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  1. #1
    Silver Member
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    Feb 2008
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    Southern IL
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    Kioti DK 65C

    Default Help choosing the right dozer.

    I am looking at a Case 450C Dozer next week. I have been reading a lot of posts concerning dozers and I am now starting to second guess myself. I need the machine to make a few miles of roads/trails in wooded and hilly land. I also plan to clear about 10 acres of land and maybe dig a few ponds. I am retired and the work would be done over the course of a few years. Is this machine big enough? I don't mind if it just takes longer to do the work but it still needs to be capable. I don't want too big of a machine because it will be harder for me to work on and more expensive too. Any thoughts would be appreciated. My budget recently went up to 22k from about 15k and if anyone has some persuasive arguments for me to use, it could go a little higher.


    Thanks,
    Jeff
    Kioti DK 65C 7' bush hog, backhoe, scraper box, tiller, chipper shredder, forks, auger.

  2. #2
    Silver Member
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    Default Re: Help choosing the right dozer.

    No replies? Should I be posting in a different category?

    I tried out a Case 650H LT yesterday at a dealer. It seemed pretty nice. I've never used a dozer before, but I've spent many hours running a JD450 crawler loader years ago. I had to use it in the gravel lot. It dug into the gravel pretty easily and it turned both directions good also. I am looking at a case 450 next week, but after seeing the 650, I think the 450 will be too small. They had a JD 450H there also. It was in the shop so I didn't get to run it but it looked about the same size as the case machine. To me the deere looked better built but I would need to operate it for a while to see how different it feels.


    Jeff
    Kioti DK 65C 7' bush hog, backhoe, scraper box, tiller, chipper shredder, forks, auger.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Help choosing the right dozer.

    I would recommend a little bit larger dozer than the 450 the 650 you tried out would be a heck of a lot better for your situation. I believe you will be spending a lot more time with the 450 than you expect it is a small dozer for the things you want to do with it just my 2 cents

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
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    Apr 2000
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    West Valley, New York
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    2004 JD 4310 300CX 72MM, dozers, excavtors, bachoes, loader, tractors.

    Default Re: Help choosing the right dozer.

    That is a pretty good budget for most things. however with dozers you might be stuck with a problem child if you find something sized like you want and price the same way too. example is that I sell small small machines around 10,000 pound dozers and these sell any where from $13,000 to $19,000. They are the Komatsu brand and run great. But you go to the mid size dozers adn they JUMP in price. I have a 1993 Komatsu D37P here that will sell for low $20's when completed and this is still only 17,000 pounds. OF course when you are operating a dozer doing yoru own work you will have a nice warm fuzzy feeling that is worth all the hassles.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Help choosing the right dozer.

    Jeff to bad your not closer to darinray those komatsu dozers are nice units and that one is in your price range.

  6. #6
    Silver Member
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    Southern IL
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    Kioti DK 65C

    Default Re: Help choosing the right dozer.

    Thanks for the replies,

    Schwartz04, I agree and I think I will stay with the larger machine.

    DarinRay, The more I look the more I am realizing that I need (want) to raise my budget. My reasoning with the wife is that we will own the machine for 20 years and spending a little more now will save on future repairs. The closest equipment dealer to us is about 50 or 60 miles away and it's a Cat dealer. The Cat's seem to be more expensive than other brands, especially from the dealer. I am seriously considering selling an old car that will raise my budget to the mid 30's hopefully. I haven't seen that many Komatsu's for sale but I will start paying more attention to them. What do you think of the Case dozers, there seems to be quite a few around here and they are cheaper than the Cat's or deere.


    Thanks,
    Jeff
    Kioti DK 65C 7' bush hog, backhoe, scraper box, tiller, chipper shredder, forks, auger.

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
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    West Valley, New York
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    2004 JD 4310 300CX 72MM, dozers, excavtors, bachoes, loader, tractors.

    Default Re: Help choosing the right dozer.

    Yes you have a good point.. Spend it now or spend it later and have to fix it.

    To be honest I'm not a fan of the Case machines in general but thats because I sell mainly KOMATSU. Seriously though whatever machine you buy will perform basically the same as other brands. Difference being resale value, parts cost (they are all higher than you want to spend), and of course initial costs becuase of the popularity of the machine. I think all of the top brands are pretty darn dependable now so just get to know your dealer or have your machine INSPECTED by a third party if private or even a dealer sale.

    Darin

  8. #8
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Tyler, Texas
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    Several, all used and abused.

    Default Re: Help choosing the right dozer.

    Jeff,

    When I bought my land and started clearing it, I had the use of a John Deere 450G dozer. At first, I was pretty excited about all the land clearing that I was going to be able to do with it.

    I found that it was fine for taking out small trees, but was pretty useless on anything over 6 inches thick. I could get them out if I removed enough dirt, but it took awhile. The larger the tree, the longer I spent messing with it.

    Then the real shocker. Moving those trees to a burn pile and cleaning up the mess was just about too much for that dozer. It just spins its tracks when trying to push just a few trees at a time, or a pile of brush. I actually gave up and went to chaining them up and draging them with my backhoe and 35hp CUT one at a time.

    I did have allot of fun heading off into the jungle and cutting new trails. As long as I stuck with the small stuff, It was great. Next to finish work, blazing new trails is my favorite thing to do. Then the prolem of cleaning up those trails became apperant. It was just too small a machine to push out piles of debri. I'd start with a small pile, but they tend to grow on you. The farther the push, the worse it got. Every time, I'd have to stop, split the pile in half, and push that half. It just wasn't practical for getting anything done.

    The final straw came when I was digging my small 3/4 acre pond. I had started out dgging it with my full sized backhoe. It's a Ford/New Holland 555E in 2wd. I would dig out some dirt, then haul it out with the front bucket. When the Deere 450G arrived, I thought that I'd just lower the blade and start pushing dirt. It was too light to dig into the hard packed clay. I tried the edge of the blade too, but it wasn't able to break through.

    A small dozer like that needs rippers to break up the dirt before it can push it. That dozer didsn't have rippers, so it was useless in pond digging for me. Even if it did have rippers, the blade was too small to move very much dirt anyway.

    It was a nice sized dozer for shaping and smothing out the shorline of that pond. With loose soil, it's ideal for this. Another good thing about that sized dozer is when you get it stuck, it's easy to get unstuck. I burried the tracks in mud while working on the edge of the pond and was able to pluck it out with a chain attached to the hoe bucket of my backhoe. The backhoe has plenty of power for pulling out a dozer of that size.

    Having said that, Meadowlarkponds is a member here and he has a Case 450 dozer. He loves it and has cleared allot more land then you plan on clearing with it. He's also dug at least one pond with it, but I don't know the details on wethere that was the only tractor that he used or not. He did have his last pond hired out to a crew with two D6's, so that might say something about small dozers too.

    When I decided to buy my dozer, I wanted something allot bigger then that 450G. My goal was low 100hp range. I looked at a Case 1150, Cat D5 D6 D7, JD 700 850 and the one I bought, a Case 1550. I paid $25,000 for it and have put about $10,000 into it in repairs. It's a 1988 machine with allot of hours on it. The meter isn't accurate, so there's no real way of knowing for sure. It's big enough to take out most trees up to 18 inches by just pushing them over if the soil is soft. In hard soil, middle of summer type conditions, I've had issues with 12 inch trees. Soil conditions make a huge difference in what you can push over and what you have to dig out!!!!!!!!

    I also found that digging ponds takes allot of time. My blade is rated for over 3 yards. That means that if I lower the blade an inch into the ground, it's full in about 20 feet. The rest of the distance that I'm moving is just travel time. Going back and forth all day long to dig that one inch in 20 feet takes hundreds and hundreds of hours to dig a decent sized hole. My blade is also 12 feet wide.

    Clearing roads and trails with it is still allot of fun. Unfortunalty, cleaning up those trails is still a nightmare. The problem with a bigger dozer, is that you make a bigger mess. With 168hp, I can really twist up some trees into a tangle that takes months to undo.

    Last year I tried something new in my timber clearing techique. I used the bachoe to take out the trees, then drag them to the burn pile right away. I kept the road clear from the very beginning and kept it up on the entire road. There are four roads in that area that are the same size and distance from the burn pile. The first three were done with the dozer, then cleaned up with the backhoe. Each of them took a day to clear with the dozer, but months to clean up. The newest road took two weeks to clear with the backhoe and it was done.

    I will never clear roads or trails with the dozer again. It's just not effective when adding in the time and effort it takes to clean up the debri they create.

    My dozer is now just used for shaping and spreading dirt. It's worthless for moving dirt very far, and it uses about five gallons of diesel per hour to run it, so I'm much more concious of when I use it and what I use it for.

    To move dirt, I load it into my dump truck, drive it to where I want it, and build up massive piles. This might take a few months, but then I spend a few hours on the dozer to shape and spread it out. Fuel wise, I'm saving allot of money. Work wise, I'm moving along at a fair speed, but it's all progress. No more doing something, then having to clean it up again.

    As for the ideal size, I'd think something in the 100hp range with a six way blade and hydrostatic drive would by ideal. Gear drive will get it done, but stearing and changing direction with hydrostatic is a huge plus. That Deere dozer had a solid sprocket, which meant pulling the tracks to replace it. Most other dozers have five piece sprockets, which make changing them real easy.

    If Cat is the closest dealer to you, then you should seriously consider buying a Cat. One fact is true with owning a dozer, it will break on you. They take allot of abuse and they are very delicate machines. Trees and brush clearing is probably the most abusive thing you can do with a dozer. I've had tiny pine trees work there way through my belly plates ant take out hoses, filters, wiring and my oil sending unit. Never drive over fallen trees!!!! Push them aside and always work on dirt.

    The Cat D5C is a low track dozer that's a good machine and probably in your budget. The high tracks are the big money machines, and more then you really need.

    I would only buy a machine that had a dealer close by. Do a search to make sure, but if Cat is your only dealer within an hour of you, that's really all I'd look at. Cat might be the most expensive, but they have earned that right with the best support and a history of making quality machines. Since you plan on keeping it for 20 plus years, think support first. It's the most important part of owning equipment.

    Eddie

  9. #9
    Silver Member
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    Feb 2008
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    154
    Location
    Southern IL
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    Kioti DK 65C

    Default Re: Help choosing the right dozer.

    Darin,

    There are a few Cat dealers and 1 JD dealer within 100 miles of me with 2 of the Cat dealers being closer than the JD dealer so I will probably lean towards a Cat. If I buy from a dealer, where would I find a mechanic to check out the machine? If I was buying from a private party I could have a mechanic from the nearest dealer check it out. I am kind of in the middle of nowhere.


    Eddie,

    Thanks for the reply, lots of info for me to think about. I appreciate you taking the time to post so much info.

    I didn't realize that the dozers would have problems pushing the trees over, I guess thats because the blades are low and you don't get much leverage like you do with a loader bucket.

    I love making new trails too. I've made some with my Kioti but that machine is very limited in what it can do and easy to damage. I didn't think about moving all the debris from making the new trails, I was just planning on pushing them a ways off the trail. I had an excavator cut in some trails for me a couple of years ago and you can hardly see any of the piles, they kind of blend in with the other fallen trees and branches.

    You convinced me to go with a D5 or a JD650. The place that I tested out the Case 650 had a Cat D5 but I didn't try it out! It looked big compared to the Case machine. Unfortunately it's about 90 miles away.

    "I also found that digging ponds takes allot of time. My blade is rated for over 3 yards. That means that if I lower the blade an inch into the ground, it's full in about 20 feet". Wow, that puts things in perspective. I guess I need to work a small dump truck into the budget.

    You are scaring me a little with all the talk of breakdowns. Is it mainly issues with the tracks or what? I'm guessing it's going to cost me around 4 or 5 hundred dollars to get the machine to the dealer and back. Depending on the type of repair, they could send out a mechanic, but that won't be cheap either.

    A couple of more questions:

    1) What would the fuel consumption of these machines be? I am guessing around 2 gallons an hour? My 65hp Kioti uses about a gallon an hour when I use it at about 3/4 throttle. I assume that I wouldn't run the dozer at full unless I was

    2) All the adds I see talk about % undercarriage. I understand that 70% undercarriage means that there is 70% wear left. But how does that translate into how many hours I could expect to put on the machine before major repairs to the undercarriage are needed?


    Thanks,
    Jeff
    Kioti DK 65C 7' bush hog, backhoe, scraper box, tiller, chipper shredder, forks, auger.

  10. #10
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Tyler, Texas
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    Several, all used and abused.

    Default Re: Help choosing the right dozer.

    My dozer is 168 hp and burns about 5gallons of diesel an hour. A smaller machine will burn less fuel, but take longer to move as much dirt. If I had a straight blade, I could move 5 yards of dirt instead of 3 for the same amount of fuel, but that would limit me on what I could do with my roads and shaping my dirt piles.

    As for taking out trees, height isn't as important as weight and power. It's much better to get the blade in under the tree and pop it out then it is to get up high and push it over. With bigger trees, they tend to snap in half before coming out. It's all in the roots, which is why small dozers have so much trouble. They spin their tracks, they stall from trying to pry with their hydraulics and they cut up the bark real bad, but unless you dig out the root ball and build up a ramp for some leverage, the tree isn't going anywhere. Even with my medium sized dozer, I prefer to use my backhoe for taking out the medium to large trees. If it doesn't go over with one push, I move on.

    It's hard to explain what will break and when. If I knew that, I'd stay indoors on those days. hahaha Hoses are the most common things that go. Just don't let them break when you are far out in the woods and there's no way to get it off. Then there are the cylinders. They will leak sooner or later. Some are very heavy, others are incredably dificult to get to.

    What else will break? It all goes back to Murpheys Law. If it can, it will.

    Undercairage were is the big money item on a tracked machine. At 50 percent, you will need to spend some money. At 70 percent, it's gonna happen pretty soon. The tracks are metal rubbing on metal. It's just a matter of time until they wear out. Do you know the terms of the tracks and what to look for? Measureing wear versus hours of life is a tricky question. First, dealers and those selling the equipment lie about wear. Don't even waste your time asking, it wont be the truth. Either figure out how to rate this yourself, or have a pro look at the machine first. Each manufacturer has their own rating and measurements that you take to determine wear. You add them all up and figure out the averages for total wear.

    Sand is really bad on wear, as is mud. If you have fairly solid soil, then the tracks can last thousands of hours. Of course, greese and the proper tension make a huge difference too.

    Either Cat of deere are just about as good as you will find. You can take a chance with the other barnds, but those two are the best.

    Eddie

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