Cat's Tractor Design Favors Finish Grading

By Katie Weiler, Managing Editor | September 28, 2010

Designed for high productivity and long life, the new D5N and D6N track-type tractors offer low operating costs in tough applications, Cat says. These machines replace the D5M and D6M models, and include updates such as electronic engines, improved operator's stations, new styling, servicing enhancements, and differential steering on the D6N.

If this upgrade sounds familiar, Cat also introduced the D6R Series II track-type tractors last fall. Those machines are targeted for customers who spend more than 50 percent of their time doing heavy dozing and the balance finish dozing. They would typically be ordered with a semi-universal (SU) blade to allow them to do heavier work. Whereas the D6N is designed for customers who spend more than 50 percent of the time doing finish-grading work and the balance heavier dozing. They would usually be ordered with a six-way power angle tilt (PAT) blade.

Both the D5N and D6N machines offer a 5 percent boost in horsepower. They are powered by Cat 3126B HEUI (Hydraulic Electronic Unit Injection) engines, which meet Tier 2 and Stage II emissions requirements. The D5N delivers 115 net horsepower; the D6N offers 145 net horsepower. According to Cat, its HEUI fuel system optimizes the combustion process, resulting in greater fuel efficiency with lower emissions and less noise.

The engine also features good cold-start capability and easy maintenance. It uses a single Poly-Vee fan belt with auto tension, which eliminates the previous three- or four-belt system. Engine doors are hinged, with a hold-open latch, for easy access. In addition, engine-oil change intervals have been extended to 500 hours. Major drive-train components are electronically integrated to optimize performance and life, Cat says. The electronic transmission has an Auto-Shift feature that allows the operator to pre-select a forward or reverse gear for easier directional changes.

Both new tractors come equipped with Finger Tip Control (FTC) steering, which combines steering, machine direction, and gear selection into a single control group that can be operated with one hand. The D6N also offers Differential Steering (DS), which Cat says maintains power to both tracks while turning, so large blade loads can be maneuvered efficiently throughout turns.

Styling changes not only make the machines more attractive, but also improve visibility. A cab and air conditioning are now standard features. New low-effort controls are conveniently located and ergonomically shaped. Tractors are monitored by the Electronic Monitoring System (EMS II), which keeps the operator informed about machine status at all times.

N-Series machines retain the core strengths of their predecessors. The exclusive Cat elevated-sprocket undercarriage improves productivity, versatility and track life. A full line of work tools and attachments is available.

Base list price for the D5N ranges from $134,000 to $147,000; the D6N ranges from $188,000 to $215,000. 

Basic Specifications
Operating weight (lb.) 28,258 34,209/35,688
Engine power (hp) 115 145
Drawbar (lbs.) 50,260 64,760
Blade VPAT (cu.yd.) 3.40 4.16
Std. shoe width (in.) 22 24
Track on ground (in.) 94 100
Ground pressure (psi) 6.81 7.09/7.40
Ground clearance (in.) 14.9 16.7