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New Cat Excavators

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by raschmid07, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Messages: 1,892

    alco, hopefully you're well-enough aware from my posts that I'm not trying to promote Cat unashamedly (call me out if I'm wrong, as maybe then I can snap out of another, separate issue), but I do want to bring up two things.

    One is reliability. I said "aside from reliability" because my observation is that it's been an issue. For example: a machine was released; customers ordered it; the machine got put on hold for "quality assurance"; and after a few months delay and the machine finally shipped, it went down in the first 50 hours with a swing motor failure. :rolleyes: My question was in honest curiosity -- I meant that I realize that Cat HEX may not have as good reliability (remember, this is from my standpoint and not reflective of the company's stance), so I was wondering in what other areas they fall short. I know that's overlooking a huge aspect of machine design; I just think it's already present so was wondering about other aspects.

    Maybe I'm buying into marketing tests, but from what I've seen, the 345D runs with the best of them. Put it in its power mode and it'll easily outproduce a comparable 450D or 460C; put it in economy and it'll be just as productive as a 450D or 460C and use about the same fuel. In other size classes, especially the smaller (20 tonne, 15 tonne, and 12 tonne), the Cats are able to hang with the best of them *now*. I wouldn't have said it for the C-series HEX, but the Ds are supposed to be better. (The same is true for some wheel loaders -- some *current* Cat models are just as if not more efficient than Volvo's comparable models.)

    Again, don't get me wrong -- I don't think that Cat has the best product out there, and there are definitely issues with everything in their current lineup. I am, or was, rather, exposed only to one facet of HEX marketing, and I'm just trying to wrap my head around operators' opinions.
  2. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Germany
    Messages: 1,892

    I think you have to join Twitter to "follow" the updates, but I suspect you might be able to periodically go to that site and see what they're posting.

    But then again, I don't have a Twitter account so could be talking out of my...
  3. alco

    alco LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    Sorry, I just saw that post as reading something like: "What's wrong with them? Other than the fact they can't keep them running." You have to understand that from my experience, since they went away from the 200 series, they have gone down hill dramatically. Now the 200 series wasn't a fast machine by any means, but I have seen very few issues with them reliability wise. We had a 235C that would drop pump drives every 1000 hours just like clockwork, but that was the biggest problem we seemed to have.

    Now, admittedly, the newer series have improved a great deal, but they just don't seem to stand up mechanically in the long haul and still haven't shown me anything to prove they are a contender in the performance category. Like I said, structurally, they are strong, but the controllability aspect falls right off when the hours add up. It's like the become uncoordinated hydraulically, and nothing seems to bring them back short of a complete rebuild/replacement of the hyd end of things. My experience where we were comparing fuel consumption was with a brand new 320C and an older Deere 200C. We traded operators between the two to make sure it wasn't a one sided contest, and the Deere burned 2/3 of the fuel the Cat was. The Deere was also making 4 complete cycles vs the Cat's 3 complete cycles in the same amount of time, working side by side in the same conditions.

    I haven't spent much time with the D series, but that is mainly due to the fact that nobody here really wants to buy one. I have seen one D series Cat sitting around, and they were working their older Hitachi instead. That tells me something, but I don't know the reasoning behind it.

    I know our other mine bought a 365C a couple years ago, and I have never heard anything good about it from operators, or mechanics. Last I heard, they were wishing they had bought a Hitachi instead, but went for the Cat as at the time we were having parts availability issues and long lead times to get parts for the Hitachi machines. That seems to have straightened out from what I have heard.

    So availability aside, my biggest issue with them has been speed, coupled with a marked loss of controllability as they age.

    Undercarriage wise, they are hard to beat. Structurally, they are right near the top or right at the top. Of course, Cat makes a good engine, but it seems a bit less efficient/economical that the competition. However, the hydraulic system and controls left a lot to be desired.
  4. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Cat's larger excavators suck, I will admit that completely. The 365 of any vintage is a pile and even the die hard Cat guys will tell you that, they just aren't good machines. The 385 isn't far behind the 365, if you need something that large, Hitachi is the way to go. The 345D isn't a bad machine at all it's just a very large 45 ton machine, looks like it's 55 ton.

    Outfit I'm with buys Cat and Komatsu, just about every hoe we have under 30 tons is Cat and the rest are Komatsu. We do have a 375, not sure on the hours but our PC600-8 and PC800-8 have less than 2,000 hours each. I'll be curious to see how they hold up.

    I think you will find that Cat's smaller hoes to hold up quite well. The 200 series and even early 300 series machines kicked some serious ass in their day and if well taken care of, will still perform adequately 15 years later.

    Fuel consumption with Cat hoes can't be argued, I know they burn a wad of fuel. Doesn't quite fit into the original discussion, that's more in the area of ownership costs but that's another argument in itself.

    The D series released a lot of improvements and greatly enhanced Cat's lineup, IMO. I've run a 325DL and having run 2 different 325CL's and a 325CLCR, the D proves to have more power, stability, and greater fine motion capability.
  5. alco

    alco LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    I would actually disagree with both of the above statements. My experience has shown that all of the 300 series seem to do the same thing, lose controllability as they age. When they introduced the 300 series, they couldn't compete as they were already so far behind everyone else. We got a new 320 when they were introduced, and our old 215C could whip it's but with no effort.

    I also think fuel consumption plays into this. Even if a machine ran flawlessly, but gulped fuel, that would put a sour taste into most smaller operators mouths. In that sense, I feel it fits into the discussion just fine.
  6. waters lawn care

    waters lawn care LawnSite Member
    from alabama
    Messages: 128

    Ran a lot of hoes, hard to beat a 330 link belt really nice machine.
  7. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,151

    Thats funny, since Volvo is shutting down their excavator plant in NA.
  8. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    We were originally talking about reliability and the hoes themselves holding up, not production and fuel consumption but I see where you're coming from.
  9. alco

    alco LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    I still feel it fits because originally we weren't talking about reliability. Tigerotor actually said "What's wrong with them? Reliability aside " and things progressed from there. But yeah, it was getting away from the current discussion.
  10. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Ah, gotcha, I missed that. haha. All good man.

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