MarkyP

Thinking about buying a digger

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Posted (edited)

I'm toying with the idea of buying a digger. All the ground work for our main project is done but we have a large plot (about 3.5 acres)  which is very overgrown in places, some derelict outbuildings to demolish and loads and loads and loads of landscaping to do (the site was neglected for decades prior to our ownership). I keep thinking that getting the plot into shape would be so much easier with a digger of my own rather than trying to plan work and hire in a driver and machine. We are also planning to build a holiday cabin (subject to planning consent) which will need ground works. We're here for the long haul and so I think that eventually a machine will pay for itself and having it around will allow me to do stuff that I might otherwise never bother with. I did read somewhere someone saying when you have a machine it makes all sorts of jobs so much easier. Just last week when I spent all afternoon digging out the stump of a dead apple tree, would have taken 5 mins with a digger.  And the ability to hire attachments like post knockers and flail heads is appealing for my plot.

 

 I'd be interested in any thoughts on what to look for. I started looking at a few sub £5k machines but they were really old and tatty and rattled everywhere and I wonder if £10k might be a more sensible budget. It's a lot of cash though and bit worried about buying a lemon. I'm on the look for a 2.5t or 3t machine, I have the space to keep it and think it will be that much more capable than a smaller machine, and I don't have access or transport worries that might make a smaller machine a better compromise for a builder taking it to and from sites. But anything half decent at this operating weight seems to be around around £12k+. Seen a few possibles at £8 - £10k. 

 

a cheaper example I'm considering going to view is this one https://www.sjhallplant.com/mini-midi-diggers/id-2001-bobcat-328

 

 

it looks clean but I think this dealer has a paint shop so I expect it's had a blow over. They claim it was farm owner, hence the low hours. The tracks look pretty far gone and it rattles a bit in the video. But does play in the pins and bushes really matter for a DIY'er for occasional use? I'm sure privately a similar machine would be much less and via a dealer there is VAT to pay. Obviously not knowing how to operate a machine yet makes it all the harder to go and inspect as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by MarkyP

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the advantage of a jcb is you can drive it on the road 

all depends how serious you want to get ,but a jcb can do most things 

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here's the vid clip of it running

 

 

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Yep get a digger, we have a chunk of land and I find I can pop out for an hour of an evening in the summer and do all sorts of things that I would put off. 

Personaly I went for a 1.5 tonne machine, for a couple of reasons 

access I can squeeze it through a 1100mm gap so around the back of the house no problem

less ground damage, I can sneak across the lawn and sit on a sheet of ply and not leave a mark. 

Parts are cheaper

that machine you are looking at needs tracks, price a pair up and compare it to a pair for a 1.5 tonne machine. 

The power and ability my machine has surprises me every time I use it

i have a kubota u15.  2000hours, cost me £7250 plus vat. 

 

Dont buy a wheeled machine unless you like mess. 

 

The next problem like like I have is you will want a tractor and trailer 

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What is the terrain like, we have lots of trees, I purposely bought one without a cab as I new the glass would get smashed all the time

this has turned out to be completely true. 

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Many of us on here have done just this and bought a digger (though mine was finished with and sold one some time ago)

 

It is definitely a very handy  thing to have on site. I did all the foundations and ground works myself.

 

I bought a very old rattly 3 ton machine for pretty much the floor price and sold it nearly 3 years later for exactly the same, though I would have preferred a more recent tighter machine than the one I had.

 

A tracked machine will be better for site work and less likely to get bogged down than a wheeled machine.  Older or lager machines with steel tracks may be more robust.

 

Personally I would say minimum 3 ton, 6 ton might be better.

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Posted (edited)

I bought a jcb as I thought multi purpose would be better, however we are on a wet site and unless the weather is very dry it just gets bogged down and makes the place look like the Somme. It has however been very handy and I just love driving it. I have done soo much work with it and worth every penny,  I am however considering trading it fir a tracked machine to finish the site off (drive etc).  Note, I had to pay a contractor to instal my sewerage plant as it was too wet to get my JCB near it😱

Edited by joe90

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Posted (edited)

I bought a 3t Kubota and have never regretted it. When I asked on here, someone posted "it's the difference from something taking 5 minutes or 5 hours". I paid just under 12k with delivery and I've never regretted it for a second.

 

So far it's dug all my foundations, service pipework, foul drainage and lifted all my concrete floor beams around my site and roughly into place. I've still got the rain drainage including water harvesting tanks to dig but intend to keep it until I've finished everything as it's come in so handy to lift and move ton bags too ;)

 

All I would say is don't under estimate how log it might take to get used to the controls, experts make them look easy!!!!!!

Edited by Vijay

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2.8t Takeuchi here with all the bits inc. a breaker and pallet forks. Very useful machine and even tho it's got a bit of play in the kingpost the groundworks guy quite likes it, it's easy on fuel and digs well. The forks are pretty handy but a telehandler it aint.

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Posted (edited)

listening to the video.

It don,t sound like its seen a grease gun in years 

 

and even with play in pins its worth greasing it EVERYDAY ,while its warming up in the morning, if you want it to last longer and if it had been done daily to start with it wouldn,t be a rattling now 

oil+ grease is the cheapest set of spanners you will ever buy

Edited by scottishjohn
  • Thanks 1

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Have you looked into spares for the bobkat 

its not a massive player in the mini digger market over here. 

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thanks all.  I did last night look a bit more closely at spares and yes it seems they aren't as abundant and two local plant servicing companies don't cover bobcat which is perhaps a sign. The tracks aren't cheap, crikey, £600+ per side! With VAT, new tracks, and perhaps a few bushes and pins, and a service it's suddenly not looking so cheap and into the price bracket for a much newer machine.

 

The ground here is good, well drained on a chalk slope so doesn't get churned up too much but am looking at rubber tracked over wheels or metal. Not much woodland, lots of trees around scrub around the boundaries so think a glazed cab will be OK, but not fussed either way.

 

@Vijay how close are you to being done with your machine? Want to sell it?

 

 

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Steel tracks generally last twice as long but cost twice as much to replace as rubber. Rubber is easier to put back on if you pop a track and nicer if you have to cross a delicate surface like tarmac etc... 

 

If the tracks are gone then it's well worth checking the undercarriage rollers, sproket and idler as these all wear out with the tracks. Costs a fortune to replace all these items even if you do the work yourself. 

 

Bushes and pins are much easier and cheaper to replace than the undercarriage. 

 

Check all the grease nipples for damage. Often these get broken and not fixed so the machine doesn't get greased properly. 

 

In general Don't buy an ex-hire machine as they get abused. 

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41 minutes ago, MarkyP said:

 how close are you to being done with your machine? Want to sell it?

 

 

Sorry bud but no where near - years off

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And get the right music for the cabin if you get a posh one.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Ferdinand said:

And get the right music for the cabin if you get a posh one.

 

The last one I hired,  three or four months ago, had a cab radio and keyless coded push button start. Things have moved on since I last hired one, posh indeed.

 

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I'd go for a 3 tonne digger rather than smaller if you have land and lots of landscaping to do. 

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Think towable weight is easier to resell? Whats this upto maybe 2.8t max? Having said that you might get more bang for your buck buying one which can't be towed think 5t. As you're living it in one spot shouldn't bother you

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54 minutes ago, Oz07 said:

Think towable weight is easier to resell? Whats this upto maybe 2.8t max? Having said that you might get more bang for your buck buying one which can't be towed think 5t. As you're living it in one spot shouldn't bother you

I think your right, mine is a 3.5t and was cheaper than a similar 2.5t machine and I'm sure it was due to the towing weight. 

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The smaller towable machines are popular with contractors for obvious reasons, but for a self builder who wants a machine at one location, not so. you pay for transport once when you buy it. And when you are finished you sell it and the buyer pays for transport to take it away.

 

A 3t machine looks small on the back of an 11t beaver tail,.

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^ wot Dave says. Plus the larger "towable" stuff is only this if you have access to a Disco, L200 or similar AND a fancy plant trailer...

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On 03/01/2019 at 07:34, scottishjohn said:

[...]

and even with play in pins its worth greasing it EVERYDAY ,while its warming up in the morning,

[...]

 

15 minutes every morning ? Not going to happen. I do mine every Saturday in any week it has been used

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If you intend tracking around site a lot you may get bored very quickly with a tracked machine and may wish you went with an old jcb. Also bits can get expensive for say Kubota (which is what I have). Beauty of a JCB is the front loader to move stuff around. Sometimes wished I went for that instead. If maneuverability in tight spaces is not an issue you envisage I'd go for the old faithful.

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I'd counter that by saying two-speed tracking makes things a lot more rapid and that even on a small-ish machine like mine, pallet forks are a godsend. We had a delivery yesterday of solar panels, and they came upright on a pallet, 6 leaned against 6 and the digger was able to reach right into the side door of the van and ease the pallet out even with only an inch or two of clearance to the door frame above. Quick and easy-ish. 

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2 hours ago, dpmiller said:

I'd counter that by saying two-speed tracking makes things a lot more rapid and that even on a small-ish machine like mine, pallet forks are a godsend. We had a delivery yesterday of solar panels, and they came upright on a pallet, 6 leaned against 6 and the digger was able to reach right into the side door of the van and ease the pallet out even with only an inch or two of clearance to the door frame above. Quick and easy-ish. 

Only thing about lifting with forks in a digger is if there is no  check valve on both cylinders and the load is to much  the  hydraulics will fail and what ever you have in the air will come down very very quick.  

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