There are a few decisions to be made when you decide to purchase a rammer. Many people who rent realize that after only a few weeks of renting a rammer it is completely worth it to invest in a rammer. Rammers can typically be rented for $75 a day, which quickly ads up; not to mention insurance, cleaning, and delivery fees. If you rent a rammer for more than 20 days a year you should be looking to buy.
Besides saving money, when you purchase a rammer you will have equipment that you and your crew know how to operate and hasn’t been tampered with by someone else. If maintained properly rammers will last years and make your projects a lot easier.
When looking for a rammer there are several things you should look for in a manufacturer; the engine used, the bellow, fuel system, part availability, price.
Rammer engines are the most important part of the rammer. The most famous rammer engine ever built was the Robin-Subaru engine which unfortunately is no longer made and closed its doors in 2017. The runner up is the Honda engine, Honda makes two models of rammer engines, the GX100 3HP engine and the GXR120 3.5HP engine. The GXR120 is an improved rammer engine and the best one on the market available.
RAMMER ENGINES TO AVOID
There are many knock-off Chinese engines available today on the market. These are un-reliable with no spare parts availability and are often unserviceable by your local engine repair technician. You may also find rammers on the market that have modified engines attached to them, such as a Honda GX160. This engine is intended for plate compactors and air compressors, but jerry rigged onto rammers. The very nature of a rammers motions will break the engine and your rammer, not mention a void of Honda’s Warranty. If you’re going to invest in a rammer make sure you don’t buy a Chinese knock off and invest in a rammer with either a Honda GX100 or GXR120.
Bellows are an important part of a rammer. This part gives a rammer and internal spring the ability to jump at around 700 beats per minute. Bellows,made of a ribbed polyurethane, are located below the gearbox and above the rammer shoe. Bellows are not all created equally. There are bellows that use high quality polyurethane and are tooled with precision equipment at perfect temperature conditions. Then there are recycled bellows which may only last 20 hours. Although they may look simple, a well crafted bellow will have a strong spring to it after millions of jumps. If a rammer is jumping at 700 beats per minute this durability and spring can be worn out quickly with a low quality part.
Top quality bellows are made in Germany by brands like KGM and Bukuma. These bellows can be found on brands like Bomag, Tomahawk, and Wacker. Be careful of purchasing off brand rammers that use bellows from China. These bellows may use recycled material and can break down fast. Replacing a bellow can take up to 4 hours of service work and can cost upwards of $400 in parts and labor. Make sure not to skimp out on a cheap bellow and request details from the manufacturers on the bellows they use.
RAMMER FUEL SYSTEMS
Fuel Systems are important for the longevity of the rammer you are buying. Make sure the engine on the rammer has a diaphragm carburetor, which can adequately supply fuel steadily to the rammer regardless of the impacts and vibration. Using an engine with a bull float carburetor is not an ideal system for a rammer operating in the North America. Bull Float carburetors will gum up and lead to sporadic rammer jumping.
In addition to using a diaphragm carburetor, consider investing in a rammer with a 3-in-1 Fuel System. These systems make starting the rammer much easier by simply twisting a knob and pulling the recoil starter. Traditional tamper starting methods are longer and involve setting the choke, turning the engine switch to the “On” position, opening the fuel valve, and then pulling the recoil starter. Although the cost for a 3-in-1 Fuel System is a bit more, it makes starting and stopping quick and will keep your rammer carburetor in good shape.
RAMMER SPARE PARTS AVAILABILTY
Part Availability is important for any equipment you purchase. To keep a job site running efficiently, the proper equipment and parts are needed at the drop of a hat. Make sure the rammer you purchase has parts available by the manufacturer or retail store you purchased from. If your tamper breaks or is damaged you can easily get the parts you need to get it up and running. You may find rammers online for only $1000, but these rammers rarely use quality parts, break often, and have no spare parts service available to fix them. Another thing to consider is to find a manufacturer that prices their parts fairly. You may find companies like Multiquip and Wacker selling parts for outrageous prices
When transitioning from rented rammers to purchasing one, there are quite a few factors to keep in mind to make sure your new investment will last you for years to come. The last thing to look for in a rammer is price. After you re-affirm the rammer has a quality Honda Engine, a good bellow, solid fuel system, and nationwide parts availability; then consider the rammer that fits your price point. A quality rammer will range in price between $1900-$2900 depending on the features you are looking for.