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Front loader or Backhoe??

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by HALH VT, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. HALH VT

    HALH VT Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 128

    I have 40+ rural residential accounts, and snow has piled up and closed in, and I need more room to put the next batch. I am going to rent a machine from a local contractor this week to push back banks and find some more room to stack snow.

    I have a choice of either a JD 544 or a 4wd backhoe, probably a Cat 420 or JD 410. I have used all of these machines before, and each has their advantage. If the 544 was set up a little different I would take it with no hesitation. BUT they have already put the wing on it for the winter, and won't be taking it off. I am not likely to use the wing very much, I need a bunch of hours practice to be effective with it, and if I hired the machine for that, I would get them to operate it as well. I just want to bust banks and relocate stacks. The wing hangs out beyond the tires on the right side, and blocks your vision to the right rear. It is also heavy and makes working on any side slope really scary. The other problem is the general purpose bucket, with TEETH. I will have to be careful not to rip up anything, and will not be able to do a clean job. I will have to go around with a truck afterward and clean up.

    The backhoes all have smooth bucket edges, but don't get around as well, and really can't make any speed on the road. There is also the problem of keeping watch of the hoe itself so I don't punch out anything expensive while backing up. The all around visibility and view of the bucket is poorer with the backhoes, the CAT is worse than the JD in that respect.

    I am leaning toward the loader, faster, more weight and power, and better visibility. I can put up with the toothed bucket and the wing, which I may even use a little.

    What do you think?
  2. GOOG

    GOOG Junior Member
    Messages: 12


    I can, and have run all the machines you listed. If I were doing this job, I'd grab that 420D. Heck, it might even have a radio in it. - Tom
  3. PTSolutions

    PTSolutions PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,537

    Why not weld a piece of flat stock over the teeth? Around here the yards dont mind it as long as you grind it off afterwards. And with the wing you can shelf the driveways as well
  4. HALH VT

    HALH VT Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 128

    Well I took the JD 544E, wing, teeth and all, and I'm glad I did. 16 hours total, about 13 of that billable, the rest travel and around my place. Hold foot down while repeating the magic words, "you will so move, ##$$%%".

    The wing didn't bother me as much as the last time I used it, I'm getting used to it I guess. I did have daylight under the opposite wheel once or twice. It really needs some more counter weight on that side. Where the teeth made too much of a mess, I dragged the heel of the bucket a little and smoothed it out. No serious damage. just a few patches of sod that will need to be turned back over in the spring.

    The roof leaked, the radio antenna is ancient history, and water was dripping through the radio right into my lap for the first hour. It eventually dried up.

    I ran until ten last night and finished up this morning, the owners needed it for a job this afternoon.
  5. Omran

    Omran Senior Member
    from KY
    Messages: 265

    front loader
  6. contractor078

    contractor078 Senior Member
    Messages: 232

    those are great machines. i would love to be able to get one my self
  7. alpine779

    alpine779 Member
    Messages: 70

    We run a Cat 420Dit - you get used to the hoe being on there but yes you have to be careful. Plus we love being able to use it in the summer, mo money. If your not worried about year-round profits then I would go with the loader you can't beat one in the snow except when the space gets a little tight. The b-hoe is no slouch though, just takes a little gettin used to with the hoe and steering.