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Finger tip steering conversion kit for old caterpillar dozers

Discussion in 'Dozers' started by planetshapers, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. planetshapers

    planetshapers Well-Known Member

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    I love older steering clutch Caterpillar dozers.
    It seems nowadays that operator don’t wanna run anything unless it has modern controls.
    Also, osha related injuries are attributed to steering clutch and shoulder arthritis etc.

    A semi modern control is joystick(Hystat style) or fingertip steering.

    For steering clutch:
    Fingertip steering seems to me to be an electronic switch much like an electronic throttle control that sends a signal to a hydraulic actuator activated by a solenoid?

    Does anyone know?

    It would interesting to have a DIY fingertip steering retrofit system for older dozers. A possible laptop calibration.
    With all of the amazon and eBay and electronic part sources online, couldn’t we revive these older dozers with such a system to make them more comfortable and easier on our bodies to operate? And possibly have an electronic emergency brake as well?
    And maybe a joystick 4 way blade or 6 way blade control? Instead of the side to side blade control and tilt pedals in floor?
    And If you have a 4 joystick like in a cat d6d, what about a thumb switch to activate a possible angle blade system (the hydraulic cylinders on c-frame is a more in depth idea {think case 1450}). And why not a thumb switch for a vibratory blade shaker?

    This would be a heck of a thing to come up with.
    I can reasonably operate any kind of old equipment as most of my stuff is older but...hiring help makes the controls important.

    Would it be cost effective to buy a cat d6m system and make it fit? I would think Cat parts new from dealer would break the bank.

    Any ideas?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Mother Deuce

    Mother Deuce Senior Member

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    D6D's seem to be 30 and 40. (throwing out the highs and lows) 6H with diff or tiller steer are available in the 50 range, as examples. Can you do this project parts and labor in for 10,000? It maybe be easier to save your favorite old school rides. and invest in a little newer iron as we run short of old school hands. It would be an interesting project however if you could make it cost effective and reliable as well as serviceable. Sometimes it is harder to diagnose Frankenstein then a stocker. It is a problem in other areas as well. If you still have a lowboy heavy tractor with a 6 and 4 and a 425hp (440) Cat 1693 treat your driver well because finding another one for that won't be easy.
    Ultimately it may be easier to try to get your hands to love your older iron as much as you do. Explain that you can provide the benefits you provide to them because your not making giant payments and your ability to operate these machines will allow to run newer iron much easier etc. You need to make your older iron seem like running a cool street rod. A group outing to a HCEA show perhaps. Best of luck with your project.
     
  3. crane operator

    crane operator Senior Member

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    I've seen a older P&H hydraulic truck crane, that was converted from lever controls to joystick controls. They bought new joysticks and hyd. valves from a current terex boom truck, and built steel armrests with the joysticks built in.

    They sold it just a couple years later, the controls didn't change the fact that it was a old short boomed crane, now it just had a more difficult control system to troubleshoot. And it was pretty expensive, in both parts and labor.
     
    Mother Deuce likes this.
  4. John C.

    John C. Senior Member

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    Why would you want to give away the tactile feel of running an old dozer? It's the sensation of taming a dinosaur that gives the true satisfaction of seeing the end product done to near perfection. Fingertip steering in the earlier dozers was problematic and always ended up with no feel. When properly adjusted it approached what could be done with steering clutch levers and brake pedals but after a period of time it always ended up with either being on or off. Manual hydraulic controls on the blade and rippers were the absolute best at putting those implements exactly where you needed them to be. No need to plug in a computer to update software or troubleshoot control problems. Take off a piece of sheet metal and you could see the linkages.

    Today's electronic controls are not about making it easier on operators at all. They are all about replacing them.
     
  5. epirbalex

    epirbalex Senior Member

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    A lot of the problems I see in these forums are connected to the controls you are wanting . Simple controls are cheap controls . Just what age dozers are you thinking of as I think I might slip in a disclaimer here excluding pre 60's gear as they are just down right fatiguing . One of NZ's gold mines has bought to of the largest Komatsu's for stripping over old underground workings , to be used remotely as they don't want to risk a driver , that absolute gorgeous machine designed for an operator working on its own strikes me strange .
     
    Mother Deuce likes this.
  6. oldirt

    oldirt Senior Member

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    back in the mid 60's I knew a contractor that worked for my dad and I looked at his D8 14a. I may be wrong as he had two cats one a 13a and the other a 14a. anyhow.. one of them had some kind of hydraulic booster steering levers that were about three inches tall and he could steer it with fingertip control. I have never seen another like that so it may have been something that was cobbled up, but it sure worked slick.
     
  7. Coaldriver

    Coaldriver Member

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    How donthe caterpillar finger tip steering systems work? An electronic switch activating a solenoid that activates a hydraulic cylinder?
     
  8. Coaldriver

    Coaldriver Member

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    Does anyone have pics of a finger tip steering setup down under the cab?
    Seems like an electronics diy guy could come up with something generic instead of proprietary parts like caterpillar.
     
  9. John C.

    John C. Senior Member

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    Most are computer controlled solenoid valves that send oil directly to a cavity that pushes a piston. It's more like a transmission type of system than a hydraulic cylinder pushing a mechanical linkage.
     
  10. Nige

    Nige Senior Member

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    Why yes, I do .......... this is the electronically-controlled Steering & Brake Control Valve from a new-ish generation tractor with FT Controls. It's located under the cab floor plate in the Hell Hole.

    upload_2018-6-17_13-37-32.png
     
  11. Coaldriver

    Coaldriver Member

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    Thanks Nige for that!
    Wow. What a complex piece.

    You ever notice how the aftermarket comes out with a simple ignition system on American gas v8 they have less wires and have a control box they you can tweak with a screw driver? Accell or MSD. Less complicated than factory system. A little box on the firewall.

    Why couldn’t a clever electronics person work out a a pentiometer set up similar to CAT but cuts out the dealer laptop stuff.
    I know Cat has superior research and development but one day a Company like Shantui will copy the finger tip steering in a simpler way.

    I kee thinking of airplane steering hydraulics for some reason.

    Easier said than done. I’m sure. Just brainstorming.
     
  12. Nige

    Nige Senior Member

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    That valve controls the steering clutches, steering brakes, parking brake, & secondary brake. The FTCs are not potentiometers but PWM sensors whose signal is an input into the Power Train ECM.