The Versatile Workhorse

July 26, 2013

More than a few viewers may have watched in amazement as what looks like some well-broken-in construction equipment tries to save the day in the James Bond film Skyfall. That starring equipment happens to be a tracked excavator-a close cousin of the loader backhoe. Backhoe loaders, also known as tractor-loader backhoes, have a loader on the front and a backhoe on the rear. They also are quite a bit smaller in size.

Keeping Up With Industry, Contractor, and EPA Demands
“We are working some five to 10 years out on ideas for the future,” explains Andy Capps, Volvo Construction Equipment North American product manager for backhoe loaders. “One of the big innovations we’re working on right now is the ISO-SAE switch inside the cab.

“This switch allows someone who is used to operating an excavator to flip the switch in the control pattern that is the same as in the tracked excavators-guys coming off the mechanical control backhoes can flip the switch in the opposite direction and the controls are set up the way he’s used to them being arranged. Alsoa, with the Tier IV-I engines, another thing is the regeneration process; you want to make that as automatic as possible so the operator, unless there is a need to do otherwise, just lets the machine take care of itself.”

The filter actually has a burner built into one end of it that bakes off the residue. In some of the earlier machines, the operator was tasked with pressing a button when it was time to do the regeneration. That was one more thing they had to be educated on; they have set it up to where the regeneration will take care of itself as long as there is not a need to pause it or cancel it for some reason, according to Capps.

“We still give the operator the ability, if he’s in a situation where he does not want to do the regeneration at that point in time. He has a button he can press to delay it. Hydraulics and emissions are the two big areas indicating how the technology has changed. The performance of a backhoe is rated by the hydraulic system that you use. That gives you the performance and the efficiency. The engine is there basically to power the hydraulic system. Early to mid-2000s, we started seeing the shift from mechanical controls into the pilot controls in the backhoes.”

The technology from the excavators has been taken and applied to backhoes. The Caretrack system incorporates a GPS system on some of its machines-one channel in the Caretrack system. This allows operators to monitor some functions of the machine and pick up error codes should they arise.

“GPS on a backhoe loader is typically simply a locator that contains a sensor to locate a machine wherever it happens to be working,” adds Capps. “We can pull the hours worked off of a machine, how much the machine has run within a specified time frame. And also there are error codes, such as those involved with overheating, that we can obtain and be alerted that that’s taking place.”

A service technician may need to find a machine in a remote area in order to perform some service work on the equipment. The longitude and latitude will be shown to locate the backhoe loader.

Volvo will be introducing its Tier IV-I machines sometime around mid-2013: the BL-60B and the BL-70B. “We build our machines to give a long working life, incorporating a lot of things such as cushion cylinders, heavier frames, and the pins in the bushings that we use. This adds life to the machinery without jeopardizing the performance and the fuel efficiency.

“We try to build a product that gives the first owner a very reliable machine with a long useful life and then provide the second owner with a useful life itself where the equipment is not in as much demand so they get value for buying the second-handed Volvo products, too.”

To Filter or Not to Filter
JCB has recently introduced some things into its engines to improve productivity and efficiency, two main things it is looking at in improving its backhoe loader models. In the hydraulic pump, it’s gone from the gear pump that pumps for the full-sized larger machines to the piston pump-installing a larger pump-that gives more flow. This improves efficiency and the backhoe loader is able to move more earth per hour, increasing the cycle time. On the loader end, efficiency is improved as well.

“Every other manufacturer has the regenerating filter, concentrating on the exhaust end of things to meet the regulations,” explains Jim Blower, senior product manager with JCB Equipment. “We went back to the drawing board to try to make the engine itself burn cleaner and put out the right amount of emissions so there is no need for aftertreatment; the machine can keep working, you don’t have to stop it to get the filtration right.

“We have no exhaust filters because there is no exhaust treatment necessary for our engines. No aftertreatment is needed. There is no regeneration if you are working in and environment that may be susceptible to dangerous sparks coming out of the engine exhaust. There is no need to move the machine for that reason now.”

The cost of ownership is less because there isn’t a DPF filter to change. Add on to that the piston pump, and costs go down even more all the time, according to Blower. Most DPFs need to be changed at three, four, or five thousand hours, depending on the manufacturer; it is also quite an expensive filter to change. JCB offers mechanical controls and hydraulic servo controls on its backhoe loader equipment.

Along with the Tier IV system, the company has introduced another control system that is hydraulic over hydraulic and that gives the operator a servo-loader control. “We don’t even have to find a place for our DPF filter,” adds Blower. “A lot of manufacturers have to make the hood bigger; we’ve maintained the current hood line, the current visibility, as there was also no need for us to find extra space for the DPF filter in the engine compartment.

“The number-one thing we’ve done recently is put in the new JCB Tier IV engine with all its benefits; along with that, the piston pumps improve efficiency and productivity of the machine. With all the electronic sensors in the engine, we can now use the dashboard in the cab to do a lot of the daily checks. The tractor itself will do its daily fluid checks-the dipstick is still there. However, the machine will also give you a warning if there is low engine oil, coolant fluid, or any of the other fluid levels of the machine.

“As far as productivity, you can get the machine up and running, moving dirt, rather than spending half an hour going through the machine to do checks on it. It all adds up with the productivity.”

Another time and energy saver is the fact that operators can spin around in the cab seat, using the one end as a loader, turning around and using the backhoe end as a digging or excavating tool, scooping out dirt.

What? No Operator Interaction?
In addition to all the difficulties caused by the current economy, operators and manufacturers are faced with increasing governmental regulations, which require education for the machine owner, possible operator training for the operator, and significant development expense for the manufacturer, according to Kevin Hershberger, product specialist for BHLs with Caterpillar Equipment. The increased costs that those regulations drive are difficult for a stressed system to absorb.

In the Cat Tier 4 Interim emission system, for example, Cat has delivered a design that requires no operator interaction. This passive system design never directs an operator to stop working, to change his operations, or to park the machine for filter regeneration. Also, the machine’s large-capacity, long-life filter provides a lifetime of operation for many owners, with no filter service. For the customer, this means no training costs, no change in operations, and no time out of production work for filter regeneration and service.

“Future backhoe technology on our machines is driven primarily from customer requests and operator feedback,” says Hershberger. “Since we have a full line of equipment to source ideas from, sometimes that means applying Cat loader or excavator technologies to a backhoe.

“That’s how we revolutionized the backhoe industry with pilot-operated controls years ago on our D Series machines. Many customers today report challenges with finding expert operators, and maintaining profitability in this challenging economy. Thus, when we develop machines that improve efficiency, versatility, productivity, and are easier for everyone to operate, we’re meeting more customers’ needs. It all comes down to increasing their income and/or reducing their costs. Solutions that meet those needs will always be successful.”

Many areas of the Cat backhoe have been affected by applying appropriate technology to the machines. “We now have smoother hydraulic controls as a result of improved development tools,” explains Hershberger.

“In the power train, we’ve improved engine fuel efficiency, transient response, and emissions output through electronic fuel system development. Also, electronic control modules for engines and machines deliver improved diagnostic capabilities, should any system component not operate correctly. Our Cat Product Link system can pass that information to the owner and Cat dealer so the Cat Service Technician can come to the job site with repair parts in hand.

“Since we sell in such a broad range of markets, GPS is not standard on our backhoes, but it’s available for all of them. Basic Cat systems provide machine hours and location, while the advanced systems also provide machine health information.

“Though that was actually a Cat excavator in Skyfall, except for the machine size, it could have just as easily have been a Cat backhoe. Our machines get used in amazing variety of applications, but perhaps none so dramatic as the wild scene in the opening of the latest James Bond movie-50 years after the first of the Bond series of films was released.”

In early 2012, Caterpillar launched its 416, 420, and 430F Series; with all-new loaders, Tier 4i emissions, and improved performance. This year, the company followed with the 450F, whose 127 horsepower engine makes it Cat’s largest and most powerful backhoe.

“We just announced a new hydraulic quick-coupler for fast exchange of work tools on the rear of the machine,” adds Hershberger. “We are also already at work on future generations to ensure that we continue to meet customers’ needs-not just today, but whenever work needs to be done.”

Cat backhoes deliver an industry-leading solution for Tier 4 Interim emissions, according to Hershberger. “Our completely passive system means the operator keeps the machine working instead of stopping for system regeneration or downtime,” says Carter. “In addition, our load-sensing hydraulic system, which is standard on every Cat backhoe, delivers an unmatched combination of control, performance, and fuel efficiency in the backhoe market. Best of all, it is supported by the strongest dealer network in the earthmoving industry.”

Continuing a Reputation
Emissions regulations have really been challenging a lot of manufacturers, including Case, according to its loader-backhoe brand-marketing manager, Katie Pullen. Even though the Tier 4 emission standards are challenging, this has also allowed the company to look at what else it can change on the machine to offer customers a better experience, such as more fuel efficiencies, better lifting capacities, and more operator comfort-Case has taken a stab at all of these things throughout the past few years.

“We are using 3.4-liter engines in our loader backhoes and running a CEGR system with a diesel particulate filter as well as being in the planning and testing processes of our Tier 4 final,” explains Pullen. “Knowing that is going to be regulated within the next two years means it is something we’re working on getting customer input in and running the machines to make sure we have something that meets needs and still maintains expectations. There are a lot of things that manufacturers should take a look at.

“Customers need a machine that’s durable, reliable, and meets the heavy-duty demands of road, bridge, and demolition applications as well as something that’s going to be high in operator comfort. People investing in loader backhoes are owner-operators. Also, those buying used equipment expect that the bucket is not going to have sway in it, that it will be able to stop exactly where they want it to when they bring it over a trench. We have a good history and long life with our machines.”

Case backhoes now have extensive electronics, giving customers a lot of opportunities to adjust to sensitivities. They also have one-touch idle, which gives a lot more fuel efficiency as well. Case has integrated electronics into its hydraulic systems. PowerLift gives superior power to the rear of the machine in tough lifting situations, increasing lift capacity, increasing breakout forces through the rear of the machine, but at the same time bringing RPMs down, allowing customers to have more precise movement as well as increasing those pressures. PowerLift increases productivity for the machine and the customer.

“Customers tend to buy a similar piece of equipment to what they used to have because they know what they traditionally have lifted. But if they don’t need a specific reach, they can actually go to a smaller-size machine, and this will lift as much as a competitor’s lift that’s a size larger.

“Right now we are launching our Case SiteWatch telematics system, which will be standard on all backhoes coming out of the factory, including a three-year advanced subscription for customers. Not only can customers do the basic stuff such as installing a “˜geofence’ and pinging in their unit, but they also can have multiple diagnostics sent directly to their cell phone or computer. They can monitor their machines or their fleet without having to be there watching it.”

A large fleet owner may go on vacation and check the amount of idle time on his units, seeing how much they’re running, if there have been any geofence problems, or if there has been any warnings that have come up. He can log into any computer, bring up his SiteWatch account and be able to see that.

Case offers three models in the 14- to 15-foot class for backhoe loaders and one model in the 15- to 16-foot class. With the three different models, the company has more of an entry model popular in rental fleets, the 580N. This has a bit lower horsepower, despite being an excellent machine, according to Pullen. The other two models in that class, the 580 Super N and 580 Super N WideTrack, are the ones for which the company is most well known. The Wide Track gives the operator the option of lifting in the next class of machines. It can actually out-lift other machines in the next class up.

“It’s all about making sure everyone understands what application the customer is doing and being able to put the right machine in there that is going to be most efficient. This comes into play when a sales person may quote a longtime customer a new machine based on what they’ve been using. It is important to realize if the performance of a smaller, newer, more efficient machine will be much better for that customer.

“In the midst of continuously looking to improve features, fuel efficiency, emissions, productivity, and ways to offer the customer more each time, we don’t lose sight of the features the make a Case backhoe a Case backhoe. We keep that quality while still doing the redesign work.”

Latest in Backhoe Loader Technology
Louann Hausner, backhoe loaders and tractor loaders marketing manager with John Deere Construction and Forestry, feels that backhoes are one of the most versatile tools on the construction worksite. The biggest challenge for operators is that of having the right equipment when needed, as well as for manufacturers to be able to develop and support a diverse spectrum of sizes and features that meet customer needs.

“We provide not only the largest portfolio of backhoes in North America, with eight separate models with a vast number of attachments and options to customize the backhoe to meet a variety of needs, but also John Deere’s telematics system, JDLink, is standard equipment on every backhoe, with three years of service included,” explains Hausner. “JDLink enables our customers to optimize the logistics of their fleet and have the right machine when they need it, where they need it.”

In addition, JDLink connectivity enables John Deere Dealers to provide the highest level of support, no matter where they are, to these Deere owners so they will have the maximum amount of uptime. Technology combines machine productivity with worksite efficiency, allowing construction professionals optimization of their fleets-without leaving the office seat.

“Backhoe technology has expanded from being button-activated and add-on to being smart and integrated. With Auto Idle and Auto Shutdown, Deere backhoes save on fuel and lower noise levels by automatically reducing idle time when operators are not using equipment. With JDLink being integrated as standard equipment, Deere owners have a logistics optimizer, machine productivity maximizer, and remote diagnostic enabler on every Deere backhoe as well.

“Deere backhoes have GPS integrated as standard equipment in the JDLink telematics system, enabling fleet management and logistics optimization, as well as remote diagnostics, wherever the worksite may be. With the JDLink technology integrated, companies are able to not only measure the operation of each backhoe, but also of each operator, enabling coaching to maximize the productivity and development of every machine/operator combination. John Deere incorporated several new enhancements that increase productivity and uptime and lower daily operating costs with the K-Series. Our customers had some great ideas on how to improve their backhoe loader experience.”

To increase productivity, the K-Series offers customers a certified Interim Tier 4 (IT4) John Deere PowerTech engine. A new AutoShift transmission enables smooth shifting and improves operator comfort. A five-speed transmission increases speed for road applications and transport. A user-friendly, single loader lever with integrated electro-hydraulic (EH) auxiliary proportional control eliminates the need to simultaneously operate two levers with one hand.

To maximize uptime, the new K-Series includes components allowing digging to continue, such as the Sealed Switch Module (SSM) now available on six K-Series models. Keyless start and machine security come standard on all models with the SSM. In addition, engine access was improved with a greater hood-tilting angle. JDLink comes standard on all backhoe models for remote diagnostic and customer management capability.

Smart technology with auto idle and auto shutdown are both available on the K-Series. In addition, an economy mode setting provides an RPM threshold for maximum productivity and fuel savings. An electronically controlled, variable-speed cooling fan reduces horsepower draw on the engine for quieter operation and improved fuel economy. The K-Series also introduced a new 310K EP backhoe providing the easiest IT4 solution with maximum productivity.

“Though the settings may not be as dramatic as with the excavator in the opening scene of Skyfall, backhoe loaders have been saving the day, in real life, for decades,” adds Hausner.

Few Stones Left Unturned in Design Capabilities
This is a year of transition for Terex construction equipment, according to Jon Beckley, Terex Construction Equipment’s product manager. Emissions regulations have tightened, and new Stage III B/Tier 4i standards take hold for engines with power ratings above 75.1 horsepower within the Terex compact line, which includes Terex backhoe loaders.

“We have just introduced Tier 4 Interim compliant engine technology and are already working on Tier 4 final compliance,” says Beckley. “This challenged the Terex engineering team with packaging and offering the most cost effective and manageable solution to the customer.

Jamie Wright, product managers with Terex Construction Equipment adds that customers are looking at horsepower, backhoe bucket breakout force and stick force when choosing a backhoe loader. “The ability to lift and move these objects is important,” explains Wright. “A contractor needs to be aware of the machine configuration when buying or renting. Contractors should decide if four-wheel-drive, extendable dipper stick, and additional buckets would help complete the task at hand, and perhaps a multipurpose bucket on the front of the machine.

With most EGR engine solutions, particulate matter is trapped in the DPF and, by regeneration, is oxidized and expelled through the exhaust pipe. Heat in the exhaust system is required for regeneration to burn off the particulate matter trapped in the DPF. For machines operating in a high-duty cycle environment, like backhoe loaders, enough heat is generated to clear the DPF through passive regeneration, which does not impact machine operation.

The DPF solution on Terex backhoe loaders means servicing is minimal, and the end user will not have to do anything any different than before, as there is no forced regeneration. This solution also allows the engine to have ample torque available to respond quickly and effectively to a full-system hydraulic load for the harshest of applications.

The TRAC rod steering system is mounted on the backside of the axle, high enough to maintain significant ground clearance. This is especially important when you’re working in rocky conditions and want to avoid potential damage to the undercarriage.

“We actually surveyed customers about what features and functionality they wanted in a backhoe loader,” says Beckley. “We constantly evaluate our design to manufacture and deliver what our operators ask for. Our backhoe loader line offers versatility, precision, and operator comfort without compromise to performance. In the future, we will continue to focus on increased operator comfort and productivity, particularly through reductions in noise, vibrations, and harshness, as well as improving the overall economy of these machines with more intelligent hydraulic systems.”

Terex designs its backhoe loader line with the hydraulic capacity and flow to power virtually all of its customers’ hydraulic attachments, including 1.32-cubic-yard loader buckets, multiple-purpose, high-capacity, and grapple-front buckets, thumbs, hydraulic breakers, forks, angle dozers, augers, compactors, and a broad range of rear buckets.

The outer extender on the Terex backhoe loader’s dipper stick keeps the slide area clean from debris that can damage inner extender slide components, making plumbing and use of a thumb attachment more effective and useful. On the TLB840 unit, for example, the thumb and the auxiliary hydraulic connectors can travel with the outer extender, allowing the unit to pick and place rocks and other objects further away from the unit.

The piloted controls on Terex backhoe loaders are engineered with a closed center, flow sharing control valve to give operators smooth, multi-function performance with precision control in trenching and grading applications.

Terex has designed its backhoe loader line with a pattern-change lever inside the cab, allowing operators to easily switch from SAE to ISO control patterns to accommodate personal operating preferences. Backhoe loaders also come standard with a joystick override switch that allows the operator to stand while operating the backhoe, giving a clear, unobstructed view inside the trench.

Terex backhoe loaders also come standard with four-wheel drive and front counterweight for greater fore-and-aft stability, and its stabilizer legs feature a lock-out valve in the circuit so they remain down during operation-the new system provides additional peace of mind when the operator is working 90 degrees to the side of the machine.

Site preparation, digging, trenching, installing, or site cleanup make up primary tasks for backhoe loaders, as Wright explains. In addition, contractors can use a backhoe loader to load and unload trucks, to break up concrete, and to dig postholes. For example, public and private utilities put backhoe loaders to good use, particularly when it comes to installing or repairing gas, sewer, water, cable TV, and fiber optic lines. This class of machine also gets used by septic tank contractors who need to set concrete tanks. With the variety of attachments available for backhoe loaders, the possibilities and uses for this equipment are extensive.

Terex offers a variety of attachment options for backhoe loaders, including standard and multi-purpose buckets, high-capacity buckets, 7-in-1 buckets, thumbs, and hydraulic breakers, as well as forks, angle dozers, augers, and compactors.

“Customers were surveyed about what features and functions they wanted in a backhoe loader,” adds Wright. “We designed this machine around what our operators asked for, including a spacious, ergonomic cab, extended dig depth, and reach capabilities with increased power and maneuverability.

“We also built in features like a cast-iron nosecone, increased swing torque, a curved boom, outer extendable dipper, narrower stabilizer width, emergency brake rocker switch, and better visibility to backhoe. The TLB840 was designed to meet our customers’ feedback-it is engineered to perform.”

Terex backhoe loaders were developed to increase productivity of contractors needing both a wheel loader and an excavator, according to Wright. “Terex backhoe loaders can easily go from digging a trench to bringing in material to backfilling. The design and technology of Terex backhoe loaders-with their wheel loader versatility and excavator functionality-increases our customers’ job-site productivity and cuts their operating costs by offering one machine that does the work of two.

“The frontloader end is designed with proven mechanical controls, giving operators the maneuverability and efficiency of working with a wheel loader, while the backhoe end features advanced piloted controls, giving the machine excavator capabilities.

“Safety is always the first concern with Terex. Our boom-and-swing locking system is unique to the industry by offering swing and boom lock with a touch of a button, and all from within the cab. Strength is a very important attribute as well when designing the boom; Terex uses 8-mm-thick steel tubular design with their booms which adds considerable strength and durability to the product, forged steel at each pivot point which reduces wear on pins and bushings. Neat routing of hydraulic hoses increases visibility and reduces damage to hoses.”

When Access Is a Challenge
“Our customers tell us that contractors are finding minimal job-site access for their crews and equipment for applications that require digging and hauling materials,” explains Keith Rohrbacker, construction equipment product manager for Kubota. “For this reason, compact tractor loader backhoes are very productive in tight spaces where a full-size TLB or multiple machines may be cumbersome on an already crowded construction project.

“With the addition of a compact backhoe to their fleet, our customers are able to eliminate the operating costs of two machines, as well as free up valuable space and find that transportation from one job to another is easier. That goes with Kubota’s incentive to keep a continuous pulse on the construction market. We listen to what operators need to make their jobs more efficient; our construction equipment line is all about meeting and exceeding the expectations of our customers and providing precisely what matters most.”

Compact backhoe-loaders continue to be an integral part of most contractors’ equipment line-up.  At Kubota, manufacture of compact backhoe-loaders with new features and technology continues. Kubota compact backhoe-loaders appeal to a wide variety of operators because they are essentially three machines in one, and tractor-loader-backhoes add tremendous value to a contractor’s or rental center’s fleet, according to Rohrbacker.

Kubota’s L45 and M59 feature HST Plus Transmissions providing automated control of the HST pump and motor. With Kubota’s hydraulic servo system, the Kubota TLBs provide a smoother, more responsive pedal, minimizing required pressure and easing operation. The L45 and M59 also feature a more powerful loader and backhoe with innovative design and enhanced capabilities.

The L45 loader has a slanted boom and braceless frame, and the lifting capacity of 2,200 pounds with a 9-foot, 6-inch lifting height. The sloping hood allows the operator to visually check the surrounding area when working with the front loader, even with the bucket lowered. In addition to improved visibility, hydraulic auto-leveling technology makes the L45 and M59 loaders just as productive as they are powerful.

“Compact backhoe loaders excel in landscaper applications, as well as on residential and commercial construction job sites,” adds Rohrbacker. “While our customers have expressed the utility of compacts in their everyday tasks, GPS equipment has not been high on their wish list.

“The beauty of compact backhoe loaders like the Kubota L45, for example, is that there’s no one ‘best use.’  Instead, compact backhoe-loaders are typically used for a versatile range of applications because they are essentially three machines in one: a loader, a backhoe, and a three-point implement tractor; with the maneuverability of a compact tractor for use in tight places.

“Whether changing from loader to backhoe, or removing the quick-attach backhoe to expose the Category I three-point hitch, the operator can quickly and easily switch attachments and implements to match the next task. Auxiliary hydraulics on the loader and backhoe expand attachment and application versatility. Plus, Kubota’s compact tractor loader backhoes are set up for easy operation to benefit inexperienced users, with the added bonus of power and versatility that satisfies professional needs.”

Kubota’s unique line of TLBs offers versatility and rugged performance for any job from landscaping to construction. The Kubota L45 TLB tractor loader backhoe features an HST Plus Transmission and the versatility of three machines in one, combining a strong, integrated loader and quick-attach backhoe with a Category I three-point hitch. With a slanted boom design and braceless frame for excellent visibility, the loader is designed with a lifting capacity of 2,200 pounds. The backhoe offers a 10-foot digging depth and backhoe crawling mode to reposition along trenches. Powered by a 45-horsepower Kubota diesel engine, the L45 TLB’s immense versatility is ideal for operators with professional results in mind.

The Kubota M59TLB is a high-performance, 59-horsepower, power utility M59 tractor designed with four-wheel drive for power and stability, an integrated main frame, and a heavy-duty rear axle for extended life and smooth stopping performance. The M59’s backhoe has a 12-foot digging depth and offers more power than Kubota’s previous TLB models, and has a bucket digging force of over 7,600 pounds. The M59 loader is both cost- and time-efficient, offering increased productivity and an incredible lifting power of 3,960 pounds.

Kubota’s compact backhoe loaders come equipped with several features that make them useful in a variety of applications. It is important for a buyer to consider those applications for which they could potentially use the tractor, making certain that the machine not only has the power and capacity to meet their needs but also provides features for comfort when operating for long hours. When used properly, a certified ROPS/FOPS canopy and retractable seat belts help protect the operator. Four-wheel-drive and differential lock helps improve mobility of the equipment in mud, sand, and snow.

“Important Kubota advantages to consider and compare when adding a backhoe loader to your fleet include a quick-attach backhoe that exposes a three-point hitch, integral mainframe, hydraulic self-leveling loader control valves, and auxiliary hydraulics to the loader and backhoe,” says Rohrbacker. “An integral mainframe absorbs twisting loads during backhoe and loader operation. A braceless loader frame improves visibility and access for serviceability.

“The hydraulic self-leveling loader control valve improves pallet fork work, and is easily shut off for normal operation.  In addition, be sure the model you choose includes backhoe crawling mode. This allows operators to move the machine along the trench in either direction while at the backhoe controls, saving time and money while repositioning down a long trench.”

Choosing a Backhoe Loader
Excavators often are crawler excavators with an arm and bucket for digging earth out of an area and, in many cases, loading materials into trucks. In short, a backhoe loader is the combination of an excavator and a wheel loader. This is a multitasking piece of equipment; you can either load trucks with the front of the machine or dig ditches with the attachment in the rear.

These machines tend to be vital on many job sites requiring digging or rearranging great amounts of soil or other materials. Since backhoe loaders are popular pieces of construction equipment, finding a pre-owned machine should not be too difficult.

Determining which used backhoe loader is best might be the challenge, however. To choose the best backhoe loader, it as a rule is important to consider the overall exterior, engine condition, front and back machinery condition, and other physical attributes. It might also be helpful to consider the used backhoe loader’s history related to the advertised price.

Used backhoe loaders may look worn but not badly treated. Look for rust, especially rust that could potentially affect the stability or resilience of the machine. Writing down the manufacturer, model number and age can help when considering the price of the backhoe loader compared with its potential performance. The overall appearance of internal components can also indicate the best used backhoe loader in comparison with others.

Different types of loader have different engines, but checking the engine and vehicle’s state will almost always help when you are trying to determine the best pre-owned backhoe loader. Engines should be in good condition with a minimum of known or obvious issues. If at all possible, locate the machine’s service history to settle on whether it has been well kept. Any apparent problems should be addressed before you purchasing used backhoe loaders.

Beyond the engine and the tractor, the front and rear tools usually should be examined. Backhoe loaders at the top of their game should have completely functioning buckets or shoves in the front and a rear backhoe just as usable. Machines with standard tool carriers or quick couplers for multiple tools should have all of the necessary connectors. Additionally, hydraulic systems supporting all of the tools should also be in top condition as even tools in great shape can be useless if the hydraulics don’t work.

Choose the best backhoe loader with the physical features supporting the kind of work being done. Four-wheel drive is needed in places where the backhoe loader must handle work on mud, loose dirt, gravel, or other unstable material. Two-wheel drive might be enough for smaller operations. In the end, the machine chosen should have the power, operating weight range, and digging depth range pertinent to your probable job.

Find out as well, how long this particular backhoe loader in consideration will last after purchase. Top pre-owned backhoes should be fairly priced. One hardly working backhoe loader with some new parts might be purchased inexpensively to provide parts that may be used later. Ask the owner selling the equipment where and how the backhoe loader was used; this can also help establish its probable lifespan once bought.

Backhoe loaders are typically smaller than the midsize excavators. One of the reasons for this is that you are able to drive the machine and get it into tighter places. The backhoe loader is just a bit more versatile than the excavator; an excavator is for the most part duty driven. Backhoe loaders are mostly in the 14-foot-sized class. Some manufacturers offer them in smaller sizes as well.

Today’s backhoe loader manufacturers are now tasked with the major challenges of meeting the new EPA regulations. These challenges include finding ways to increase machine efficiency and improve versatility. Operators in turn face the test of adapting to new, more efficient hydraulic systems and power controls versus the mechanical controls they’ve been used to in the past, as well as getting into the regeneration process of Tier IV machines.

Tier IV machine requirements involve mainly lowering the emissions on today’s equipment. For backhoes this is done through the use of a diesel particulate filter. Once the soot reaches a certain level, the filter will actually burn itself off, removing all the impurities.