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  1. #1
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    Default What to look for when buying a used dozer?

    I'm a newbie in tractors and heavy equipments. I'm planning on getting a used dozer to cut new roads and maintain existing roads on my 120ac property. There's another 2.5 miles of private road leading to the property which needs maintanance every year after the rain season. The local rental yard is selling a Komatsu D31A with about 4k hours. He said he bought it at an auction to re-sell. He said I'm welcome to test drive and bring a mechanic to check it out. He refuses to disclose the condition of the machine. He's selling as-is with no warranty whatsoever. The machine has been re-painted and looks like brand new. What should I look for before commiting to buy this machine? Are there any other brands out there I should also look at? Where's the best source to find an impartial mechanic? Thanks in advance for you help.

  2. #2
    Super Member 3RRL's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to look for when buying a used dozer?

    Stumpfield,
    I don't know anything about dozers but I do about mechanics. The best mechanic is not necessarily the right one to evaluate this machine. I say this only because in all likelyhood, you may drive up there to find a local mechanic that will do that for you (since he lives there). But he may end up becoming the sellors "friend" if you know what I mean, and give you the blessing to buy it. If it was me, I'd ask one of my friends who is a diesel/heavy equipment mechanic, or a friend of a friend down here to accompany you up there. Pay his way up and take him with you. He will (should) be able to give you a list of pros and cons and a fair price to pay for said machine. If it is what the dealer is asking, when you buy it you'll know what condition it's in and no surprises or falsification to worry about. Then you can make up your mind if it's worth it or not.
    Rob-
    ...The Older I get...the Better I Used to be...
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: What to look for when buying a used dozer?

    A few years back I bought a 1973 international TD-9 dozer to work around my 240 acres thinking that it would be cheaper to own my own than to rent. Long story short, I couldn't keep the thing running, it was a money pit, and I ended up having to scrap it.

    Dozers are hard to keep running if you work them hard, old dozers are almost impossible to keep running, plus parts and labor are really expensive. It's not a matter of if it will break, but when, and how much it will cost to fix it.

    I'd highly recommend just renting a dozer when you need one. A rental dozer will be running when you need it, and more importantly, if it breaks then it's their problem not yours. Plus, you can get the size you need when you need it. A D-31 is a pretty small dozer, it'll take a lot of time to do a job that a D-6 size machine will make quick work of.

    Just my experience, learn from my mistakes.

  4. #4
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    Kubota B2710, IH TD6-62 dozer with Drott 4n1 bucket loader

    Default Re: What to look for when buying a used dozer?

    First and foremost, check the undercarriage, which consists of the sprockets, track links, bushings, rollers and pins for wear. There are several websites out thre where you can get this information. Here is just one of them:
    http://www.crawlerheaven.com/index.htm

    Here is a site that explains Komatsu small dozers. It's mainly for the D21 but the D31 is also mentioned.
    http://www.alaskaexcavators.com/Koma...zer_Models.htm

    Next check the hydraulics to make sure everything is working. Then start it up and see if can push dirt. Go forward and reverse. That will tell you if the transmission and final drives are working. Then turn right and left both under load and with no load on the blade both in forward and reverse. You should be able to spin the dozer around in both directions.

    I have probably missed something, but you get the idea.

    I have a 1963 TD-6 with Drott skid shovel loader and 4n1 bucket. An older machine that is in really fine condition. There is nothing wrong with an older machine if it has been maintained properly.
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  5. #5
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to look for when buying a used dozer?

    Aside from the obvious engine checks.. DO check the undercarriage. That is.. pins, bushings, rollers, track itself.. look fro stretching.. elongated holes.. repair links.. how many repair links? Is the cline adjustment tight.. does it still have adjustment left over? Everything look like it is tracking straight.. Try turning sharp with it to see if it is a track thrower... If it is.. you will larn to run with a couple big prybars and a sledge hammer with you at all times.. as wella s a grease gun..

    Check hyds. Anemic hyds on a dozer makes an unhappy situation.

    Check steering clutches.. etc.

    leaks? blade condition?

    Soundguy

    Quote Originally Posted by stumpfield
    I'm a newbie in tractors and heavy equipments. I'm planning on getting a used dozer to cut new roads and maintain existing roads on my 120ac property. There's another 2.5 miles of private road leading to the property which needs maintanance every year after the rain season. The local rental yard is selling a Komatsu D31A with about 4k hours. He said he bought it at an auction to re-sell. He said I'm welcome to test drive and bring a mechanic to check it out. He refuses to disclose the condition of the machine. He's selling as-is with no warranty whatsoever. The machine has been re-painted and looks like brand new. What should I look for before commiting to buy this machine? Are there any other brands out there I should also look at? Where's the best source to find an impartial mechanic? Thanks in advance for you help.

  6. #6
    Elite Member RobJ's Avatar
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    Spring, TX (Houston)
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    Kubota L2500

    Default Re: What to look for when buying a used dozer?

    In addition if you can put the dozer up against a big tree and let her rip. The idea is not to push over the tree but make sure both tracks spin. Hit the pedals to start/stop each and make sure you don't hear any clutch problems.

    Depending on how you use it even an old dozer can last a long time. If i had my BIL's jd350 I could pass it on to my son because I take care of it and know it's limitations (being old and such). BIL tears is up all the time, like pushing over tree stumps. This is hard on a dozer.

    Someone mentioned a d31 being small and you can rent a d6 for faster work. If you don't know how to run a dozer and you rent a d6 you can do a lot of damage to your land. A friend up at our weekend place can icing a cake with a dozer, he's been doing it for 45 years. You need to crown a 1/4 mile road and put in some ditches? Takes him about 3-4 passes and an hour, me 30 passes and 4 hours, BIL 100 passes and all day. Plus his looks right. Mine not so good.

    HEading up to College Station the other day they are working on Hwy 6. They had a couple D10's out there. Tear up land or not I would love to play on one of those. They weren't working at the time but my guess is they were there to push off the top soil.
    L2500

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What to look for when buying a used dozer?

    Thanks for the great info. I'm leaning toward buying because my property is in a very remote area with a very bad road and not easily accessible. It's hard to bring heavy equipment there. Everytime I need any major earth moving work done, the contractor had to drop the dozer off at the highway then drive it in there. I have to paid as much as $1000-$2000 extra charge just to get the equipment in and out. It would probably be the same if I rent one.
    I love to hire this work out. However, due to the construction boom in the area, it's getting harder and harder to get anyone willing to work because most contactors just want to pick the low hanging fruit. They want more $$ and complaint about the travel time and how much they could have made instead of driving down my road,.etc.
    Also, I'm not a very good planner. I don't know exactly what needs to get done at one time. I get more ideas on the go. So, having a small dozer on hand will let me do what I want and when I want it. As long as it can do the job, I don't mind taking longer. Besides, the guy who did all my work so far is using a D37E. That's not much bigger.
    I'm also thinking of being a good neighbor. The dozer will be handy to help fix the road or help pull people out if they got stuck. Now, I just need to find that friend's friend's friend who's a diesel mechanic and know everything about hydralics.http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/i...ons/icon10.gif
    Talking

  8. #8
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: What to look for when buying a used dozer?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobJ
    Someone mentioned a d31 being small and you can rent a d6 for faster work.
    A Komatsu D31 weighs in around 16,000 lbs. It's a nice small landscape dozer, like a JD350 or Cat D3. Depending on your soil conditions, if you really want to move stumps and clear fields you are going to need something in the 25,000 lb range as a minimum and preferably something in the 40,000 lb range. Nothing less than a D6 size machine although people do accomplish a lot with a smaller machine, it just takes longer and costs more. Oh, and don't forget to get yourself a very large diesel storage tank. These dozers have a rather large appetite.
    My friends call me Mad, everyone else thinks I'm mad.

  9. #9
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to look for when buying a used dozer?

    If the road is bad to your place.. and they are charging you 1000-2000$ extra to get there.. I'm wondering why you did not have the dozer fix the road on the way in or out on one of those 1000$ trips.??

    Soundguy

    Quote Originally Posted by stumpfield
    Thanks for the great info. I'm leaning toward buying because my property is in a very remote area with a very bad road and not easily accessible. It's hard to bring heavy equipment there. Everytime I need any major earth moving work done, the contractor had to drop the dozer off at the highway then drive it in there. I have to paid as much as $1000-$2000 extra charge just to get the equipment in and out. It would probably be the same if I rent one.
    I love to hire this work out. However, due to the construction boom in the area, it's getting harder and harder to get anyone willing to work because most contactors just want to pick the low hanging fruit. They want more $$ and complaint about the travel time and how much they could have made instead of driving down my road,.etc.
    Also, I'm not a very good planner. I don't know exactly what needs to get done at one time. I get more ideas on the go. So, having a small dozer on hand will let me do what I want and when I want it. As long as it can do the job, I don't mind taking longer. Besides, the guy who did all my work so far is using a D37E. That's not much bigger.
    I'm also thinking of being a good neighbor. The dozer will be handy to help fix the road or help pull people out if they got stuck. Now, I just need to find that friend's friend's friend who's a diesel mechanic and know everything about hydralics.http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/i...ons/icon10.gif
    Talking

  10. #10
    Gold Member
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    Default Re: What to look for when buying a used dozer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy
    If the road is bad to your place.. and they are charging you 1000-2000$ extra to get there.. I'm wondering why you did not have the dozer fix the road on the way in or out on one of those 1000$ trips.??

    Soundguy
    This is exactly the kind of flexibility I like to have if it were my own dozer. Fix whatever I can on the way in or out.

    Anyway, fixing the road to my property is another project all by itself. The road situation to my property is a nightmare. It suppose to be a public road going through private properties. The county only maintain a small portion. The area that's really bad is on this guy's property known to be very difficult (never met him but I was told by the neighbors...) His fenced everything leaving only a 12 foot wide road. He threaten to sue anyone touches his fence. Other bad areas were natural causes. e.g. giant rock one side and a cliff going down a few hundred feet on the other side. The only way to widen the road is blasting the rock on this guy's property.

    In addition, the operator contracted to do work only do exactly what was told by his boss (the contractor). If he has to do something different e.g. knock this down or smooth this out along the way, it's a change order and must get a hold of the contractor and get him to agree with what's the extra charge.$$$... This is the situation you wish you have your own machine and just do whatever you feel like and make sense at the time.

    Now back to the dozer, the seller don't have any history of this machine and don't even know the year model. The machine is re-painted. It's hard to see all the signs of wear and tear. I got the feeling this guy is not willing to say much and unwilling to answer direct questions. So far, all his answers to my questions were "I'm not sure...go take a look yourself and test drive it... bring your own mechanic or you can talk to mine...It's a $75k machine and I'm only selling it for $15k. What do you expect?) Is this just standard business practice to avoid liability thing? How can one tell the hours on the meter is real?

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