Kind of difficult to believe there are no opinions
We have a small place in Texas (30 acres) with lots of limestone (and a little topsoil here 'n there!) I need to drive the fence line in my mini-truck, but some of the area is pretty rocky and tough on my rear-end and the truck. I've tried to move some of the largest rocks out of the way with my little 30 horse Kubota loader and box blade, but it's an exercise in futility. I've spent half a day making a 50' path for the truck
There is a late 1970s Case 450 with about 300 hours on a frame-out engine overhaul and supposedly good UC and running gear (and a 6-way.) I'll bet I could pick this little guy up for around 10K (or it would be no-deal for me.)
I realize large is good, small is not good when trying to push stuff around, so I'm attempting to do research to determine if the little 450 (~11,000 pounds) would be useful for my intended purpose. Nothing would be worse than getting the 450 and discovering it's only marginally better than my Kubota for moving rock.
Speaking of rock - the limestone rock is mostly loose with zillions of boulders up to maybe three feet in diameter. Many are like icebergs - 90% of the mass is buried.
It would be nice to have a dozer to keep my roads in good condition, but the box blade does an okay job of that - not great, but okay (hmm - maybe the operator?)
I would covet opinions of those with small dozer experience in limestone rock!
Kind of difficult to believe there are no opinions
I'm in a similar situation here in Mid Tenn. I have just acquired a Cat D4G that I haven't really gotten to work withy yet. But when I started with the rocks a couple of years ago I started with a 420D TLB 4x4. I have found that if I can hook the front bucket under a large rock, in 4WD I can scoot a lot of rock. I have had to dig around many of them with the hoe to unearth what was hidden. My first impressions are that if you have much hidden in the ground, the Case won't move it very well. Just my .02. But of course, maybe this argument will help you convince the boss you need a TLB and a dozer! And then you'll have to trade the Kubota for a skid steer to work on clean up.....! Sometimes this game just never ends.
I've never been on a Case 450, but do have some experience with a John Deere 450G. I believe this is a bigger dozer then the Case, but don't know for sure. The Deere is good for residential work, but I found it to be too small for anything on the farm. I have 68 acres. My soil is mostly hard packed clay. No rock. That dozer was too small to dig in the dirt. It was fun for clearing some trails, but it really struggled in pushing the piles of debris. It was too light and small to accomplish very much.
Even with rippers, I would't expect to accomplish much with a small dozer in rock.
Remember that older equipment requires allot of wrenching. They are well used and like everything, parts will need to be replaced. Do you know what to look for in the undercarriage?
I have a Case 1550 dozer that does a good job of the hard packed clay on my land, but it still struggles in some areas. It weights almost 40,000 pounds and has 169hp cummins 8.3 turbo in it. I doubt it would be very good for rock without rippers.
If I had just a few jobs to do around the place, I'd hire it out and be thankful that I didn't have to maintain the equipment. Remember, when hiring others to do stuff, you are also paying them to suffer through keeping it running. Operating is easy, the really hard part is keeping them running!!!!!
When you've had to replace a track by yourself, or chainsaw your way underneath to get to a busted hydraulic line, or been stuck for days at a time, you'll realize that buying isn't always such a great idea.
The 450 is a good dozer for fine grading, golf course work, residential grading. The 450c had a bit more power but still just for fine grading. Either way no 450 would be a match for the limestone and rock you're talking about. If you want just a dozer I would be looking at one in the 160 - 200Hp range with a ripper.
Heavy vehicle mechanics have bigger tools.
That's what I was afraid of. When the site prep work was being done for my shop, the slab contractor used an old track loader probably about D6 size with rippers to get fill from my borrow pit. He didn't have much of a problem.Even with rippers, I would't expect to accomplish much with a small dozer in rock.
What do you guys think about an old Deere 450 dozer-loader There's one I noticed on eBay.
I have a pretty well equipped shop and a good selection of tools, so I'm not adverse to DIY maintenance, but I understand the complexity and difficulty of maintaining equipment.
John, look for something bigger. An 850 Case would do pretty good. These are the dozers I run, and they WILL Push, especially the E-models on up. You need something
that size, or AT LEAST a 650/700 John Deere.The Case 850 is very durable, powerful, and not too complicated to work on. They are first-generation hydrostatic, you could say, having two transmission with Hi and Lo, which allows you to make turns while pushing without hurting the steering clutches. The Case would be the Best for your particular job, HOWEVER: The Final drive cases on the Case stick out a good six inches to the inside of the tracks, and this makes them SUCK for forestry use, because the cases are always hanging on a stump and bringing you to a SUDDEN Stop. You learn to wiggle your rear end passing over stumps. Get an E through G model, the H's are electronic and WEAK, the G is the best, for a used one. If you get New, get the 850K, it's ALL hydrostatic. If you intend any forestry work, such as Brushing, Skidding, fire fighting, etc, GET THE JOHN DEERE! They have higher ground clearance, and are MUCH more nimble and quick-handling, plus faster tram speed. They are lighter-built, and so are Breakable, but not overly so. If you want a dozer to Last, with Power, get the Case. Oh, and DON'T get one without a winch of some kind, you have NO IDEA how handy a winch is until you've HAD one for a while. The Possibilities are literally Endless.
I had a conversation yesterday with my ex-neighbor who owns a small dirt business and uses a Case tractor/loader and a Deere 550 dozer. He thought the 450 would be fine around my place for what I want to do. He said no way would this be a suitable piece of equipment to earn a living with due to its age, but it would be fine for poking around the ranch.
He reiterated what I already knew to only buy a dozer with at least 70% UC remaining.
Oh, O.K. he's actually SEEN the ground, then. Still, Shop Around, because farm tractors and dozers are alike in that the smaller and handier ones bring Top Dollar because EVERYBODY WANTS ONE. You can usually get Twice the dozer for Two-Thirds or Half the price of a smaller one, same with a tractor. There's a guy here locally selling an 1150 Case for 9500 dollars, but I'll bet it's one of the older 'Nut-Buster Steering' ones, with the steering levers mounted in the front and center of the seat. He didn't say what Model or Letter it was.
One thing to remember while larger machines are generally cheaper than smaller machines in both categories, remember this, parts are not.
Just price a set of tires for instance. 10.4 x 24 for my little deere "m" (20 h.p.) $275... not bad. 20.8 x 38's for my massey 1105 (125 h.p.) that I've since sold, those are in the $1,000 per tire range.
Its the same when you go to other items, it takes 5 qts of oil on my little deere m come oil change time. Massey was 16 qts...
Now all that wasn't to discourage you, just to let you know of some of the ownership costs of larger equipment. As for a time to purchase equipment, its the best I've seen for the buyer, good equipment going cheap cause no one has work for it. If the economy keeps sliding, the prices will continue following it, but it can't last forever and when the economy starts up again Iron is going to be expensive and hard to find.
Btw I think your on the right track with a crawler loader. With deere's i'd stay to the c's and later models. C's started the wet steering clutches, and they had a power shift.
Last edited by stumpjumper83; 05-03-2009 at 09:50 AM.
True, yet I look at it like a bigger machine doesn't have to work hard to do the light jobs, so will last Longer with less breakage, plus you CAN do Big Jobs if you need to. Small dozers popular due to cheaper to get Moved, but a Farm dozer, that's no worry, it'll make ONE trip, coming Home. Just offering an alternate viewpoint.
Jim - I have no problem with a D6 hanging around our small ranch! Big is good and if I could find a 'biggun, I'd make it a nice home here!
Looked at the Case today and had it demonstrated (since I didn't want to look like an idiot) and I think it's in pretty darn good shape. I told the guy (it's a consignment for his neighbor) I think it's worth 8 or 9K (asking 14k), and he didn't even want to take that to the owner. I gave him my card and said you never know. The dozer has been on the lot since last fall (maybe six-seven months.) We'll see what happens - if I get a call, I'll know the owner wants to negotiate.
Did you buy the Case? I am in a similiar situation. I would like to buy a dozer about this size to work on my land, but also be able to do some light to medium work for hire. If you did buy the Case how did it work?