In the market for a mini woods excavator
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    Poindexter's Avatar
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    In the market for a mini woods excavator

    My equipment choices are based on how close the dealer is. So that leaves me with John Deere, Kubota, Cat, and Volvo. Iíve been talking to my Deere dealer, whom Iím a big fan of, and am leaning toward a 35D with a cab, extended arm, and thumb. The price is about right for a new one. Iíd need to save up a little more for something bigger, and that is totally fine. Rather buy the right thing than get the wrong thing right away.

    There are a few small projects I plan to rent a Kubota for (only decent test drive rental option) and the choices are a KX040 or U55 in comparison to the size Iím after for ownership.

    Cat seems to have a lot of exposed lines that look like potential problems in the woods and I know absolutely nothing about the Volvo.

    What am I doing:
    • Maintaining my residence and attached wood lot
    • Digging up stumps
    • Grading
    • Trenching
    • Log hoist for lumber mill and firewood processing



    Whatís un and important:
    • Reach with a load
    • Lifting capabilities
    • Digging depth is not as important. I have gotten to plenty of root balls with a tractor, and Iím not digging foundations.



    Questions:
    1. Does the brand matter that much?
    2. Is resale dramatically different between Deere and Kubota?
    3. Iím torn between the power of the 50D and the size of the 35D. The 35D is the better size for maneuvering around the woods, but I am a subscriber in the buy more power than you need theory. Any thoughts you might have on this?
    Managing a 40 acre woodlot'd homestead. JD 4066R Cab | 440R | 3rd,4th,5th SCV | JD 60" Root Grapple | Frontier BB4284H 84" Box Blade | JD Bucket | JD 48 Pallet Forks | JD PHD400 Post Hole Digger | Wallenstein FX90 Skidding Winch | Wallenstein BX62R Chipper. The 1025R keeps the drive clear in the winter and the grasses' ears lowered | Mauser Cab | 60" mowing deck | 54" JD Blower | JD Salt/Sand Spreader | JD 60" rake | DR Power 1 ton Versa Trailer. Gone JD's, but not forgotten: X530 & 4052M.

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    Tractor Tim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poindexter View Post
    My equipment choices are based on how close the dealer is. So that leaves me with John Deere, Kubota, Cat, and Volvo. Iíve been talking to my Deere dealer, whom Iím a big fan of, and am leaning toward a 35D with a cab, extended arm, and thumb. The price is about right for a new one. Iíd need to save up a little more for something bigger, and that is totally fine. Rather buy the right thing than get the wrong thing right away.

    There are a few small projects I plan to rent a Kubota for (only decent test drive rental option) and the choices are a KX040 or U55 in comparison to the size Iím after for ownership.

    Cat seems to have a lot of exposed lines that look like potential problems in the woods and I know absolutely nothing about the Volvo.

    What am I doing:
    • Maintaining my residence and attached wood lot
    • Digging up stumps
    • Grading
    • Trenching
    • Log hoist for lumber mill and firewood processing



    Whatís un and important:
    • Reach with a load
    • Lifting capabilities
    • Digging depth is not as important. I have gotten to plenty of root balls with a tractor, and Iím not digging foundations.



    Questions:
    1. Does the brand matter that much?
    2. Is resale dramatically different between Deere and Kubota?
    3. Iím torn between the power of the 50D and the size of the 35D. The 35D is the better size for maneuvering around the woods, but I am a subscriber in the buy more power than you need theory. Any thoughts you might have on this?

    I cannot help you with brand selection, as I've got the Case 17C, and that is not on your list.

    Perhaps I CAN help you on the size discussion. I find that the 17 size is not very heavy for digging/prying at a distance. It takes practice and maneuvering to always be prying straight up. Otherwise, it is quite tippy.

    If you can transport the larger one, and if it fits in your shed and in your budget, I think this would be the best bet.
    One other concern on a '50' is the overall weight for transport. Are you able to stay under the 26,000lb GVW CDL limit with your truck/trailer, and Mini-ex?

    Tim
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    Poindexter's Avatar
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    Thanks Tim and good question. I do not have to worry about transport. The dealer will drop it off and it will live on my property.
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    Managing a 40 acre woodlot'd homestead. JD 4066R Cab | 440R | 3rd,4th,5th SCV | JD 60" Root Grapple | Frontier BB4284H 84" Box Blade | JD Bucket | JD 48 Pallet Forks | JD PHD400 Post Hole Digger | Wallenstein FX90 Skidding Winch | Wallenstein BX62R Chipper. The 1025R keeps the drive clear in the winter and the grasses' ears lowered | Mauser Cab | 60" mowing deck | 54" JD Blower | JD Salt/Sand Spreader | JD 60" rake | DR Power 1 ton Versa Trailer. Gone JD's, but not forgotten: X530 & 4052M.

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    Senior GTT Super Slacker Gizmo2's Avatar
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    A friend of mine has a 50D, very nice machine, IMO.
    I would not be afraid of getting the 35D.
    I just looked at a 26G and if I were a bit younger I would have bought it for personal use.
    Last edited by Gizmo2; 04-16-2018 at 12:35 PM.
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    mini

    All of those machines are good , have run them . You want a 4/5 ton machine . You will appreciate the weight with stumps . Just my thoughts , Kevin.
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    Inexperienced user

    I am definitely not an experienced user so this advice might be worth exactly what you paid for it. My first experience on a excavator was when we were cleaning up some land. The farmer rented a large Cat and brought his somewhat smaller Deere. The smaller machine was still pretty good sized with 30 foot reach or so.

    The owner asked me if I could run the Deere restacking debris, showed me the controls and left. After 4-5 hours, I felt pretty comfortable on it. It had a fixed thumb but a hydraulic one would be handy because it would increase the radius where the bucket and thumb could pick up something.

    I played with two Cat machines with mulching heads. Fun to play with but for mulching, bigger was better. More reach, wider head and more hydraulic power to the head. I would go with as large a machine as your budget allows depending on whether you have to fit it in tight spaces. I'm not sure the exposed lines would bother me too much as I don't intend to bang the boom into stuff.

    Ultimately, I'd lean toward the machine with the best dealer support. I like renting that type equipment unless it's something you are going to use a lot. It's pretty expensive to buy if it's going to sit idle 11 1/2 months out of the year.

    There are some experienced heavy equipment operators on here. I'd pay more attention to them than to my newby comments.

    By the way, I want one as well but it will probably have to but under 10,000 lbs so I can move it or actually, my brother could move it. It's either that or rent. I'll probably rent when I really need one.

    Treefarmer
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    I've rented four different mini excavators over the years.

    My favorite was this CAT as it was the smoothest operating one of the bunch. It was also the largest of the four I rented. All it needed was AC to make it perfect.

    Click image for larger version.†

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    My next favorite was a Bobcat; though it had been rode hard and put away wet over the years by previous renters.

    After that was a small Yanmar. A nice mini-ex; but damn that thing was cramped.

    The worst one I rented was a brand new Terex from Home Cheapot. Either it wasn't set up properly by the dealer before turning it over to HD, or the manufacturer produced a turd; but that blasted thing was like riding a bucking bronco when traveling the machine.
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    I have more ideas than ambition.


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    blue87fj60's Avatar
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    All three you picked are good machines.
    Of course the Cat is gonna the most expensive. My uncle has a 302 i believe. Great machine except his has a full cab and no AC. It gets brutal in that little cab in summer.
    Good luck with whatever you choose. I do recommend the hydraulic thumb as it's extremely handy.
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    johncanfield's Avatar
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    I was seriously considering buying a used construction loader/backhoe several months ago and looked at a ton of equipment on-line at Iron Planet (auction house I bought a Komatsu dozer from), equipment trader, etc., etc. What I discovered was a definite hierarchy in resale value (if that matters to you):

    1 - Cat by far has a premium resale value
    2 - Deere
    3 - Case
    4 - the "also rans" JCB, Volvo, Hitachi and on and on...
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin37b View Post
    All of those machines are good , have run them . You want a 4/5 ton machine . You will appreciate the weight with stumps . Just my thoughts , Kevin.


    Definitely this. The difference between pulling stumps with a 12k machine versus a 7k machine is night and day. Been down that road before!





    Quote Originally Posted by Treefarmer View Post
    I am definitely not an experienced user so this advice might be worth exactly what you paid for it. My first experience on a excavator was when we were cleaning up some land. The farmer rented a large Cat and brought his somewhat smaller Deere. The smaller machine was still pretty good sized with 30 foot reach or so.

    The owner asked me if I could run the Deere restacking debris, showed me the controls and left. After 4-5 hours, I felt pretty comfortable on it. It had a fixed thumb but a hydraulic one would be handy because it would increase the radius where the bucket and thumb could pick up something.

    I played with two Cat machines with mulching heads. Fun to play with but for mulching, bigger was better. More reach, wider head and more hydraulic power to the head. I would go with as large a machine as your budget allows depending on whether you have to fit it in tight spaces. I'm not sure the exposed lines would bother me too much as I don't intend to bang the boom into stuff.

    Ultimately, I'd lean toward the machine with the best dealer support. I like renting that type equipment unless it's something you are going to use a lot. It's pretty expensive to buy if it's going to sit idle 11 1/2 months out of the year.

    There are some experienced heavy equipment operators on here. I'd pay more attention to them than to my newby comments.

    By the way, I want one as well but it will probably have to but under 10,000 lbs so I can move it or actually, my brother could move it. It's either that or rent. I'll probably rent when I really need one.

    Treefarmer

    +1

    Unless you're running it commercially, you're going to throw away lots of money owning one of these (mind you, they keep their equity extremely well). They are pretty use-specific. They are a hassle to transport (can't just drive down the road with it). And the parts list will make your eyes water (ever replace a final drive?) It's kind of the same issue with digging post holes. Yes, I suppose I could just buy a PHD for the rental of a decent 10k weight skidsteer with the auger attachment. But my tractor's three-point doesn't provide down-pressure, which the skidsteer does. Little details like that matter.


    I have my little 46 backhoe for the regular, smaller projects. If I need something bigger, I pull out my commercial liability and rent the exact machine I need for the job. That obviously won't work for homeowners, but most places will give you a pretty decent selection of mini (or mid-size) machines if that's the case.
    Last edited by firemachine69; 04-19-2018 at 09:22 AM.
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