Used Equip­ment Test: Sakai SV512TF pad­foot roller

Ron Horner puts a 2012 Sakai SV512TF self-prop pad­foot roller to work on our rock-strewn test­ing ground

Earthmovers & Excavators - - Contents -

The need to push new ac­cess tracks across our rocky Queens­land test­ing ground re­cently had us think­ing we needed to get in a self­pro­pelled vi­bra­tory pad­foot roller — we could push the pesky small rocks back into the earth and get a de­cent used equip­ment test in at the same time.

We wanted to source one as close to the Boonah grounds as pos­si­ble, so we turned to Com­paction Aus­tralia (CA) down at Been­leigh, just south of Bris­bane.

The boys put me in touch with an­other arm of their busi­ness based closer to home – Lock­yer Hire in Ip­swich. Be­tween all of us, we reck­oned the best ma­chine for the job was a 12-tonne, self­pro­pelled Sakai SV512TF vi­bra­tory pad­foot roller with 1400 clock hours.

Sakai, a re­gion in Ja­pan not far from Osaka, is the home of Sakai Heavy In­dus­tries, which was re­spon­si­ble for man­u­fac­tur­ing the first road roller in Ja­pan over 90 years ago. Ja­pan has over 1.1 mil­lion kilo­me­tres of road net­work and Sakai, now a spe­cialised roller man­u­fac­turer, ex­ports to all coun­tries around the world.


When buy­ing a used roller, there are many items which can cause you grief if you fail to do your checks and bal­ances prior to pur­chase. With­out go­ing into all of the ar­eas in too much depth, there are some ba­sics you must at­tend to.

Vis­ual in­spec­tion of any piece of used equip­ment is a must. Hy­draulic hose leaks, look­ing at wear and tear, os­cil­la­tion pins, joints and bushes, tyre wear and dam­age, hy­draulic oil dis­colour­ing, clean en­gine oil, and dated fil­ters are some ar­eas that must be checked.

When buy­ing a used roller, other items should be in­ves­ti­gated, in­clud­ing wear on the steel drum and pads (if it is a pad­foot roller), shock ab­sorp­tion rub­bers for tear­ing, noisy or jerky hy­dro­static trans­mis­sion, and scream­ing hy­draulic pumps when un­der load.

This par­tic­u­lar ma­chine cov­ers all the bases to a tee. For a hire com­pany roller, this is in very good con­di­tion and re­flects the main­te­nance and ser­vic­ing depart­ment at CA.

The SV512TF has 140 steel pads on the drum sit­ting 100mm high and shows min­i­mal wear rate. When in­spect­ing a ma­chine of this type, check to see if the pads are sig­nif­i­cantly worn or rounded, which could mean it has been worked hard in a rock-based en­vi­ron­ment. Re­plac­ing these is a big ex­pense if you are just start­ing out.

Once you get the man­ual/hy­draulic as­sist reartilt­ing en­gine cover sorted, you can see how the Perkins four-cylin­der tur­bocharged diesel en­gine fits so neatly into that en­gine bay. Hy­draulic pumps and fil­ters are all eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble, as is the al­ter­na­tor, air fil­ter, starter mo­tor and ra­di­a­tor. They sit well up out of the dirt and mud, mean­ing no whing­ing from the fit­ters when called upon to in­sti­gate re­pairs.

The 250-litre fuel tank sits snugly un­der and is built into the coun­ter­weight at the rear of the roller, all un­der a lock­able lid and well away from

van­dals. The 50-litre hy­draulic tank is lo­cated un­der the side of the cabin with easy-view read­ing glass, and is well pro­tected from dam­age.

This lit­tle girl weighs in at 13-tonne gross weight, there­fore de­liv­ers ap­prox­i­mately 40 tonnes of im­pact once the vi­bra­tor is en­gaged – not bad for a ma­chine of this size and ease of op­er­a­tion. The Sakai fits in­side the 2.4m width range, so float­ing it from job to job is non-con­fronta­tional with the law. And with both front-drum drive and rear-wheel drive from the hy­dro­static trans­mis­sion, climb­ing the ramps or the em­bank­ments on this job was not an is­sue.


The cabin is sparsely fit­ted out but has all the essen­tials re­quired to make it work.

The dash lay­out is sim­ple yet very ef­fec­tive, and not clogged with com­put­erised icons re­quir­ing a univer­sity de­gree to de­ci­pher.

All me­chan­i­cal gauges, tacho, tem­per­a­ture and fuel gauges stare back at you, with a cable-op­er­ated throt­tle on the left-hand side of the dash­board in easy and com­fort­able reach of the op­er­a­tor. Just set and for­get.

The air-con­di­tion­ing (af­ter­mar­ket) on/off dial, vi­bra­tor and wa­ter ap­pli­ca­tor are also lo­cated on the front dash­board. For­ward and re­verse are cable op­er­ated, and con­ve­niently and com­fort­ably lo­cated on the left be­side the driver’s seat. Mean­while, lift­ing your head up­wards you have wipers, wash­ers, and a twoway ra­dio all at your fin­ger­tips.

Vi­sion is great, with the ta­pered rear-en­gine cover just al­low­ing you that bit of ex­tra view­ing from the driver’s seat. The mir­rors are per­fectly lo­cated left, right and cen­tre, but all of them are a touch on the small side – per­son­ally I would like to see them domed and larger. Safety is para­mount these days, and with rollers al­ways work­ing within the con­fines of pedes­trian ac­tiv­ity, I think they could be ad­dressed.

The floor has a rub­ber mat/sheet ap­plied for full cov­er­age, which doesn’t min­imise the cabin noise too much, but that didn’t de­tract from the per­for­mance of the Sakai roller in this par­tic­u­lar ap­pli­ca­tion.


Per­for­mance on the job was well above ex­pec­ta­tions, as this is not a con­ven­tional ap­pli­ca­tion here. The rocks that seem to mul­ti­ply on this moun­tain overnight (in a breed­ing cam­paign one could com­pare to the rab­bit plague of the ‘40s) caused us a sig­nif­i­cant amount of grief when push­ing ac­cess tracks into the ar­eas deeper in the val­ley and on the next ridge.

Clear­ing of the veg­e­ta­tion is one thing, but the small rocks up to 300mm pop up ev­ery­where in the top­soil, so we de­cided to get the pad­foot in to thump the be­je­sus out of them and push them deeper to ‘whence they came’.

The roller’s two-speed trans­mis­sion worked in our favour by just tak­ing it easy over the rough ter­rain, and the fin­ished product was sur­pris­ingly good.

1. Ron Horner with the SV512TF vi­bra­tory pad­foot roller from Sakai

2. The Perkins four-cylin­der turbo-diesel en­gine sits neatly in the en­gine bay 3. The dash lay­out is sim­ple yet very ef­fec­tive

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