JCB JS205LC Tracked Excavator Review: “Tough as Nails”

JCB JS205LC Specs Review

JCB diggers have never let Mr. Shammi Arumugasamy of P.K.M Constructions down over the years, and he has a gratifying feeling on the brand’s reliability and service network as well.

Roads and flyovers getting more and more sophisticated these days, the scale of road construction is going bigger with chasing targets. To keep pace with the equipment demand, newer and bigger CE machines are being introduced in the Indian market in the recent times. JCB India launched the all-new JS205LC tracked excavators back in 2013. Designed and manufactured in India, the 20-tonne digger is one the most preferred machine among contractors who take up road, railway, and bridge construction projects in the country. The product is also a preferred choice for those engaged in blue-metal quarries and crusher units, solid waste management plants, and sand mining activities.

We embarked on a grass-root level probe to ‘dig’ into the ownership experiences of the JCB JS205LC excavator. We approached Madurai-based P.K.Mookanambalam & Co, who are in the civil construction sector for more than five decades in the central Tamil Nadu region. They are using JCB products for over two decades now, including three JS205LC diggers among others that are primarily used in road and bridge construction activities. We also got in touch with JCB’s authorized dealer and service provider in the region, the Jayaraj Automobile Agency, for service-related perspective on JC205LC.

Value Driven Performance

Asked on what makes one to invest on a JCB product, Mr. Shammi Arumugasamy of P.K.M & Co says that usage and equipment performance influence the decision. “We went for JCB JS205LC considering its efficient functionalities and lower TCO in mind. And the promises are fairly met, the excavator gets job done quickly, is fuel-efficient, and its uptime is exceptionally high. Although the initial buying cost is high, we save on lower operational and maintenance costs”.

Both the hydraulic system and Cummins-sourced engine optimizes fuel consumption, aided by fuel-saving ‘Economy’ mode and auto idler feature. Further, the hydraulic regeneration system recycles hydraulic oil across the cylinders for faster cycle times and reduced fuel consumption. “JCB excavators make value proposition in overall cost of ownership. Since we also own diggers of other brands, the difference that JCB makes is quite evident” adds Mr. Shammi.

JCB JS205LC Specs Review

JCB Excavators have the industry’s lowest maintenance cost with a 5000 hour Hydraulic oil service interval

The operators of the JS205LC excavators at PKM & Co agreed that the ergonomically-designed cabin offers best in-cab comfort and work experience. It offers excellent round visibility, thanks to glass area in all sides and low bonnet line. The floor area and storage options are plenty. The cab uses six viscous rubber mounts to lower noise and vibration inside, while the adjustable controls and reclining seat offers comfortable seating position. But the operators also appealed to the manufacturer to make air-conditioning a standard feature, considering the tropical climate and harsh working environment in India.

The digger’s excellent handling and stability impresses the PKM team. The double-plate strengthened idler area of the heavy-duty X-frame in the long carriage (LC) version provides improved strength. The rigid upper frame provides maximum durability and support during the operations. Excellent bucket and dipper tear out forces improves output and operational duration, especially in hard strata.

Less Servicing, More Service

PKM & Co operators also declare that the JS205LC excavator is designed for lower maintenance and easy serviceability. For instance, the filters (air, engine oil, hydraulic oil and fuel) are centrally located for quick access and easy replacement. The gas-strut assisted bonnet doors are effortless to open and handle, while the fuses and relays are safely accessible inside the cabin. Service reminders and audio-visual alerts for air filter blockage, low coolant level, and high hydraulic oil temperature are incredible, they say.

As far as service advantages of the urban excavator is concerned, the Mr. Ajay Jayaraj of Jayaraj Automobile Agency says “We have the industry’s lowest maintenance cost with a 5000 hour Hydraulic oil service interval. Excavators, on an average, operates 3000 hours a year, so we are talking about a hydraulic oil change only once in 1 year or 8 months!” Asked on the frequency of breakdowns, he replied that robust design and advanced technology of diggers prevents frequents failures. “We attend machines within 4 hours and restore them back to work within 12 hours from the reported time” he adds.

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The on-board diagnosis systems and machine data backup helps the technicians on servicing protocols. In fact, the JS205LC urban excavator comes with first ever industry-fitted Telematics feature ‘LiveLink’. With this, the service team constantly monitor their customers’ machines to carry out preventive maintenance repairs to avoid potential breakdowns. The also offers benefits like GPS tracking, Geo Fencing, and Machine utilization report to the owners.

Mr. Shammi Arumugasamy regards the equipment and the backup service as a package for every JCB products. His dealings with the Jayaraj service team gave him the level of comfort to commit to more product purchases in the days ahead. His local dealer Mr. Ajay Jayaraj corroborates his assertion. “The sale of first machine for a customer is out of either brand reputation or product reliability, but every consecutive sale after that is purely based on service satisfaction. With good service, we sell more machines” he claims.

SPEC FOCUS – JCB JS205LC Tracked Excavator

DimensionsTrack Length on ground3660 mm
Track Shoe500 mm
Track Gauge2390 mm
Track Height 885 mm
Ground Clearance435 mm
Maximum Operating Weight21250 kg
Maximum Bucket Capacity0.8-1.02 cum
Maximum Swing Torque65.2 kNm
Maximum Swing Speed 12 rpm
EngineCUMMINS 6BT 5.9C

Water-cooled, 6 -cylinder in-line, Turbo-charged direct-injection diesel (BS III)

Maximum Power output140 hp (106 kW)
Hydraulic System Variable flow load sensing system with two work modes
Track DriveFully hydrostatic with 70% gradeability (max) and 3.8 kmph travel speed (max)
CabinPressed steel construction with high strength rolled sections.

Optional Air-conditioning feature.

JCB JS205LC Tracked Excavator – Image Gallery

*An edited version of this article has been published in the February 2018 edition of MotorIndia Magazine.


Dhiyanesh Ravichandran

Dhiyanesh is equally crazy about driving cars and writing about them. This guy loves everything with a steering wheel, so, at someday if self-driving cars take up all driving, he is sure to go nuts! He likes sedans of 90s era, esp W140 S-Class and R34 Skyline GT. Apart from usual motoring stuffs, he maintains a strong appetite for sociological perspectives on cars, their historical and cultural footprints. He owns a 1999 Fiat Siena passionately, and drives a Ford Fiesta.