Mini-Excavator Buying Advice?

Vicious_Cycle

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I've decided I need one. Looking for buying advice.

I want something with a hydraulic thumb, lower hours, probably at least 35 horsepower, doesn't need to be the biggest, but I can't do puny.
Hoping to find something that will hold its value... something nice that I will keep nice. Don't want to wrench on it every time I use it. I doubt an air-conditioned cab is in the budget, unless there's some way to financially justify the additional cost.

My 7 acres is a disaster area, mostly due to the Emerald Ash Borer, but other varieties have died too. It was thick woods, but now I have tree stumps and dead trees everywhere. And a shitload of poison ivy (more than I've ever seen), and the rest is pricker bushes. 🤷‍♂️

Not sure where to start. Brand? Age? Tier (x) emissions? Online auctions good/bad? Where to get the best deal? What to avoid?
 

Wretch

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Round Up makes a very effective poison ivy killer but, if you want to avoid those cancer risks; mix a 50/50 water/bleach solution and spray it instead.

No idea on the mini-excavator stuff but, I'm thinking hiring a crew would be cheaper in the long run, to clear the brush and debris.
 

Vegas12

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I owned a takeuchi mini excavator with a 27 hp yanmar motor.

Had a landscaper doing some work on a neighbor's yard ask to rent it because the size was more manageable.

He BEGGED me to sell it to him....I reluctantly agreed.....making a profit and having access to the machine when I had a project.

He disappeared after a few years....

A mini-ex works so much faster than a backhoe.

I have a couple hundred feet of irrigation lines to run....I just may rent a mini-ex rather than fuck with my backhoe.

Backhoe is fine for digging holes....
 
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Vicious_Cycle

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Round Up makes a very effective poison ivy killer but, if you want to avoid those cancer risks; mix a 50/50 water/bleach solution and spray it instead.
I have poison ivy vines bigger around than my forearm. The shit is everywhere! 7 acres of Round Up trickling down into my water well ain't gonna happen. Ditto for bleach. When / if I get it somewhat under control, I may resort to that for small areas.
I'm thinking hiring a crew would be cheaper in the long run, to clear the brush and debris.
I dropped 5 grand on a crew last year. Helped, but barely make a dent. I see that as $5k I could have put into a mini-excavator.
.
 

RobBase

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First choice brand wise would be Takeuchi followed by CAT, Kubota, John Deere and Bobcat all tied for second place.
I've run so many minis I can't remember them all, but now days they are all pretty similar. I know our equipment manager cussed the least when our owner bought Takeuchis so I always inferred they were the least trouble prone.
Definitely get a hydraulic thumb without a doubt.
Glass cab is also desirable.
Where to buy one? What dealers mentioned above are close to you? They will almost all have good condition trade ins if you want used, but try to keep any used ones under 1000 hrs if you don't want something clapped out.
Quick attach feature for the buckets/implements are also good to have.
Shit, you get yourself a hoe-ram, an auger and a swivel smooth bucket also and you can start your own business.
 

RobBase

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Forgot some other good ones to consider would be Volvo, Hitachi, Samsung, Komatsu, Case, Kobelco, Terex and I think even Yanmar makes one.
All good.
 

RobBase

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Depends on how big the stumps are you're digging........12" and under trees, the stumps can take a bit with a mini. You definitely don't want a micro excavator. If you got stumps bigger than 12" you might want to rent a mid size excavator.
 
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I have Yanmar, Kubota, New Holland and Kioti dealers nearby for sure. Probably others too, not sure.
I'll have to check what's out there, but I've never known dealers (car, truck, mc, tractor, whatever) to give particularly good deals. I plan to buy low-hour, used.
.
 
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Depends on how big the stumps are you're digging........12" and under trees, the stumps can take a bit with a mini. You definitely don't want a micro excavator. If you got stumps bigger than 12" you might want to rent a mid size excavator.
I dropped about ten trees today. Most were < 12" diameter. But I have plenty that are bigger. They're fucking dead, so I'm hoping they won't fight me too hard.
.
 

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I have 6 acres I've been working on for the last 11 years now, thousands of trees .. for what I do an excavator wouldn't work well, sure, for trenching or pure digging stuff up it's better, but there's so much more you can use a skidsteer for, check out the attachments available now .. you can do about anything you want with the right one. I use the shit outta mine.

Rob's right, you won't be digging up large stumps with a small excavator, was using one last month, anything larger than maybe 8" is gonna be a bitch, and I was digging out dead stuff from 10 years ago.
 

RobBase

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Vicious, for finding a used mini,........go to Machinery Trader.com or Equipment Trader.com.
For sticker shock, plan on spending $30-50K for a nice mini.

If you're clearing areas with lots of vines, the mini with a thumb is the best way to go. You'll need to do a little welding
if you want it to be easy. As in, weld a plate across the teeth of the bucket and a plate across the teeth of the thumb so you have
a "guillotine" bucket you can grab the vines with to pull them down. If they're all poison ivy, pile them up at the edge of your property
nearest your most hated neighbor, wait a few months for them to dry out and burn them when the wind is blowing in their direction. :eek:

Other tips, for trees and stumps, get a nice narrow bucket (12") and also a ripping tooth. The tooth attaches just like a bucket, but think of it
as a "dirt axe." Work your way around a stump in a circle with the ripper cutting all the roots as you go. At that point, the stump is just a big lump
in the dirt and can be easily dug up with the bucket.
 

RobBase

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Re-reading your first post, if you want to buy 1 piece of equipment and it's skid steer vs mini exc, I'd have to go with the mini.
Reasons? 1. Vines come down first, easier with a mini w/thumb.
2. Dropping trees can be done with a mini (depending on the size of the tree) and no chainsaw.
3. Sounds like you want to preserve the rest of your woods in good shape. Skidding a tree out of the woods is easier
with a mini since you can grab it or strap it and pull it out lengthwise. Using a skid steer, you're gonna have to chop the tree up
into short enough lengths to make it out of your woods. Conversely, you can skid the logs out with a skid steer, but its a little easier
with the mini due to visibility.
4. Don't know if your property is rocky, but if it is, the mini is the only way to go.
5. You can do a lot of grading with a mini, it's slower than a skid steer, but with the mini at least you have a blade and some of them even have a
angle feature.

Also, when I say "skid steer," I'm only talking about a rubber track mini loader. I'd never own a rubber tire skid steer unless all the work was being
done on concrete or asphalt.
 

RobBase

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Digging out stumps will drive you mad, how mad depends on size and species.

If you have a bunch of 24"+ stumps to remove from 7 acres I recommend a D-7 dozer.

Size matters.
My favorite tool for taking out trees and their stumps was a John Deere 330 excavator. Dig a hole on one side of the tree as close to the trunk as you can, rip through the taproots all the way around the rest of the tree and you can knuckle the bucket against the tree and push it right over.
 

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wouldnt it be easier to stump grind them out
Maybe, in the sort run. But I've got depressions all over my yard from stumps that were ground down 10, 15, even 20 years ago. Now that the roots have rotted, the ground has dropped. I need a couple of tons of topsoil, and a way to spread and level it. :retard:
.
 
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Just get a old D9 Cat, or down to these Auction house or Military auction and buy a military excavator

 
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Vicious_Cycle

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There's a local rental place that has 2 or 3 different size mini-excavators for rent. I just remembered this yesterday.
I think I'll pick a good weather weekend and rent one, just to see how well it does what I want one to do. If it's everything I've built it up to be in my mind, then a purchase will follow. I'll try to get the bigger one, and see how much ass it has for removing stumps.
.
 

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Whether or not the excavator will be capable of removing your stumps remains to be seen. But, its hard to beat an excavator for piling and burning slash.

Check around for access to a dozer. D-6 with a ripper, or a D-7 without ripper.

Buy the mini ex for the cleanup and maintenance.
 
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I have an neighbor a mile away who is an excavator. I plan to eventually hire him for the big stuff... fixing the grade, removing the bigger stumps, etc. I just can't afford to let him make a career out of my upgrading my property. I want to knock out what I can, first.
.
 

Snail

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Thats a good plan. Keep in mind though, an experieced operator, on a 7, could have the heavy work done in one day. Leaving the time consuming clean up, slashing and burning to you with ex. and small dozer.
 

Snail

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If you find yourself working on a stump for half an hour or more, and you have hundreds of stumps, you need a bigger machine.

Are you planning to burn in place, or haul the stumps to a disposal site?
 
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Thats a good plan. Keep in mind though, an experieced operator, on a 7, could have the heavy work done in one day. Leaving the time consuming clean up, slashing and burning to you with ex. and small dozer.
I may come up with some kind of hybrid of that plan. These excavator prices are scaring me a little. I've learned my lesson about buying worn-out pieces of shit... never again. But the real nice newer minis with cabs are ungodly expensive.

If you find yourself working on a stump for half an hour or more, and you have hundreds of stumps, you need a bigger machine.

Are you planning to burn in place, or haul the stumps to a disposal site?
I have tons of smaller stumps, 4 - 8 inches, or so. I'm thinking a mini should handle them, even in my heavy clay soil... but not knowing for sure is one reason I'm going to rent a mini before I buy.
I don't plan to haul any stumps off site. I will let mother nature knock the dirt off the root ball, or drag them around with my Kubota until the dirt falls off.
.
 
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Anyone have an opinion on the "auto-idle" feature?
I can see the usefulness, but I'm thinking it would be annoying as an operator, or even as a neighbor who has to listen to the revving all day. You can kind of tune out the drone of a constant RPM after a while.
When the control levers are in neutral for more than 4 seconds, the engine RPM automatically idles. Move any control lever and the engine RPM immediately returns. This innovative feature reduces noise and exhaust emissions while reducing operating costs.
I suppose a good operator doesn't often let the auto idle kick in. I imagine it will take me a long while to become a good operator. 🤷‍♂️
.
 

Snail

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The mini will pluck the 4-8 stumps like radish. Its the 2'+ that will stall your momentum.

Keep your stumps separate from the other slash. When you pile the slash to burn, ring the pile with the stumps so the heat dries them out. Dont put stumps IN the pile, but put a layer of the smallest and driest ON TOP, of the pile.

Small piles ,one or two throws apart are better than big piles several throws apart.
 

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I just read a thread on a tractor site about guys accidentally tearing up mini-excavators while using them for tree and brush work. :luckystrike:
Apparently it's pretty easy to twist the dipper, and even easier to blow out windows with branches...

60069
 

RobBase

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VC, from what I can gather, your goal is to "weed" out your property, correct? You're not looking to wholesale clear it, just get rid of the dead, rotting, viney
stuff? On 7 acres?

If that's correct, if it was me, I would definitely rent an excavator before wholesale buying anything. In one of the other posts, I said if you're buying a mini, you
might as well buy an auger, hoe-ram, different buckets, ripper with it, quit your present job and start a business using the excavator. Even just the mini, for something
decent, you're looking at at least $25K, but realistically, more like $40-50K.........!

You can rent a mid sized excavator just like this..........
60068

Even for a week, you're looking at $1000 which is the rental plus delivery and pick up, add in another hundred or so for a thumb.......you provide the fuel.
Keep in mind they consider a "week" to be 40 hours which they check on the hour meter, so if you go out there and run the thing 16 hours a day for 7 days, they're
gonna add on some more $$.

Next, have you ever run an excavator? If no, you're gonna have a ton of fun, but for gods sake, make sure they show you how to switch the controls from
"Backhoe" to "Excavator" also known as ISO pattern. Running an excavator in backhoe pattern is for fags. Only a backhoe should be run in backhoe pattern and there's
a reason for that.

If the weather was nicer, I'd have half a mind to ride up there and give you a hand.........I'm pretty sure you're up in northern Ohio and I've got a friend that lives down in Marietta
who would love for me to visit her.
 

RobBase

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Also, auto idle is great, give you more time to figure out what radio station to listen to. The engine rpm control
on most mini's is usually a dial, although some of the older ones still use a lever.

Only tards and spaz's smash out the windows on an excavator clearing brush and trees. Common sense and a small amount of
knowledge of physics is required to clear brush and trees.

It takes a tremendous amount of stupidity to bend any of the arms on an excavator. Some people call the "boom" arm a dipper.
The "boom" is the biggest arm attached to the excavator, followed by the "crowd" arm, then the bucket.
 

pimpslayer

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Even for a week, you're looking at $1000 which is the rental plus delivery and pick up, add in another hundred or so for a thumb.......you provide the fuel.
Keep in mind they consider a "week" to be 40 hours which they check on the hour meter, so if you go out there and run the thing 16 hours a day for 7 days, they're
gonna add on some more $$.
Wonder if I could rent something a little bigger, along with a Ripper ??

I need to move a couple of Yellow Poplars..20 footers...
.
 

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First choice brand wise would be Takeuchi followed by CAT, Kubota, John Deere and Bobcat all tied for second place.
I've run so many minis I can't remember them all, but now days they are all pretty similar. I know our equipment manager cussed the least when our owner bought Takeuchis so I always inferred they were the least trouble prone.
Definitely get a hydraulic thumb without a doubt.
Glass cab is also desirable.
Where to buy one? What dealers mentioned above are close to you? They will almost all have good condition trade ins if you want used, but try to keep any used ones under 1000 hrs if you don't want something clapped out.
Quick attach feature for the buckets/implements are also good to have.
Shit, you get yourself a hoe-ram, an auger and a swivel smooth bucket also and you can start your own business.
Rob,
I've seen a few mini exs over the years but I have to agree with you about the Takeuchi. It's a huge favorite with the landscapers and site crews here.
 
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VC, from what I can gather, your goal is to "weed" out your property, correct? You're not looking to wholesale clear it, just get rid of the dead, rotting, viney stuff? On 7 acres?

If that's correct, if it was me, I would definitely rent an excavator before wholesale buying anything.
That is all correct. Big investment (maybe too big), so I absolutely plan to rent first. :up:

In one of the other posts, I said if you're buying a mini, you might as well buy an auger, hoe-ram, different buckets, ripper with it, quit your present job and start a business using the excavator. Even just the mini, for something decent, you're looking at at least $25K, but realistically, more like $40-50K.........!
I can't go $40-50k and I'm not ready to quit my job, but part of this somewhat nebulous plan would be to have the ability to earn money with it at some point.
Next, have you ever run an excavator? If no, you're gonna have a ton of fun, but for gods sake, make sure they show you how to switch the controls from "Backhoe" to "Excavator" also known as ISO pattern. Running an excavator in backhoe pattern is for fags. Only a backhoe should be run in backhoe pattern and there's a reason for that.

If the weather was nicer, I'd have half a mind to ride up there and give you a hand.........I'm pretty sure you're up in northern Ohio and I've got a friend that lives down in Marietta who would love for me to visit her.
I've made an attempt at running one, briefly, many moons ago. Not long enough to get the hang of it. I probably could rent one for 8 hours and not accomplish much while trying to get the system down. Marietta is 3 hours straight south. Team222 Team222 is half way in between.
.
 

Dameon

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Will look over the list later on, but at first (very quick) glance I didn't see what I'm hoping for.
Mini's are not common at these auctions. Most people run them into the ground and trade them in. Not sure where they go from there... probably some larger, out of town, auction.

Are you buying / selling at the auction?
Always a buyer. More shit that I don't need and will use maybe once. :roll:
 
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