Used Ma­chin­ery Re­view: Bob­cat E50 bladed ex­ca­va­tor

Whilst on a trip out, Ron Horner caught up with young busi­ness owner Jack Healey and got to re­view a spot­less Bob­cat E50 bladed ex­ca­va­tor

Earthmovers & Excavators - - Contents -

Some days I just won­der in what di­rec­tion our once bril­liant in­dus­try is head­ing and, if it’s head­ing in a bet­ter di­rec­tion than I think, just who is lead­ing it.

Now as an old bloke I tend to think we did it bet­ter, quicker, harder, tougher and some­times smarter than any of the new gen­er­a­tion of young blokes you come across, un­til you run into fel­las like Jack Healey of Echuca on the Mur­ray River in Vic­to­ria.

Now Jack is a young bloke of about 25(ish), a strap­ping young lad in build and as po­lite and re­spect­ful as you would wish to find in any young “Y Gen­ner”.

This gen­er­a­tion cop a fair bit of flack, some­times war­ranted, by the older gen­er­a­tion for not hav­ing a go and be­ing part of a “tak­ing and not giv­ing, dis­re­spect­ful, ar­ro­gant and non-com­mu­nica­tive gen­er­a­tion of young adults”.

Al­though we are al­most two gen­er­a­tions apart, Jack and I have a com­mon in­ter­est and that is ex­ca­va­tors. So, when the power of so­cial me­dia brought Jack and me to­gether whilst I was in Echuca, I found it an ab­so­lute plea­sure to sit and talk to this young bloke about how he at­tacks the in­dus­try as an owner of a cou­ple of ex­ca­va­tors (with heaps of at­tach­ments), a skid steer, a cou­ple of real tidy trucks and his as­pi­ra­tions and the di­rec­tion he is tak­ing in cre­at­ing a bet­ter in­dus­try.

Now when you walk into his yard it doesn’t sur­prise one that there is a bit of ev­ery­thing ly­ing around due to the fact that he shares it with a cou­ple of other trades, but stick­ing out like a

“red light on an in­dus­trial brothel” are a cou­ple of small ex­ca­va­tors with the ap­pear­ance of just com­ing off the show­room floor.

First im­pres­sion is the last­ing one for me so

need­less to say I was very im­pressed af­ter my quick look around. Well-greased, spot­less pre­sen­ta­tion, dogged down on the trail­ers ready for the next day’s work (af­ter all, it was a Sun­day af­ter­noon), all of the hy­draulic at­tach­ments per­fectly in place, in or­der and eas­ily iden­ti­fi­able, augers, ham­mers, rip­pers, forks, an as­sort­ment of buck­ets for each ma­chine, grade lasers and wheels … a place for ev­ery­thing and ev­ery­thing in its place.

With the Bob­cat T590 skid steer and the lit­tle Cat 301.7D CR ex­ca­va­tor tucked away and in readi­ness for the next shift, it was the im­mac­u­late Bob­cat E50 bladed ex­ca­va­tor sit­ting on the wash bay pad that took my eye.


Pride in your ma­chin­ery can­not be taught – you ei­ther love it and hold onto your pas­sion, or you treat it like a chore with a “she’ll be right” at­ti­tude.

Jack holds the for­mer view and the Bob­cat E50 ex­ca­va­tor is ab­so­lutely im­mac­u­late.

Spot­less in all ar­eas, ser­viced to the “en­thde­gree” and with more than 1,300 ma­chine hours on the clock, it is a credit to its owner.

Zero scratches or scuff marks, no dents, no cracked glass, no ex­ces­sive grease bulging out, sit­ting square, straight and neat as a pin. Bril­liant!


The Bob­cat E50 runs the tried-and-true Kub­ota V2403 four-cylin­der diesel en­gine and pushes out about 49hp (36.5kW). These en­gines are real world class and are proven in just about ev­ery field you could imag­ine from marine and in­dus­try to agri­cul­ture and con­struc­tion, and parts are avail­able all over the world. A great lit­tle en­gine for any pur­pose.

To ac­cess the hy­draulics or en­gine bay it is as sim­ple as flick­ing a lever and the en­gine bay cowl­ing pops up and for­ward to­ward the cab, giv­ing the op­er­a­tor or fit­ter easy ac­cess to all the fil­ters, en­gine check points, ra­di­a­tor, etc., but the hy­draulic pump cover flips di­rectly for­ward, show­ing off the ex­cep­tional pipework and in­tri­cate na­ture of the hy­draulic plumb­ing and hose work.

All quite ac­ces­si­ble pro­vid­ing you have some cer­tain con­tor­tion­ist DNA traits passed down from our pre­de­ces­sors.


Once in the ma­chine you know the owner just loves it like a new­born baby.

Crank­ing the lit­tle girl up, it im­me­di­ately be­comes re­spon­sive to ev­ery lever move­ment and not a squeak, pin slap or groan to be seen or heard.

It was the im­mac­u­late Bob­cat E50 bladed ex­ca­va­tor … that took my eye.

The near 50hp Kub­ota en­gine cer­tainly de­vel­ops enough power to push just about any­thing you would want to throw at it and is def­i­nitely helped by the de­sign of the curved blade, with a good lead­ing cut­ting edge.

Not enough thought goes into the de­sign of the blades and a to­tal un­der­es­ti­ma­tion by the de­sign engi­neers of the push­ing power of ex­ca­va­tors is a world­wide is­sue in my opin­ion. Not so on the Bob­cat as the lead­ing edge pro­trudes well for­ward of the top of the blade; it has great cur­va­ture and is po­si­tioned well enough for­ward so the op­er­a­tor has good vi­sion of the cor­ner tips, mean­ing it’s a “win-win” from me.

Dig­ging in the good Mur­ray River top­soil flats is not an is­sue and the Bob­cat gets to full depth of 4.3m in record time. Load­ing out into the tip­per with the big bucket is no ef­fort ei­ther as it has a dump load out height of more than 4m. Jam that blade into the ground to get more height and im­me­di­ately you have cre­ated am­ple room for op­er­a­tor load­ing er­ror.

When in travel mode Bob­cat has de­cided that 3kph in slow and 5kph in high-speed travel mode is as good as you de­serve so no land-speed records bro­ken but no traf­fic fines ei­ther. It suits this lit­tle ma­chine just fine as the 80-litre lock­able fuel tank of­fers bet­ter than a good day’s run be­fore dip­ping into the pocket for a drink.

The op­tioned 400mm-wide rub­ber tracks han­dle the heavy push­ing per­fectly, but cer­tainly shine when work­ing on those dreaded sur­faces where the steel tracks would scuff and break it, leav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant amount of dam­age and a bill to fight over at the end of the job.


I don’t usu­ally ogle over ex­ca­va­tor cabs; most are pretty good and are ei­ther dirty or clean, but this one is like new.

The floor mat, dash­board, gauges, seat cover and seat belts, ra­dio, mon­i­tor and the glass all look, smell and feel like it has just ar­rived af­ter a pre-de­liv­ery from the Bob­cat deal­ers’ yard prior to sale. For the amount of hours on the Bob­cat it is re­ally a credit to Jack in his pre­sen­ta­tion of the gear; a to­tal re­flec­tion on how he runs his job and un­doubt­edly how he treats his clients.

The coun­try gets very flat and the cli­mate ex­tremely hot out this way in sum­mer and the heav­ily tinted cabin glass is a god­send for 90 per cent of the year and can be a real bitch on those other days of poor light and heavy cloud when you find it dif­fi­cult to see through the wind­screen.

The lead­ing edge pro­tudes well for­ward of the top of the blade.

But then again this is Aus­tralia – a land of “drought and flood­ing rains”. More of the for­mer than the lat­ter, so we are good to go I reckon.

The sus­pen­sion seat­ing is per­fect and the gauges eas­ily read­able. Bob­cat has gone that ex­tra dis­tance in not just throw­ing a squared-off mon­i­tor on the dash­board, but in­stead in­sert­ing a good-sized oval shaped mon­i­tor, blend­ing in with the rounded aes­thet­ics of the dash­board and the in­te­grated air-con­di­tioner vents di­rected at the op­er­a­tor.

Con­trols are all IOS. Easy blade con­trol and swing shift to 75 de­grees left and 50 de­grees right makes life easy even on the hard­est day.


This is the first Bob­cat ex­ca­va­tor I have had the plea­sure of re­view­ing and I must say I’m im­pressed by the de­sign, per­for­mance and level of de­tail.

Built-in pro­tec­tive shroud­ing on the dip­per arm and boom, the neat­ness of the hoses over the boom and down to the hy­draulic pump, the blade de­sign/shape, full shrouds over the blade hy­draulic rams for pro­tec­tion from rocks and the aes­thetic de­sign of the com­fort­able cab have all gained cred­i­bil­ity and sit well with me. The bal­ance is also good and the pre­sen­ta­tion from young Jack is a credit to him.

I asked him what made him take a lik­ing for the in­dus­try and why go for the Bob­cat-branded skid steer and ex­ca­va­tor.

“Price was not a fac­tor,” he says.

“The deal­ers in the area are pretty darn good and al­though we overnight any parts from Syd­ney if re­quired we can still keep our clients on board. If we can’t keep our clients happy, get the jobs done to time, bud­get and to my own high stan­dard then I shouldn’t or wouldn’t be in the game at all.

“Added to that is that the Bob­cat E50 specs up pretty good with the other brands and I have not found any is­sue with it to this point in time.

“I sup­pose go­ing to work with my dad when

I was young got me into the game. He was a brick­layer and was al­ways on un­fin­ished hous­ing or build­ing projects with a lo­cal earth­mov­ing con­trac­tor Gavin Ken­naugh.

“Just watch­ing those ma­chines work­ing and be­ing lo­cal gave me the courage to talk and sit with Gavin in the cabs whilst he was work­ing. When I left school I asked him for a job. The rest, as they say, is his­tory.”

The 80-litre lock­able fuel tank of­fers bet­ter than a good day’s run.

$22,000 TA880599 Kub­ota KX121-3. Ex­ca­va­tor with buck­ets, 5478hours. • NSW 02 6171 3026

$28,300 DIY891205 2011 Hyundai R35Z-7. ROPS, 2 speed travel, op­er­at­ing weight 3650kgs. • NSW 0412 386 446

Far left: The im­mac­u­late Bob­cat E50 bladed ex­ca­va­torAbove left: The next gen­er­a­tion of op­er­a­tors – Jack Healey with Ron HornerAbove: The Bob­cat E50 runs the tried and true Kub­ota V2403 four-cylin­der diesel en­gine

$43,450 TA900135 2011 Yan­mar VIO55-5B. JB tilt­ing hitch, 3532hrs, new Norm bat­ter bkt. • QLD 07 3073 3753

$35,200 TA932707 2008 Cater­pil­lar 303CCR. 3011hrs, en­closed cab with air­con, 3.2 tonnes. • VIC 03 9998 4663

$53,735 TA877571 2010 Kub­ota RX505. 2664hrs, 5.0 tonne zero tailswing ex­ca­va­tor. • QLD 07 3073 8185

1. The blade is very well de­signed, with great cur­va­ture and good vis­i­bil­ity for the op­er­a­tor2. Bob­cat with the Heli-Tilt fit­ted3. Great ac­cess to all points 4. A good-sized oval shaped mon­i­tor blends in with the rounded aes­thet­ics of the dash­board

Above: Jack Healey has high stan­dards for his com­pany

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