While watching the neighbor go at a huge pile of loose dirt (500 tons+) with a mini excavator (2.7tonne) I got to pondering whether it's faster to drag the dirt (pile it round the excavator) move the excavator back, drag again.. or whether it's faster to take a bucket full, slew 180, dump it, repeat essentially moving the pile by whatever the max distance is between a full arm extent at 0 degrees and a full arm extent at 180?

Personally I've always dragged the pile because I find the slew action much slower than the arm and dragging can move more dirt in one hit than a grading bucket can hold but the neighbor has more driving experience and he's using the slew 180 method. The aim of the exercise is to move the dirt from A to B then spread it out, so it's not too much of a worry if the ground in between gets messed up

I'm wondering if there are industry pros on here with thoughts on which technique (or even another technique) is more effective?

Of course the best way is to get a large dump truck and it a bigger excavator, but if you could only get the excavator, what would you do?

  • Interesting question; if could incude the specific machine brand & model that could be helpful, or the style, size, & configuration of the machine, and if could express the volumes in terms of volume, cf in terms of weight; specific distance of movement also matters; as does whether the excavator is tracked of rubber tired, & also bucket configuration etc, terrain, approximate dimensions of the existing pile & of the proposed pile(in the above example eg, original pile, and intended new placement location: area measure, depth, & shape), and dirt type & moisture content estimate.Thank you.
    – M H
    Aug 7, 2020 at 6:44


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