Bobcat + narrow, sloped access = DIY or not?


Old 07-26-14, 06:19 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 16
Bobcat + narrow, sloped access = DIY or not?

Hi. Opinions please (qualified opinions please... if you don't personally have experience with bobcat/similar equipment no need to respond)

I want to do some digging in my backyard. Access at this house is pretty terrible. On the side of the house is a 58" wide path that slopes at roughy 25% grade and its a pea-gravel surface. Near the top is a gas meter that brings that portion down to barely 48", HOWEVER, I do have authorization from the gas company to disconnect the meter and, if I need to, dig our and move it out of the way (it is a steel riser but in the ground it is flexible poly).

The local rental place has a 48" Bobcat T110 (tracked) or a 44" Bobcat S70 (wheeled) or a 36" Ditch Witch (tracked... the kind you stand on the back or walk behind it).

I have operated a skid steer before, but it was a long time ago and it was a small simple job with no clearance or slope issues. To be honest, I can't say I noticed if it drove "straight" because it didn't really matter. But for this job, it matters.

So are they easy enough to drive STRAIGHT (not "sorta straight" or "straight-ish") so I can go 50 feet with less than 5" on each side without hitting anything? And do that while on a reasonable slope? Or am I dreaming here?

I actually don't even want to do it myself, but hiring this job out hasn't been easy. I'm getting ridiculously high quotes because nobody owns a machine this narrow and I guess they really mark the rentals up a lot. To a man, they all tell me the job would be a lot cheaper if they could get their own equipment back there... but its just not feasible. Smaller equipment = more time and everyone's busy here. So I think DIY might be the only way to go.

I'd prefer the largest machine that will fit. The tracked T110 should be more stable on the slope and, being larger, can haul more on each trip. The Ditch Witch has the advantage of being only 36"... but that's like 350 trips up and down I'd have to take!!

My other option, I guess, is to bring the machine down just once and do the digging and load it into a wheelbarrow and then bring it back up at the end and load all the dumped material into the truck at once... but man that would suck hauling a wheelbarrow up the hill. Even a power wheelbarrow is going to be rough.

Advice please! Thanks.
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Old 07-26-14, 06:26 PM
chandler's Avatar
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Since you have limited side clearance, the smaller unit would be my choice. Is it bar controlled or joystick?
Old 07-26-14, 06:50 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: USA
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Your ability is the factor. A Bobcat is a precision machine and can be thoroughly controlled or screwed by the operator.
I would go for the 44" rubber tired one and have a blast. They are fun to operate!

I do have 60 years experience operating equipment. A few with a Bobcat.

Old 07-26-14, 11:49 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 16
Thanks. The slope with the wheeled s70 wouldn't bother you? It looks like a very tippy machine vs. the t110, but I'm just judging by the pictures.

I went a measured the slope a little more accurately. Its a 8 foot rise over a 35 foot run, so slightly less than the 25% I estimated.

At least I'll always be able to go up/down forwards since I'm hauling up and empty down.

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