Buying File Gallery: Motor Graders

Sept. 28, 2010


Dealers Install Topcon GPS Controls

Komatsu has formed an alliance with Topcon to offer dealer-installed options that outfit Komatsu graders with automatic blade-control systems that use satellite positioning systems (GPS) instead of laser leveling or traditional surveying and grade staking. The Laterra Series—GD555-3, GD655-3 and GD675-3—has also been updated with Komatsu engines that comply with Tier II exhaust limits, and come with variable horsepower. Laterra machines feature a dual-mode transmission that allows the operator to choose either torque converter or direct drive by flipping a switch. Direct-drive mode offers plenty of speed and a familiar feel when using the inching pedal. Komatsu says torque-converter mode improves control and power at slow speeds.

Number of models: 5

Product-line features: One of the two non-Laterra models in the lineup, the 225-hp GD750A-1, uses Cummins M11-C power. It and the GD825A-2 are 6×4 models with no variable horsepower option.

John Deere

Sensors Synchronize Six-Wheel Power

Deere introduced dual-path hydrostatic circuits for front-wheel drive similar to the dual-path systems used in its H-Series dozers. Right and left front wheels are powered and controlled independently, each by its own pump and motor. Sensors on each front wheel monitor front-wheel traction, and Deere's on-board computers modulate six-wheel power even while using the inching pedal.

Number of models: 6

New models: 670CH Series II, 672CH Series II

Product-line features: Deere says its circle and moldboard wear inserts can be replaced in less than three hours with a 9/16-inch wrench. Separate oil and filtration for hydraulic, transmission, and axle/brake systems eliminate cross-contamination.

New Holland

B Series Improves Service and Controls

Introducing the three models of the B Series in early 2004, New Holland took steps to enhance accessibility to maintenance points with ground-level servicing. Short-throw control levers reduce operator fatigue. New Holland claims the curve of its exclusive "rollaway" moldboard is engineered with more than one radius making up its curve to roll material down the blade faster and more efficiently than traditional moldboards.

Number of models: 5

New models: RG140.B, RG170.B, RG180.B

Product-line features: Gear teeth are on the outside of the circle of New Holland motor graders and the motor is mounted on the front of the circle to avoid jarring impacts when the blade encounters large objects. B-Series graders are powered by Cummins diesel through direct-drive powershift transmissions, and while locking differentials are standard on the RG200.B, they're an option on the rest of the B Series. New Holland's B Series specifications match those of the Case 800 Series graders, although options vary between the two lines.


Hood Flips for Easy Access

Case introduced motor graders to its construction-equipment product line with the 800 Series in August 2002. Since then, the 800 Series was brought up to Tier II emissions compliance with charged-air cooling. The one-piece, non-metallic rear hood not only offers good rearward visibility from the cab, but flips up for access to filters and service points. Case has added a swing-out battery tray for easier servicing.

Number of models: 3

New models: 845, 865, 885

Product-line features: Case offers a DHP (Dual Horsepower) option on the 32,077-pound 865 which, like the RG170.B counterpart in the New Holland line, delivers 170 horsepower in the first three gears and 190 horsepower in the upper five gears. Like New Holland, Case uses Cummins power, and claims the same involute curve on the moldboard rolls material efficiently off the blade.


Variable Horsepower Standard on Bs

Variable horsepower (VHP) is standard throughout Volvo's B Series. VHP produces less power to control wheel slip at low speeds, and more horsepower for better efficiency and hill-climbing at higher speeds. Volvo's seven-model B Series includes five models with maximum power ranging from 141 to 243 horsepower, and two all-wheel-drive models at 235 and 243 horsepower. In creep mode, the all-wheel-drive machines' hydrostatic front-wheel drive pulls the machine while the tandems freewheel.

Number of models: 11

New models: G710B, G720B, G726B (AWD), G730B, G740B, G746B (AWD), G780B

Product-line features: Flagship of Volvo's B Series, the G746B, is the industry's most powerful all-wheel-drive grader. Volvo's G700B graders also feature the industry's highest capacity main hydraulic system—a load-sensing system that delivers 75 gallons per minute. In July, Volvo sold the four small hydrostatic graders and removed them from its lineup.


"Plus" Pushes Variable Horsepower Harder

Cat upgraded to Tier-II-compliant engines, adding horsepower in all of its grader models except the 24H. For example, the most popular model in the line, the 140H, with the new VHP Plus option delivers 10 percent more horsepower than its predecessor (increasing from 185 to 205 horsepower). Cat says it produces 12 percent more rimpull and burns 10 percent less fuel. Variable Horsepower (VHP) restricts power when traction is limited and increases power in higher gears. VHP Plus boosts high-end horsepower even more. In seventh and eighth gears VHP Plus, for example, delivers 11 percent more power in the 140H and 10 percent more power for the 160H.

Number of models: 10

New models: 120H, 135H, 12H, 140H, 143H, 160H, 163H, 14H, 16H

Product-line features: Cat added Electronic Throttle Control with the Tier II upgrades, which enables a feature similar to automotive cruise control to maintain constant ground speed. Thirty percent of all service points were moved to collect them where they can be reached from the ground.


Rising from Fiatallis Heritage

The 65E is a 16,800-pound grader with a 110-hp Cummins diesel that packs big-grader features into a compact package. This offspring of the Fiatallis 65C has a powershift transmission with torque converter, a gear-driven 360-degree circle that is mounted on an A frame, and wet disc brakes.

Number of models: 1

New models: 65E

Product-line features: NorAm used to market the Fiatallis 65C. The NorAm 65E is manufactured by Five Star Industries of Knoxville, Iowa. Five Star had built graders for New Holland, and purchased manufacturing rights for this grader from CNH in early 2004.


Champion Name Reborn

The four Champion models aren't actually new—only the decals have changed since Volvo sold the line—but Champion Industries is new. Gary Abernathy and his father, a paving contractor from Charlotte, N.C., designed the first of the four Lee graders in 1979. Champion Road Machinery purchased their company in 1993. Abernathy stayed on as business manager of the small grader line then, and again in 1997 when Volvo bought Champion. Abernathy organized Champion Industries this year and purchased rights to Volvo's G60, G66, G80, and G86, renaming them Champion C60, C66, C80, and C86. Champion will continue to manufacture the machines in Charlotte.

Number of models: 4

New models: C60, C66, C80, and C86

Product-line features: Cummins diesel power and hydrostatic drive are common throughout the line. The C60 and C66 are two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive maintainer-style graders weighing 12,800 and 13,400 pounds. The C80 and C86 have rear tandems, and the 15,500-pound C86 sports all-wheel drive. 


Blading with the Big Boys

The 25,300-pound, 130-hp 785 introduced early this year with a standard 12-foot blade extends the LeeBoy grader lineup into the range of production graders. Cummins power and a Clark six-speed powershift transmission drive the geared tandems (no chains in this driveline) with locking differentials. The 785 features 20 degrees of frame articulation and 60-inch blade sideshift.

Number of models: 3

New models: 785

Product-line features: All the LeeBoys are articulated-frame machines. The two smaller models are driven by two-speed hydrostatic transmissions, and the 15,200-pound 658B with 10-foot blade offers an all-wheel-drive option. 


Compact Hydrostatics

PSI fields four compact graders/pavement maintainers with hydrostatic transmissions and Deutz diesels. The line stretches from 12,900 to 22,800 pounds, and three models come to market at 110 horsepower, while the engine in the largest machine is rated at 133 horsepower. Optional front-wheel assist enhances productivity.

Number of models: 4

Product-line features: The PSI graders comes with two hydraulic work modes—PSI's exclusive fine-grade mode for finish grading applications, and the coarse-grade mode for production grading. The company extends buyers an 18-month machine warranty and a three-year warranty on hydraulic hose.

Buying File Feature: Computers Deliver Just the Blade You Need