it is a big machine and will use fuel. Not sure how much you want to spend on your fuel budget. Have them checked out good if you are considering one with that many hours. There is a reason why a new 485 kobelco is atleast 150,000 less then the comparable cat 349.
     
  20. etd66ss

    etd66ss Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Lockport NY
    Well of course, these machines were like ~$125,000 new (I think) in the mid 70's to early 80's. Of course some of the new parts will be out of reach in terms of cost for a individual land owner or very small business, but the parts are all pretty much still available unlike many other makes except Deere, and you don't have to import them from Europe or Asia for incredibly silly costs like New Holland and some other makes.

    And yes, for the larger parts like sticks, booms, rotex bearings you could never afford to buy new and have to find used on Machinery Trader etc.

    What I find nice with CAT is, over the 10 years I have owned a D6C and a 225, they have never told me a part is not available. Small parts, gaskets, you name it, ALL of them are still available. I have balked many times at their prices and went and sourced used, but it's good to know that if I really really need some stupid little part that is holding me up, I don't have to scour the internet for months to find one.

    I own a Ford (New Holland) 575D TLB, a Ford 4610SU and a Ford 1620 HST. All of those Ford/Hew Holland machines are much harder to get parts for than my D6C and 225, and when the dealer does have them, the prices are way more outrageous than CAT. The parts either come from Belgium or Japan, huge money...
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2016