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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone! I haven't posted anything in a long time, but the interest level in early/antique tractors remains. The justification to buy a piece of equipment on any priority level has been lacking. HOWEVER, that may be changing.

As it turns out, we have a handful of projects that would involve some earth moving, including grading for about 200 yards of driveway, some related driveway projects, and some landscaping projects. FULL DISCLOSURE... I'm looking for a good reason to play around with a small crawler. HA! My interest falls in post-WWII machines up to maybe late 60's (ish). I think a crawler with loader capable of "dozing" would be ideal so I could grade, but also be able to do a little demo work and general dirt and substrate transport. Primarily, though, I need to move some dirt around. No lot clearing or anything like that, but definitely some ground to move. Maybe a few small stumps that will be in my way, but no 100 year oaks to be excavated or anything like that. The ideal situation would be to have a machine that could use a blade as well as a loader bucket, but at the very least a loader that can bulldoze would be fine.

I know to accomplish the majority of my tasks it would involve renting possibly two different machines or a very capable heavy tracked skid steer/loader and for the amount of time I would need it would cost me a $2K-3K just in machine rental and that would be at the mercy of the weather, which those of you who live in the Carolinas can probably relate when I say there is no predicting it. In a nutshell, I don't like giving away money, so I would like to put that towards a small machine that I can get the job done with, enjoy owning an antique crawler and if need be pass it on later when the jobs are complete.

With all that being said, I don't know much about crawlers or dozers. My previous interests have been more in small tractors, mostly Ford N series tractors. Crawlers/Dozers that seem to fall within the scope of work would seem to be something like an Oliver OC3 or OC4, JD 420's, maybe a Case 310. But there seems to be several others that would fall within this size category from the late 40's to late 60's or early 70's that I just don't know anything about. What would be a good machine to look for that would still have parts available and not be a problem child out of the gate? Maintenance and learning a new machine is totally accepted and part of owning any vehicle or equipment, but I don't want to find myself in a piece of equipment that is challenging to maintain because parts aren't available or God forbid need to be rebuilt to even perform basic jobs. I don't need anything rare or too fancy, don't care if the paint is pretty, and I'm open to gas or diesel. I appreciate the simplicity of the early machines and would love to put one to use for a little while around our property. And OBVIOUSLY whatever I get will need to be completely functional out of the gate and ready for action so I can just maintain and enjoy it, but knowing what to look for/at would be helpful.

Thanks for reading that book! I appreciate any input you guys might have towards this facts finding mission, even if it's "you're nuts". HAHA
 

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Have a look at the Cat. D2 traxkavator, or TD6 , petrol or diesel, or T6, petrol,( a Drott both made by IH. )
The D2 and the TD6 are both a bit bigger than the OC4 , the 3 of them are good solid saleable machines.

Have you thought of a small track mounted hydraulic digger, if you want to do stump removal, dirt shifting or grading the Digger is a good versatile machine, it will test your skills as an operator, but once again a good saleable machine.
Happy searching.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Have a look at the Cat. D2 traxkavator, or TD6 , petrol or diesel, or T6, petrol,( a Drott both made by IH. )
The D2 and the TD6 are both a bit bigger than the OC4 , the 3 of them are good solid saleable machines.

Have you thought of a small track mounted hydraulic digger, if you want to do stump removal, dirt shifting or grading the Digger is a good versatile machine, it will test your skills as an operator, but once again a good saleable machine.
Happy searching.
Thanks for the response! I appreciate it!

All those machines you mentioned are definitely great candidates. Probably the biggest I would need/want to go. I've always been a fan of IH products as a whole. Were loader configurations common for these machines? Are service parts and spares still readily available for older Caterpillar and IH crawlers?

As for a digger, I have less of a need for any type of digging specific type machine, like a back hoe. About 80% of my projects will be re-grading and leveling projects. In fact, a machine with just a blade is probably fine, except that I know the other 20% will require moving fill dirt or excess dirt as well as spreading gravel on that driveway project. Only digging projects I have would be foundational and septic work, which I'm going to leave to a professional. So, this is why I'm thinking a crawler with a loader to be a good solution for me without having to buy/rent yet another machine for that other 20%. Plus having a loader around for moving some of my heavy equipment and materials would be an added bonus, but really just a luxury.

I do like the the recommendations for the Cat and IH. Also considering the Case 310. I'm reading/hearing good things about the JD's, as well. Seems a 420, or something about that size might be good as well. Any others worth considering in this size range and similar late 40's to late 60's-early 70's worth mentioning that have good parts availability? Should I steer away from the Olivers, or are they still worth keeping on the list? What about Allis Chalmers? Seems AC and Massey Ferguson were plentiful, also.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
For those that have done a lot of grading or enough to give advice, am I making a mistake considering a crawler LOADER? Am I greatly limiting my grading abilities? Am I really actually NEEDING just a straight up dozer with a blade and an additional machine for bucket loading and moving fill dirt around? My tasks are fairly light, all things considered. I'm not going to be moving mass amount below grade.

I was hoping a tracked loader might be the best all-around solution for me (if there is one).

Something along the lines of this 420c loader (pic from WWW)

21231


Or this 430c loader (from Tractor Data)

21232
 

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Those are known as a hi-lift in my part of the world. Which would be perfect for the work you described.
Allis Chalmers H3 or HD3, HD5 were also some well built machines around that size if one happens to pop up.
I don't know in what part of the world you are, but a nice looking D2 popped up on Louisville, KY craigslist just a few days ago.
A tractor with a front loader and grader box/blade would do just as well as would a bobcat.
I've done a lot of earth reconfiguring with my D15 a front trip bucket and grader blade.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Those are known as a hi-lift in my part of the world. Which would be perfect for the work you described.
Allis Chalmers H3 or HD3, HD5 were also some well built machines around that size if one happens to pop up.
I don't know in what part of the world you are, but a nice looking D2 popped up on Louisville, KY craigslist just a few days ago.
A tractor with a front loader and grader box/blade would do just as well as would a bobcat.
I've done a lot of earth reconfiguring with my D15 a front trip bucket and grader blade.
Awesome! Thank you for all the input! This is really helpful! I'll check out those AC's, also.

I'm in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Been trying to keep an eye on the market. If I end up doing this, I won't pick one up until early next year, since I have a lot of irons in the fire at the moment (thanks Pandemic 2020!!). But I feel like this is a good time to start educating myself and keeping an eye on things.

I just saw that a really nice looking 1957 JD 420C crawler-loader sold for $2K at a machine auction site in Ohio that had rear rake and even a blade setup. The machine looked to be restored, even. This would have fit the bill nicely, I think. Especially with an option to setup the blade for focused earth-moving.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I just ran across one I really don't think I've heard of... ATC Terratrac. Are these good machines? Parts availability?

Another thing I should be asking, is what about rear attachment points and power take-offs? I see some are offered with 3-point lifts, hitches, PTO's, winches, all kinds of things. What should be a consideration, here? Seems like being able to mount a ripper would be nice and definitely being able to pull a basic implement would be handy. Thoughts for small job applications and rear attachment points? I probably wouldn't use a PTO unless it was for a winch, or something of that nature.
 
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