Used Equip­ment Test: Hyundai-Su­mit­omo-Hi­tachi ex­ca­va­tor

Ron Horner checks out Aus­tralia’s only Hyundai-Su­mit­o­moHi­tachi long-reach ex­ca­va­tor hy­brid

Earthmovers & Excavators - - Contents -


In this great world of earth­mov­ing and con­struc­tion I find it re­mark­able just how and where one tends to find blokes with the same mind­set and pas­sion.

Not that long ago, while driv­ing along a nar­row, gut­ted but sealed sec­tion of South East Queens­land road I use as a short­cut to get from the farm to the high­way, I spot­ted the glint of a hy­draulic ram pop­ping its head above a levee bank at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals.

Now, to an old, in­quis­i­tive bas­tard like me that could only mean one thing … a long-reach ex­ca­va­tor. And, nat­u­rally, I just had to go and have a sticky-beak.

To tell you the truth, what I found was not what I ex­pected to see but it made me more in­quis­i­tive than ever.

I hopped out of the ’Cruiser, in­tro­duced my­self to the boys on site and was shown … a real ridgy-didge, Aussie home-made long-reach ex­ca­va­tor dragged from the bow­els of the wreck­ing yards and bas­tardised to the point where it took three brands of ex­ca­va­tors to make the end prod­uct for a frac­tion of the cost of a con­ven­tional off-the-shelf used ma­chine.

What I found was a Hyundai R210LC-3 ex­ca­va­tor main­frame with a 22-tonne Su­mit­omo long-reach boom and dip­per arm and an ex­tra Hi­tachi­branded coun­ter­weight.

In­no­va­tive? You betcha!


Trevor Baker is a lo­cal Boonah bloke who com­pleted his diesel fit­ter ap­pren­tice­ship more years ago than he would like to re­mem­ber. He has lived in the area most of his life, done the real hard yards as a kid on a dairy farm, ap­pren­ticed lo­cally in the ru­ral com­mu­nity, worked FIFO in the mines and came back home to crank up a part­time busi­ness in the earth­mov­ing game.

Be­ing lo­cal and hav­ing full knowl­edge of and con­tacts in the area, it didn’t take long for the ma­jor farm­ing con­glom­er­ates to get hold of

Trevor and the rest is his­tory.

As a kid Trevor did it tough and had to do with­out more times than not.

To get ahead he had to be in­no­va­tive, cre­ative, prac­ti­cal in his ap­pli­ca­tion to chores and be­come more than just the ‘go-to man’ … Trevor had to be­come THE man.

Money has never been too easy to ac­cu­mu­late in this ru­ral en­vi­ron­ment, as is with most ru­ral ar­eas, and Trevor learnt over the years that is­sues like fluc­tu­at­ing mar­ket prices, floods, drought and

in­creas­ing trans­port costs cause cash-flow is­sues in all farm­ing ar­eas.

So he knew that, in or­der to pro­vide a de­cent ser­vice at a very at­trac­tive price to his ru­ral clients, he had no op­tion other than to source very-well-used, very in­ex­pen­sive (but sal­vage­able) items of equip­ment.

Util­is­ing skills learned from the diesel fit­ting and ma­chin­ing trade Trevor went to the wreck­ing yards in search of in­ex­pen­sive equip­ment which he could mod­ify to suit his re­quire­ments. It also needed to be eas­ily trans­portable – that is, un­der the width needed to re­quire an es­cort ve­hi­cle.

And this is how he built Aus­tralia’s only HyundaiSu­mit­omo-Hi­tachi long-reach ex­ca­va­tor.


While search­ing through a wreck­ing yard

Trevor came across a very in­ex­pen­sive but new long-reach dip­per and boom de­signed for a 22-24-tonne Su­mit­omo ex­ca­va­tor. The new old stock (NOS) had sat there for quite some time so a deal was struck with the wreck­ers.

Now Trevor had to find a re­ally cheap ex­ca­va­tor to suit. Again the wreck­ing yards be­came the ‘op-shop for dig­gers’ and he found a 2003-era Hyundai R210LC-3 ex­ca­va­tor with 18,000 hours on the clock.

Closer in­spec­tion and a test run showed that the ex­ca­va­tor was more than a bit rough around the edges, but Tr­ever used his ne­go­ti­at­ing skills to ar­range not only for an­other en­gine to be in­cluded in the sale but a truck-load of other spare parts as well.

Part two of the deal was done.

Af­ter float­ing the items back to his ex­ten­sive and well-de­signed work­shop Trevor set about line­bor­ing and re-bush­ing the Su­mit­omo boom to suit the Hyundai 210. This en­abled him to re con­vert the ‘Hyundai long-reach’ to a con­ven­tional dig­ger should the time and oc­ca­sion arise.

Fur­ther test­ing on the Hyundai showed that the en­gine was not up to scratch so a re­plant of the spare en­gine was done.

Not be­ing con­tent with the man­u­fac­turer’s sug­ges­tions of bucket sizes for the long-reach Trevor de­cided that, to give his clients the best value for their money, he would use the Hyundai’s con­ven­tional stan­dard mud bucket on the end of the 13m boom and dip­per.

This, of course, cre­ated other is­sues with bal­ance so Trevor headed back to the ‘op shop for dig­gers’ and pro­cured an­other coun­ter­weight, this time from a Hi­tachi.

This was fit­ted to the rear of the ex­ist­ing coun­ter­weight (along with a big steel slab, to be sure, to be sure) and there it was – ‘The Man’s’ own one-of-a-kind Hyundai-Su­mit­omo-Hi­tachi long-reach ex­ca­va­tor, built for a frac­tion of the cost of buy­ing an off-the-shelf item.

Now this might not be cer­ti­fi­ably en­gi­neered but, by crikey, you have to take your hat off to Trevor’s in­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity.

Th­ese qual­i­ties, along with a good dose of de­ter­mi­na­tion, have been bred into the old school of Aussie bat­tlers and goes way back to our con­vict set­tle­ment days, touched with a bit of the bushranger blood­lines.


The cab def­i­nitely shows signs of its age, and there’s no ‘wrin­kle cream’ avail­able to cover the age lines that go with age and hard work.

Its pins and bushes have been re-pinned and re-bushed, it has very few oil leaks, and is a beast in op­er­a­tion.

The Hyundai runs a sim­ple Cum­mins B5.9-C turbo-diesel en­gine pro­duc­ing 101kW and weighs in at about the 24-tonne mark with the long-reach boom and dip­per fit­ted.

With its 1.5m-wide mud bucket on the end of a near-18m reach, its 13m dig depth boom and dip­per and its ex­tra coun­ter­weights, this ‘bitsa’ is re­ally a sur­prise packet.

Trevor has it bal­anced out pretty well, and the slew and slew brake han­dle the load well.

Though it still looks rough around the edges and av­er­age in the cab, this ma­chine does ex­actly

what Trevor re­quires it to do: dig, dig, dig and keep dig­ging.

“It’s as sim­ple as that,” he says.


En­gaged by lo­cal farm­ers to de­silt and clean out sed­i­ment basins, Trevor has been able to fill a void in the re­gion.

With a loyal clien­tele, he pro­vides an in­valu­able one-stop-shop ser­vice to the ru­ral com­mu­nity at a very com­pet­i­tive price.

Trevor has a few other items of gear, in­clud­ing a skid-steer loader, flat-drum roller, wa­ter truck, Ken­worth cab-over prime mover and drop deck float, a 13-tonne Hi­tachi ex­ca­va­tor (with its orig­i­nal coun­ter­weight still in­tact) and an­other res­ur­rected wreck­ing-yard spe­cial – a Cat D250E ar­tic­u­lated dump truck.

It is cer­tainly a tes­ta­ment to Trevor’s skills as a fit­ter, op­er­a­tor and busi­ness­man that he can build, re­pair and op­er­ate heavy ma­chin­ery and ne­go­ti­ate his way through his day-to-day op­er­a­tions as sole op­er­a­tor, fit­ter, float driver, main­te­nance man, of­fice bitch and bill payer.

I take my hat off to Trevor. Blokes like him are the back­bone of our in­dus­try.

1. The Hyundai R210LC-3 ex­ca­va­tor main­frame with its Su­mit­omo 18m lon­greach boom and dip­per 2. In­ter­est­ing take on the coun­ter­weight ex­ten­sions 3. The cab def­i­nitely shows signs of its age 4. Sim­ple hy­draulic pump con­fig­u­ra­tion and easy­ac­cess air...


1. The long reach from an­other an­gle 2. The hy­brid dig­ger was built for a frac­tion of the cost of buy­ing an off-the-shelf item

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