Buying an excavator

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
I am about to start building myself a new house plus I still have a lot of land clearing and property maintenance to do so was thinking of buying myself an excavator
Was thinking around the 3.5 to 6 ish tonne size. The less I spend the better but don’t want to buy a money pit either. Been poking around on the net and there seems to be a few offerings in the 25 to 30k price point but don’t really know what I am looking at
Any suggestions on what to buy ?
 

80lover96gxl

Moderator
Hey Alby, a 5t er is a good versatile machine in that size category your considering. Kubota are close to being the best in the size along with hitachi and komatsu. Kobelco and yanmar arent bad either. Cat are overated imo.
Things to look out for are service history ( like anything with mechenicals), final drives can be an expensive replacement when worn out and you can usually tell if the machine Labour's when tracking, tracking to the left or right when wanting to go straight can also be a sign final drives are on their way out.

Slop in the pins, generally in the bucket hitch attachment and main knuckle that attaches the boom to the machine can cause issues. The bucket slop will be obvious but to check the knuckle simply raise the machine off the ground using the bucket 6-8 inches and look for up and down movement in the knuckle joint.

A quick hitch is handy to swap buckets rather than having to do manually. If the machine has a quick hitch check to two small hydraulic hoses that operate it ( where the bucket attaches to the machine )for wear as these two hoses are usually the ones most often replaced.

Slew the machine left and right and listen for any grinding or clunking noises. This can indicate the main swivel bearing could be on its way out and involves splitting the machine to fix - read very expensive.

Rubber tracks are handy but should be checked for large splits or cracks.

Im biased towards kubota i must admit. Iv been in the one i operate now for over 12 yrs and put 10000 hrs on the ol girl and its still doin what i need. In that time the only thing thats needed replacing are rubber tracks and hydraulic hoses so has been super reliable but is starting to get a little tired. The boss says he will be replacing it soon so I'll be pushing for another kubota and not one of those nasty Chinese ones.

Hope this helps mate, im sure there's stuff iv forget and if i remember I'll post it up.
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
Thanks Brian I was hoping you would chime in, lots of good info there for me to consider.
I asked the local operator for some advice but he was a bit standoff ish which is fair enough as he doesn’t want to do himself out of work here. I have already spent over70k with him cutting in roads, benching out some pads and dams etc and still a lot more to be done.
I know I won’t be good enough to do some of the detailed work but there is plenty of basic stuff I can have a crack at.
 

Blue_haired_man

Well-Known Member
Just about all the operators around with medium sized excavators here have or are planning on getting a Kubota. Last guy I had out to clear a few dams, had just upgraded and sold his last 6t with all attachments, 3 of each swamp and toothed buckets, auger set, ripper and grab for $15k, with about 5000 hours and meticulously maintained. So there is definitely good deals to be had if you can find them. I must admit I would have seriously considered at it at that price. Bloody handy machines.
 

80lover96gxl

Moderator
Just about all the operators around with medium sized excavators here have or are planning on getting a Kubota. Last guy I had out to clear a few dams, had just upgraded and sold his last 6t with all attachments, 3 of each swamp and toothed buckets, auger set, ripper and grab for $15k, with about 5000 hours and meticulously maintained. So there is definitely good deals to be had if you can find them. I must admit I would have seriously considered at it at that price. Bloody handy machines.
Thats bloody cheap with all those attachments. Their a very popular machine and several other makes of machine run the Kubota engine due to its reliability, good fuel consumption and power.
 

80lover96gxl

Moderator
Thanks Brian I was hoping you would chime in, lots of good info there for me to consider.
I asked the local operator for some advice but he was a bit standoff ish which is fair enough as he doesn’t want to do himself out of work here. I have already spent over70k with him cutting in roads, benching out some pads and dams etc and still a lot more to be done.
I know I won’t be good enough to do some of the detailed work but there is plenty of basic stuff I can have a crack at.
No probs mate. Best way to learn is jump on and start playing and sounds like you have a fair sized area to work with .
 

dno67

Well-Known Member
1.Yanmar,
2.Hitachi, Takeuchi.
3.Komatsu, Kubota.
4. 5t Hyundai
Brian has pretty much covered all the important things look for.
Kubota are very popular with 48% of the market at present but there
are a few reasons for this. Firstly is there doing there own finance and
it's very good on new machines, secondly they only build machines 8t
or less and thirdly there not a bad machine spec wise when you compare
them to other offerings. I will say having just purchased a new one myself
I can't see it having a good resale price at a later date for quite a few reasons and the newer machines build quality IMO is not what it was.
If purchasing privately. I'd buy from a contractor rather than say a builder or
concreter, my experience is many of these mobs only purchase to save money not
make money and there for less likely to maintain and more likely to skimp
on sending $$$ and also not so fussed about who's running/operating there gear.
All the machines above have strengths and weakness in different area's, like
tail swing, boom swing and cabin size just to mention a few. Another thing to take into account is transport if you need to move the machine, then it's a case of size does matter.
For guy's like myself it's finding the best suited machine to the type of work we
do.
Check out my Instagram link below and you'll see some of the types of work a small
machine can do.
 

Rags90mod

Well-Known Member
At my old work they had a Bobcat 4.5t machine, wasn't too bad but the bucket hitch system was unique to that machine and imo pretty crap - got used to it though. That little sucker has had a bloody hard life though and is starting to get flogged out and was rather jerky to operate. Can't really agree or disagree with what @80lover96gxl and @dno67 have said as I haven't operated any of those machines besides a couple of 1.7t kubotas and an 8t yanmar, which weren't too bad. I was usually in the 24t kobelco that my previous company had - not a fan really
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
All good info thanks guys.
What type of hours are considered acceptable before getting a bit old?
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
All good info thanks guys.
What type of hours are considered acceptable before getting a bit old?
Haha. That depends entirely on if it was driven by a single owner operator or a team of Concretors. We have bobcats and minis which are driven by ‘staff’ - read enthusiastic amateurs. Some of the dumb stuff they manage to invent to damage machinery is mind boggling. Half our guys wouldn’t know what a grease gun is.
 

dno67

Well-Known Member
Most contractors look at trading between 3000 to 5000hr depending on
a few factors. As cam04 has mentioned, it's very hard to give a definitive
hour as I've seen machines with as little as 1500 hours on them that were
rooted as far as contracting goes. I traded my old one with 3100 on it, after
having just spent close to 4K on new idlers track rollers, sprockets and rubber
tracks. They give me 25k trade, wasn't a bad machine but had some bigger
things that were going to be costly to fix in the next few thousand hours. Even
sooner for the next owner if inexperienced or slack with maintenance.
When looking it's a lot like buying a car, wear and tear on the seat can give a good
idea as to how the machine has been used, stored and treated. Look for
grease or staining around pins if well washed indicating it been well lubed. Check the paint, look for repeatedly scraped marks and dents on the tail and sides of the machine. Signs of being poorly operated. Always good if all switches, light and controls work as they should rather than it's broken we just don't use it anymore.
Buying private, check the blokes shed/yard for old oil filters and signs of maintenance, drums of oil, even better if he has a few spares he can offer you. There's plenty of machines 3-5000 hours that will give good service for another owner and quite a few thousand hours more if there regularly maintained and well operated.
 

UAV

Active Member
I had a cat 3.5t. Bought it for $35k with buckets and auger and only 1400 hours. Full service history. Had it 2 years and few hundred hours and no issues at all. Then sold it for $34k to downgrade to a 1.7t Kubota
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
I had a cat 3.5t. Bought it for $35k with buckets and auger and only 1400 hours. Full service history. Had it 2 years and few hundred hours and no issues at all. Then sold it for $34k to downgrade to a 1.7t Kubota

That would be a good scenario for me, you did well
Machine prices seem pretty high still at the moment with all the work around
I was hoping there might be a few more second hand ones hitting the market with people upgrading before the end of financial year
 

dno67

Well-Known Member
I had a cat 3.5t. Bought it for $35k with buckets and auger and only 1400 hours. Full service history. Had it 2 years and few hundred hours and no issues at all. Then sold it for $34k to downgrade to a 1.7t Kubota
1.7 t is a great size if you need to tow it.
3.5t is about as big as you can go if you do a lot of work in and around house eve's.
5t is a good size for house slabs and a bit more bulking type of work.
 

80lover96gxl

Moderator
I use to build alot of these
FB_IMG_1524308697179.jpg

With this 5tonner
FB_IMG_1524308539707.jpg
 

UAV

Active Member
1.7 t is a great size if you need to tow it.
3.5t is about as big as you can go if you do a lot of work in and around house eve's.
5t is a good size for house slabs and a bit more bulking type of work.

Spot on! I had to float the 3.5 so it was a pain. The 1.7 is easy and I dont do huge work with it anymore. and the resale on the 1.7 Kubota is excellent, Will most likely sell it after 3 years and 600hrs for only a few grand less than I paid...
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
At this stage I don’t plan on using it on any jobs off my property and if I did I would just cop the float charge from one of the local contractors so I am happy with that
1.7t would be a too small for my needs anyway, I have no tight access issues
 
Top