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TOWABLE RIDE-ON TRENCHER - 93167 view this item at harborfreight.com »

Ratings: (5 is best)

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Review by orangenblack on January 25th, 2010
Had this for over a year, but have not used it for months. Worked pretty well when I used it (very cool to press a lever, have the bucket rotate, and RIP out small stumps, etc). I never tried anything like it before I bought it, but had been (for YEARS) considering building my own, based on drawings from CADPLANS (even collected some steel and hydraulic parts !). I love building things, but did not want to spend 100 hours cutting and welding steel, etc. SO, when this went on sale a year ago, I bought it. A VERY important point is that you MUST follow the setup instructions VERY carefully regarding bleeding the cylinders. I thought I had been careful, & moved each cylinder in the order recommended in the manual. BUT, the unit SUDDENLY stopped moving after working fine for an hour or more. Engine ran, but no hydraulic movement. I ended up draining some fluid, and taking pump apart - to check for intake blockage or something. Never found a problem. Reassembled it all, bled all cylinders even MORE carefully this time, and hydraulics have worked fine since. I liked that the engine is name brand. Started pretty easy usually, even though it is 9 HP, and hand pull started ! The paint chipped off in some spots (inside corners !) for the WRONG reason (welds NOT properly cleaned before painting - rusty underneath !). ONE thing NOT perfectly clear in manual (I downloaded before I bought it) is that you are NOT supposed to tow this on highway - at 55 mph or more - BUT, as far as I can tell, it IS legal to tow on city/country roads at speeds UP TO 35 MPH. I made a temporary mount trailering light bar to do this. One good thing is that they included a spare set of hydraulic cylinder seals. Need to keep in mind it that it is a TRENCHER, NOT a backhoe ! So, it does OK when you roll it into place (relatively easy), then use the arm to lift itself up, swap wheel & stabilizer (which are not really stabilizers here but the MAIN thing that the bucket pulls against) positions, and then start digging. Arm does NOT rotate as widely as some, but works reasonably well do dig and dump the bucket off to one side, and scoop some more. THEN, use the arm/bucket to pull the unit forward. Because of all this, it can be a challenge to dig near a foundation, depending on shape of foundation and obstructions in the area. A couple small issues: The cap in the hydraulic fluid reservoir is a plug, not a cap (cap would have prevented rain water from EVER getting into the tank), AND, the threads are terrible - the plug does NOT thread into filler neck well. Another issue is that the main frame steel roller (tiny wheel to help move unit) cotter pin is very exposed - so mine broke after machine frame sat/moved in gravel, and the little axle pin and wheel fell out ! then the frame dragged directly on ground (meaning it gouged the asphalt and plywood I moved it on, before realising the wheel was lost). As long as the hoses and seals last a while, and cylinders don't rust, I will be OK with this purchase. I expect something like this to last 10 or 20 years ... so it is far too soon to tell !

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