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Crawlers, Dozers, Loaders & Backhoes Discussion Forum

Re: Small Dozers

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Billy NY

10-11-2013 08:03:21

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Now you can see why eyeballing an undercarriage, a seemingly common practice by sellers, has a lot to be desired, when you actually take a close look, measure or what have you.

With most that you listed as potential models to buy, these are smaller grading tractors, but are fine for clearing for what you describe, most crawlers that size are fine for that, brush cage, limb risers may be desirable, and or r.o.p.s that can protect you from things that may fall from above.

350-450 JD' small grading tractors, I assume still have good parts support, not the biggest on power, for say heavy dozing, moving a large amount of earth, I've run both, just slower, but seemingly reliable, there are things to look for on those, and an experienced JD mechanic might be very helpful, ask here if you narrow it down to one of these, I've run later model 550's like a '94 model, and much later '06 650, nice tractors, also ran an 850 JD, was different with that hydrostatic set up and each track being capable of moving opposite directions of each other, not sure about repairs/parts on this larger model.

Mitsubishi and "gray market" tractors I would avoid, parts and service support being the main concern.

Komatsu D31 is a great little grading tractor, I've run those, about the same as a D3 well late 80's early 90's models, be fine for clearing and parts support should be there, don't quote me, but we had a dealer somewhere near here, have run D65's, D65PX LGP, brand new- they took pictures while I was one big soft stockpile, '31's and the larger 65's were seemingly very good machines.

Case, I've run 450's and 850's don' recall running any 1150's, but the previous were good, had to get used to those 2 small levers for steering, but I remember pushing and grading with those, parts and service were good on Case around here, you would have to check, I'd think those are supported, good tractors, spent some time one those for one outfit doing residential subdivision work, pushing fill off, grading top soil, fine for moderate clearing and grubbing.

These smaller size tractors will also be easier to work on and less expensive undercarriage parts, easier to haul and or get in tight areas, most likely fine for what you are looking for.

Cat D4C, never ran one of those, they had good reputations, I ran several nice D6D's and same era D5's, very good machines, just all the other rules apply, condition etc. and some things to look for no different than any other, did a lot of different kinds of work with those, both small enough to work in the woods or clearing.

I look at sales ads locally quite a bit and over time I do see field ready dozers, ones that I'd want to look at, potentially honestly represented as far as condition and seemingly reasonable, but sometimes it may just take some time to find one in the condition you want, at the price you can afford, saw many nice ones listed in this area this year, and the ads did not last long at all, have not seen many since, so it does take time, better to wait, spend a little more, buy in better condition, than to have to deal with something that may be more problematic, chance you take with all of these anyway, so its a good policy to take your time when looking.

I'm no expert on the mechanical aspect of most of these, but do know what to look for with undercarriages, major components etc. + having operated many of the above, remembering some repairs, down time, and performance, helps formulate a rough opinion, but 350/450/550 JD, seemingly good, same with Case 450/850, Cat- fine, condition is important, Komatsu D31/D65 are fine too.

I have seen on occasion older A/C, International, and others in nice shape, but you do have to be careful with parts support on older tractors, so its probably better to look at the brands above, as at least the manufacturer is still in business in some form or manner. Well helpfully of some help, not the easiest to decide on given what these are and the conditions they turn out to be in LOL !

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