Sany SY35U Excavator

   / Sany SY35U Excavator #1  


New member
Apr 16, 2022
Summit, Oregon
Kubota L4200, Sany SY35U, Komatsu D20P-6
Hi all,

My Bobcat 331 started overheating last Fall, so I started looking at rebuilding it. I signed up here and posted about its issues in another topic, so I won't rehash those details here. However, I knew a rebuild would be a stretch (both in terms of time and money), so I spent a lot of time researching new machines as well. Ultimately, the feedback on that post convinced me that a new machine was a better investment for my upcoming needs and deadlines.

After looking at several brands and contacting a few dealers, I decided to go with a Sany SY35U from Equipment NW in Aurora, OR. I purchased the full cab package, which extends the base machine with two buckets (2' toothed and 3' cleanup), a manual quick coupler, and a thumb. I added a root ripper attachment, as I have a lot of stumps that I want to dig up. The machine comes with their standard 5-year/5000-hour warranty. The total cost was around $55K delivered. I signed the papers on Monday, April 25, 2022 and took delivery of the new machine on Thursday, May 5, 2022. As of this writing, that was yesterday.

I spent a couple of hours later that day turning a 50'x10'x6' compost pile using the 3' cleanup bucket, so I am writing this initial review after spending only a little time in the operator seat. I will follow up here with more information as I put more hours on it, particularly after I perform the 50-hour oil change and receive the results from the corresponding engine oil test. I expect to put hundreds of hours on this machine before the end of the year, which will put me through one of the 250 hour maintenance cycle where all of the filters and fluids will be replaced. That'll be an eye opener, I'm sure.

Overall, my initial impression leaves me liking the machine, though I am reserving my final judgement until I do more with it (and resolve the issues listed below). It seems to perform comparably to my old Bobcat 331, which is the only other excavator that I've ever operated. From everything that I read online and heard from the dealer, I expect that this machine will serve needs adequately, but there are a few things that would give me pause if I suddenly found myself back in the market for a machine.

The good:
  • Engine was relatively quiet and low vibration (as compared to my Bobcat).
  • Hydraulic operations were relatively smooth, once I familiarized myself with the machine.
  • The onboard computer display provides lots of data readouts and functionality, but I still have much to learn about it (see below).
  • Cab and controls fit me well. I'm 6'3", 225lbs and don't feel cramped.
  • Battery disconnect switch to prevent battery drain when sitting for long periods (as will happen during the wet season here).
  • Heater does a good job defogging the windows in cold/rainy/humid weather.
  • Built-in radio paired with my iPhone to play music through the cab speakers.
The bad:
  • The Operation and Maintenance Manual that came in the documentation packet was for the wrong machines (SY16C/SY18C/SY20C), so I still have no idea how to operate and maintain my machine to its fullest. Notably, the manual that I have does not cover the computer present in my model. This detail alone ended up souring my initial impressions of the machine, as I do not feel like I should use the machine further without reading it cover to cover. I wish that I had noticed the mistake before taking delivery, because...
  • I have been trying to reach the dealer to get the correct manual, but he suddenly is not as responsive as he was during the sales process. I am trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but it's hard not to be cynical on this point. To wit, he forgot to deliver the extra bucket teeth that I had ordered when he brought the machine, yet those missing parts managed to go out the same day. Despite reporting the incorrect manual within an hour of reporting the missing teeth (and well before the package containing them shipped out), he has yet to even acknowledge the issue with the manual. Even giving the benefit of the doubt, this has entered into "seriously, WTF" territory.
  • Since it is now the weekend and the dealer is closed until Monday, I feel compelled to write to the Sany North America service email address to report the issue with the manual, because the included documentation clearly indicates that I have only three days to report any acceptance issues. This should not be necessary, but here I am.
  • The machine and engine parts manuals are very poorly written, containing lots and lots of spelling mistakes that likely would have been caught by any native English speaker. This undermines my confidence in these documents and the machines themselves, because they have an entire North American dealership network. Did they not think to ask someone in their network to proofread these documents? Or hire a professional translation service? Since the answer apparently is "no, they did not", I find myself wondering: are the diagrams sufficiently correct to order the needed parts and repair the machines? Since the parts manual includes my machine's serial number, I suspect that each manual is semi-custom for a range of machines, suggesting a high degree of variability of parts being used (yikes). The Operation manual that I do have looks much better, so I am not sure what to think overall. Maybe I am overreacting given the other issues, but I probably won't really know until something breaks.
  • During my limited test run, the cleanup bucket could not reach back far enough to touch the blade, so it was not easy to pick up the last few scoops of dirt (as it would have been with the Bobcat). Today, I doubled checked that the machine's spec sheet includes a diagram showing the range of motion, and it appears to show unambiguously that this should be possible. In writing this post, I wondered if this disparity might be a result of the added manual quick coupler mechanism, so I went back out to play around some more and double check what I was experiencing. The gap is real and is not small (6-12" depending on bucket position, but I didn't measure) and does not appear to be a result of the coupler, so I feel like this begins to approach a serious misrepresentation of the machine's capabilities. Hopefully there is a reasonable explanation for this discrepancy.
I sincerely hope that these issues will all be resolved in a timely and professional manner, given how much I just spent on it. Regardless, I will report my progress here regularly. Feel free to ask questions, and I will attempt to answer them when I have some free time.
   / Sany SY35U Excavator
  • Thread Starter
I had hoped to hear back from the dealer sometime on Saturday, but that didn't happen. So last night, I went ahead with my plan and wrote to the Sany America service address (and cc'd the dealer) to report my issues, along with a link to my post here. In a surprising turn of events, I received a reply from the "Western CE Regional Service Manager" within a few hours of sending my message. They asked a number of good questions and were very understanding about my concerns. I didn't see it until I was headed to bed, so I didn't have a chance to respond.

This morning (Sunday), I received two more emails. The first was from the dealer who first apologized for not responding sooner and then addressed each of my concerns, though they mostly had to defer to the manufacturer to find resolutions. The second email came from the Regional Service Manager again, in reply to the dealer, and included a PDF copy of the Operation and Maintenance Manual for my machine (as well as a few more questions). Both of these messages arrived in my Inbox around 7:00am... on a Sunday. Suffice it to say, I am extremely impressed with Sany's support service at this point. They went above and beyond to address my concerns directly and took initiative to resolve them in a very timely manner. I expect a paper copy of the manual to arrive quickly, but I am quite happy having the PDF in hand.

I spent some time this afternoon writing a very long and detailed follow-up to answer all of their questions, including an absurdly detailed timeline of my communication with the dealer and my reasoning for writing my initial message. I tried to give a ton of constructive feedback, as they seem to be very receptive to it. After all, my purchase has left me vested in their brand's success; it is in my interest to see both the dealer and manufacturer succeed. I now think that they have and will. Given their responses, I am once again happy with my purchase and would make it again from the same dealer, though I would definitely slow down and take the time to do more due diligence when taking delivery.

The manufacturer also acknowledged the issues with the parts manual, and I hope they find a way to improve that. Since I had their attention, I suggested that they both (a) include digital copies of all of their manuals on a USB stick that is included alongside the paper copies and (b) launch an online portal that supplies downloadable copies, along with interactive parts diagrams and listings that provide the ability to order directly. I enjoyed having that later resource with my Bobcat, and I believe Sany has the strategic commitment to make such things happen. Here's to hoping. 🍻

I am still trying to figure out the issue with the bucket not being able to "crowd the blade", as I have now learned is the proper expression. I did realize that I can probably make it happen by using the boom swing to do the clean up while at maximum deflection from center, but I still want to understand the discrepancy between my observation and the datasheet when the boom is on center. I will post another follow up when I know more.
   / Sany SY35U Excavator #3  
Lets see some pictures!
   / Sany SY35U Excavator #4  
Thanks for the detailed report zwelch! I've never operated a Sany machine, but they look well built. Glad your dealer and area rep responded so quickly, that is usually rare even for a more established brand.

As far as crowding the blade, there may be two schools of thought there:
- Yes it's helpful during clean-up.
- It can be really annoying if a machine does not have the reach beyond the blade for trenching work. Take for instance the Komatsu PC78, a midi size excavator. My father owns one without the swing boom, meaning the boom pivot is inboard and fixed at a point near the center of the machine. An option on these is a swing feature that puts the boom pivot out to the edge of the body to allow for the 180 degree swing like yours. Every time I dig with my father's machine, I hook a tooth on the blade.I think they make it worse by adding a long stick to the machine so that the reach is similar depending on options.

Anyway,if you have an acceptable amount of reach, the crowd feature can be overcome like you found with the swing. BTW - did you trade your Bobcat?
   / Sany SY35U Excavator #5  
Links to manuals if you're still needing them

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   / Sany SY35U Excavator
  • Thread Starter
I have put around 20 hours on my new machine at this point: pushing over small trees and digging up stumps with the ripper tooth attachment, turning and loading compost, and few other odd jobs here and there on my farm. After reading the manual, I learned that a 100-hour break-in period is recommended to maximize longevity of the machine, so I have only been running it with the throttle halfway open. As a result, it is hard to gauge its performance, since it's not running at full power. Still, I have been happy with it for all of the jobs that I've been doing.

I still have my Bobcat around. Given its issues, the dealer was not interested in a trade-in, so I listed it on my local Craigslist. I have had a lot of interest in it, but no one has made what I consider a good enough offer. At this rate, I will end up rebuilding it.

I will post pictures when I get someone to take them, but I usually am out working with it by myself.
   / Sany SY35U Excavator #7  
Good to hear you're happy with your Sany, it's been interesting seeing the Chinese make a serious attempt at producing and backing a quality product. They're obviously capable of building solid machines.
   / Sany SY35U Excavator #8  
For some reason it always seems that the Chinese to English translations leave things to be desired. Had a Chinese chipper years ago with the same deal. You had to 'read between the lines' most of the

I've read that the Sany equipment works well.
   / Sany SY35U Excavator #9  
Hey Zwelch - if you're still out there - want to hear updates on your Sany. I have a 2016 Sany sy35U exc with about 1000 hours on it. It's been a very good machine. I'm surprised there aren't more threads about Sany excavators on TractorByNet.....