A used equipment checklist is a great timesaving tool when making your purchase, while used mostly to determine the remaining life left in components that are subject to wear and tear on the jobsite it can also tell an unbiased story about previous operating conditions and type of use. A retail ready used mini excavator needs to be clean and operator safe, ensuring that employees perform the needed daily inspection and the mechanical components should also function as intended by the original equipment manufacturer. This will ensure safe operation and bring the best return on investement for the new owner.
Below are 5 key things to look for prior to purchasing any used mini excavator.
1: Machine should be parked on level ground with all access panels open, check all fluid levels and condition. New filters will have been installed and always observe condition of engine oil before start-up as well as fuel/water seperator should be visually checked for contamination.
2: Having visually observed that no leaks are present in the engine compartment or hydraulic system, all access panels should be closed and secure before starting the mini excavator. Cycle the key-switch for minimum 10 seconds to allow glow plugs to pre-heat and then start up the engine. Exhaust from a diesel at cold start should clear up within a very short time and no fumes present after warm up.
3: Check pins and bushings for movement by simply resting the bottom of the bucket flat on the ground with the boom and stick at 90 degrees. WITHOUT lifting the bucket, "flex" the boom up and down and visually monitor the free play present in all pins. If a quick coupler is mounted, it should be disconnected from the bucket in order to show accurate pin and bushing movement.
4: Swing motor movement should also be monitored and checked for bearing wear with up and down movement and side to side movement checked for excess drift or any drive motor to ring gear play.
5: Next, examine the undercarriage. Sprocket teeth should not be cupped shaped or worn thin at the tips and the track chain should be felt for flat spots or uneven wear. Next, with the boom moved to the side of the machine, each track should be lifted off the ground slightly and each track roller should be checked for side-to-side movement, rollers should be tight at the bearing and rotate freely.
With this simple giude, no matter how experienced you are, we can guaruntee that you will have a better understanding of the condition of the machine you are looking at and will be able to make a more educated purchase decision.
Below is a helpful pdf that summarizes the steps we covered into an inspection checklist. We recommend printing this off for the next time you are out looking at a used mini excavator.