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  1. #1
    Silver Member davemhughes's Avatar
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    Default Caterpillar D5N Dozer Rental Question

    Ok here's the deal, I need a road bladed 1900ft with a few medium sized trees pushed over and piled up. Also in a dry creek crossing 60ft across with about a 6 ft depth in the center, I need dirt pushed in to make a crossing, later with rock and tubes. I had a guy come look and he wants $1500 to bring his D7H dozer out to do the job. Said its a one day job. I can rent a D5N dozer for a WEEK delivered and picked up to and from my property for $1900. No I have never run a dozer but I figure in a week I can learn. Not looking for absolutely level just smooth to lay a rock road bed. $1500 for one days work seems VERY high for what I need done as most of the blade work is straight dirt work with no rocks. Yes I know a D7 is bigger but the question is if you think a D5N will do the job??? Plus I figure since I would have it a week I can do a lot more with it than just the bare bone basics I asked this guy to do. I also figure I can later hire a motor grader to do the road shaping work for $300 (quoted rate).
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  2. #2
    Platinum Member QwikDraw's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caterpillar D5N Dozer Rental Question

    So let me get the facts straight.

    1) You want to spend $400 more to rent a smaller machine and do the work.
    2) You'll spend at least $100 a day for fuel.
    3) Then you'll spend an additional $300 for a grader to finish the job.
    4) You have never run a dozer.

    Looks like you are trying to justify renting so you can run a dozer, which is fine if you understand that. I ran a dozer for over ten years and I will say it is much harder then it looks to set a grade. A D7 is a big machine and the transport and daily running cost is high. $1500 is a fair price if the job is done right.

    The question is do you want to spend more to rent and get to operate a dozer, it could be fun but is the cost worth it. Your call.

    Ted

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Caterpillar D5N Dozer Rental Question

    Dave, you having never run a dozer before are going to eat up half your rental time getting familair with the machine and the other have probably ineffectively moving some dirt. But if you think you can do the job at hand GO for it! If nothing else you will get some seat time on the Cat 5N.Although I agree that $1,500 a day (but maybe he priced it for the job and not on a per hour basis) is high for the D7 you also have to remember that the machine has to be moved to and from your property which entails time and cost. Why not rent the 5N and find a skilled operator to get your road in and then you can play with it the rest of the rental time.
    "Good judgement comes from experience.Experience comes from bad judgement."

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Caterpillar D5N Dozer Rental Question

    QuikDraws telling it like it is.He is the voice of experience. I cut into a road to my small housing developement with a rented CAT D3 I had a few thousand hours experience on a CAT 941 & 935 track loaders that I owned is the past. I basically wasted my money on the rental because I didn't have the operating skill with a dozer yet. I was able to cut out some rock though that I could not cut with my tractor. I would have been better off to rent a CAT track loader and finished the task. And as far as you having fun with the rental CAT 5N.............I always say " Five minutes of fun and the rest is ALL WORK!
    "Good judgement comes from experience.Experience comes from bad judgement."

  5. #5
    Silver Member davemhughes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caterpillar D5N Dozer Rental Question

    Thanks, things to think about and figure in. So you figure 50gal of fuel a day in a 5N, was "told" the 5N's were fairly fuel efficient so to speak? So the original question remains.......will a D5N do the job you think? I am kind of holding to the thought (maybe wrong) that a dozer is for pushing dirt and a motor grader is for setting grade.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Caterpillar D5N Dozer Rental Question

    I have a d4 and can burn up to a tank and a half on a long hard 12 hour day. Pushing down trees is one thing but grading off a road requires someone with EXPERIENCE. Anyone can drive a dozer but to efficiently operate it is a whole other deal. I've had mine for probably 4-5 years now and I am just now getting to where I can cut a decent grade on it. I've probably used mine for 200-300 hours but most of mine was used to clear trees/undergrowth.
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  7. #7
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caterpillar D5N Dozer Rental Question

    Dave,

    The dozer isn't a very good tool for road building, but it's fine for roughing it in and clearing. I have a dozer and it's the best thing I have for building roads, but if I need one built, I bring in a guy with a motor grader. What he can do in a few hours will take me several days and still not be close to as nice or smooth.

    I can grade a road so it's drivable, but not smooth. My dad has been at it for months and just doesn't get it. Some people will never be able to run a dozer effectively, but most can run one easy enough to get most things done.

    Without knowing you, but know a little about moving dirt, I think you're wasting your time and money to try and put in a 1,900 foot road on your own with the dozer. You will get to a point that it starts to take shape, but then it won't get any better. Then you will be pushing it around to fix one area and at the same time, ruin another.

    A skilled operator will do it all at once. He will clear it in a pass or two, then grade it and be done.

    The difference in power from a D7 to a D5 is enormous. The D5 will struggle to cut hard packed clay and move it. The D7 will slice through it like it's nothing. It will cut it, roll it and compact it far faster and better than the smaller dozer. The advantage to small dozers is they are easy to transport and can get unstuck real easy. Big dozers will outperform and work a small one by a huge margin. It's not like a little bit, it's a HUGE difference.

    But before hiring or renting the dozer, I'd have that guy with the motor grader out and ask him if he can do the entire road. If he can drive the motor grader across there, he can do it better and faster than the D7. Most motor graders are very powerful and have no problems digging out a road on flat or rolling land.

    If I had $1,500 to spend on the road and didn't own the equipment, I'd consider hiring a backhoe to take out the trees. A regular construction sized backhoe can take out any tree there is pretty quickly. You said medium sized, so that makes it easy. Around here you can get a guy to run one for
    $45 to $55 an hour. Have him there for a day to clear the way for the road. Then the next day, or a week, have the motor grader come out and cut your road.

    If not, then my next option would be to hire the D7 and pay for his experience. That's worth more than the dozer.

    I would only rent the dozer if you were doing rough work or some light clearing. A D5 is on the small side for serious land clearing, but fine for medium trees and brush.

    To take out a tree with a dozer is either very simple or very hard. HP and weight make the difference. If you have that, then the trees just lay over. If not, then you need to cut the roots and maybe dig some dirt. Each tree species is different and depending on the size of the tree, will decide on how much digging you will have to do. Sometimes with a dozer, you also have to build a ramp on the pushing side to get up higher on the tree to push it over.

    It can take a very long time to take out a tree with a small dozer. The D5 is a medium dozer, so it can go either way. Operator skill will make a huge difference. A new guy will waste allot of time and get nowhere, while a pro will get it done as fast as possible.

    My neighbor hired a guy with a low track D5. It's smaller and has less power than the hightracked ones. It's fine for clearing trails and light duty stuff, but they had to bring in a 325 trackhoe to take out the bigger trees. That small dozer just couldn't get anything done with the trees, or even moving the brush piles to the burn area. I used my Case 1550 to take out some trees and pile them up for him that the smaller dozer couldn't take out, but the pile was too much for him to take apart. I will say that the operator of that D5 has more experience and skill than I do, but his machine was just too small to do what they needed to do with it.

    Big dozers clear land, small dozers make it pretty. Same thing with roads. The smaller dozer would be good if the road already existed and you needed to shape it or clean it up, but I seriously doubt you will be able to cut a road with it that you will be happy with. Especially if you have hard packed clay.

    Good luck,
    Eddie

  8. #8
    Silver Member davemhughes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caterpillar D5N Dozer Rental Question

    Eddie:
    thanks you broke it down to caveman science for me and I guess thats what I needed. Soooo it looks like i will just write the check and pretend to be happy about it.
    12k 20ft Equip Trailer
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    2006 35hp turbo diesel SAME 4x4 tractor w/
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    Pto tillers, box blade, rock rake, 7ft brush cutter, disc, straight blade, tooth bucket, pallet fork

  9. #9
    Super Star Member
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    Default Re: Caterpillar D5N Dozer Rental Question

    I would have to agree with Eddie on the motor grader being the best option to do what you have in mind. That being said, if time is not a factor, I have carved out quite a few fire trails with my D3 Dozer.

    As for taking out trees with a dozer, I found first using my ripper, with all the tines removed except for one in the center, to go around the base of the tree loosens the soil and severs the roots to make "Pushing" the tree over much easier.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Caterpillar D5N Dozer Rental Question

    I don't run a dozer (but i really want to. ) but I do run my business and I've seen people who have 100's of hours on tractors who can basically barely get out of their way doing dirt moving. In fact, doing snow removal this winter (26 inches of snow), my neighbor has twice the size of tractor as me with HST and I could move 2x as much snow as him. (if i was on his machine we'd have been done hours earlier)

    I'm sure the same thing is true with dozers. A skilled operator is just going to be able to zing right thru it and you're going to struggle. Maybe you have the gene and it takes you 2 or 3 days to get going, but he's already done and gone and you still have the rest of the week of work.

    $1500 for a 100,000 dollar (plus?) machine plus the transport truck and trailer, plus all day labor, plus insurance.
    Sounds like a **** of a deal to me.

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