Used Equip­ment Test: Kub­ota KX41-3 ex­ca­va­tor

Lyn­d­say Whit­tle hires a Kub­ota KX413 mini ex­ca­va­tor to make a hard­stand, and finds that it punches above its 1.8-tonne weight

Earthmovers & Excavators - - Con­tents - Photos by Lyn­d­say Whit­tle

Hav­ing de­cided I needed to make a hard­stand on which to park my grow­ing col­lec­tion of re­stored trucks, I spent a cou­ple of days pon­der­ing how I was go­ing to dig out an area of clay about 15m by 12m in area.

One op­tion was to call in a lo­cal con­trac­tor, al­low­ing me to go about my nor­mal busi­ness while the work got done.

This op­tion seemed like the best use of my time at first, but nowhere near as much fun as hir­ing a dig­ger and do­ing the job my­self. Be­sides, it had been sev­eral months since I sat at the con­trols of any­thing with tracks and I needed to keep my hand in.

I was well aware that by do­ing the job my­self I’d be do­ing some­one else out of work. But on the other side, I’d be putting money in the pocket of the firm I was hir­ing the dig­ger from.

So, hav­ing salved my con­science on the moral­ity front, I headed to Auck­land’s Dig­gi­tyDog Hire to pick up a 1.8-tonne Kub­ota KX41-3 ex­ca­va­tor.

When I turned up at the de­pot, I did think for a mo­ment about un­load­ing the dig­ger from its tan­dem trailer and putting it up on the deck. How­ever, con­sid­er­ing the lo­gis­tics of re­leas­ing the tie-downs and re­lo­cat­ing the rock bucket and spade, I fig­ured it’d be best to sim­ply hook the trailer onto the truck and head off to start work as quickly as pos­si­ble.

When I un­loaded the lit­tle Kub­ota at the work­site, I looked at the size of the task and found my­self wish­ing that I’d hired a ma­chine closer to 5 tonnes. But I then re­alised my truck could only legally carry a 3.5-4-ton­ner any­way.

ON THE JOB

As I don’t op­er­ate dig­gers on a daily ba­sis, I knew the first half hour or so at the con­trols wouldn’t be all that pro­duc­tive, so I be­gan by re­mov­ing a thin top layer of sco­ria.

It had been ex­cep­tion­ally wet in this cor­ner of the coun­try over the pre­vi­ous few weeks, which made the go­ing tough as I had to dig down in some pretty sticky clay to 300mm in places, al­though this was tem­pered by a bet­ter-qual­ity base where 150mm would suf­fice.

I did, how­ever, get a bit of ex­er­cise dur­ing the day from climb­ing on and off the ma­chine to spade the clay from the bucket.

It was clear this Kub­ota KX41-3 was used a fair bit in its life, but it han­dled the job with ease.

I found I only ever needed to run the engine at be­tween half and three-quar­ter revs, ex­cept when I needed ex­tra speed to get it from one part of the prop­erty to an­other.

With a reach of about 3m fully ex­tended, I found I could eas­ily make a cut then slew the ma­chine around 180 de­grees and dump the clay in a pile.

Then all I had to do when I had enough of a stock­pile was to re­po­si­tion the ma­chine and re­peat the process twice to make the fi­nal place­ment in what turned out to be a fea­ture em­bank­ment, about 15m away.

I or­dered three cubes of heavy-grade fill and the same amount of 40mm ag­gre­gate from a lo­cal sup­plier and asked them to throw a cou­ple of me­tres of mulch on the sec­ond load, which I mixed into the clay along with some sco­ria I’d scraped from the sur­face ear­lier.

Place­ment of the base course was a sim­ple re­ver­sal of the method­ol­ogy used in the re­moval of the clay, with the en­tire job be­ing com­pleted over two days.

This in­cluded some ex­tra time to ex­tri­cate the base course sup­plier’s truck, which hit a soft spot and sunk like a stone, ne­ces­si­tat­ing the dump­ing of the load where the truck sat.

This ap­par­ent neg­a­tive was turned into a pos­i­tive by the ex­tra prac­tice I got out of re­mov­ing the load from un­der the truck, then po­si­tion­ing the ma­chine to get the truck out.

THE BOT­TOM LINE

I was im­pressed by what the lit­tle Kub­ota K41-3 ex­ca­va­tor could achieve. When I first put the ma­chine to work, I did think I’d brought a knife to a gun fight.

Given the ma­chine had al­ready clocked up quite a few hours dur­ing its work­ing life, it op­er­ated like a rel­a­tively new pur­chase, which is a tes­ti­mony for not only its lin­eage but also to the ser­vice regime it has ex­pe­ri­enced.

I was ex­tremely im­pressed by what the ma­chine could do and the smooth­ness of its oper­a­tion. As an added bonus, it was quiet.

Nat­u­rally, the ma­chine had other at­tach­ments, such as a rock bucket and spade, which weren’t re­quired on this job. It also had a foot-op­er­ated aux­il­iary for a breaker and ex­pand­able tracks that I left in the ex­panded po­si­tion.

I fin­ished the job off with the 900mm-wide blade be­fore giv­ing the lit­tle Kub­ota KX41-3 the wash­down it de­served and re­turn­ing it to the crew at Dig­gity Dog.

TAIL-END STORY

There is just one more anec­dote that I must share. It in­volves a vi­brat­ing roller and one do-it-your­selfer who for­got just how sen­si­tive those walk-be­hind rollers can be.

Hav­ing un­loaded the roller from the trailer, the de­sire to move it in the op­po­site direc­tion re­sulted in some fool pulling the trig­ger a lit­tle less gin­gerly than he should have, which led to the nurs­ing of a sore shoul­der for a few days.

But that’s a story for an­other time.

It was clear this Kub­ota KX41-3 had had a fair bit of use in its life, but it han­dled the job at hand with ease

CHECK THE DATA

Rock­break­ing equip­ment by def­i­ni­tion takes a hell of a beat­ing, but the RamData sys­tem from Ram­mer is de­signed to help op­er­a­tors avoid in­cor­rect oper­a­tion and ex­tend the life of their tools.

RamData uses elec­tronic sen­sors to record im­pacts and break­ing times dur­ing nor­mal oper­a­tion. The in­for­ma­tion can then be down­loaded and an­a­lysed by a Ram­mer dealer to de­ter­mine if the hy­draulic ham­mer has been op­er­ated cor­rectly.

The sys­tem also helps tech­ni­cians ser­vic­ing hy­draulic ham­mers by pro­vid­ing ser­vice his­tory, ser­vice in­ter­val and work­ing his­tory in­for­ma­tion, al­low­ing tech­ni­cians to main­tain a reg­u­lar ser­vic­ing sched­ule. http://bit.ly/TradeEarthRamData

POWER PLAY

Lin­com Group has been recog­nised by mo­bile crush­ing and screen­ing equip­ment provider Pow­er­screen with its Re­gional Dealer of the Year (Aus­tralia and Asia) 2016 award for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year.

The award re­wards dis­trib­u­tors for achieve­ment in the ar­eas of cus­tomer sup­port, ma­chine and parts sales tar­gets, fi­nan­cial man­age­ment and com­mit­ment to the Pow­er­screen brand – which is part of the Terex Cor­po­ra­tion. http://bit.ly/TradeEarthLin­com

TYRE TALKS

Con­ti­nen­tal and Cater­pil­lar have signed an agree­ment to equip Cat off-high­way trucks with Con­ti­nen­tal rigid dump truck (RDT) mas­ter tyres and to work to­gether on the de­sign of new tyres for Cat prod­ucts.

The agree­ment cov­ers Cat off-high­way truck model se­ries 770 to 775 and tyres in sizes 18.00R33, 21.00R33 and 24.00R35. http://bit.ly/TradeEarthtyre

1. The Kub­ota KX41-3 mini ex­ca­va­tor from Dig­gi­tyDog Hire in NZ

2. Hook­ing the trailer up was a lot eas­ier than load­ing the dig­ger onto the tray 3. A mix of heavy-grade fill and 40mm ag­gre­gate formed the basec­ourse 4. A cou­ple of me­tres of mulch was mixed into the clay along with some sco­ria scraped from the sur­face 5. The KX41-3 is driven by a Kub­ota D902-E3 engine throw­ing out 12.7kW

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