Updating a classic: JCB unveils revamped 3CX backhoe loader

JCB has launched a new 55kW 3CX backhoe loader with an EU Stage V compliant engine, putting a more modern twist on a machine that has been around – in various iterations – since 1980.

Claimed benefits of the new machine include “improved operator comfort and ease of use, increased productivity and performance and a reduced total cost of ownership”.

The manufacturer says that the latest JCB 3CX “takes the backhoe loader into a new decade”.

Features include:
  • Efficiency “boost” – a 3.0L Stage V engine delivers 10% torque increase and 7% fuel saving;
  • Revised Command Plus Cab;
  • Enhanced safety including integrated LED beacons and step lighting; and
  • Increased productivity with auto-levelling, auto seat select and auto-2WD.

The 55kW 3CX is powered by JCB’s latest EU Stage V compliant 3.0L diesel engine, replacing the previous generation 4.4L.

The compact engine delivers 55kW of power and 440Nm of torque, an increase of 10% over the previous model.

Its smaller capacity and increased efficiency result in up to a 7% fuel saving over the Stage IV 55kW engine in general use.

The 3.0L JCB engine achieves EU Stage V emissions standards without the need for a Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) or any form of exhaust additive.

The engine is equipped with a combined Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) and Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), with an 8,000-hour operating life.

Regeneration is automatically controlled and can be monitored through JCB’s standard LiveLink telematics system.

The engine has a “sealed for life” crankcase ventilation module and hydraulic tappets, removing the need for manual adjustment. This apparently contributes to lower service and maintenance costs and a cut in total cost of ownership for the customer.

Revised cab

The revised cab interior has a new seat and new three-spoke steering wheel which is claimed to provide a better view of the new front display screen.

The screen shows the speedometer, all warning lights and the selected gear on Powershift models. Audio and telephone functions are displayed in the new 7in side display screen.

This side screen “provides the operator with increased functionality and increased information”, the manufacturer says. The display is controlled by an automotive-style rotary switch.


The 55kW Stage V 3CX includes Auto Stop, which automatically detects when the machine is no longer in use and shuts down the engine.

Auto Stop “eliminates engine idling, reducing fuel consumption and cutting emissions”, JCB claims. The shut-down delay can be pre-set or adjusted by the operator through the side screen in the cab.

Auto Seat Select is available on machines equipped with servo lever control and automatically recognises which direction the seat is facing, eliminating the need to select functions as the operator changes from front to rear-facing positions.

Auto Drive has been improved, the machinery giant says, with the operator able to automatically select a chosen engine speed when travelling on the road.

To “reduce unnecessary tyre wear and fuel consumption”, the 3CX now comes with Auto 2WD. This switches the transmission from 4WD to 2WD when the additional traction is no longer required.

It allows the operator to select 4WD to dig into a pile or a face, where maximum tractive effort is required.

Then, when the machine backs away and starts to travel at speed, the transmission automatically changes to 2WD. The speed at which this change occurs can be set by the operator through the side screen menus.

Additional lighting has been added to illuminate the cab on both sides of the machine around the step area. A timer can be set to automatically dim the lighting when the machine is switched off, or once the door has been closed.

Other standard features include: rear light guards; a return-to-dig system; front shovel clam cylinder guards; loader pipework; and the loader Smooth Ride System.