Excavator review: IHI 35V4

By: Josh Simpson, Photography by: Dave Lorimar

Excavator review: IHI 35V4 Excavator review: IHI 35V4
Excavator review: IHI 35V4 Excavator review: IHI 35V4
Excavator review: IHI 35V4 Excavator review: IHI 35V4
Excavator review: IHI 35V4 Excavator review: IHI 35V4
Excavator review: IHI 35V4 Excavator review: IHI 35V4
Excavator review: IHI 35V4 Excavator review: IHI 35V4

Deals on Wheels sends Josh Simpson to review the new IHI 35V4 excavator.

The Ed said he was heading down to Western Aggregates & Soil Ltd in West Auckland to test out the new IHI 35V4, which are distributed by Youngman Richardson & Co Ltd and wanted to know if I wanted to 'tag-along'. To his delight (probably), I jumped at the chance without knowing his ulterior motive. "Great, you can operate the machine and write me an article as well," he replied with great confidence.

Being in the industry and knowing of the quality gear Youngman Richardson & Co (YRCO) provides, I had high expectations as I walked into Western Aggregates yard. Now like a book and its cover, even though the 3.5-tonne excavator looked slick, I know you shouldn't judge a machine by the way it looks.

Giving me the overview of the machine was Alf Aitcheson, sales specialist in the earthmoving and roller category at YRCO. He took the opportunity to show a considerable list of features the little machine had to offer.

Some features

A couple of things that stood out for me were the ease of access to the filters, which are placed under the large side opening cover and sit adjacent to the hydraulic bank and battery.

Having the battery there seemed like a good idea to me as some machines you need to pull the rubber floor mat out (which we all know can be a lengthy task on its own) and take out a floor panel when checking levels for maintenance. The issue I did see with this was that it could be difficult to add water to the rear battery cells, but probably still better than having a battery out of sight and never checking it at all I suppose.

The feature that stood out to me the most – and in my opinion, the biggest sale point – was the expandable tracks these machines have. Starting off at 1550mm to be in line with the cab, the tracks will expand out to 1800mm. This feature would come in to its own when accessing difficult sites, while still offering the advantage of expanding the tracks and giving the machine a more stable footprint to work on when you start moving materials.

The cab IHI-35V4_2

Climbing into the cab, I noticed all of the normal features one would find in a modern cab, including a monitor in front of the right-hand joystick, which was easy to view without having to adjust my head too much. This had all your standard information one would expect to see – fuel level, temperature, hour meter etc.

Moving back behind the joystick were all the switches in a nice centralised location, including the standards, along with the advantage of being able to switch between low and high flow on the auxiliary line. While on the subject of auxiliaries, I should also point out that the control lever for the auxiliary line is also on the right-hand joystick – a big plus in my mind.

Holding down the two tabs and pulling the front window pane up over my head, Aitcheson pointed out the additional two tabs on the bottom pane also gives the option of pulling that above your head, opening the entire front, and eliminating any chance of glare off the front screen.

Digging dirt

The Ed had organised with Western Aggregates to excavate a footing, which had been on their to-do list for a while. I was told that having the chance to test the digging power of this machine in virgin ground is a bit of a rarity as often there's just a stockpile to move material around on.

I set off towards the proposed footing and used the opportunity to test the travel speeds in ECO mode and VMAX mode – finding ECO mode to be just as efficient with a top speed of 4.7km/h.

Ripping the bucket into the ground, I found ECO mode to be at its limit for the dried out, rock-like clay and switched it into VMAX mode, noticing the increased revs and power right away.

At this setting it now handled the task with ease. Extending the arm out to its full reach, I observed the longer dipper arm, which comes as a standard, nicely paired with an additional counter weight. This only sticks out over the track by a mere few centimeters when tracks are fully extended.

The verdict

After operating the machine for little over two hours, it was safe to say that Youngman Richardson & Co had met many of my expectations with their IHI 35V4 as I struggled to find any real negatives.

It's clear to see that a lot of thought has gone into the design and engineering of this machine whether it be the expandable tracks, the interior cab set-up or the well placed components under the side and rear covers.

All in all, I found this a great, versatile machine, and with all its added extras as standard, it certainly offers good value for money. I expect to see a number of them popping up on sites in the not so distant future.

Thumbs up

  • Expandable tracks
  • Easily accessible filters
  • ECO Mode option
  • Longer dipper arm as standard
  • Auxiliary function on joystick
  • Moveable lower front window pane

Thumbs down

  • No expandable blade
  • Difficulty to access rear battery cells

To see the full review, check out issue 257 of Deals on Wheels magazine. Subscribe here.

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