If you’re new to operating a dozer, the most crucial thing to learn is how the machine should look, feel, sound, and smell (yes, smell) when it’s in good working order. This takes time, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. After a few days in the driver’s seat, you should have a good sense of how the machine should operate. However, in the meanwhile, here are guidelines on how to operate a dozer to keep you safe and your machine functioning as smoothly as possible.
1. Fill in the blanks.
It’s critical to doze from front to back when working in the slot. Working in the slot reduces the amount of dirt or material that falls from the blade. It can also assist in increasing blade load by up to 30%. Keep digging until you reach the blade’s height when excavating a slot, then go on to the next slot.
2. Start from the front and work your way backward.
We advocate dozing front to back if you want to increase efficiency and reduce undercarriage wear. This has proven effective because working backward reduces the amount of time spent operating the machine in reverse—the less time you spend driving backward, the minor wear on the track you will experience.
This is how you do it:
1. Begin around two tractor lengths behind the area you plan to cut. Operate the dozer in first gear on the first pass, trying to load the blade as quickly as possible and start a spoil pile (if using a small or medium-sized tractor, transfer to second gear). Filling the blade within two tractor lengths or less is a worthy goal. Next, reverse the machine until you’re two tractor lengths behind where you started the first pass; this is where your second pass will begin. Steer the machine through the same slot you made in the first pass as you progress through the second pass. Repeat this process, reversing and then expanding your starting point until you reach the desired slot length.
2. When you’re ready to start a second slot, go back until you’re about two tractor lengths away from the spoil. Then, move it to the first slot with the machine in your hand. Keep a space of about one-third of the blade width between the edge and the first slot.
3. Dozing from front to rear can save the amount of time you spend operating in reverse by 38%. Instead of backing up for the full cut, you have to back up for the length of the preceding push plus two tractor lengths.
3. Check the tension on the track
When track chains are too tight, they might wear three times as fast as they would otherwise. While you should consult your operator’s manual for specifications, the sag should be at least two inches if your track has a carrier roller.
Here’s how to figure out how much the sag is:
1. Come to a halt slowly—don’t slam on the brakes.
2. Stretch a string from the idler to the sprocket or lay a straight edge over the grousers.
3. Measure the distance between the grouser tip and the lowest point of the sag.
4. Calculate the average of the lowest points of each valley on both sides of the carrier lower.
While track-chain tension changes are not required at regular intervals, they should be made whenever the weather or environmental circumstances change.
When any of the following conditions occur, for example, you should check the track-chain tension:
- It’s pouring outside.
- It starts to blow.
- The machine collides with water puddles.
- The temperature of the air rises.
- Mud or debris might build up in the sprockets as a result of these situations. You can keep the loose chain from binding in front of the idler by changing the chain tension.
Maintaining adequate track-chain tension can cut down on undercarriage wear by 50%. However, according to Caterpillar’s field assessments, 20 percent of tracks are excessively narrow.
4. Make use of shortcuts
Longer cuts are typically assumed to be better by dozer operators; however, this is not the case. A dozer blade can only retain a certain amount of dirt at any time. If you keep pushing forward after the blade is complete, the dirt will fall to the sides of the blade, creating windows that you’ll have to go back and clean. Furthermore, when the blade is complete, you will no longer be able to cut and will only be able to push dirt in front of the blade. Finally, long cuts consume fuel and cause track sliding and undercarriage deterioration. Every bulldozer, regardless of size, should be capable of accumulating a full blade load in two tractor lengths or fewer.
Use shorter cuts and make every hour of operation count. This will help you save both time and energy.
5. Whenever feasible, work up and down slopes.
Crawler dozer operators should work slowly on slopes and keep attachments low because operating a machine on a hillside can be risky. To avoid rollovers, we also recommend working up and down slopes. Older machines use torque converters, which may or may not have an automated holdback, whereas newer machines have hydrostatic gearboxes. As a result, it’s advisable to avoid changing gears and coasting downhill in neutral.
6. Every morning and evening, check the oil and coolant.
While this is more on the maintenance side, it’s a good habit to get into checking the coolant, engine, and hydraulic oils each morning before starting work. After the workday, double-check the gearbox and engine oil. Check the air filters and the grease fittings, such as the swing frame zerks, during this process.
Source: Blue Diamond