Rebuilding Mini Excavator Final Drives - Is it Worth the Time and Money?

We get a lot of calls here at ConEquip Parts from mini excavator owners looking for parts to rebuild their final drive.  It seems like a simple request.  They just need a gear or two, seals, bearings, and perhaps a number of other parts.  In their mind, they just need to open the unit, remove the bad parts, install the new ones, reseal the final drive, hook it back up, and away they go.  If only the process were that simple.  Here are some examples of the problems mini excavator owners run into when trying to rebuild their final drive.

Unavailable Parts

For whatever reason, many parts for final drives are not available.  This doesn't seem to make much sense considering plenty of OEM dealers are rebuilding final drives.  Obviously they have access to the parts necessary for a rebuild.  The problem is, many manufacturers don't make the parts available to the public.  They would rather rebuild your unit or sell you a knew one completely.  While it's easy to assume dealers just want to make more money by selling new units, it's just as likely they don't want to deal with the number of claims from customer's when problems arise from their rebuild attempt.

Parts Not Cost Effective

For some makes and models, final drive parts are available.  Unfortunately, in many cases the parts are so expensive it doesn't make a rebuild cost effective.  If a mini excavator owner only needs one or two parts to fix their final drive, they may be able to go this route.  However, it's not very often final drive failure only affects one or two parts.  Multiple parts usually need to be replaced.

Rebuilder Not Qualified

There is a lot that goes into rebuilding a final drive.  It's a very technical and precise process.  When a mini excavator owner rebuilds his or her own final drive, they often only get a few more weeks out of the machine before problems start again.

Rebuild Cost Not Effective

If a mini excavator owner gets parts to fix their final drive and has a rebuilder do the work, the cost is usually significant.  By the time the work is done you may only save a few hundred dollars compared to getting a new unit.

Little to No Warranty

If a customer buys mini excavator final drive parts and rebuilds the unit themselves, there will be no warranty.  When the final drive fails again, they will have to restart the process to rebuild the unit or they will just have to bite the bullet and buy a new final drive.  If a mini excavator owner hires a company to rebuild the final drive, the warranty isn't likely to be more than six months.  Usually, the warranty will be 90 days or less.

Affordable, Reliable Aftermarket Final Drive Solutions Available

There are many companies that provide high quality, low cost new replacement final drives for mini excavators.  The industry has improved performance greatly over the past several years.  Although some companies are still questionable when it comes to quality and customer service, many companies, including ConEquip Parts, provide mini excavator final drives that meet OEM specifications.  These final drives come with one-year warranties and cost much less than OEM pricing.

In the end, while some mini excavator owners have had success rebuilding their own final drives, the majority find it quicker and much more cost effective to invest in a new replacement drive.