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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    9
    Location
    athens, alabama
    Tractor
    kubota mx5100

    Default Mini Excavator buying questions.

    First off thanks to everyone posting in this forum. Ive been lurking for some time but have used the advice from many of you on my purchases so far. I recently bought 15 acres of land to build a home on. This land was undeveloped so ive had to put in electric and well and still working on the sewage part. I would like to put in about 25 RV sites and be able to maintaine the property. Ive already purchased a 12 kubota MX5100 HST with FEL, bush hog, tiller, spreader, 2 pan plow and love it all. I have started on a pond ..... hired someone who said they could dig a 1 acre pond for about 5k. Well he got about 1/4 acre and my 4500$ was gone. I stopped them at this point and started thinking well I have to put in sewage and water and electric lines why dont I buy a mini excavator and just take my time and do it myself. After researching about a month I think I have decided on a Kubota KX 121. I started pricing them new and found out real quick I dont have a 50k budget for buying one new. I have recently found a dealer about a hour from me that has a 2005 Kubota KX121 with 1500hrs, thumb, rubber tracks replaced within the past year, open cab. He is asking 22,000 for it. Is this a reasonable price? I plan on using this for about a year to dig my pond and develop my park then sell it. Will an open cab hurt the resale ? I know I would like enclosed but I just cant swing the $ difference at this time. So I either go open and get it cheaper and quicker or save money for the enclosed cab. I understand some of this may be personal preference but opinions on open or closed for resale would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    1,220
    Location
    Mt Crawford Va
    Tractor
    massey GC 2400 JD LA 145

    Default Re: Mini Excavator buying questions.

    From what I know of excavators here in Va, I worked for a small contractor and was the machine operator, open rops are more common here and so Here I would not worry about the cab. I see a lot of rops on trailers going up the road and almost no cabs.

  3. #3
    Gold Member Localmotion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    423
    Location
    Spain
    Tractor
    New Holland 50-86 / Siromer 204S / Case CK-28 / Cat 302.5 / Nissan L35.09 / Nissan Atleon 110

    Default Re: Mini Excavator buying questions.

    Only problem with having no cab is the dust! That said our case CK28 is missing most the windows, and I still get on with it fine. Our CAT excavator has a full cab - and while I end up much cleaner at the end of the day, it does get very hot in there without AC.

    As you say it is personal preferance, and if your getting it at a fair price (I don't know what machinery prices are like where you are), then as long as you lookk after it the resale value should be fine.

    I'll be really insterested to follow your progress both with the pond and the RV park. We put in a much smaller pond last year, and are currently going through the planning process to put in campervan (RV) pitches here in Spain.

    Please do keep us updated - and I'll post some photos of our progress at the same time
    Fiat-NH 50-86vi, Siromer 204S; Ebro 44; Case CK28; Cat 302.5; Nissan L35.09

  4. #4
    Veteran Member MHarryE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1,459
    Location
    Northeastern Minnesota
    Tractor
    JD 7720; Kubota M135GX, NH TS115A; JD 6230; Kubota L5740

    Default Re: Mini Excavator buying questions.

    When I retired I started out smaller and instead of a 5 ton mini, I got a 1.8 ton 3 years ago. It was a 4 year old machine from a dealer rental fleet. I have done a lot of work on my farm plus the 2 I partner with (brother-in-law/nephew & cousin). I put aside a block of money that I thought my wife would let me get away with - it dictated the size of the machine. Now, with 3 years under my belt, the prices on Machinery Trader are higher than what I paid for mine. I have put very little into repairs. In fact rental fleets are the source of most end user purchases in this machine class. The original price is so high that unless you are using it heavily, it is difficult to justify. Yes, rental customers are not easy on machines but dealers generally service the machines well between rentals because their income is dependent on the machine running. Mine is open platform. Lately I have been moving a lot of dirt, loading it into my dump trailer, then hauling it with my air conditioned cab equipped L5740, then back to the hot excavator. It is always hot because the cooling air which has been heated from 90 to probably 130 going through the cooling system is always something you are swiveling into. With a tractor you generally drive away from the heat. But in my machine's weight class and the 2 immediately above it cabs didn't seem to be very popular anywhere in the country. My air conditioning breaks make it liveable but I would hate to continuous days in the heat.
    JD7720; KubotaM135GX; NH TS115A; JD6230; KubotaL5740

  5. #5
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    83
    Location
    EUP Michigan
    Tractor
    1994 Ford 1920

    Default Re: Mini Excavator buying questions.

    I needed to dig ditches to improve drainage on portions of my 20 acre homesite. Unable to rent a mini ex with a ditching bucket, I purchased a 6600 lb open cab rental unit at auction. The unit was 5 years old and had over 2000 hours. Tracks were in good condition with the only problems being some play in pins and bushings and damaged sheet metal. I then purchased a ditching bucket, machine was purchased with a 12 inch bucket only, fabricated a hydraulic thumb which it was already plumbed for with the idea this would hopefully enhance value, straightened sheetmetal and repainted. After the completion of my ditching, I planned to resell. Well that was almost 5 years ago. I may have been very lucky with this purchase, but after putting nearly 200 hours on the machine I have had zero problems. I discovered so many other jobs that could be done with the mini ex, especially one with a thumb, that I now have no plans to sell. If I were to redo the purchase of a mini ex, I would definitely buy a larger mini. I bought the 6600 lb machine because I thought it would be easier to transport and easier to resell.

  6. #6
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    6,225
    Location
    central New York
    Tractor
    all makes and models

    Default Re: Mini Excavator buying questions.

    For where you live open is fine unless you have air! The 121 is a good alround unit not to big and not to small. At 1500 hours it tells me that it has been on hard surfaces. Check your pins. If tight the price is right for the times.

  7. #7
    New Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    9
    Location
    athens, alabama
    Tractor
    kubota mx5100

    Default Re: Mini Excavator buying questions.

    Well I went and looked at the unit today. I will say it wasnt in the condition I was hoping for cosmetically. It had a 36" bucket on it and the bushing was wore out as the bucket slapped side to side. the dealer said they would replace this. I also saw the auxillary hydraulic lines were gone. Looked like one side was ripped off lol. The thumb wasnt hydraulic. The right side rear fender was held up with a ratchet strap. The salesman opened the back lid and said the latch was just broke and needed replaced. There was no oil on the ground and it operated smooth and started right up. The asking price is 22800. I didnt see any real major dents and dings on the unit just scrapes on the rear of the cab where the black portion is on the bumber area. I left thinking the unit wasnt the one for me but now im wondering what some paint would do since im not finding anything else out there comparable. decisions decisions lol what do you think?

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    640
    Location
    SE Connecticut
    Tractor
    JD 5325; Landini Mistral 50

    Default Re: Mini Excavator buying questions.

    As much as I would like an excavator I have decided to go the rental route. Essentially I bundle jobs together each year and rent the size I need to quickly take care of the tasks. I think you will find a much larger excavator, with larger bucket, will get your pond project done much faster. If you do purchase cabs are great for winter and summer if you have heat/AC control....and they protect you from that occasional wasp nest you inadvertently hit. Also in purchasing a KX121 and 161 sizes they are well weighted for stable operations. I found the smaller excavators are tippy but offer terrific use in small areas when digging inline with the tracks. I would consider planning your jobs ahead and renting what you need for that specific job. Good luck.....Gary

  9. #9
    Platinum Member High Compression's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    562
    Location
    De Soto, KS
    Tractor
    Kubota L5740-3/ Kubota ZD21 pro60

    Default Re: Mini Excavator buying questions.

    If it were me, I would find a larger excavator for the same money. At least in the KX-080 size. kubota makes great equipment. And I'm a HUGE Kubota fan. But when it comes to excavators they are mediocre. If you have to have rubber tracks, see if you can find a Terex HC 75, Ingersoll Rand ZX-75 or Bobcat 442. They are all the same piece of equipment, with different paint. You can pick one up reasonable, just have to do some hunting. I got one new for $48K. My employees nick name her "Birtha". The machines have an impressive 11,600 lb lift cap. Which is unheard of in the 18-20k operating weight range.
    That said, you could also go bigger, same money, more hours, but way more productivity. Cat, Komatsu, Deere, Hitachi, and Case, all make excellent excavators. You could pick up a 200 class excavator with 4000-6000 hrs on it really reasonable and it will out last your needs, and you'll get your money back out of it. Make sure you get one with a hydraulic quick coupler and the size buckets you need. Maybe not in the same sale, but you can pick up used buckets online pretty cheap. Good hunting!
    "It is better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and prove it."

  10. #10
    Silver Member Foxtrot08's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    163
    Location
    North East Ohio
    Tractor
    John Deere 2305

    Default Re: Mini Excavator buying questions.

    I'm a big CAT fan when it comes to Mini-excavators.

    Depending on the size that you want and your price point, you have some options.

    We got a CAT 301.5 for about 10 grand, with just over 1000 hours on it - but, it's about a 6000lb machine and the KX121 is about a 9000lb machine. We've never had 1 issue with our CAT so far, outside of a few hydraulic lines. And it's now got over 2300 hours on it.

    We picked up about 3 years ago, a JD ZTS50 - roughly a 12000-13000lb machine, with a thumb on it. Bigger then the KX121. If you're really looking to move dirt, an 11000+ lb machine would be what you're looking for in my opinion. We picked up the ZTS50 with 3000 hours on it, needed new tracks and thats about it, for $14000.

    Even though its bigger.. In my opinion the CAT machine is a better built machine then the Deere. Let alone with CAT, you never, ever, ever, have to worry about getting parts. You can always get CAT parts. But, I also think when it comes to dirt moving equipment - CAT stands alone. Komatsu is close... but CAT is #1.

    Hunt on machinery trader and be willing to travel to get it... And you'll find some really good deals.
    ~Fox
    Tractors: JD 2305 w/ MMM & 200CX, NH TN60A w/ 32LA loader, NH Boomer 2420, IH 806 Turbo (Restored, 1964), Farmall Super C (Restored(1952), MF 240S,IH Cub low-boy.

    Attachments... too many!

    Equipment - JD 317, CAT 262, JD 50ZTS, Cat 301.5, Cat 910, CAT 416C IT w/ EHOE, IH TD7E, IH T6(Restored w/ BE Blade package, 1948 w/ 1952 blade)

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