Equipment focus: New Holland LB90B backhoe

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Ron Horner checks out a grader-blade-equipped New Holland LB90B backhoe that is perfectly suited to both construction and farm work

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Russ Reiser positioning and locking the grader blade attachment he designed

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When the weather turns nasty and you are forced to head off site until it clears, there is only one place to go and that’s to find a good pie shop and a good cuppa tea to tide you over until the weather changes for the better.

Such was the case when I wandered over to a local shopping centre in south-east Queensland a month or so ago and found a little gem of a backhoe sitting in the car park clearly suffering from the ‘wet weather blues’ just like me.

No operator in site, but with no doubt where he would be, I waited close by and sneaked in a couple of photos for my reference in the meantime.

A minute later I was greeted with a warm "G’day mate" as I was trying to get a better shot of a particular point of interest on this little New Holland LB90B backhoe with an unusual but well-designed grader blade attachment fitted to the front bucket.

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The blade is locked in position with the jaws on the 4-in-1 bucket

Background

Russ Reiser is the owner of this machine and he had just come out of the same place where I was heading. The wet weather had placed a dampener on our day so we were very quick to appreciate each other’s taste of café and earthmoving equipment.

Now, any of you who read my articles know that I am not a particular fan of backhoes and consider them to be a blight on the excavator market, so it has to be something out of the ordinary before I can show any interest in them.

This wasn’t the ‘Case’ today  (pardon the pun) but the New Holland LB90B Extendahoe  definitely ticked some good backhoe boxes for me, including a tilting front bucket, a PowerTilt quick hitch on the rear and an adjustable manual grader blade.

I had never had anything to do with a New Holland before so it interested me to see just what made Russ Reiser purchase this model over a more popular backhoe brand. Things weren’t perfect for a full review as our sites were closed so the car park at the shopping centre had to suffice as I had a look over it to form my own opinion.

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A close-up of the locking pins and grader blade turntable

Walkaround

‘Tidy’ is the word for my first impression: Very, very tidy.

Typical of most owner operator machines, this New Holland has all the bases covered when it comes to providing the customer with all the options.

Of particular interest was the tilting front bucket attachment locally built and designed by Norm Engineering. This provides the opportunity to clean out drains, cut and trim cambers of gravel roads, clean up debris on sealed pavements and cut access tracks and house pads to level much easier, more efficiently and quicker than ever.

All of these are pre-requisites for providing both the client with a better, more cost-effective solution and causing the operator less grief and frustration at the end of the day.

It got me wondering why this isn’t an optional extra on all backhoes when sold ex-dealer.

Now if that didn’t get my interest just long enough to take some photos, the grader blade attachment fitted to the front 4-in-1 tilting bucket surely did.

Keen to see it in action, I asked for a car-park demonstration from Russ … well, we didn’t have anything better to do!

Designed by Russ and manufactured by Peter Gardner Engineering on the Gold Coast, the blade attachment has had a few tweaks to get it to a point that is acceptable for both engineer and operator.

The first blade designs were so efficient and effective that it soon became apparent that it needed to be redesigned to be more robust.

The grader blade adaptor head is merely clenched firmly between the jaws of the 4-in-one tilting bucket at a pre-selected position along the cutting-edge face and can be reversed so that a left-hand or right-hand cut can be achieved depending on what side the operator needs to rill his material.

Adjusting the angle of the blade is made manually by turning and tightening the bolts on the grader turntable and locking down with the massive lock nuts.

Easy to attach and adjust in a matter of minutes, the blade-tilt bucket configuration has converted Russ’s conventional (in appearance) backhoe into a lovely little compact 4WD grader capable of completing a multitude of tasks.

Russ says he hasn’t stopped work since it was fitted, showing that this simple and effective addition to the array of attachments is a must for anyone contemplating being ahead of the pack when it comes to playing backhoes.

At the back end of the LB90B is the Extendahoe or extendable dipper arm. Fitted to that arm are a JB hitch and a PowerTilt head which complement the tilting front bucket perfectly.

All the bucket size options are available as well as rollover forks. When you sit back and have a look at this little tractor you suddenly appreciate the Russ has a created a very good machine.

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The JB hitch and PowerTilt head

Under the hood

This New Holland LB90B runs the new 4-cylinder turbo-charged direct-ignition, CNH Tier 3A mechanical engine pushing out 72kW (97hp) of power at 2200rpm. Ground-level access to the engine bay and all of the necessary servicing points is made easy by lifting the front hoist rams to a vertical position and lifting the bonnet.

The hydraulics are fed by two gear-type load-sensing pumps running at 160L/min at 210 bar to ensure no hydraulic fade when operating multiple actions. It has ample supply up its sleeve with 118 litres in the system and another 40 litres in the tank.

To get this unit mobile, the LB90B runs a fully synchro 4x4 power shuttle transmission with a top speed of just under 40km/h going forward, but just in case you need to retreat you can pull out of trouble at 46km/h. With 125 litres of fuel capacity you can operate for a good few days before refilling.

Overall, the machine, which can dig to 5.75m, weighs in at about 8.35 tonnes and sits at just under 3m in height so you would not be getting it on a few tippers to haul around.

 

In the cab

The space cab is roomy and comfortable, and has good vision and all the mod cons an operator could wish for. Air-conditioning is optional but necessary up here on the coast, seating is comfortable, and operator protection is covered by the ROPS/FOPS cabin.

Due to the weather conditions and location of the find, I was not able to give the New Holland LB90B 4WD Backhoe a run, but Russ Reiser says he is more than happy with his purchase and just loves the add-ons.

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The grader blade was manufactured by Peter Gardner Engineering on the Gold Coast

The bottom line

Russ has been around for a long while; he’s an experienced owner-operator with a very tidy business located on the Gold Coast of Queensland and has done and seen it all.

By understanding what is required to provide a complete package and the best service to his clients, he has finally achieved what we all hope to achieve.

He has found and developed a machine that suits his application and budget – and suits his clients’ requirements – perfectly.

In this configuration and with the innovative and creative modifications and attachments on offer, here this tractor could find its calling in a multitude of applications and conditions. Construction is just one area this little tractor will perform but I can see it, in this configuration, also being perfectly suited to sub-divisions and, especially, to farm work.


NEW HOLLAND LB90B BACKHOE LOADER SPECS

Engine: CNH Tier 3A Mechanical

Power: 72kW (97hp)

Max weight: 8340kg

Backhoe dig depth: 4270mm

Loader lift capacity at full height: 3550kg

Transport dimensions: 5690mm (l) x 2430mm (w) x 3960mm (h)

 

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