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Help a new guy buy a used dozer

Discussion in 'Dozers' started by schmiddr2, Nov 18, 2017.

  1. schmiddr2

    schmiddr2 Member

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    I planned to rent a dozer but have determined the cost will be too high for the large projects I have planned. I need to cut down a hill to create more flat land, remove a bunch of trees (also have a Case 580B to help with roots), grade some very rocky earth, cut in a driveway. Local Sunbelt quoted me about $2,200 delivered w/tax for a week for a JD 650J (real nice machines, so I've heard). With my work interfering with progress I may need it for a month. No good. So, if I wanted to buy a used dozer and take a more time with it, what should I get for less than $15K (closer to $10K preferred) what should I get? I understand whatever I buy will may need a few thousand dollars in parts/repairs over the year I plan to keep it (may keep it longer if it proves as useful as my backhoe).

    My initial searching has lead me toward a Case 450C (bumper pull at only 12-13K pounds is a plus). Prices are reasonable and I have a large local dealer that has been good with 580B parts. I changed the brakes, replaced ring gear, replaced axle bearing, removed cylinders and hoses on the 580B. So I have some ability with HE. I really need help with what brands/models are reliable, and what to look and listen for when testing (some very specific details would be great). I would prefer to take someone with me who knows these things in and out, but I don't have that kind of support.

    For instance: https://bgky.craigslist.org/hvo/d/case-450c-dozer/6344639237.html

    Thanks for your help. Just trying to not make a bad buy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2017
  2. Kyfarm

    Kyfarm Member

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    based on the description of what you want to accomplish I believe you will need a tractor of much larger size than a 450 case. For the budget you have you are probably looking at a much older cat and it either will work for you before needing major work or it won't.

    I have a D31E at 14,500lbs and from my experience with it, it would take a lifetime to cut down and flatten a hill with a blade that size and removing a bunch of trees would be an incredible amount of digging with a machine that light.

    you actually might come out ahead on $15K or less just paying someone to do it for you. It is amazing the difference of what someone with full-size equipment can accomplish vs. what can be done with a small dozer (speaking from experience on that point)

    good luck
     
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  3. JS300

    JS300 Senior Member

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    Power Plant and Cattle
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    A little dozer will make little progress. I started at 15k budget on both a skid steer and a dozer, ended up closer to 30k on each. I would want at least a 100hp dozer. Not sure how you plan to pay for it but I would put a bigger down payment (say 6k) on a bigger machine set it up on yearly payments get the work done and sell it before first payment is due. Unless you plan on keeping it. Trust me you don’t want to spend all your time working on an old dozer instead of working with it.
     
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  4. schmiddr2

    schmiddr2 Member

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    I've probably mislead about cutting down a hill (could mean anything). It's really just taking down the hilltop, about 5ft deep and 100ft x 150ft.

    I've been looking around and I see the big old machines FS; the idea of them is great - 30K+ pounds, drop the blade and keep going no matter what. But every part of owning it becomes a bigger and more expensive job. Plus this is hilltop and maneuverability is important.

    Maybe a middle ground. 20K pound or so. like this? https://nashville.craigslist.org/hvo/d/dozer-d5-cat/6391236094.html
     
  5. schmiddr2

    schmiddr2 Member

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    Seems like that always happens. Start looking in a price range then slowly creep up, before you know it you're only interested in things twice the price. I agree $30K gets me everything I would want, but is there no value in the less expensive machines?

    These projects are not that time sensitive, but I also don't want a machine sitting for months on end because it's always broken.

    I plan to pay cash. I like the idea of buying something and being able to sell it for the same price once I'm done with it. But with more expensive equipment I may be worried the whole time about the potential loss I may take on it.

    I wish I could afford to get this: https://nashville.craigslist.org/hvo/d/2010-john-deere-450j-lt/6380267216.html
     
  6. Delmer

    Delmer Senior Member

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    The 580 will do the work better that a 450 IMHO, mostly because it's there already, and you've fixed it already.

    You'll have to do the work differently than with a dozer. Like rip the dirt loose with the backhoe and move with the bucket for the short hauls.

    I've done bigger projects than that with smaller equipment, just spread out over some time. If you need it done now, you'd be better hiring it done.
     
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  7. JS300

    JS300 Senior Member

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    fuggly and schmiddr2 like this.
  8. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    I agree with this. Depending how far you needed to move the dirt from the hill, you could maybe look at a truck to haul the material. I've seen good working single axle dump trucks under $5000. Your 580B will do the work and you don't have to worry about what will break next on a used dozer. Yes, there is always something unexpected that breaks or needs fixing on a used machine. It wouldn't hurt to get an estimate to hire the work out either.
     
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  9. Junkyard

    Junkyard Senior Member

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    We had a dozer conversation back on the last reclaim job I did. We used a D11N for most of the pushing. Another contractor we know said, "Hell boys my D5 will do that job just like your 11 will. It'll just take me longer."

    It's been said many times on here. If you want it done quickly and with minimal headaches then pay somebody. If you've got time, a high tolerance for mechanical and financial drama then buy a dozer and go nuts. No wrong way to do it.....it's all in the perspective.

    Make it fun and find an old 2U D8 cat and go old school.....
     
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  10. epirbalex

    epirbalex Well-Known Member

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    450's too light for the job by the sounds . Do you know of a machine that you are sure of , 450 or not , if you know the machine and what its like is the battle half won . D4D are simple , no electronics , built before the bulldust started , cheap to transport . !0's of thousands built and most older dozer mechanic's will have worked on them . Young guy who had my place had a 450 , broke down driving up the road on delivery , thing wanted to drive in circles and inside a year he spent more fixing it than he paid for it .
     
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  11. schmiddr2

    schmiddr2 Member

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    My original plan was to use the backhoe to dig and my 70hp Kubota with a rear blade to drag the dirt around. After having to change the ring gear in the 580 I don't want to do it again. I figured a dozer was built for pushing and could move more dirt at one time so it was the right tool and I would not have to work the 580 so hard.

    I checked with a local guy who has a D5G and his price is $100/hr. Not bad, but I have probably 100 hours of work to do, and figuring in for prep work there would be a lot of time the dozer would just be sitting there, or he would be gone and I need the dozer.
     
  12. schmiddr2

    schmiddr2 Member

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    I think this is the line everyone has to decide what side their on. I prefer to do everything myself, but do I want to work on a dozer.

    I really want a D8. There's a D9 local to me for $25K; I guess 300hp should do the job. Haha.
     
  13. schmiddr2

    schmiddr2 Member

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    That's my problem - I don't know dozers. My only experience is with the 580 and some tractors. I singled out the Case because I have a local Case dealer, I've read almost all good about them, and they seem to be less expensive. It seems Cat rules the dozer world, but somewhat out of my price range. although this D4H is close: https://nashville.craigslist.org/hvo/d/cat-d4h-lgp-power-shift/6362848549.html
     
  14. schmiddr2

    schmiddr2 Member

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  15. Delmer

    Delmer Senior Member

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    I was thinking of a barely working dump for under $1,000 for the longer hauls. When it falls apart, you make the back half into a dump trailer for the Kubota, which will be handier to have around than a dump truck anyway.
     
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  16. TimT

    TimT Well-Known Member

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    Last fall I bought a 1975 JD 450C... I only put a few hours on it a year..maybe 50 or so...I paid 10,000. I trusted the guy I bought it from... He is an antique equipment guy and a square shooter. The dozer was under roof, never painted and needed bottom rollers, and an angle hose. I put the rollers under it myself, cost me about 900 bucks for the rollers. Rails "chains" were OK... not great, but plenty left for me.
    IF you know equipment from running a lot of it, you can get a fair idea of what you are buying used.... Its never a sure thing, more of an educated guess. Lots of things will point to a machine that has been beat up or not maintained well. Cracks, bashed up blades, major repair welds, the list goes on... BUT you can find good machines at a fair price or even a good price. You should have a person that knows dozers well, to help you find one thats decent. They are a machine that tends to live a tough life, whatever you do... Do NOT let nice paint fool you... some of the best stuff cosmetically looks like crap. Paint does not make them good, it hides things....
    I started with a 40C JD, then a 450C, then a.... TD-25C... and a D8H. I love all of them, But, they are mainly toys for me. If they run, move, seem not ready to explode... then its OK for me. But if you want to do a lot of work... be careful. For my main machines, I have a New Holland Tractor/Loader and a mini-excavator.. both bought new... I will never use them up and can sell them if I no longer need 'em for nearly as much as I paid for them...hopefully. Low hour machines bring good money. Sometimes its even better to buy an old machine if you are not afraid to do some wrenching.You can work on the old ones without software and laptop.
     
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  17. catman13

    catman13 Well-Known Member

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    (( I checked with a local guy who has a D5G and his price is $100/hr. Not bad, but I have probably 100 hours of work to do ))

    how do you figure you have 100 hours to do ? the guy with the D5 may do it in half of the time , and any repairs are on his Dime. having a cat is fun , I have a D5h-xl and it was fun until I put 15,000 dollars into the transmission and steering clutches..
    JUST my 2 cents
     
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  18. schmiddr2

    schmiddr2 Member

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    100 hours is just a round number that seems reasonable. I'll be compacting the dirt being leveled on the first job I have lined up, so that will slow things down some. I find that most things take longer than expected or should be planned that way.

    I hate to pay that kind of money for equipment I don't own, and not get to do the work on my own schedule (self employed makes for a random schedule). I do appreciate not being responsible for repairs and understand the cost of paying to have a pro do it, I just don't like it. If I can get a machine that will run for 100 hours then sell it for about the same money I've saved 5-10K, or if I end up spending 5-10K on repairs on the machine then I may break even.
     
  19. JS300

    JS300 Senior Member

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    What you say is true. I like doing work myself and saving money, plus get to have a little fun owning and working on different equipment. I really think you would be happier with a 100 hp size dozer but that just depends on your expectations. I saw one of my neighbors was cleaning up a fence row with what looked like a 70-80’s model JD 450 or smaller dozer earlier this week. He was getting the job done but was moving slow. Haven’t got to talk to him yet to see were he got it. My only fear with buying an older small dozer would be break downs and repair cost vs. what it’s worth. If you break a transmission that cost $6-8,000 to fix you probably can’t recoup that cost at resale and 100 hrs worth of work won’t work that repair out of the machine. I planned on putting 500 hrs on mine and selling it, I’m at a 1,100 hrs now and still have more to do. At $100 an hour custom rate I’ve worked most any repairs I might have out of it at this point.
     
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  20. check

    check Senior Member

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    The disadvantage of renting is that rent is based on 40 hours a week. If you are up to that, the math often pencils out. I usually need the equipment for 10 or 20 hours a week, and due to my age I can't take much more pounding than that anyway. Much depends on how close the rental yard is and how reasonable their rates are.

    Buying old machinery is a good way to go if you are not only very mechanically inclined but also good at buying and selling stuff. I happen to be good at both so junky old iron works for me. There are a whole lot of ways to go wrong if you don't have these characteristics.
    I did mechanic work for 21 years and I still find more things wrong with machines I buy after I get them home and tinker with them a bit.

    I've hired work out to contractors too, well into six figures. For improving a rural property, it's awful hard to get your money back out of projects when you pay that kind of money. Then you're still subject to their logistics and character. It really depends a lot on the individual and the local economy. It doesn't hurt to get bids and check references. If you're not there the whole time he is, hourly work might get padded. With bid jobs, often the result does not match the agreement as you visualized it.
     
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