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  1. #1

    Default How much digging can a digger do?

    I'm trying to figure out how much a backhoe can hoe. I have a driveway to do, thru some shale / possibly rocky ground, which is across the side of a 15-20 degree slope (ie I need to cut into the slope about 5m(15ft) and batter back) . also need to cut down to the road, & a max depth of cut near the end of the driveway will be approx 5m (15ft) deep
    I called a couple of contractors who have bigger (20Tonne +) excavators. They will start @ top of the hill & dig & scoop & turn 180 deg & load a truck, and make the driveway down to the road.

    Rather than this I'm thinking of buying my own backhoe (case 580 or similar is what I was looking at). The 580 has about 10,000# breakout. which I think is around the same as an 8T excavator. When I look at the smaller kubotas etc the values are much smaller. But I have no real idea what these values actually mean.

    Rather then buying an old worn out 580 (& paying a lot to fix it up), I thought a new (under warranty) JD110 or something similar might be the go. Selling it in 6-12mths maybe ;-) ) when I'm done. The depreciation & finance interest would be the cost of the driveway job, and I get to do several other jobs for free.

    But I'm not sure how much a digger can dig....can someone try & correlate, shale / rock / clay with a backhoe bucket for me. I don't want to buy a "toy", and have the first rock / hard patch laugh at the bucket!

    Anyone dug a hole, 5m/15ft deep in shale / rock? what sie equip did you use? how does that equip compare to a 580 or a 20T excavator (trackhoe)???

    Many TIA.

  2. #2

    Default Re: How much digging can a digger do?

    Sounds like a lot of digging to me. I don't think a tractor backhoe will cut it very well. I would go with the excavator or other equipment that is designed for this type of work. It might work on one of the larger tractor backhoes, but will be VERY slow as compared to an excavator.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    N Central Ohio

    Default Re: How much digging can a digger do?

    A large backhoe like my 710 Deere w/ a 5' bucket
    will make short work of your digging.
    The CUT size hoes don't have the reach and/or
    the loading height to use w/ dump trucks on
    this job.
    W/ a backhoe u would need to set off to side because
    of 180* swing versus 360 on excavator.
    Depending on how far the spoils need to go, a CUT & FEL
    w/ boxblade or SSL could dig out from the side
    since u would want to taper them anyway.
    W/ a CUT hoe u could dig dirt loose and pull it
    up hill then load truck w/ loader.
    As far as breakout it has some meaning but u
    need to look at digging depth,reach,lift cap at max reach,
    loading height.
    My 710 has 28'+usable reach and can use a 2/3 yd bucket
    but on an excavator reach is measured from center
    of swing so deduct tracks from that to get usable

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Nelsonville, Ohio
    Can't remember....

    Default Re: How much digging can a digger do?

    Have you thought about renting? It all depends on the area you are in but some of the companies around here are giving alot better rates than a couple of years ago. Actually almost half. If you get on big enough it might not take too long.
    get your bids and weigh your options. You could even do a 1 year lease on a big hoe, at least you know what kind of money you're looking at that way.


  5. #5
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    South Bend, Indiana (near)
    Power Trac PT425 2001 Model Year

    Default Re: How much digging can a digger do?

    We did the same thing, only it was sand and loose gravel, not rocks, and it was only 10 feet at its deepest point. The contractors wanted about $5000.00 to make the cut through the hill and remove trees up the drive. So I bought a very used FEL, IH2500B, with a 3/4 yard bucket. It is a 50PTOHP and 4 cylinder gas engine. A very powerful tractor with great traction. I did the job myself and used it to brush hog for 5 years.

    Here's the part where I can relate the story to your situation:

    While it did pay for itself, I spent every available evening and weekend out there for a month. Hauling fuel, making repairs in the field, waiting for parts to ship, etc.. Looking back, I could have rented a large tracked excavator for about $2000.00 and got my job done in a weekend. Then I could have purchased a smaller tractor in better condition and a brush hog that would have fit better around the place. And the comments about an excavator being able to spin 360, vs a backhoe only going 180 are right on. Plus, some of the excavators come with back fill blades that are really handy for leveling out and rough grading. I rented a small tracked excavator for $265.00 for the day and put in the trench for a 24 X 32 garage(in sand, not rock) in about 2 hours, pulled some small trees for another 2 hours and got $100.00 back for returning it for a 1/2 day refund.

    Just my opinion. Good luck with your project and keep us posted. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Western Washington
    5300 JD 4X4

    Default Re: How much digging can a digger do?

    I'm with Mossroad, the excavator is the way to go. You need the weight and tiger teeth to rip out the shale and the ability to load trucks will shorten the time digging dramatically. If you are making a road along a sidehill you can dig and fill at the same time.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How much digging can a digger do?

    jeffbaker: Like the others have said. Rent. You have a specific job (rather than open ended) for which a given piece of equipment will do the job quickly and efficiently. JEH

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