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most effective mini?

Discussion in 'Compact Excavators' started by CaT1029, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. CaT1029

    CaT1029 Member

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    Location:
    northeast
    well i am not very inclined in the mini-ex department, i have only started recently looking into it. i am wondering what everyones opinion is on a good mini-ex for my possible situation. i do mostly concrete work right now(full time) with my father, we have been contemplating a mini-ex for jobs that we have to dig out for, bust out work, and other misc. work. it has to fit in a 7x14 dump trailer that would be pulled by a 3500 hd cummins so id say about a 5 ton max on the weight. how would a mini with a blade work for digging out for say a driveway pad, or a sidewalk or other situations? what about the lift capacity for the mini's? ive been looking at specs online but i cant seem to find lift capacity on most pieces of equipment. i am basically looking for any thoughts or opinions on this subject, thanks for the input.:usa
     
  2. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B Administrator

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    Occupation:
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    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    G,day CaT1029, How long is a piece of string?...Ok, firstly, the work you describe (driveway and footpath) is probably skid steer territory. But thats not to say a mini-ex can't do it. Properly operated it will do a fine job just a bit slower. And a mini can do a lot..."Lot" of things a skid can't. Digging a strip footing is just one example.

    Our mini, like most, is worksite crane, No 1 block laying machine (that beats the hell out of a skid) stump remover, trencher etc. We pour concrete out of the bucket on difficult jobs. The list goes on and our work is varied....landscaping, retaining walls, utility trenching, concrete work etc. I have both skid and mini-ex but it if I had to get by with just one machine it would be no contest in favour of the mini-ex.

    Excavators have load capacity charts similar to a crane and your dealers "must" furnish you with one if you are considering purchase. Most websites will have the load charts if you dig deep enough. We swing 550lb blocks on our 6,600lbs Yanmar. Be aware, the load capacity is "severely" affected by the angle/level/softness of the ground on which it operates. Good operators learn to combat the conditions and position the machine to suit but just 7 or 8 degrees of slope is a lot when it comes to load.

    In terms of what brand well...thats a whole different barrel of monkeys and hi-jackable threads. If you have had a look around HEF there are a number of threads on mini-ex. Personally I have used Cat and Kubota extensively, and we now have almost 600 hours on our Yanmar. I have no serious gripes with these brands but then again....I consider service and support to be of paramount importance and tend to be a bit colourblind when it comes to mini-ex. The new Takeyourhoochies are getting good reports and lets face it....they could only improve. I have no exposure with Bobcat mini-ex.

    To the best of my knowledge, and excluding Volvo (European and their smallest machine is probably over your weight limit) the current crop of mini-ex's are all asian manufactured although assembly may occur in other countrys. When I was shopping around for the Yanmar the local Hitachi dealer made some comments about how much better their machine was (the usual stuff) and I later had confirmed what I suspected....Yanmar and Hitachi minis come out of the same factory. Anyway, all I'm saying is there is no point in getting all patriotic with a brand....patriotic is what you get with your dealer when you get good service.

    My advice...well, sounds like you need to hire a mini for a few jobs and see how it goes.

    Good Luck.
     
  3. iceberg210

    iceberg210 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Seattle (Newcastle/Auburn) WA
    Bobcat's are made in the US I believe although Squizzy is right most excavators out on the market are great pieces of equipment. I've got a Takeuchi that's a great machine and I've run Scat Tracks (now Volvo) that I was very impressed with. Look around see what you like best and don't be afraid to look at brands that aren't insanely popular. For example New Holland's and Kobelcos and I hear great things about them.
     
  4. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    excavation
    Location:
    Idaho
    Squizzy, you kill me:drinkup

    Cat1029,
    You did not say if have a skid steer I would assume you do as doing concrete is tough without one. For a lot of jobs the two compliment each other. Excavators works great for tearout as it does not destroy the subbase, of course the typical jobs like digging footing, additions ect. are also possible.

    As far as brand I think it is difficult to find a bad one (new). I have run Deere/Hitachi, Bobcat, Komatsu and Cat, CASE. I have owned an IHI and two Takeuchi's TB53FR/TB153FR.

    As far as chosing an excavator that is not that well known, the IHI excavators are solid machines, their control system is state of the art. The service is also good. I dealt with the factory directly, the guys are first class there and parts are only 24 hours away if needed.

    I have been happy with my TK machines, very powerful and that side to side boom is the best thing to happen to a mini excavator.
     
  5. atgreene

    atgreene Senior Member

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    Location:
    Sebago, Maine
    I love my Takeuchi 135, my Takeuchi 025 was bulletproof. The kubota 91 and 121 that I ran extensively had track power issues (compared to Takeuchi), but otherwise were good machines. The Bobcats I have run have been very fast, no issues with them that I could see. The Cat I ran was the weakest of them all. Lacked power, no track power, no breakout, in comparison, amd when I bought my 135 new, the numbers backed that up.
     
  6. Nick Drew

    Nick Drew Resigned

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    Feb 11, 2007
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    Occupation:
    Plant operator
    Location:
    Devon, England
    Hi all,

    Well it has to be Takeuchi for me, I think they are currently the best selling mini excavators here in England.
    Makes to steer clear of in my opinion are JCB, Case, and Komatsu. I bought a Komatsu PC20R-8 back in 1999 and soon discovered the Komatsu mini range was not what it used to be!! They are made in Italy by the now Komatsu owned FAI company, found the build qualitiy to be poorer and had a few Hydraulic oil leaks, when they were the original Japanese manufactured machines they were great and I could not fault them...Sad that they have gone down this route :beatsme

    Here are photos of a selection of minis that I have worked on.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. mflah87

    mflah87 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
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    186
    Occupation:
    owner of excavating company
    Location:
    Waltham
    I would look into getting a Komatsu PC35 or PC40 or a Cat 302.5 or 303CR. A Zero tail swing machine would be ideal for working in tight quaters. You never have to worry about swinging into a tree, building or whatever. Seems like you are in my area the North East. If you bought a new one you'd be looking at about $40,000.
     
  8. CaT1029

    CaT1029 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
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    Location:
    northeast
    thanks for everyones input, we do not have a skidsteer the only equipment that we have is a new holland 1720 tractor with scraper box which is more for around the house than work. we are not a very big outfit at all but we are loosing some work to a company that does have equipment and we can't loose this homebuilder. what kind of hrly rate do most of you run the minis at? i was looking at a JD 35 or something along those lines, does anyone have experience with this machine?
     
  9. atgreene

    atgreene Senior Member

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    Dec 1, 2005
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    508
    Location:
    Sebago, Maine
    I'm at $110 per hour for my machine (just went up again), slightly less for a full 10 hour day. Every area is different, though. I do a lot of specialty work, erosion sensitive areas, stone walls, tight spots and tree work. Makes for a nice niche market and I don't compete with the big guys for foundations, just the occational septic.

    Just a suggestion, start out renting. Try different rental yards so you can run different machines with different options. I did that for a year or so till one of the rental units I ran came up for sale. I knew the machine and because I had rented so much, they cut me a little slack. 2 years later I bought a new 135 with all the extras. By then I knew what I needed to do the jobs I was getting. I haven't advertised in years, and am always booked. Once people see what you can do and can trust you, word of mouth will keep you busy.

    My 135 is about 8000 lbs and is a horse. With the quick attach system and thumb, you can price your hourly rate higher than a straight plain jane machine. Warning, once you run a hydro tilt clean-up bucket, get out your wallet;) , you won't live without one.

    Good luck.
     
  10. itsgottobegreen

    itsgottobegreen Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Maryland
    Same goes for a till a tatch for a bobcat skid loader. I am at a lost with out mine now.
     
  11. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

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    Occupation:
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    Location:
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    I would honestly get a skid steer first. A mini ex would be nice but a skid steer would be a necessity I would think. I don't pour concrete but we do a lot of prep and tear out. I have yet to see a concrete company with a mini ex but you seldom see one without a skid steer. My opinion would be to wait and get a skid first and then a mini ex.
     
  12. Wulf

    Wulf Senior Member

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    Location:
    Canada
    Nick, luckily for us over here in North America most of the Komatsu minis we see are still built in Japan. PC200 to PC400 are built in Tennessee to but to Japanese type specs just like your full-size Komatsu UK machines.
     
  13. Fishfiles

    Fishfiles Active Member

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    Location:
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    Bobcat USA

    In this thread there was a post that Bobcat is made in the USA , kinda streching it , years ago Bobcat moved their corporate head quarters to the Bahamas , it's more like assembled in the USA , I would think probally 80-90% of the Bobcat parts come from overseas , Kubota , Duetz and Perkins motors , German and Isreali travel motors, Japanese starters and alternators , etc , etc , much like another American legend the Harley Davidson ------now Bobcat has been taken over by Doosan of South Korea so who knows what is to come ,I personally don't think they will be any better thn they were , I think I would stay away from Bobcat till the dust settles from the buy out ---- Bobcat is an OK machine , gets the job done and parts are avaiable but I have found they don't last as well as the Takeuchi , Komatsu or the Kubotas as far as minis go , the metal used by the Bobcat wears out really fast , the pins and bushings get really loose even if you are a regular greaser--------I wonder why Bobcat took the "Made In USA " decals off their machines , I have not seen them in a few years
     
  14. 580bruce

    580bruce Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    entiat wa
    tracked skid

    Cat,for slab prep like you do,I would go with an ASV.They ars great for slab prep grading.You can put a breaker on it for tear out,the bucket for removal,and a roller compactor on it for finish prep.Tey work great.
     
  15. smalltime

    smalltime Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    wv
    We have a Bobcat 430. I have put over 1,000 hours on it & it is just as tight as the day we bought it. No complaints at all. (other than they were bought by Daewoo) My machine was made in North Dakota, but it does have a Kubota engine. I did run a Kubota mini the other day. I liked the way the machine operated, very strong & fast, but the cab layout was a little hard on the head, especially with the front window open. I hit my head HARD 3 times & Dad got his twice. I would not hesitate to buy another Bobcat, but it really comes down to service. Go with a good dealer more so than the machine. Most machines are so close in performance the service is a big part of the decision.
     
  16. bobcat ron

    bobcat ron Banned

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    Stay away from Bobcat mini ex's, they are mainly eye candy, bottom of the pile for me, heck even my Dad's little Hitachi EX27 is a beter machine in power and fuel economy and it has a smaller cab, which everyone hates, but it is 10 times the machine of Bobcat.
     
  17. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W Senior Member

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    Two notes: Bobcat's headquarters are still in North Dakota (Fargo). Ingersoll Rand's HQ moved to the Bahamas, but that's irrelevant now that IR doesn't own Bobcat anymore.

    Second thing: Bobcat probably got rid of the stickers just to save money. If they can save $0.50 per machine, with, what, 25,000 skids (and who knows how many mini excavators) sold per year, that's more than $10,000 saved. A drop in the bucket, but it's also one less thing for someone to put on (a decal takes about a minute to put on correctly), one less thing for dealers to stock, and one less part number. Bobcat's been about wringing the dimes out of their machines... and a 50 cent sticker is five of 'em. :)

    (My theory, anyhow.)
     
  18. Canadian_digger

    Canadian_digger Senior Member

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    I love our 334 Bobcat it has 1300hrs on it and haven’t put a penny into it. Has no leaks what so ever and is at tight as the day we got it. I find is has lots of power for its size and is fast. If I had go buy another one it would be a Bobcat. I have read that they have been sold to another company this year. I just hope the quality doesn’t go down.
     
  19. smalltime

    smalltime Well-Known Member

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    I was at the Bobcat dealership today to return a hydraulic hammer I had rented & I saw the "MADE IN USA" stickers on a new Bobcat 435 & a 337 (I think)
     
  20. bobcat ron

    bobcat ron Banned

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    I'm sure they were there for added counterweight!