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Micro-backhoe attached via Cat. 0, 3 point hitch?

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#1 zuren OFFLINE  

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Posted December 12, 2017 - 03:31 PM

This is not a pending project but wanted to do some scholarship to see what is possible and the smartest approach.

We had our septic tanks pumped just before the ground froze but I didn't get the holes filled in before the dirt piles were pretty solid (2 holes x 3 ft. deep....quite a bit of dirt).  My neighbor was nice enough to offer his Kubota BX with mini/micro backhoe when he saw me out there with a shovel and pickaxe.  That sold me on the utility of hydraulics.  What I planned on taking most of the weekend took a little over an hour and saved my back  I definitely have other uses for a small backhoe so I have my thinking cap on.

I was poking around the DIY backhoe plans at PF Engineering and CADPlans and see them describing connecting the backhoe via the Cat. 0 3pt hitch.  Is a Cat. 0 hitch stout enough for something like a backhoe, and the weight and torques being applied?  I would not question a Cat. 1 hitch or bigger, and love the idea of being able to connect/disconnect as needed via the pins and switch between attachments quickly, but also do not want to over-stress the connection points on the smaller hitch.


I was hoping to hear from those who have experience with the mini backhoes and have some insight as to how they should or shouldn't be attached to a large garden tractor.



Edited by zuren, December 12, 2017 - 03:34 PM.

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#2 kjmweld ONLINE  

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Posted December 12, 2017 - 03:51 PM

I have a few ideas on the topic.

Edited by kjmweld, December 12, 2017 - 03:56 PM.

#3 kjmweld ONLINE  

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Posted December 12, 2017 - 03:55 PM

After having a Brantly backhoe in the past & knowing how heavy it was, I'd strongly try to discourage the idea of connecting it via the cat0 hitch. Even the backhoe I had was mounted solid to my large frame tractors frame & all the way to the front of the tractor. I foresee many problems if you don't mount it solid to the frame. That's just my opinion tho. Maybe others have done it with good results. Another thing worth mentioning is Brantly backhoe was made to be mounted in conjunction with either a fel or front blade with downpressure. You want all wheels off the ground while digging. Not sure if your tractor has either but thought I'd mention it as more food for thought.
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#4 sharkman OFFLINE  

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Posted December 12, 2017 - 04:13 PM

I bought this used on CL for $500 a few years ago and it has done everything I have asked it to do. (small jobs).  It tows around, but isn't very mobile by itself.  

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Edited by sharkman, December 13, 2017 - 08:47 AM.

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#5 Ryan313 OFFLINE  


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Posted December 12, 2017 - 04:34 PM

I agree, I think it is on the small side. The early teramites were built on a power king. They had a frame that was made of 2x3 square tubing, or something pretty beefy anyway. Also, the backhoe attached directly to the frame. Furthermore, it was not uncommon to break the rear axles with all of the added weight, and the axles on a PK are 1 or 1 1/4 round stock.

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#6 Cvans ONLINE  



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Posted December 12, 2017 - 04:45 PM

After owning a 3pt backhoe I can tell you that a sub-frame is absolutely necessary. You won't believe the punishment your tractor will have to deal with until you hook a rock or some other unmovable object. 

Use the 3pt but also have the hoe mounted to a sub-frame. 

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#7 KennyP ONLINE  



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Posted December 12, 2017 - 04:56 PM

I was a backhoe operator for over 20 years and they can do a number on what they are mounted to.

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#8 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted December 12, 2017 - 06:13 PM

I agree with all of the above. I've seen 3 ph backhoes break the tractor that they were attached too. You are better off (and they are handier) to get a good tractor with a front end loader. I have had a Ford 4500 TLB(tractor-loader-backhoe) for 33 years. It paid for itself putting in our septic system so I kept it. I only use the backhoe on average 4 times a year. If it hadn't paid for itself years ago, it would not be worth it.


A strange aspect of this is that a full size TLB can often be found for under $3000 while a GT size TLB is much more. Look around before spending the time and money on building something. My experience has been that when I get 1/2 way through building a project, a used one comes up that is less than the cost of the materials. Whatever you decide, Good Luck, Rick

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#9 TomLGT195 OFFLINE  

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Posted December 12, 2017 - 06:16 PM

I was thinking about adding one to my 195 but then decided that the cost to fab it and the beating my tractor would take, I would just rent one for the few times I would use it.Of course you always find things to do with it when you own it but I already have enough to do. M2CW

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#10 Kurtee OFFLINE  


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Posted December 12, 2017 - 08:38 PM

Personally I would not use a backhoe attached to a 3 pt hitch. I have a Case 580 Super E that I bought to dig a bunch of stumps. The backhoe will throw the whole machine around. A 3 pt hitch would not take the abuse that a backhoe dishes out. I recall that the local tiler was considering this option when his truck mounted backhoe gave up about 1970. He gave up the idea and bought a Ford TLB after he found the escape instructions for when the 3 pt backhoe failed.

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#11 chieffan ONLINE  

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Posted December 13, 2017 - 11:59 AM

Unless you have a fair amount o work to do with a backhoe you would be better off renting one.  No maintenance and save your tractor.  Those Mini Trachoes can do a lot of work and are not that expensive to rent.

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#12 zuren OFFLINE  

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Posted December 14, 2017 - 12:52 PM

It isn't often that you get near unanimous consensus on a topic in an internet forum!


As I said in the beginning of my post, I'm just doing the scholarship around the idea.  A backhoe would be handy, but I agree that for the time I have to use one, and the overall number of projects I have, I might be better off renting a mini excavator.  My struggle always seems that I only have 1-2 hours before the wife or kid need my attention, so having the tools at my disposal at any moment tends to be helpful.


I see pics of garden tractors with backhoes but wanted to know if this is one of those situations where just because you can, doesn't mean you should.


I did see someone, somewhere had a Power King that was built out as a TLB but the frame was reinforced (6" box frame rails) and the backhoe was hard-mounted to the frame.  I asked for info but the poster didn't seem to be active anymore.  I wanted to know if they made the mod to an existing, assembled tractor, or did they create a new, beefier frame and swap the mechanicals over from an existing tractor.

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#13 secondtry ONLINE  

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Posted December 14, 2017 - 01:58 PM

  One hour to town, one hour filling out paperwork loading up tying down checking trailer lights. One hour home. Oops forgot forty five min to get a snack (one and a half hour for full meal if the wife is along). Day is half gone, no constructive work done and still have to unload, reload and return the machine. Add travel time and fuel to the cost of rental. The benefits of ownership are stacking up. I have a friend who purchased a Harbor Freight mini ho this summer for small projects around his house. I believe the cost was right at $5000 brand spanky  new. I helped unwrap and assemble the machine. He own a small John Deere with front loader so there was no heavy lifting. About three hours assembly time, He broke his leg and neck this spring and wasn't back up to full functionality yet. Dug up a pine stump about 10" to check function. That took about five minutes. He has now removed a bunch of stumps? Dug several ditches for drainage/wire/pipe. I don't know how many hours he has on that machine but it is considerable. He is like some of us tractor nuts, looking for seat time. Don

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#14 Gtractor ONLINE  


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Posted December 14, 2017 - 04:43 PM

I've seen a running/operating, tractor/loader/backhoe sell at auction for under $400 and I've seen a really nice more modern tractor/loader/backhoe that also ran and operated perfectly sell for right at $2000 at auction. 

Can't justify building one for that kind of money.  Yes, they were larger machines but buy-em, use-em, and when done might even make a profit selling-em. 

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#15 shorty ONLINE  



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Posted December 14, 2017 - 04:50 PM

But there is the cool factor of a small hoe sitting in your garage. Something that can't be found just anywhere. I know they are very limited in what they can do, but the cool factor makes me want one!
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