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D9G or D9H - What do you recommend?

Discussion in 'Dozers' started by Passionhawk1, Oct 8, 2016.

  1. Passionhawk1

    Passionhawk1 Well-Known Member

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    I have 300+ acres I'm mining for gold. 8% of it is alluvial comprised of small rocks, sand, gravel and mud all cemented together. I need to rip it up and take it down 16'-20' to bedrock. This will be done layer by layer so I can check for mineralization. For this I need a 3-shank ripper. The property to the south has been trying to do this same process with a D6 and they are working the dozer to capacity. That is the reason I thought to step up to a D9.

    The rest of the property is small hills 500-800 feet tall. Composition is quartzite, phyllite, granodiorite, sedimentary shale, schist, and quartz which runs from 8-inches up to 12 feet thick. The quartz is tough. The country rock has been folded and fractured so I believe a single shank can do the job. Nothing is solid except the quartz intrusive. These hills are quite small and I wish to take them down - again doing this slowly as we gather mineralization.

    The hills will require a strong machine. I also believe rock guards are in order. That limits the scope of machines available. The tops of the hills are easy to take down but as each hill is reduced, the base will spread out to a 1/4 mile in width and a bit more in length.

    We are a small operation with my wife and son and so one Cat and one steel-tracked loader will have to do the job. We're keeping a small, portable mill at the point of extraction so we don't need to haul the ore. That saves on rubber, fuel, maintenance, capital equipment purchases for haul trucks and labor. I am an american, an old guy, I believe in this country and so I don't want anything in our operation that starts with a "K". Hence, a Cat is where it's at for me. Now come my questions:

    I am looking at D9G and D9H machines with a 3-slot 4-barrel ripper and an SU blade. With the exception of the higher horsepower engine in the D9H, is there any difference between the two models? I believe the D9H has a turbo. Did the D9G also have a turbo as well? With patience, will the G perform as well as the H? That's my main concern. Should I only be looking for an H or will a G do just as well?

    2nd Question relates to maintenance. I've been operating for years with lighter equipment and I always grease the machine after every 8 hours of work. However, when it comes to lubing the engine, changing out transmission fluids and doing heavier maintenance, my property is a looooooong way from any shop. Moreover, I can't afford to load up a big tractor every time something breaks or needs an oil change. What do other people do with big machines? I always hauled my smaller machines in for service and then back out to the job sites. Can things such as oil changes and routine maintenance be done on site? If I needed to overhaul the engine, then the tractor would get hauled into a shop for cleanliness reasons but let's say a hydraulic pump failed or a cylinder started leaking - can that be performed on the job site and . . . . . who could you get to do it? Are there companies or mechanics who come out to the job site?

    3rd Question is about lubricants. I run synthetic in all my vehicles. I have one F350 that just turned over 500,000 and it's still got the torque. Yes, I've changed three injectors but otherwise, that Power stroke likes the synthetic oil. What about Cat engines? What are the best lubricants? It gets -25 degrees in winter and over 110 degrees in summer out in the desert. Do you run a lighter weight lubricant in the winter and heavier weight in summer?

    I thank you in advance for your response and your opinion.

    Kindest Regards,
    Jim
     
  2. StanRUS

    StanRUS Well-Known Member

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    D9G or D9H, both machines can break out the rear main case (fabricated weldment) while ripping...consider drilling & blasting. IMO better machine D10 High Drive series.
     
  3. lantraxco

    lantraxco Senior Member

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    To answer your questions about repairs in the field, anything that can be done in a shop can be done in the field with the right equipment and some ingenuity. There are dealer and independent field service mechanics with service trucks that will do most any repair, and typically the dealers will have special lube trucks set up to do oil changes, oil level checks in all compartments and oil samples which you will want to do regularly. Old machines cost just about the same as new ones when something breaks. You pay for travel time which is usually insanely expensive but that's versus hauling the machine back and forth every time it has a fever or a toothache.

    Up here where rock is typically soft there's lots of G's and H's still ripping and pushing in small rock pits, that's all I know about that. When I worked at the Portland CAT dealer there was a string of them going through the shop about 2001 or so getting factory certified rebuilds, stripped down to the bare frame for inspection, welding, updates and every component new, remanned, or rebuilt to as new condition, even new wiring harnesses. Was kind of impressive.
     
  4. Passionhawk1

    Passionhawk1 Well-Known Member

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    I have never heard about breaking out the rear main case. Is that because the ripper is bolted onto the rear of the tractor - or is it because the attachment frame on the rear was welded and breaks loose from the tractor?
     
  5. Passionhawk1

    Passionhawk1 Well-Known Member

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    So if I understand what you're saying, one can probably enter into a service contract with a CAT dealer or an authorized mechanic to perform periodic oil changes, maintenance and so forth in the field. Seems to be that for a small investment, one could erect a small 30x40 foot enclosure, out of the wind to make maintenance a lot more civil. Our property is on a mountain far from any structure or civilization.

    Next you referred to factory certified (authorized) rebuilds on Gs and Hs. Was there an acknowledged problem with these two models that required such a complete factory retrofit? Yes, that would be quite a sight to see these tractors torn down to the frame and then rebuilt. I chose the G or H because (1) they are big enough to do the job and (2) they are far more affordable than a new tractor. I recall reading that the early G and H models could be purchased for around $100K new. Now, that price looks like a dream. So maybe - if these two models had built-in problems, they may not be the right choice in a heavy tractor. Is that possible?
     
  6. Delmer

    Delmer Senior Member

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    No need for a service contract, if you want them to come out and work on your D2 they'll do whatever you ask. You got the money honey, they got the time. They charge enough to make new purchases look attractive.

    Cat is big on rebuilding equipment, I doubt there was any acknowledged problem. In a big mine where the machines work constantly, they'll reach 20,000 hours or so and be completely worn out, but still be able to be rebuilt economically.
     
  7. Jonas302

    Jonas302 Senior Member

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    I would suggest that you will need to learn to do all the maintenance yourself get a service manual and go though it not only will you save thousands but will know your machine better I really dont see any other way way older equipment can be operated
    A shed is always nice and gives you somewhere to store supply's but not at all necessary Most of us do the maintenance on heavy equipment outdoors
     
  8. Passionhawk1

    Passionhawk1 Well-Known Member

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    I'm a very energetic 70 years of age so I'll be doing this for 5-8 years, no doubt. It's good to know that a rebuild is more affordable than new iron. Thank you.
     
  9. Passionhawk1

    Passionhawk1 Well-Known Member

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    You are absolutely correct. The more you know about any hardware - the easier you will be in operating it. Moreover, just like you said, when you know how something operates, you can "feel it" working when you're using it. I can do the lube and check the levels on reservoirs but when it comes to wrenching, I'm a fish out of water. None-the-less, I can sure see the benefits of doing as much as I can.

    Oil changes? Old oil is now treated like arsenic laced with lead and asbestos. We use to pour oil on our dirt driveways and roads to make it dust-free and to solidify the loose soil. Now? Oh man - call out the EPA lest anyone treat their driveway with oil. I'm not sure what I'd do with a barrel of oil. I perfectly understand that in a municipal area, one would not take kindly to some jerk pouring oil into the sewers. It's amazing how we were able to survive the late 40's and early 50's. No seat belts, no car seats and no helmets. Thank you for your response.
     
  10. lantraxco

    lantraxco Senior Member

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    If you have a cell phone and a credit card you can get serviced, er well, your machine can, pretty much whenever you need it. Setting up a planned maintenance contract is a good idea and they do take away all the waste fluids, filters, etc. and will send you reports on the oil samples.

    The only problem with those machines was tens of thousands of hours and the owners liked them. Doing a certified rebuild gets you as near as humanly possible a brand new thirty plus year old machine with a new CAT serial number for your old machine and the savings from not buying a new high drive replacement. I would imagine the deal was financed as well so in terms of reliability and uptime versus rolling the dice it just makes sense. CAT actually gives each authorized dealership the full parts list and complete instructions to be followed for each step of the process and as I said at the end of the job a brand new serial plate is issued for each machine, along with the updated parts book showing all the updated components.
     
  11. Passionhawk1

    Passionhawk1 Well-Known Member

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    A total rebuilt machine. Wow, that's really tempting. I wonder at what cost? Probably a 6--8 month process, aye?
     
  12. lantraxco

    lantraxco Senior Member

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    I don't recall it being more than a few weeks, don't know about cost. The trick would be to look for one that had been rebuilt on the used market I should think. Some of those programs were only available for a limited time because CAT had to tool up and run replacement components in quantity to make the program work.
     
  13. Passionhawk1

    Passionhawk1 Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmmm, okay. I actually may have seen one advertised recently. I'll go back and look. I think you are right. Rather than roll the dice on a used tractor - go instead with one that is ship-shape top to bottom and ready to go. That way, you are the one running it and there's no mystery because you know the history.

    I see you are in Coos Bay. Small world. I have a home on Elk Hill North of Port Orford.
     
  14. Passionhawk1

    Passionhawk1 Well-Known Member

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    D9G versus D9H

    I still ask the question: Is a D9G as good as a D9H? The D9H has a bit more horsepower but other than that - is there really any difference?

    Kindest Regards,
    Jim Mitchell
     
  15. Scrub Puller

    Scrub Puller Senior Member

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    Yair . . .

    Just my two bobs worth from half a world away.

    To my knowledge there were no specific issues with G or H Nines. Depending on the application they all had their little foibles but, for the most part, they were a good reliable tractor and made a lot of money for a lot of people all around the world.

    Those bastards could snig and they gave drawbars and rippers a hard time. We welded drawbars and rippers to the housings as a matter of course. You don't want to be playing with broken inch and a quarter or inch and a half bolts.

    I would prefer a late series g to an h for the simple reason they were squeezing more HP out of the engine and every thing else was pretty much the same and had been proven in what must have been close to fifteen years of service. . . I could be talking B/S here but I do that all the time.

    Seriously though. The O/P mentioned a similar operation was working a D6 to the limit and so he is considering stepping up to a Nine . . . a big leap???

    I suggest a Eight might do the job then as the step up to a Nine is only one number on the scale but is a Quantum Leap when it comes to working on the suckers and possibly, (although I have no way of really knowing) the cost and availability of parts.

    As far as service and maintenance goes our machines never in their lives saw a workshop and all work was done under jury rigged tarpaulins. It really is no big deal although it is nice to have some sort of shed when rebuilding transmissions and engines.

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
  16. Passionhawk1

    Passionhawk1 Well-Known Member

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    So in addition to the bolts, you also welded on the ripper?

    What in your opinion would be a "late" 9G? What years, please with specificity.

    I was not aware that parts or service would cost more or less between a D8 and a D9. I've always found that if you oversize the equipment for the job, then you end up not having to work the equipment as hard to get the performance you need. That is just my uneducated take on it.

    So this is a real surprise because you are not the first one to mention that major repairs can be accomplished in the field. That is wonderful news because the thought of dragging a large tractor 200 miles each direction to get service at the CAT dealer is not a pleasant financial thought. Don't forget to answer my follow-up question - what year 9G do you think constitutes a newer machine?

    Thank you so much for your insight.
     
  17. Scrub Puller

    Scrub Puller Senior Member

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    Yair . . .

    Passionhawk1. I am not much good at the history stuff mate. Some folks on here are wizards though with memories and records and they will probably chip in with serial numbers . . . I think the G's were produced up until around 1974.

    We pulled the drawbars off the first pair of G's in a matter of months, the bolts broke flush with housing, dealer replaced and we broke them again against all advise I welded them on then and no further issues.

    Next tractor was in a quarry with moving ripper so it got the same treatment and there have been a few since.

    I've been out of the game for over thirty years now so the memory grows dim.

    There's a bloke on here called tctractors who is a wizard with these old girls and can tell it as it is about relative costs and difference in wrenching between D8's and D9's but to me I seem to remember it was a leap.

    Just physically changing tracks and rollers and such like always seemed a disproportionately bigger job coming from D8's and Allis 21's.

    Cheers.
     
  18. Passionhawk1

    Passionhawk1 Well-Known Member

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    So welding along with new bolts took care of the ripper issue. That's good to know. I did not realize there would be such a cost difference in parts between the 8 and the 9. Older D8s generally appear higher priced in the resale market than the same vintage in D9s. Perhaps the lower cost of parts is the reason. Also too, as you pointed out, A D8 is a big leap over a D6 and perhaps, a D8 would suffice. Thank you for your comments.

    Anyone else? Please give me your opinion about this thread.
     
  19. mht1156

    mht1156 Member

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    'Here' in Australia we tend to see D8's a bit dearer than a similar aged D9 due mainly to the real cost of transport if that applies.

    D9's (the older ones )tend to be popular on larger grazing properties where they will see out their days being "walked" from job to job. A lot of contractors tend to stick with D6,D7 and D8 sized machines due to ease of transport compared to a D9.

    There was a time here when 9's where carted around on floats with only 2 rows of eight and a tandem drive prime mover of less than 300hp , to do that now would require a quad axle float with a dolly and a prime mover rated to do the job.

    As to your question I have yet to ever see a "cheap" dozer turn out that way when expected to perform near the end of its useful life and not be a money pit.

    One thing to look at maybe is to investigate long term rental of a more modern machine with scheduled servicing and repairs part of the deal, as I don't know what your budget is but renting is usually calculated on a per/hr basis and gives you a bit more control over job budget rather than roll the dice on a old machine which you could easily spend more on repairs than what you purchase it for.

    Mike.
     
  20. Passionhawk1

    Passionhawk1 Well-Known Member

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    One thing to look at maybe is to investigate long term rental of a more modern machine with scheduled servicing and repairs part of the deal, as I don't know what your budget is but renting is usually calculated on a per/hr basis and gives you a bit more control over job budget rather than roll the dice on a old machine which you could easily spend more on repairs than what you purchase it for.

    Mike.[/QUOTE]

    You know Mike, one sees ad after ad after ad for CATS. Each ad talks about all the things that were done to the tractor to repair it. You stop and think, "Man, these things are breaking down all the time." Fact is, pushing dirt and rocks and ripping into rocks and hardpan with metal tracks on metal chains riding on metal rails and being turned by metal sprockets as it rolls over metal rollers and idlers is a whole bunch of metal on metal. It only stands to reason that, with no lubrication, these tractors are perpetually destroying themselves. Ad to that, certain operators who are jamming things back and forth without care and it's no wonder these machines are always in for repair.

    Yes, the cost of transport is enormous. I found a D9 that looked good half way across the US from where I need it in Nevada. I got all sorts of transport estimates and one - one, came in over $35,000 US dollars! The cost to move it is almost as much as the purchase price. I think Caterpillar ships their new units by rail and I can see why. Thank you for responding, Mike.

    Kindest Regards,
    Jim Mitchell