Backhoe...thoughts?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by oz in SC, Sep 29, 2005.

  1. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking on the drive to work today and it seems a backhoe would make more sense at this time than a tractor on our land.

    We have a driveway cut in and a rough home site.

    A backhoe could come in quite handy clearing the land a little(no big trees need ot be removed) and putting in a culvert over one of the little streams....it has one but it needs to be bigger.

    I imagine unless I break it big time we could sell it after we have used it to recoup some of the costs.
    Was thinking an older machine

    What do y'all think?
     
  2. magdabauer

    magdabauer Active Member

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    no, no, no, no - don't go that way! i bought a jd450 dozer/backhoe and then i spent and spent and spent money on repairs. when i flipped it (my life did NOT flash in front of my eyes - my last word would have been sh!$@$) i decided to get rid of it (at a loss of about $6,000). since then i rent equipment as i need it and find that it's much cheaper to go that route!
     

  3. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I have an old Ford 3000 backhoe and it is a very handy piece of equipment. I use the front bucket more than the back, but do need the backhoe feature on occasion.

    It is about 50/50 buying a very good used one for later resale or renting as needed.

    As noted they are somewhat easy to roll on their sides as they are top heavy.
     
  4. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Oz,

    I did exactly that when I bought our current place back in 82. BUT at that time, there was no place here to rent a full sized machine.

    I wouldn't do it again in retrospect unless you can find a GOOD, tight used machine....and plan to pay in the 15-30k range for one. Anything much less than that, and you likely found a worn out pc of junk that will require a lot of repairs. I would especially avoid equipment dealers. We have a large one here that is notorious for their "overhaul in a paint can" deals.....paint up an old pc of junk to look real good, and the mechanical part is shot.

    You can spend a LOT on rental for the price of a hydraulic pump or set of injectors, etc.....and if you buy one, plan to get real friendly with you local hydraulic hose making place.....they seem to bust them on a regular basis.

    I did manage to get rid of mine after using it a while by trading it back to the junk dealer I bought it from for a new tractor, so I didn't take 'too' bad a beating on it.....

    Personally, I think a good tractor, in the 30-50hp range with a front loader is much more handy machine around a place.

    All that said, I did buy a nice bulldozer couple years ago. Mitsubishi/Catalpillar that was a '98 model and only had 185 hrs on it when I got it. Had it shipped in here from Japan and it's a GREAT little machine for grading, dozing out stumps, etc.....paid 18,500 for it, but been offered more than that already.....and even it needed a minor repair as new as it was......had a seal on a steering clutch pack leak ( sort like a disc brake caliper on a car ) leaking and causing the steering on one side to be out. Took it apart and found they had pinched the seal when put together....probably at the factory since it was that new....fortunately, the clutch packs on them are easy to remove, not like an old John Deere where you have to dis-assemble most of the rear end to get to a steering clutch !
     
  5. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    i have to vote for the rent with operator. backhoes are machines needing lots of maintenece and a trained operator . hilly ground can be hazordous to an unfamiler operator,does not take long to rack up huge bills . we have an old case that we use from time to time . it will be leaving a soon as i redo the spools as we do not need any more expense!!
     
  6. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    if you are currently too poor to buy a tractor, like me, renting is perhaps the best aternative. currently i am digging about 70 feet of footers for a porch project. i rented a small loader/backhoe called the "terramite". this unit has about a small horsepower motor and is small enough to move around easily. the power is a bit limited and it is so lightweight sometimes you bite off more than the machine can chew and you pull your self around. however, i am at the age where everytime i bend, i grunt and time is of the essence so digging by hand is not an option. the $500 i spend over the 2 day rental is well worth it compared to the cost of paying someone for manual labor.

    if i had borrowed my brother-in-law's john deer, the cost of cascading hydraulic hose failure would have been at least half of that and would have taken the better part of a week with repair time included. i have seen older tractors pop one hose after another as the weak link becomes the strong one.

    as a reference to anyone considering renting, this unit costs $165 per day to rent, $50 each way for the 20 mile delivery. I opted to purchase the bozo insurance for $20 per day as i am clumsy with other peoples stuff. the prices ranged from $150-$225 per day and the delivery peaked at $65 for a twenty mile trip. a small track hoe was available for the same price.
     
  7. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    How about a tractor with a 3-point backhoe unit?

    True, it can't do the job of a full-sized backhoe, but their small size also makes them handy to get into tight places.

    I paid $2500 for a used Woods 750 backhoe unit in good condition a couple years ago. The jobs I've done with it would have cost me more than that for rental ... and I still have more jobs for it to do. (Haven't had much trouble with it either.)
     
  8. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here, you can rent them as well......or full sized Case 4wd backhoe for 1200/week.

    You can get a LOT of work done in a week <IF> you know how to operate one.

    If not, I'd have to go with getting machine with operator.
     
  9. trappmountain

    trappmountain Well-Known Member

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    We have both here and a skid loader. BUT my husband has a business that he uses it for. I think a tractor with a bucket on it would make better sense for you. Around the farm the tractor works best for most things. Back hoes are VERY expensive and loose resale pretty quickley.
     
  10. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the replies.

    So at this stage-land needing to be cleared of small trees/brush,some stumps removed perhaps,brushpiles moved,culvert replaced, what would be better to get?
     
  11. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A backhoe is nice, but it's a dedicated machine - only does it's one thing.

    A used tractor of 50 hp will cost $5-10,000.

    With a loader on it will add $2-4000.

    You can find a used 3pt backhoe for $2000, up to $10,000 for a new one.

    All will have resalve value if you don't want them after a while.

    Depending on your level of home mechanicing, a backhoe of any type requires some work to keep the hydraulics running.

    The dedicated backhoe will do it's thing much better of course.

    The tractor with loader will help you with many more things through the years. Much more versital with a hitch, 3pt, pto, adjustable wheels, etc. And the 3pt backhoe will get jobs done if you have more time than money.

    If you have more money, just hire someone to do it for you, and enjoy your time on other things.

    Nothing wrong with getting the backhoe unit, but that is all it will do is backhoing, and they tend to cost quite a bit or are totally worn out. Easier to find the ag versions in working condition, and as they are not commercial grade proffesional operators won't be bidding against you - cheaper for the bang.....

    If you never need to run a snowblower, pull wagons around, plant hay, use a 3pt implement, etc. then the dedicated backhoe is fine. Most folks with acreage tend to need a lot of tractoring & only a little backhoing. That is your call.

    --->Paul
     
  12. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    add too that your cellar hole and an experienced operator on a mid size track hoe will have it done in an 8 hour day. at 100 to 150 bucks an hour does not pay too own, when we have to do what you descibe we hire done and our land is no where as steep as you desribe yours! a lcg industrial loader tractor would be a far second but more use in the long run espescilly with a three point and pto.
     
  13. bill not in oh

    bill not in oh Well-Known Member

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    So at this stage-

    land needing to be cleared of small trees/brush
    goats? Some breeds of cattle browse quite well - Highlands will walk down and eat trees up to 2-3 inches

    some stumps removed perhaps
    Pigs - punch some 2 inch wide X 12 inch deep holes around the stumps and fill them with corn. The porkers will dig like crazy to get the corn then dig/pull the stumps out.

    brushpiles moved
    Burn 'em

    culvert replaced
    Hire the guy with a backhoe - trade him one of the pigs for his service

    what would be better to get?
    A farm tractor will probably be more useful in the long run IMHO. You can buy Ford 8Ns all day long for $1500 - 3000. They're pretty easy to work on and parts are redily available. You won't be plowing 1000 acres with one, but they're pretty versitile and you might be able to find a place where you can rent the implements until you can collect them.
     
  14. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    Around here a backhoe is an industrial machine (usually yellow) with a front-end loader and a hoe on the back. I've found that it's almost a toss-up as to cost renting to use yourself vs. just hiring it out, since an experienced operator will do the job 2 or 3 times faster than you can. An alternative would be a track hoe or excavator. They usually are more powerful and better at removing stumps and digging, but you don't have the FEL for easily moving your dirt, stumps, etc.

    You could get lucky and buy one, use it, and then sell it getting back most or all of your investment. Or not, of course. A friend did it, and if I knew of a reputable dealer who up front would offer to buy it back for 90% or so assuming no damage, I would go for it. Assuming you will need it for a while.
     
  15. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    No fencing along three sides and we live four hours way so livestock won't work at this time...

    I am planning(dreaming)of having some Longhorn cattle when we move there....just a dream I have.
     
  16. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking along those lines-buy it,use it and trade it back on a tractor..

    We have a guy who has cleared some of the land and is going to finish the driveway out and replace the culvert where the driveway crosses a stream so we could use him to clear the land...

    I am looking for something for us to do up there once we have a place to stay on the land...
     
  17. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Hire a Cat with a 5 in one bucket.He can flatten your land,pull stumps,and dig what you need dug if it is all going to be done at once.
    If you want to do projects for 20 years,buy a GOOD second hand machine in the 20-30000 range.
    Thats what my BIL in the Earth moving business did.His couple year old Cat bulldozer is still going strong 20 years later,believe he paid 25000 or so for it in the mid 80s.
    His 580C backhoe ford lasted about 15 years,did need quite a bit of welding to keep running.Dont know the hours,but a 5-6 day workweek was his norm.

    BooBoo
     
  18. rickd203

    rickd203 Well-Known Member

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    I'm also looking at what kind of construction and farm equipment I will need. I did rent a bobcat with an excavator for a week to do some work where I am living now. I am planning to buy 20-40 acres of raw land and make it into a self-sustaining homestead. I want to build a house with a full basement or possibly an underground home. I am considering raising rabbits in something like a root cellar so that they can stay cool in the summer. I have read that summer heat can be fatal to caged rabbits. I will also ned to dig for a septic system and possibly a few other things.

    My work with the excavator on the bobcat showed me that it is useful for digging but it couldn't really put the dirt far enough away from my work area. Since I am looking at doing a lot of digging, I think that it would make more sense to buy rather than rent.

    I will need at least a small tractor for general farm work. I will probably get a loader on the tractor. For the real digging, I am considering an excavator with a dump truck. I could put the dump truck behind the excavator since it can rotate a full 180 degrees to put the dirt into the truck.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?
     
  19. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    just thought i throw this in the mix... an inlaw,s father was a preacher and built a church/parsonage near were i live. he was very...industrious and tinkered around with machines as a hobby. he built a small conveyor to remove the spoil as his sons shovelled it onto said conveyor. this could probably be done with scrape material found at a local salvage yard. just a thought.
     
  20. Shepherd

    Shepherd Well-Known Member

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    Timing is critical when it comes to finding good equipment at the best price, so you have to be ready to "jump" when the opportunity comes. We moved here and immediately realized we'd have to find a tractor asap to blade ourselves out or we'd be snowbound in the winters. All we had was a little rider mower with a manually operated blade attachment. That would be great in the city to just clear sidewalks and a short driveway, but it wouldn't cut it out here with your house in the middle of 40 acres.

    We had to hire someone to blade us out until the right tractor presented itself ($5,000) - a David Brown Case (we weren't looking for diesel but it ended up being a real blessing!). It didn't come with a bucket, but had a rear blade and a single plow attachment. That next spring we went to a farm auction and purchased a hay fork, planter, and plow for an unbelievable price of $65 and a log splitter to hook up to the PTO for $225! YIPPEE.

    Two years ago we purchased an adjoining 80 acres of land and have to build several overpasses over creek beds to get to some of the land. We've had some washouts and have discussed how great it would be to have the equipment to do it ourselves. Low and behold, after looking 3 years, I finally found a good old backhoe for $6,000 about a mile away. I checked with the locals and the tractor mechanic we always use and was advised about the owners, what they used the backhoe for, the shape it was in, etc. We purchased it - I even got them to deliver it that day!

    My husband was so excited to drive home from work that night and see it parked in our drive! LOL. He has already used it for 2 good sized jobs (1 here and 1 to help a neighbor with his septic problems). As far as I'm concerned, it was a good decision, considering all the work we need to do around this property and constant upkeep. Plus I want to dig a decent sized root cellar for food storage too.

    Too bad it doesn't have power steering tho!

    Good luck on your search.

    PS - a funny side note. After working and living in the city most of my life, having my own business, negotiating deals, etc., it has been QUITE a revelation to deal with the ol farmers and some rednecks who aren't used to dealing with a woman when it comes to buying equipment! I finally had to tell the ol guy I was buying the backhoe from - he either dealt with me, or we weren't going to buy the backhoe (that was after he suggested I have my husband contact him when he got home from work). LOL. I said "So do you want to sell it or not?" He did.