Thinking about a mini tracked excavator
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    johncanfield's Avatar
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    Thinking about a mini tracked excavator

    I carved this off my Time to go truck shopping thread since I mentioned using the new truck money to possibly buy a mini ex so this might be an interesting thread for some.

    Quote Originally Posted by mjncad View Post
    John:

    You did the right thing as the salesman and sales manager are dicks for blowing a $60k sale over a $100 item.

    I've rented four mini-ex's, and my best to worst ratings are:

    Caterpillar cab. Was fairly new and in good condition.. The controls were smooth and traveling the machine wasn't too bad. If it had AC it would have been just right.

    Bobcat open station. Considering the number of hours on it, it worked quite well until a hose blew. United Rental had a hydraulics repair company onsite and I was back online in a couple of hours. I think they gave me an extra half day rental for the inconvenience. Not as refined as the Cat; but still a good machine over all.

    Yanmar open station. It worked A-OK, and my only gripe was the operator's station was cramped compared to the Cat and Bobcat.

    Terex open station. I rented this less than 50-hours on the clock brand new turd from Home Depot. Traveling the machine was like riding a bucking bronco, which was bad as I was working right next to the house. Fortunately I didn't do any damage to the house with that thing. One of the engine covers popped open as I was taking it back the 5-miles to HD.

    Please post the mini-ex thread link in this thread so we can easily find it.
    Wow, thanks for the comments based on seat time in the various models. A major hurdle for me is I haven't operated an excavator before so playing with one for a few minutes wouldn't mean much. However that's never stopped me from buying equipment based on research and reports like yours .

    I briefly talked to she who must be obeyed about a hoe and she wants me to rent but that's going to be a hassle. I would want to rent by the week and probably would take me 10 or 20 hours of seat time to get sort of productive. Our weather changes a lot, especially now for the next three months so I would have to rent in concert with the weather forecast. And at my age I don't want to put in long days running equipment. Of course the advantage of renting is no responsibility for maintenance.

    The mini ex's are very popular so if I buy at the right price there would be no problem using it for a few months and then selling like I did for my Komatsu D39P-1 dozer. Bought it on an IronPlanet auction and sold it to my brother-in-law to use on his ranch. Made about $3k on that deal (it was a good deal for both of us - it's a good dozer at a fair price for him.)

    I would love to have a cab (my cab 4720 has thoroughly spoiled me) but those seem to command about a $10k premium. This is the E42 Bobcat I'm looking at, also in the hunt is the Deere 35D and a Cat 305. Buying a Deere or Bobcat is an advantage since we have local dealers. I was thinking about Kubota but apparently their implement attachment is unique to Kubota so you have to buy Kubota buckets, etc. We do have a local Kubota dealer so I really should look at them.
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    2010 Model 4720 with cab and H180 loader, MX8, MX6, Frontier BB1172 box blade, forks, bale spear, rear blade, WR Long grapple and tooth bar, Fit Rite Hydraulics top and tilt. 2019 Bobcat E42 excavator with cab & several attachments. 2019 Deere Z945M EFI ZTrak 60" 7 Iron Pro deck.

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    firemachine69's Avatar
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    If you have that kind of cash to something illiquid, and, by all means go for it.

    Just keep in the back of your mind that if the market tanks like it did in '08, these mini-ex's basically became worthless overnight, and people could buy "real" ones for about the same amount of cash at auction IE the price spread between a mini, mid, and full-size were negligible.
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    JD 2520 MCUT (SOLD)

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    johnH123's Avatar
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    I know that the deere mini ex's have a pattern selector so you can switch the control scheme to match that of a regular backhoe. So if you've operated a backhoe, it will be an easy upgrade for you.
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    johncanfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firemachine69 View Post
    If you have that kind of cash to something illiquid, and, by all means go for it.

    Just keep in the back of your mind that if the market tanks like it did in '08, these mini-ex's basically became worthless overnight, and people could buy "real" ones for about the same amount of cash at auction IE the price spread between a mini, mid, and full-size were negligible.
    If I wanted to sell and couldn't it really wouldn't matter that much. The =<10,000 pound hoes are very popular with plumbers, electricians, landscapers, etc. in this area since you can trailer them with a 3/4 or one ton truck and they can fit in tight areas. You are right about the price spread between the minis-midis-biggies, I could buy a 20,000 pound used hoe for the same money as a mini. It would be a ton of fun running a 20k pound hoe but it's just too large for my use.
    mjncad, Gizmo2 and firemachine69 like this.
    2010 Model 4720 with cab and H180 loader, MX8, MX6, Frontier BB1172 box blade, forks, bale spear, rear blade, WR Long grapple and tooth bar, Fit Rite Hydraulics top and tilt. 2019 Bobcat E42 excavator with cab & several attachments. 2019 Deere Z945M EFI ZTrak 60" 7 Iron Pro deck.

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    Tractor Tim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johncanfield View Post
    If I wanted to sell and couldn't it really wouldn't matter that much. The =<10,000 pound hoes are very popular with plumbers, electricians, landscapers, etc. in this area since you can trailer them with a 3/4 or one ton truck and they can fit in tight areas. You are right about the price spread between the minis-midis-biggies, I could buy a 20,000 pound used hoe for the same money as a mini. It would be a ton of fun running a 20k pound hoe but it's just too large for my use.
    I've had the Case CX17C and now the Case CX37C. Haven't used the 37 as much, but my first impression is that the extra weight has its downsides too. It is a lot to load/haul on our trailer.

    I was very surprised at what I could do with the 17. I would say the 17 is similar to a 375 backhoe (3R) based on the digging specs. However, MUCH more functional since you can swing 360 degrees.

    I guess I'm suggesting that you consider a smaller machine. Like everything else, bigger isn't always better.

    Oh, and the Case CX80C (~20k pound) machine we borrowed just feels too big for most 'in the yard' projects.
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    johncanfield's Avatar
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    There's an almost brand new 2018 Case CX33C (10 hours) for sale about 100 miles away but there are no Case dealers closer than 100 miles away unfortunately. Our local dealers are Kubota, Deere and Bobcat. There's a Komatsu and Cat dealer about 85 miles away in San Antonio.
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    2010 Model 4720 with cab and H180 loader, MX8, MX6, Frontier BB1172 box blade, forks, bale spear, rear blade, WR Long grapple and tooth bar, Fit Rite Hydraulics top and tilt. 2019 Bobcat E42 excavator with cab & several attachments. 2019 Deere Z945M EFI ZTrak 60" 7 Iron Pro deck.

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    Tractor Tim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johncanfield View Post
    There's an almost brand new 2018 Case CX33C (10 hours) for sale about 100 miles away but there are no Case dealers closer than 100 miles away unfortunately. Our local dealers are Kubota, Deere and Bobcat. There's a Komatsu and Cat dealer about 85 miles away in San Antonio.
    I think the 26 or 33 would be a good size. I dunno about the dealer distance. I have never needed the dealer. I would say that construction dealers are not like Ag dealerships. They don't seem to be expecting to work with 'the little guy' like you or me. So, I'm not sure you feel the same warmth as you might feel in an Ag tractor dealership.
    Does that make sense?


    Tim
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    Interested novice

    Thanks for opening this thread. I've only run any excavator just enough to figure out I want to do it more. I put about 6 hours on a large JD after the owner asked me if I wanted to run it restacking stumps that had gotten piled with too much dirt to burn. After I got used to where the boom needed to be for the fixed thumb to grab properly it was a lot of fun. After a bit of practice I found that I could toss the stumps onto the new pile. A loader operator was steadily bringing more stumps so there was lots of back and forth practice. When the dirt pile got too big, we would move in a circle around the new pile and leave the old dirt behind.

    I tried a couple of mini Cats with mulching heads. Very nice machines but the mulching heads were pretty limited compared to a skid steer mulcher. They were nice for overhead trimming but a much bigger machine would have been better as to get the vertical reach meant I had to be too close to the debris coming down. I'd like to try a mini ex digging. I found operating pretty easy to pick up but I have a feeling that digging a flat bottom trench is probably a lot harder.

    Treefarmer
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    wentonbrown's Avatar
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    I have run almost all the brands and I prefer the smaller bobcats with a hydraulic thumb over all of them. They also have the selector switch to change the boom cycles. I prefer the john deere style. Bucket and thumb and dipper on the right joystick, and the swing and boom on the left.

    After the bobcat I like the cat, john deere or Hitachi, doesn't much matter which. I was last on a 450 Hitachi with a 4ft bucket and a cracker with cutters. I could cut through a 1ft steel beam. I was demoing a old sugar mill factory.

    Now the biggest Ex I have run is a 320 cat here on my property and a couple of the big bobcats minis. One was brand new. They have come a long way since 2008...

    Whatever you decide try to make sure it has a thumb. You will never regret it!

    Good luck!
    WB
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    johncanfield's Avatar
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    A hydraulic thumb is a must have! There’s a very low hour 2015 Kubota KX-40 with a cab about 55 miles away, I had a Kubota tractor (30 hp) that I bought new in 1998 and sold a year ago - very reliable. I initially wasn’t interested in a Kubota track hoe but it wouldn’t hurt to look.

    Thanks for the comments about the Bobcat.
    BigJim55, tj1, wentonbrown and 1 others like this.
    2010 Model 4720 with cab and H180 loader, MX8, MX6, Frontier BB1172 box blade, forks, bale spear, rear blade, WR Long grapple and tooth bar, Fit Rite Hydraulics top and tilt. 2019 Bobcat E42 excavator with cab & several attachments. 2019 Deere Z945M EFI ZTrak 60" 7 Iron Pro deck.

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