Backhoe attachment for tractor vs loader backhoe

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cast iron, Apr 28, 2005.

  1. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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    We have some undeveloped acreage that we would like to start preparing for an eventual house build. This acreage is adjacent to my father/mother in-laws acreage, my bil and sil's acreage. All these folks currently live on their acreage and are established in the area. My wife and I are absentee owners of our parcel (about a 3 hr drive from our primary residence). All of the in-laws parcels are connected by a private road that they built when bil and sil built their respective places. This road has the opportunity to be extended to our place as well. In addition we have access of the main road to our parcel is needed as well.

    My fil and bil have some equipment we can use in our endeavor - bulldozer, old dump truck, an old MF tractor and an old Jim Brown tractor I think it is. The tractors have various attachments for brush hogging, haying etc. The Jim Brown tractor has a front end loader bucket of decent size. I will be providing some maintenance/repair, paying for fuel, parts and such in exchange for using the equipment.

    Our first project will be to put in a boundary fence along the 1200 foot east boundary between our place and the new neighbors (also absentee owners). This will require putting a culvert in a drainage ditch between our place and fil's place, such that we could drive equipment over to our place without having to go out on the highway every time. This will require a bit of backhoe work.

    Furthermore, as I think through the rest of the work on the property it occurs to me that there will be a lot of digging/trenching type work to do. We want to reroute some drainage ditches (significant reroute), do some of the digging for the power and septic projects, driveway etc.

    That's the background, here is the question. I assume they make backhoe attachments for tractors? I seem to recall that my fil borrowed one when doing some digging years ago with one of his tractors. I also seem to recall the thing was very persnickety in operation and reliability.

    I realize it may be cheaper to rent a backhoe but I struggle with this approach given that we are absentee owners and our available time to work on the place comes in spurts. These projects will be drawn out over time as we have time to work on them. We may have time one Saturday to go down for the day, or we may string four days off during the week to go down and work on the place. It seems like renting a backhoe for this sporadic work may not be the way to go.

    So... I'm wondering if I should look into buying a used loader/backhoe instead, or if I should look at purchasing a backhoe attachment for one of fil's tractors?

    I would of course keep this backhoe down there and all the relatives could use it when needed, just as they are letting me use their stuff. Although, as a practical matter most of my inlaws development work is already done, so I don't think they would have much use for a loader/backhoe. One drawback to this approach is it the loader part of the loader/backhoe would be a duplication of equipment (w/ the jim brown) on the farm overall.

    Yet a possible third approach would be for my wife and I to buy our own tractor w/ loader bucket, post hole digger, and backhoe attachment. The advantage to this would be that we would not have to borrow fil's stuff and would be able to use it as we see fit. But again, outside of the backhoe attachment, this would be a duplication of equipment on the farm overall. Plus, when I say we will be piece mealing the development of this property I'm talking over 5 or so years time... In addition, I think fil might be put out by not using some of his equipment. Borrowing stuff has never been a problem.

    As far as budget goes, I have no idea what these things cost. While I am handy with tools, welders etc, and my bil is a diesel mechanic by trade, and I don't mind doing some fix-up and repair work. I don't want to get in a situation where the piece of equipment needs so much fixing that I spend more time fixing than actually doing productive work. So.... I guess I have a number between say 6K and 14K in mind, less is of course much better, but I just don't know what any of these options cost.

    Sorry for the long post but I thought some background on the situation may be helpful.

    So... Backhoe attachment for the old MF or JB tractors (if there is even one available) vs used loader/backhoe vs another tractor/loader/backhoe vs trying to coordinate the rental of said backhoe with our schedules?????

    Thanks
    Wayne
     
  2. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    If you can find a used backhoe-loader in good shape and economical, it will definitely be useful. But it will be an additional piece of equipment requiring upkeep and maintenance full time. The newer backhoe attachments for tractors(and some of the older ones) can be very useful and work well. However, their limits are much smaller.
     

  3. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    could that be a david brown? bought by case in '74 i think ,some were turned into backhoes. three point on them is not that strong and a hoe would be hard on it . an old bachoe can be more trouble than they are worth! have had both and would much rather let someone else take care of maintaining it. three point hitch hoes tend to be light duty ,okay for digging an occasional hole but not up to pulling out stumps ,large rocks ditching. also the matter of skill ,hoes can be tippy even in experienced hands.
     
  4. NWSneaky

    NWSneaky Well-Known Member

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    The 65s were good units but many MFs require special tools for certain problems.

    Quick, cheaper solution on backhoe = search junkyards or web for used trencher, hoe combinations. The hoe unit is small but adequate and can be easily adaped to a tractor 3-point by any good welder. I did that and it was very satisfactory; we welded on an old tractor seat.
     
  5. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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    rofl - yes it is a david brown, not jim brown. At least I got the brown part right. ;)
     
  6. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My advice up front for your situation: Rent a hoe with an operator and 'get er done' for the short periods of time you have to work there. It will be the best money spent. A backhoe can be handy, but not really needed for many jobs. Hire one _with_ operator for the times you really need one.

    A 3pt backhoe can be nice. But, they are lighter duty machines. Used or new, generally cost a lot, used can be well-worn. They can be hard on a tractor if you put a good sized hoe on a small farm tractor. The upper link of the 3pt takes _much_ stress - often you need a re-enforced upper link bracket on the tractor, and some smaller tractors can get a cracked tranny case from rough hoe operations - lot of stress there in the middle of the tractor. You need a whole lot of weight or a loader on the front of a smaller tractor as well to hold it down. With the stiff upper link, they are a real pain to mount & dismount from the tractor as well.

    Which gets us to your short working schedule - the hoe will never be on a 'borrowed' tractor when you want to come use it, so you will spend several hours of your time getting the tractor, mounting the hoe, & then unmounting it again.

    Now, if you buy a whole setup, then you have control, & can work for you.

    Dedicated TLB (Tractor, Loader, Backhoe) machines are much, much more powerful. But, they either cost a lot, or are totally worn out. Worn bushing & pins can make a backhoe unusable, and hydraulic leaks & rebuilding cylinders are common. The 'tractor' part rarely has pto or drawbar or 3pt, so it will not be used as a useful ag tractor to you, only a loader & backhoe.

    Any of these purchases get you a whole lot of questions from neighbors - can I borrow it, can I borrow it, can I, can I????????????????? (Take this paragraph seriously......)

    In your situation, not being your tractor, not any time to spare, you get put in a bad situation with that. Loan it out, you have to go chase it down to get it back, fix all the things that were wrecked (new operators are pretty hard on the pivots & cylinders as they do the learning curve.) Who is responsible when the neighbor kills himself with it - you, your father, both of you? Lawsuits can take a long time to sort out even if you are in the clear - medical cost what they are there will be a lawsuit by an insurance co if nothing else......

    If you are strapped for time, best way to get to what you want to do is rent a hoe & operator when needed. They will get done what you want in 1/5 the time it will take you, and no up front costs, no fuel costs, no hydraulic repairs, no time wasted hooking up/ unhooking.

    Now, last year I went 1/2's and bought a used 3pt backhoe with a friend. We both have tractors that can run the thing. We stumbled upon a terrific deal on a used one tho - I dig 2 projects, & my 1/2 is paid for so even if the deal goes sour, I won't lose anything..... Normally I do not like sharing equipment. My tractor is about double the size needed with fluid in the tires for stability, a roll-cage cab so maybe I won't get killed if I go over, and the hoe has oil leaks but is sound & working. That paragraph I told you to take seriously above??? Biggest problem we have with it so far. The machine was parked on my place for 3 weeks, and had 3 people look it over & ask questions..... One was a _salesman_ and he didn't even talk about his corn, he walked over to the tractor & said wow, where did you get the hoe, I could sure use one for a weekend.... Most of the time I have it hidden mind you, so only 4 people have actually seen the thing!

    I run a farm in Minnesota, need to really fix this place up, water lines need to be 6 feet deep in this climate, lots & lots of field tile for me to deal with, and so on. I'm here all the time, not for just a tight weekend. I think I'll get my money out of the 3pt backhoe.

    I'm not sure you would. Think it over.

    Long question, I guess I gave a long answer! :)

    --->Paul
     
  7. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    $6000 is 60 hours for a big excavator. That's one week all long days. You could excavate a small subdivision in that time. Buy a small 3 pth backhoe for fun and odd jobs and pay the bucks for a capable machine only when you need it. New small 3pth backhoes run $6000, so you'll have $8000 left over from the high side of your budget.
     
  8. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    i have been priceing the new ones for 3 point hitch they run about 5,300 hunderd they will swing 180 degrees dig a hole 71/2 feet deep smaller tractors can use the 12 or 14 inch bucket
     
  9. NWSneaky

    NWSneaky Well-Known Member

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    You can do the same for $300 bucks out of a junk yard, a tractor and a welder.
     
  10. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    I bought a used Woods 750 3-point backhoe unit a couple years ago. (The only thing I hated was the overly touchy joystick controls, so I replaced them with individual levers.)

    True, it's small and won't do the work a full-sized backhoe would do ... but it will get into places the full-sized backhoe won't and it sure beats using a pick and shovel!
     
  11. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    and i could have 3 ponds in and the septic system in the time it takes to build it i dont have that much time
     
  12. Drizler

    Drizler Well-Known Member

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    It took an excavator 2 hours to dig the foundation for my 28 by 52 foot house. It wasn't a really big one either. For the headache a 3pt backhoe is nice but new ones are 6K and used are usually bought new and then sold by someone soon after and they want 4k. Many of the rest are ancient, read ****ty. or mangled and welded to death from abuse. You can find a good one for 1500 if you have the leisure to wait and look. Thats fine for down the road but to get it done now and get on with your other work just farm it out. Theres lots of guys in the country that work for CASH and no government issues if you know what I mean if you want to save money. Just make sure to get some references. Word of mouth is best I find. Often farmers and thier kids moonlight when they have time since they often have the equipment themselves. Real good people to get to know.

    While I think of it be real careful with that dozer if it hasnt got a cab. Its not the 200 foot tree that will get ya but rather the bush under tension you are pushing. The one about as big as your forearm. They will female dog slap ya so fast you will think Willy Mayes got a piece of you. They make good slow motion spears too.