Why or Why not to buy a SEE Small Equipment Excavator?

Mullaney

Well-known member
Supporting Vendor
5,407
12,289
113
Location
Charlotte NC
Looking at buying a SEE. For use on my property for various dirt movement and filling a wash. Also for use on digging some foundations.

What are the pros and cons of these vehicles. THANKS!
.
I don't own one, but from what I have gathered from lots of reading here - the SEE is a good piece of equipment for what you want to do. It is small, somewhat agile and pretty capable. It isn't a road truck, but that isn't what you want to do. It has a bucket and a hoe, so doing what you want to do is good...

The real thing to compare is what would it cost you to buy a used backhoe and what it might cost for a SEE. If the money is the same, either of them would resale about the same too...

AND THEN there is the Former Military Vehicle part of the equation. If that is your goal when all the dirt moving at your place is done - will this thing still hang out at your house just because it can? :)
 

glcaines

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
3,553
1,522
113
Location
Hiawassee, Georgia
I own a FLU419 and I use it extensively on my property, mostly cleaning out ditches on my road on my 40 acres. There are pros and cons to the FLU419. The first variable is the condition of the machine. I have had very few problems with mine as it was in very good condition and well maintained. I know several others with the machines. A few have had good luck like I have and others have had very bad problems, mostly due to previous owners and treatment. I also have a clear title and insurance so I can easily drive on the road when needed, albeit at a slow or reasonable speed. Most don't have titles from what I've seen. I've basically only had a few problems and most of what I've done is really PM.

1. I replaced the corroded 10 mm cross-over air line with a 316 SS air line.
2. I had to clean the backhoe control linkages which were somewhat rusty.
3. I replaced the compressor unloader and cleaned the alcohol drier.
4. I replaced the weak Hawker batteries with new Odyssey 6TAGM batteries.
5. I cleaned the fuse holders and replaced all fuses with new.
6. Changed all fluids.

My FLU419 will dig like crazy. I have the buckets with the teeth which makes the unit dig really great, but the trench is rough because of the teeth. I like the teeth, but someone wanting a smooth trench will be disappointed. Both type buckets are available. I'm currently looking for a smaller hoe for certain tasks. Also, my property is very mountainous. I have to be very careful because I could very easily turn mine over on the steep hills. Working on flat ground is much easier and safer. Mostly it is common sense.
 
Last edited:

M35fan

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
790
2,358
93
Location
Alabama
I have a friend who is considering one of these for his landscaping business. Would it be appropriate for hauling dirt and grading on 1-2 acre lots, or is it overkill? He has a skid steer, but sometimes needs a little more power. And I'm trying to spread the "green disease" 🤣
 

Artillerydan

Member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
199
15
18
Location
Phoenix, AZ
.
I don't own one, but from what I have gathered from lots of reading here - the SEE is a good piece of equipment for what you want to do. It is small, somewhat agile and pretty capable. It isn't a road truck, but that isn't what you want to do. It has a bucket and a hoe, so doing what you want to do is good...

The real thing to compare is what would it cost you to buy a used backhoe and what it might cost for a SEE. If the money is the same, either of them would resale about the same too...

AND THEN there is the Former Military Vehicle part of the equation. If that is your goal when all the dirt moving at your place is done - will this thing still hang out at your house just because it can? :)
Yeah the USGI part is a big factor, guess I am looking for some positive reinforcement before just doing it. Thanks
 

glcaines

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
3,553
1,522
113
Location
Hiawassee, Georgia
The best thing anyone considering purchasing a FLU419 can do is locate someone nearby that owns one and ask if you can look at it, drive it and do a little digging with it. I've had three people come to my place and look at my FLU. Two ended up buying a FLU and the third was scared by the machine when we went for a drive over rough ground. They do move around a little!
 

DaneGer21

Well-known member
506
852
93
Location
Creston, Ohio
Where is it and how much is it for sale for? @DaneGer21
Painesville, OH. Zip Code 44077. Maybe 2hrs from me if that.

It’s been for sale at least a month that I’ve seen. Started at $9500, now asking $8k. I’ll copy and paste below and capture more pictures as screenshots. But it’s a project truck, in my opinion.
 
Last edited:

DaneGer21

Well-known member
506
852
93
Location
Creston, Ohio
Painesville, OH. Maybe 2hrs from me if that.

It’s been for sale at least a month that I’ve seen. Started at $9500, now asking $8k. I’ll copy and paste below and capture more pictures as screenshots.
Description:

“Military Freightliner Unimog FL419, 370 Original Miles, New Tires, Needs some wiring, some new hydraulic lines, reverse doesn't work, bucket controls are frozen up. Air pump does NOT work so no ait operated stuff works. Runs and drives good except reverse. Ready to drive on a trailer. It has been sitting for a few years. Weighs 16k approx. $8000 FIRM Thanks for looking.”
 

Attachments

Last edited:

DaneGer21

Well-known member
506
852
93
Location
Creston, Ohio
Description:

“Military Freightliner Unimog FL419, 370 Original Miles, New Tires, Needs some wiring, some new hydraulic lines, reverse doesn't work, bucket controls are frozen up. Air pump does NOT work so no ait operated stuff works. Runs and drives good except reverse. Ready to drive on a trailer. It has been sitting for a few years. Weighs 16k approx. $8000 FIRM Thanks for looking. 44ZERO22ZEROZERO464“
Pics:
 

Attachments

glcaines

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
3,553
1,522
113
Location
Hiawassee, Georgia
Description:

“Military Freightliner Unimog FL419, 370 Original Miles, New Tires, Needs some wiring, some new hydraulic lines, reverse doesn't work, bucket controls are frozen up. Air pump does NOT work so no ait operated stuff works. Runs and drives good except reverse. Ready to drive on a trailer. It has been sitting for a few years. Weighs 16k approx. $8000 FIRM Thanks for looking.”
That ad states it has an automatic transmission. None of the FLU419s had automatic transmissions. The air compressor isn't necessarily faulty. It is more likely that the air line is corroded and plugged. Without air, you don't have usable brakes and other stuff won't work. Easy enough to check the compressor. Not having reverse would bother me the most, but there is a good chance it is a faulty plastic bushing and not that difficult to replace. In any event, this is a project, not something you will be able to use immediately. If you walk in with $6000.00 cash he might just take it.
 
Last edited:

The Stuff Fixer

New member
9
12
3
Location
Wink,Tx
M35Fan, These also come in the cool color of Sand Summer Tan. I love mine(green). Had a tan one, but it was such a project I ended up selling it after I bought my green one. My grandkids always want a ride when use it for anything. Now the downfall is, you will end up working on this machine by yourself. I do, no one in my area knows anything about this little jewel. I don't mind getting dirty for myself, I used to work in our county repair shop- doizers,wheel loaders,backhoes, forklifts, tractors and all kinds of lawn equipment.
Question is would I buy another? Yes if the price is right.
 

Mullaney

Well-known member
Supporting Vendor
5,407
12,289
113
Location
Charlotte NC
M35Fan, These also come in the cool color of Sand Summer Tan. I love mine(green). Had a tan one, but it was such a project I ended up selling it after I bought my green one. My grandkids always want a ride when use it for anything. Now the downfall is, you will end up working on this machine by yourself. I do, no one in my area knows anything about this little jewel. I don't mind getting dirty for myself, I used to work in our county repair shop- doizers,wheel loaders,backhoes, forklifts, tractors and all kinds of lawn equipment.
Question is would I buy another? Yes if the price is right.
.
Yes sir... Not a lot of people who know much about what most of us have for "toys".
Some of my best days are a project that needs to get done and a Jolly Green Giant to help knock out that work!
 

glcaines

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
3,553
1,522
113
Location
Hiawassee, Georgia
The main thing in my mind about buying a FLU419 is to make sure you look for a good one. This actually applies to any MV. Too many people decide they want something and jump at the first thing they see. If you see one that looks like crud on the outside, it is likely that it hasn't had the proper PM in the past. Look for leaking hydraulics, leaks under the machine, electrical systems that are dead, pneumatic system issues, etc. Look for one with a title if you intend to drive it on the road. I was lucky when I bought mine since I bought it sight unseen, which I would normally never do. However, the price was very good and I asked a lot of questions and a lot of close-up photos. I also got lucky in that I was told that none of the hydraulic tools came with it, but when I opened the tool cabinets, it was fully stocked with a complete set of hydraulic tools. Also, talk to people that have one about their experiences. Ask to visit and drive and operate their machine to make sure this is what you want.
 

The FLU farm

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
3,046
612
113
Location
The actual midwest, NM.
If you see one that looks like crud on the outside, it is likely that it hasn't had the proper PM in the past.
I dunno. The two best ones, from a mechanical standpoint, I've had looked the worst. Both intended to be parts cars.

The one I use the most these days has forklift dents, mismatched paint, etc. Turns out it was all but completely refurbished but never repainted for some reason.

I don't mind that the new cylinders on the backhoe are somewhat of an orange color, for example. Or that the sheet metal is dented. Heck, I've added some new dents when confronting large chunks of frozen snow.

Actually, I learned to concentrate on the crappy looking ones at the auctions. Ideally also non-runners. People would go nuts over the ones with larger tires, for example, while I could snag mechanically superior ones for a third or even a quarter of the price.
 

Mullaney

Well-known member
Supporting Vendor
5,407
12,289
113
Location
Charlotte NC
I dunno. The two best ones, from a mechanical standpoint, I've had looked the worst. Both intended to be parts cars.

The one I use the most these days has forklift dents, mismatched paint, etc. Turns out it was all but completely refurbished but never repainted for some reason.

I don't mind that the new cylinders on the backhoe are somewhat of an orange color, for example. Or that the sheet metal is dented. Heck, I've added some new dents when confronting large chunks of frozen snow.

Actually, I learned to concentrate on the crappy looking ones at the auctions. Ideally also non-runners. People would go nuts over the ones with larger tires, for example, while I could snag mechanically superior ones for a third or even a quarter of the price.
.
Careful there... Giving away your Auction Secrets will leave you bidding on nothing but the big tire fancy trucks. All the tired looking trucks will get gobbled up with the ASSuM(E)tion that they are gold at the next auction.

:cool:
 

The FLU farm

Well-known member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
3,046
612
113
Location
The actual midwest, NM.
Hah! I have two things in my favor.

For one, they don't auction off five or 10 per week like they used to. And more importantly, I don't want any more FLUs at this point.
Actually, I'll probably sell the HME. Maybe even an HMMH. Maybe.

Although, I still wouldn't mind having a parts car.
 
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website like our supporting vendors. Their ads help keep Steel Soldiers going. Please consider disabling your ad blockers for the site. Thanks!

I've Disabled AdBlock
No Thanks