Mini Excavator Repairs: A DIY Guide

Mini excavators can carry out the work more than you think in construction, landscaping, and many other areas. These compact […]


Mini excavators can carry out the work more than you think in construction, landscaping, and many other areas. These compact machines have earned themselves a lot of applause. This tutorial guide will tell you everything about mini excavator repairs. After reading it, you can definitely do almost everything by yourself!

A Close Look at Mini Excavator

Before doing any repairs, you have to understand the main parts of your mini excavator.

Key components of a mini excavator


The undercarriage is the foundation of the mini excavator. It supports the machine and provides mobility.

Comprising the tracks and supported by idlers, rollers, and sprockets, it allows the excavator to traverse different terrains.

Boom, arm stick, and bucket

The boom is like the extended arm of the mini excavator. It is at the base so as to allow for a wide range of motion. The stick is at the end of the boom for precise control of the bucket. While the bucket is for digging, lifting, and carrying materials.

Hydraulic and electrical systems

The hydraulic system, like the heart of the excavator, uses pressurized fluid to power the machine. It includes pumps, hoses, valves, and cylinders. All these components work together to provide the necessary force.

Meanwhile, the electrical system manages power distribution from the starter motor to the control panel.

Engine and operator’s cabin

The engine is the source of power. It drives the hydraulic system as well as other functions. The operator’s cabin has controls for steering, excavating, and navigating.

Types of mini excavators

Crawler vs. wheel-based

Crawler excavators use a continuous track system. They offer you superior stability so that you can work on uneven or soft ground. While wheel-based excavators are often more versatile in road use.

Dragline excavators

Dragline excavators utilize a long, horizontal boom and a bucket suspended from a cable. This design is useful for digging in deep pits or quarries, where the cable system allows for greater reach and precise control.

Tools for DIY Repairs

In terms of DIY repairs on your mini excavator, tools are undoubtedly essential.

Basic hand tools

Wrenches, sockets, and pliers

These tools are helpful for precision work. Wrenches and sockets are indispensable for tightening or loosening nuts and bolts. Pliers can grip, twist, and hold components tightly.

Wrenches, sockets, and pliers

Screwdrivers and hammers

Screwdrivers are for disassembling and assembling parts. Hammers may not be used as frequently, but they do an easy job when tapping parts into place or removing stubborn.

Diagnostic tools


Electrical issues can be tricky to diagnose, but a multimeter can measure voltage, current, and resistance. This will let you pinpoint problems in the electrical system.

Pressure gauges

Pressure gauges are used to check the system’s pressure, confirming that the hydraulic fluid is flowing at the correct levels.

Diagnostic software and scanners

Software and scanners can interface directly with the excavator’s onboard computer. They can read error codes and provide detailed information on the health of the engine and other systems.

Specialized tools

Track tension gauge

For mini excavators with track systems, a track tension gauge is to measure the tension, and it ensures a correct track tension for optimal operation.

Grease gun

A grease gun can apply grease to hard-to-reach areas. It keeps your excavator’s pivot points and other components well-lubricated.

Bearing pullers and filter wrenches

Bearing pullers and filter wrenches can remove and install components without causing damage.

A man is using a grease gun.

Signs that Your Mini Excavator Needs Repairs

Abnormal Noises: If your mini excavator is making unusual sounds such as knocking, grinding, or excessive whirring, this could indicate a problem with the engine or hydraulic system.

Leaking Fluids: Leaks around the hydraulic system, engine, or transmission are a clear sign. Seals or gaskets may require replacement to prevent further damage or performance issues.

Electrical Issues: Flickering lights, malfunctioning gauges, or an unresponsive control panel often suggest problems with the electrical system.

Overheating Engine: An engine that consistently runs hot and triggers the thermostat indicates a problem with the cooling system. A faulty radiator, low coolant levels, or clogged hoses may cause this.

Tracks: Uneven or old tracks, loose or missing track components, or improper track tension can lead to poor mobility and may require undercarriage repairs.

Hydraulic System: Slow hydraulic controls, like the boom or bucket not moving, signal issues with the hydraulic pumps, valves, or hoses.

Common Problems and Solutions

One cannot figure out all the problems at once, but here are some frequent problems and solutions for you to address them.

The engine won’t start

Fuel supply problems

A no-start scenario is often from the shortage of fuel supply. Check for blockages in the fuel filter or lines, and inspect the fuel pump for proper operation. If the fuel is contaminated, it may not reach the engine to start it. Regularly cleaning the fuel filter and using clean fuel can prevent this.

Battery and starter motor issues

A weak battery won’t provide enough power to turn the starter motor. Check the battery terminals for corrosion and if they are securely connected. Additionally, inspect the starter motor; if it is faulty or its wiring is compromised, it will need repair or replacement.

Sudden loss of power

Fuel filter contamination

Regularly scheduled filter replacements and inspections can prevent sudden loss of power, as a clogged fuel filter can restrict the flow of fuel to the engine.

Electrical problems and overheating

Electrical malfunctions can cause a sudden drop in performance. Check the wiring and all connections for any visible damage. Overheating can also lead to the problem, so monitor the engine temperature and inspect the cooling system. If the engine is running too hot, allow it to cool before finding the cause.

A man is checking the wiring and connections.

Routine Maintenance

Repairing mini excavators is not enough to maintain them, the key is routine maintenance.

Changing oil and filters

Engine oil and filter

Over time, the engine oil and filter become contaminated and lose its effectiveness. Regularly changing the engine oil and replacing the filter will keep the engine running smoothly and extend its life.

Fuel and air filters

A clean fuel filter ensures that no debris or contaminants enter the engine. Similarly, an air filter prevents dust and other particles from entering the combustion chamber. Both filters should be checked and changed as needed to promise optimal performance.

Hydraulic system care

Checking and changing hydraulic fluid

Hydraulic fluid will become dirty or degrade, which may bring reduced performance and potential damage to the system. Regularly checking the fluid level and condition, and changing it as required, is crucial for maintaining the strength of the hydraulics.

Hose and tube inspections

Hydraulic hoses and tubes are under constant pressure and easy to wear and tear. Inspecting them for signs like cracks, bulges, or leaks can prevent failures and maintain the smooth operation of the hydraulic system.

Track and tire maintenance

The undercarriage of your mini excavator requires regular attention. Inspect the tracks or tires and adjust the track tension as needed to prevent excessive wear on the sprockets and other components. Regular maintenance can prevent costly repairs and downtime.

Electrical system checks

A well-maintained electrical system guarantees the safe and efficient operation of your mini excavator. Regularly check the battery and wiring, as well as clean and tighten connections. Test the functionality of lights, gauges, and other electrical components.

Weekly Checks

If you want your mini excavator running smoothly for a long time, you should also remember to do weekly checks.

Fluid levels and air filter

Occasionally check and top up the engine oil, hydraulic fluid, and coolant as needed. Consistently low fluid levels signal a leak or other issues. Use the dipsticks and keep clean fluids within the recommended ranges.

A dirty air filter will restrict airflow to the engine. Investigate the air filter for signs of clogging and clean or replace it as necessary.

Electrical system

Inspect the battery and all connections for any corrosion. Loose or corroded connections may cause poor electrical performance and potential starting issues. Test all exterior and interior lights, ensuring they are functioning correctly.


Inspect the undercarriage for any damage, such as cuts or missing pins on the tracks. Examine the idlers and sprockets for wear or damage. Adjust the right track tension to prevent excessive wear on the drive sprockets and rollers.

Safety features

Test the backup alarms and warning lights. These are critical for alerting others to the machine’s presence and movements, particularly in busy work environments.


From the mini excavator’s anatomy to weekly checks and maintenance, this DIY guide serves to help you save money and get more skills in life. With theories and practice, you will gradually become an expert on mini excavators.


Q: Is buying a mini excavator a good investment?

A: Yes, investing in a mini excavator, such as a Chinese mini excavator, is a good idea. The compact machine offers versatility and efficiency, especially in tight spaces.

Q: How often should a mini excavator be serviced?

A: Manufacturers recommend a service interval based on the number of operating hours, which typically ranges from 250 to 500 hours for the first major service. Subsequent services may be scheduled every 500 to 1,000 hours, depending on the model and usage conditions.

Q: What is the life expectancy of a mini excavator?

A: According to the estimation, a well-maintained mini excavator can last anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 hours or more, and it is approximately 10 to 15 years of service.

Q: How long should you let an excavator warm up?

A: For most excavators, a warm-up period of about 5 to 10 minutes is recommended.

Related News

Do you have any questions?

Welcome to boleo. Evolve with the brightest!