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  1. #1

    Default backhoe or mini excavator

    My 4115 will be delivered on 1/11/06. I was wondering about getting the backhoe or buying a used mini excavator????

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    43
    Location
    Lake County, IL
    Tractor
    John Deere 2520

    Default Re: backhoe or mini excavator

    I have a 2520 which is equivalent to your 4115. Both machines take the JD 46 backhoe. I've used mine for a couple small projects by now and I'll give you my insights.

    I started out looking at the 3000 series tractors and the 48 backhoe. The 48 digs 8ft and you can attach the BH without leaving the tractor. You can also leave your MMM deck on while having the backhoe (although you probably shouldn't have both on at the same time).

    At the last moment I switched to the new 2000 series and didn't notice that the backhoe conflicts with the mower deck. Also, the attaching of the backhoe is more involved that any other attachment:
    - remove the 3pt arms & drawbar
    - lift the backhoe onto the tractor using the stabilizers
    - line up four connection points by jockeying the backhoe with stabilizers and/or bucket arm

    The first time I connected the backhoe, I was reading the instructions (yeah, I know...) and it took about 1/2 hour. I can repeat it now in about 10-15 minutes. It's not the 3-minute routine you get with the 47/48 backhoes, but it's not bad. I use the backhoe a couple times a year and spend most of my tractor time just mowing.

    The 46 backhoe has 6ft dig depth and about 7ft reach straight out. Once you substract 2ft for the half-width of the tractor and some more for the stabilizers, you'll find that you quickly fill up the reachable area with spoils from the hole you are digging. You won't be able to reach across the hole, so 90-degrees left/right of tractor is only place to drop dirt.

    Moving the backhoe means jumping off backhoe, lifting stabilizers, fold-up backhoe seat, sit on tractor seat, brakes, gears, loader, re-position tractor, reverse all of the above. If you are digging ditches (my first project was a 20ft culvert), it can get a little tiresome.

    The power of the 46 backhoe is decent. I've moved the tractor instead of the stump a couple of times! You can't fault the hydraulics when they pull the tractor with brakes on, outriggers down and FEL filled with debris. My hydraulics can be a little jerky, but that's part of the 'amateur' set-up. If you want fast, smooth professional hydraulics, you are going to pay $40,000+ for something that won't fit in your driveway!

    Having said all of this, I'm still happy with the $6,000 backhoe. I've plucked fenceposts broke flush with the ground, removed 12" dia stumps (there is a 28" dia in the backyard still waiting for me), replaced a 18"x20ft culvert, and used the backhoe to dig/move/place (6) 2.5" oak saplings with 30" root balls.

    Being able to put each root ball exactly center in each hole while keeping the tree upright is well worth it--I spot the tree and my 90# wife runs the controls. It's almost a one-man show, and we planted 1 tree/hr. Sure beats hand-digging!

    I wouldn't want to deal with renting, delivery and racing the clock to have a mini-excavator for my misc. projects. I glanced at a couple used mini-excavators for sale. These were $12K and up which was way beyond the budget. I'm sure they would be nicer/faster, but I don't have the size/qty of projects to justify those big bucks.

    The decision is yours. Let me know if there's anything else you would like to know. Be informed and good luck!

  3. #3
    Elite Member Cliff_Johns's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,697
    Location
    Northern Illinois
    Tractor
    JD 4110

    Default Re: backhoe or mini excavator


    Nice summary farmerhays. I agree with everything said. The only thing I would add is that when you store the 46, it's not only the BH, but the whole subframe that comes off the tractor and so it does take up some space when not on the tractor.

    It has done a supurb job for me though, planting shrubs and digging out stumps. I will be doing a patio and putting in electrical using it's help this summer.

    Cliff

  4. #4
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    267
    Location
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Tractor
    John Deere 4110

    Default Re: backhoe or mini excavator

    Hi,

    I also agree with everything said so far. I got my 46 last summer for one thing, removing stumps. The godd thing is now that I have the 46, finfing usage for it is almost as easy as using it! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]
    I will just add that the storage off the 46 is taking more space than anticipated for me also, especially when attaching and detaching it. I need to build a dolly for that thing so I can move it in the corner when not in use!

    Hypernix

  5. #5
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    368
    Location
    North Bennington, Vermont
    Tractor
    JD 4110 w/HST

    Default Re: backhoe or mini excavator

    Personally, I wouldn't want to maintain and insure another machine (excavator) unless I could keep it busy most of the time.

    If you're using a MMM on the 4115 you can add "remove MMM & draft arms" to Farmerhay's list of things to do before attaching the BH. This can add another 15 minutes to process. So, best case, is you're looking at a half hour to remove the MMM and 3pt hitch stuff and get the BH mounted. If you're using the BH & other attachments in your business, as I do, this becomes a PITA if you want to swap the BH on & off during the course of the day. Otherwise, as the others have said, the BH is plenty powerfull for jobs that fit its size. I get lots of referrals from landscapers to do drainage work, stump removal, trenching, etc.

    -Norm

  6. #6
    Veteran Member JDGREEN4ME's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    2,234
    Location
    Southeast PA
    Tractor
    John Deere 2520, John Deere X534, John Deere LT150

    Default Re: backhoe or mini excavator

    In regards to storage of the 46 BH I am a little [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img] to mention that I have had my 4115 set-up for two years and I haven't taken the BH off yet! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img] I am very happy with the performance of this unit. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

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