Newbie mini ex questions, and Kubota KX vs U series?

   #1  

tallguy104

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We've got about 3 acres of billy goat country (undulating and frequently steep).

My list of things which I need to get an excavator in for keeps growing and growing, to the point where I'm now thinking I might be better of just buying one, even if I end up selling it on again in a few years once we have the property mostly the way we like it.

The kind of work I want to do:
- create terraces down the hill side (by cutting and filling)
- maintain/improve our dirt and gravel driveway
- dig trenches

Budget is fairly constrained, so I'm considering the minis at the lighter end of the Kubota offerings (0.8-2.5 tonne).

First question is - are the lighter machines I've mentioned going to cut it? I've heard that you can do almost anything with a smaller excavator compared to a larger one, it just takes longer....which I'm okay with. Is this true though? Will the 0.8 tonne KX008-3 be able to get about my property ok (it's 20 degrees in many places), or are these smaller machines much more prone to tipping on slopes compared to larger models?

Do I want the KX or the U series? Is the KX going to have better stability of my slope land? I heard that the U series tend to be more tippy because they had to raise the centre of gravity in order to make them zero-swing. Is this true? If so it sounds like I definitely will want the KX since zero-swing isn't a priority for me. Is there any other reason to choose the U over the KX?
 
   #2  

gtbensley

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If zero swing isnt going to be needed I would go with a KX as it will be more stable and probably capable. I didnt think I cared which one I would buy but I find myself working in tight areas and no tail swing is amazing.

I would think having something small might be difficult on the hills as it does not have the footprint to keep stable. I would go 2.5 ton if possible as it will be able to get more done and be more stable doing it.
 
   #4  

timbatrader

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One of the things to consider with a larger machine The bigger the machine you have any track you make with it needs to be wider than the machine. The amount of dirt you need to move to cut a track across a slope grows exceptionally with the width so if you only need a narrow track for Quad bike access a smaller machine might be quicker
 
   #6  

houska

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I'm currently considering mini-excavators, so take this for what it's worth from a "pre-newbie" who's tried a few but has little true experience.

Zero tail is useful in close quarters, but does reduce ability* and at least perceived stability versus a "normal-tail" excavator of the same weight class. So if you have wide open spaces, KX is probably better than U for you. BTW, stability is much aided by proper use of the blade when digging or lifting stuff.

"You can do everything with a smaller excavator, it just takes longer" is something you'll hear only from people who are digging in nice soil. It is emphatically not true if you're digging out or busting rocks, pushing over trees or carrying logs.

On the other hand, bigger excavators require bigger trailers and trucks to move around. I don't know the rules Down Under, but in many jurisdictions there's limits on the size of trailer you're allowed to pull on the road with a "normal" driver's license, and that may set a pretty hard max for the size of your miniex if moving it by road is at all relevant for you.

As @timbatrader said, I'd size heavily influenced by the width of the tracks/trails you'll want this thing to build and travel over. And the size of your wallet.

And I'd definitely get a blade and a hydraulic thumb, unless you're da%& sure you won't need them. They tremendously increase the utility of the machine.

*edited. I originally wrote "power" where I've now edited to say "ability". I didn't mean horsepower; rather your general abilities to dig, lift, and carry, which is determined as much by the geometry of the machine as by horsepower. Compare specs on bucket breakout force and max lifting weight (and at what distance).
 
   #7  

KJM

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We've got about 3 acres of billy goat country (undulating and frequently steep).

My list of things which I need to get an excavator in for keeps growing and growing, to the point where I'm now thinking I might be better of just buying one, even if I end up selling it on again in a few years once we have the property mostly the way we like it.

The kind of work I want to do:
- create terraces down the hill side (by cutting and filling)
- maintain/improve our dirt and gravel driveway
- dig trenches

Budget is fairly constrained, so I'm considering the minis at the lighter end of the Kubota offerings (0.8-2.5 tonne).

First question is - are the lighter machines I've mentioned going to cut it? I've heard that you can do almost anything with a smaller excavator compared to a larger one, it just takes longer....which I'm okay with. Is this true though? Will the 0.8 tonne KX008-3 be able to get about my property ok (it's 20 degrees in many places), or are these smaller machines much more prone to tipping on slopes compared to larger models?

Do I want the KX or the U series? Is the KX going to have better stability of my slope land? I heard that the U series tend to be more tippy because they had to raise the centre of gravity in order to make them zero-swing. Is this true? If so it sounds like I definitely will want the KX since zero-swing isn't a priority for me. Is there any other reason to choose the U over the KX?
Well.... As a fellow Australian, who also has 3 acres much of which is crazy steep and who now owns a 1.8T excavator...

I bought a Kobelco/New Holland second hand. It's terrific! I haven't yet done much of the terracing I need to do, but have dug out 3 seriously large stumps (with the single point ripper). The largest stump probably weighed 1.5tonne with the clay attached. Getting it out took some time! I've chipped out the clay now, and can just lift it close in, so it's probably around the 600kg mark. About as big as I think this sized machine can handle. Just.

The thing I least like about the smaller machines is the track width. So they are intrinsically a bit tippy. Mine is 1350mm wide. I try to have the blade downhill on slopes! The good thing about the smaller machine though is the track width :) I can get through tight places!

If your ground has rocks though.... you might struggle a bit. Digging the big tree out i hit large quartz lumps (450x450x450 type lumps). These were impossible to "lever out" with the ripper. They just tipped the excavator. Couldn't win against those till I had scratched around them to free them from the clay. Lucky for me the ripper is excellent at scratching!

I'll pass on a couple of improvements you can make to your machine though. Buy a couple of mechanical inclinometers to put up on the canopy! Makes it easy to blade down to level, then you can cut a level pad to work from. The second is a reversing camera, so you can check at all times that 4yo grandsons aren't lurking behind you.....

Cheers
/Kevin
 
   #8  

LD1

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When it comes to trenching or digging yes small machines can pretty much do what big ones can....just slower.


But small ones lack reach and strength. Your excavation efforts may be halted with a little machine and a rock too big. A bigger machine might not struggle.

Reach....like clearing a pond bank or mucking a ditch with a smooth bucket......smaller might be useless
 
   #9  

jjeff

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For future additions of attachments hydraulic flow to the auxillary may be something to think about. I know a 6k 26g is the smallest that can on the John Deere side that will handle a small flail or rotary cutter. Also 25 hp and less has no regen.
 
   #11  

WVH1977

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I just got myself an excavator about two months ago. It is a Hitachi EX100 and is 24000 lbs. I was a little intimidated at first because it was big to me. I have rented mini-ex's in the past for clearing land but they were a lot smaller. They got the job done and are really nice. I think the ones I rented were around 14,000 lbs.

Now that I have used this new to me excavator the size is not worrying me any more. I have cleared tow spots around my house about 1/4 acre and the ex made quick work of it. It would have taken twice as long with a smaller mini-ex. The only reason I bring this up is you might be able too find a better deal on a bigger machine. You can use it and when done resell it.

I still want a mini-ex!!!:LOL: I am always dreaming.
 
   #12  

HappyOne

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As a guy who bought a KX040 a few years ago. I can say for sure, I wish I had more reach. Working in trees I have to be careful not to swing into a trunk, but other than that I am happy with the standard counterweight. If your cutting trails in slopes that might be deep enough for a counterweight to hit, then consider the U.
 
  
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tallguy104

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So I got some pricing back from the Kubota dealer.

The KX033 is well out of my price range, so I've been trying to decide between the U25 and the KX018.

I was leaning towards the KX018, as I don't need the zero-tail swing, and I was expecting the KX018 to be considerably cheaper than the U25, but they are actually about the same price (in fact, the KX018 is a couple of grand more expensive than the U25!).

This seems strange to me, as the U25 is 1400 pound (700kg) heavier, 8" wider, has 1400 pound (700kg) more breakout force, and 7 inches more ground clearance when compared to the KX018. So it sounds like the U25 will be much better at doing the kinds of things I want to do, yet is at a similar price point to the KX018.

So does this make the U25 a no-brainer then? I don't like the U is set a bit higher (more tippy), and the zero-swing compromises the power compared to an equivalent conventional tail swing, but in this case I am compelled to choose the U. Given the extra weight and width it would have to be more stable on slopes regardless.

Am I missing anything?
 

jjeff

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A few years ago I had similar questions of the u25, u27, and the kx, back then if I remember correctly it seemed the u25 had automatic high speed meaning when it was sensing little resistance the drives would engage to higher speed without pressing a button. I asked a Kubota sales rep at a show why the U series quotes I got were so much less than a comparable kx the response I got was vague but I believe it's partially due to different hydraulic pumps and motors, more hydraulic capacity? But without having the actual components or specs in front of me to compare I'd like to know before choosing Kubota. I believe the kx 18 will be limited in possible future attachments it can handle. Good luck
 

WVH1977

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I am assuming your are going to finance this? If you are able to pay cash, you really might want to consider on older, cheaper, bigger machine. I am all about buying new but for construction equipment, used might be the way to go if you can get the money together. You are already concerned about size, weight and power. if you get the smallest thing you can afford new, you might be disappointed and stuck with big monthly payment that will keep coming.

I am not sure how much these machines are new, but I am guessing $ 40,000 dollar range. That is going to be around $ 560 a month for 6 years. You state "budget is fairly constrained". Just throwing it out there as I am sure you already know all the numbers. I have financed big purchases in the past knowing I would have a big payment and did not truly need it but justified it in my mind and took the plunge. I am really trying not to do that anymore. Especially right now with the way things are going.

You have 3 big projects listed. If you rent for say 2 grand for a week each time over a two year period, that is only 6 grand. Get a good sized machine and knock it out. Just something to think about which I am sure you have already thought about.

It is a big decision. Good luck.
 

jjeff

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Another thing to consider is maintenance imo. I have two old Kubota tractors and some other stuff is John Deere, it's nice some filters and all fluids are interchangable on the older Kubotas, . A John Deere 26 G mini takes special zinc free hydraulic fluid at over $200 with discounts for five gal and you aren't supposed to contaminate it with anything that has zinc. It will take 10 gals plus all the filters I believe for pms. In comparison a JD 326e skid loader comes from the factory with 10w30 diesel rated motor oil for the hydraulic system, per manual.
Just other things to consider IMHO.
 
  
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tallguy104

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Thanks WVH and jjeff, you make some sensible points.

I actually asked the dealer about the similar pricing and he came back with a very vague answer too, it seemed he really didn't know.

@jjeff and others, here's a complete comparison of the two:

Screen Shot 2022-05-14 at 07.12.16.png
 

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Jchonline

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We've got about 3 acres of billy goat country (undulating and frequently steep).

My list of things which I need to get an excavator in for keeps growing and growing, to the point where I'm now thinking I might be better of just buying one, even if I end up selling it on again in a few years once we have the property mostly the way we like it.

The kind of work I want to do:
- create terraces down the hill side (by cutting and filling)
- maintain/improve our dirt and gravel driveway
- dig trenches

Budget is fairly constrained, so I'm considering the minis at the lighter end of the Kubota offerings (0.8-2.5 tonne).

First question is - are the lighter machines I've mentioned going to cut it? I've heard that you can do almost anything with a smaller excavator compared to a larger one, it just takes longer....which I'm okay with. Is this true though? Will the 0.8 tonne KX008-3 be able to get about my property ok (it's 20 degrees in many places), or are these smaller machines much more prone to tipping on slopes compared to larger models?

Do I want the KX or the U series? Is the KX going to have better stability of my slope land? I heard that the U series tend to be more tippy because they had to raise the centre of gravity in order to make them zero-swing. Is this true? If so it sounds like I definitely will want the KX since zero-swing isn't a priority for me. Is there any other reason to choose the U over the KX?

For 3 acres, maybe. Trenching no problem unless you hit rock. Cutting in a hillside will take awhile with a super small bucket, but its fun work and you can do it. I would not count on getting much done fast on a driveway with a really light machine...get as much weight as you can.

Also those really small Mini-Exs are REALLY tippy. Easy to turn them over. Careful on hills and take it slow. The are made to get into tight, flat spaces. So they arent very wide.
 
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jjeff

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The big difference is weight and hydraulic flow between the 2, the u25 has more of everything 😂, why it's less I have no clue. Did you get a quote on the U27-4? I was quoted on the U25, U27 and the comparable kx series several years ago wasn't much difference in price between the minimal swing u models. If I didn't want higher auxiliary flow and still wanted new for a non commercial setting I probably would have settled for the new nortrac mini just for trenching and cutting a hill side they also have a lot of accessories. you can buy 2 nortracs and all the accessories you can ever want or need for the price of 1 Kubota or deer bone stock. With minimal tail swing on a JD 26 G I can lift and swing 1400 lbs if I'm aware and careful plus on jds anyway I can get a bigger counterweight if I feel I needed it which I don't, it would just reduce tail swing clearance it's bolted on with 2 bolts I believe. imo minis have a low center of gravity decent counter weight and using the blade helps a lot for stability when booming out even on the sides imo. If it was me choosing I'd get the u 25 or 27 model. Good luck.
 

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tallguy104

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Ok I'm getting close to pulling the trigger on the U25, just wanted to check what y'all recommend for a very basic set of attachments?

Was thinking to get the following:

18" (450mm) dig bucket
a 3' or maybe 4' (1200mm) mud bucket
Single tyne ripper (for digging out stumps, breaking up hardpan)

I have a heap of 2" irrigation pipe to lay so I was hoping the single tyne ripper would do the job, but I might be a little optimistic..?
 

Fixastuff

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I don't have that machine but I have 1ft, 18", 24" and 36" buckets for mine. Use the 1ft and the 3ft the most with 24" coming in third. Rarely use the 18"er.
 

laurencen

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not sure a ripper will lay pipe, I made a custom bucket for pipe, I can dig a trench 5 inches wide quickly and minimal filling afterwards
 

Fixastuff

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not sure a ripper will lay pipe, I made a custom bucket for pipe, I can dig a trench 5 inches wide quickly and minimal filling afterwards
Picture please. I'm working on a 9"(quick coupler width) at the top to 3" at the cutting edge by 38" deep for trenching in the areas the chain trencher doesn't work well.(sticky clay)
 

4570Man

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My 12” bucket is just nearly worthless. It stays plugged up. Unless your soil extremely sandy I’d forget about anything smaller.
 

dirttoys

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Each should have a cool little graph that shows lift in various positions, have a look at those before choosing between the no tail, and tail. Something like below. They are a ton of fun, wish mine was bigger, and had a 6 way blade if that helps.

Best,

ed

1653268720071.png
 

laurencen

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what machine are you putting it on? mine is a Bobcat X change I drew it on cad so it works with there system, no pins, this will dig down 32 inches easily the shallow depth and taper stops it clogging,
 

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tallguy104

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If you had to choose just one digging bucket, what size would you choose?

We've clay soils and I'm mainly going to be cutting/filling terraces, digging holes, and generally reshaping our hilly property. It's to go on a 2.5 tonne Kubota excavator.
 

laurencen

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for shaping I use a 36 inch tilting bucket, will swivel 35 degrees each way great for ditch work

last week plasma cut the plates so I can mount any attachment in reverse, this allows me to dig against a post or wall with ease, will do a few pictures of this one next week
 

dirttoys

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If you had to choose just one digging bucket, what size would you choose?

We've clay soils and I'm mainly going to be cutting/filling terraces, digging holes, and generally reshaping our hilly property. It's to go on a 2.5 tonne Kubota excavator.
24"
 

4570Man

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If you had to choose just one digging bucket, what size would you choose?

We've clay soils and I'm mainly going to be cutting/filling terraces, digging holes, and generally reshaping our hilly property. It's to go on a 2.5 tonne Kubota excavator.

18” or 24”. A 12” is too small to get anything done and a 36 if it’s even available is too big for that machine.
 

LD1

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what machine are you putting it on? mine is a Bobcat X change I drew it on cad so it works with there system, no pins, this will dig down 32 inches easily the shallow depth and taper stops it clogging,
How wide is your thumb outside to outside.

My 334 has the x-change as well as a thumb. The thumb is 14" wide so my 12" bucket is next to worthless unless Im ripping out stumps. And it does stay plugged in our soils. But I do like the looks of that bucket.

Most of my work is replacing old clay drainage tile with plastic and I like 18" bucket to give a little elbow room when working in the trench and to be able to stay on top of the tile.
 

LD1

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If you had to choose just one digging bucket, what size would you choose?

We've clay soils and I'm mainly going to be cutting/filling terraces, digging holes, and generally reshaping our hilly property. It's to go on a 2.5 tonne Kubota excavator.
Probably a 24" bucket.

My 334 is a 3.5t machine. I have a 12" that is worthless in our soil. A 18" that I use for trenching. A 24" that I use for digging holes, footers, livestock burial, etc. And a 36" smooth bucket for ditching and waterways.
 
  
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tallguy104

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Thanks guys.

24" digging bucket it is.

And maybe I should be getting a 3 foot mud bucket rather than the 4 foot?

And it seems like a narrow trenching bucket would be essential too, given the water lines I want to run about the property (it sounds like the single tyne ripper I'm getting won't be much use for this). What is a good width bucket for trenching water lines? I'm thinking something around 6" if it exists.
 

dirttoys

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Thanks guys.

24" digging bucket it is.

And maybe I should be getting a 3 foot mud bucket rather than the 4 foot?

And it seems like a narrow trenching bucket would be essential too, given the water lines I want to run about the property (it sounds like the single tyne ripper I'm getting won't be much use for this). What is a good width bucket for trenching water lines? I'm thinking something around 6" if it exists.
As others have said, narrow buckets plug very easy. They do design some trenching buckets that do better than others. I would ask your dealer. Mine is 12" in perfect conditions it is great, hardly ever get those...........

Best,

ed
 

laurencen

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on my E32 we tried trenching with a 9 inch rental, was never cleaning and packed with material 9 out of 10 times, switched to a 18 and way better though for gas lines and electric it was a overkill.

check out the trench bucket I built a couple years ago, it cuts a 5 to 6 inch trench, widens as it goes down with a depth of 34 inches I do water sprinklers, electric lines and the odd gas line, works great and rarely plugs by design, its custom made had the plates plasma cut and welded together
 

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4570Man

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Here’s what I’d use if neatness is of any concern. Otherwise dig away with the 18” bucket.
IMG_1814.JPG
 

dirttoys

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on my E32 we tried trenching with a 9 inch rental, was never cleaning and packed with material 9 out of 10 times, switched to a 18 and way better though for gas lines and electric it was a overkill.

check out the trench bucket I built a couple years ago, it cuts a 5 to 6 inch trench, widens as it goes down with a depth of 34 inches I do water sprinklers, electric lines and the odd gas line, works great and rarely plugs by design, its custom made had the plates plasma cut and welded together
Looks cool, do you sell? Did you knock it off from anything commercially available?

Best,

ed
 

laurencen

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no knock off, I have used the bobcat for several miles of trenching, this was version 4 and it works 100%, the shallow depth and widening prevents clogging, it basically self cleans

gave the files to two members, they are happy but not using the bobcat x change mounting, this was designed to mount directly on x change system

I can easily state no bucket exists of this design, demoed it to a dealer but they can not sell it
 

laurencen

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for material its made of 3/4 steel plate for X change sides, bucket sides are 1/2 or 3/8 plate, back of bucket is 3/8 steel 5 sections to create the profile, on the edge I used a 5 1/2 inch of road grader blade, it does the work and takes abuse

welding was 2 hours and ready to dig, figure we dug miles with it for water and power
 
 
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