Plant Advice - Buying a mini-digger

Discussion in 'Sappers' started by ABrighter2006, Nov 19, 2010.

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  1. Chimera feel free to move as you feel appropriate.

    Am in the market for a tracked mini-digger and trailer. Having witnessed the number of Plant Ops that appear to have plenty of time on their hands to respond on ARRSE, any advice would be appreciated!?

    Usage is likely to be for general garden maintenance and relatively light duties on soft ground.

    Having never purchased a mini-digger previously, any thoughts on manufacturers, models, maintenance and suppliers that would be of use, would be great.

    As always, thanks in advance guys.
  2. Good friend of mine bought a Pel-Job a couple of years ago. Price was Ok, but when it came to new rubber track time he was a little shocked to find the Pel-Job tracks are twice the price of all the other makes. Even the pattern tracks are twice the price! Might be worth checking the price of "consumables" like tracks before you hand over the readies....

  3. Cheers Scunners. Have had a nosey around a few sites, and started picking up on the price of consumables and spares. Have just reached the stage where purchasing one is going to make sense over regular hire.
  4. What size are you after? Are you after the Ultra Light which the pikeys tow or something a little larger?
  5. You say digger and trailer.... what are you planning on towing it with ? probably a 2 1/2 ton would be the max you could legaly tow if you include the weight of the trailer and buckets etc . Kubota are reliable but parts can be costly, JCB do a fair range of small mini 's but there are loads of others , if you've been hireing what type have you hired or driven ? if buying s/h take a good plant mechanic with you , tracks are costly if worn , press test the hyds with the system hot ( easy to do most have test ports fitted ) condition of ram pistons is important, not scored or pitted as it will cause the seals to leak.... the bucket crowd ram is favorite for damage .
  6. Also try and find out if the owners have ever run a breaker on it. Those things knock the bejeezus out of a machine
  7. What he said.... a giveaway is if the solid pipes are still down the side of the boom to run the breaker.... normaly an extra ... so if they paid for them they prob used them
  8. I've had my own machine now for 10 years. It's a JCB 801.5 one and a half ton digger. It's a metre wide and can dig down to 2 metres. I mainly do footings for building extensions, dig trenches for drainage and garden landscaping. I tow it around with an M reg land rover discovery. I brought it brand new which is probably why it's lasted so well. You can buy them second hand for between 5 to 9 grand depending on the condition and the age of the machine. I've had very few problems mechanically with the main thing being the odd hose going although I am currently refurbing some of the linkages on the boom. After 10 years, you have to expect some of that.

    There are a number of places to look at to buy diggers. Plant Trader, a sister publication of Auto Trader usually has a few in it. Plant Auctions can be a good place to look if you can find any near you and they do come up on ebay. It might be worth you phoning a local hire company or two and asking them where they buy their machines from. Some hire companies, usually the smaller ones, buy second hand machines as well rather than new ones. Most makes of machines are reasonably ok if you go for something that is not too old. Operate the boom and bucket and look for wear and movement in the joints and linkages and obviously make sure the engine runs smoothly. Check the tracks and the blade to see if there is any oil or hydraulic fluid on them. If there is, where is it coming from? You will need a set of four buckets. 9", 18", 24" and a grading bucket which is about 36" with no teeth on it. It's also useful if it's piped up for a breaker. I have a breaker for my machine and it does sometimes make you very popular if a builder has a load of concrete that needs to be broken up.

    You can obviously obtain parts from an agent of the machine manufacterer but it's worth having a look around for some parts that others may make for your machine. E bay again can be useful. I've just brought some banana links off of there that cost half the money that JCB wanted for them. Same with glass if you get a machine with a cab on it and I recently noticed that the rams are now being sold for a lot less than JCB want for them.

    One and a halt ton mini digger machine or a 3/4 ton micro digger? The micro digger is very useful where access is less than a metre wide but it will only go down 1.6 metres, is not as comfortable to operate, or as versatile as the bigger machine generally. I would have one as a second machine for the odd job that comes up where the access is very small if a micro digger machine came along at the right money.

    Lastly if you do have a few quid, consider a mini skip loader to go with your new digger. They are very useful and you can charge for the hire of it in addition to what you are getting for your digger.

    Hope that helps.
  9. For me mate, I would buy anything that ALC supply to the army for the money saving reasons as follows: 1, you will be amazed at the quality of parts we throw away ( they could be yours if you know some one)
    2, all the technical publications are readily available ( try buying that lot cheap)
    3, you can get an astounding amount of help from ALC as most are ex squaddies

    Hope it helped mate
  10. Just dug in a whole length of new yew hedge today by hand for a discerning client (Taxus baccata for the professionals). My back's feckin' killing me tonight. A little digger would have done the job in half an hour and I'd have willingly paid. C'est la vie.
  11. Cheers guys - some great responses and thanks rgjbloke for the lengthy response. Will digest it all and let you know how we proceed.
  12. Some very good advice there - especially the bit about the skip loader. The macdhine of choice at the moment is a Takeuchi TB016. Expandable tracks and strong as feck. Will outdig any machine of its size on the market today. They are a touch pricy though!

    Have you got a web address for ALC?