Used Construction Equipment Cab Buying Guide
Whether a construction cab has become damaged through routine wear or it met with a sudden and catastrophic event, nobody is in a good mood when they’re searching for a replacement cab for their heavy construction equipment — hopefully whatever event led you here left your crew and your machine ok. The good news is that a used loader, dozer, truck, or excavator cab can often be found in good condition with a little searching and some knowledge of what to look for and how to search.
Since many of the top machine manufacturers like Volvo, Caterpillar, Komatsu, John Deere, and more design their machines for simple cab replacement and machines can find themselves in salvage for a number of reasons, you won’t have to collect every part of a cab to repair your current cab if you can find a suitable full replacement cab assembly.
To help in your search, we’ve put together these short used replacement cab tips.
What Information Do I Need to Search for a Replacement Cab?
Since a full cab assembly is basically a collection of a number of parts put together to create one big part, the simplest and most direct way to ensure the cabs you find will work for your machine is to search using three basic points of information:
- Manufacturer, Model Number, and Serial Number of Your Machine
You’ll be able to find this information on your machine (or in your operator’s manual) and any seller should have documented this information for the cab to ensure both of you agree the cab is appropriate for your machine.
Inspect the Used Heavy Equipment Cab for Broken or Missing Parts
In your search for a used, replacement cab for your machine you might luck upon a pristine cab that even still has that fresh cab smell, but more often you’ll find a cab that will show at least a few signs of its previous life. But since you’ll be putting that cab to work (and not as a museum piece) a little wear is to be expected. There are a few items whose condition you should confirm with the seller. Be sure to confirm the condition of:
A Good Working Shell
Whether it’ll be you sitting it in the cab or somebody else, the most important item to consider is that it has a good working shell. It’s important to be sure that whatever event led to the machine’s salvage didn’t affect the cab, as well. Be sure that any cracks, heavy denting, or welds have been identified and don’t leave you questioning the structural integrity of the cab.
Broken, Cracked, or Missing Cab Glass
A minor crack in the glass of a cab might not mean the cab won’t work for you, but knowing the condition of all of the cab glass ahead of time can help you plan ahead, look for replacement glass, or better evaluate the cab.
In heavy construction equipment, bulbs burn out and lights break on the worksite. And while a simple burned out bulb is easy enough to replace if you notice that a light is totally absent in a photo, it’s best if you confirm and make sure replacing that light won’t add too much to your time or your bottom line.
Missing or Non-working Controls, Gauges, or Covers
When you find a suitable replacement cab it almost certainly won’t still be mounted to the machine for you to test, but if controls and gauges were inspected before the machine was salvaged that information can help in your evaluation. You should also confirm if any controls, gauges, or covers are missing, either because they were lost during the machine’s life or they were removed for a particular reason.
Inspect Parts That Are Subjected to Routine and Heavy Use for Wear
If you’ve inspected the first set of items in the cab (or at least inquired) and you've decided the cab might be right for you, now’s a good time to take a closer look at a few other areas to either narrow your search or agree on a price with the seller. A few items to check for an overabundance of wear are:
Doors and Hinges
The doors on construction equipment cabs can see a lot of action with operators switching machines, the machine rattling across a rough worksite, or impactful events from working in tough conditions.
Pedals and Controls
A pedal or control with no wear might be even more suspicious than one with high wear, but regardless you should watch for controls that are overworn and might need replacing. Often a little soap and scrubbing can get the knobs and controls in a cab looking closer to new, but if a control or pedal is so worn that it brings in too much play or could malfunction, you’ll want to take a note of it.
A mustard stain probably doesn’t mean you should pass on the cab, but an overworn seat or a seat whose controls have stopped working can lead to operator discomfort and you should determine if getting the seat back to good shape will be quick and easy or a big job.
Salvage Your Current Cab
Depending on how you came to searching for a replacement used cab for your machine, if there are items that can be salvaged from your current cab before you send it off, now is the time to do it. The cab you find should be a close sibling to your current cab so any additions you’ve added to the cab or parts you can easily take off and add to your reserves can save you costs down the line.
Learn Shipping Costs and Ensure the Cab Will be Properly Protected
The size and shape of construction equipment cabs requires special considerations for shipping. Luckily, any experienced seller will be able to confirm how much it will cost to ship your cab so ask early in the process and you’ll know the total price to get the cab to you. It’s also a good time to review the seller and determine if proper care is routine in their shipping process. A cab with its glass can be damaged in shipping so be sure the cab will be palletized and protected by shipping experts who know exactly how to protect your new purchase.
Request Pictures When Searching for a Construction Cab for Sale Online
If you’re lucky enough to live within driving distance of the seller that’s great, but more often than not the cab you locate will be online and need to be shipped to you. One of the best steps you can take to close the gap between seeing it online and in person is a solid collection of pictures.
A replacement cab can be a big purchase so knowing exactly what you’re getting is important and, while pictures might not tell you the whole story on the cab, they can get you a lot closer. A reputable heavy equipment cab seller should gladly offer to send a number of diverse pictures of the cabs (inside and out) so that you both agree on exactly what you’re buying.
With those short tips and some quick searches, hopefully your replacement cab search will prove simple. If you do find yourself struggling to find the perfect replacement cab, feel free to talk with our Parts Specialists. As top dismantler of heavy construction equipment, we have a nearly unmatched inventory of excavator cabs, dozer cabs, loader cabs, and truck cabs from most of the top brands, including Komatsu cabs, Cat cabs, John Deere cabs, and more. Just drop us a line and we’ll gladly search our inventory as well as our integrated parts network.