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Thread: Why did cat stop makeing the d4 and d5 highdrive

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    Why did cat stop makeing the d4 and d5 highdrive

    Got a question why did cat stop making these machines? We have a d5m and love it. It's faster and will out push our Jd 750 and is alot more comfortable. Everone I talk to that has owned one or does own one has nothing bad to say. So why stop? The more I run these machines the less and less I like the hydro machines. And thats saying something because i'm a JD nut.

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    Senior Member willd8r's Avatar
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    Cost I read that it costs more to make a high track than a flat track so I guess the small dozer market is more competitive than the big dozer market.I guess most operators would agree I don't mind the hydro, it's the rigid frame I hate.

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    Senior Member curb guy's Avatar
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    Not to sound like an idiot but,what do you guys mean by 'hydro'? Never heard that term before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by curb guy View Post
    Not to sound like an idiot but,what do you guys mean by 'hydro'? Never heard that term before.
    The term refers to the hydraulic drive system that is on the smaller dozers now. Each planetary has its own hydraulic motor so that both left and right drives are independant and steering can be accomplished without sacrificing drive force to either side.

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    Kind of reminds me of the debate if the "high drive" is better then the old standard rear drive "flat" style track system on a dozer? Be interesting to see if cat does the same on bigger model dozers in the near future.

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    New D7E electric drive are not high drive

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    Senior Member hvy 1ton's Avatar
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    I think the problem was nobody was trying to compete in those classes. Deere has a dozer on either side of the D5N. The 700J weighs close to the same, but is missing 20HP. The 750J has 15HP more and weighs 6 tons more. So you go to demo a deere to compare to the D5N. If your salesman is smart he'll know whether bringing out a 700J or 750J will get him the sale. The 700J will do almost as much as the cat, but at a lower purchase and operating cost. The 750J will out push D5N especially if were talking c-frame dozers, but at a higher purchase cost yet (not sure on that one) and the operating cost is probably a wash. And that is why competing with 2 machine classes does not work. Cat is still buiding the D6M which is the direct competitor to the 750J while the D6k matches up well with the 700J.
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    I think it has a lot to do with the fact that smaller dozers do not benefit from some of the advantages of high track design. They just don't rack up the hours like the bigger ones do and the machine is somewhat more "disposable" than rebuildable because of the lower dollar amounts involved. I guess the extra costs involved in building and maintaining them doesn't outweigh the advantages they offer.

    One is the modular build of the high track tractor where you can remove each module without having to remove another, like transmission removal. You don't have to remove the engine to remove it. Same with the ease of final drive removal. The smaller dozers don't get rebuilt usually but once in their lifetime then they're put out to pasture cause it'll cost more to rebuild it the second time than what the entire dozer is worth.

    Another benefit is the bogey type roller system that contributes to a much more comfortable ride in rough conditions, like rock. Smaller dozers aren't in near as much rocky situations because they're mainly built for spreading dirt, not mass earthwork like ripping or overburden removal. This is also where the shock loading of the final drives is lessened in the high drive. Again, not near as much factor in smaller dozers simply because the horsepower isn't there and their working environment is different.

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    Senior Member farm_boy's Avatar
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    I agree with D9gdon and I guess the marketing folks at Cat do as well. Here is what they said to Construction Equipment Magazine in 2008 after the D7E intro:

    "We carefully evaluated all of the kinds of work that a D7 does, and decided the low-drive undercarriage configuration is the best choice for the job," Nicoll explains. "You get the greatest value out of elevated-sprocket undercarriage when it is suspended, and only the D8 and larger sized elevated sprocket undercarriages are suspended. Certainly we will continue to use the elevated-sprocket undercarriage on the D8 and larger tractors."

    Nicoll said Cat would rigorously evaluate applications of smaller dozers before it decided whether or not to eliminate elevated sprockets from D6 and smaller units. It's not certain if that question is truly on the table at the moment, but the 2007 introduction of the D6K, bringing an oval-track D6 option back to North America, suggests that Peoria acknowledges demand for broader application of low-drive undercarriage.


    Read the full article here.

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    CAT first developed the elevated sprocket drive system for landfill use to put some distance between the trash, rebar, etc. and the sprockets/rear seals. Other than that, they're fun to run (like all dozers) but I don't think there are any economic or production benefits to elevated sprockets.

    I once pushed on an oilfield location fill all day side-by-side with another operator. I started on a D6R high rise sprockets narrow pad w/rock blade, he on a Komatsu 65 wide track/wide blade. We changed machines at noon and continued. In both shifts, he outdid me in volume. The only conclusion reached was he was the better man. It still hurts me to this day.

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    Senior Member Gavin84w's Avatar
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    D9GDON is on the money. Back in the day Cat would have been capitalising on the design from a marketing standpoint but fast forward to the present and cost of manufacture vs advantage in the field has been honed to a science and if there is a cheaper way to make a mouse trap work the same way then it will usually be taken.

    The elevated sprocket concept was not developed for landfill, while it,s use does do as you say it was developed to allow for modular design, easier serviceing and a smoother ride to name a few of the goals set by the design team.

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    What about the diff. steer? Do the newer models come with the finger tip controls or are they all hydro? I like how the hydrostat machines run but I like the ease of rebuild when the time comes with clutches and breaks. Fixing a machine that has blowen a main pump and shot all the garbage into the drives can get expensive quick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buckfever View Post
    What about the diff. steer? Do the newer models come with the finger tip controls or are they all hydro? I like how the hydrostat machines run but I like the ease of rebuild when the time comes with clutches and breaks. Fixing a machine that has blowen a main pump and shot all the garbage into the drives can get expensive quick.
    That depends on the MFR & model. Yes they make them. I don't know about Case but Deere & Cat are hydro. in the finish dozers. Cat still uses diff steer in the D8 & up, and also in the D6M. I think that Deere's 750 & up are made by Lieberr (sp?) so I don't have any experience with those.

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    Senior Member hvy 1ton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckfever View Post
    What about the diff. steer? Do the newer models come with the finger tip controls or are they all hydro? I like how the hydrostat machines run but I like the ease of rebuild when the time comes with clutches and breaks. Fixing a machine that has blowen a main pump and shot all the garbage into the drives can get expensive quick.
    Quote Originally Posted by DGODGR View Post
    That depends on the MFR & model. Yes they make them. I don't know about Case but Deere & Cat are hydro. in the finish dozers. Cat still uses diff steer in the D8 & up, and also in the D6M. I think that Deere's 750 & up are made by Lieberr (sp?) so I don't have any experience with those.
    Diff steer is low maintenance, but that's not been my experience with clutch/brake machines. With the d4-5 hi drives being discontinued, Cat is only making hydro and diff steer dozers.


    Cat has diff steer in the D6N and up. Only 950 and 1050's are Lieb-Deere's.
    Life summed up by refrigerator magnets:
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    The concept for elevated drive sprockets had been around for quite some time among engineers, but really didn't get the right push until the promulgation of EPA regs in the early 1970's governing the operation of landfills, which considerably increased demand for landfill equipment with improved uptime/downtime ratios and repair costs.

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