How to Hookup an Auger to an Excavator: A Comprehensive Guide

Allen Hu
Allen Hu

Sales Manager of YC Attachments and expert in excavator industry for over 15 years.


Attaching an auger to an excavator can greatly increase the machine’s digging capabilities and allow for efficient completion of projects requiring digging post holes or drilling holes in the ground. Proper setup and operation of the auger attachment ensures safe and effective use of the equipment. This comprehensive guide provides all the necessary steps and considerations for successfully hooking up an auger to an excavator.

Augers come in different designs but generally consist of a large auger bit connected to a shaft and drive mechanism. Excavators provide the power to rotate the auger using hydraulic controls. When the spinning auger comes into contact with the ground, it bores into the earth in a corkscrew motion.

Choosing compatible equipment and following proper attachment procedures prevents accidents and damage to the auger or excavator. Always consult the instruction manuals for both pieces of equipment prior to hookup. This guide covers the complete process for safely and successfully installing an auger on an excavator.

Steps to Hookup an Auger to an Excavator

Follow these key steps to properly mount an auger to an excavator:

1. Equipment Preparation

  • Verify that the excavator and auger attachment are compatible models with matching hydraulic and mounting systems. The auger must be designed for excavator use.
  • Inspect both pieces of equipment and ensure they are in good working condition with intact safety features. Check for leaks, damaged parts, or missing guards.
  • Review the operation manuals and note any manufacturer instructions for hookup or use of the auger attachment.
  • Ensure the work area is flat, stable, and has been cleared of people and obstacles.

2. Positioning the Auger Attachment

  • Use a crane or other lifting device to move the auger and place it on the ground near the excavator. Engage any safety locks on the auger.
  • Align the auger’s mounting plate with the quick coupler or hitch on the excavator’s linkage arm. The plates must join flush against each other.
  • Level the auger attachment and ensure it sits vertically upright and ready for connection.

3. Connecting Hydraulic Hoses

  • Locate the hydraulic hose outlets on both the excavator arm and auger attachment. Remove any covers.
  • Check that the hoses are clean and free of obstructions before making connections.
  • Align and connect the excavator’s hydraulic hoses to the mating connections on the auger attachment. This supplies power to drive the auger.
  • Secure the connections by tightening the collars or threaded fittings. Double check that the hoses are locked in place.

4. Securing the Attachment

  • Depending on the quick coupler design, engage the locking pins, latches, or levers to firmly secure the auger to the excavator’s boom/arm.
  • For a direct pin hitch, insert the retaining pin through the aligned openings between both pieces of equipment.
  • Verify that the auger cannot detach from the excavator when lifted. Check that all safety locks are engaged.

5. Testing Operation

  • Start the excavator and check for any hydraulic leaks or loose connections. Tighten fittings or replace damaged hoses as needed.
  • Slowly engage the hydraulic auger controls. Increase engine RPMs incrementally to spool up the auger. Listen for any odd noises.
  • Rotate the auger through a full rotation in both forward and reverse to confirm smooth engagement throughout the movement range.
  • Return hydraulic controls to neutral and shut down the excavator once testing is complete.

6. Safety Precautions

  • Always keep people and objects well clear of the auger attachment during transport or use. Establish a safe operating zone.
  • Wear appropriate PPE when working around excavation equipment including gloves, steel toe boots, hard hat, and protective eyewear.
  • Do not attempt to make adjustments to the auger or excavator while either machine is running. Follow lockout/tagout procedures.
  • Keep the auger attachment lowered to the ground when not in active use. Engage any safety locks.

Tips and Best Practices

Follow these recommendations for safe, effective auger operation when hooked up to an excavator:

  • Avoid overloading or binding the auger. Use consistent, even pressure when drilling holes. Let the auger do the work.
  • Monitor hydraulic pressures and do not exceed equipment limits. Proper flow is required to turn the auger.
  • Clear the work area of overhead and underground obstructions that could tangle or damage the auger.
  • Keep the auger blade sharp. Dull teeth require more power and slow down drilling.
  • Use a swivel fitting on the auger hydraulic connections to prevent hose twisting during operation.
  • Follow the excavator manufacturer’s instructions regarding approved auger attachments. Using an incompatible auger can damage the excavator.
  • Use hearing protection when operating the excavator/auger due to the loud noise generated.

Video Demonstrations and Tutorials

There are several helpful videos that provide visual demonstrations of the auger attachment process:

Watching the hookup process visually can help reinforce the proper attachment techniques and highlight important safety factors. Always refer to your specific equipment manuals as the definitive procedures.

Common Questions and Answers

How do you connect an auger to an excavator?

Align the auger mounting plate with the excavator’s quick coupler or hitch. Connect the hydraulic hoses from the excavator to the auger’s outlets. Lock the auger securely in place using the quick coupler’s pin or latch mechanism. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

How do you use an auger on a mini excavator?

The connection process is similar, just on a smaller scale. Ensure the mini excavator has sufficient hydraulic flow and pressure ratings to drive the auger. Take extra caution when moving and positioning the auger due to the reduced lift capacity.

How deep can you auger with an excavator?

Auger digging depth depends on the soil conditions and size/power of the equipment. Generally augers on an average excavator can drill down 15-20 feet effectively. Larger rigs with high torque augers can reach depths up to 60 feet in the right terrain.

How do you set up an auger?

Start by ensuring the auger and excavator are compatible models. Position the auger near the excavator arm. Align and connect the hydraulic hoses. Securely mount the auger to the quick coupler. Conduct test rotations to confirm everything is properly hooked up and functioning smoothly.

Auger Attachments and Excavator Compatibility

It is crucial to select an auger attachment designed to match your excavator’s specifications. The key factors to consider:

  • Hydraulic flow and pressure – The excavator must be able to provide adequate hydraulic power to drive the auger at optimum levels.
  • Auger torque rating – Match the auger’s torque requirements to the excavator’s output capability.
  • Auger weight – Choose an auger size that falls within the excavator’s lift capacity range. Too heavy leads to instability.
  • Mounting connection – Confirm both machines have compatible mounting or quick coupler systems.
  • Guards and safety features – Look for excavator guarding packages certified by the auger manufacturer.

Consult your equipment dealer regarding the best auger model for your excavator based on these criteria. Only use attachments specifically approved for your make/model.


The proper setup of an auger attachment on an excavator provides expanded digging capabilities essential for many projects. By following safe procedures, ensuring component compatibility, and using manufacturer approved equipment, excavation contractors can maximize productivity while minimizing risk. This guide covers the necessary steps and best practices for anyone learning how to connect an auger to an excavator. Always put safety first and never hesitate to consult equipment manuals or professional assistance to address any uncertainties during the auger attachment process.

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