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Wheel Dozer

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1968 Caterpillar 824 Wheel Dozer
Wheel dozers
are essentially tractors outfitted with dozer blades or push blocks. Used for clearing and grading land, wheel dozers are frequently used in mining applications and reclamation jobs. Wheel dozers can also be used as push tractors in scraper applications. Though these machines can be converted from wheel loaders by replacing the loader’s bucket with a dozer blade, this configuration is only successful for light-duty tasks.[1] The wheel dozers’ advantage over crawler dozers is their ability to move quickly. Additionally, they can travel between multiple job sites without damaging paved roads.


[edit] History

[edit] The First Wheel Dozer Line

R.G. LeTourneau was the first one on the wheel dozer scene in 1947 with his introduction of the Models A, B, C, and D Tournadozers. These rubber-tired dozers had varied success; the 750 horsepower Model A never progressed past the experimental stage. While Model B, with 300 horsepower, and Model D, a 143-horsepower model, saw minor success, Model C became relatively popular.[2] This machine, outfitted first with a 160 horsepower Buda engine, was later equipped with a 218-horsepower GM 6-71 engine. The Model C was known as the Super C until 1972 when it became part of the Wabco line. All of LeTourneau’s Tournadozers were driven mechanically, and had electric blades. These dozers made use of the skid-steer concept for steering: the wheels on one side would lock while those on the opposite side would continue moving, in order for the machine to turn.

1976 Clark 280GM Series II Wheel Dozer

[edit] LeTourneau’s Record-Beating Wheel Dozers

After LeTourneau sold his earthmoving business to Wabco in 1953, he went on to build some of the largest wheel dozers available at the time.[3] All of these machines were diesel electric, including an electric motor in each wheel. In 1955, he built two dozers known as Crash Pushers, 600-horsepower machines used in the U.S. Air Force. Five years later, LeTourneau introduced his K-Series wheel dozers, the largest of which was the K-205, with three 420-horsepower Cummins engines. This monstrous machine had five wheels (as indicated by the last digit in the model number), and weighed 160 pounds (73 kg) when counterbalanced for traction.[4]

[edit] LeTourneau’s Switch to Hydraulics

In the 1960s, R.G. LeTourneau’s staff was convinced that their machines should utilize hydraulic power. LeTourneau resisted this suggestion, and continued to design his machines with rack-and-pinion drive for the remainder of his career.[5] When LeTourneau retired in 1966, the company began to design hydraulically controlled diesel-electric wheel dozers, the first of which was the D450B. This machine never went into production but was the predecessor to larger LeTourneau wheel dozers manufactured in the 1970s.

[edit] The World’s Largest Wheel Dozer

In 1961, Western Contracting Corporation was in need of a wheel dozer to use as push tractors for the largest scrapers offered at the time, but none were in production. By enlisting the help of C.W. Jones Engineering Company, the most powerful dozer of any type was created.[6] Built by Intercontinental Engineering & Manufacturing Corporation, it was initially used on the Milford Dam, which spanned 17 million yards. This machine ran on 1,850 horsepower, was 15.5 feet (4.7 m) wide, and 47 feet (14 m) long. The machine, with an operating weight of 170 tons, was articulated at both ends, and therefore had a 37.5-foot (11.4-m) turning radius. The machine was a one-off with the Western Contracting unit being the only one ever built. It was worked by Western Contracting from 1963 to 1981.

[edit] International Enters the Wheel Dozer Market

The same year as Western Contracting unveiled its massive dozer, International introduced its first and largest wheel dozer: the 600 horsepower D-500 Paydozer. This purpose-built machine, with its 64-ton operating weight, was world’s first recognized articulated wheel dozer.[7] In 1964, the company built smaller dozer models: the D-100 and the D-120.

[edit] The Unusual Allis-Chalmers Dozer

Allis-Chalmers built a wheel dozer known as the Model 555 in 1962. This wheel dozer, one of the largest ever made,[8] was only in production for a short time. The company developed this machine using their twin-engine scraper concept. Essentially, this dozer was a twin-powered scraper, but without a bowl. It included an engine in the front and the rear—identical 25000 diesels with 870 horsepower. A year later, Allis-Chalmers developed the D-30, using 184 horsepower, and the following year introduced the D-40 with 310 horsepower; both were more successful than the Model 555.

[edit] Caterpillar Joins the Competition

1995 Caterpillar 834B Wheel Dozer
1963 saw the introduction of Caterpillar’s wheel dozer line. The first to be unveiled were the Model 824, with 300 horsepower, and the Model 834, with 400. Seven years later came the development of a smaller wheel dozer, the Model 814, which used 170 horsepower. The products went through multiple upgrades over the next two decades, culminating in the offering of the 814F, 824G, and 834B models in 1997. The same year, Caterpillar added two more models to their line, the 844 and 854G, when it purchased manufacturing rights of two wheel dozers originally offered by Tiger Engineering Pty Ltd. of Australia.

[edit] FWD-Wagner’s Versatile Dozer

Amongst the many companies who were developing wheel loaders in the 1960s was FWD-Wagner Inc. This company’s most novel offering was the WI-30, with two 350 horsepower Cummins diesel engines. This wheel dozer, with dual controls, could have dual attachments: a dozer blade on one end, and a push block on the other. Because of this, FWD-Wagner advertisements for this machine read, “Either direction is forward.”[9]

[edit] The Multi-Wheel 70

The following decade, CF & I Engineers Inc introduced the Multi-Wheel 70. This rigid-framed wheel dozer consisted of four wheels, joined by chains, on either side. Additionally, the machine included two 335-horsepower engines that each provided power to one side of the machine. The operator, sitting on a seat that could swivel to face either direction, could turn the machine by putting the transmission on one side in forward drive, and the other in reverse. The Melroe Company acquired the Multi-Wheel 70 to create Melroe Multi-Wheel; ten dozers were sold from 1978 to 1982. The machines were not offered again until 1996 when the company known as Innovative Mining & Equipment rebuilt the machines—they are sold as the M-880 today.

[edit] Tiger Engineering Pty Ltd.

In 1981, an Australian company, Tiger Engineering Pty Ltd, entered the wheel dozer market, with their Tiger 690, requested by BHP Iron Ore for use at a Western Australian mine. The company began serving a surface mining and earthmoving niche with their larger dozers, selling most of their dozers around Australia for use in coalmines. While these machines were based on Caterpillar wheel loaders, they were comprised of modified drive-trains and custom frames. In 1987, the company exported its first wheel 690 to the United States. This model was based on a Caterpillar 992C loader. Subsequent models were released in the 1990s. By 1997, design and manufacturing rights to two of Tiger’s dozers—the 590 and the 790G—were bought by Caterpillar, and became known as the 844 with 625 horsepower, and the 854G with 800 horsepower.

[edit] Features/How it Works

Wheel dozers are rubber-tired, and can be either mechanically or electrically driven. They comprise push blocks or dozer blades, operated hydraulically. Various blade options are available, including: a straight, short blade for fine grading and a tall, curved blade with side wings for heavy loads.

Heavy-duty wheel dozers, some of the largest dozer-type machines available, are usually purpose-built to include suitable elements such as the engine and transmission.

[edit] Common Manufacturers

[edit] Additional Photos

2000 Caterpillar 824G Wheel Dozer

[edit] References

  1. Haddock, Keith. Earthmover Encyclopedia. Motorbooks: 2002.
  2. Alves, Michael and Haddock, Keith and Halberstadt, Hans and Sargent, Sam. Heavy Equipment. Crestline: 2003
  3. Haddock, Keith. Giant Earthmovers. MBI Publishing: 1998.
  4. Haddock, Keith. Giant Earthmovers. MBI Publishing: 1998.
  5. Haddock, Keith. Earthmover Encyclopedia. Motorbooks: 2002.
  6. Haddock, Keith. Giant Earthmovers. MBI Publishing: 1998.
  7. Haddock, Keith. Giant Earthmovers. MBI Publishing: 1998.
  8. Haddock, Keith. Giant Earthmovers. MBI Publishing: 1998.
  9. Haddock, Keith. Giant Earthmovers. MBI Publishing: 1998.

[edit] Additional Resources

  • Kennedy, Bruce A. Surface Mining. SME: 1990