Trenching Power Times Two

Aug. 1, 2001
Four-wheel drive has made it to trenchers, easing the load on operators. The development of a four-wheel drive system makes walk-behind trenching easier,

Four-wheel drive has made it to trenchers, easing the load on operators.

The development of a four-wheel drive system makes walk-behind trenching easier, offering several improvements over a standard two-wheel drive. The machine was developed to help simplify trenching in uneven, unstable and rocky terrain.

The four-wheel drive shifts the fulcrum point, applying more pressure on longer booms for better ground penetration. The boom will not “ride-up” when digging shallow trenches, or when trenching downhill, which allows the trencher to maintain a constant trench depth. Four-wheel drive doubles the traction and floatation capabilities, resulting in better traction and stability, even in mud, sand and soft ground.

Four-wheel drive also reduces jarring and kickback in hard, rocky soil as well as cutting side-to-side movement and eliminating front-end bounce, resulting in straighter trenches and a constant trench depth. It eliminates weight shift for safer loading and unloading on inclines such as ramps and drop gate trailers.

“The four-wheel drive walk behind trencher is excellent,” said Bill Fox of United Rentals in Crescent City, Calif. “We're getting great reviews from our customers.”

Added Mike Dodson of United Rentals in Rocklin, Calif., “The four wheel drive costs a little more money, but it's worth it for special applications. Our customers report they get better traction with the four-wheel drive when they're trenching soft, muddy ground.”

According to Dewey Davis of Davis Lumber and Ace Hardware in Roswell, N.M, four-wheel drive is ideal for trenching for electrical lines. “The four wheel drive trencher can go down 3 feet, and with the extra weight and leverage, the trencher doesn't jump out of the ditch,” Davis said.

The four-wheel drive is very effective for cross trenching. “The system gives stability when going across a trench,” said Davis. “It doesn't high center on two wheels and the four-wheel drive trencher is less likely to get stuck. We've never had one stuck, in fact.”

The technology also makes trenching easier on the operator. An end user described it as “a walk-behind trencher that thinks it's a ride on.”

One concern in developing the four-wheel drive was maneuverability. The problem was solved when a system was developed that allows the operator to easily swing the rear drive wheels up and out of the way for easy pivot turning.

Rental centers can bolster their clientele by adding four-wheel drive trenchers to their yards. Promoting four-wheel drive applications can help differentiate one yard from another and offers an excellent avenue to attract new customers. Chances are, customers will be so happy with the way the performance of their four-wheel drive trencher, they'll come back for their other rental needs as well.

Green is the marketing consultant for Barreto Manufacturing, La Grande, Ore.


Barreto trenchers feature the SnapLoc hydraulic four-wheel-drive system for cross trenching or working over trench mounds. The hydraulic headshaft drive system eliminates the need for gears, chains and belts. The units trench to depths of 24, 30 and 36 inches with widths of 4 and 6 inches, the company says. • 800/525-7348
RS #420


Burkeen Manufacturing's B-25 ride-on trencher features rubber tires and hydrostatic front-wheel steering for maneuvering through gates and close to walls, the company says. The 25-horsepower unit offers a 2- to 3-foot digging boom with an end roller, hydraulic chain tension and incremental digging depths. Chain pitches can be added or subtracted for a variety of trenching applications. A four-way backfill blade is standard. • 800/647-9824
RS #421


Designed for use on Dingo compact utility loaders, the Toro trencher attachment offers a 4- to 12-inch digging width and digs to depths of 3 1/2 feet. The unit is available with both planetary or direct drive and features a trenching angle can be adjusted between zero and 90 degrees. The Dingo's hydraulic system delivers 12 gallons per minute of flow at 3,000 pounds per square inch of hydraulic power. Using the Toro quick-attach system, the unit quickly attaches to all models in the Dingo line of compact utility loaders. • 800/344-8676
RS #422

E-Z Trench

The Bedscaper model BE300 has no steering limit to restrict bed shapes, allowing users to create curved beds with ease, the company says. Powered by a 5.5-horsepower Honda or Intek Briggs engine, the 100-pound Bedscaper features caster steering, dual belt drive and a compact folding handle.
RS #423

George Evans

The George Evans Corp. designed the Pow-R-Spade trencher for smaller trenching applications. Powered by a 5-horsepower Briggs & Stratton or 5.5-horsepower Honda engine, the unit features a simple V-belt power design and an adjustable-depth digging chain. The trencher digs 3 to 4 inches wide and up to 2 feet deep.
RS #424


Case's line of trenchers ranges from the 13-horsepower walk-behind Case 60 with a maximum depth of 3 feet, the Case 660 model (pictured) with a 60-horsepower engine and maximum digging depth of 6 feet, to the ride-on Case 860 with a maximum dig depth of 7 feet. Most Case trenchers can be fitted with attachments including backhoes, rockwheels, backfill blades, vibratory cable plows, reel carriers and the Case Hydra-Borer boring unit. • 262/636-6772
RS #425


The LT-304 trencher attachment for skid-steer loaders features a 4-foot digging depth ideal for plumbing and landscape applications, Bobcat says. The unit is equipped with a 2-inch, double standard anti-back flex chain with four chain and teeth options. A removable, adjustable, 14-inch auger piles soil alongside the trench for backfilling or dumping. A manual side-shift is standard, and a hydraulic side-shift kit is available. • 701/241-8700
RS #428


The model F-990H Bededger from Brown Manufacturing can be used for garden bed defining and trenching applications. Powered by a 9-horsepower Honda engine, the unit trenches up to 9 inches deep and 3 inches wide in numerous soil types, including hardened clay. The unit weighs 160 pounds.
RS #426


The V-1350 trencher is compact and maneuverable, ideal for use in narrow and limited access areas. Powered by a 13-horsepower Honda engine, the unit features sturdy steel shielding that can handle more abuse than designs using plastic, the company says. The unit is available with cup, rotary or shark cutters, and can trench widths between 4 to 6 inches and depths down to 3 feet. • 641/621-7626
RS #427

Ground Hog

Model T-4 from Ground Hog is an operator-propelled, chain-type trencher that can dig 1 foot deep and 3.5 inches wide. The unit is equipped with shark teeth or carbide-tipped teeth, Timken roller bearings and a powder-coated exterior. Other features include a one-way ratchet assembly and depth settings of 6, 8 and 12 inches.
RS #429

Little Beaver

The Kwik-Trench portable trencher is ideal for trenching a variety of job sites such as residential sprinkler systems, satellite dish drops, drainage lines and root pruning. The lightweight unit digs approximately 20 to 30 feet per minute, 8 to 12 inches deep. The unit's rotating parts are shielded for safety, the company says. • 800/227-7515
RS #430

Ditch Witch

Replacing the H412 digging attachment, the new model H514 attachment is a hydraulically traversing digging attachment for the company's model 5700 trencher. It features a sealed Eaton motor and new bearings and head shaft that eliminate the need to preload the bearings. The unit's larger lifting cylinder also offers 45 percent more lifting capacity and is more effective when digging with the optional 5-foot boom, the company says.
RS #431


Designed for use in a variety of soil conditions, the B5550A compact tractor features a 3-point hitch mount with fixed top link and a 3-foot boom with a heavy-duty roller and chain. The unit's trench width is preset for 8 inches and the bits can accommodate a 10- or 12-inch width. Other features include a hydraulic control valve with an integral check valve that ensures trenching depth and prevents lowering of the boom if the engine is turned off, the company says.
RS #432


Terminator chains from Ballantine reduce machine stress and prevent boom bounce and kickback, the company says. The chains are available in three styles: low-profile welded chains for hard ground conditions, bolt-on combo chains for changing conditions and full side-mount chains for digging in the toughest conditions.
RS #433