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General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: glort on October 27, 2018, 11:28:17 AM

Title: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: glort on October 27, 2018, 11:28:17 AM

After being frustrated with not being able to do what I want around the place and the distinct of any decent used machinery, I am ready to buy one of these little toys:

I know they are only a glorified powered shovel but that's probably all I need round here anyway. I have been doing my research on YT and they seem more capeable than what I would have thought.
I got a quote from an excavator guy the other day for $2500 for some work we want done, mainly landscaping although that was with taking a lot of plants and a few stumps away.  It's pretty much the price of the machine and I reckon if I took a trip to the tip which will cost about $350 a ton here, I'd get rid of most of it.

Just wondering if anyone has owned or played with one of these little things?  I know they are sold by Hava Fright in the US and saw some UK distributors as well.

I reckon I could do a lot with one of these even if I can't do it fast.  Time to think too much is something I have too much of as well so speed isn't real important.  At least I would have an assett I could get probably decent money back on it I sold the thing rather than having dead money just hiring... which really is a pain in the arse anyway.  Much better to have the gear there when the inspiration strikes you than have to plan an event to get something.

Spose the best thing with one of these will be I'll have the gear to build a new shed which I'll need because I have so much damn equipment here!   :laugh:
Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: 38ac on October 27, 2018, 02:31:40 PM
Your intuitions about it are pretty much spot on in my experience
 Beats the hell out of a shovel but a far fetch from convienant or fast when compared to a track mounted mini excavator.
Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: oldgoat on October 27, 2018, 03:01:52 PM
I have never used one of these but one like it and found it has a few limitations. With a full bucket and on full extension when slewing they are inclined to tip over even with the outriggers. They usually use a very short slewing ram and to get enough travel you usually have to remove and replace a pin to get the full arc and the don't like hard ground not enough weight they will lift the outriggers off the ground. Not a problem if you have a good sense of balance but too scary for me. I sent it back and bought a 2nd hand Cranvel wombat. Has a twin cylinder wisconsin on it like pouring fuel down the drain but ultra reliable.
Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: Hugh Conway on October 27, 2018, 08:27:43 PM
Around here, the smallest machine that has proved useful is a small rubber tracked excavator. These small gas powered rigs don't have the steam to do any hard work. We have hard rocky ground, much unlike the TV gardening shows soft and limitless loamy soil.
Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: EdDee on October 27, 2018, 09:51:26 PM
Saw something similar a while back and earmarked it as a project to put together sometime... The one I saw hooked up to the 3 point link on a tractor and used the pto to drive the pump... nice little affair that could be stashed away while not in use... easy to remove to... outrigger feet were fixed in place, you just raised the 3 point to move along, drop it down and start digging...
Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: glort on October 27, 2018, 10:08:48 PM
Thanks Guy's.

All of your comments were pretty much what I thought.  These wouldn't be my first choice but appear to be my only choice.  Used excavators an backhoes are rare for a long way round here and the only smaller one mate who was going to buy one with me and I have seen would need more repairs than what they were worth.  Seems the only ones for sale are the ones that are no longer worth having.

I have been looking for a cranvel, There was one the other week but I saw it within hours of listing, got on to the seller and it was gone hours later.

Putting it on wheels with a turntable is already something I'm thinking about.  Was wondering about using a couple of car hums on another frame to spin the whole thing round  with either a Hydraulic or electric motor and also a way to drive the wheels back and forward efficiently.  Seems my hydraulic motors there would be good but that stuff, Valves, hoses rams etc is Bloody expensive so may be investing too much in something not worth it.

The soil here could be a challenge being clay but my plans at this stage do not include  a lot of excavation. That said, The clay is about 25Cm down here in a lot of places so you don't have to go far down to hit it. As far as sticking in the bucket etc, I think that will be a problem with any machine. Just have to keep a squirt bottle of veg oil handy and spray it in as a release agent.

I would like something a bit less toy like but there really isn't anything to be had. Was going to buy a Kubota tractor with the Bucket and backhoe but haven't seen one  for sale in months and the past one I did see was a couple of thousand less than new. If I were spending that much, I'd be paying the extra and getting warranty on a new one.

Just have to take it slow and steady I guess. I'm not up to doing everything we want round here with a shovel.  Tried taking one of these plants out the other day with a pick and that was more than enough. Only have about 50 of the things.

I'll keep looking a bit longer but if nothing comes up, that's what I'll get. they are on sale atm cheaper than I have seen them anywhere so better not let that go or I'll be kicking myself.
Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: glort on October 27, 2018, 10:16:17 PM

Hi Ed,

I was looking at those things about 12 Months ago.  I got warned off them repeatedly. People said they put too much  stress on the back of the Tractor and the 3 PL even with the outriggers. They looked OK to me.  I was thinking about one of those mounted on a trailer or even in the back of a ute and have an engine driving the pump and run the hoses back.

Don't know enough or have any heavy engineering facilities or experience so probably biting off more than I could Chew there.
Running the things as Intended I'd have the added cost of a tractor as well.  That would also limit where I could put the thing here.  That's one thing about the little one, I can see myself making some narrow axle setup for moving the thing with the 2 Wheel tractor into a couple of tight spots that a regular tractor would not go near.

I have seen a few on the net home made. Probably a weekend job for someone like yourself with your skill set.  Unfortunately some of the rest of us have to buy the pre made crap and modify it where we can and hope for the best with everything else.
Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: BruceM on October 27, 2018, 10:41:33 PM
There are supports available for some tractors for the 3 pt hitch versions.  Otherwise it's a frame mount with a new sub frame.  I already have a subframe for the front end loader for my Kubota L2550, so figure I should be fine with one of the smaller, 5 or 6 foot backhoes on the 3pt.

Annoying that they are all PTO powered; that seems unnecessary and more expense but so far I haven't found one without it.  Cheapest I could find so far is $3800 for a PTO powered 6 foot one from China.  That's pretty stiff for a whimpy little backhoe.  For $100 an hour I can hire a late model, full sized CAT backhoe with a skilled operator. Our rocks and clay make for very slow going for modest trackhoes and such.  My neighbor recently did a big trenching job with a trackhoe borrowed from a neighbor, and spent  2 weeks doing a job that would be 5 hours or $500 for the CAT backhoe. That didn't seem like a bargain to me.

I'm toying with the idea of a sub soiler ripping blade followed by a middle buster plow blade for trenching.  They are pretty cheap.

Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: mike90045 on October 28, 2018, 12:18:22 AM
I had one at my disposal for 6 years, and used it all the time, digging, hauling logs out of brush
 It was a REAL mini-excavator. treads, cab that would spin like a top (that's how you make a flat pad, use the blade to un-tilt the cab, then whirl around using the bucket to scrape off the high bits.)

What you linked to is a towable back-hoe. It will not have the power or speed that a true excavator has. Looks like the ones HF sells here in the states. If  "looks*like*tools" sells it, it's not likely to be really durable.  If it's cost is about the same as a rental, if you got 2 days of real work out of it, it might be worth it.   Figure out what flavor of hydraulic fluid it  drinks, and get some spare jugs, I'd expect it to seep a lot at the seals.

Be sure you can tow/maneuver it into the spots you want to use it at, because you will not move it much by hand.  And leave it hitched to the tow vehicle for more stability.

Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: glort on October 28, 2018, 01:33:58 AM

Mate got back to me that has a LOT of machinery.
He reckons that his tractor mounted backhoe is a pain in the arse because he's trying to move it to get a better or different angle on things every job he does.
He reckons this one would be worse.  It did occour to me but I figured it was something I'd work out.  Moving the front is easy enough with the bucket but how do you get the arse end around if you want to work across a straight line which is what I'll mainly want rather than going back and trenching?

So frustrating.
Seems like the thing is a mistake ne way or the other. Might be a mistake to buy it and might be a mistake not to.
Next one up I can buy with tracks is about $15k. Not so worried about the purchase price, more thinking id what I'd loose when I sold a new one.
Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: xyzer on November 03, 2018, 08:39:57 PM
After owning tractors with a backhoe I found the backhoe to be a specialty item. Ditches! The backhoe you showed is lightweight for sure and would work to death on a stump or rocks. Digging or plowing is all about equipment weight. I am an equipment lover but that is a piece that will just serve one purpose. I will go rent one fit to the job dig all and future ditches and be done with it. Renting a good one for the size of the job will be fun and much cheaper. It will also do it in a fraction of the time. Of course that is me and renting can have it's adventures.
Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: glort on November 03, 2018, 10:38:21 PM

The advise strongly imparted to me was the same.  It's too much of a lightweight toy, go rent one and be done with it.

I still would have liked one. I keep thinking of ways I could have modified it to make it more practical.  I reckon buying something like a farm ute and bolting it to that so it had weight and mobility would have been the answer. I was thinking of using the existing frame but the swing angle was also pointed out as a drawback  so I would have looked at another mounting setup  and a longer ram to give it a full 180o turn.

Renting is cheap round here, I can get a 1.7t unit for $150 a day but I still think I could have done a lot with a little toy having it when I wanted and being able to adapt the thing as well.
If I could find one used I'd definately get it to see what they were like and what I could do with one work and modification wise. If it didn't work out I could at least sell it for minimal loss. Never seen one for sale used which makes me thing those that have them hang onto them so they can't be too bad.

Was also thinking of one of the detachable types Bruce was speaking of.  Some of them have their own pump so all Id have to do would be drive that off the engine and mount it to an old heavy chassis and make my own monster ( in appearance if not size) backhoe.
Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: xyzer on November 04, 2018, 06:08:53 PM
The digging force is relative to the weight of the machine. The lightweight one won't do much more bolted to a heavy machine. The hydrolic system is rated for the design. I had a 3 point type mounted to a 43hp Kubota. The pump attached to the pto. It was weak but like it was said beat the heck out of a shovel! You could take it off and use the tractor for other things.
Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: BruceM on November 04, 2018, 08:02:42 PM
If you have rocky ground, the ability of a large backhoe to just rip through the rocks without stalling is amazing.  Still, I'd love to have a small 3pt hitch backhoe for my 30hp Kubota, if I didn't have to pay for it. 

I just finished the rehab of the L2550.  The engine is in great shape, starts immediately with a clear exhaust.  The alternator and other electronics are disconnected, and the battery is kept charged via a solar panel on the new roof and linear charge regulator.  The exhaust is extended upward as diesel's are my friends but the exhaust isn't.  It's got a new hydraulic top link from Magister.

Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: glort on November 04, 2018, 10:49:39 PM

That's one tall exhaust Stack! Good job trees are far and few between where you are.

Would running Veg oil give you any benefits or be less toxic to your Condition Bruce?
Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: BruceM on November 05, 2018, 03:59:56 AM
It's way too cold here for straight vegetable oil in the winter.  Biodiesel is a noticeable improvement though I don't find even that exhaust something I can handle well.  Much like my disappointing experiment with burning hydrogen, I suspect a part of the problem with diesel exhaust is also the high temperature combustion gasses such as NOX created from air.  I ran my Listeroid on B99 for it's first few years of operation primarily for the delightful fuel handling (no problems there) but I can't get it anymore.

The tall stack does work quite well.  The Kubota engine mechanical noise is ferocious and requires earplugs plus shooting ear muffs or I'm a wreck the next day. 

Any time I can manage to do something myself, somehow, it goes in the win column. 

Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: glort on November 05, 2018, 05:38:04 AM

Any time I can manage to do something myself, somehow, it goes in the win column.

I speak for myself and I'm sure others when I say I think you do a hell of a lot better than I would under the circumstances of what you have to cope with. Your solutions to so many problems are far and away beyond what most people would be able to do and your ability to overcome so many difficulties is a credit to you and wins you much admiration.
Title: Re: Any experience with Mini excavators?
Post by: BruceM on November 05, 2018, 06:42:10 AM
Thanks, Glort.  I'm just too damned stubborn to lay about whining.