Executive Editor, Tom Jackson, of our sister publication, Equipment World magazine, discusses the details of the three new backhoes released by JCB.
English equipment manufacturer JCB invited us over the pond earlier this month for a look at a wide range of new and “refreshed” machines. Here’s a rundown of the models relevant to the North American market.
Three new backhoes
For the rental market or budget-conscious contractors, JCB now offers what it calls a “low-spec” 3CX backhoe with a 14-foot dig depth. This comes with a standard open cab, synchroshuttle manual transmission, manual levers and a 74 horsepower, Tier 4 Final Ecomax engine.
A triple-gear hydraulic pump allows the operator to drop the engine speed but still maintain high hydraulic flow rates for demanding applications. The cab is designed with a reinforced C-pillar, which eliminates the sightline restrictions of a A- or B-pillar while still meeting ROPS/FOPS requirements. If you like, you can spec the 3CX with a fully glazed cab option, extended dipper stick and factory installed theft protection devices.
The next two steps up bring additional horsepower and options with backhoes JCB calls “Supers.” The 3CX Super offers a 91- or a 109-horsepower Tier 4 Interim Ecomax engine, a standard powershift transmission and new 44-gallon-per-minute variable-flow hydraulic pump. The 4CX Super comes with the 109-horsepower engine and also the 44 gpm pump. The Supers can also be spec’ed with a 14, 15 or 17 foot dig depth options.
JCB has also offered a range of options when it comes to its backhoe controls. You can spec any of the three new models with what the company calls its “classic controls” or mechanical/wobble stick style.
But the 3CX Super and 4CX Super have two additional options. With the JCB Easycontrol system, the excavator end is controlled via two seat-mounted joysticks with the same feel and functionality as the classic controls but with the benefit of being servo-activated, giving them lower lever effort and shorter throws. You can also spec the Supers with the new JCB Advanced Easycontrol, which has the same excavator end controls but also incorporates the servo-controlled loader controls into the right-hand seat arm. The full servo controls use a open-center, variable flow pump which pushes out hydraulic oil on-demand only and hence saves fuel.
The new Ecomax engines boost low-end torque and fuel efficiency over their Tier 3 predecessors. They also achieve emissions goals without the need for a diesel particulate filter—a point of pride for the company, which sees the DPF as an unnecessarily expensive operational and maintenance issue for contractors.
Sideshift excavator mounts are the norm for backhoes in England, but JCB says they’re becoming more popular in the U.S. too.
And just in case you’re wondering, the new backhoes are built with the center-mount excavator end for the American market, although you can order one with the sideshift excavator mount if you prefer. JCB says demand for the sideshift mount in the states is increasing, especially in the municipal market.
The company has also developed a new bucket thumb attachment for the American market. Profile jaws on the thumb aid in picking up different types of material, not just landscaping waste. And it’s fold-away design allows the excavator end to be used for digging without having to swap out the attachment.