JCB Excavator Shows Off Some Impressive Climbing Skills

Excavators just don’t want to use loading ramps, it appears! And here we thought that offloading and loading heavy equipment required ramps and ground guides – no, sir! From the first looks we’re guessing this excavator is a 8018 CTS or similar but feel free to correct us in the comments section below. In the meantime, let’s settle in and discuss how loading an excavator without a ramp can work – and how to do it properly.

First off, it’s always good to work with ground guides when you can manage. They act as other sets of eyes and can help direct the heavy equipment operator. We don’t want to go losing hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment due to a small error. And small errors are all it takes to go from loading success to loading failure.


JC Bamford Excavators are pretty well known for making extremely high quality and affordable worksite equipment. This particular minidigger is perfect for working on rural roads and doing all sorts of off-roading activity, but it’s predominantly used for things like street work in towns and cities. Laying out gravel, digging up chunks of asphalts and concrete – those little 80-series can get the job done.

Leveraging Front End And Back End With Excavators

When loading an excavator onto the back of a flatbed, it’s always preferable to use a ramp. In fact, we’re not quite certain but it may even be the law depending upon where you’re working. Check up on that and see. Don’t want OSHA breathing down your neck for cutting corners.

But before you go loading your excavator onto the back of a flatbed, make sure to check its operating weight versus the weight that the front arm can bear. The last thing you want happening is for the front crane to buckle under the weight. And then there’s an issue of balance. The front arm is okay at balancing some of the weight, but you’re really going to need to leverage that back pusher to make sure your JCB minidigger stays on point. Use the excavator’s arm to leverage the front end up and then slowly use the back end to act as a wider base for keeping balance.

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This is – by all means – a precarious spot to be in. For the 8018 CTS series, the front arm can’t support the entire weight of the vehicle – so don’t try. Let that backend do a lot of the heavy lifting and balance and just use the front arm to act like a balance support beam. If you thought about it like positioning yourself, it’s like using a leg to kneel on while you kick out another leg to adjust the weight of your torso. It’s natural but it still takes a decent bit of coordination to do right.

Also, you only got about six inches of ground clearance between the tracks and the undercarriage of the JCB 8018 CTS compact excavator – so don’t try to get more distance than that out of it. There’s both art and science into leveraging the front arm so you can lift up the front end without making it support the entirety of its weight on that arm. There’s also a table that most excavator manufacturers have on their lift arm capabilities. In many cases, the lift capacity of the standard dozer is going to be the “eyeball estimate” to what you can get away with. Push it too far, and you risk damaging the hydraulics – not to mention the inherent safety risks. We’ll never advocate loading and unloading in this manner because, heck, there’s a lot of complexity to using a piece of heavy machinery like a JCB 8018 CTS excavator. With careful practice and the right instructor, it can be done relatively easily – but there’s always a lot that can go wrong. And a big point that needs mentioning – the height of the flatbed trailer needs to be reasonable. Asking your excavator operator to lift himself up 8 feet into the arm using just his front arm is asking for trouble. The farther that excavator has to lift itself off the ground, the more problems that can occur. And never forget to put on the brakes for both the trailer and the truck waiting to take the excavator out. The last thing you need is for the trailer to get pushed in any direction while the excavator is loading itself. Loading an excavator using the bucket is hard enough without trying to hit a moving platform at the same time.

And lastly, as impressive as this loading method is, using a ramp certified to handle the weight of the equipment is always the best way. What happens if the hydraulic lines in your excavator give out in the middle of work and it’s no longer feasible to load itself? Although it’s not nearly as exciting, using a ramp ensures equipment gets to and from the worksite with as few hassles as possible – and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.

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When loading an excavator onto the back of a flatbed, it’s always preferable to use a ramp. In fact, we’re not quite certain but it may even be the law depending upon where y