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  1. #1
    New Member
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    NH T1110

    Default Towable backhoe vs Backhoe attachment

    I own a New Holland T1110 28 hp tractor and am debating whether to buy a backhoe att or a towable backhoe. The job is mainly ditching, but i would be looking at a thumb for lifting. Any thoughts on which one is better?

  2. #2
    Veteran Member irwin's Avatar
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    SE Conn
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    2004 Kubota L35TLB, '89' Cub Cadet 1541

    Default Re: Towable backhoe vs Backhoe attachment

    Quote Originally Posted by brunswickboy View Post
    I own a New Holland T1110 28 hp tractor and am debating whether to buy a backhoe att or a towable backhoe. The job is mainly ditching, but i would be looking at a thumb for lifting. Any thoughts on which one is better?
    Welcome to TBN brunswickboy.

    A too small backhoe is better than a shovel..yes, but if you've got a lot of use for a backhoe, and all you have is one that is unable to dig up those stumps or it doesn't have the weight behind it to dig out the rocks.. well, that makes it a frustrating tool.

    However..if all you need is shallow trenches, and your soil is soft and free of large rocks..or if your needs are varied but only light digging... the tow behind might work out okay for you.

    In rocky SE Conn. I found my needs were greater than my small subframe mounted backhoe. I was fairly lucky, buying too small at first didn't cost me much. I bought something bigger and the previously impossible jobs became easy.
    .....Tim

  3. #3
    Elite Member CurlyDave's Avatar
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    Grants Pass, OR
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    JD TLB 110

    Default Re: Towable backhoe vs Backhoe attachment

    I have never used a towable, but the way my hoe horses the tractor around, even when just digging in fairly soft dirt leads me to believe that a towable is useful only for light duty jobs.

    The other issue is repositioning. In operation a backhoe is frequently repositioned. When it is attached to a tractor, that is easy. A towable seems much harder to do.
    40 Acres on a hill - fantastic view. JD 110 TLB, 4-n-1, 12" bucket, 18" bucket, Addington thumb, rock bucket (doubles as root grapple)

    Not only do we not understand the universe, if someone explained it to us, we would not know what he was talking about.

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  4. #4
    Super Member California's Avatar
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    Yanmar YM240, YM186D, and another YM186D

    Default Re: Towable backhoe vs Backhoe attachment

    I asked that question here Harbor Freight's little Towable Backhoe and got a lot of good advice. Mostly 'forget it'.

    Instead I bought a small 3 point backhoe that was matched to my tractor (was once a dealer option). This is far more useful.

    Another thread where I go on and on describing what I bought.

    A picture using mine that I captioned with the following comment:

    Now that I have some experience I realize it would be impossible to back a towable hoe into nearly every place where I need it. In this picture it had rained for days. Then my tenant's sink drain backed up. It would have been impossible to get that HF rig in where I needed it; any tow vehicle short of a tractor would sink to the axles.

    And thinking about it, trying to back the HF hoe along an open trench any time to backfill it would be a nightmare, especially on poor traction like in this picture.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member JoelD's Avatar
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    Windham, NH
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    Kioti LK3054xs TLB, 2004

    Default Re: Towable backhoe vs Backhoe attachment

    I've owned both, for what it is worth I ended up cutting my towable in half and frame mounted it to my tractor (kubota b6000e).

    Agreed completely on the repositioning comment, not easy to do with most towable backhoes. The larger are essentially mini mini excavators, those look easy to move around.

    I'd go with a frame mount backhoe.

    The towable, again, most small ones, are very light but very strong, therefore one of two things tends to happen, either you are thrown around like a bucking bronco rider (can be fund at times) or you hook a rock or stump that you've got the power to pull out but not enough weight in the machine and you end up rear in the air and object still on the ground.

    They are amazing strong machines though.

    Joel
    Joel
    2004 Kioti LK3054XS TLB
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  6. #6
    Elite Member dfkrug's Avatar
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    05 Kioti CK30HST w/ Prairie Dog backhoe

    Default Re: Towable backhoe vs Backhoe attachment

    Wait a minute here. There are several misconceptions here about these
    towable mini diggers.

    First, these units (like the one from HF Tools, or one of many CADDigger
    models) are for those who do not have a tractor. If you have a tractor,
    you go with a hoe attachment. Even the first CADDigger model (the one
    I built in the mid-90s) was offered as a towable, or as a 3-pt version for
    those with tractors.

    Second, in actual use, these units are not towed. Towing is only for moving
    the unit long distances. In use, you lift the outriggers off the ground with
    the boom and push/pull/swivel it with the dipper/boom. It works to get you
    into the tightest areas, or straddling trenches. In your example, CALIFORNIA,
    the HF unit would have been easier, not harder, to get into that difficult
    spot. One of my first jobs was to get my CADDigger down into a creek bed
    to move some large (1000#) rocks. NO tractor could get in there.

    Third, these light weight towable units can only lift with the bucket what
    they are counter-weighted to lift. You build the unit to be able to lift
    a full bucket of wet dirt at full boom and dipper extension. That is not a
    lot of weight. Craning big weights is not what they are intended for.

    Fourth, these towable units work by pinching dirt/rocks/etc between the
    bucket and the outriggers. If you need the weight of the machine to dig,
    they will not work well at all. In practical use, this means STARTING a
    hole in hard dirt can be difficult because weight is required, but once started,
    you are pinching between the back lip of your hole and the outriggers.

    Finally, I had probably 100-150 hrs on my CADDigger 728, before I sold it
    and got a tractor, and backhoe attachments. It was very useful and some
    projects could not have been done at all with a tractor/hoe.

    For the OP, who has a tractor, there is no question here that a backhoe
    attachment is the way to go.
    See my TBN projects at:
    http://mysite.verizon.net/resyfcgt/

  7. #7
    Super Member California's Avatar
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    Yanmar YM240, YM186D, and another YM186D

    Default Re: Towable backhoe vs Backhoe attachment

    Maybe there's a misconception on my part. When working in muck, I thought the towable unit would need a tow vehicle attached to anchor it so it wouldn't slide all around.

    I can see walking it into position using the boom, but I didn't expect the pads would resist moving it while digging.

    In the photo above, the pads were near useless (sunk to China) and the action of the hoe settled the tractor tires some 6 inches down into the soft, saturated topsoil at each new point I advanced along the dig line.

    It's not clear in that photo but there is both slope up toward the building, and side slope. It's the same spot (except more saturated) that I couldn't drive up before I properly ballasted my tires - as shown in this first-day photo from my sig pix. A 4x4 vehicle backing into position there on wet grass and saturated soil would go every way but where you needed it.

  8. #8
    New Member
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    Moncton
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    NH T1110

    Default Re: Towable backhoe vs Backhoe attachment

    Gents

    I really appreciate your input here. I had been leaning towards a towable so that I could drop it in the job area and still have my tractor to move around, but from what I am reading here, a 3pt seems to be the way to go. Has anyone had problems with the sub frame and mounting their normal attachments on the rear PTO?

  9. #9
    Elite Member dfkrug's Avatar
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    NorCal
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    05 Kioti CK30HST w/ Prairie Dog backhoe

    Default Re: Towable backhoe vs Backhoe attachment

    Quote Originally Posted by California View Post
    When working in muck, I thought the towable unit would need a tow vehicle attached to anchor it so it wouldn't slide all around.

    I can see walking it into position using the boom, but I didn't expect the pads would resist moving it while digging.
    My CADDigger may have weighed about 1000# total. I have moved it thru
    some pretty muddy spots (self-propelled) and even up my mountain side.
    I have never used a vehicle to anchor it as it is completely unnecessary. The
    outrigger feet are very sharp verticle 6-in long pieces of 1/2" steel welded
    to a large square horizontal piece of 1/2" steel to keep it from sinking. They
    grab very well, and rarely sink past the horizontal part. I wish the outrigger
    feet on my Kioti TLB would grab so well. Even with my 5500# TLB, if the
    outriggers are not grabbing, the tractor is dragged.
    See my TBN projects at:
    http://mysite.verizon.net/resyfcgt/

  10. #10
    Elite Member dfkrug's Avatar
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    05 Kioti CK30HST w/ Prairie Dog backhoe

    Default Re: Towable backhoe vs Backhoe attachment

    Quote Originally Posted by brunswickboy View Post
    ...from what I am reading here, a 3pt seems to be the way to go. Has anyone had problems with the sub frame and mounting their normal attachments on the rear PTO?
    I am not a fan of using the 3-pt for a hoe....subframes are much better.
    Hundreds of pages on TBN about that issue.

    The best subframes out there do not keep you from using your 3-pt for
    other implements. There ARE some bad subframe designs that DO make
    it difficult to use your 3-pt.
    See my TBN projects at:
    http://mysite.verizon.net/resyfcgt/

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