Monday, May 03, 2021

Case 580C Backhoe

 So the new home and farm in Wandi are going to require a lot of digging and earth moving.

When I was young I drove backhoes and excavators for a year or two.

It seemed like a good idea to do the work myself, more control over the outcome and the costs.

The question was whether to hire a machine or buy one...

I figured I might have to move about 10,000m3 of dirt and with the ditching it would likely take me a couple of months if I wanted a life.

Hire was going to be too expensive.

So buy a newer machine for $35k plus (probably still 20 years old!)

Or buy an old machine as a fixer uper?

I did the maths and decided that if I got a basically functional machine at a low low price whatever repairs it needed would leave me with a reliable machine that I could trust.

4WD is nice in the wet, but for my plans it was not really necessary.

I was initially looking for a JCB 3CX as I operated them a lot.

But they are priced sky high at the moment and paying $30k for a 30 year old 2wd backhoe with questionable service history seemed like a dangerous move.

I figured that the worst case scenario would be an engine or transmission rebuild.

Pretty much anything else can be welded or simply replaced in the field.

I came up with a magic number of about $6000 for that worst case scenario.

So it seemed to me that if I bought a machine for less than $10k and then spend $6k on it I would have a reliable and trustworthy machine at a reasonable price.

I found a few nice examples that looked in good condition, but I was either too slow to pull the trigger or the prices were too high.

In the end I found a Case 580C made sometime in the mid 1970's on the other side of Victoria and the owner accepted my offer.


It was bought sight unseen. I knew it had a serious rust problem in the cab but apart from that the owner said it was a good runner and was ready to work.


When it arrived I discovered the brakes were not working, I expected as much and it should be a days work to fix them.

Otherwise it starts and runs well and all the hydraulics operate.

Until I checkout the oil levels, pump pressures and cooling system I'm not going to be working it.

Step one is to wash and de-grease it and then put some paint over the rust.

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