Asset Pros Draw Line on Excavator Repairs

Sept. 28, 2010
Lifetime Excavator Repair Costs

Fleet managers with the largest crawler excavators in the sampling, those from 35 to 66 metric tons, actually have a smaller percentage of their machines in the core 25- to 49-percent expenditure group.
Fleet managers with excavators in the mid-sized range, those from 19 to less than 35 metric tons, have a higher percentage of machines actually earning a greater return than the core.
Among survey respondents who change their excavators' hydraulic oil at regular hourly intervals, 38 percent do so between 1,000 and 2,000 hours, and an additional 36 percent stretch it beyond 2,000 hours.

The majority of fleet managers are willing to spend up to half of a full-sized crawler excavator's original purchase price on repairs and parts before turning that machine out, reveals Construction Equipment's Reader Advisor Board.

A hand-selected group of contractors committed to the accurate control of equipment costs, the Reader Advisory Board substantially diverts its interest in spending on repairs and parts once the 50-percent mark of the original equipment purchase price is achieved. Of the respondents to the recent excavator survey, 66 percent will normally spend up to and including 49 percent of the original purchase price on repairs and parts. Another 14 percent of respondents will spend up to and including 74 percent of the purchase price, and an additional 10 percent will go up to and including 99 percent of the purchase price, leaving only 14 percent who will spend 100 percent of the purchase price or beyond.

And when they do decide to turn out their excavators, almost half of respondents to the survey co-sponsored by Case Construction Equipment report the equipment brings back 20 to 34 percent of original purchase price, reflecting a balance between working an asset and knowing when to cash it in. While 20 percent of respondents fetch between 5 and 19 percent of original purchase price for their excavator upon resale, 47 percent pull in between 20 and 34 percent, and another 16 percent will get from 35 to 49 percent. A further 16 percent will fetch between 50 and 80 percent.

The monitoring of hydraulic oil is a key to excavator fleet management. Of the Construction Equipment advisors, 86 percent calculate particle counts as part of their routine maintenance on hydraulic oil and 86 percent change the hydraulic oil at regular hourly intervals, at a mean average of 1,564 hours.

Of the respondents to the excavator survey, 63 percent work in the heavy/highway sector, either exclusively or along with the general building sector, and they are based in 35 different states representing all regions. The replacement value of their fleets is likewise spread over the spectrum, from those of less than $5 million to those in excess of $100 million, and their excavators are almost equally balanced in the three size classes of 11 to less than 19 metric tons, 19 to less than 35 metric tons, and 35 to 66 metric tons.

Reader Advisory Board research is co-sponsored by Case Construction Equipment.