JCB 803 Super

It's a brand that is recognised worldwide. In fact, the initials JCB have become synonymous with ‘digger'. There are machines for construction, machines for agriculture and of course machines for landscapers — the 803 Super mini excavator is one such machine. And it's noted for its performance, speed of work and quietness.

Our tester is happy with the cab layout. There are no obstacles in the way as he climbs in and out of it and, once in the seat, all the controls are to hand. The joystick-operated servo controls are effortless to use. They are very user-friendly and are also incredibly precise. Instrumentation, positioned in the right-hand-side joystick console, is clear and concise. The seat is adjustable and well sprung. Operators should have no trouble getting comfy in this machine.
The 803 is fitted with a European-sized cab, incorporating a tip over protection structure (TOPS). It’s spacious, light, uncluttered and provides a high level of comfort. There is a heater for cold days and the design of the cab, with large flat glass areas, provides excellent all-round visibility. Large side windows provide for ventilation in summer and, being of the up-and-over design, the front opens completely. A low right-hand-side window increases visibility, which is handy when working in confined spaces, and a roof window should give the operator a perfect view at the increased loadover height.
The machine is compact so it should be able to gain access to quite small sites and, with tail swing of 1.45m, it will work reasonably close to boundary fences and walls. The 30cm-wide tracks leave minimal marks as our tester manoeuvres the machine around the site. Ground pressure is 0.29kg/cm2 and ground clearance is a generous 32cm.
For its size, the 803 Super offers plenty of power and outstanding levels of performance that are bound to keep it at the top of its league for the foreseeable future. A Perkins 400 series engine, mounted on resilient mountings, delivers a maximum of 32hp.
There is no lack of digging power and, by optimising the dig-end geometry, an extra 30cm has been gained on overload height — it has10cm extra reach and more than 13cm on vertical wall digging compared with its predecessor. A new powerful Nachi slew motor gives the latest 803 a racing slew speed of 9.5rpm.
The excellent power and performance of the 803 is not tainted by noise or vibration. As well as paying attention to the engine mountings, JCB has given thought to the radiator. This is rubber mounted to reduce vibration and, incidentally, is well protected from damage. There is a new, quieter fan and engine-mounted cowl assembly to maximise airflow efficiency for effective cooling while containing the noise. Noise levels are recorded at 82 dB(LpA) inside the cab and 96 dB(LwA) outside.
The 803’s rugged construction is typical JCB. This machine is durable — it is built for the extremes of outdoor work and to withstand everyday use. The bucket ram housing is routed through the dipper, rather than around the outside, to protect it from damage.
An added advantage of the 803 is its compatibility with a wide assortment of JCB attachments. The extensive selection of buckets ranges from 23cm to 120cm and short or long dozer blade options. Changing buckets or attachments takes less than a minute.
Servicing looks quite straightforward. Access to the vital components is via the rear, impact-resistant bonnet cover. The pressure test points are on the hydraulic pump, just underneath the engine cover. A hydraulic oil cleanliness test is undertaken on every machine to ensure that the circuit is completely clean and to increase component reliability.
The 803 has a maximum vertical dig depth of 2.78m and a maximum reach of 4.75m at ground level. Boom swing to the left is 90°, or 70° with limit stop installed, and 50° to the right.
The 803 has a JCB Sensomatic hydraulic system to ensure optimum digging performance while also maximising fuel efficiency.
With a weight of about 2,987kg, depending on dipper and tracks, the 803 should suit landscapers with suitable transport facilities.
The JCB compact products factory in Cheadle, Staffordshire, produces nine standard machines in the mini and midi excavator range, varying from one tonne to six tonnes in operating weight and with variants such as the 801 Gravemaster designed for specific duties.

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