New Equip­ment Test: East Wind YCT356S-S dozer

The East Wind YCT356S-S com­pact dozer not only pushes, cuts and lev­els – with a three-point link­age, rear hy­draulic re­motes and a two-speed PTO it can also take on many of the tasks of a farm trac­tor. Tom Dick­son puts it to the test

Earthmovers & Excavators - - News -

First de­vel­oped for the Aus­tralian mar­ket in 2007, the East Wind YCT doz­ers have the trac­tion of a com­pact dozer and the fea­tures of a trac­tor.

The ver­sa­tile lit­tle 35hp YCT356S-S rough-ter­rain trac­tor/dozer is per­fect for life­style and hobby farm­ers who own prop­er­ties that tra­di­tional-style trac­tors strug­gle to op­er­ate in.

It also presents it­self as one ma­chine ca­pa­ble of do­ing the job of two.

The 35hp steel track dozer fea­tures a 2.16-litre, 4-cylin­der diesel en­gine, man­ual 4-speed trans­mis­sion with high/low range plus a six-way front blade with sin­gle joy­stick con­troller for light earth­mov­ing du­ties.

Ad­di­tion­ally it is fit­ted with a three-point link­age, rear hy­draulic re­motes and a 2-speed PTO, giv­ing it the added ver­sa­til­ity to drive a slasher, rip­per, post hole dig­ger or any other im­ple­ments you would cou­ple with a small-horse­power wheeled trac­tor. The gi­ant foot­print af­forded by the long, wide tracks com­bined with the low cen­tre of grav­ity gives you in­creased trac­tion and sta­bil­ity.

A well-en­gi­neered and -con­structed ROPs frame pro­vides lit­tle in the way of weather and noise pro­tec­tion but does of­fer ex­cel­lent op­er­a­tor in­jury pre­ven­tion in the un­for­tu­nate event of a rollover. A metal roof as well as front, side and rear in­tru­sion cages pre­vent branches and other de­bris from en­ter­ing the op­er­a­tor’s workspace.

EN­GINE

Made by Chi­nese en­gine man­u­fac­turer Laidong, the 4-cylin­der di­rect-in­jec­tion diesel mo­tor gen­er­ates its max­i­mum 35hp at 2350rpm and max­i­mum torque of 120Nm at 1650rpm.

At these revs it gen­er­ates a fair amount of noise, so with­out the lux­ury of a sealed cabin you’ll need to in­vest in a good set of ear muffs to pre­vent pre­ma­ture hear­ing loss.

Check­ing the en­gine oil is done by re­mov­ing a side panel and grab­bing the dip­stick, but all other ser­vice checks can only be done with the bon­net raised. That wouldn’t nor­mally be an is­sue, how­ever to open the bon­net you have to first swing the front in­tru­sion bars up and out of

The ef­fec­tive trac­tion that the tracks pro­vide mean ev­ery ounce of avail­able horse­power gets to the ground

the way and re­move the air cleaner bowl. It’s a bit in­con­ve­nient but I think most rea­son­able peo­ple would agree that a safe work­ing en­vi­ron­ment is more im­por­tant than a few saved min­utes.

TRANS­MIS­SION

The dozer has a 4-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion with high/low range to give you the se­lec­tion of eight for­ward and two re­verse speeds.

That turns out to be more than enough choice for a ma­chine this size.

While gears can be se­lected on the move, it was much eas­ier and took less ef­fort if the ma­chine was al­lowed to stop be­fore mak­ing the change in ei­ther di­rec­tion. Chang­ing be­tween high and low range is only pos­si­ble when the ma­chine is brought to a sta­tion­ary po­si­tion.

Top speed is a very se­date 11.5km/h, which is prob­a­bly am­ple given the type of rugged ter­rain it is pre­dom­i­nantly go­ing to be work­ing in.

The ba­sic rule of thumb for range se­lec­tion seemed to be low range for all work ac­tiv­ity and high range for get­ting from A to B.

A cou­ple of times the ma­chine jumped out of low range when I was slash­ing, which caused a bit of con­cern, but it turned out that this was be­cause I had failed to en­gage the low-range lock­ing mech­a­nism that pre­vents the stick from bounc­ing out of gear when high torque lev­els are placed on the drive train.

IN THE SEAT

As I climbed aboard East Wind YCT356S-S dozer for the first time, I was pleas­antly sur­prised at how com­fort­able the driver’s seat is. It has a gen­er­ous amount of cush­ion­ing, has slide and tilt po­si­tion ad­just­ment, high back and shoul­der sup­port, as well as built-in ad­justable sus­pen­sion.

In the ab­sence of a steer­ing wheel, there is a sturdy bar to hold onto with your left hand while op­er­at­ing the front blade joy­stick and rear link­age and hy­draulic con­trols with your right.

On the floor be­tween your feet are three foot ped­als. The one in the mid­dle is the clutch, which needs no ex­plain­ing, while the two outer ones are the left and right turn­ing ped­als, which act as a clutch and brake for the cor­re­spond­ing track.

Press­ing down on the right pedal turns the dozer right while the left pedal turns it left. The harder you step on the pedal the sharper the turn, to the ex­tent that it will do a com­plete 180 on the spot.

An ob­vi­ous ad­van­tage it has over a wheeled trac­tor is that it is more ca­pa­ble of ma­noeu­vring around in densely treed bush and scrub.

AT THE REAR

The rear-end func­tions are what make this such a ver­sa­tile lit­tle as­set for farm­ing or land­scap­ing be­cause it al­lows the dozer to do the job of a small-horse­power trac­tor as well.

Its Cat­e­gory I three-point link­age has a lift height of 720mm at the hitch point and a lift­ing ca­pac­ity of 750kg. Both lower arms have man­ual height ad­just­ment as well as hy­draulic down­ward pres­sure and float.

A gear-type hy­draulic pump de­liv­ers up to 28L/ min to two sets of hy­draulic re­motes, one of which pro­vides con­stant flow.

A 2-speed, 540/1000rpm PTO and tow hitch com­pletes the pack­age.

ON THE JOB

With each work­ing test I put the YCT356S-S dozer through, I came away think­ing that it has def­i­nite ad­van­tages over a small trac­tor.

It glided over wet and muddy ground with­out look­ing like get­ting bogged; in fact, it hardly left a foot­print com­pared to the boggy mess that an ac­com­pa­ny­ing trac­tor left.

The ef­fec­tive trac­tion that the tracks pro­vide mean ev­ery ounce of avail­able horse­power gets to the ground, and the dozer’s low cen­tre of grav­ity made it feel very sta­ble on steep slopes.

The 1.8m-wide front blade has the added ad­van­tage of an­gling to the left and right as well as tilt­ing up and down on each side so it could cut small drains and form tracks and fire­breaks.

I drove over scrub, fallen tree branches and rocks – and even pushed up a scrap metal pile – with­out hav­ing to worry about blow­ing a tyre.

Head­lights plus one rear and two front work lights pro­vided good-enough light to get us home safely at the end of the day.

How­ever, one area that I felt wasn’t up to stan­dard was the se­lec­tion of spring clips and fas­ten­ers. Many were un­der­sized, lacked the abil­ity to hold suf­fi­cient ten­sion, or sim­ply fell out dur­ing the course of the test.

THE BOT­TOM LINE

After mov­ing a bit of dirt around, push­ing out some stumps and knock­ing down some long grass with the 1.2m Emu slasher that Mid­way Sales had sent with the East Wind YCT356S-S com­pact dozer, I am more than con­fi­dent that it is ca­pa­ble of han­dling all the de­mands that a small con­struc­tion/land­scap­ing site, hobby farm or life­style prop­erty would throw up.

It’s fair to say that this is not a re­place­ment for a trac­tor on all small acreage and life­style prop­er­ties, but if yours hap­pens to be fairly in­ac­ces­si­ble by tra­di­tional means due to steep hills, rocks and trees then it may well be just what you’re look­ing for.

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1. The East Wind YCT356S-S com­pact dozer is ca­pa­ble of han­dling the de­mands of a small con­struc­tion site or hobby farm

2. The comfy seat gave a very good first im­pres­sion

3. The track assem­bly is an ex­tremely ef­fec­tive way of get­ting en­gine power to the ground

4. It ef­fort­lessly climbs what­ever you place in front of it 4 3

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Above: The YCT dozer range has all the fea­tures of a trac­tor at the rear

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