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Thread: Cat vs John Deere Dozers

  1. #1
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    Cat vs John Deere Dozers

    I often read posts that regardless of the subject, people find some way to put in a plug for either a Caterpillar or John Deere based on their preference. They all seem credible, but here is my observation that seems to indicate to me that when it comes to Dozers, Cat has the advantage. First, here is the basis for my observation. I have worked around the earth moving profession since 1974 when I went to work in the coal mining fields of eastern Kentucky. As a reclamation supervisor and quality control engineer for Tesoro Coal Company in Hazard, KY, the Cat was the preferred machine. They tried Terex which eventually everyone began to call Timex because they did not hold up. I later became a Reclamation Specialist and was on coal mines in KY, VA, West VA, TN, CO, WY, MT, North Dakota, and Alaska. The predominant machine was Cat. In fact, I do not remember a John Deere machine on any of the coal mines I inspected in all those years. In 1987, I became a Remedial Project Manager on the largest Superfund Site in the US. The famous Berkeley Pit and associated superfund activities in Butte, MT including Silver Bow Creek and the Clark Fork River. The incredible mess was created by the Anaconda Minerals Company but the obligations fell to ARCO who bought out Anaconda (they lived to regret that). In all the massive activities associated with the remedial activities in Butte and the actual reconstruction of 22 river miles of Silver Bow Creek, I never saw a Deere. Let me admit that most of the machines on these kind of sites were above the D6 size machines. But there were activites for smaller dozers going on and they were always Cat. In 2005, I went to Denver and worked on the Rocky Mtn Arsenal. This was a 6 square mile area near Denver where Mustard gas, sarin gas and other chemical weapons were producted and tested from WWI to Vietnam. It was considered one of the most contaminated sites in the world. Some operations required operators to use supplied air or SCBA and Level C PPE. There are 2 subtiltle C landfills on the arsenal and one of those (The Enhanced HWL) far exceeds subtitle C requirements due to the nature of the contaminats disposed there. About half those 6 square miles required earth work. There were several small dozers deployed there by numerous different contractors retained by the Dept of Defense. They were all Cat. I spent almost all my time doing on-site inspections. Often just watching dozers push dirt. Some of the best equipment operators on the planet were on this project. The requirements were as high as I have ever seen. Safety was beyond believe. If you were stung by a bee or nicked your finger with a pocket knife, it had to be fully reported and investigated and I mean that literally. There were cases of operators being escorted to the gates and released for what would have gone unnoticed on most coal mines. The point is this. Why did these high level contractors use Cat dozers? What do they know or not know that causes them to select Cat? In fact, I remember the adage at the arsenal, that if it is a dozer, it has to be a Cat. There was always other brands when it came to loaders, trucks, excavators, compactors, etc. But not when it came to Dozers. I have nothing other than this observation to support the conclusion that for whatever reason, all things considered, the big earth moving operations use Cat! Maybe change is on the way and my observation is dated. That is alright by me. I don't own Cat stock anymore!
    Last edited by inyati13; 04-17-2011 at 03:06 AM.

  2. #2
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    I think You are doing what you accused others of doing "putting a plug in for you favorite machine"
    I don't care what brand a machine is. I want the best machine for the job.
    John Deere and Komatsu has came a long way the last few years.
    In the smaller Dozers from my experience John Deere is better than Cat.
    Larger Dozers it is between Cat and Komatsu, John Deere just does not have a big machine.
    I just ran the new D7E and was impressed with it and it will be interesting to see how it stands up in the long run.

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    I will admit to having a few biased bones in my body. When it comes to both working on them, operating them and looking at production at the end of the day i will take my Cats hands down over the Deeres any day and twice on Sunday.

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    As a owner/operator I steer away from CAT for one simple reason. I don't have a multi million dollar equipment line up. Our Komatsu and Deere dealer here in KY seem to try to help me out when possible. I bought a used D39 out of the rental fleet , after running it 100 hrs the under carraige was making the high pitch dry pin squeel ,so I called the dealer , they sent out a tech he said the pins and bushings were shot. I called my salesman he put it before the branch board and they agreed to pay for 1/2 of the new uc. This sealed the deal with me on this dealer. Cat would have probably told me to go get f@#@##. I'm not brand loyal I like anything that will dig , be efficient and low maintenance.

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    There is a reason Cat has the majority of the market share, It could be the quality of its equipment, it could be its service, it could be its parts availability, it could be how cat and its dealers stand behind and support their customers, It could be how the equipment holds it value, it could be the financing offered or it could be a combination of all.

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    Best?

    There was a time I would've agreed with this post. When I worked for CAT dealers I thought they were the greatest company ever. They were always trying to improve and make a better machine. They were very progressive and forward looking. I toured the factories and they were the most modern around. But then they came out with the high drive and that was it for me. Why increase the amount of track when that is a machines biggest expense? I can hear the outrage now so I'll leave it at that. I have also operated International and Case machines that had better blade control.

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    Thanks for the responses. To be human is to be biased. But my observation was not an opinion, personal prefererence or choice. It was what I saw in 40 years in the field. It is not proof that Cat is the best. My intent was to get just the kind of responses I got. Not one response can discount what we all know. In dozers, Cat owns the market. That is the point. Why? Whether they are better, etc. is subject to further scrutiny. But their dominance of the market is undeniable and there is a reason and purpose behind everything.

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    Just because they own the market now doesn't mean they always did or will continue to do so forever. They used to dominate the motorgrader market too. Look where being "forward thinking" and "innovative" got them there.

    Bar none...the reason that Cat leads market share in so many categories is because they have THE strongest dealer network in North America. The reason the Deere is the strong number two player in North America is because Deere has the second strongest dealer network. It doesn't matter how good the product is itself if there isn't a dealer to support it contractors will be looking for an alternative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by inyati13 View Post
    Thanks for the responses. To be human is to be biased. But my observation was not an opinion, personal prefererence or choice. It was what I saw in 40 years in the field. It is not proof that Cat is the best. My intent was to get just the kind of responses I got. Not one response can discount what we all know. In dozers, Cat owns the market. That is the point. Why? Whether they are better, etc. is subject to further scrutiny. But their dominance of the market is undeniable and there is a reason and purpose behind everything.
    You can't tell me politics doesn't play a role here with Cat. Tax incentives etc, plus most goverment jobs road work or reclamamtion and the like. There has to be a lot of " free trips to evaluate my machinery " to insure they go Cat. You buy a new 6 and try to make a living with out federal monies and see how far that goes. I did and it didn't go. My point as an owner operator is that you must look at every angle to generate capital . The amount of spoilage padded into funded jobs more than compensates for the price of equipment. Economy is another , So pushing all this TIGER road crap is padding alot of pockets.

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    CATS only real competitor in the dozer field was Euclid/Terex and when the gov't broke up GM it stifled development. If gov't hadn't meddled and barring construction slowdowns just think what might have been. Many innovations came from manufacturers other than CAT. We might have roller bearing tracks with self-rotating bushings and track components with lubricant impregnated into them to reduce wear. I think CAT is onto something with the new D7E but if they had competition it might have come 10 years sooner. Politics definitely played a role as CAT dominates the market much more than GM ever did and it hasn't been broken up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by farm_boy View Post
    Just because they own the market now doesn't mean they always did or will continue to do so forever. They used to dominate the motorgrader market too. Look where being "forward thinking" and "innovative" got them there.

    Bar none...the reason that Cat leads market share in so many categories is because they have THE strongest dealer network in North America. The reason the Deere is the strong number two player in North America is because Deere has the second strongest dealer network. It doesn't matter how good the product is itself if there isn't a dealer to support it contractors will be looking for an alternative.
    I'd throw in that Cat has been building construction equipment longer than has Deere. Time breeds loyalty. I would rate the two companies dealer networks pretty close to each other. You don't have to travel far to find one.

    Cat came out with their challenger line of rubber tracked ag tractors about a decade ago. That didn't work out too well for them. Tough to claim superior dealer network when going against Deere.

    I claim to be bias free...I bought stock in both companies :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by PCSHAY View Post
    CATS only real competitor in the dozer field was Euclid/Terex and when the gov't broke up GM it stifled development. If gov't hadn't meddled and barring construction slowdowns just think what might have been. Many innovations came from manufacturers other than CAT. We might have roller bearing tracks with self-rotating bushings and track components with lubricant impregnated into them to reduce wear. I think CAT is onto something with the new D7E but if they had competition it might have come 10 years sooner. Politics definitely played a role as CAT dominates the market much more than GM ever did and it hasn't been broken up.
    I think some would argue that International at one time and Allis Chalmers were stiffer competition than Terex/Euclid, and once they were out of the way Komatsu were ready to step in. Be interesting to see what LiuGong do with the Dressta line - be good to see the big two have some real competition above 25 tonnes, and good for the industry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PCSHAY View Post
    CATS only real competitor in the dozer field was Euclid/Terex and when the gov't broke up GM it stifled development. If gov't hadn't meddled and barring construction slowdowns just think what might have been. Many innovations came from manufacturers other than CAT. We might have roller bearing tracks with self-rotating bushings and track components with lubricant impregnated into them to reduce wear. I think CAT is onto something with the new D7E but if they had competition it might have come 10 years sooner. Politics definitely played a role as CAT dominates the market much more than GM ever did and it hasn't been broken up.
    You mean likes cats system one tracks.

    Competition is good. without it there would be no need for developments and the customer would get shafted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee-online View Post
    You mean likes cats system one tracks.

    Competition is good. without it there would be no need for developments and the customer would get shafted.
    I meant roller bearings in the chain and lubricant impregnated on the "outside" of track components much as molybdenum is impregnated in some cylinders. I'm not a chemist or engineer that's their job to develop. The point was exactly that competition stirs innovation. It was just an example of what might have been long ago.

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    It would be difficult to beat my local Cat dealer for supporting old machinery.

    The only bad point about deere support I have found is their rabid territoriality. If you go on their find-a-dealer site from a zipcode in one dealers territory, they won't show you any of another dealer's branches, even if they are closer.
    "Don't sweat the petty things, and, don't pet the sweaty things." That's what I live by.

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