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JD 550G vs. Cat D4?

Discussion in 'Dozers' started by Skid Shear, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. Skid Shear

    Skid Shear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    North Central Texas, USA
    What would you be looking for on repainted dozer? Any areas in particular that you guys have run across where something was hidden under new paint? Whether intentionally or not, I'd still like to know..
     
  2. ILLICEMAN

    ILLICEMAN Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2007
    Messages:
    168
    Occupation:
    FARMER ex CHEVY DEALER
    Location:
    lake ozark,mo.
    Looking at any piece of heavey eq.I do like a painted unit.Just as with any units a complete inspection is requried.New paint doesen,t cover anything up if anything it uncovers wear items,oil leaks and welds.It is cleaned up before paint.Always run a machine and while the hr. meter might mean something people seem to have a habit of changing them.This is obvious in a low houred loose machine.
    I would not buy a dozer that is not a LT as it does make it a little better in finsh work.I also would not buy one with a total wore out under carrage unless it is very cheap.On resale usally no problem selling weltaken care of units but junk will almost never sell.
     
  3. Skid Shear

    Skid Shear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    North Central Texas, USA
    Thanks Illiceman-
    Good points about the new paint making leaks more visible. I'm told that the meter was changed with the rebuild so don't know the actual hours...does it really matter since it sounds like most of the machine has been rebuilt?

    The only thing that I'm not sure about is the transmission. Would you typically rebuild it with an out of frame engine rebuild?
     
  4. Skid Shear

    Skid Shear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    North Central Texas, USA
    I am told that the 550G has a transmission that is fairly easy to access and work on compared to earlier models. What has been you guys experience with these machines? It is a 93-94 model with direct drive. Would like to know how big of a job it is to rebuild one.

    Thanks for any help....
     
  5. aqeel1

    aqeel1 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    ontario canada
    Let me know when you want to sell it
    i may buy it
     
  6. aqeel1

    aqeel1 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    ontario canada
    D31p-20

    Let me know when you want to sell it
    i may buy it
     
  7. Skid Shear

    Skid Shear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    North Central Texas, USA
    Went and checked out the 550G last week and it looks to be a good one. Inspected and operated it for ~ an hour. Turns and pushes good, definably dd as I was able to stall the engine in first gear after spinning the tracks. Seem to do everything it should, I was surprised at how much it will push.

    No smoke at startup, shoes are in decent shape although several have small chunks missing. The guy said that this could be from turning with loose tracks and they got into a bind. He also pointed out that there is evidence that it had been run what worn rollers because the backside of the shoes had grooves worn in them...the rollers have since been changed. He has repaired the leaking hydraulic cylinders, rebuilt the water pump and painted it since he as had it.

    While pulling the water pump, they punched a hole in the radiator. It has braised and repaired, but I wonder how much of a concern this should be? What it the worst case? Replace radiator? What kind of money are we talking?

    Not sure what else major could need repair...any thought from you guys would be appreciated.
     
  8. DGODGR

    DGODGR Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,014
    Location:
    S/W CO
    Undercarriage is one to check beyond just shoes. You should be able to see if the rails and sprockets are worn. I'm not sure how that unit is built but steering clutches and brakes should be checked if it is possible w/o dis-assembly. Oil samples from all compartments is highly recommended. If the previous owner has been doing them that would be fantastic information. Single samples will only expose eminent catastrophic failure but mutiple samples, taken over the life of the unit, will show trends and can be used to help determine the remaining service life of the components. Samples must be taken with at the correct operating temperature to get good readings from them. Check all cutting edges, and the depth of the growsers, and compare them to new spec. Take a good look at the skin of the dozer blade. It may be tough to see but you are trying to see how much thickness remains. The yoke, the "ball joint" at the back of the blade, is another item that wears out on a dozer. With (2) people, one observing and one operating, you can stab the corner of the blade into the earth, and move the dozer F & R to see how much play is in this joint. Bushings can be inspected with the blade down, dozer parked. Slowly operate each function back and forth to observe the play in each bushing. Same with the ripper, if equipped. Hopefully they did not screw anything else up while trying to fix it. Obviously the radiator is worth more than the repair costs. Maybe you could check Deere for the price (I would) and negotiate it off the price.
    Why didn't you post any pictures of it?
    Good luck.
     
  9. Skid Shear

    Skid Shear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    North Central Texas, USA
    Thanks DGODGR,

    The guy that is selling, bought the machine from the shop that did the rebuild. He has not done any fluid analysis, but offered to have it done at my expense. But he said that he's not sure how much it would tell since he has no record of previous analysis to determine a trend.

    He has also changed broken bushings/ball joints and repaired leaking cylinders...all and all looks like a clean machine.

    Local dealer tells me that a new radiator runs ~$1100 so I'm taking that into consideration.

    One of thing that has me a little apprehensive is that the dozer is ~1100 miles away. Obviously, I'm getting transportation bids and including them in my cost. I inspected it to the best of my limited ability and feel fairly comfortable that the guy is being very forthcoming with what he knows about the dozer....there's just something about buying one that far away.

    What experience do you guys have buying heavy machinery long distance? Never done it before and not sure if it really makes any difference once the total cost is considered.

    What y'all think?
     
  10. Vern B

    Vern B Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2012
    Messages:
    19
    Occupation:
    Retired, but buy, sell and mostly export construct
    Location:
    Northern Michigan
    If this dozer has had an engine rebuild and worn tracks to the point of wearing into the pads from the
    backside, it probably has at least 6-8K hours, or more. It's common to change the hour meter at an
    engine rebuild, but the rebuild shop should have the hours before it was rebuilt. I would demand a
    copy of the invoice so you know exactly what was done to it when the hour meter was changed.

    If it has the kind of hours I think it might, you could be looking at transmission and possibly final
    drive repairs in the not too distant future......................both expensive, plus nickel and dime stuff in between.

    If you have $ 20K to spend, I think you could find a nice original dozer that would be a better option. If you are looking out of the area, I'd look for dozers in the northern climates where they don't get the hours that the southern machines get.
     
  11. Skid Shear

    Skid Shear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    North Central Texas, USA
    Good points Vern,

    My thinking is that getting one with a rebuilt engine and UC at least lowers the chance these components will go out. I doubt that I will put many hours on one (~1000?), as I'm not looking to make a living with it.

    How many hours would you say one should run without needing major repair/rebuild? I'm not seeing many around here that have less than 4000 hours and are within my budget. I'm not a heavy equipment mechanic so I'm looking for something dependable.

    Anybody here have experience buying x-rental machines? Seems that they should be well maintained by the rental company, even if they have been operated by folks who know that they don't have to worry about keep them up.

    Thanks for the input...
     
  12. DGODGR

    DGODGR Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,014
    Location:
    S/W CO
    The biggest issue, that I see, with the long distance purchase is that it will be more difficult, and you probably won't even bother, to confront him if the machine is not as he represented. The seller probably will not think about possible future sales (to you), like he would if you were a local, in his decision making processes if you have a greivance. It's pretty easy to hang up the phone, or not answer a call, if the caller is over a 1,000 miles away. If you are confident in your ability to asses the machine, and are preparred to repair whatever breaks, if anything, then the distance issue may be moot for you. Then you are only left with transportation costs. That small of a dozer can be pulled behind a pick-up. Even if you don't have a big enough truck, a "hot shot" service could probably bring it home for you.
     
  13. Vern B

    Vern B Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2012
    Messages:
    19
    Occupation:
    Retired, but buy, sell and mostly export construct
    Location:
    Northern Michigan
    Drive trains on that size dozer should be at least 7-8K hours, if they have been maintained properly, on
    Cat and Deere machines.

    Condition of rental machines is all over the board. There are good ones and not so good ones. If it
    were me, I'd try to purchase a machine directly from an owner/operator. Those are normally the best
    maintained and best condition machines because the owner is running them. If you know your local JD and
    Cat salesmen, have them keep an eye out for a good machine for you.
     
  14. Skid Shear

    Skid Shear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    North Central Texas, USA
    I've noticed that there seem to be more JD 450s around than 550s, but their prices are about the same? This is the main reason I'm leaning toward the 550...more bang for the buck on a machine that can be mobilized with my Dodge 2500.

    Question: Would you guys think the a novice dozer operator, such as myself, be able to tell the difference in the two? What are the main differences in them other than HP and weight?

    Thanks...
     
  15. DGODGR

    DGODGR Senior Member

    Joined:
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    1,014
    Location:
    S/W CO
    See red text in your quote.
     
  16. Vern B

    Vern B Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2012
    Messages:
    19
    Occupation:
    Retired, but buy, sell and mostly export construct
    Location:
    Northern Michigan

    If you purchase a long track in the D3/450 size class tractors the only difference is the blade size and 10 hp. They use the same frames that the D4/550 size tractors do. If you are using it for casual use like it sounds, you likely won't notice a difference between the two sizes.

    Jump up to a D5C/G, or a JD 650, then you will notice a difference.
     
  17. Skid Shear

    Skid Shear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    North Central Texas, USA
    Thank guys,
    Might need to expand my search...