Courtesy Cub Cadet Yanmar
(from Choosing the Right Compact Backhoe, page 2 of 3)
Remember to also consider the pump type. Most sub-compact tractors have a single hydraulic pump that requires higher engine revolutions per minute (RPM) during operation to perform hydraulic functions.
While this system is acceptable for a novice operator, users who are looking for powerful, more precise operations should look for the few sub-compacts that offer dual pumps.
A dual pump hydraulic system truly enhances the experience of the operator. Dual pumps are found on most compact tractors and larger equipment and are now available on a few smaller sub-compacts.
A dual hydraulic system allows the hydraulic attachments, loader and backhoe to function throughout all engine RPMs. This feature makes it easy for a novice operator to learn while allowing the experienced operator to enjoy the performance of a big tractor in a small package.
Backhoe Features, Functions and Float Control
Another important feature commonly overlooked is how the backhoe attaches and is removed. Not only will this help you when replacing the backhoe with other attachments like a tiller or box scraper, it will also help you realize how much storage space you need for the backhoe.
The two options available are a removable full sub-frame design or a four-point mount system.
The sub-frame design requires you to remove the entire sub-frame. When removing your backhoe, you must remove a long ladder bar-framed section in addition to the actual backhoe attachment. Although the process is relatively easy, the sub-frame consumes a large amount of storage space when not attached to the tractor.
The other option is the four-point mount system. The four-point mount system requires the removal of just the backhoe. Removal is fast and easy and keeping the sub-frame attached to the tractor greatly reduces the amount of storage space needed.
The only downside to the four-point mount system is that some are not mid-mount compatible. Others, like Cub Cadet Yanmar’s Sc2450, are mid-mount compatible, so make sure you check beforehand if that is important to you.
One last feature to check for is whether or not the backhoe unit offers float control. Float control allows the loader boom to follow the contour of the ground allowing for fine leveling and grading capabilities.
Models that do not offer float control require the operator to actually make contact with the ground when backfilling. Float control makes operations easier for a novice and can help increase the productivity of an expert.
Next, consider the operator’s station. This is something you can only get a better feel for when you test the product. Be sure to look for a unit that offers both a comfortable seat and easily accessible controls.
Although most people do not consider comfort a top priority, selecting a product that is both functional and comfortable will help avoid fatigue and increase productivity during extended use.
Also, make sure to consider your view from the seat. From the operator’s seat you should be able to clearly see into all working areas. Make sure things like the controls, valve assembly or boom do not block your vision.
Hydraulic Valve Assembly
Another important thing to check is where the backhoe’s hydraulic control valve assembly is located. Some manufacturers include the backhoe’s valve assembly in the control console while others place theirs under the footrest area.
Hydraulic valves located in the control console not only reduce visibility, but increase heat in the operator’s station. The better alternative is choosing a product with the valve assembly under the footrest area.
This location not only increases visibility into the working areas but helps dissipate heat out of valve faster. This helps to lower temperature in the operator’s station and increases the valve’s life expectancy.
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