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Cat 160M vs John Deere 870GP

Discussion in 'Motor Graders' started by graderdude, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. graderdude

    graderdude Member

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    This seems to be the perfect place to ask a big time question. If you were trading in a 2014 Volvo G970 which way would you be leaning towards a Cat 160M or a John Deere 870GP. I have been operating Champion and Volvo for over 35 years and realize it's going to a new experience to say the least. The Cat and John Deere both have their good and bad points no doubt, I am more concerned about reliability and fuel burn, the emission related problems will most likely be the weak point on either machine. If anyone has operated both machines recently could they pass on any concerns or comparisons.

    Thank You
     
  2. ovrszd

    ovrszd Senior Member

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    Following, looking forward to any responses.
     
  3. 20/80

    20/80 Well-Known Member

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    Well, I started out on a 740 champion and ran one for years then moved to a new 140h Cat which in my opinion the Cat was way ahead in the comfort and ease of operation, than I started operating the M series Cat in the Winter time, my experience with the M series Cat is that you cannot take your eye's of the road not for one second if you are doing a lot of running on the road way's to get to your roads, I find you cannot relax in a M series Cat and if you spend any amount of time in a grader you need to be comfortable, I did not find the M comfortable at all and added more stress to a long day, hands down the John Deere GP with the added steering wheel for comfort when wheeling to your next road, having joystick controls when operating and a steering wheel as a back up, they all have their problems but you need comfort to help relieve a long and some times a stressful day of grading, if you can.. try both machines would be the best, the M series like their fuel about 1/3 more a day then my 140h burns but not to much problems with the emissions junk on them other than you need a back up camera to see behind you backing up because of the raised hood in the rear to accommodate the emissions system, I'm not sure if you need the camera in the new JD or not.
     
  4. graderdude

    graderdude Member

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    Thanks for the reply, the high-speed plowing and long hours is my main concern as well, I am presently plowing approx. 160 miles of gravel road and some hourly work doing subdivisions as well with 2014 G970 Volvo. It works out on a average snow event to about 450 miles + 10.0 hrs. of low speed work which fizzles out to about 2.5 to 3.0 long days of plowing . I try to maintain a plowing speed of 25+mph with a Capital I heavy duty one-way plow and wing, of course there are a lot of variables in the average. Yearly (summer Bladeing and winter Plowing) overall fuel burn on the G970 is showing on the machine computer as 4.19 US gallons per hour = 15.86 liters per hour =3.5 imperial gallons per hour.(this almost makes the Cat and JD guys want to puke)
    I had a chance today to look at a spanky new Cat 160M3 right off the boat from Brazil and I was really impressed with a lot of the features and improvements since M series inception. A lot of money and emissions are involved but I have no operating seat time other than playing around trying things and giving the salesmen some heartburn. Later this afternoon I wrangled with the JD sales crew at a Municipal trade show and they were showing off their 870GP (joy stick). Again a lot of features/emissions and money but it had a little steering wheel for roading, if nothing else it would make a nice grab handle when you smack a drift and things go south. The joysticks had a very short throw so my way of thinking is they would be more touchy and sensitive compared to the M. They are positioned different and I found the roller switches a little awkward. Naturally I couldn't lite it up inside the trade show.
    I still have the Komatsu guys trying to get in on our tender show as well, nice machine but lacking a engine, heavy enough but only 6.6 liter engine, plowing with a one way/wing is a recipe for short engine life and lots of fuel.
    I think before we go to the tendering process we will have to drag a demo up here to The Pas Manitoba (650kms. from dealer) and get some seat time, bad thing is all the tier3 machines will be bought up and I'll be dealing with DEF.
    I started out in 1979 on Champion 562. 740, G960 and G970 over a span of 35 years of highway work with 20 years or so directly on graders so I am hoping not to end my working life on a dud.
     
  5. 20/80

    20/80 Well-Known Member

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    Your best bet is to try both machine's for a day before laying down some series coin, by the sounds of things you spend a lot of time in the cab so comfort is a must, both machines have the software built into the controls to not be so sensitive, coming of a champion Volvo will seem awkward moving to joystick control for sure, just takes some time getting used to, servicing is something else to consider as well, along with warranty work and down time, and you will have that for sure with these new machines,
     
  6. ovrszd

    ovrszd Senior Member

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    I would have no use for a backup camera on a JD machine. The rear view is very, very good. Horrible on the M series.

    JD now offers three control designs. Standard rack and steering wheel (G models). Armrest finger controls and mini steering wheel (GP models). Joystick and mini steering wheel (GP series). They claim the armrest/joystick controls can be easily exchanged with a plug and play system. But you know how claims are. :)
     
  7. graderdude

    graderdude Member

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    Good well adjusted rear view mirrors are a critical thing for any grader operator in my opinion, I try to pay lot of attention to what is going on behind work wise as well as traffic management. There are times when plowing that you are watching behind as much as forward, plowing roads that are completely covered over or poor visibility is always a treat, good mirrors can really help in keeping centered on the road. I tend to do a fair amount of high speed backing (25mph) up when dealing with drifts, I would rather back up a few times than turn around or leave a half plowed or winged back drift. Cutting corners and leaving a drift incomplete will catch up eventually.
    Mirrors are the only way to go especially with the newer machines, with all the emission garbage growing on top of the engine they could forget about a rear window soon.
    As far as the rear view camera the only times I use it is when I am articulated and outside mirrors are out of whack, or backing inside the shop in winter. I guess I also keep a eye on my rear mounted wobbly as well.
    What I have issues with is forward visibility, I don't understand why the frame neck has too be so high at the very front end. There is no real need to have everything so high as clearance for the drawbar isn't that great even when swinging the mouldboard up and out into vertical positions. Both the 870GP and 160M are higher than they really need to be compared to my G970 Volvo. Higher machines tend to be a little spooky on slopes, the reason everybody went to the low profile cab years ago was to lower the center of gravity.
     
  8. ovrszd

    ovrszd Senior Member

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    I totally agree regarding the frame height. Deere went to this build type with the G model. They claimed they gained blade height. They did not.

    Here's a pic of a D model on the left with lower main frame. G model on the right with elevated main frame. Both have the blade raised to the maximum.

    Especially note the loss of forward visibility. I maintain some gravel roads with steep, pointed hilltops. When blading over those hills I have to lean to one side and look around the main frame to see if anyone is coming.

    DSC00661.JPG



    Here's a pic of the the Deere D model on the left and a CAT 140M on the right. Note the same visibility limitations.

    DSC02217.JPG
     
  9. ovrszd

    ovrszd Senior Member

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    Here's a pic looking straight forward. First is out of a CAT M.

    DSC02199.JPG



    Straight forward out of a Deere D model.

    DSC02207.JPG


    Straight forward out of a Deere G model.

    16 (1024x768).jpg
     
  10. cuttin edge

    cuttin edge Senior Member

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    No shorts and sneakers this time? I was always a fan of Champion and therefore Volvo's visibility. I never use the camera, but it is handy when working with a lot of guys on the ground. Some guys think it is safe to cross close behind me. We had a guy that used to see an oversized rock and almost dive under the back axle to pick it up. I set the angle of the camera just for him
     
  11. graderdude

    graderdude Member

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    It's almost like the manufactures want to fluff up their product to make theirs look bigger than their competitor, more bigger more better type of BS. I would honestly like to do a comparison same as what you did side by side for a day and really give them the close up and personal tire kicking.
    I did find out in the last couple of months when doing research on new graders that a real time saver is that the competing dealers are more than willing to rip their competition apart , they are well trained or versed in all the deficiency's of the other machine sometimes steering you away from their own machines shortcomings.
    I was also thinking that the front of the frame may not be my only visibility issue, this was taken Friday April the 13th 2018, I still have about 25 miles of road to open yet and it hasn't been fun this spring. We had so much wind this past winter and cold to boot. The snow has about 2 feet of hard crust on top that I can run the front wheels over and crystalized snow underneath, no traction and heavy. On the level it is about 4 feet deep and in the sheltered areas closer to 6 feet. I am going to wait it out for a bit until the snow gets set up IMG_20180413_122713_HDR.jpg and the V-plow will lift it, it's just dropping behind the plow.
    As soon as I figure out how to download some video I will post a few clips of how we deal with things in the north.
     
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  12. graderdude

    graderdude Member

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    I can relate to having guys working in close proximity to my grader as well, I used to do a fair amount of bituminous (cold mix) grader patching. Of course we never had back up alarms or camera at that time so you had to have your head spinning like a raven in order not to back over one of the guys. On some of the longer runs you would back up at a fair speed to keep production at some kind of even keel. I would give the crew only one warning to keep out of the work zone because the next time I would come off the machine with a 6 foot asphalt lute (rake) swinging. The other thing was dealing with traffic when laying patches, it was almost entertaining watching people go thru the work zone.
    That is one thing about modern times that safety has improved dramatically.
     
  13. cuttin edge

    cuttin edge Senior Member

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    Comedian talking about performing in Manitoba. He said it was minus 50. Someone asked him celcius or ferenheit? It doesn't matter...minus 50...... that's not jack frost nipping at your nose.....it it God telling you to GET OUT!
     
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  14. graderdude

    graderdude Member

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    Yep that was pretty close to reality this winter, we stayed at -30c pretty much from middle of Nov. to first part of March, even this past week it was in the - 20c range overnight. We had so much heavy wind this winter and all my snow ridges turned out to be on the wrong side as most of the heavy wind came from the east, typically we get only north west winds with any velocity.
    Thinking back in the old days we would be just about frozen to death in the old Champ 740, just short of cutting the fan belts off to keep the 671 anywhere close to throwing any heat. We had them tarped in tight and sealed up to keep our lunch kit from freezing solid. A person wonders why he has a few achy bones and a weird sense of humor
     
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  15. ovrszd

    ovrszd Senior Member

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    I hear ya. I'm fortunate. I don't have people on foot around me. If I did I'd want all the technological help I could get. Would really, really suck to run over someone.....
     
  16. ovrszd

    ovrszd Senior Member

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    I sincerely feel for you guys up North. We've had a lingering Winter but moderate. I've not pushed any snow. We haven't had a bad snow Winter for the last 5. We are overdue.

    In regards to salesmen and their lingo. I demo'd a 12M awhile back. After a week of running the machine the salesman showed up with a CAT rep to sell me. I asked them if they had ever took a close look at a Deere. They both said no. I parked my Deere beside the CAT. Opened all service doors and cab doors. Then spent the next two hours with them looking over both machines. I let the salesman point out a feature and then we compared it to Deere. The CAT rep was very quiet. He was busy typing on his Cell Phone taking notes. When the salesman and I would move away from an area on the Deere he would move in and take pictures and make notes. It was a pleasant exchange and we are still on speaking terms. I think all three of us learned a lot. I just wish someone would take all the good features of each brand and build a grader. It would be awesome.
     
  17. graderdude

    graderdude Member

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    For sure if we could cherry pick from all the manufactures and build a grader it would be awesome. My concern now is features that I am going to loose going from a G970 Volvo to either a JD870GP or Cat160M.
    • Circle turn power is number one item, my circle has enough torque to be able pick up and spin the machine around or paddle your way out of a embarrassing situation and turn under pretty much full load or cutting pressure. As well they take a fair amount of impact before you are buying parts.
    • The fact I am loosing 2" of mouldboard height going from 29" to 27", they say 2" is a lot depending what you are talking about but never the less the Volvo blade shape (curvature) tends to mix and blend material and can carry a pretty awesome jag of material or snow before coming over the board or into the circle throat.
    • The 11 speed transmission is something I definitely going to miss especially when snowplowing. I can either let it do all the thinking and shifting or I can shift manually, the ability to keep your engine at the optimum torque and traction is always a bonus. I think that's one of the reasons I have excellent fuel burn I can gear up and still have enough closely spaced gears to choose from depending on load.
    • Forward visibility over the frame is way better than the competition, gooseneck is substantially lower.
    • Reversing engine fan, JD is standard but Cat is bucking to add it as a option? Perhaps Cat radiators don't plug up with grass or dust, I kind of think they do? Salesmen get quiet about this as most are not operators.
    • I am going to miss a simple thing as the Volo cab steps, I have been crawling in and out of new JD and Cat machines lately and find them awkward and flimsy. That's not saying Champion/Volvo didn't have poor steps on earlier models. And it will take some time to get used to a different process to exit without a ungraceful face plant.
    Losing the under hood engine air intake for winter, if you have ever had to pull a filter plugged with snow on the road you will know exactly what I am getting at.

    I better stop writing as I am going to get all misty eyed on loosing my Volvo, just kidding.
     
  18. cuttin edge

    cuttin edge Senior Member

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    That's the long and the short of it. Football, Hockey, snowmobiles, bikes, powersaws. Ford, GM, Dodge. We all have our preference of teams, brands, makes and models, sometimes it can cause heated arguments. We had a 1990 730. Under powered, no A/C, but it had way better visibility than the 872 they rented for a job one summer.. our 940 is quiet, comfortable, awesome heat, and A/C. The circle will swing while full and cutting, plus visability. The city here bought the last model year, and the guy loves it. Then I see guys on here that are all cat or Deere or whatever. It is a big purchase, and there should be a better way to choose than word of mouth
     
  19. ovrszd

    ovrszd Senior Member

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    I totally agree with the comment about moldboard height. 2" is a mile. Dramatically increases productivity whether blading gravel roads when a lot of material needs moved or pushing snow!!!

    The CAT salesman pointed out to me that the 12M had easier access to the stacked radiators for cleaning. I asked why that was important? He politely explained to me that without easy access it was a hassle to clean them and that in the case of our Deere we had to remove bolts to open the access to the radiators. The factor REP chimed in an further explained to me that CAT thought thru this better than Deere. I told him I had never opened the Deere and had never specifically cleaned the coolers in 1500hrs of use. He eagerly informed me that I should do that immediately as they were probably plugged. I pull a wrench from my back pocket and said let's look. I opened the Deere and opened the CAT which had 120hrs on the clock. The CATs coolers were partially filled with chafe and dirt. The Deere coolers were all clean. The REP got red faced and mumbled "oh yeah, I forgot Deere reverses the fan". The salesman was clueless. So I explained it to him......

    I think an 11 speed would be great!!!! At the end of the day that would increase productivity. Puts the machine speed closer to the perfect speed.

    I've only did a walk around of a Volvo. Never had the opportunity to run one. I liked what I saw.
     
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  20. cuttin edge

    cuttin edge Senior Member

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    I'm really disappointed that Volvo dropped graders from their line.
     
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