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Caterpillar D7E Dozer: Tractor-Hands Tractor [Evaluation.


The Caterpillar D10 is a track-type tractor manufactured by Caterpillar Inc. (then called the Caterpillar Tractor Company). It was the first modern tractor to use the elevated drive sprocket to improve durability, operator comfort, and ease of maintenance.

The first pilot D10 was D10X1 and was shown in July 1973 at a big Caterpillar corporate meeting. Other prototypes would follow in 1975 and 1977. In March 1977, prototypes P-1 through P-10 would appear and be subsequently dispatched to different job sites. The D10 was introduced at a dealer meeting by Caterpillar in the fall of 1977. Between 1978 and 1986 nearly 1,000 D10s were made at Caterpillar's East Peoria plant. The D10 had sales of their Fiat-Allis / Komatsu competitive sized bulldozers combined. With the introduction of the N-Series tractors in 1986-87 their model numbers were pushed up. For example, the D9N replaced the D8L, the D10N replaced the D9L and the D11N replaced the D10.

In 1986 an even larger dozer, the 770 hp (570 kW) Caterpillar D11 N was introduced to replace the D10. The D11 carried on the success of the elevated drive sprocket system in large bulldozers. The currently available D10T model, and preceding D10R and D10N variants, are not the original D10's successors but the D11N, D11R and the current D11T are.

Tilting the cab (an impressive bit of technology in itself) exposed the D7E’s innards, revealing why this relatively new crawler dozer from Caterpillar is one of the industry’s most innovative machines.

After Bob Powers removed 10 bolts and two pins from beneath the cab of the Cat D7E, Wes Reetz used the tractor’s on-board hydraulic jack to tilt the cab sideways to a steep angle.

Tilting the cab (an impressive bit of technology in itself) exposed the D7E’s innards, revealing why this relatively new crawler dozer from Caterpillar is one of the industry’s most innovative machines.

Looking down inside the D7E’s frame, the engine and hydraulic pumps look familiar, but the rest of the drive train is somewhat mysterious. Gone are the torque converter, power-shift transmission and related drive shafts. In their place reside a large, engine-driven electrical generator and two other primary components—the power inverter and propulsion module—connected together with cables thicker than your thumb to create the D7E’s diesel/electric drive system.

Construction Equipment got this inside look at the D7E last fall in Wilmington, IL, where Local 150 (International Union of Operating Engineers) has its training facility. There, we met up with the two D7E experts from Caterpillar—Powers, senior product application specialist (and former operator with a current Local 150 card), and Reetz, D7E project engineer—along with Kevin “Zip” Ackert, Mike Evans and Troy Butler, all instructors for Local 150’s Apprenticeship and Skill Improvement Program.

The intent of our visit was twofold: to get a close look at the D7E’s design and to hear first-hand from some of the best dozer operators around what they think about the D7E’s features and performance.

The Caterpillar D10 is a track-type tractor manufactured by Caterpillar Inc. (then called the Caterpillar Tractor Company). It was the first modern tractor to use the elevated drive sprocket to improve durability, operator comfort, and ease of maintenance.

The first pilot D10 was D10X1 and was shown in July 1973 at a big Caterpillar corporate meeting. Other prototypes would follow in 1975 and 1977. In March 1977, prototypes P-1 through P-10 would appear and be subsequently dispatched to different job sites. The D10 was introduced at a dealer meeting by Caterpillar in the fall of 1977. Between 1978 and 1986 nearly 1,000 D10s were made at Caterpillar's East Peoria plant. The D10 had sales of their Fiat-Allis / Komatsu competitive sized bulldozers combined. With the introduction of the N-Series tractors in 1986-87 their model numbers were pushed up. For example, the D9N replaced the D8L, the D10N replaced the D9L and the D11N replaced the D10.

In 1986 an even larger dozer, the 770 hp (570 kW) Caterpillar D11 N was introduced to replace the D10. The D11 carried on the success of the elevated drive sprocket system in large bulldozers. The currently available D10T model, and preceding D10R and D10N variants, are not the original D10's successors but the D11N, D11R and the current D11T are.


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