Ditch Witch Combines Mini-Skid-Steer and Mini-Excavator

Sept. 28, 2010

Ditch Witch XT850
The Ditch Witch XT850's operating capacity (half of its tipping load) is1,250 pounds-similar to small skid-steer loaders such as Gehl's 3935.
The Ditch Witch XT850's operating capacity (half of its tipping load) is1,250 pounds-similar to small skid-steer loaders such as Gehl's 3935. Attachment-handling versatility is perhaps the tool carrier's greater value, though.
The excavator's swing post is actually mounted on an arm that increases total excavator sweep to 260 degrees. The boom itself swings 130 degrees.

Ditch Witch expanded its line of compact construction equipment by combining features of its SK mini-skid-steers and MX mini-excavators to create a compact utility vehicle similar to a backhoe-loader called the XT850. The lightweight excavator/tool-carrier comes complete with trailer, stands, and enough attachments to handle virtually any underground construction task.

Unlike backhoe-loaders, the XT850's excavator boom is mounted on an arm that swings hydraulically. This arm pivots from a point below the operator's seat so that the excavator can work within a 260-degree sweep even though the operating station remains fixed. The excavator's swing post mounts to this arm as it would mount on a mini-excavator, offering another pivot point that sweeps 130 degrees.

"The XT850's dual-pivot excavator system gives you incredible offset digging capability," says product manager Mike Lumbers. "You can dig against a footing or wall, and dig a number of trenches from one spot without having to move the unit."

Lumbers says the excavator boom's performance range (dig depth, loading height, reach) is similar to a 1.5-ton mini-excavator's. The 3,980-pound unit's operating capacity (at half of its tipping capacity) is 1,250 pounds.

Rubber tracks are driven by independent hydrostatic ground drives, giving the operator zero-radius turning capability.

"All of the XT850's functions are controlled with two joysticks," says Lumbers. "With the flip of a switch, you can alternate from controlling the ground drive, lift arms, and attachments to controlling the excavator."

Ditch Witch's quick-connect attachment plate on the tool-carrier arms accepts more than 70 attachments for mini-skid-steers and tool carriers. Dual gear pumps provide the auxiliary hydraulic system with a choice of either 6.5 or 13 gallons per minute of flow at 2,900 psi. A 26-hp Kubota diesel powers the machine.

The entire XT850 package—excavator/tool carrier, trailer, and attachments—weighs less than 10,000 pounds, so it can be towed behind a ¾-ton truck and does not require the driver to have a commercial driver's license.

Manufacturer's suggested retail price for the package is $54,000. Suggested retail for the XT850 alone is $33,000.