Hi, Johnnie O. One real good guide that won't steer you wrong is, "If the machine sounds or feels like it is straining to do something, IT IS."
You can turn a loaded 'dozer blade -- SLOWLY. The faster you try to turn it, the faster you will lose the load around the outside corner AND the more strain you will put on the drive train, frame and undercarriage.
With a clutch-and-brake steering system, when you want to turn a loaded blade, do it a little at a time. Dis-engage the steering clutch on the side you want to turn to very briefly and re-engage it again. The tractor will usually turn slightly. Repeat this process until you have achieved your turn.
If the tractor doesn't turn but rather stops moving, the load on the blade is too heavy to turn in that manner. This where modern technology may come to your rescue -- if you have it. If your 'dozer is fitted with a hydraulic blade tilt cylinder, tilt the blade down on the side you want to turn to. This increases the load on that side, dragging the whole tractor that way. In a way, it is not unlike a banked race track. If you have a fair amount of material to turn in that direction, losing a few blade-fulls to make a banked track is usually worthwhile as it lessens the strain on the machine AND the operator. You will still have to use the steering clutches to make the turn, but it is easier.
If you are travelling uphill when you want to change direction with a powershift, simply de-celerate, let the machine roll to a stop or very nearly stopped, make your change and let the decelerator up again.
When travelling downhill, decelerate, use the brake to bring the tractor to a stop, make your change and let the decelerator up again.
Even when changing up or down without changing direction, it is a good idea to decelerate immediately before making the change.
Cat Powershift transmissions, as I understand it were and are designed for full power, on-the-go shifting BUT it is simple common sense to lessen the load and shock of any change to prolong machine and component life. Even on the earlier Powershift (Pre-hydrostatic drive) Cat track loaders which only have a hand throttle, I usually throttle back before making a shift, then throttle up again.
Speed kills tracks and undercarriages. SALT - Sealed And Lubricated Track - tracks are a BIG improvement. I am currently operating a Cat 953 track loader with SALT tracks. We are in a spell of wet weather at the moment so, although they are loose enough to need adjusting, I have not adjusted the tracks until the weather dries up again. This is to allow a little extra slack so that dirt and mud building up in the tracks doesn't make them too tight. When the weather dries up, I will adjust the tracks again. This will be the SECOND adjustment in 14 months of working 5 1/2 days a week, 9 1/2 hours a day. WITH a LOT of SHARP turns. That beats the old dry tracks.
Simple common sense is a tool-of-trade for a good operator. So is a good awareness of how what you are doing with the machine at any given time is affecting the machine. See the first paragraph.
As I understand it, most Cat track machines, or at least the 'dozers, are designed to go to 45 deg, before tipping. I believe this is a U.S. defence force requirement.
Most operators will press the 'chicken switch' before they get that far.
Also, I have been told most Cat powershift machines have a built-in safety feature in that their transmission pumps will not pick up sufficient oil to drive the machine once you get much beyond about 30 to 35 degrees. I have had D6's, D7's and D8's stop when travelling along the slope on batters around 1 1/2 to 1. They would reverse out if travelling forward when they stopped or drive out forward if reversing but they would not continue to travel in the original direction.
At those times, I was quite often running around on the batter in second gear as the machine felt quite stable. It just stopped driving.
Basic maintenance is a must. Check all oils and water every day, grease the machine daily, more so in dusty conditions, examine it all round regularly for any signs of wear, leaks, cracks or bits that are falling off or have already done so.
Hope this helps.
You have a wonderful day. Best wishes. Deas Plant.