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Kubota U10-5 Micro Excavator

Tags :  kubota  | 

Neil from Messick's here to give you a walk around on Kubota's new U10 excavator. This is a updated version of the micro excavator that Kubota has had around for decades. Now, I'm going to show you a couple of the different places where this machine remains the same, couple of places that it's been improved upon, and talk about who the customer is for a tiny little excavator like this.
Numbers mean something in Kubota world. When we're looking at excavators, U's are going to tell us that they are zero tail swing machines where you can spin the house of the excavator around and the back end does not extend beyond the tracks. The 10 is going to tell us the weight class in metric tons. This is a 1-metric ton machine, meaning that it weighs in the 2,200, 2,300 pound range. Dash Five is a series identifier. The latest generation of Kubota excavators are all dash fives. There's some dash four still out there in the product range, but five is going to be the indicator of the latest generation of excavators.
Now, if you've watched my videos before when we talk about a new machine, we often need to start by talking about the predecessor machine. When new models are brought out, they're often updates to older ones and not necessarily a complete new ground-up design. That is the case here. The prior model was the K008-3. The machine has been around for a long time and there was a prior 008 even to that one. This one though, is probably one of the most significant refreshes that this machine has received in terms of these pilot controls.
The older model had its control valve stack in front of the operator with two mechanical levers right on top of it that were linkaged down right into the valve bodies themselves. There were no pilot controls on any of Kubota's micro excavators before. Now this one is going to introduce pilots. They're right up here. The same familiar pattern selection that you're going to be used to if you are a excavator operator. You're going to feel a lot more at home with this machine and have a lot more finesse to your controls than what you would've been used to in Kubota's older models.
You can clearly see the heritage in this machine back to that older K008. When we look at things like the proportions of the machine and the excavator dipper and the setup of the operator station, it is all nearly the same as what that older model is, but you'll notice an important thing here. We've gone from a K008 to a U10, and that K and U are important indicators. K machines in Kubota's line are tight-tail excavators where the tail of the machine will hang over top of the tracks. This U10, a little bit shorter, the U machines will stay inside the tracks.
Now in order to accomplish that, this track frame now is about 6 inches longer than what the older model was. It's the one place this machine has a dimensional difference compared to the predecessor. Now the reason for that is more than likely because of who the typical buyer of this machine is. Most of these units for us end up in rental yards and most of those rental yards are renting these machines to one of two different types of customers. The odd-off contractor, electrician, whoever, who needs to do interior demolition or digging inside a building, will often rent these machines and not necessarily own one when they have that specific job come about.
The other renter of this is homeowners. Many of these are rented to homeowners who are going to take one out into a small property in order to do trenching or landscaping work around their property where they just want a really small machine that they can tow around behind just about any vehicle. You'll find large fleets of these machines inside of rental yards for those homeowners in order to rent. Now, that customer is more than likely the one that's going to take the tail of this machine and bang it into their house or something that they're up digging against.
That's why it's really nice that Kubota has lengthened the track frame here and made this a U series machine that exists inside of this footprint because when you spin the machine around, you're no longer going to have damage done to your tail or the homeowner is not going to swing the back end of the machine into a building or something and do property damage. You can't miss the visual change here from the 008 where the roll bar was behind the machine, to this one now where the roll bar is in front. Got mixed feelings about that. It does help me get on and off the machine. I've got these nice grab handles up here that I can grab when getting on and off.
The old one didn't give you that great place to grab a hold of except for a lever down here around the controls. This one definitely is easier to get on and off of in that way. Now once I'm sitting up here, I feel honestly a little bit more crowded than I did in the other machine. I don't have any measurements or one here to be able to do a side-by-side, but I feel like I have a little bit less leg and foot room than what I may have before. That might be a reflection of the additional valving and stuff that's needed in order to make this machine work. Once I'm up here, I can drop down my two levers to lower my pilot controls plants me up here in the middle of the operator station.
Now, as far as the controls go, you have traditional pilots with an A and B selection over here in your left and right hand. You're going to operate just like most other excavators do. Your drive levers are right here in the middle in front of you for forward and reverse. You've got a throttle down here to throttle your engine up and down, and a lever to raise and lower your dozer blade. Now you remember I told you before, the one main application for this machine is interior demolition. In order to be able to get into a building, it needs to be able to drive through a doorway.
There are cases where you need this thing to be extremely narrow in order to make that narrow passage through a door, but if you're working outside, you want a little bit more width underneath of you in order to have some stability. The tracks under this are actually adjustable. It's a very easy procedure to do. We start the machine up and use the bucket to pick the machine up off the ground. Now I've already put my blade down on the ground. Once I'm down there, I have a diverter that I can flip that changes the function of the blade over to operating the tracks. Now I can move this lever back and forth and actually move my tracks in and out, giving me that option of stability or narrow passage.
Another thing that piques my attention when I run this thing, is the overall engine noise. When I make videos, I often struggle to have to like to have machines running at idle or shout over top of them in order to overcome their engine noise. Not this though. That's full throttle, which I can sit here and have a conversation with my camera guy 10 feet away from me here over top of this engine with no issue whatsoever. It's really, really quiet. It's a little 10-horsepower Kubota diesel that's right down there underneath my butt. I think that's cool. Just the noise level of this machine is just really impressive. Definitely nice to be beside people that you're working with.
Now I am not an expert excavator operator. There's a lot of other people and a lot of other customers that are way better than I am. I would say on this machine, the smoothness of the hydraulics is a big improvement over the 008 where we had those mechanical valves on top of the stack there. I would say I feel it might be a little bit star for hydraulic flow being that it is so small. When I reach the boom and the dipper out, my out motion is very, very smooth, but when I try to bring it back in again, I feel like I'm a little star for flow. If I try to follow the ground here, I'm not quite as good as what I am going out.
Again, I'm not the best operator of these machines. Probably as good as any of the homeowners that are typically going to rent these things. That's for sure. I do feel like it could use a little bit more flow. Again, it's small. You're not going to have huge expectations of what this is capable of. It is without a doubt, an improvement over the 008, but it's not as smooth as what a larger higher capacity machine can be. Kubota makes some really impressive equipment and one of the things that impresses me the most is what you find when you flip up the hood and you start opening the service panels.
A lot of companies can make some attractive-looking equipment from the outside, but when you start digging around the inside, it becomes terrifying pretty quick in some cases. This thing though, is amazing. If you consider the engineering constraint of having to build this thing so compact, you would think you would find a lot of compromises in terms of cleanliness or serviceability and that couldn't be further from the truth.
When you're sitting here looking at this engine, all of your service points, dipsticks, engine oil filters are right here at the top. Your diesel fuel filters or diesel fuel is right over here at the side. The filters here are right here at the back of the engine. The battery sits right back here in the rear. The air filters right here at the top. All of those maintenance points or say if you got to replace an alternator or starter or something or a radiator, it is all very easily accessible right here at the top of the machine.
As a reminder, before I wrap up, the K008 is still in the product line. I've talked about a lot of the ways that this machine is based upon that one. This is not a replacement to it. There is a dash five variant of the K008 still, K008-5, and this is going to be a compliment to it. Now, this is a $2,300 price increase from that machine, and for that, you're going to get a zero tail swing machine with a little bit longer track frame and pilot controls.
Still suspect, we're going to see the 008 being very popular in rental yards because of that mechanical operation, a little bit lower price points, a little bit more simplistic this is, but if you're, say, a pool contractor or an interior demolition guy, or you're a rental yard whose customers expect pilot controls, this is going to be a great machine for you and one that's worth considering.
If you're shopping for a piece of equipment and we can help or if you have parts of service needs for a machine you've already got, give us a call in Messick's. We're available at 800-222-3373 or online at messicks.com. 

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