New Equip­ment Test: Cat D6R Se­ries III dozer

Ron Horner checks out a used Cat D6R Se­ries III dozer that cost his neigh­bour a few bob to re­pair due to some shifty pre­sale shenani­gans

Earthmovers & Excavators - - Contents -

Liv­ing in a city or sub­ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment these days, one is not com­pelled to in­ter­act with your neigh­bours, but in the coun­try or bush it is ex­pected the first thing you do when mov­ing into the area is to in­tro­duce your­self to them.

Well, it’s taken me six years to meet my ‘phan­tom neigh­bour’, Bruce Wag­ner. Go fig­ure!

Now Bruce is a born and bred Boonah bloke who has ac­cu­mu­lated a cou­ple of good prop­er­ties, one of which butts into the prop­erty where I live.

It is lo­cated in a moun­tain­ous re­gion of the Scenic Rim in SE QLD and is cov­ered in vast ar­eas of re­growth, lan­tana, black wat­tle and por­phyry rock boul­ders, but when ti­died it ex­poses some beau­ti­ful rich black soil which, as we get some pretty handy rain­fall, makes this an ideal cat­tle pro­duc­ing part of the coun­try.

To get the max­i­mum value re­quired to run his ever in­creas­ing cat­tle num­bers Bruce has bought a very tidy Cater­pil­lar D6R Se­ries 3 Dozer with a tree pusher, stick rake and stan­dard rip­pers to use in clear­ing and to keep on top of the neverending bat­tle of weed and re­growth con­trol.

NEVER ENOUGH

Now Bruce and his sons have plenty of farm- or heavy-plant-re­lated ma­chin­ery, but to achieve the best out­come for his prop­er­ties he needed some­thing bet­ter and more mod­ern than his lit­tle In­ter­na­tional BTD6 dozer which had faith­fully served him for so long.

Not want­ing to be work­ing un­der the bon­net re­pair­ing the ma­chine ev­ery­day Bruce went in search of a used, low-hours, com­pet­i­tively priced D6R with spec­i­fi­ca­tions to suit his ap­pli­ca­tion up here on the moun­tain.

Find­ing one in Vic­to­ria, Bruce went about do­ing all the checks and bal­ances and had a heavy ma­chin­ery pro­fes­sional com­plete his ap­praisals be­fore pur­chas­ing from a rep­utable heavy­ma­chin­ery dealer.

With all the boxes ticked (and items re­quir­ing at­ten­tion noted) Bruce bought a tidy lit­tle 8000hour Cater­pil­lar D6R Se­ries III dozer.

Bruce’s son Kurt de­signed and man­u­fac­tured both the stick rake and the rip­per coun­ter­weight, while the tree pusher was fab­ri­cated out of Toowoomba. A new set of track gear was added and presto, the D6R was up and run­ning ─ well for the first eight hours at least!

Un­be­known to Bruce and the ap­praiser, the fi­nal drive mo­tors had pre­vi­ously en­coun­tered is­sues and had non-gen­uine bear­ings re­placed and bas­tardised be­fore be­ing painted, de­tailed and hastily put on the mar­ket for sale.

Even af­ter com­plet­ing all the pre-pur­chase assess­ments on the ma­chine, Bruce was now faced with a sub­stan­tial cost in get­ting the Cat D6 op­er­a­tional and he ba­si­cally had not turned a wheel (or track).

These are just some of the is­sues fac­ing the buyer of used ma­chin­ery who, af­ter check­ing ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble, dis­cov­ers there are

un­scrupu­lous peo­ple in the in­dus­try who can mask se­ri­ous faults prior to sale.

Bruce en­gaged Hast­ings Deer­ing from Bris­bane to ser­vice and ex­e­cute the re­pairs, and in do­ing so has built up an ex­cel­lent owner/dealer/ser­vice re­la­tion­ship. The end re­sult is that Bruce now has a very tidy, mod­ern and re­li­able D6R Se­ries

III dozer.

WALKAROUND

The pre­sen­ta­tion of the D6R is ex­cep­tional and fault­less. As the lit­tle Cat crawled its way along the road and into the test­ing grounds, it was quite ap­par­ent that Bruce has pride in his gear and, as I was to later find out, even greater pride in his work.

The area in which we tested the dozer was not go­ing to be easy to tackle – de­com­posed bedrock ma­te­rial on which I had al­ready run a 28-day soak and com­paction test.

It was suit­able for some rea­son­able road-base ma­te­rial for our in­ter­nal roads and, in win­ning the ma­te­rial, I hoped we could gouge out an area of some 2000 square me­tres ca­pa­ble of hold­ing wa­ter for fu­ture use.

The D6 is a well-bal­anced ma­chine and per­fectly suited to a con­trac­tor like Bruce.

The tree pusher was still fit­ted but as we had no trees to push or to rake it looked a bit of overkill for our needs.

The ma­chine was stan­dard fit­ted with Cat­de­signed par­al­lel­o­gram multi-shank curved rip­pers ca­pa­ble of hous­ing three shanks, but we fig­ured two were more ben­e­fi­cial on this job due to the tight ground con­di­tions.

A home-made Wag­ner-de­signed rip­per coun­ter­weight was fit­ted in or­der to give the dozer a bit more weight over the back end (and proved war­ranted as it bal­anced out the tree pusher just nicely).

The FOPS cabin, pro­tec­tive frame and new track gear hous­ing the el­e­vated drive mo­tors stuck out like a bea­con in a fog and com­ple­mented the over­all ap­pear­ance of this very tidy ma­chine.

IN THE CAB

As with all Cat gear the cabin is stan­dard but fit­ted out more than ad­e­quately for blokes like me and Bruce (both age­ing old-school fel­las do­ing it tough at the end of any day), and has the easy-to-iden­tify gauges of rel­e­vance smack bang in front of you.

The ta­pered hood, notched fuel tank and nar­row sin­gle-shank rip­per car­riage give the op­er­a­tor a clear line of sight to the front and rear work ar­eas. The large sin­gle-pane win­dows of­fer ex­cel­lent view­ing to the sides and blade. The low rear win­dow lets the op­er­a­tor see the rip­per tip, and the 30-de­gree-off­set op­er­a­tor’s seat al­lows per­fect for­ward and rear vi­sion with­out com­pro­mis­ing your neck.

Dif­fer­en­tial steer­ing con­trols the di­rec­tion and de­gree of turns, for­ward/re­verse shift­ing and gear se­lec­tion in a sin­gle con­trol han­dle en­hanc­ing op­er­a­tor com­fort. Touch but­tons on the steer­ing con­trol oper­ate the elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled power-shift trans­mis­sion.

UN­DER THE HOOD

The Cat runs a tried and true 8.8-litre Cat C9 ACERT turbo-diesel en­gine, devel­op­ing a healthy 159kW (213hp) and has a 450-litre fuel tank and a 51.5-litre hy­draulic tank.

I love the ‘un­der­hood ser­vice light’ which makes the prestart checks on night shift so darn easy and, of course, any af­ter-dayshift re­pairs or ser­vic­ing eas­ier to ex­e­cute.

The D6R’s ma­jor com­po­nents are mod­u­lar in de­sign and most can be re­moved with­out dis­turb­ing or re­mov­ing oth­ers. The D6R also has the in­built ser­vice­abil­ity of the flex­i­ble Cater­pil­lar Mon­i­tor­ing Sys­tem which can be up­graded as tech­nol­ogy changes and new elec­tron­ics and pro­grams be­come avail­able.

We re­alised how easy ser­vic­ing was when the D6R’s ser­vice fell due while work­ing on the job; the mobile ser­vice­man from Hast­ing Deer­ing was prompt and ef­fi­cient and had the ma­chine back in ac­tion in no time.

ON THE JOB

As I said be­fore, the task we had in mind was not go­ing to be an easy one for the lit­tle D6.

A touch too small for the works on hand, a touch too light in the rear end where a set of quad rip­pers would have made a lot of dif­fer­ence in this ap­pli­ca­tion, but, to its credit and Bruce’s op­er­at­ing abil­ity, the D6R Se­ries III came through the or­deal with fly­ing colours and achieved a truly re­mark­able out­come.

The dif­fer­ence be­tween a big and small ma­chine in this en­vi­ron­ment is time and money. The big­ger the ma­chine, the more dol­lars per hour but less time on the job … a smaller ma­chine is less in dol­lars per hour but more time on the job.

We were able to pro­duce about 1500 tonnes of road base (which equates to al­most $40,000 value in this re­gion), another 1000 tonnes of top­soil and loam, and left us with a tidy 2000-square-me­tre hole just ready to be con­verted into land­scaped wa­ter stor­age.

This rock was tighter than a fish’s bum; we had al­ready tried in vain to rip it with an ex­ca­va­tor and had had some suc­cess in ham­mer­ing it with a rock breaker, but this was costly and non­pro­duc­tive over such a large area.

THE BOT­TOM LINE

This size Cat dozer is a great all-round size and per­former, very ca­pa­ble of per­form­ing some of the larger, more dif­fi­cult jobs but per­fect for trim­ming and gen­eral earth­works.

I learned a few things over the test pe­riod, one of them be­ing that I have a lot in com­mon with my great neigh­bour Bruce Wag­ner.

I also learned that Hast­ings Deer­ing’s spare parts sec­tion is open 24/7 for any cus­tomer to ac­cess any parts re­quired.

I also met a cou­ple of ex­cel­lent, knowl­edge­able, po­lite and pro­fes­sional fit­ters from Hast­ings Deer­ing in Matt Di­flo and Mitch Mul­hol­land, both whom love their job, their com­pany and the equip­ment they work with.

1

2 1. Bruce Wag­ner’s Cat D6R Se­ries III dozer

2. The tree pusher was fab­ri­cated out of Toowoomba

3. The Kurt Wag­ner-de­signed rip­per coun­ter­weight

4. Diff steer­ing makes op­er­a­tion easy

4

3

Hast­ings Deer­ing ser­vice­man Matt Di­flo (left) and Bruce Wag­ner

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