I'm an idiot and I'm going to buy a piece of excavating equiptment.

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    I'm an idiot and I'm going to buy a piece of excavating equiptment.

    We bought a house last year, its a bit of a fixer upeer. 1992 build, that is well done, but hasn't been updated. We live in an area now that easily supports 1-1.2 million dollar houses, and we purchased at around $600k, so it seemd like a decent deal. We've done a couple of whole house reno's before, and so this one seemed like a decent one to work on.

    That's the preamble.

    Since moving in, weve discovered that there's 3 big projects we would like to address outside the house.

    1) The driveway is really small. We live on the side of the hill, and have a retaining wall to keep the high-side neighbours house in his land. Out low side doesnt have a wall, and as such is a steep hill that goes down to the neighbours driveway. We loose about 40ft of useable space here because of the slope. Our current driveway is 3 car at best. We figure we can build out a wall, re-grade, and get another 3-4 car spots.

    2) The retaining wall between us and the road, is falling down. It was improperly built, and sagged on day one. It's build of giant 1300lb concrete blocks, that have lifting wire on them. We need to pull them out, fix the base, and put them back.

    3) We have 1/4 acre of yard, that's steep. Really steep. Think vinyard steep. A heavy rain can cause some errosion. It has NEVER been developed. It wasn't given any kind of path, switchback, or even seeded. So it's an absolute mess.

    Originally we were going to rent machines. I figured 2-3 days with a $300/day rental for the driveway project. 2-3 days at $400/day for the retaining wall, and then maybe 10 days+ of a $400/day machine for the back yard.

    That got me thinking... I wonder if I could get a machine, hold it for 2-3 years while working through these projects, and then sell it on without losing more then say $5000 in maint/depreciation..

    Sounds great right? Sure, but I've never owned a diesel engine, let alone a pice of equipment.

    Now I'm pretty handy with fixes. I have a mill/lathe, can fix most circuit boards I find broken, I can tear down and fix a cherry picker/hydraulic jack. So There's really nothing fixing wise that I consider off limits. (did my parents AC yesterday which was neat.) I can weld, cut, and fab. Not bragging, just trying to get across that most repairs and mods don't really scare me.

    So we've been looking around locally, and what I'd really like is something that will lift my 1300lbs blocks, but also not be too big that I can't move it on my trailer in a pinch. (im not moving it 100 or 200 miles, just maybe 10 min down the road).

    The trailer is 7500lbs max, and I think its good for a 6000lbs max load on it. I would be ok to cheat that up a tiny bit just to get the machine down to my brothers/parents house... If the machine is more then a few min away, I'd be ok paying to get it delivered, but that kind of factors into the cost.




    We've found a few things fairly locally. A JD400. It's $15000, and looks rough and old. It's about an hour away. Also new tires. But I think the resale would be shit.

    THere's a Case 580 SuperK ExtendaHoe, $19,900 That one is really promising looking. It's a 1994, and has new tires as well. I'm concerned that It's too big. I don't have much space to store something like that. I can't trailer it, but I could just drive it down the road. It looks pretty clean. This resale seems like it would be easier?

    The third one is a Bobcat 329. It's $25,000, which seems cheap for a miniex, it looks pretty clean, but I'm concerned that it won't be as versitile as I'm looking for. It's about an hour away too, and is probably about as big as I'd want to trailer home. Resale on this seems like it would be ok?

    The fourth would be a hell of a drive. 8 hours each way, and would be for a Hitachi EX12. It runs but has a bad water pump or rad. Seems like an easy fix, unless Im missing something. I feel like this machine might be a bit too small though.



    So irate4x4. Am I nuts? Do I just rent and suck it up? Is the backhoe a better all round machine then the mini? What's more reliable. If I kill something expensive before selling on, my whole plan goes to shit. I'd honestly prefer to get something cheap like $3500, and that way it's less risk in the pot, if it dies, its cheap to write off. Can a backhoe be used in steep terrain? can I build myself a route down into the steep yard as I go?


    oh, and I live in the suburbs, not on a farm.. otherwise I'd probably already have one.

    #2
    DO NOT buy a rubber tired machine for the slopes, you will hate it and it won't do the job you hope it will. Buy a tracked machine. A 10K excavator will probably just about lift your blocks. It will crawl around the slopes much easier and in my opinion safer. As per Irate4x4 take vids of you running the equipment for the first time 🖕

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      #3
      I just got a 480C for free from my neighbor. Its a big machine when you have to “store” it. I have 10 acres so its not the hard for me but if your in a neighborhood then its going to stick out more. My ideal machine would have been a mini-ex but a free running backhoe is the right machine for me. Half considering fixing the brakes and seeing if I can trade it for a mini-ex. Not a 8,000lbs one but at least one or 2 sizes up. Guy in town has a 20,000lbs mini. That a big mini...

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        #4
        Are you sure you know what you're getting into with this much excavation? What the local codes like? Have any waterways near by?

        Tracks over tires x's a million

        As far as sizing. A 35 model (~7500 lbs) will do a lot, I loaded a bunch of old truck shells and scrap with a 35 bobcat, a few of the picks had to be over 1300 lbs. I've used a bunch of different machines in this size doing a lot of different things. They really will do more than most people think. I wouldn't be afraid to look at one for the right price.

        That being said, I really like the 50 models (~11k lbs) over all, still able to haul it behind any 3/4 t or bigger truck or probably even a new 1/2 t. But will obviously get more work done.

        Also I wouldn't be afraid of anything up to about 20k lbs, these can be hauled behind a 10 wheeler no problem, or if you know a guy with a 1 ton and proper trailer. It doesn't sound like you will need to be moving more than once anyway.

        The problem is that these are what everyone wants. For the reasons I listed, you can haul them behind common trucks. Good luck on your search

        Last edited by YotaAtieToo; 07-09-2020, 03:34 PM.

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          #5
          I'd vote for the 580 Case as they are fairly solid reliable machines. A tracked machine large enough to do real work is going to have to be trucked in and they tear shit up just moving them around the yard. Do your research on building a retaining wall, An improperly built one is a good way to get sued by your down hill neighbors. There's a lot to be said for just renting the right machine for the job then not ever worrying about resale or major maintenance costs.

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            #6
            Thanks for the input so far. I feel the same about the wheeled vehicle on the hill.


            As for the permitting/legality...

            We're allowed up to 4ft walls without permitting. So my wall is going to be 4ft. We're going to place it almost 20ft back from the property line, so if it fails, it will still be in our property.

            For the big 8ft wall. We're repairing it, not building it. So again no permitting required. I have had a couple of companies come look at it. The consensus is that it was just poorly placed originally, they sloped the blocks up around a corner, places them 1/2 on concrete and 1/2 on fill. They didnt put in any drainage. Liability wise, I'm not changing anything strucurally, I'm just fixing things that were done incorrectly. That's our areas test of permit/no permit. You can fix, you can't add or remove.

            There's no water features anywhere near us, the city's road is about 20 ft away from where we would work. Gas and water are on the other side of the property from where we're working and they've done their marking thing already.

            While i haven't operated heavy equiptment before, I'm confident I can pick up the operation pretty quickly.

            I like the 50s, they look more stable, but I'm not dropping $75k on a machine. I believe the Bobcat is about the same as a 35?

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              #7
              Tracks only.

              Last time I looked decent skid steers were going for $30-50k here. Mini-ex that can lift that will be a 10-12k machine. $20-30k in decent shape.

              Get rid of your little car hauler and get a 14k equipment tilt deck if you're moving equipment. I've seen car trailers destroyed quickly with a 10k machine on them.



              You'll be better off renting. Mini-ex to dig, skid steer to move material and lift things. Skid steers don't dig. They scoop and move.

              Nobody sells good equipment. They sell the stuff they've had issues with. Every used one will need pins and bushings, grease zerks replaced, hydraulic leaks fixed, electric issues fixed (watch out for power tool attachments, I've seen a few that wouldn't retract the pin so you got the bucket on it and that's it).

              My coworker bought a brand new John Deere skid steer. $60k machine, and he sold it for $40k with 300 hours because it needed $5k worth of work before break-in was complete. He was using it around his yard and lost the final drive on one side, main hydraulic pump, and blew out a few seals over the course of a summer. JD raped him on parts, and he now has a Kubota that's been flawless. The guy who bought it thought he was stealing it, my coworker was happy it was someone else's junk.

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                #8
                If I read your OP correctly, you're willing to piss away $5k just to own and store a machine you have no long term use for. Why?

                I have no experience with owning equipment, but why are you willing to piss away $5k just to do it?

                Your maths don't add up from the get go.

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                  #9
                  Rental cost is going to be ~$5k give or take. Renting sucks. You always run out of stuff to do, or have too much stuff to do.

                  Gravel truck fails to deliver on time? That's another $400 day. Work calls and needs you right now!? $400. My estimates are shit and it takes 20 days of machine time to get the back yard done? That's an extra $4000.

                  So ya, I'm hoping that I can own and use a machine for the next 2-3 years, and the cost of owning it and using it is less then $5000, then I'm leaps and bounds ahead. Then I can sell it and recoup most of my costs.

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                    #10
                    see if you can lease it for 1 year if its going to cost you say 5k you can sub lease it out to neighbors with an insurance policy or buy it under an LLC and fast Line depreciate it against the house as a construction asset. Im pretty sure your taxes would then be a wash on the property.

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                      #11
                      so you're talking about a mini-ex. I have a Deer 26d. 2012 model with 2400 hours. Paid $15k for it, added a $1400 thumb and it has been good. It's not quite as balanced as a larger unit, but for my needs, it's great.

                      Two things I'd say... unless you can get one cheap, you're going to be throwing money away, like Ted mentioned. You might be better off renting a machine for a month.

                      A mini-ex probably will not lift the 1300# blocks unless you get into the larger units, or maybe even a midi.

                      I personally would not attempt to use a backhoe for your projects on that small of footprint... you'll want tracks and something easy to move in a small place.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by rockota View Post
                        so you're talking about a mini-ex. I have a Deer 26d. 2012 model with 2400 hours. Paid $15k for it, added a $1400 thumb and it has been good. It's not quite as balanced as a larger unit, but for my needs, it's great.

                        Two things I'd say... unless you can get one cheap, you're going to be throwing money away, like Ted mentioned. You might be better off renting a machine for a month.

                        A mini-ex probably will not lift the 1300# blocks unless you get into the larger units, or maybe even a midi.

                        I personally would not attempt to use a backhoe for your projects on that small of footprint... you'll want tracks and something easy to move in a small place.
                        We have a jd 27. It won't pick up more than about 800lbs without pulling itself over.
                        Our cat 305 will pick up 2500, but it's 12k lbs and 3x the footprint of the JD.

                        Thumbs are fun. Picking up shovels and anything else in the way without breaking it is a good way to entertain yourself for a bit.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by infernozx View Post
                          Rental cost is going to be ~$5k give or take. Renting sucks. You always run out of stuff to do, or have too much stuff to do.

                          Gravel truck fails to deliver on time? That's another $400 day. Work calls and needs you right now!? $400. My estimates are shit and it takes 20 days of machine time to get the back yard done? That's an extra $4000.

                          So ya, I'm hoping that I can own and use a machine for the next 2-3 years, and the cost of owning it and using it is less then $5000, then I'm leaps and bounds ahead. Then I can sell it and recoup most of my costs.
                          You're assuming one machine fits all your needs. It's already been brought up that it most likely won't. Renting could be "2 or more machines for the price of one".

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                            #14
                            Also renting is a possible expensable cost on taxes with a receipt, owning equipment and losing isn't so straight forward.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I agree with Chevy Man in part. Mini-ex that can lift that will be a 10-12k machine. $30k plus in decent shape at least in my neck of the woods.

                              YEP: Get rid of your little car hauler and get a 14k equipment trailer if you're moving equipment. Tilt decks are spendy and you aren't hauling very often. A 14k equipment trailer is just part of owning equipment in that weight range.

                              Sounds like you want to own some equipment. Its more work than it seems but can be rewarding.

                              DeWalt for the grease gun win.

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