Cat® 303E CR Mini Hydraulic Excavator Designed for Optimum Performance in Confined Spaces and Operator Comfort and Safety

For Release in North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand: October 2014
Release Number: 537PR14

The new Cat® 303E CR mini hydraulic excavator, only 61 inches (1 550 mm) wide across the blade and having a compact-radius design that limits tail swing to less than 5  inches (127 mm), is an easily transported machine that works efficiently and safely in small spaces and on congested job sites. With a maximum operating weight of 7,782 pounds (3 530 kg), the 303E CR expands the Cat mini excavator line and gives buyers more choice in the 2.5-3.5 metric ton size class. The new model’s 23.5-horsepower (17.5 kW) Cat C1.3 engine combines with a powerful load-sensing hydraulic system—delivering flows to 23.1 gpm (87.6 L/min)—to provide productive, reliable performance in demanding applications.

Available both in cab and canopy configurations, the 303E CR is designed for the operator’s convenience and safety. All operator stations, cab or canopy, are ROPS, TOPS, and Top Guard Level 1 certified, and the Cat interlock system, which prevents hydraulic movement when the safety bar is raised, adds further to operational safety, as do the standard travel alarm, automatic swing brake, and three-inch-wide retractable seatbelt.

A large, adjustable suspension seat keeps operators comfortable, and a monitor that displays gauges and general diagnostics keeps them informed. An automatic two-speed travel system enhances overall machine efficiency and ease of operation, and an automatic engine-idle system conserves fuel and reduces sound levels.

The 303E CR’s hydraulic system uses low-effort, pilot-operated joysticks that provide more precise, more consistent control than mechanical-linkage controls. For operator convenience, auxiliary-hydraulic controls are integrated into the joysticks, making the 303E CR work-tool ready with both a one-way-flow circuit for tools such as hydraulic hammers and a two-way-flow circuit when using work tools with cylinders or bi-directional motors. An in-cab pattern changer allows easily switching controls to suit operator preference.

To increase operator productivity and efficiency, the 303E CR’s bucket can rotate 200 degrees, providing excellent material retention at the top of the lift cycle when loading trucks and allowing for deeper flat-back trenches without repositioning the machine. In addition, a lifting eye on the front linkage provides a secure attachment point for rigging.

For added convenience, a float function for the dozer blade allows the blade to follow ground contour and create smooth finish grades, perhaps eliminating an additional grading tractor on the project. Also adding to the 303E CR’s versatility is its ability to use the bucket in a front-shovel configuration, an advantage for such tasks as installing utility pipe, cleaning material from inside truck bodies, or filling a hopper next to a wall. When digging in confined spaces, the 303E CR’s offset boom provides added flexibility.

To increase the 303E CR’s overall versatility, a mechanical quick coupler is available for accommodating work tools such as augers and hydraulic hammers, and a thumb-ready stick is standard. An accumulator in the auxiliary hydraulic system smoothes hydraulic action, prevents damaging pressure spikes, and releases pressure through the pilot system.

Auxiliary lines are mounted low on the stick, close to work tools, eliminating the need to use long, flexible hoses, vulnerable to damage, to reach work tools. Quick-disconnect couplers provide easy, spill-proof connections with work tools, and for added utility, the 303E CR accepts all Cat 303.5 and 304 E Series mini excavator work tools.

Steel tracks are available for the 303E CR, as an alternative to the standard rubber tracks, for use in applications that require higher resistance to sharp debris.

Machine Specifications


Cat C1.3

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Net power, hp (Kw)

23.5 (17.5)

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Weight, canopy, lb. (kg)

7,297 (3 310)

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Weight, cab, lb. (kg)

7,782 (3 530)

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Hyd. flow, gpm (L/min.)

23.1 (87.6)

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Relief pressure, psi (bar)

3,553 (245)

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Dig depth, max., in. (mm)

108 (2 750)

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Dig height, max., in. (mm)

178 (4 530)

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Detailed Product Information

Detailed product information can be found at the links below:


Note to Editors: Caterpillar rolls-out products and services in each of its territories at different time intervals. Although every effort is made to ensure that product information is released only after Caterpillar has received confirmation from our dealer network, our plants, and our marketing subsidiaries that products and services are available in the relevant region, editors are kindly requested to verify with their local dealer for product availability and specifications.

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