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Help Evaluating '74 Cat 951c

Discussion in 'Track Loaders' started by JacobRussell, Jan 9, 2021.

  1. bccat

    bccat Well-Known Member

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    There is a reason that it has been setting for so long.Those track pads will not stay tight, even new pads & bolts will stay tight for long. it is in your best interest to check transmission strainer & filters, get oil samples. This a different animal than a Ford 8n. Bigger tools, welder, etc, just saying
     
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  2. JacobRussell

    JacobRussell Member

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    Ok, went out and ran the machine again today for close to an hour. I'm more comfortable that I was after the first visit, and I have a strong suspicion that the shifting issue is linkage related. Here's what I found -
    • No issues in first at all, and will spin the tracks in place when I pushed into a hill, although granted we're hard frozen here so it's not hard to spin.
    • The issue with second was interesting, and I've included a video at the end - when shifting from 1st to 2nd, it would only engage sometimes, but if I moved to 3rd and then back to 2nd, 2nd worked just fine. No issue when driving or steering in second, it's just the engagement itself. The fact that 2nd works all the time when shifting in one direction, but not always from the other, is what makes me suspect linkage. That feels to me like something not slotting int place correct. See the video at the end here of what that looked like on the machine.
    • Engine continued to run and look good, no major leaks there other than what appears to be a small fuel leak. Not concerned about that one.
    • There are two leaks of transmission and / or hydraulic oil under the machine. One comes from the shaft going from the engine to the rear transmission / assembly (note in the video I say hydraulic pump but the shaft is going into the trans or torque converter). The other is up the right side of the machine somewhere. See the second video at the end here. I assume the first is a bad shaft seal and probably a bear to deal with, but I'm not particularly concerned if I can keep topping off the oil for the time being.
    • Engine cranked in < 5 seconds with a jump and no ether, cold, in 30*F.
    • Steering and handling all good. See the third video for a short function demo.
    At this point I'm leaning toward picking up the machine, but again am interested in any input on the shifting issue still and those leaks. Does my inclination that it's a linkage / adjustment issue make sense?



     
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  3. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    The leaks look to be pretty active. Looks like a bigger dealer so curious why they didn't try to clean it up a little. Might be better though as you can see it's been leaking for awhile. Not familiar enough to know if worn or mis-adjusted linkage would cause the shifting issue or if worn 2nd gear clutch packs would do the same thing. In hindsight should have suggested seeing if it will spin the tracks in 2nd gear on frozen ground. For production 2nd gear is the most used. Hopefully somewhere more versed will chime in. Don't be dead set on this machine until you know more about the trans. problem and the leaks. It may or may not be a good project for someone experienced in repairing this type of machine and has the right tools and resources to do it. It still would need a ROPS if you plan on clearing tree's and brush.
     
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  4. bccat

    bccat Well-Known Member

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    I did a search on Machinery Trader, found the machine you are looking at . Those sprockets are shot period! Won,t last ,big job lots of $$$
     
  5. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    Sprockets are shot and track adjustment is near the end. Sprocket teeth aren't pointed, the tips are gone and the stubs are rounded off. There's a reason for the low price. I'd keep looking.
     
  6. Cat977

    Cat977 Well-Known Member

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    I would feel better about about the idea of buying a more common machine. The salvage yards well keep more of them. There is a 1981 Caterpillar 955l Track Loader on Ebay for $7500. Cracked head he told me. Looks like track adjusters shot.

    Also he sample jars at Cat are say $13 and that includes jar, test, results, and I believe shipping. I don't remember how long it took. Sample pump $25 good for like ever. Do you see any sign of leaks coming from the final drives? Possibly exploring with a magnet wouldn't hurt. On my 977's you can reach quite a way's down towards the bottom. Trouble there is probably a deal breaker. I don't know much about mine or any power shift transmission. Yours clicks into each gear better than mine.

    You just have to see the 955K in the for sale on this site. Bottom of the opening page. You can zoom in on the sprockets.

    I think you want to have a old piece of iron as like a collectors piece. I'll hike back to my old TD15 Int. tomorrow get some pictures of the track. I think I wore those teeth down to the gums. I do not want to say buy this machine. In the future you may end up trying to buy a parts machine or using this machine as a parts machine.

    I have a lot of old iron. But that's me. I have a good deal of money tied up in old iron. Its my hobby. My advise is you wait and watch for a good deal on a better machine. If you really for some reason want this one. (It does look visually nice). If it was me go for free delivery and give me a price I can't refuse. If he doesn't leave your phone number and go.
     
  7. JacobRussell

    JacobRussell Member

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    The challenge is what's available in the price range I'm looking in (<$7500) and timeline (need to clear trees now, dig dirt when the frost starts to break). And yes, you're right about the desire and the hobby. I'm certainly open to other options if you know of others out there in the upper midwest although I'd much rather deal with a spent undercarriage than a cracked block out of the gate. I've also spoken to a few people locally regarding undercarriage refurb and the price (~$3k at a shop, more depending on if chain needs replacement or other details) still makes this a machine that's close to my price range even after the work.

    I will say after pricing out work I really wish this machine had bolt-rim sprockets, would certainly make life easier. Also one local refurb/repair shop I spoke to won't weld on rims to a sprocket that's previously had a rim welded on (in this case, one of the sprockets already has a previous weld-on rim) so that's not great. All that said, I do think (from my own research and from those who know more than I do) that this machine could do the work I want over the next year before those teeth round off completely. Question is whether I want to deal with repairs or selling it at that point, and the cost associated with it.

    Also did look up that 955k and wow, that's an outstanding amount of wear.
     
  8. Cat977

    Cat977 Well-Known Member

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    Did you go into machinery trader and see what they want for those other 951's $ ? If you go in. I would say if you have trouble park it, and Rent something. Its just a throw of the dice. All you have then is maybe a parts machine.

    I think the track pads are High Centered. Like a car stuck on top of a rock. Take a piece of steel or plywood flat and stiff the size of the pads. Set it on the rail does it sit flat. If not grind a little in the center. Use some spay dye or magic marker. rub it grind a little. Do the same to the back of the pad. Try to do the work mostly on the pad. Any way for now I would just use it. Replace missing bolts.

    If you get determined to go ahead. Take a 4x4, sledge hammer, and chain saw. Use the bucket to try to push front idler back, each side. If they go back easy, it would be a problem. You'll be adding grease a lot.
    Good Luck
     
  9. Nige

    Nige Senior Member

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    Out of morbid curiosity I found the MT link and had a look at the photos.

    What I would do regarding this particular machine is take steps - big rapid ones in the opposite direction....!!!

    Top value for it is whatever it would make for scrap IMHO.
     
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  10. Cat977

    Cat977 Well-Known Member

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    Seems many wise readers say run, probably should.

    If you get determined to go ahead. Take a 4x4, sledge hammer, and chain saw. Use the bucket to try to push front idler back, each side. If they go back easy, it would be a problem. You'll be adding grease a lot.

    Don't try to dig up those stumps till very last. You should have left a good 6' to push on. Don't go too high or too low on any tree. Dead trees are brittle and will throw pieces from who knows where. The Pro's have roll over protection and cages. Nothings worth your life or limbs!
    Good Luck
     
  11. JacobRussell

    JacobRussell Member

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    Seeing this answer more than I'd like - what is it specifically that makes you say that? Is it the sprockets / undercarriage or something else?
     
  12. Nige

    Nige Senior Member

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    Everything from the condition of the u/c to the oil leaks, plus everything else in between. I feel that you are looking at it with rose-colored glasses, especially when you need it to be somewhat reliable to get your project completed in a timely fashion. The last thing that machine is going to be is reliable.

    Oh, and it doesn’t have a ROPS that would be an absolute essential when working around trees unless you have some sort of death wish.

    Maybe your $7.5k budget isn’t set high enough.?
     
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  13. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    I think you may have a bit of wishful thinking that you could buy a decent enough track loader for $7500 or less and do your work without having to do a bunch of work on the machine first. The machine you are looking at has a couple of active leaks (maybe more), shot sprockets/poor undercarriage, no ROPS and doesn't shift properly. That's just the easily noticed stuff. Clearing tree's without at least a ROPS is a recipe for disaster.
     
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  14. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    Must have been typing at the same time as Nige but thinking the same thing.
     
  15. JacobRussell

    JacobRussell Member

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    That's the answer I'm looking for - I'm trying to understand if this machine is bad for it's price, or if the budget I'm looking at doesn't reasonably fit my requirements. In the price range this remains one of the best examples I've found (among many that sound great until you get to 'hole in engine block') but if the budget isn't reasonable, that makes sense.
     
  16. Cat977

    Cat977 Well-Known Member

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    Your asking a tough question at $ .10 a pound its $2800 a fairly reasonable scrap price. But what would be the cost of frustration if you run into trouble. Its a you get what you pay for deal. I see there are pads to mount roll over protection. That's good. But to get a 955k/L that's good say $9 to $18,000 plus shipping that's what most would point to. But that's not in your budget.
    Construction jobs are considered to be essential, because of Covid. Things are booming for construction guys. If you had one that was good and trusty. You wouldn't be selling it. All machine prices are up now even the old ones. Seems that any that might be considered a good deal is one that is a project machine.
    Just a bit of Rambling
    Good Luck
     
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  17. JacobRussell

    JacobRussell Member

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    I appreciate you taking the time to explain throughout the thread, thank you.
     
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  18. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    Not many in the construction business would be be running 40 year old or older track loaders. Larger farms and land owners are more likely where you'd find older machines in a lower price range. See some from estate sales sometimes too. Machinery Trader might be a good place to get an idea of prices.
     
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  19. JacobRussell

    JacobRussell Member

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    Have been comparing on Machine Trader, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, etc. across most of the great lakes area.
     
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  20. Tags

    Tags Senior Member

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    You could rent a more modern and efficient machine wether it's an excavator, dozer, or track loader (if one is even available for rent) for a good bit for 7500. No headaches if something breaks, and you could probably do it 4 times faster than with that track loader you're looking at. Not trying to spend your money, just putting an idea out there. Just curious, have you had a local excavation contractor price it out for you?
     
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