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Finding the right excavator bucket for your equipment requires some research into your specific requirements and asking the right questions. Here are a few guiding questions and answers to help you with sourcing.
No, they often are not, but there are instances when the fit between machines does cross over. For example, you might have a JCB 801 bucket that also fits on a Kubota KX36. In addition to the bucket size, the hitch pickup is also not universal among excavator bucket manufacturers. When sourcing your bucket, make sure to verify not only the capacity but also the attachment.
Larger machines may have hydraulic traveling hitches that can work with different size pins in the excavator buckets. This means that for a 12- or 20-ton excavator, the bucket is likely universal. When looking for a bucket, the safest thing to do is to verify the pin, bucket, and hitch dimensions/type you require, rather than assume the bucket is universal.
The pins and bushings in the bucket see a lot of wear and tear, so they need to be checked frequently and require lubrication or replacement when necessary. If the pin or bushings stop rotating freely, it can result in costly repairs, so when you start to hear the telltale noise, get the machine in for some maintenance. Otherwise, you may be forced to replace the bucket. If there are significant cracks in the bucket itself, it's time to replace it altogether.
Typically, the capacity is most commonly used to measure an excavator bucket. The volume inside the bucket plus the amount of material that is piled on top of the load during operation totals the rated capacity, which is otherwise referred to as the heaped capacity. Because of the complex shapes involved in calculating the volume, most companies use CAD to determine the rated capacity, rather than estimating it using the bucket's dimensions.
Before you attempt to replace the bucket on your machine, be sure to follow all safety precautions from the manufacturer and consider having a skilled technician help with the installation to make the process smoother.
In general, the following five steps are required to change a mini excavator bucket:
1. Lift the bucket and remove the safety pin
2. Crowl the excavator to reduce weight on the pin and detach the old bucket by pulling out the main pin
3. Move the hitch out of the way so the bucket can fall to the ground
4. Place new bucket where the old bucket fell and line up with the hitch
5. Replace pin and safety pin and lift the bucket back up